Thursday, December 31, 2009

Lets update this blog thingy!

I've been sucking at blogging, so here are 3 new posts summarizing our entire Christmas holiday and my birthday!

My birthday is December 29th. I'll admit, it's not the best day in the year to have a birthday, but over the years, I've found some good things about it.

#1. If you didn't get everything you wanted for Christmas, you can still ask for it for your birthday.

#2. Because it's between Christmas & New Year, I'm often with my family sometime during that week... so my mom never forgets my birthday. My mom is an angel on earth, but she's not so great at remembering everyone's b-days. But mine... she always remembers!

#3. uuuhhhhhh, can't think of a third thing, I guess.

But anyway, as I mentioned in my last post, we decided early on to drive home on the 29th. There was a storm coming in to Denver on Tuesday night, which meant it was already in Utah on Tuesday morning. Paul and I didn't end up getting a good nights rest on Monday night because he picked up the same mystery bug that Charlie did. When Paul throws up, it sounds like the end of the world... no kidding! So he threw up several times that night, which meant both of us had interrupted sleep. I also was struggling with some pinched nerves in my neck and shoulders during the night. But on Tuesday morning, we got up, and started gathering in all our stuff that was strewn all over the house. We had a difficult time keeping all the toys "put away" because the kids kept getting them out and putting them in different places. I was doing my best not to start off the day ornery, but I was in a bunch of pain whenever I moved my head to the right, left, or even up. YIKES!! By noon, we were pretty confident we had everything gathered and ready to go.

Right as we were leaving, when Charlie was literally heading out the door to go get in the car, he ran down the wheelchair ramp in the garage, lost his footing and landed face first on the garage floor. His mouth was bleeding and he had a HUGE fat lip. Poor little monkey! So he was pretty upset for a while as we started the journey home. Several times during the trip, he was sad and wanted to be held, but overall, did very well considering his mouth was hurting.

We didn't hit too much weather driving home. A little bit of snow here and there the closer we got to Utah, until we got to Price. So very similarly to driving TO Denver, we didn't hit bad weather until we were within half an hour of our destination. My neck and shoulders were killing me and we were all SOOOOO ready to be home, as we always are. We finally pulled in at about 8:30pm and unloaded the car. I was glad we got home in time for Paul to play basketball with his buddies from the ward. I got the kids in bed after watching Meet the Robinsons on the new TV and then I went to bed as well. So... not quite a perfect birthday, but it could have been worse. The highlight of my day was hearing my phone beep everytime one of my friends left me birthday wishes on Facebook. So thanks to all those who did!

But instead of ending this post as a big ol' pity-party, I need to tell you about the day AFTER my birthday! I had plans to go to lunch with my bestie, Emily, but because my neck was still hurting, I needed to schedule either a massage or a chiropractor appointment. Thankfully, I was able to schedule the massage AND facial for that afternoon (Paul had given me a gift certificate for Valentine's Day and I finally took the time to use it!). Boy howdy... I LOVE GOING TO THE SPA!!!!!!!!!!!!! The last time I got a massage and facial was 2 years ago. The massage I got yesterday was seriously the best one I've ever had. She worked on my neck, back and shoulders so well and I felt tons better afterwards. The facial was also very nice, but it's always a guilt-ridden experience for me since I spend VERY little time and effort on my skin. She chastised me in a very loving way and did convince me to stop using bar soap as my daily facial cleanser! I've even washed off my make up for 2 whole nights in a row! I know... impressive!

It turns out I wasn't able to go to lunch with Emily because she also had an appointment for that afternoon, but it meant that I could go on a date with Paul. Em and I will go to lunch on Saturday! Paul and I thought about going ice skating that night, but the rink closed early. We ended up just going to dinner and walking around the mall after looking into getting me some new glasses.

Speaking of new glasses, I did end up going back today to get a new eye exam and glasses. I was considering getting contacts, but because my prescription is so light, the doctor wasn't convinced it would be a good option for me. So I had to pick out my frames all by myself and I'm not completely convinced that I picked the right ones. Some decisions should not be made alone! I hope they don't look stupid on me, but even if they do, it is wonderful to be able to see clearly again... especially at night!

So, even though my birthDAY wasn't the best, I'm excited that I was able to get pampered and get some new specs! Yay for birthdays!!

Christmas with the Andersons

We got to celebrate Christmas in Colorado with my family this year. I love spending it with them, since I'm usually suffering some level of homesickness throughout the year... nothing too clinical or anything, but I miss my family often!

Despite weather warnings, we headed over to Denver on Wednesday the 23rd. Tuesday was a nightmarishly busy day. I had a chiropractor appt, errands to run for work, a class Christmas party to help with, kids presents to wrap, treats to make, house to clean, clothes to pack... I'm sure you get the idea. There was so much I had to get done and I only accomplished about 2/3rds of it before leaving on Wednesday. That's why my neighbors didn't get any yummy treats and why my house was still pretty cluttered (which wouldn't have mattered, but we offered to let our neighbors use our house while we were gone... so embarassing! At least the sheets were clean!). But we were able to get out the door by 9:00 on Wednesday morning and we prayed for good weather and good time. We miraculously got both! We didn't hit any bad roads until we were 30 minutes from Denver! Hallelujah!!!!

We even got there in time for me to go see the 'Little House on the Prairie' musical with my mom. It was done very well and even Melissa Gilbert herself was in the cast playing 'Ma'. My only complaint about the musical is that they attempted to make a political statement with one of the songs. I was highly annoyed that they portrayed the people of that era as embittered and whiny that Uncle Sam wasn't helping them enough. Ugh! Ah well... otherwise, it was lovely and I really need to read those books!

Thursday was Christmas eve and Paul broke our rule and took my sister and went shopping for me. We had agreed to pool our Christmas gifts together to get a new TV. We ended up with a 42" LCD screen HDTV and we're both excited about it. But Paul was frustrated that I wouldn't have anything to open, so he went & spent a little more... the booger. So then I went to Target with my mom so I could get stocking stuffers and something little for Paul to open as well. I guess we both cheated! On Christmas eve, we just hung out at my parents with my 3 younger sisters and my cousin.

Christmas morning was perfect. We always have our yummy breakfast casserole, and then open presents. We let the boys open all their gifts quickly because we had an appointment to talk to Paul's missionary brother, Tanner, at 9:00. This Christmas was so fun because the boys were very specific about what they wanted this year, so they were very excited when they got what they were hoping for. Charlie got the fire truck he knew he would get from Santa, as well as a Geo Trax train. That train is the best money we've ever spent since Charlie hasn't stopped saying "chugga chugga chugga chugga CHOOOOOO CHOOOOOO!" for 5 days now! Canon scored with all his bakugan and star wars toys and Andy got some fun things, but unfortunately, 2 of those toys were made of crap, so they broke within 5 minutes or never worked at all. Here's hoping Toys-R-Us wants to be nice and let us exchange them!

Talking to Paul's little brothers on Christmas was great. We talked to Preston at 2:00. If I'm being totally honest, I can't say I miss them. I know it sounds harsh, but they are exactly where I want them to be right now... serving honorable missions, learning new skills, strengthening their testimonies of the gospel, growing up... all good things! It was fun to hear their voices, but I'm counting on NOT seeing them for another 18 months.

All my Colorado siblings came over for Christmas dinner. That makes for one busy, noisy house, but I love it. My boys don't get to see their cousins nearly enough and they were having so much fun. We ate a yummy meal and gabbed and gabbed as we always do! We even pulled out a game of Trivial Pursuit, which would have been more fun except that very few people actually like that game... I know I don't! We sent Andy and Canon home with Scott's family for a sleep over and made plans to see them that next day. We couldn't have asked for a better Christmas day.

On Saturday, we went to Scott & Rebekah's house for the afternoon. The kids played so well together that we were able to sit down and play an entire game of 'Ticket to Ride'. It was a lot of fun and Paul even enjoyed it and managed to win! After that, we drove to Shelyce's house and had dinner and hung out with them for the rest of the night. Our visit with them was dampered a bit by Charlie's frequent vomiting. He threw up on the stairs and then proceeded to throw up every 30-45 minutes or so until we left... fun for all! Thanks to Shelyce and Lynn for being so gracious about it. I have NO IDEA where Charlie would have picked up this stomach bug, but he got it and passed it on to Paul, then Canon. My deepest prayer is that none of the family we visited this week picked it up. SOOOOOOOOOOOOO sorry if ya did :/.

