Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Big Changes for us!

OOOOklahoma...where the wind comes sweeping down the plain..

Back in August Eric started looking for a new job. We were really tired of him living in Kuwait and me in Texas (and he had the boss from Hell). Some very fortunate circumstances, and when I say fortunate circumstances I really mean blessings from heaven,  fell into place and he ended up getting hired by GE Global Research. His time with his old job ended at the beginning of September, but we hadn't been given the official offer from GE so we spent a few months
enjoying being together (retirement preview..we'll be fine!)  but very nervous about being unemployed (grateful we were prepared by following council to avoid unnecessary debt). Finally the official offer arrived and we signed on the dotted line. We put our home on the market and moved to Oklahoma City. We left 4500 square feet and moved into an 816 square foot apartment. Needless to say I am very anxious for our house to sell so we can move our stuff here and get into something a little larger with a yard for the dog and get the bees moved up here.

Oklahoma is a slower pace than Houston. We like that. The people in both places are some of the nicest people we've ever met, but there definitely is a different mentality. Okies are way more relaxed!! In our search for a home we have noticed that even in planned neighborhoods the people have individuality. Everyone doesn't  have to have the same shrubs in the front yard and two live oaks planted 12' feet apart..ok, I'm being a little sarcastic.

 Eric's new job is going to be awesome for him. He gets to go back to his research roots which he is very excited about. Yesterday he met his big boss and found out that he remembered Eric from his days at the Idaho National Lab and from a technical conference that Eric helped organize and presented a paper. That was fun for him to learn about that connection from his INL days.

We are loving the cooler weather. It is nice to walk outside and have it feel like fall. We have experienced two tornado warnings already. That part is not very fun. One of those was actually when we were driving here. I was following Eric and I kept hearing weather reports on the radio about a storm which included a tornado watch and softball size hail. Eric thought we were in front of the worst of it, but then I hear on the radio that the storm was crossing Interstate 35 between mile markers 83 and 84. Guess where we were?? We were able to exit the interstate and park under a parking awning so we were protected from the hail which only ended up being dime sized.

The only Cowboys we are going to root for are the Wyoming Cowboys. Not becoming Sooner or University of OK Cowboy fans!! We may consider becoming Thunder fans. Life is good! We love that we are able to have these adventures. It is really fun to experience new people, climates, flora and fauna.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Capturing a swarm!!

We have experienced a new adventure in being backyard beekeepers.

Thursday we received an email from the beekeepers association stating that there was a swarm of bees in a tree and would someone come an remove it. Since the bees in question were in our neighborhood and one of our hives was empty, we responded to the email. (who knows, maybe they were our bees first place, hence the empty hive)

We rounded up an empty cardboard box some pruning shears, a ladder, and our bee veils and gloves and off we went.

The homeowner was very nice and happy to have the bees gone. I don't think he was impressed when Eric told him this was our first time capturing a swarm. The capture went text book perfect (according to Beekeeping for Dummies). Sorry the photos are not great. It was dusk and we were just using a phone camera. It couldn't be the photographer ;).

Swarm of bees in a live oak tree. We cut the branch with the bees and put them in a box.

Getting the bee filled branch out of the box.
Just chillin' in a cardboard box. Little do they know it is moving day!

The book said to put a sheet under the entrance and shake the bees onto the sheet and let them climb into the hive. So that it what we did.

Moving in to their new home. It took some of them all night to figure it out and they even had to survive a rain storm, but eventually they got it. I think they are happy about the new pad. Last night they were going crazy flying orientation flights. This morning we gave them some sugar water just to make sure they like it here so they stay and don't have to work so hard to build up their colony.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

My journey to a Half Marathon

I wanted to document my experience mostly for me. This blog has taken the place of my journal.

We did it!!

On February 28th Eric and I ran the Woodlands half marathon. This was a big deal for me (not so much for Eric who has 12 full marathons under his belt). He was a good sport and ran with me at my slow pace. So here is how this went down and why it is a big deal.

Since marrying Eric I have had a desire to be a runner so we could share a common interest and if you've ever watched someone train and complete a marathon it is inspiring. Plus running is a good inexpensive way to exercise and drop some unwanted pounds. Early in our marriage my excuse for not running was I was pregnant, then I was too busy being the mom, then I was too fat and it hurt to run. Once my kids were in school, I started teaching school myself and my excuse was there was no time to run. I started running in the summers and would get into good enough shape to run a slow 5k or two but that was about it. Then the school year would begin and I would have great intentions to keep running, but I didn't. This went on for 15 years!

Fast forward to 2013... Eric switches jobs and we move to Houston, TX. I am no longer teaching school. I am 40 lbs overweight, I am staring 50 in the face, I've just become an empty nester and I don't feel good at all. I was literally sicker than I had ever been when we moved to Texas. I had developed diverticulitis and the antibiotics I took made me sicker.   The good part of that was I dropped 10 lbs. I had been walking quite a bit before the move and decided that I no longer had excuses for being inactive. I started running.

