Tuesday, September 30, 2008


So last Tuesday I auditioned for a regional Mormon choir with my friend Niki. She really wanted to do it and asked if I'd do it with her. I couldn't make one of the concerts as it was, but told her I'd try out with her anyway. I could appreciate not wanting to go to something like this alone.

Well, the verdict was in yesterday. They pretty much said, "Thanks, but no thanks". Actually, I'm not surprised. The director said because they were pretty much where they wanted to be with female voices, he asked if I "knew a guy" that I could bring with me. Even if I did, I'd rather get in to the choir on my OWN merits, thank you very much.

As it turns out, Niki made it! Hooray for her! And she didn't even need a guy. I'm very happy for her and this is truly how it should be. She wanted it waaay more than I did and she fits into the choir better than I do. It's pretty elite.

However, even though I was indifferent about being in the choir, and wasn't sure they'd take me if I couldn't make one of the two Christmas performances, and then hearing from the director himself that chances are if I made the audition musically, they're just too full unless I could recruit a guy....I have to say that being rejected still stings a little bit.

But it's OKAY, I promise!!! This is actually a good thing. First of all, I got a reminder call from my periodontist's office asking if I was still planning on the oral surgery to have three of my upper gums grafted on Monday. I am and then I realized that I'm not allowed to bite into food for 6 weeks. I have a tendency to swell after such surgeries and I'm betting that trying to articulate while singing is going to be kind of tricky if not painful for the next little while.

On this same Monday after school, Jake and Cooper are doing a group audition for their school musical "Hansel and Gretel." So at dinner last night I was able to take the opportunity to remind the kids of my audition last week and tell them that even though I gave it my all, I didn't make it. I was able to model the appropriate responses for such disappointments including being happy for my friend. Hopefully this experience will be something the boys can remember as an example should they find themselves in the same situation.

I had to laugh, too. In my rejection letter they encouraged me to audition at a future time. And then in the next sentence they "welcomed" me to audition at a future time. And I'm thinking...my voice isn't going to be any better in the future...probably worse actually. So why would I do that? Besides, I'm not really one that thrives on rejection. Maybe if that's what I really want someday, I'll pursue it. But for now, I'm good.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I've been what?

Ahhh...even after joining the blogging world a year ago, I'm just now learning about cyber tag. I get to thank Becky for this pleasure. Seriously, I'm honored she'd think of me. So here's how it works for you future tagees...

Taggin' It Up Rules 1: Each player starts with 8 random habits/facts about themselves. 2: People who are tagged need to write a post on their blog about their eight things and post these rules. 3: At the end of the post you need to choose 8 people to get tagged and list their names.


1. I've had 12 teeth extracted from my mouth...8 regular teeth and 4 wisdom teeth. I know, it's hard to believe I have a small mouth. And next Monday I get to have oral surgery and undergo 3 separate gum grafts--yippee.

2. I've helped my dad skin a moose.

3. I can't drive a standard transmission--more for a lack of opportunity.

4. I don't care if my kids' yogurt and fruit snacks have too much sugar in them.

5. I auditioned for the "Wheel of Fortune" when the Wheelmobile came to Lincoln City, OR in July 2006.

6. I was the brochure poster child for the Utah American Heart Association in 1982.

7. I was engaged to Jared for 14 months before we got married.

8. I bite my nails.

Okee dokee, so I tag Michelle M., Kristen M., Niki S., Stephanie M., Cortney V., Emily W. (welcome to the blogging world :), Cassandra G., and Allie P. Can't wait to read about your randomness!!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

How it all went down...

The day of the long awaited 5K finally came. It was an early morning for us, too. We had to ship out Jake and Coop to friends' homes here in town at 7:30am (who would take the boys to their respective soccer games at 9am) and so we could drive into Forest Grove with enough time to hand off Karcyn and Calvin to another friend while she was at HER son's soccer game. Phew! There was a lot of service and sacrificing done yesterday just for the Houghs and we're so grateful. We couldn't have done it without these awesome friends!

Can you say, 'Brrrr'? It was cold out, even at 8:30 in the morning. I knew it was "perfect" running weather and truthfully I'd rather be cold than hot when running, but it was enough to make me shiver more often than not.