The rest of the weekend was mellow and we watched a bunch of the Planet Earth documentaries and movies on my parent's new BluRay disc player! Paul took me shopping and to lunch on Monday because we'd decided to drive home on my birthday (tuesday). I was basically able to milk my birthday celebration for 3 days! And even though it was sucky to spend my birthday in the car, we needed to avoid another storm and let my cousin have her room back. Julie was a sweetheart about the whole thing and I appreciate her being willing to give up her space for a week.

So in a nutshell (okay, a big nutshell)... that was our Christmas holiday. Thanks to my family, and especially my parents, for being the best! I love you all SO MUCH.

Christmas with the Croshaws

Since we got to spend Christmas with my family this year, we had our Croshaw Christmas gathering early on the 14th. One thing I love about celebrating Christmas with the Croshaws is that we have some traditions in place, which is what makes a celebration even better.

This year, we met early (since it was a school night) and had a pizza dinner together. We bundled up the kids and went caroling as a family. Thankfully, the weather wasn't quite so miserable this year as it has been in years past. Caroling always takes a little longer than I like it to, but it is a fun tradition because our family sounds really good when we all sing together!

After getting back to the lodge, we decorated Melanie's delicious sugar cookies and drank hot chocolate. Mmmmmmmmmm! Then, we had the children act out the Nativity story. Andy was Joseph, Canon a wise man, and Charlie was happy to be a cow! He even stood there and moo'd when his part was mentioned! Then we exchanged gifts! The kids were all very excited about their toys from Grandma and their cousin exchange and I got a beautiful shirt and some jewelry from Amy. Awesome!

We didn't do it that night, but we did also gather one evening to go see the Christmas light display in Spanish Fork. We piled into Steven's huge motor home and drove around the park twice. We were thinking of going up to temple square that way, but considering that the motor home really only travels 4 people comfortably, we're glad that we only had to drive about 15 miles total with over 20 people in there!

Thanks for a fun Christmas celebration, Croshaw fam! We sure love being close to all of you!

Monday, December 14, 2009

A payday of sorts

Warning: This will be a boastful blog entry, if you will. As I read 'Seriously So Blessed' and the comments it generates, I've come to understand that it is bad form to ever express something that happens that you are proud of... so good form aside, I shall proceed. Be sure to call me TAMN in any comment you may wish to leave.

On Sunday night, our stake held it's annual "Christmas Choirside." This is a musical fireside that every ward in the stake contributes to. Each ward chooses a hymn in which the entire congregation sings together, and then they proceed to sing a Christmas song they have prepared for their Christmas sacrament meeting program. The first couple years I participated with our ward in this event, I was annoyed by it and always wanted to leave as soon as our ward was done. But now that I am the choir director of our ward, I actually find it fun. You wanna know the reason? It's because, hands down, I have the best choir in the stake!

See... I told you this post would be dripping with pride. I can't hide from it!

Now, I don't mean to say that the other wards have bad choirs (okay, truth be told, some of them do... sorry). Several of them were quite talented with some excellent singers. Some wards had pretty small choirs, but could put out a good sound. Some had medium sized choirs with a decent sound. They all chose lovely Christmas songs, and it's hard to go wrong when singing beautiful music celebrating a miraculous event. I can honestly say, there was something good about each number performed.

My choir was 7th on the program. We were all sitting together, squished like sardines on 2 of the longer center pews in the chapel, and when we went up on the stand, it made the chapel look pretty bare. Not all my choir members were there last night and we still had about 25 singers. I'm so blessed (yep... sounding like TAMN!) to have so many talented singers willing to support our choir. We have some seriously beautiful voices and all of them are able and willing to blend their voices together so that we sound unified. I'm also blessed that they learn music quickly and actually follow me and humor me with some of the wacky techniques I picked up from my voice teachers and choir directors of my youth. I'm ALSO very lucky to have a gifted accompanist who has been able to handle EVERYTHING I've thrown at him with zero warning.

Our song was beautiful and I got the biggest buzz out of being in front of them and being able to call them "my" choir. I will attempt some humility here, though, and call it "our" choir. The hardest thing about being the director of a ward choir is that it is a job that is IMPOSSIBLE to do by yourself. A person could be the most gifted performer or director (which I'm not) and still be a complete failure without the support of the ward members. I am very, very thankful to ALL the ward members willing to come and make our choir the success that it is. I have so much fun with all of them!

So, last night was a payday for me. Being the choir director, like any calling in the church, does have it's element of work. Thankfully, this is a calling with frequent rewards, and last night was one of them! I left there feeling like a million bucks! Thanks everyone!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

An eventful weekend!

We had a great weekend here at home. Even though I love spending Thanksgiving with my family in Colorado, I'm so glad we didn't have to travel this week. It has been so nice to spend time with family, and also have some time at home for the long weekend.

Our Thanksgiving break started off pretty uneventful. It was wonderful to be able to sleep in a bit on Wednesday, even though I did end up having to work for a couple of hours. We went to Costco in the afternoon to pick up some pumpkin pie and other fixings for our food assignments. So, pretty typical day... but the excitment picked up after 11:00 pm!

Charlie has been a nightmare at bedtime ever since we put him in a regular twin bed. He keeps getting up and playing around upstairs and I hate having to keep going up there to put him back in bed. After I'd given up, I knew he was up and moving around, but didn't do anything about it as long as he stayed out of my way. After a long time of NOT hearing him, Paul went up to check on him and to get ready for bed. Problem #1, he couldn't FIND Charlie! What we DID find, was this... Problem #2:

NOT THE PUMPKIN PIE!!!! It's a good thing we bought TWO!!! I guess this just meant that we'd have to keep the destroyed pie all to ourselves since it was clearly unpresentable... but thankfully, still edible! This is me enjoying the pie for breakfast!

Oh, but getting back to problem #1, where is Charlie!? We seriously looked all over and couldn't find the kid. After checking every possible (and impossible) place he could be upstairs, I was sure I had heard him come downstairs. Finally, I was able to catch a glimpse of his foot under Andy's bed. He'd crawled under there (probably hiding because he knew he'd be in trouble for destroying the pie!) and fallen asleep. Had to get a pic of course:

We could barely see him at first because he was behind a box under Andy's bed... the little booger!

Then the next morning, as we were almost ready to leave for Grandma's house, I found problem #3 (things like this always happen in 3's right?!):

Yep, that's what you think it is... Red permanent marker on EVERY key on my piano. I don't really know if this crime had been committed the previous night or that morning, but in either case, the kid got a good solid spankin'. In our house, we have a rule that if you make a mess too big to clean up yourself, you have to sit in time out until I get it cleaned up for you (sadly, the picture I took of him looking sad in timeout was all blurry). When the first cleaner I tried didn't work, I hoped for the best with the 'Desolve It'. Thankfully, it DID work and all four of us (Paul, me, Andy and Canon) scrubbed and scrubbed each key until it all came off. Ooooh, that kid got lucky. Among the other things I was thinking, I did see the bright side that at least this wasn't GRANDMA'S piano!! I would have DIED, and Rhyll would have too, I suspect! We did keep a little better watch on him that day than we usually do, hoping he'd gotten his fill of mischievous behavior!

Thanksgiving dinner was delicious. I brought yams, because thanksgiving isn't thanksgiving without yams. I didn't make very much of it because all the Croshaw kids hate yams (probably because they didn't grow up eating my mom's yams), but I'm proud to say they were well received by the cousins and in-laws and were promptly gobbled up! I also had to bring a fruit salad and I made sure there would be pumpkin pie because of the same reason as the yams! It was great to hang out all day with family, as well as steal some time on my own to make some good progress on "The Hunger Games" book I was reading. By the end of the night, I was almost finished with it.