In the beginning I would run for a minute or two then walk for awhile. It was hard!! I worked up to being able to run a mile slowly then progressed from there. I eventually over the space of a year worked up to running 12- 20 miles a week. I dropped 30 pounds and was feeling good about my progress. Eric had gone online and figured out a half marathon training program for me and I was following that religiously. 10K's were now doable for me! The heat and humidity in the summer in Texas is brutal so I would go running before the sun came up and it was still miserable, but I plugged along. I was not fast. I was a consistent 12 minute miler and I was ok with that.

 If you've ever met my husband, you will learn that he is a sweetheart, but he is competitive. He likes to run and he cares about his times. He always wants to get faster. I was happy if  I ran a route a little faster than the day before, but getting faster was not my focus. I was happy to just put in the miles. Eric didn't quite understand my contentment with being a consistent 12 minute miler. He would ask me, "Don't you want to see how fast you can go?" After getting this line of questioning a few times I started to think that maybe the right way to be a "real" runner was to focus on time and PR's. I started to push myself a little more. I ran a 5K race in our neighborhood and my pace was 10 minute miles. I didn't die. After that I started to pick up the pace slightly. Time was still not a huge focus for me, but I probably cared more than I did before.

About 2 1/2 months before the actual Half marathon I was at the point in my training that my long runs are around 8 miles and about to increase to 10 miles. I completed my first 8 miler with Eric and I was really excited. That is the farthest I had ever run in my life! It was hard, and I got to look forward to (insert sarcasm) doing it again the next Saturday. The week zoomed by and it was long run day again. This time I would be doing it alone as Eric was working overseas. Seven miles into the run I started to experience pain in the back of my left leg. I kept going, trying to run through it. Bad idea....I walked/limped the last mile to home. Long story short I ended up not being able to run for a few weeks. I was still hopeful that I could get my training back on track after some rest. I would rest the leg then try to run on it. I could usually go about 3 miles before it gave me any problems. Then one day I was trying to do 9 miles and about 6 miles in with no warning pop..instant pain again. It was at that point that I resigned myself that I wasn't going to be able to do the Half. I completely quit running!! Meanwhile, Eric was training to run the same half while he was working in Kuwait. He was also dealing with an injury. His knee had been giving him some problems so his training was not going well either. He had already had to withdraw from the Katy Half because of knee pain.

It is now a couple of weeks before the half and both of us are able to run a little. I decided to go out and see what I could do. My training schedule was for me to run an 11 mile long run. I had only been doing shorter distances mostly because of fear of reinjuring myself. I mapped our an 11 mile course and set out. I had to walk some about 4 miles in because I was bucking a head wind. After that I started to feel pretty good. I got to an area in the neighborhood that has a gate. I had my electronic card with me so I though no problem. Big Problem.. since I don't live in the gated part of our community don't have access anymore to the paths that go through the gated part (which ticks me off because I pay the same amount of HOA dues as they do). I had been on that path a number of times, and the gate was never locked before. I was mad and not mentally prepared to figure out another route on the fly. I back tracked and headed for the last loop of the run and headed home. I mapped the course that I ended up doing and found that it was 9.5 miles.

At this point, I am still thinking there is no way I can do the half marathon. It is only a few days until I have to pick up my packet. Many of our running friends are telling us to run it anyway even if we have to walk a good portion of it. Well, I am confident that I can run at least 9.5 miles then I can walk the last 4 if I have to. Eric has still been experiencing knee problems but he is game run/walk it with me so we commit to do it. I was scared and just kept asking myself if I was crazy. I was most afraid that it would totally suck and I would feel like I had to do another one some other time to redeem myself.

Race Day! The weather was perfect for running. It was cold by Texas standards and the forecast was for clouds and temps in the 40 - 50's. Perfect running weather for me. The race started at 7:00am which made for a really early morning for us. The Woodlands are a good hour drive from our house. I was still questioning the stupidity of doing this, but I was in the starting shoot anyway. Eric kept wanting to inch up to the faster pacers. I didn't care what my time was. I just wanted to finish and not die. When we started the pace was really slow even by my standards, but I liked it. I was afraid that I would let my nerves dictate and go out too fast then run out of steam. A forced slow pace was good for me and Eric! As the runners thinned out we were able to up the pace to where I felt comfortable. Around mile 3 I had to go to the bathroom. There was a port-a- potty with a line. Some girl was saying that just up the road at the next light there were a whole bunch of bathrooms. So we kept going.  We got to the reported spot and there were no bathrooms! In fact the next bathroom wasn't until mile 6. That is 3 miles of having to use a toilet...not fun!!! And to top it off there was no toilet paper. Needless to say...I will be purchasing new gloves for next winter's running season. With that little obstacle out of the way, we continued on. The miles went by and I found that I felt pretty good. Eric was doing well and his knee was not bothering him. I was pretty tired at mile 10, but so far I had run every step. After mile ten we began to walk through the water stations then start running after we finished our cup of water/Gatorade. At one point I walked a little longer after the water station, but found that it was much harder to get going again than it was to just keep going so we kept running. 13.1 miles.... we did it. Our time was 2:38. We averaged 12 minute miles even when including the bathroom break into the time. I was very happy with that time so I don't feel the need to redeem myself. I don't ever have to run another one unless I want to. I will say that it is a possibility however, I have no desire to do a full marathon. I felt pretty good afterwards, but I was spent.  I cannot even imagine adding another 13.1 miles on.

