Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Halloween results

Who sucks at blogging? I suck at blogging.

Halloween was so fun this year and I have to credit it to the costume. A good corset makes you look uh-MAZE-ing!! I couldn't get enough of my manipulated hourglass shape! I wore the dress to school on the Thursday before Halloween, and let me tell ya, that was the longest 38 minute carride I've ever had! I made sure to untie it for the drive home that afternoon! I wore it again on Friday night for our annual Halloween party, and then again at the ward trunk-er-treat on Saturday night. Here are a couple pictures from the friday party that I can post right now. I still need to get the others from Melanie and Amy.

The Hostesses! Diana, Amy, Melanie

Have you ever seen a picture of yourself and thought, "I've never seen my face look like this before."? I think my face looks SO WEIRD in this first picture! Ah well, at least the rest of me looked cool! Anyway...

My hottie and me!

I thought Paul looked so awesome in his Elizabethian get-up! He played it up well in this photo of us. I just wish he would have broken out in song with, "I've been dreaming of a true loves kiss..."! His outfit is perfect for a Prince Edward!

I finally got around to returning the costumes to Michelle the other day and for the last week or so, I've kept checking her etsy shop and stalking her blog. She's having a sale on a bunch of corsets right now and just announced on her blog another sale she's having on Black Friday. And ya know what? I totally want to get one! I have NO logical reason to get an outfit like these, but I WANT one!! LOL! You'd want one too if you tried one on! I don't know... maybe someday.

Hopefully I can get my hands on the other pictures of my boys and the rest of the family from Halloween. I've got some digi-scrappin to do!

Monday, October 25, 2010

gonna look so good!

I did something fun today. In honor of Halloween, I got to go play dress up... and it was so fun! With most holidays, I'm not a big celebrator. My poor children are destined for an underwhelming life. I pray that they marry women who were raised in families that make big deals out of holidays so that they can see how the other half live.

Every year, we have a big halloween party at the lodge. It's really my sis-in-law, Amy's brainchild and I make some of the goodies (and usually handle the invitations but Amy even took care of those this year!) and invite people to OUR halloween party! It's actually a very fun event each year. Costumes are encouraged for all partygoers, though, and this is often the hardest part.

But not this year!

I know this awesome girl named Michelle. I grin and chuckle when I even think of her because she's so cool. She used to live across the street from us and all I really knew about her was that she was super spunky & fun and that she and her husband have a corset/costume making business. I also know she managed to have the COOLEST halloween costumes each year at the ward trunk or treat, but had no idea how big her business was or how awesome her product is until today. Woah!!

Melanie (another sis-in-law who does a ton of work for this party) and I were talking yesterday about our costume dilemmas and I mentioned to her that I was hoping to track down Michelle's number to see if she could outfit me for the weekend, and I asked Mel if she wanted in. So I called Michelle this morning and she was so sweet to say, "sure, come on over!" With Melanie's two little boys in tow, we got to witness behind the scenes of their company "Damsel in This Dress" - clever name, ya?! It was so cool.

Check out her website: Damsel in this Dress
Or her blog... cuz she's really quite fun and crazy!
We each tried on one outfit and I'll get to be wearing something along the lines of this corset (a courtier bodice):

but with totally different colors (red & green) and a full-length green skirt. I also borrowed a KILLER outfit for Paul which he will look AWESOME in (once we find him some black opaque tights ;)!

So watch for the pictures next week (because I THINK I can manage doing more than one blog post a month). I can't wait to put the whole outfit together with the hair and gaudy jewelry & stuff! What are you dressing up as?!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Soccer mom = psycho mom!

Last night I had a moment right on the very edge of that fine line in between soccer mom and psycho mom (ok, I'll admit it, I jumped over the edge and admit to feeling embarassed about it shortly after!). I'll paint the picture for you.

I have cute little boys... right?! See?

But with all their strengths and sweet parts, I gotta admit something... they're not destined for professional athletics. Somehow, they lack that cut-throat competitive spirit required for significant skill development and athletic performance.

Now, I've admitted before that the day soccer season is over is a day I celebrate. Every Thursday and Saturday morning, we stand there on the sidelines yelling at our boys for 2 hours... it's awesome. At least we're not having to chase Charlie off the field this year! Anyway, yesterday I sent Paul ahead to Canon's game and told him I'd meet him there shortly. After taking my sweet time to round up Charlie and some shoes for both of us, I made it to the game about halfway through...

and of course,




He was so excited! The team they were playing was really small and looked really young. Canon was one of the tallest kids on the field. Over and over and over, Canon was able to kick that ball down the field toward his goal. He took like 10 shots on the goal! None of them went in once I got there, but I'd never seen him playing so well! I think at this point, they were up 3-0.

So the quarter ends and Canon gets a turn playing goalie. Perfect! He's standing there, ready to go anytime the other team manages to make it to his side of the field. He and his team were FINALLY having a good game. They even scored one more time while I was there.

Quick backtrack: Canon's team doesn't have any power players. They've won a couple games I think, but for the most part, they stink. A couple weeks ago, they had to play this team with a killer player on it. He was a little hispanic kid who was wicked fast, wicked good, and wicked aggressive. That kid (not his team, but THAT KID) scored at least 8 goals on Canon's team that day. He's not a kid you forget... his name was Diego and he. was. awesome. They got totally spanked!

So back to last night... I'm standing there on the sidelines close to the goal so I can appropriately yell at my kid just in case he needs reminders to stand up or stop dancing or something. Suddenly I notice this small little hispanic kid throws the ball in and starts dominating the field! He shoots at the goal and MY CANON actually stops it! As I watch this kid run around taking the ball and keeping it away from anyone who comes near him, a memory stirs. Once I realize this is Diego from a couple weeks ago, I kinda start freaking out!!