Friday was nice and lazy to start off with. I got to go to breakfast with Rhyll and all the sisters. We passed on the black friday insanity (mostly because I'm already finished with 90% of my Christmas shopping) but wanted to do something on our own. Later that afternoon, Paul and I got a sitter and ran up to Costco to look at some more TV's (that's what we're getting ourselves for Christmas this year) and to pick up Charlie's last gift. At 3:00, the family met up at Progressive Power Tumbling to play on the trampolines and all the gymnastics mats and activities. It was a ton of fun, but somewhat dampened a little by some drama that I played a part in... long story. Ah well. That night we watched Star Trek on the big screen. That's a great show!

Saturday (today) was a work day. Paul had a vision of things to accomplish, and I ended up going a bit crazy on the decluttering and reorganizing. We first cleaned our room and I ended up tackling our closet. Then we moved down to the storage room and moving the toys out of the family room downstairs. We really weeded through the toys and gave away some of the stuff that's still in one piece. But organizing all the toys required the decluttering of all the toys in 3 locations throughout the house! Then, we got our AWFUL couch out of the basement and TRIED to get the couch from upstairs down there to replace it. Unfortunately, our basement was designed by an idiot and we were unsuccessful at getting the couch into the TV room! Paul got himself ready and took the boys over to the lodge to watch the HOLY WAR of the BYU/UofU game. I'm so glad he let me stay home for most of it! I finished cleaning the storage room. Look how much empty floor space there is in there!

I know it doesn't look that organized, but really, it's a HUGE improvement!

Paul was able to get the couch out of there tonight with the help of our neighbor. And he only had to take off the door and completely remove the door frame in order to do it! I'm really glad that they were able to get the couch into the basement family room, but I'm shaking my head realizing that it will very likely be YEARS before that room gets a door put back on it!

Well, sorry, this post has been insanely long. I guess it fits in with all the rest of my posts since I've been blogging so rarely that I always feel the need to catch up on everything... that and the fact that I'm gifted at sharing too many details that aren't really that interesting! I guess to sum up... it's been a great weekend. I'm so glad tomorrow is Sunday and that we have one more day to rest before rushing into life and December this week! I hope you all had a great weekend too.

Monday, November 23, 2009

letter to a friend

(this is a letter that I just wrote to my good stamping-blogging buddy, Rachelle, who sent me a sweet letter telling me she's missed hearing from me on my blog. She asked me a lot of questions... that's why this letter is long and all kinds of rambly with me going on and on about what's happening over here in my neck of the woods. So just in case you care, this is what we've been up to!)

Hi there friend!
Yeah, things have been pretty crazy around here these last few weeks. I just realized it's been forever since I've posted on my blog and even my facebook updates have been few and far between! Sorry to be so elusive when I'm usually so OUT THERE!!

Work has been great, but busy busy busy. December 1st is a special education head count that determines the money received from the fed gvmt for next year's special education funding. So basically, if you've got students that are going to qualify for services, you gotta make sure you sign them in before December 1st. So, I've had all the new kids that I needed to test, qualify and hold IEPs for, and then all the kids that I need to renew their IEP's after signing them all in LAST year (and the year before that, and the year before that, etc.!) in November! So thank heaven above for my sweet little employee gal. Seriously NONE of my students would have received therapy at all this whole month had it not been for her. Well, they would have if I were willing to work 5+ days a week, but I'm not willing to do that, so it's a REALLY good thing I hired Tia this year! I'm also feeling more secure about how to pay the withholding taxes and stuff each month. It took me a couple run-throughs, and now I don't panic anymore when payroll or tax day comes around again! What a relief!

I have been able to do some fun stamping lately, but only out of necessity. I love having a stamp club because it gives me an excuse to order some fun things each month and keeps me stampin with the new stuff! I must say I've copied some REALLY cute Christmas cards in the last 3 months! I'm also in that card exchange, so that keeps me stamping as well. Remember that cute singing reindeer card at convention that you'll find all over the splitcoast gallery these days? I made the CUTEST cd cover with him on there and burned a music CD of some of my favorite Christmas music. I'll have to send you one! By the way... I LOVED your darling halloween card! So sparkly and classy for a holiday that's usually so dark and uninspiring! I love that dang medallion! I made a cute card stamping it with that platinum shimmer paint... very cool!

Training? Hmmm, not so much! Paul has been doing really well to get his butt to the gym and he keeps trying to schedule his gym appointments at a time when I can go. But because my work schedule has been a little unpredictable with extra testing sessions and IEP meetings scheduled randomly, I've been wussing out a bit. I've backed off "training" for anything and have just been satisfied with lifting weights and doing some cardio whenever I can get over there! Have you gotten back into a swimming routine? I know it's tough. It's important though, and i really need to recommit.

The kids are doing pretty well. We're trying to give Andy the extra support he's needing since he didn't end up qualifying for any extra help through the resource department at school. I guess it's good, but it's also very frustrating. He's low enough to need some extra help, but not low enough to actually get it. What to do, what to do!? But we signed the boys up for wrestling and Paul's been a super sweetie about taking charge of all that... I just don't have it in me to be on top of getting them to practices and managing Charlie at the chaotic meets. I can't say that either Canon or Andy have any natural talent in wrestling, but Andy's getting his head wrapped around some of the concepts and has won a handful of matches! Canon just doesn't have a killer instinct. I guess he's a more of a lover than a fighter! I don't know how Paul and I (who are both competitive down to our toes) produced such sweet natured boys! They're having fun with the wrestling, though, and i think this experience will be really good for both of them.

Our Christmas plans are coming along really well... but only where the boys are concerned! I'm 90% finished shopping for them. But Paul and I are having a harder time figuring out what we're going to do for ourselves. We kind of have the idea of combining our Christmas gifts for each other and getting one big item off our wishlist. Paul's got his eye (and all his spare brain cells) on a 47" flat screen TV... I've got my eye on a new couch since the one we sit on while we watch TV is at best the most uncomfortable couch on the planet and at worst, a total health-hazard! Ideally, we would love to get both, but we also REALLY really REALLY really REALLY need to install a 2nd bathroom downstairs now that we're starting to get more serious about actually potty-training Charlie... that's a whole 'nother blog post right there! When you have 5 people needing to use a potty on a regular basis, it's nice to have more than one!

Hmm, book club suggestions... I'm actually just starting Hunger Games and know that it's been very popular among book club crowds. I've kind of been MIA with my ward's book club because #1, we started reading the John Adams biography over the summer and I still haven't finished it and I'm ticked about that. #2, I've hardly had time to answer "what's on my mind" on facebook let alone get much reading done lately, and #3, the last 3 books haven't jumped out at me. Has your group read "the Goose Girl" by Shannon Hale? It's young adult lit, but oh so good and a quick and easy read. Her 'Princess Academy' is also very very good, but Goose Girl is a little bit more grown up. I've got tons of YA lit that's good... the fablehaven series is full of awesomesauce, Peter and the Star Catchers is also really fun. There's also always "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" which is a fun twist on an old favorite! But really, if you haven't read Goose Girl yet, that one was a big hit, even for the old bitty in our group! I wish I had more for you, but my reading has hit a screeching halt in the last 3 months... hopefully soon (after I've finished my Christmas cards) I'll be able to pick up some more!

I hope you have an awesome Thanksgiving! I'm really excited for the long weekend with my boys and the chance to hang out with family all week. What are your plans? Do you host the big meal or do you get to relax and bring a side dish? I've decided it's my plan to never actually have to host Thanksgiving dinner. That's a level of domesticity that just seems way beyond my reach! My grandmothers china is safe for another year!

Love ya and appreciate your letter checking in on me! It's nice to know I've been missed!
Your friend,

Saturday, November 7, 2009


I was supposed to participate in another sprint triathlon today. Not because somebody told me I had to, but because 6 months ago when I did my first Telos Spring Triathlon, I decided I wanted to do it again in November to compare my times. But sadly, a couple weeks ago when I was feeling overwhelmed with stuff, I decided I was too busy to get ready for it. I was also convinced it would be too cold and yucky.


The weather today was beautiful. I'm sitting here at noon still in my pajamas irritated with myself that I missed out on something I wanted to accomplish again before the year was through. I'm annoyed that my desire to workout died away after that red rock relay race and that I have not maintained my fitness level to be able to do this triathlon in style. I realized last night that I COULD have started and finished the race, but it would have been with awful results.