How much have I run since completing my goal.....well, not much. I need a new goal and some serious motivation to keep at it. I keep having some issues with pain in my right leg this time. Not fun.

Welcome home Miranda!

February was a big month for our family. After serving an 18 month mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, our daughter, Miranda returned home. Miranda thought that only Eric and I were going to meet her at the airport and that she would fly to Idaho later to see all of her siblings. What she didn't know was we had schemed to have everyone here in Texas when she got home. Grandma Flash (Eric's mom) arrived February 4th. Paige, Brent and their 3 little girls along with Abby drove to Boise and met up with Isaac and Kandace. They all flew together from Boise. Bailey, Chad and their 2 little boys flew out of Pocatello. They all met up in Salt Lake and flew on the same flight to Texas on February 6. If your counting that is 15 people including Eric and me. The logistics of transporting that many people and luggage takes some planning. We ended up renting a 12 passenger van and also using our car. So much fun! Our surprise didn't go exactly as planned because Miranda's flight status was not updated correctly and we ran into Friday night traffic on the way to the airport. Most of us were there, but a few were still parking the van when she walked into the airport. She was still surprised.
We had a fun weekend together. Some of the gang had to go back to Idaho for jobs and school. Paige, Bailey, Abby , Grandma Flash and the kids stayed in Texas for awhile.
The Whole Gang

Nieces and Nephew with a sign for Mindy

Meeting Oliver for the first time

Meeting Lela for the first time



Monday, January 12, 2015

Christmas 2014

This year we spent Christmas in Idaho at Paige's house. Everyone was there except for Miranda who is still serving her mission in Japan (but not for much longer). We were also able to meet Abby's boyfriend, Jaxon. A good time was had by all. The only down side was when you put that many people in a confined place someone is bound to share a sickness. That is exactly what happened. We shared snotty noses and stomach aches.

Eric and I flew into Boise on Monday night. We stayed with Isaac and Kandace that night in Boise. The next morning we all headed to Buhl. We did some last minute shopping there so we didn't have to try to fit everything in our luggage on the flight.

On Christmas eve we went to Miracle Hot Springs and had fun swimming in the hot pools. The hot water felt really good especially in the cool, crisp Idaho air. For the rest of the day we played games and made our traditional soups, clam chowder and potato. Every year we have a "program" on Christmas Eve. People share their talents through poetry, music, readings, skits, chimes or whatever their imagination can think of. This year Isaac and Kandace added some fun with a few Holiday Minute to win it games. We have a lot of fun then we put on our serious faces and end the program with thoughts of our Savior. Eric and I try to give an ornament to our kids each year that has something to do with the Savior. Eric sang Oh Come, Oh Come Emanuel and we talked about the many names the Savior is know by. This year we also read The Living Christ.

Christmas morning we got up and opened presents. Everyone was grateful for the gifts they received. But the best part was Isaac go some new games and that meant we had more fun ahead of us! No Robertson get together is complete without a few rounds of trivial pursuit (Eric and I usually win).  We also had an epic Risk battle. Bailey dominated the world. The highlight of the day was getting to Skype with Miranda. She looked so good and the thing that stood out to me was how happy she was.

The big girls left the little kids with the men and did a little after Christmas shopping. We found a few good sales. Mostly we were just getting Abby things that were on her Christmas list that I couldn't by for her without her trying them on; things like snow boots.

Sunday we attended church as a family and then had dinner together and after that everyone started heading home. Eric and I went back to Boise with Isaac and Kandace. Our flight was leaving at 5 AM the next morning.

We got back to Texas on Monday afternoon. I came home with a cold so we used the next few days to recover. We spent New Years at home watching a movie and eating way too much food. Eric fell asleep before midnight. Happy New Year!

Now life is back to the normal routine. Eric went back to work after being off for about 2 weeks. Then he had to head back to Kuwait for a two week trip.

Here are some photos of our Christmas fun.
Quilt I made for Gwen

Rudolph pulling Santa in the sleigh

Bailey and Chad working together to complete a bell game.

Group shot after playing stick the fluff ball to your nose. We all had Vaseline on our noses and we held the string in our teeth and tried to flip the fluff ball up to stick to the Vaseline.

The Snowball (Marshmallows) toss.

Abby reading 'Twas the Night Before Chrismas'

Christmas morning getting ready to hand out the presents

Getting really psyched to open all the presents

A cute girl and her dog.
Another Reindeer

Paige, Brent and Brooke trying to figure our the bell game

This is the fluff ball game...or else a dance party with some interesting moves?

The winners are Brent and Isaac!

Pop Pop and Gram throwing snowballs...I think we would have done better if we could have thrown from the little kids line. We were throwing them through the center of a wreath.