ME: "haven't we already played this team?"
ME: "what's that kid doing out there? I know that's the same kid. It has to be!"
SOMEONE: "I think they're subbing him in"
ME: "what the crap is going on here? why is Diego out there playing? Get him off the field!!!!!!!!!" (I was talking loud enough that everyone could hear me.)

One of the moms on our team tries to tell me that the other team didn't have enough players so they had to sub someone from another team in so they could play the game. Now, remember, I got there late and didn't know if that was true. So, I shut up at that point, but was still thinking, "what the crap?" If you can sub anyone you want from other teams, yeah, I'd take that kid every time! Then talking to another mom nearby, she points out that the other team's coach (also hispanic, maybe related to Diego?) asked our substitute coach if it was okay if they sent in some extra players "since their team was behind." Our coach didn't know what to say, so the other coach just sent in 2 more of their players AND Diego! 10 players against 7, and one of them not even on the team. I was ticked. Yes, I know it's city-league soccer, but there is no reason to cheat.

Thankfully before I could make myself look like MORE of an insano-maniac, the teenage ref blew her whistle, the game was done and they didn't end up scoring on Canon.


Crisis averted!

But it took me a while to fully calm down. For the first time all season, our little boys have a successful game. Not a blowout or anything near it... 4-0 is not an offensive lead in my book! My little boy had his first goal outside of cub soccer. My little boy was protecting the goal when all this cheating was going on. I'm so glad that no damage was done, because if that kid had jumped into the game and come back to beat them, that would have been devastating!

Canon was so funny about it. As we're walking to the car, he says, "mom, remember that mexican boy with the sleeves at that other game. That boy today was just like him." "No, Canon, that WAS him." "nu-uh mom, Diego was on my friend Cameron's team and we didn't play them tonight." "I know Canon, the other team was cheating by letting Diego play today. But you were awesome and he didn't score on you!! Way to go!" I was very proud of him!

I'm glad Paul wasn't there for my drama. He gets embarassed at me sometimes. We made our way over to Andy's soccer game next and I got to tell Paul all about it. He thought it was funny how upset I was over the issue. At least I was getting some validation from a couple of the other mommys that were there! They were upset about it too.

So there you have it... my psycho-soccer-mom moment. One more week til it's all over! And then, I get to look forward to next year when we have 3 kids playing (killmenow)!!!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Remembering Brian

I had to cry myself to sleep the other night and wearing mascara has been a bad idea for the last couple of days. On Tuesday afternoon, I got home from work and jumped on facebook for a minute. I saw an old high school friend had commented to another friend some condolenses and something about his wife and child. Without reading all that he said, I jumped onto Brian's wall-page and saw this headline:

"North Van dad-to-be's final act saves family" next to this picture.

Following my initial gasp, I began crying almost immediately because this is my friend, Brian Raymond Wood.

Brian and Erin were in a car accident on Whidbey Island when an drugged-up 21-year-old swerved over the center line into oncoming traffic while taking off her sweater. At the last second, Brian hit the brakes and turned the car right in order to take the full impact of the collision. This action crushed the car and killed him instantly, but protected his wife and unborn baby. Erin is due with their first child in early November. I'm devastated.

Though Brian and I haven't had a lot of contact in the last 11 years, the way I describe our relationhip is "close." At one point way back when, we were more than friends, but never boyfriend and girlfriend. We would have never been compatible as a couple, but we were friends that truly loved each other. As was appropriate, we fell out of touch when I got married right after college. Occasional emails and a couple phone calls were shared, but otherwise, I knew very little about his doings for several years. But the day I found out he was engaged to Erin, I stalked their wedding website often hoping to get to know more about the woman who would make him supremely happy. I was and am SO happy that he found her!

For my own benefit, and for those that knew Brian when I did, and even for Erin to see a snapshot of her husband before she knew him through the eyes of someone who cared very much for him, I want to describe my relationship and history with Brian.

Brian and I met and had classes together in Jr. High. We became better friends by the time we were freshman in high school. It didn't take long for me to develop a crush on him that continued throughout that year, despite the fact he had a girlfriend. He was a cutie, even back then. I have so many memories of Brian from that year, memories you wouldn't normally have if you weren't paying 'ilikeyouwhydon'tyoulikeme' attention to someone! Ultimately though, I remember his smile and friendliness, even before we became closer friends.

Throughout high school, we had TONS of classes together, were in the plays and musicals together, and sang in the choirs together. But our friendship grew stronger during our senior year. I had a pretty psycho boyfriend that year and Brian was often there for me when I was confused or frustrated about stuff. I was also there for him when one of his mentors had committed suicide. We would talk a lot, hang out, sing, and tease each other. Brian would play his guitar for me after we'd rehearse for our graduation song audition. But the most memorable experience I had with Brian that year was playing the main leads together in 'The Pajama Game'. Brian played Sid Sorokin, and I was Babe Williams. We had so much fun playing these parts!

"Married life is lots of fun... Two can sleep as cheap as one!"

Here are some pictures of Brian and some of my other close guy-friends at graduation.

During the summer after graduation, things finally exploded with that previously mentioned psycho boyfriend and thankfully, Brian was there for me again. I was not-so-patiently waiting to head off to college at Utah State, but since it was on a trimester system at the time, I didn't start until mid September. Thankfully, Brian was still around so we could still hang out. But even after we both went our separate ways, me to Logan, Utah and he to Oberlin College in Ohio, we were in frequent contact... daily emails and often multiple emails a day. It was AMAZING the support I received from him. When I got my first guitar that Christmas, I named it "Sid" in Brian's honor. We even sent care packages to each other once. The one he sent me included this bear that Canon is holding in this picture at least 8 years later:

Sorry, I know that's totally random. Anyway, I believed in him and he believed in me. He always ended his emails with, "forever".