So, I do regret that I didn't follow through with what I had originally set out to do. I don't intend to sink into a dark pit about it or anything, but I DO intend to get my butt in gear and get started again on a consistent routine so I CAN be ready for the race again next April. I do NOT want to feel this way again!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Okay, Here's our Halloween Post

I would hate to break the unwritten rule that states in legal jargon the necessity of posting pictures of your kids in their costumes and descriptions of the halloween gatherings attended! So here ya go. We'll start off with a little collage of the few pictures we took on Halloween night (Canon was hot in his spiderman costume, so he'd taken it off by this point!).

Our Halloween was fun and very similar to last year (and the year before that, and the one before that, etc.). Every year the Croshaw siblings like to throw this big Halloween party at the lodge. Okay... it's really Amy. Without her and her killer hostessing and decorating skills, it'd never happen. Anyway, I enjoy this party because it gives us a chance to invite some of our friends that we rarely get to see over for some food and visiting. Unfortunately, Paul and I didn't do a good job getting our friends invited in time this year, so we didn't have a lot of our own "peeps" there at the party. But the few that did come, we had a GREAT time with! As we were driving to the lodge all decked out in our costumes (Paul= a demon thingy, Diana= a witch, Andy= batman, Canon= black spiderman, Charlie= red spiderman), Paul even said, "We HAVE to make sure we get a picture of all of us in our costumes." As you can guess, since this is me we're talking about here... the picture never happened. But we did have a great time eating yummy soup and treats and dancing with our friends!

On halloween night, we did what we always do... went trunk-or-treating at the church parking lot. I've heard a lot of trunk-or-treat bashing going on lately, and I gotta say, "I'M A FAN!!!" It makes the whole process take a LOT less time, you get to see your friends all dressed up (if they so choose to... SHOUT OUT to my friend Tina who was ROCKIN' it as Lt. Aurora with all her boys dressed up as the Star Trek men! She looked so HOT!), and your kids don't end up with 3 boatloads of candy.

It's kind of a blessing and a curse in our ward that we get a lot of people that COME to our trunk-or-treat, but a bunch of these moochers don't usually bring candy to PARTICIPATE in it. Here's my recommendation to those out there that go trunk-or-treat-hopping at halloween and never end up handing out any candy. Trunk-or-treating should be viewed like a candy exchange. You bring your bags of candy and you leave with an equivalent amount distributed between your children's candy bags. I don't mean to be a hater or anything... I'm just saying.

But I really shouldn't be complaining because I'm actually really glad that my kids didn't come home with a ton of candy. I'm the kind of mom that hates the constant fight with my children when there is a lot of junkfood in the house. I'm SO over the constant whining that follows the comment, "you can have another piece after you eat some REAL food for lunch." So I basically just say, "have at it kids!" and let them eat the whole bag as quickly as possible. This way, they're only sick for one or two days, there is less time with all that sugar all over their teeth, and then I'M not tempted to eat it for days on end! See? Win-win for all! Canon even told me on Sunday, "hey, I didn't eat any lunch!" My response was something along the lines of, "I think you had candy for lunch." I'm happy to report that the candy is already gone!

So there ya go... I'm a good mommy for documenting Halloween 2009!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Time for some pictures

I'm so excited to have some pictures to share! My blog posts have been pretty bland lately.
When we went to Denver this month, our family ended up crashing my little sister's family photo session! I'd been thinking about getting some family pics taken ASAP, but couldn't get our lives organized enough to just get it done, already. I'm so glad we were able to throw ourselves into this afternoon and let our friend/photographer double her money! Here are some of the results.
All of us:

The boys:




Me and my sweetie:

And even though there is a lot wrong with this picture, I love it that by some miracle of the camera angle and some well-placed shadows, I'm looking pretty skinny in this one! Haha!:

So, I'm excited to get these printed up so we can hang them on our walls. I'm also excited to spend a little time doing some digital scrapbooking with these as well. I just got Stampin' Up!'s new digital software and it throws an album together in a snap!

Thanks, Merideth! The pictures look great! And thank you, Alisha, for letting us crash your party and for letting us go first. I'm glad your little angel baby was so patient, since I know my little devil-toddler wouldn't have been!

Hello, Moon.

Last night, Charlie and I got back from picking up a pizza. As I was helping him get out of the car, this conversation followed:

Charlie = Oh look, there's the moon!

Me = Yeah, he came back to say, "Hi Charlie!"

Charlie = "Oh...Hi, Moon! This is my mom!"

Just had to grin at that one. I love that he wanted to be sure the moon and I knew each other, too!

Gotta love my little boy!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Growing up so fast!

About a month ago, I mentioned on this blog that I was confused about how I've officially had to 'grow up' now that I'm paying taxes on a monthly basis. Well, I've decided maybe that's not SUCH a bad thing because today, it helped me get a new, cool, grown up phone!

Paul's phone has been acting up in the last 24 hours, making him miss a handful of calls yesterday and not receive some text messages until hours after they were sent. He's been talking about getting a new phone... AND talking to every service provider... AND getting advice about phones from his friends in real life... AND on facebook. When the kid gets an idea, he runs with and won't let it go. So off to the mall we went!

I wasn't sure that we would be walking out with a new phone and contract but we talked to the Verizon guy, and then countered a little with the T-mobile guy, and then went back to Verizon guy and signed the papers. We were able to pick up 2 Blackberry Storm phones for free... which I thought was super cool. I now have internet capability and can get all my email (from all 3 addresses) on my phone!!!

I guess it's okay to be a grown up sometimes... especially if it means cool toys. Now I just can't wait until next Tuesday when we can switch our old numbers to the new phones. Till then, I'm just carrying around both phones!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Need a new alarm clock

A LONG time ago, I bought Paul one of those clocks that sets itself when you plug it in. For the most part, it's been a good little alarm clock. 363 days of the year, it does what it should. But the problem with this alarm clock is that it still hasn't received the memo from congress that daylight savings starts earlier and ends later than it did 7 years ago when we bought it!

So, today (and this has happened before) we woke up at what we thought was 7:00, got ourselves ready, all the while ignoring all the other clocks in the house that said it was 8 or 9 something. I remember thinking, "Why are we the only family walking in to the church right now? We're on time!" Once we got into the church building, we could hear the speaker in sacrament meeting and finally realized our mistake. How ANNOYING!! Ah well, it was an innocent excuse for missing sacrament meeting, which admittedly is one of my top 5 least favorite hours of my week! "Wrestling the tiger" that is keeping Charlie quiet is not super fun. At least we did attend sacrament mtg last sunday with my parents, and then attended the other meetings today.

Whoops... I think it's time for a new clock!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Me, Me, Me, Me, ME!!

I admit it... I like doing these things! So, here's a meme that my cousin, Loralee did and I felt like doing it too. Mostly because I've stunk big-time at blogging lately.

A – ADVOCATE FOR: People being happy with whom they are… accepting what is good about yourself while being honest about what you know you can do better. I also advocate personal responsibility and accepting the consequences of your decisions. I truly believe in the individual spirit in all of us and know that we ARE more and can DO more than we think we can.

B – BEST FEATURE: I like my lips when they are properly painted with lipstick. I also appreciate having a joyful nature.

C – COULD DO WITHOUT: having to clean my house, whiners, and being pulled in a million directions ALL the time.

D – DREAMS & DESIRES: My ultimate desire is to have a strong marriage and a close family that loves and trusts each other through the course of our lives. I also really want to sing with the Mo-Tab (Mormon Tabernacle Choir) someday. It can happen, but not at this phase of life.

E – ESSENTIAL ITEMS: I look forward to drinking a Diet Carbonated Beverage every day. I feel naked without lipstick, go crazy if I forget my watch, and need good hugs on a regular basis.

F – FAVORITE PAST TIME: I love to read, make cards, watch my 3 favorite shows (biggest loser, SYTYCD, & Glee), and hang out with my girlfriends.

G – GOOD AT: Fixing speech impediments, singing, making pretty cards, kissing my husband, hugging my boys, donating blood, getting over things, and talking to people.

H – HAVE NEVER TRIED: being a vegetarian, snowboarding, jumping out of an airplane or any other extreme sports. I’ve also never tried Zumba, but I want to!