The officiators had the walkers start 15 minutes before the runners and Jared and I (along with many others) were just hanging out waiting our turn. My friend, Steph, caught up with us at the starting line. While we waited, we detected a medicinal scent on the breeze and Jared mumbled, "I smell Ben-Gay." Okay, honestly people, if you are that serious about running that you need to slather yourself in Ben-Gay, go run a marathon! Leave the po-dunk 5Ks to us newbies.

We were all in our starting stance, fingers perched right above the start button on our watches to track our time as we anticipated the buzzer that would be our signal to go.

My biggest concern with this whole race was how to pace myself. I kept giving myself a mental speech to not worry about anyone but me. I'm just trying to improve MY time. But in a group of people, you sometimes run faster because they're running faster and though that can have it's advantages, I was worried about coming out too strong and totally tanking at the end.

The buzzer, more like a horn actually, finally sounded and we were off!

Stephanie totally took off like a gazelle in front of me. She has quite the stride. She even lost her key that was tied to her shoelace and had to go back and retrieve it. I almost caught up to her at that point, but she was off before I could reach her. And I didn't see her again. Impressive.

I forced myself just to listen to my music and tried to run the pace I normally do when I run alone. The night before, Jared and I had mapped off the route on runningmap.com and found our first mile and second mile markers so we could track our progress.

So you know it's a bad sign when you're getting passed by people who were jogging with their dogs...and people pushing jogging strollers with children in them.... and old gray haired folks wearing knee braces--on both knees...and girls who were having conversations while they ran. Good grief. I can't breathe when I run, let alone speak! I was beginning to think I was going to be the last runner again, but then I remembered, with a little guilt, that Jared hadn't passed me yet so I was ahead of at least one other person. Poor guy hadn't run in 10 days, though. He's been having shin issues. I'm just impressed he came out and ran anyway.

Imagine my surprise when I went to tack my first mile on my watch and the time displayed showed 9:23!! Holy schnikey! The fastest mile I've ever run, which also happened to be my first mile, was at 10 minutes and I thought that was good. I told myself I needed to back off and take it easy. I thought I was. Though, I have to admit, it felt great to pass people, even if they were walkers.

I started to get twinges of an oncoming side cramp about 1 1/2 miles into it. That's what I got for coming out too strong. But I couldn't think about stopping. Run through the pain. Fortunately it subsided. I started passing more walkers and that still felt good...at least I would beat some of them to the finish line. I reached my second mile and found the time displayed for that lap was 9:48! Holy cow. Really?? So then I thought, Wow, I might finish this around 30 minutes. And I kept on trucking, with what I thought was a little more bounce in my step.

I think the course is actually a little over 3.1 miles. Regardless, I tried to put myself in high gear that last block, but I was pooped. Again, serves me right for coming out too fast in the beginning. I need blinders for next time.

I crossed the finish line at 32:48.

That last mile and .1 or .2 took me 13 minutes and 44 seconds. Ugh. Baaad. I totally tanked at the end just like I predicted. But...averaged out with my other two miles, I still shaved off 4 minutes from my time 2 years ago. Hooray!! And I wasn't dead last! Neither was Jared, bless his heart. He finished at 33:35 with shin pains. Still better than his time two years ago, too.

I set three personal records yesterday...best first mile, best second mile and best 5K times. In February, I'll start training for my first 10K in June. That should be interesting. Maybe I'll be able to shave a couple more minutes off my 5K time when we do it again next year by training for the 10K. Three miles will seem like nuthin' compared to six!

Oh and great news!! My friend Stephanie won 2nd place for our age division. I'm so proud of her!

(And a big thank you to Steph's hubby, Jacob, for being our race photographer).

Monday, September 15, 2008


Well, I've got less than 5 days before my 5K...my one time shot to better my running time from 2 years ago. I've been running since Calvin was 6 weeks old (3 months now) and I know I've been making progress. I started running at a pace of 12 minutes per mile. Which was where I was at 2 years ago. My 5K time from 2006 was a disappointing 36 minutes, 30-something seconds. (Jared doesn't have anything to prove. He shaved 5 minutes off his time last year when he ran. I walked it because I had stopped training and was pregnant. He's just running it for tradition this year).

However, the last two runs I've done have been record times for me. I ran 4 miles last week at 41 min. 18 seconds. (Not fast for you less-than-9 minutes-per-mile-people, but progress for Jenn). And then I ran 3 miles on Saturday at 30 min. 39 seconds. I even ran that first mile in 10 minutes...my fastest mile yet. Considering all my health issues...broken back history, exercise-induced asthma, open heart surgery, just had my 4th baby and never run this much before...I'm pretty proud of myself. I love those personal victories!