Brian finished school earlier than I did that next spring and even came out to Utah to visit me for about a week around Memorial Day weekend. He stayed at my friend's house at night, but hung out and went to classes with me during the week. He made fun of how 'dumbed down' my chemistry 101 class was and told me I could have gone to a harder college. I agree, that class was lame, but I can guarantee that USU did challenge me enough when it mattered! Neuropathology, much? Yeah. I think the week he visited was possibly the first time I'd purchased a green pepper and used it to cook a meal... he taught me how to make yummy fajitas!

That following school year, Brian transferred to Lawrence University and our communication with each other became less. We began not needing each other as much. But I would see him and hang out over Christmas breaks. Let's see, a random memory includes driving to a Shadows reunion together and him telling me I was wearing more make-up than usual. We'd catch up and talk about everything under the sun, including religion, the relationships we were or had been in, what our plans were for life. We were SO DIFFERENT from each other, but it didn't really matter to our friendship. I sometimes wondered in Brian and I could ever make a legitimate couple, but I think we both knew we couldn't. Which was fine, but because we were just a little "more than friends", everything changed our junior year of college. I'd behaved badly concerning Brian over Christmas break that year and then later when I began dating my future husband, Paul, we almost completely lost touch. It happens... life moves on, people evolve and carve their path in life; and relationships change, but the memories and love stay with you.

And that's again, why I was so happy when Brian met and married Erin. Brian was admittedly horrible at keeping in touch with me via email, but I knew he was so happy living his life with his true love. I was thrilled the day I found him on facebook, but he wasn't ever very 'newsy'. Most of his status updates were about how fast he ran 6km that morning, but it was nice to know he was there. It was fun to congratulate him on running his first half marathon this year and occasionally he'd comment on one of my updates about running.

Anyway, ultimately, I want to send out my thoughts and prayers to those of us who knew this wonderful man. We are all experiencing a huge loss. I'm sad he won't be here to help raise his baby. I'm aching to imagine what kind of strength it will take for Erin to pick up the pieces and redefine herself without him. She is living my worst nightmare. I want her to know that I truly care about her and her little one. And I want to thank her for helping my friend find joy in this life. I honor Brian and his love for Erin. He was a beautiful human being in life and a true hero in death. Brian, until we meet again, I will truly miss you.


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Where to start?

I feel like someone just shouted, "Start your engines!"

WORK: School started this last week. It wasn't a stressful week, but in visiting each school (I have 4 contracts again this year), I was able to get an idea of what our year is going to look like as it kicks off. Each school has a bunch of changes, some are great, others, while not necessarily horrible, have been filed under "we'll see how this all works out". Overall, I'm choosing to be optimistic about this school year. I'm excited to have my employee, Tia, working with me again this year. She's a great girl and I'm THRILLED that I don't have to train her this year like I had to last year! She's already set to go! She's started her masters program, which now makes her an intern. Tia is now able to help with the testing and IEP's, so that's good, but it also means that I will have to train her for that. It also means I'll have to be willing to let go of a little control... we'll see how that works out!

KIDS: The boys also started school this week. They both seem excited about their teachers and I need to get in there to meet the teachers and all that jazz. I'm a little nervous about this year for Andy (4th grade is a crucial and transitional year), but again... choosing optimism! Charlie is also starting preschool this year and as far as he is concerned, it can't start soon enough! It's KILLING him that he has to wait until Sept 8th... therefore, it's killing Paul and me as well! I can't believe how fast they're growing up. I'm not the mother of babies anymore, but I'm excited about being the mother of little boys. This is a fun phase. Listening to all three boys sing the Glee version of "Dream On" at the top of their lungs this afternoon made me say to Paul, "we have the coolest little kids!"

PAUL: No changes to report, but I didn't want to leave such an important person off the checklist. He's awesome; I love him; pretty sure I'll keep him around!

HOUSE: Nothing to report. Nothing's happening. Haven't had a showing since the first week of listing it. I'm not even trying to keep it uncluttered anymore! Obviously, we have it priced too high. I think we could sell it pretty quick if we wanted to take a minor $10,000 hit on it, but since we don't want to do that right now, we're planning on letting the listing expire and saving up some moolah (or paying the mortgage down) and trying again later.

SOCCER: Ugh. 4 games a week plus practices. Again, I exclaim, "Ugh." It is fun, however, to see that they're finally starting to understand the game better and they're trying harder than ever before. I guess I better be optimistic about this soccer season, because next year, Charlie will be playing too! Ugh.

STAMPING: Still love it, still doing it. Between my stamp club and card exchange, I make at least 50 cards a month. I actually did some scrapbooking last night while Paul took the boys to the Father/Sons campout. Funny story though. I wanted to get a group together at our church, but they've just refinished the gym floor. Fumes anyone? Then maybe at my house, but I wanted to be able to invite a lot of people. Solution = the lodge. There were just a few of us (so I COULD have held it at my house) but we were having fun. At least until about 10:30 when the power went out because a tree fell on the power line. For the record, it's really hard to scrapbook in the dark! But we got some lanterns and pressed forward for a few more hours! I had a great time, but didn't get many pages done!

ATHLETICS: It happened again. Relay races have a 2-0 record for burning out any further desire in me to run! I've only gone running twice since Ragnar. I really want to do the Turkey Triathlon in November though, so ask me how my training is going. Hopefully by the time someone asks me, I'll have started training by then! Paul's fallen off the wagon as well... so we BOTH need to get our butts moving. Mine is currently growing due to a lack of exercise and discipline in my diet. My fear of gaining the weight back is happening and I'm annoyed with myself. I think I've gotten over the pain of Ragnar by now and can finally learn to enjoy short bursts of physical torture again! Also, the construction on our road is wrapping up, so I may actually feel comfortable riding my bike outside soon! Now that school has started, I should be able to focus my schedule to include workouts. I'm a prime example of Newton's law that an object in motion stays in motion. I have a tendency to shut all engines down over the summer, kind of like a yearly "reboot" for my system. But now that things are scheduled and regimented, I need to rid myself of lame excuses.