I – IF I HAD A MILLION DOLLARS: Pay cash for a modest (but nice) home, take our boys on actual vacations every year, buy Paul a car so he stops whining about our minivan, invest and be generous with it.

J – JUNKIE FOR: I have a hard time passing up chocolate in any form, and I already mentioned Diet Coke.

K – KINDRED SPIRIT: There are so many that I would HATE to forget someone. I have had at least one bosom friend in every place I’ve lived. You all know who you are!

L – LITTLE KNOWN FACT: Seriously nothing comes to mind… I talk about myself so much that my life is basically an open book.

M – MEMORABLE MOMENT: Some good ones: My first kiss with Paul, giving birth to my 3 boys, starting my own business, receiving apology letters from two painful break-ups. Most crappy one: hearing the news about Spencer’s accident last Marc.

N – NEVER AGAIN WILL I: I’m afraid the answer to this one is: get to have another baby of my own. But that also means that I may also never have to buy a formula or diapers for my own kids again… so you know, silver lining.

O – OCCASIONAL INDULGENCE: spa treatment stuff. I’ve had a gift certificate for a massage and pedicure for 8 months and have been feeling too guilty to use it. I already spend so much time away from my hubby and kids. But when I do indulge… I LOVE IT!

P – PROFESSION: Mom, Wife, Speech-Language Pathologist, Demonstrator for Stampin’ Up!

Q – QUOTE: No, God does not need us to love Him. But oh, how we need to love God! For what we love determines what we seek. What we seek determines what we think and do. What we think and do determines who we are—and who we will become. President Dieter F. Uchdorf

R – REASON TO SMILE: being alive, loving my life, having a loving husband, being the mother of 3 really awesome boys, knowing I helped a child become a better communicator, showing someone a cute card/craft idea, (do you want me to keep going? I’ve got a happy list that’s pushing over 700 things). Something little though… getting comments on my blog posts!

S – SORRY ABOUT: Not being able to give everyone that needs something from me everything they need. I’m sorry that I’m not always home for my boys, sorry I don’t always know how to help a student, sorry I suck at cleaning our house, sorry I hate making dinner, sorry I’ve been too self-absorbed to notice the needs of someone else… lots of stuff.

T -THINGS THAT ARE WORRYING YOU RIGHT NOW: Running into bad weather on our trip to Denver this weekend. I’m worried about Andy’s schooling and if we’re doing enough to help him be as successful as possible. I’m also worried about the aftereffects of a bunch of really crappy trials that some of my loved ones have been dealing with this year.

U – UNINTERESTED IN: the plot lines of the insanely stupid cartoon shows my boys watch. I have no desire to hear about the latest adventures of Pokemon, Bakugon, and Scooby Doo. I always feel a little bad telling my boys, “I really don’t care to hear this story,” but sometimes, it needs to be done.

V – VERY SCARED OF: I’m very superstitious about saying these things out loud. I guess you could say that I’m afraid that admitting my fears will make them come true!

W – WORST HABITS: I pick scabs, stay up too late, don’t clean up after myself, procrastinate, and lose my patience too quickly when helping with homework.

X – X MARKS MY IDEAL VACATION SPOT: I want to see it all. I love history and look forward to touring Europe someday. I also LOOOOOVE going on cruises with Paul and some good couple friends.

Y – YUMMIEST DESSERT: I love pumpkin pie and wish it wasn’t so fattening. I wish I was eating some RIGHT NOW!!!

Z – ZODIAC SIGN: Capricorn. I don’t know anything about it because I just don’t follow this stuff!

WHAT ARE THE ABC’S OF YOU? Leave a comment if you do this one too. I'd love to read yours. Plus, now you know that comments make me smile!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Happy Birthday, Charlie!

Today was my baby's birthday. He's three now and in many ways, we still treat him like a baby. But in many other ways, he and we are also ready for him to be a big boy! We had a great day today with Charlie! It was as if the right vibes were flying through the air that he would be a little sweetheart on his birthday.

Charlie got to spend the morning with Paul and I, and then when school got out, we picked up the big brothers and went to Chuck E Cheeses. Thankfully, we'd all eaten already, so we were able to get by with purchasing 100 tokens and coming home with a handful of cheap crap from our ticket purchases! Plus, it was GREAT that we went during the afternoon so we were practically the only people there! Without a crowd, that place is much more bearable. (Side note: because we'd done it with Canon, we thought we'd try with Charlie to see how he would do wearing underwear for the day... you know, now that he's 3 and a big boy & all! Plus, he's made some great strides this week. We did make it through most of the day, but had a wet accident at C.E.C. We may need to do some more "practicing" before we're really ready to potty train the kid. Or Paul just needs to decide that we're already ready and we should just DO IT! I say Paul because he's the one that's home with Charlie several days a week.)

Paul had a little work to do in the later afternoon, so we came home and played with friends outside. Later, we went to dinner at Chuck a Rama (notice the "Chuck" theme going here!?) so Charlie could drink his weight in chocolate milk. We finished up the night with watching "A Goofy Movie" on the DVR and about a 1000 books (or so it seemed).

I'm so grateful for my little "Chuckles". He's been such a blessing in our home. I love his expressive eyes, his sideways wink, and his 'full-speed ahead' way of approaching life. His intensity can be exhausting, but it's also what we love about him! I'm one lucky mamma.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


Here it comes... a blog posting about pee-pee! It's amazing how once the process of potty training begins, the words 'pee-pee' and 'poo-poo' become high frequency words in your vocabulary.

This morning, Charlie woke up with a dry diaper... AGAIN. He actually does this often, and on many other previous occasions when this has happened, I've sat him on the potty with ZERO results. The kid has some amazing bladder control! But today, it was feeling very promising. First off, he was willing to sit on his "duck potty" without a fuss. Then, he kept talking about how he was going to do it. He talked about it A LOT. At one point, I told Paul, "I don't care if we're an hour late for church, I'm not moving this kid until he pees." Then, miraculously, it FINALLY happened!

CHARLIE PEED IN THE POTTY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes, people, there is hope! We did end up being late to church, but only by 10 minutes... so I'm feeling very good about the day!

Friday, September 25, 2009


I've sucked at blogging lately. Mostly because nothing seems interesting enough to blog about! I end up boring myself when all I can think to say is about how busy things are right now... everyone's life is busy... get over it, Di! But I'll throw some random thoughts up here for some kicks and giggles.

1. I feel a tickle in my throat that I'm worried is going to turn into an ugly cold. I'm so not in the mood to get sick right now.

2. We've been making some gains with my speech technician working with me this year. We're now at the point where she's more comfortable going to our elementary schools on her own, so I've been able to work just 3 days per week the last 2 weeks. It's helped my sanity tremendously!

3. I haven't had a serious workout since the relay race weeks ago. Though it was fun and a crazy experience, I think it may have burned me out a little. I did go on a short little 8 mile bike ride with Paul tonight and I struggled. I think the three week workout hiatus, the sickness I feel coming on, the dehydration I've been feeling today, the tension headache from the pinched nerve in my neck, and the after-effects of donating blood yesterday were contributing to me feeling like HUD. But it was fun to be out there with Paul, even though he was riding as if on a pleasure cruise while I was huffin' and puffin' a bit!

4. Paul is going on a 100 mile bike ride tomorrow. What is wrong with us?! He's excited about it and my heiney just cringes at the thought of sitting on a bicycle seat for over 5 hours. Have fun, sweetie! Glad it's you and not me!

5. Soccer games finish up soon and I'm SOOOOOOO glad! My kids sure enjoy playing, but ugh... I don't love being a "soccer mom"!

6. I now have 3 TV shows that I am watching religiously: 1. Biggest Loser, 2. So You Think You Can Dance, and 3. GLEE!! I love that dang show... it's crackin me up! But like I've got time to sit & watch TV! No wonder I haven't finished a book in months!

7. Life is full, but good. I'm trying to be chill about how much is on my plate right now and just get things done without stressing about them too much. I've been amazed at how I've been feeling too much like a grown up lately. I blame the business/taxes stuff I've been learning about for this yucky feeling. Only grown ups have to deal with taxes on a monthly basis, right!?! How did I get here?!