What really motivates me, even more than my improved times, is that Jared is proud of me. If he weren't so supportive and wasn't cheering me on, I would have quit after that first week. In fact, he came home one night a few weeks ago and said he was so proud of me and surprised me with my own hot pink iPod nano, with a gift card for iTunes and a carrying case. It was the sweetest gesture. (Although, now that I think about it, maybe he was just sick of me borrowing his :)

When I began running, my first mile was always the hardest as my body warmed up. But it's changed now. The toughest mile is my second and third depending on how far I'm going. However, in my defense, those 2nd and 3rd miles are also mostly uphill on my routes, so I guess I can cut myself a little slack. I'm also hoping that all those hills will make my 5K run on Saturday a little easier. There is a slight incline that you run but it's nothing compared to the slopes I'm doing now.

It seems like I shouldn't have any problem beating my personal 5K time from 2006. So why do I have butterflies in my stomach??

Thursday, September 11, 2008

My Little Guy

So there's been this ongoing "discussion" between Jared and myself the last few months. We've been "discussing" whether or not I should start supplementing with formula after I nurse Calvin. You probably can figure out who's on which side. I adamantly put my foot down and said no. Jared kept saying Calvin wasn't gaining weight fast enough and kept bugging me to do so. (Sometimes I wonder if having my husband in the health care profession is a good thing or not...I guess overall the perks do outweigh the pains.)

At Calvin's 2 month well child check in July, Jared didn't come in to the exam room and allowed me to talk solely with Dr. Hicken about the matter. After giving the baby his check-up, Dr. Hicken agreed with me that although Calvin was gaining weight slowly, he was still on the growth chart line and said he didn't think supplementing was necessary. I guess after I left he told Jared to "lay off " and quit bothering me about it. To his credit he never mentioned it again.

At Calvin's 4 month check up on Wednesday the 10th, however, he hadn't gained much weight. He's a whoppin' 10 lbs 14 oz. Even Karcyn, my petite little girl, was 11 lbs. 3 oz. at 4 months old. Calvin's head circumference and length are growing as they should just not his weight. Everything looks normal and well with Calvin but this time Dr. Hicken reluctantly said he felt that I should try supplementing with a little bit of formula after I breastfeed him. As I looked at Calvin, I told Dr. Hicken I would if that's what he thinks is best. I know some mothers probably wouldn't if they really didn't want to, but I respect my doctor. I know he wouldn't ask me to do it if he didn't think it was important. He just wants Calvin to get as many calories and as much nutrition as possible at this age. Calvin is at .4% on the growth chart. Actually, he's not even ON the chart. Karcyn was barely on the line at 4 months and that didn't make sense to me. She was only 5 oz. heavier than he is at this age. That's when I learned that there are two different growth charts. One for girls and one for boys. Dr. Hicken then said "Now I know how you think...." (remember, I work for him, too, doing his billing stuff). He said "This is not a reflection on you. You aren't a bad mom. You didn't starve him. You've done nothing wrong." Wow...am I THAT easy to read? He's right though. That is what I'd think.

I wanted to nurse Calvin as long as I could since he's my baby. But...I didn't instigate this change, so I don't feel that bad about it. I even went and bought a can of formula before going back home after the appointment and when I arrived, I announced to Jared "well, I won the battle but you won the war!"

Supplementing has gone very well. Calvin didn't even bat an eye when I gave him the bottle. Karcyn didn't like the texture of the nipple. Took her a while to get used to it. But Calvin just carried on as if nothing had changed. I'm only giving him 2 oz. after I nurse him and he just guzzles it down. (I thought I wasn't starving him!?)

I do think he's a little fussier since getting formula. I'm not surprised there. I'm even using the "gentlease" formula. Overall, I'm not complaining. The kids are enjoying feeding him, Jared too. It does give me a smidge more freedom. I am going to complain about the cost though. Buying formula is not in my grocery budget. The good news however is that he's not totally exclusively bottle fed. So I don't have to buy as much.

Looking back, I've always been an all-or-nothing person. Either we breastfeed or we bottle feed. I've never done both. It'll be interesting to see if he eventually weans off of me. I wouldn't be surprised. But I hope not because I'm okay with the current arrangement.