So, the engines are running again and life is back to "normal". I've been able to do a lot of reflecting lately and I'm reminded again how blessed I am in life. How peaceful I feel to realize that I have all the tools necessary in life to be happy. Life is good. Hope you are feeling the same.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Digi-scrappin time

I'm dreading the fact that school is starting up again next week. This summer has FLOWN by and I'm just not ready to head back to work! I haven't had nearly enough time to get bored!

So what did I do yesterday? I spent the ENTIRE day digital scrapbooking. At our family reunion in June, we had some awesome portraits taken by our family's "go-to photographer," Merideth Dunning. Megan picked the color scheme and we met at Cheeseman Park in Denver to take pictures at the pillars. We got the pictures back about a month ago and I was itching to play around with Stampin' Up!'s digital software (My Digital Studio) and put an album together. Here are some of the pages I did.

Each family has a second page that goes with it. I'm going to have them printed out so I can have an actual album to flip through. It was time consuming, but a lot of fun!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Enough loss for one day

I'm very upset tonight. When I get upset, I want to talk about things. Sometimes I stop myself from talking about things that are maybe too personal on my blog, but I'm not going to tonight.

Today, I've had tears for two losses. One of them, I feel excruciatingly sad. The other, I feel overwhelmed with a wide spectrum of emotions, but the one that keeps popping up is anger. I know the anger will fade quickly so I can start dealing with the hurt, but I'm going to admit that I am, in fact, angry.

The loss I'm aching over is for a genuinely amazing young man in my ward. I'm friends with his mother and they live 4 houses away from us. My kids play with this boy's siblings on a near-daily basis. Brandon's story is here, but the short version is that he was thrown from and pinned under a jeep this afternoon after football practice and is in critical condition. If he makes it through this, his life as he knew it will be changed forever... and it is the epitome of tragic. My heart is hurting for him, his AWESOME family, and all his friends. I hope the Lord's love will help them through every step of this scary process.

I'm sure that this is extra hard having just dealt with the loss of my dear friend's loss of their son, Ben Harris, a couple weeks ago. Many tears were shed for him and for the pain of his family, whom we love so much.

The other loss I'm dealing with right now is that of my sister, Camille. I haven't talked about it on my blog out of an attempt at sensitivity. But chances are good that she'll never read this anyway. I've been dealing with the loss of Camille (and her whole family) for nearly a year and a half. Back then, she announced to my family that they were leaving the church. It was a shock and a blow, but one that I could deal with. What I didn't deal well with was her self-inflicted ostracization from our family.

Cami and I have been very close. Not recently at all, in fact, not for nearly 6-7 years. She's my eldest sister and she taught me so many wonderful things throughout my life. She mentored me, served me, put up with me and gave me endless lists of advice. The advice wasn't always welcome, and definitely not always followed, but I knew she cared about me.

She's had contact over the last year with a couple of my sisters, but has rejected any outreach from my mother. I sort of understand her motivation, but it's been mostly irrelevant to me as I've watched her repeatedly hurt my parents. They are not perfect, but they don't deserve to be treated that way. Anyway, my mom got the chance to see her yesterday, and in true Camille-fashion, she dropped an atomic bomb that I want to bitch-slap her for. Apparently, any contact she has with ANY of us in the family upsets her so much that she wants NO contact, ever again, from any of us. Period.







(these dots are all the things I want to say TO her and ABOUT her. But like Camille, I'm being a chicken and choosing not to actually put the words down on paper. Like I said, I'm angry right now and don't want to be held responsible for what I might say. But don't worry, those of you who are close enough will get to hear them as I process through the loss of my big sister. As you can see from the number of dots, it will be a long conversation.)

I guess I'll leave it at that.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Ragnar 2010!!

This weekend was the big dance. I've been thinking/worrying/preparing for the Ragnar Wasatch Back relay for 5 months or more, so it was great that it finally came about!! As a warning, I must let you know in advance that yes, this post is just as long as my post about the Red Rock Relay back in September, so sit back and get comfortable... or just stop reading when you get bored!

Our team name was The UFO- Unforgettable Family Outing, and our team members included a bunch of members from Paul's family. Aunt Dawn and Uncle Reed Frandsen drove here early from Minnesota to do this race with us... it was so fun to spend that time with them! Paul's brother, Spencer, and our brother-in-law, Luke McCausland, were also in our van with us. The other 6 team members in Van #1 were Paul's sister, Amy, Aunt Heidi and Uncle Jon Obray, and Jon's two brothers, Tyler, and Rick, and Rick's wife Cathleen. Got all that? Good! Here's a picture of all of us!

The way this race worked out was Van 1 (Amy and all the Obrays) started in Logan, UT at 7:00am. They got to run through Cache Valley, through Logan, River Heights, Providence, Millville, to Hyrum, down through Paradise and Avon and over Avon pass until they reached Liberty, UT (total of 39.6 miles) at about 1:55pm. That is when Tyler handed off the slap bracelet to Dawn and she took off for a 4 mile run through the Liberty and Eden neighborhoods. I really wanted to get a picture of each handoff, but the first Tyler/Dawn handoff was blocked by a big suburban... grrr!

Dawn is a speedy runner, so she finished those 4 miles in about 38 minutes. She handed off the bracelet to ME at 2:34pm. Here's a picture collage of this!

Off I go! Did you notice the time? 2:30 in the afternoon was pretty toasty by that point. There was no shade, but overall the 3.4 miles I ran was pretty flat with a slow incline over the last mile. I'm not fast, so I only got 1 roadkill on this leg (that's when you pass someone). This is me needing some WATER!!!

And this picture is of me handing off the bracelet to Luke at 3:10.