So, there you have it. A Diana-flavored taste of randomness for your day. Hope you're doing well!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The other side of the table

Today, I went to volunteer in Andy's class. I accidentally showed up a little early because I threw away the paper that told me what time to come. But being there a little early allowed Andy's teacher to talk to me about some concerns she's having with Andy's ability to accomplish the school work in 3rd grade. He's struggled here and there in the last couple of years, but it's really starting to show now that the academic expectations are higher.

Now, being involved in special education programs for the last 8+ years, I've had this in the back of my mind for a while now, and now, the day is here. Today, I went in to refer Andy to be tested for a possible learning disability. He's a bright enough little guy, but somewhere things are falling apart for Andy, and we've never been able to figure out how much he knows or why some very basic things are difficult for him, even when he knows the answer. The frustrating thing is, I have NO IDEA what this testing is going to show us. Shouldn't I know? It's SO WEIRD being on THIS side of the table. Because I'm so very comfortable on the educator side, I feel like a total fraud that I'm sitting on the parent side with no idea what is going on with my own kid. I'm pretty confident, however, that his issues are NOT language based... so THAT makes me feel better!

So, this will be an interesting process for Paul and myself. We both work with people with a variety of disabilities. I'll be paying very close attention to how my words (when they are said back to me) may sound to the parents of the kids I get to work with on a daily basis.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Are you ready for this?!

Here I go... I'm going to post about the Red Rock Relay. Here is your advanced warning that this is THE longest blog post I have ever written. It has taken me 2 days to write it. It may take you a little less time than that to read it. It has way too many details. It covers what we did, how I felt about it, what was fun, and what was down right CRAPPY. My potty mouth has recovered a little over the week, so I refrained from using an offensive expletive there! I was leaning toward the "sh" word or "f'd up", but see, I'm recovering. ;) But this event was a big deal for me and it taught me a lot. So all these details are for me... to help me remember... and I'm not going to apologize for it. But don't say I didn't warn you.

The story starts on Wednesday when I decided to call Emily and see if she was game to drive down with me on Thursday night so we could drive back together on Saturday night after the race. This decision was made after hearing enough crap from Paul to the tune of, "Why are you staying a whole extra night? Whose idea was this? The race is done at like 12:00 on Saturday... you won't be home until Sunday afternoon?!" After I set up this little carpool situation, I told Paul of our change of plans and he didn't say much about it after that. (this part of the story will add to the dramatic effect on Saturday evening).

On Thursday, I went in to work up in Draper for a few hours and managed to make it home by 1:30ish. At 2:30, I got a voice message from Emily saying she got called in to work until 11:00pm that night and that she'd just drive down by herself after work. This basically freaked me out (and in turn, Tina) because at best, I knew Emily would be starting this race WICKED tired and at worst, she could bail on us. After I got to talk to her, we knew she wasn't going to bail (cuz she's awesome like that) and I got a ride down to Cedar City with the rest of our van. That evening consisted of driving up to the Brian Head resort to get registered, getting dinner at Sizzler, grocery shopping for all the van food, and then ending up at Emily's parent's house to get a little sleep. Emily didn't end up getting there until 2:00ish, the poor thing! I'm so glad she made it safely.

Friday morning, bright & early at 5:30, Tina came and picked us up so we could be at the starting line by 6:30. Here's a picture of our team at the starting line (for the record, it was really cold up there that early!)

Here we have Julie, Joanie, Tina, April, Diana, and Emily

Tina was our first runner and she got to start off with a ride up the ski lift, followed by a 3.7 mile run down the mountain on a trail. Julie rode up the lift to send her off and thus began the process of waiting for your teammate! Tina's 1st leg here was all by her onesie, so unfortunately, we couldn't cheer for her until we saw her coming toward the exchange... way to start us off strong, Tina!

Then she quickly handed off to Joanie who was lucky (?) to get to run her hardest leg first. Honestly, there is nothing lucky about running this leg at all. 6.1 miles on trails around the resort with no van support where she had to run UP a HUGE hill, and then UP a MONSTROUS mountain that just kept climbing and climbing. Apparently, it sucked so bad that when she got to this handoff with Julie, she said, "I just want to flip all of you off!"

Julie's first leg wasn't much better considering her 1.9 miles was 100% uphill. Only consolation, it was short. Julie being the rock star that she is, ran probably 99% of the way. As we were waiting and taking silly pictures of ourselves, other vans were telling us they couldn't believe that Julie ran the whole thing. She does admit to walking some of it, but nobody witnessed that part! Here comes Julie, followed by the handoff to April.

April's 1st leg was a long one too. An even 6 miles that was theoretically labelled as "moderate". We quickly learned that these ratings of hard, moderate, or easy were really a bunch of bull-pucky considering there wasn't an easy leg in the entire course. This leg included "rolling hills" which is a nice way to say, "you're going to be running uphill a lot, with an occasional flat break." My favorite part of this leg? Seeing THIS:

How beautiful is that? Later, I got to see it from below as I ran down the mountain on the other side.
April did an awesome job with this difficult leg, especially considering her asthma. Here she is handing off to Emily who was ready for her 2.5 mile run down the canyon!
See? Ready to fly... and fly she did!

We stopped at some bathrooms we had passed earlier (bathrooms were an important part of this story's plot, but I'll spare the details) and by the time we got alongside Emily as she ran, she was seriously almost finished. This freaked me out because I hardly had any time at the transition to get myself mentally ready. Emily totally rocked this first leg of hers, but unfortunately, it tweeked her knee pretty bad. None of us properly trained for the climbing and downhill running we experienced on this thing. Before I knew it, Emily was there handing me the slap-bracelet, and my gps watch, and off I went!

My first mile was actually uphill, even though I'd prepared myself mentally for an all downhill run. Once I crested the hill, my descent down the canyon commenced and it was a while before it ended. I had to wear the reflective vest because this canyon had ZERO shoulder to run on. Another issue is that there was a TON of traffic, so it wasn't like I could just run on the road until a car was coming, because a car was always coming! I enjoyed a little light sprinkle of rain as runner after runner passed me by. Apparently, many of the teams must have given their stronger runners this leg of mine with the most miles, because every stinkin runner that made me their "roadkill" (nice term, huh?!) was either a fast dude or one of those tall, skinny chicks built to run! After being roadkilled the fifth time, I wanted to scream, "where are all the other chubby chicks running this race?" Anyway, with the help of my iPod and gravity, I made it 6.5 miles down the canyon in exactly 1 hour. For ME, this was a decent time (my average pace was 9:13). Tina started at 7:00 am and I finished right around 12:30.

Once I got to the exchange, I got to hand off the bracelet to Cami, Tina's youngest sister and the first runner in the other van. Since our van was done, we headed down to Cedar City to get some food at Hogi Yogi and stop at Emily's parents house again. During this first set of legs, we had our 5 gallon water cooler tilted over our bags, and with Murphey's law lurking around each turn of this race, pretty much all my clothes (and a few of Julie's) got soaked as it leaked all over. I threw my clothes in the dryer and went ahead and for the benefit of my teammates, took another quick shower. I'm convinced I smell worse than most people after sweating for an hour straight, so for my own peace of mind, I took advantage of the fresh start! We sat around chillin for a while until my clothes were dry and we piled back into the van to go ride the routes that Tina's sisters had to run.

Driving these legs seemed to take FOREVER!! First of all, 3 of the legs were straight uphill. The mountain they climbed was called diablo, and a little devil it was. These legs were shorter, but extremely difficult. By the end of their climbing, we ended up all the way up here:

I'm glad I got to the top while riding in a van and NOT while walking up it (no WAY I could've run those 2 mile stretches!)

Then, the 5th and 6th runners got the pleasure of running over 7 miles each along a dirt road through an aspen forest. We drove this super slow because we didn't want to kick up dust all over the runners. During this time, it started to DOWNPOUR and HAIL on poor Kara and Ann. Kara had some ugly welts on her legs from the hail hitting her as she ran... plus, their shoes were all dirty and mud was splashed all over their legs.

We had plenty of time to stand around and wait for the van exchange. We took a bunch of pictures and not surprisingly, I look like an idiot as I make my scissor mafia gang sign! Here's Tina stretching and getting ready to get us started again at around 6:00 pm. She's so sassy!