This is my little Guy Smiley. Isn't he adorable? He's discovered his voice and is making lots of different noises. We love to make him laugh which isn't too hard because he's very ticklish. He's also rolling over and scooting around and finds contentment in chewing on his fingers and fist. I could just kiss him all day.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Alaska: Day 13--4 Wheeling at Knik

[Jared's parents left Sunday, August 17th, for their long journey back to Illinois (an evening flight to Seattle, a 6 hour lay over, a flight to Sacramento, a flight to Chicago, then 3 hour drive back to Pontiac). I'm happy to report made it home without any further ado.]

Monday, August 18th was pretty much our LAST day of playing with Grandma and Grandpa Lee. So we drove up to Knik Glacier with the 4 wheelers and had a picnic lunch. It was a beautiful day.

It's hard not to have fun on the 4 wheelers. Cooper was 3 1/2 when we were in Alaska last and totally remembers riding them a couple years ago. Karcyn was a baby, so this was her first real experience with them and man...you would have thought she was a "biker babe". She couldn't get enough of them. What's so funny is that she BARELY fit on one. She'd sit as far forward on the seat as possible and then lean to hold on in between the handle bars. That was such a stretch for her little body that she was seriously laying at a 45 degree angle. But she held on for her life while her head bobbed up and down. I didn't go as fast as Jared did with her. I was worried she wasn't having fun and was getting whiplash or something. But she ate it up and was mad when you stopped.

Grandma let Jake "drive" by doing the steering.

Cooper said I did a good job going fast and over the big bumps. Jake didn't like riding with me as much, though because I wouldn't go up in the forest like Grandma and Jared. I wasn't in the mood for getting muddy either having just done laundry before we flew home. (You may wonder about Grandpa. He was there, but was happy to sit back and let us do all the driving as he did his crossword puzzles and tinkered around with the camper).
And here we have the ATV Princess herself. She had to be on the machines even when we were done.

We actually got a flat tire on the red ATV near the end of our afternoon. We're just grateful that we noticed it when it was stopped and that no one got hurt while riding on it in that condition.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

A New Bulldog is Born

The time has come. Cooper Hough has hit the public school system and is now one of the newest Butternut Creek Bulldogs. Seems fitting actually.

I have never been the mom to cry when my boys have gone to Kindergarten. And it's not because I don't have a heart or because I don't love them. Jake and Cooper have both spent an extra year at home with me because of their late birthdays and I think it's safe to say that all parties involved are finally glad when they can go to Kindergarten. They are ready and that makes me ready. (However, it will probably be an entirely different scenario when Karcyn goes to school. Man, that thought makes me want to cry right now!)

I had to laugh when I read that our principal was hosting a "Ya-hoo/Boo-hoo" gathering for the new Kindergarten parents this morning. We had a ya-hoo party here, but only because we're excited for him. Although, he didn't once look back either. Never said he was going to miss me (like I hear lots of boys and girls his age tell their mommies) and almost forgot to kiss me.

This is a doubly exciting year because Cooper gets to ride the bus in the morning with Jake. Jacob has been very protective and kind to Cooper these last couple of days as we've been gearing up for today. Supporting him and putting his mind at ease. That brings tears to my eyes more than anything else.

Alaska: Day 12--Calvin's Blessing

Calvin is our oldest baby to be blessed at 3 1/2 months. Some people have asked why we waited to do it in Alaska. Easy. The trip to Alaska was planned first. Once we decided our family was definitely going up there, we invited Jared's parents to join us (just in case Mom and Dad sell their house before we get another chance to visit). Then I got pregnant. Early in the pregnancy it dawned on me that both our parents, dads especially, would be in the same place at the same time when Calvin would be 3 months old (older than a newborn, but not too old). So instead of asking both sets of parents to make extra trips to Oregon (after already coming to Jake's baptism in March and the birth of Calvin in May) we decided to bless him in Alaska.