As I was walking toward the van, Paul kept telling me I needed to stop and stretch but I got a little testy because I was so stinkin thirsty! We hurried along to the next exchange because we knew it wouldn't take Luke very long to get through his 3.5 miles. I took this picture of him at 3:35 (that's 25 minutes later) AFTER he'd already handed off to Spencer.

Luke almost ALWAYS has a smile on his face... not just when he's posing for a picture!

Spencer also ran his first leg super fast. This is him handing off to Paul at 4:01. If you're keeping track, that's 3.6 miles around Pineview Reservoir in about 26 minutes. Impressive, I know!

Both Luke and Spencer said this was their hardest leg because they felt the pressure to be really fast. They both had a short distance to run on mostly flat terrain, but it was hot and they pushed themselves really hard. It was great to have these tough guys on our team and in our van.

So, here's a collage of Paul's 3.7 miles up and UP and UP! and then DOWN Snow basin road. He handed off to Reed at 4:38pm (10 minute miles up a freaking mountain). Yes, I'm married to a total stud!

Reed had a VERY difficult leg to run at this point. He had to go 3.1 miles, finishing the ascent up to the Snow Basin Resort. It was hard, and he knew he'd have to walk some... but he ran most of it. After supporting him through most of his leg, we hustled up to Snow Basin for the van exchange. We got to say hello to our other teammates and ask them how they were doing. At this point, everyone still had some smiles!

I loved that the other team was wearing their alien antennae headbands! It made it easy to spot them in that gigantic crowd. Sidenote... the van exchanges were TOTAL chaos!!! This year's race had 1088 teams. That's over 2100 vans, and about 13000 runners (not all teams had 12 runners... some had 6). We were never all at the same place at the same time, but there was always a TON of congestion at the van exchange points. It's possible this race is getting too big. Here's a collage of the snow basin site. They had live music, free massage and chiropractic adjustments, really expensive food we opted not to buy, and a ridiculously long line for the toilets. That was a recurring theme at EVERY van exchange. YIKES! I did get an adjustment, but did not have the patience to wait for a massage.

Now, this is the part of this blog post that has no pictures, so I'll just have to talk about the next 12 hours. At this point, Van 1 was starting their second legs of the race. Cathleen got to descend 2000 feet over 8.5 miles to get out of Snow Basin. Heidi got to run 3 miles along Hwy 84 along Mountain Green. Uncle Jon ran 4.9 miles through a quiet residential area in Morgan Valley. Amy ran 4.2 miles along Morgan Valley Drive and into the town of Morgan.

*We were there at Morgan High School when she came through and handed off to Rick, but I missed it because I was in the High School waiting/taking a shower. Thankfully, when I entered the line for the TWO showers, there was only 4 people in it, but by the time I was done, the line was HUGE! I'm glad I got a shower since I'm pretty insecure about being a smelly person, but it wasn't a nice, calming experience! At least my timing was good! After my shower, I joined my vanmates who were "purposefully resting" on the field in sleeping bags. I think Luke managed to fall asleep, but in the 30 minutes I had to lay down, I'm afraid sleep escaped me.*

While we were not sleeping, Rick ran 4.2 miles south on Morgan Valley Drive again toward East Canyon. Tyler finished up their van leg running 8.1 miles up to East Canyon Reservoir... (Dang, we gave him the hardest crap to run! Ouch!). We got there with plenty of time for Tyler to hand off to Dawn. I'm not quite sure what time she started her run. I missed this exchange too, because I was chilling in the car, listening to my iPod and starting to gather all the gear I would need for my next run. Since it was dark, we needed to be wearing reflective vests, head lamps, AND tail lights. Add to this a hat, the iPod on my arm, my race belt holding my number, and a hydration belt to carry water and a GU. I was feeling a bit over accessorized for this leg of mine! It was also pretty chilly with a good breeze going, so I had on a tee-shirt, a long-sleeved shirt and my running pants. At least I was prepared!

Dawn had to run 3.8 miles with most of it climbing out of East Canyon along the Donner Reed Party Route. She did a great job and was running strong every time we passed her. She handed off to me at 12:18am and I got to start my 7 mile run into Summit County and into the town of Henefer. My first 5 miles were downhill, and I'm glad I trained a little bit for that. I had a good pace going with a sub 10-min-mile pace for the first 3.5 miles, a 10.5-min-mile pace for the next 2 miles, and then my last 1.5 miles leveled off and started to climb again. At this point, my hip joints and flexors were complaining quite loudly and I slowed down quite a bit with some occasional walking. I'd set an estimate of 75 minutes to do this leg and I did it in 74:05 minutes! Not too shabby I guess, so I felt pretty good about that leg. I actually love running in the dark. This was my best leg of the 3. (By the way, I got 4 roadkills on this leg!)

I handed off to Luke, and he KILLED it on his 9.6 mile leg heading toward Echo lake, around the lake, and into the town of Coalville. He got 34 roadkills on that leg... the dude is a machine. Then Spencer took off on his 7.7 mile run along the Weber River valley toward the town of Wanship. He got 21 roadkills... that dude is ALSO a machine! All throughout this portion of the race, I was laying down in the back of the van, TRYING to get a little rest, but mostly feeling all kinds of abdominal/GI pain. The toughest thing about races like these is managing the food and the way your body reacts to that food. For the actual running, I feel fine. But within an hour after I stop running, my system starts to freak out a bit. Paul started his leg in Wanship at 3:50am. He finished his 5.5 mile leg around Rockport lake 50 minutes later at 4:39am. The only reason I know these things is because our GPS watch keeps track of this kind of information. Again, I missed all these exchanges because the second we entered each exchange point, I had to find the honey buckets. Ugh.