Tina had to go 6.7 miles, some of which was on a dirt road. I'm pretty sure she ran the whole thing and came in with a good time! Awesome job, Tina! As she finished her leg, we picked her up and entered into Zion's National Park and had to drive a ways before we could let Joanie out to start her next leg. Joanie took off to run a 2.7 mile stretch that was mostly flat or slightly downhill. She ran this quickly and looked LOTS happier finishing this leg than she did her first one! See that happy smile!?

We all had some happy smiles at this point because this area was SO BEAUTIFUL! I'd never been down to Zions, so it was a neat little adventure to get to drive through it.

Joanie handed off to Julie who proceded to KILL her 2nd leg of 6.6 miles with a flat to downhill grade! I KNOW she ran this whole leg and kept her pace under 9 minutes the whole way. She admits to pushing it too hard and paid the price through the night feeling pretty nauseated. It was a very impressive run, though, especially considering how many times she had to change her stinking headlamp (at least 4-5)! It was really dark by the time Julie ran and finished her turn, so any pictures taken demonstrated the effectiveness of the reflective vests we were wearing! I did get a good picture of what happened to my glasses sometime during this part of the race!

Julie handed off to April, and once again, the difficulty of her leg was very misleading. She had 6.5 miles that were supposed to be easy and flat, but it was a mild but steady bit of climbing. Plus, she started having an allergic reaction to something halfway through and struggled because of that. I can imagine that it's harder to run uphill and breathe when your throat starts closing in on you... don't ya think? She finished it though, and I was very proud of her. Both of her running legs at this point had been long and very challenging.

Basically, the leg that April ran up, Emily got to run down (6.5 miles). She started off strong, but because her knee was hurting a bit, she walked more of it than she wanted to. But the times she walked, she had a nifty speed walk going on, so she still did it in a decent time. Emily enjoyed some lovely rain and quite the downpour there for a little while. Luckily for me, by the time she finished, the rain had lightened up a lot, so I didn't have to stand out there getting drenched.

Once Em handed off to me in the town of Virgin River, it was about 11:40 and I took off running through some neighborhood streets until hitting a highway that would take me to La Verkin. I had told my van to meet me about halfway, since I had my hydration belt and was stocked up with jelly beans if I needed something. It was a pretty solitary run with very few cars either coming or going. I even managed to freak myself out a little wondering if there were any coyotes in the area. Occasionally, I'd see another team's van up ahead and would hope that maybe MY teammates decided to wait for me there at the top of this hill! But it wasn't them. I ran about 3 miles before they found me and a good 2 miles of it was up hill. This is when I started getting passed up by other teams again, especially once I finished the hill and started the 2.5 mile downhill stretch that finished off this leg of the race (and my right hip and shin for that matter... they were already feeling it from my first downhill run on a slanted surface). I think 6 people passed me up just flying down that hill, and even though I had gravity on my side, I just could NOT kick it into a higher gear! I was keeping my pace at about 10:30 - 11:15 minute miles, but couldn't push it any lower! So aggravating! This was the first time I'd ever cried out in pain from running. 13 miles in one day, a lot of it being downhill, was taking its toll. I was molified a little, though, when the full moon came out to smile at me during the point I needed it most.

I finally made it into town and handed off to the next van at about 12:45 in the morning. I needed more time to stretch out, but my teammates were wanting to get to the rec center as soon as possible. We drove the route the other van would be taking and it started to rain really hard again. I listened to some classical music (Rutter's Requiem in case you care!) in order to detox my spirit a little as we drove and drove. It took a good 45 minutes to get to the Washington rec center and by the time we got there, I was in one crazy state of pain (muscular & intestinal), fatigue, and total exhaustion. We lucked out and found the empty child care room where I quickly staked claim on the love sac in the corner so Emily and I could share it. I changed my clothes, used the bathroom, downed a cliff bar, and crawled into my sleeping bag.
I was OUT...
until I was so rudely awakened by an announcement over the intercom that the rec center would be closing in 5 MINUTES and that we needed to leave!!! WTF!! This was at 4 freakin o'clock in the morning! We'd gotten a little less than 2 hours of sleep. It was at THIS point that we found out that the other van on our team had broken down at about 2:00 am and Tina had left with OUR van (okay, HER van) to go help them out. Other teams had helped our teammates get to their respective handoff points (where they got to sit there in the middle of the night, WAITING for an hour or more, ALONE, in the POURING RAIN, with LIGHTNING crashing right over their heads, in the areas where we were warned to watch out for COYOTES!!!!!) One of Tina's sisters was ultimately hoping that her headlamp would stay on long enough for them to find her dead body; she was so scared. They weren't sure of the name of the towing company that came and towed off their van with all their luggage and food in it. Once they were done running, most of them had to go to Wal-mart and buy new clothes, since they didn't have anything to change into and what they were wearing was soaking wet. We felt SICK just thinking about what they went through. And then, there we were sitting outside the rec center, needing to use the facilities inside, sitting in the woodchips to stay out of the rain, waiting for Tina to make it back so we could get ourselves changed and mentally ready for our last turn to run.

Poor Tina... our fearless captain got about 15 minutes of sleep that night. She also had the stress of it being her SISTERS stuck out there in the rain. On top of that, she was our first runner and she had 6.1 miles to conquer. We left her at the van exchange while we went to Wal-mart to use the bathroom and get a few things. I picked up some batteries and a rolling pin to roll out my muscles. Once we were done at Wal-mart, we backtracked in order to find Tina before she had to run through a pitch black park trail. Thankfully, there was another runner from another team right with her and they agreed to stay together through those last 3 miles. This was a blessing for Tina, but also a curse because it meant that she HAD to continue running the whole way, even though she wanted to walk some of it. I bow in reverence to what Tina went through in all those agonizing hours. She really showed herself, and all of us, what she is made of. I was (and AM) amazed by her! This is a picture of her detoxing a little.

So, to continue with some drama, Joanie was supposed to be our next runner, but because of some SEVERE abdominal pain she was having because of a galbladder problem, she'd taken a Lortab that morning. It knocked out the pain, but it also knocked her out almost completely! So April ran Joanie's leg in order to give Joanie more time to recover. I don't know if this point of the race was ever well marked or if they were starting to clean some stuff up, but April ended up going the wrong direction (for the second time) and lost about 5 minutes. But she ran those 4 miles looking really strong. She's awesome. At this point, this is when we realized our team was in LAST place!
These two are good friends!

Julie was going to have to run 7.2 miles next, but somewhere along the line, they'd changed the course and took a mile off of it and gave it to the person before. So Julie got to run 6.2 miles through some Santa Clara neighborhoods. She had a great pace (shocker) and wasn't that far behind the team just in front of us, but we didn't want to tell her that because we didn't want her to push herself any harder than she already was. Julie is one of my heroes. I hope I'm as "sporty at forty" as she is!

When Julie finished her last leg, Joanie was ready to tackle what would have been April's leg. She'd pulled out of the Lortab-Coma she was in and was able to run 3.8 miles before it started getting too hot. While she was running, I took advantage of having my best friend armed with a rolling pin near by, and had Emily roll out my hamstrings and butt muscles. It felt SOOO good, even if we were getting some REALLY funny looks from people (nonracers) driving by! Joanie was awesome and kept a steady pace throughout her 4 miles and did a great job! I was very impressed with how well she did, especially considering the amount of pain she had been in all night and dealing with the fog of the medication. What a gal!