Fortunately, my parents' Bishop (and an old friend) was most gracious in allowing us to do so. Not only in a ward that we didn't live in, but also on a regular Sunday. Come to think of it though...none of my children have been blessed on Fast Sunday. Jake was blessed at 2 weeks old...in the middle of January because that's when my parents could come to Illinois. Cooper was blessed when he was 6 days old (I remember getting flack for showing up 6 days after delivery...was even told I looked awful. Boy, some people sure know how to make you feel good!) Again, it was the only time both dads could make it to Michigan. Karcyn was blessed at 1 month...the Sunday before Easter because that's when the dads could make it. And Calvin got to wait a little longer. Because of it, our baby boy blessing outfit was a tad too small for this "beast". Instead, he wore Uncle Mike's blessing outfit and it was a perfect fit. Too bad he had a blow out (one of only a handful in his lifetime) and turned part of a leg opening yellow. (Sorry, Mike.)
So off to South Anchorage High School we went again for church and this special day among squeaky bleachers. It was also Karole's 60th birthday. Then Jared and our dads and the Bishopric went up to center stage to give Calvin a name and a blessing...Calvin Wray Hough. It was the perfect blessing. Not too short, not too long. Calvin was absolutely perfect during the prayer. He had been asleep but woke up and was still quiet. And now, I feel like he's really official.
Another funny thing about our baby blessing days....we have less than desirable family pictures to capture the moment. We got a couple nice ones with Jacob. I guess there's no excuse not to. He was an only child at the time. We almost forgot to take a picture of us with Cooper. It was on our couch in Kalamazoo as an after thought. Jake and Jared both were already out of their church clothes. We got a couple nice ones with Karcyn, but we're missing one of our sons. Cooper probably. So we don't even have the full family. And Calvin's, well, you'll see. And we never got just a picture of the baby in their blessing outfit. Good grief. I guess I'm just not much of a memory maker with the camera. Nor are we all posers. Though with 3 different cameras to look at, it's hard to know when to smile and where to look. Ah well. I guess we were making memories after all.

Alaska: Day 11--Back to Anchorage

Our primary objective on Saturday, August 16th, was to pack up and head back to Anchorage, hit the showers upon arrival, then do laundry and prepare for Sunday, which was also the day Jared's parents would be flying home.

As we were breaking down camp, I wanted to take a picture of something. But I couldn't find the digital camera where I normally kept it--in the diaper bag. So I looked in my purse. Not there. I looked in my jacket pocket. Not there. I looked in our clothes bag. Not there. I looked in the van. I looked in the camper and in the tent. No where to be found. That's when I realized that it had to have been left behind on the tour bus. But how could that be? As we got off the bus, I was the last person to exit because of Calvin and his car seat for one. But also because I got down on my knees in the aisle to make sure A) we didn't forget anything important or B) left any garbage behind. Our space was spotless. Nothing had escaped. So where the heck was it?

It must have fallen out of the unzipped diaper bag after we got off the bus at the visitor's center. I was pretty annoyed. But was surprised when I quickly recognized there was no sinking feeling of despair over the grim possibility of once-in-a-lifetime pictures never to be recovered or shared. Our dads also took pictures so I had a few back ups. All was not totally lost. But still. They weren't mine. And yes, we could buy a new camera...eventually. Very inconvenient and pricey, I might add. These things were normally enough to make my eyes burn with angry tears. Yet, my eye ducts were completely dry...which for me and frustration, was pretty impressive. I could only conclude that the underlying peace and calmness within me were indicating that I would find my camera.

After we got the vehicles loaded, we headed back to the visitor's center where the Park Service lost and found was located. The guy at information was also from Oregon (because his name tag said so) but I didn't have time for small talk. He said if I lost the camera the day before it would be over by the train depot just down the road. So we drove over there. I went to the main building first to avoid wandering around aimlessly and I was told to follow the painted doggie footprints (which leads tourists to the dog mushing demonstration nearby) and I did so until they brought me to the baggage check area.

I explained to the man behind the counter that I had lost my camera. He asked me to describe it. That was no problem. It was a silver Kodak Easy Share and has a crack on the battery cover from a fall 2 years ago. He nodded his head, went behind his curtain and reappeared with my camera. Why wasn't I surprised? I was happy and relieved. But not surprised. I immediately noticed that part of the battery cover had broken off from the repaired crack and was exposing some of the batteries. It had definitely fallen. How we didn't hear it or notice it is beyond me. I didn't care though. And I've discovered that if I hold my mouth just right the camera will still come on...sometimes. Further scrutiny proved that the memory card was unaffected and my pictures were all there. And the internal stillness I experienced as I tried unsuccessfully to locate my camera earlier that morning, made perfect sense.

With everything in tow, we left Denali National Park and Preserve behind us and made the 5 hour trek back to Anchorage. Oh and guess what? It rained on our way home.