So Reed started his leg at 4:40 and had to run 6.5 miles through Peoa and up into Oakley. I slept through most of this leg and when I woke up, it was already light outside. We ended up at the Oakley Rodeo grounds for the next van exchange. The Obray group had a slow time getting from their hotel room in Park City to Oakley, so Reed had to stand there for about 10 minutes waiting for them to show up. We used the bathrooms and bought breakfast there. It was yummy but with minimal sleep and "issues", I wasn't feeling so hot! We drove ahead to the next van exchange in Heber. We got to see the route the other van had to run and we were glad our name wasn't Jon!! They ran a total of 25.9 miles at this point. We used the facilities (after an even longer line than any previous line - seriously, Ragnar... more buckets at the van exchanges please!!!!) and then claimed another patch of grass in the shade. I wish I would have taken a picture of all the people wrapped up in sleeping bags in random places. It was quite a site, but I wasn't thinking about taking pictures as I was walking around half comatose. I think I snagged another 45-60 minutes of sleep before we started packing up our stuff again. I changed my clothes in my sleeping bag and had to get myself all sunscreened up and ready to run again.

Van 1 got to the exchange at 11:03 when I got to take this picture of Tyler running toward Dawn. She took off on her last run of 4.2 miles around the ag area of Heber.

We stood around for quite a while talking to our teammates in Van 1. It was fun to chat with them, but I was nervous that we weren't giving Dawn any support and also nervous that I was going to be too rushed to get my stuff ready. We jumped in the van, followed the route and passed Dawn when she had just over a mile left to go.

When we got to my handoff area, I got all my stuff ready and tried to get pumped up for this last butt-kicker leg of mine. I was feeling pretty exhausted, uncomfortable, defeated and worried that I wasn't going to be able to run much. Paul was giving me some good pep talking. I determined that I would set my watch to a 5 minute cycle where I would run for 4 minutes and walk 1. Dawn handed off to me at 11:46am and it was already pretty warm, very sunny, with a stiff breeze blowing. I was able to get through the first 3.5 miles doing the run/walk schedule and able to run for the entire 4 minutes. But once that leg started to climb more and more, I was stuh-ruggle-ing. I would run 2.5 minutes, walk 30 seconds, run a minute, walk a minute, repeat (over and over and over). And then by the end, my goal was to run as much as I was walking, alternating single minutes. It was so hot, I was so tired, the hill was L.O.N.G. and just kept getting steeper and steeper. I didn't get a single roadkill... I WAS the roadkill! But I finished, FINALLY, a whopping 80 minutes later! That is so stinkin slow, but what can ya do?! Here's a few pics:

Coming up was Luke and Spencer running up a ginormous mountain. I couldn't BELIEVE what they were able to accomplish! The highlight of these two legs for me was Dawn reading this quote to Luke and Spencer as they ran straight up, "In mythology and legend, a man, often of divine ancestry, who is endowed with great courage and strength, celebrated for his bold exploits and favored by the gods!" This is the definition of "ragnar"! At one point, she ran along with them, reading the quote. Then she would shout it out the window as we would pass them! It kept a smile on Luke's face, and I took this shot of her following behind Spencer out the van window. She's holding the flag and Spencer is two people in front of her! Too fun!

Just so you have an idea, this is the view we were seeing as we continued to climb:

(I told you it was uphill!)
Paul started his final leg at 2:32 and he had a SEVERE downhill drop that was supposed to only be 5.4 miles, but right before he started, we got a text saying that due to unforseen blockages, they had to lengthen the leg 1.1 miles. So he got to run 6.5 miles instead. Awesome, huh?! The first mile was actually uphill, which was tough, but he ran it well, and then he started down. Most of the leg was on a trail and at one point he stubbed his toe on a stump and actually fell. He finished it in 57 minutes, averaging 8:45 minute miles.

I was very proud of him... Paul did an awesome job on all of his legs and didn't get nearly enough glory! He even got a KILLER blister on the bottom of his heel that looked awesome! I'm just glad I didn't miss THIS last exchange. I missed most of the others because of these:

Oh, Honey Bucket. May it be a long, LONG time before I spend any more time inside your four blue walls!

Anyway, Reed took off for the last leg of the race. We moseyed on over to the van, figured out a way to get out of the parking lot, and hurried up so we could wait in traffic FOREVER to get to the Canyons Resort where the finish line was. It took long enough that a bunch of us fell asleep in the back seat waiting and waiting. When we finally got there, we found a parking spot, and hurried up so we could wait in line to ride the gondola up to the resort. It was while riding up that we talked with the others to find that Reed already crossed the finish and was too tired to wait for us! Thats okay, but it was awfully anticlimactic. It was extremely frustrating to make it this far and NOT experience the finish. The Canyons resort was 10 times as chaotic as every other chaotic place along the course. We wanted to figure out some issues with our t-shirts, since the women's shirts were sized WAAAAYYY too small. But irritatingly, they only had women's M or S or men's L or XL... not what we're looking for here, people! So, I'm not sure if I'll get to wear my race shirt much unless I can actually manage to lose the 10 lbs I've gained back over the last 8 months!

Aaaaannnnd... here's some of our final pictures.

We were all pretty burned out and ready to get a move on, so we kind of forced Dawn and Reed to take off a little earlier than they would have liked. They were giving the four of us a ride to Woods Cross where our van was parked at my Aunt Lynn's house. She was a sweetie and gave us a ride up to Ogden on Friday morning so we would have less travel time after the race was finished. She's so awesome! Once we got to her place, we grabbed some Panda Express and made our way back home... exhausted in every kind of way! Thankfully, Charlie fell asleep in the car on the ride home from Grandma's so we didn't have to work hard to get him in bed that night! I showered and collapsed and had the best nights sleep I've had since I did the Red Rock Relay! I guess it's a special kind of fatigue!

Overall, this experience was better than my last long relay experience. It was hard, but not dramatic! It really is a fun thing to do because for the most part, you don't feel like total crap until after your second leg. So at least 2/3rds of the time, it's all kinds of fun! And, there, now I'm done posting about it and I can get on with my life! My next goal is to start training for another couple of sprint triathlons by the end of the summer so I can get my hot body back!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Canon turns 7!