This next part of the race was the hardest part for me. It was time for Emily's last leg and going into it, she had a great attitude. We'd rolled out her muscles, I'd made her eat a small bagel with as much cream cheese as I could pile onto that thing, she'd iced her knee and had purchased a knee brace at Wal-mart that morning... so things were going to be okay! Emily started off running, but unfortunately, within a minute, her knee went out on her and she couldn't run on it. We saw that she had a pretty steep hill to descend, and knowing her knee was hurting the most on the downhill, April jumped out and offered to run the .75 mile stretch of downhill for Emily. Emily accepted, but sadly, this was a bad thing that sent her spiraling into a deep, dark place. Emily is not a quitter. She's very competitive. She has high expectations for herself and often accomplishes amazing things. But that mid morning, running on the fumes of only 5 hours of sleep for the past 2 GRUELING DAYS, minimal quality nutrition, and in all kinds of pain from her knee, Emily did not have much to give and somehow needed to move herself 5.5 miles up and down a bunch of hills in the heat. She ended up walking the whole way (and not quickly like the night before) and wouldn't accept any food or water from us as she would catch up to us every mile or so. Watching this was VERY difficult for me. All of our teammates were just wanting to help her somehow, but there wasn't anything we could do. I could tell Emily was mad at herself and just needed to be left alone. I should have known to just drive to the end of her leg and let her get there when she'd get there, but she didn't have any water, and it was getting hot. Being exhausted myself, I wasn't able to keep my emotions stable in defending her. More than anything, I wanted to walk with her, and I would have if I hadn't still had my own 5.5 miles to accomplish once she was done. Eventually, Emily finished. It did take a long time, but ultimately, she finished the damn thing and did her part. I was proud of her. Hell, I AM still proud of her, even though she wasn't proud of herself. This look on her face is very telling. I love you, Em! Sorry this was a really dark couple of hours for you.

Finally, my moment of truth was up. I started at 11:10 am and the desert sun was right on top of me. This time, I told the van to stay within a mile of me which turned out to be a very good thing. I was surprised to find that once I got moving, my emotions steadied and my muscles were feeling pretty good. It didn't hurt to run, but my main problem was that I just couldn't move myself quickly through the heat. I felt like I had a huge leak in my gas tank. This leg of the race had a lot of hills, and even though I occasionally got to run down a little bit of one, it felt like it was a lot of climbing. I kept moving though, and would run for as long as I could and then walk for a minute here or there. It took my pace down to a 12:30-13:30 mile/min rate, but what can you do!? It was hot. I drank a TON of water and never felt it sloshing in my stomach. I also kept pooring the water on my head and down my neck, which helped a lot. But eventually, I just couldn't take it and eventually just had to take off my shirt. It wasn't like there were any other runners on the road and I was on my way to the thriving metropolis of Gunlock. Modesty be damned! Did I mention it was hot? Now, I know women run in sports bras all the time, but most of them don't have the darling, pasty white, stretch-marked "muffin top" I do! Sorry for the visual. The hydration belt DID help hide some of it! I was supposed to end with a half-mile run up a hill to the Gunlock dam, but the heavens (and race designers) smiled down on me and cut that part of the race. My van mates met me at the chute and we ran it in together. I ended up going 5.1 miles and it took me about 65 minutes.

This last 5 miles was agonizing, surprising, empowering, and humbling. I remember thinking, "this race is bigger than me, but it wasn't going to BEAT me." Going into it, I was nervous about not being ready, but I had some naive confidence telling me it wasn't that big of a deal. Well, it WAS bigger than me. 18 miles through the mountains on 2 hours of sleep is more than I can handle in a day's work. But, I was grateful that I was getting it done. With a little over a mile to go, I said to myself, "this is all you have left to do." I was slow, but I did it. It wasn't glorious, but it was mine. Yes, we were last, but we didn't quit. And I'm proud of that.

Once I was done, we had Tina drive us to the finish line. I needed to get out of that van. I didn't get a chance to stretch, I needed some food, and I wanted a chance to talk things out with Emily. When we got there, I was glad Julie was staying at the finish with us. Tina, April, & Joanie went back to give additional support to their sisters in the other van. Emily, Julie and I found a sliver of shade and laid out our blankets. The three of us were able to have a great talk together, reminding me why I love these ladies so much and why I'm glad we're friends. It's always so refreshing to be able to have such honest conversations with other women. While we were waiting there, we heard them announce the two teams ahead of us as they came across the line. Then we heard them ask, "Is there anyone from "So You Think You Can Run" here?" Julie went to talk to them (since Emily and I could barely walk!) to reassure them that we weren't TOO far from finishing. Had we been more than 2 hours out, they would have just called it quits for us, but we were only about 45-60 minutes away.

Tina, April and Joanie pulled up and we knew they were getting close. We gathered at the edge of the parking lot and when Ann and a few others turned the corner and ran toward us, a bunch of us got teary. This was obviously a difficult journey for all of us. We all ran in together, with Emily waiting for us near the finish since her knee was not about to let her run anymore that day. We crossed under that arch at around 4:30 pm, after 33 hours and 29 minutes of consecutive running; and we celebrated! Turns out we were only 10 WHOLE HOURS slower than the team that came in 1st place, and only 39 minutes behind the people who came in 2nd to last! As I mentioned in the last post, they offered each of us a free hat for coming in last. It wasn't like there were any other teams still hanging around to get jealous or anything! But at that point, I don't think anybody on our team even remotely cared that we came in last place... we were just glad to know that nobody gave up and we all accomplished this thing together.

After hanging out for just a little while, we got a ride into St. George to the hotel where everyone was staying. This is where things got a little dramatic again. During that 10 minute drive from the high school into town, I could hardly keep my eyes open. Emily felt the same way. When it came down to it, we were both scared to DEATH about the idea of driving home 4-5 hours that night. I knew I would be tired, (duh!) but I really had NO IDEA the level of sheer exhaustion I would be experiencing at that point. Em & I talked about sharing a room and then called our hubbies. Paul said he knew that this would happen and I totally lost it. I had ZERO control over the tears. Apparently when I'm really, really, really, really tired... I cry. I was happy that he understood and was ultimately supportive of me staying the night, but REALLY annoyed that he gave me all kinds of crap in the first place, and then didn't say anything when I told him about my change of plans on Wednesday night. He's done a relay like this before and he knew just how tired I might be. It would have been nice if he'd have backed off at that point and just encouraged me to plan ahead on staying. Emily's husband understood as well, but was struggling with his 3rd straight night of taking care of their tempermental toddler! They both wanted us home, but agreed that it would be bad if we DIED in the process of getting there! So they didn't make us feel any worse, but also didn't make us feel any better! Ugh... husbands! THEN, we also felt awful because Emily's brother, Jason, came down to St. George to pick us up (Em's car was in Cedar City) before we could call him and tell him not to come. We gave him some gas money and cried some more, which seemed to enlist some extra sympathy. Anyway... we booked the room, went upstairs (oooh, stairs... ouch!) and got cleaned up. Taking a shower definitely helped wash a bunch of the emotion away.

We all went to Cafe Rio for dinner, which was another thing that helped my wounded soul! Nothing like sweet pork salad to wash away the blues! Then we made it back to the hotel and no joke, I think we turned out the lights at 9:03 and I'm sure I was asleep by 9:04. Though I could stay up all night talking to Emily, we both agreed not to get offended that the other person had no desire to converse. We just needed sleep... and praise the heavens, we both got a lot of it.

We got up at 8:15, threw on some clothes so we could partake of a really yummy and free hot breakfast! We made it up to Cedar City, bought Jason a sandwich (we were still feeling guilty about wasting 2 hours of his time the night before), filled up the car, and headed home. We'd bought a People magazine and I read the whole thing to Emily as we drove north! Turns out, we're both secretly obsessed about the same celebrities! I'm so glad we were actually able to enjoy our drive home after getting enough rest and enough food that morning, rather than fighting the fatigue and the darkness the previous night. I really do think we would have died had we attempted it. Phew! It was great to get home and see Paul and my boys.

Am I glad I did it? Absolutely. Thank you, Tina, for being our team captain, organizing all of us, and being an awesome leader. It was so hard, but you said it would be. I'm so glad I did this race with you and your sisters and their friends. I don't regret this adventure AT ALL, and wouldn't dream of blaming you for dragging me into it! :)

So, would I do it again? Yes... under some different circumstances. I would love to do this race with Paul and a couple other guys... and some other really strong girls. That would mean I could take one of the spots more suited for less than fantastic runners maybe! Not that any of this race can really be considered suitable for beginners like me. But overall, it was an awesome and intense experience and it showed me a little of what I've got, and a LOT of what I don't got... YET! But even that is good information.

Now, if you've read this whole post, I think you're either insane or as obsessed about me as I am... which is impossible, so you must be insane! But I like to reward insanity, so if you leave a comment for me admitting you just wasted an hour or so of your life, I promise I will either bring you a candy bar or send you something in the mail. This post is RIDICULOUS!!!!