Canon had a birthday, Canon had a birthday, One year older than he was before!!

Because I'm not a super-mom like other people I know, I've decided to do what my mom did when we were little, and let us have a friend birthday party on our even number years. Since Canon turned 7 this year, it was a family celebration day and Canon got to decide what we would get to do.

We started off the day with a few presents and then a family bike ride to a nice park 2 miles away from our house. Luckily it wasn't too hot at that point. Here's a picture of Canon opening his gifts and the boys and me enjoying the shade at the park.

Canon really wanted to go swimming that afternoon, but we were unable to set that up in advance, so we'll have to do that another day. He then decided that he wanted to go to Pirate Island for dinner. We took the plunge and decided to check it out. Basically, Pirate Island is a glorified Chuck-E-Cheese, but for bigger kids. Charlie still managed to have a good time, but the environment and arcade games were really geared toward slightly bigger kids (which means that Paul had a great time!!).

We ended the evening with a dollar movie. We went and saw Alice in Wonderland and I LOVED it! Paul had to miss the ending because there's no guarantees when Charlie is involved.

Canon wanted to sleep outside in the tent, but it was really windy, cloudy and threatening rain. Bummer, another activity we'll have to do on a different day. But overall, I think Canon had a great birthday.

A much needed new toy

I think one of the (many) reasons why my blog has sucked so bad is that for quite a while, we have not had a camera. How can you blog about something exciting if you didn't even bother to take a picture of it!? I have NO IDEA what happened to our old camera... I'm blaming it's disappearance on the process of decluttering for home staging purposes!

Anyway, it was time to take the plunge and just buy a new camera already! We looked for a while and decided that we are fans of Nikon cameras, and ended up with the S3000. We got an OK deal on it on Memorial Day, so we were happy about that! So what do you do when you haven't had a camera for a while? Take ugly pictures of yourself in the car, of course!!! Here's a little sampling.

Ahhh, much better!

On one of Andy's first days of summer, he got to go to the dentist to get that tooth fixed! They had to shave it down and ended up putting a cap on top of it. I think it looks great and it was all for the bargain price of $180! Here's hoping he can manage to keep the rest of them whole from here on out!

See... much better!!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Awww, Man!!

On Wednesday I missed a phone call from Andy's teacher at school. I didn't listen to the message until after I saw Paul's text message saying, "The sooner you can get home the better. I have to take Andy to the dentist as close to 3:30 as possible."

Oh Crap!!

So I then listened to the message from his teacher letting me know that Andy had a pretty significant chip in his front tooth from when a baton was tossed at him and hit him in the mouth. Paul was there to take care of the dentist appointment where the doc put some kind of sealant on the tooth to cover the nerve endings. I took care of picking up Canon and Charlie and hanging out until Paul and Andy got back. This is what Andy looks like now:

We've got an appointment for the dentist to fill in the space in a couple weeks. Thankfully it will only be a couple hundred dollars instead of what I was fearing the cost would be! Until then, we get to look at this funny triangle tooth!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Best Mother's Day Gift Ever!

Yesterday was a wonderful Mother's Day for me and my family. I know it's fun to incite that awesome competition of how my mom is better than your mom, but I don't believe in doing that. I'm sure you have a lovely mother and I'm very happy for you! Instead, I would like to say that I am insanely blessed to be the daughter of Liz Anderson and the wife of the son of Rhyll Croshaw. I love both of these women beyond words. They add so much love and security to my life.

I also love mothers day because I'm very grateful for the chance I have in this life to be the mother of these three little cuties:

I love being a mother to these boys. They each present their challenges, but the joys far outweigh them. Each of them were extra sweet to me yesterday, including a stream of compliments from all of them at breakfast with Charlie looking at me and saying, "you're so cute, mommy." I just had to laugh. I say that to him all the time!

Anyway, I titled this post the best mothers day gift ever because of what we were able to accomplish with Charlie yesterday. I'm sure you care A LOT but guess how many times we had to change Charlie's underwear yesterday?!?! ZERO! Despite being at the Croshaw's all day yesterday (which includes a fair amount of parental neglect on my part... "go outside and play boys!") Charlie did all of his business in the potty multiple times. Looks like we may have gotten over that fear of pooping in the toilet. YAHOO!!! I'm feeling more and more confident that we've gotten through the worst of it! What a relief. And what a trip it is thinking that I may never have to purchase diapers again. Do you agree that this is a pretty impressive and expensive Mother's Day gift!? It makes the iTunes giftcards I got from Paul pale in comparison!

I hope you all had a great Mother's day honoring all the awesome women in our lives. I know I did.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

What I've been up to.

I'm trying not to get annoyed with myself with how little blogging I've been doing lately. One of the fears I had when I started this blog was that at some point I would feel like it's one more thing or hobby that I would feel guilty about neglecting. So instead of getting annoyed or feeling guilt, I'm going to focus on being glad that there are a lot of great things going on that have kept me busy.

I'll start with a list of things I've been doing lately:
1. Running again. Paul's Aunt Dawn started talking last year about putting a family team together for the Ragnar Wasatch Back relay in June. Since Dawn lives in Minnesota, she asked me to be our team captain, which put me in charge of making sure we were registered on time and making the assignments for who would be which runner. The Wasatch Back (WB from here on out) is just like the Red Rock Relay. You can read my epistle about it by clicking that link. I'll admit that I'm nervous to do this again, mostly because I remember just how sore I was after the RRR. But there are some things that will make the WB better than the RRR. We are not an all woman team... in fact, in my van, we've got Paul, Spencer, and Luke (all seasoned triathletes and excellent runners). I'm relieved to have been able to pick one of the easier slots in our van!

Our team name is "The UFO- Unforgettable Family Outing" and the race is June 18-19th. I've got 6 weeks to kick it into gear to be more ready. For the last 2 weeks I've been following the recommended training schedule exactly. Today I'm supposed to do 2 25-minute runs, but I need to wait until Paul gets back from his 50 mile bike ride (He's got a 1/2 ironman in 5 weeks). So, I've been spending more time lately running and have a lot more to do!

2. Burning Out. I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO ready for school to be out. Thankfully, I've only got about 3 weeks left. This school year has had DRAMA written all over it. There is always drama and politics in any working environment, but when you times that by 3 for the different schools I work with, it can get old really quick. I've learned a LOT this school year from picking up an employee and REALLY learning how to run a business, but I'm ready to scale back and spend more time with the boys.

3. Potty training Charlie. Ugh. This whole process has been so AGONIZING!!!! A couple weeks ago, we ran out of diapers and I decided I didn't want to go buy anymore. So, Charlie has been wearing underwear since then and I wish I could say that it's gone smoothly, but it's Charlie we're talking about here! Actually, he's done a very good job with staying dry! The problem we're having is getting him to go #2 in the toilet. He did it once and we got him a cool police car he picked out. But since then, no luck. We may have to put him in a diaper at night so we don't have to start each day with a cold bath. We've discovered he's a consistent morning pooper. Anyway, this process has been taking a lot of my mental energy lately!

Now I'll list some things that have been worrying us:
1. The stinking housing market!! The first week it was listed, we had 3 showings. Since then... ZERO. I haven't even bothered to keep my house super clean because nothing is happening. The initial showings we had were very positive and they really liked the house, but there is so much out there right now. I actually shouldn't say that we're worrying about this, but it's been a bit frustrating. For this summer, Paul will likely be renting some office space with a colleague so he's not stuck here at the house with me and the kids trying to get all his work done. So, I've asked the realtor to switch the for sale sign in our yard to one less imposing. The big sign obviously isn't helping!

2. CONSTRUCTION!! Somewhere in the last few months, I must have offended the construction gods, because there are road closures and orange barrels everywhere I turn these days. The cul-de-sac we live on isn't under construction, but the road you HAVE TO drive on to get to our road is completely torn up right now and will be until fall. This may have something to do with the zero action we're seeing with the house for sale, but that's not my main frustration with it.

3. Medical bills. Canon's emergency appendectomy was the first time we've needed to actually use our health insurance since Paul changed employment last year. Turns out our plan is GARBAGE and we get to pay for the whole thing! Good times!

4. ADD. I think Andy's got it and Paul and I aren't quite on the same page on what we need to do about that. Any advice?

5. Summer clothes. I'm up about 10 pounds from where I was a year ago when we went on the cruise. Life has been very delicious since Thanksgiving! All the summer clothes I bought last year are 1.5 sizes smaller than I am right now, so I'm getting back to following the weight watchers plan. If I can really focus on my food for the next 6 weeks, I'm hoping I can get back down to below 150 by the race in June. Then I can also be skinny again for the family pictures we'll be taking at the reunion at the end of June. I may use this blog as an accountability source for the next 2 months! Hope you don't mind.

There... I've updated the blog!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Okay, here's the scoop

After spending a grueling day trying to figure out our taxes (procrastinating anyone?), I thought I'd grab the laptop, turn on the GLEE episode I've been all geeked about watching for a week, and finally fill in the gaps from my last post about moving.

Since January, my posts have been few and far between because we've been doing a lot of sprucing up around here. We've painted the entire upstairs... a job that desperately needed to be done 4.5 years ago when we moved in. We've also figured out how to decorate a wall or two, find drain pipes under concrete and walls, put in a bathtub/toilet/sink/flooring/etc. and overall make this place look downright cute in some places! Come to think of it, all of these things would have been nice to have done 4 years ago! It's been a lot of work, but it's also been great to know that none of these tasks were IMPOSSIBLE! With some incredible help from our brother-in-law, Jason, and hiring out some key plumbing and drywall work (for a killer deal on both) it has come together quite nicely.

But yes, we are trying to sell, because right now is a really great time to upgrade your house if you can. Since Paul changed jobs over a year ago, he's been working from home and has needed a home office space. So he's been functioning in the back of the family room downstairs. I also run my speech therapy business from home, and while that doesn't take a TON of space, my stampin' up! demonstratorship does. So, we're going to see if we can sell this place and hopefully break even. We're not in a position where we need to short sale the house, but we also don't have a ton of wiggle room on the price. But thankfully, we're not desperate to sell either. Though it's sexy to be looking at some nicer homes with more space, we love our house, love our neighborhood, and love our ward. So if we don't get any viable offers, we'll stay... and maybe finish off the 4th bedroom.

As for where we're going? Hopefully not far. Our boys attend a charter school that we've liked really well so far. It would be great to still have quick access to the school, so we're looking for homes here in Springville, Mapleton, and Spanish Fork. We want to stay close. We love this area.

So do you want to see it?! Here are some pics.
We'll start with the front room/first impression:

Next, onto the kitchen:

Now the bedrooms upstairs:

The TWO bathrooms we now have!: (for the record, this is the first time in my 10.5 years of marriage that we've had more than one toilet at our house... it's wonderful!)

Here's the boys' bedroom downstairs:

And finally, the family room/office - (aka: the part of the house we hope buyers will overlook after being impressed with the rest of the house!):

So, this is what we've been up to... and what I WILL be up to for who knows how long. In the first week, we've had 3 showings, 2 of which were to the same people. We've gotten great feedback so far, so we're hopeful, but trying to stay chill about the whole thing. Send us your "happy showing" thoughts and your "happy offer" thoughts, and while we're at it, your "happy help-Diana-somehow-keep-the-house-clean-like-we-don't-live-here" thoughts... cuz we could sure use a lot of those!