Monday, December 8, 2008
We have the classics...the Night Before Christmas, the Grinch, the Polar Express. We have the Tale of Three Trees and Christmas Oranges. We even have a Little Golden Book that I tracked down called the Animals Christmas Eve. It's a story that my Mom bought when I was three and we have read it every Christmas since.
This year's book is A Christmas Dress for Ellen by President Thomas S. Monson, and is the retelling of a 1927 Christmas in a little frozen Canadian town. As I read this story tonight to the girls I was reminded again of all that we have. Even in the middle of a recession our circumstances are so far removed from 80 years ago. I often think (with gratitude), that my kids live so far removed from want. Yet at the same time, I want them to recognize and be grateful for what they have.
How do you do that?
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
So on Saturday night we set out on our Christmas tree quest. The girls were horrified when they realized we were not headed to a tree lot, but to a store. "A FAKE TREE!" they gasped. I was calmly reassuring, it's ok, the tree will look real and all the lights are already on it! Together we selected the perfect tree, a nine foot blue spruce with little pinecones on the tips.
The oh so professional "tree boys" assured us that it would be boxed and waiting for us up front in 20 minutes. We had dinner and then went to go make our purchase. Right in front of the register was a tree box with our last name in big letters. We handed the cashier our tag and they trucked the tree right out to the car.
After wrestling the tree box into the house we prepared to open and assemble. "This box looks new," I remarked to Brian. Because we had purchased the last remaining blue spruce (which was the floor model) I wasn't expecting a new box. We opened the box to find...someone else's tree.
"Did you tell them our last name?"
"No, did you?"
We loaded the wrong tree back in to the truck and Brian raced back to the store to get there before closing time. I made a frantic phone call to try and locate the right tree. After two phone calls and two people who obviously knew nothing the tree boy finally called back. "Yeah, we wondered where you went," he drawled. "We'll go ahead and get your tree ready up front," he added helpfully. I hung up and crossed my fingers hoping that the desire to leave the closing store would inspire him to actually get the tree up front this time.
So, we got the tree set up...and the lights didn't work on half of it. For the last three days Brian and I have tried everything, including unclipping the entire strand of lights, removing them from the tree and replacing every bulb. No luck. So today I removed all the strands of unlit lights and replaced them with new strands.
Tonight, I will go to bed with a lit and half decorated Christmas tree. Instead of a Charlie Brown Christmas tree adventure, we now have the National Lampoons Buy an Artificial Pre-Lit Christmas Tree and Have an Adventure. AUGH!
Monday, December 1, 2008
But I have a little secret that I discovered many years ago. I am a list person (I'm turning into my mother, I know!!). If I'm feeling overwhelmed with to much to do I make a list, I take great pleasure in crossing things off, and somehow I get it all finished. So, the secret is a holiday planner that I download every year from familyfun.com. It is awesome, my favorite pages are the gift list, the fill in the blank calendar, and the recipes, menus and party pages. This year I'm committed to filling out the holiday memories page also. I keep everything in a binder in page protectors, and it keeps all the receipts, recipes, crafts, ideas etc. together. And I even keep my lists from years past...just ask what Santa brought Sadie three years ago!
The crazy thing is, it is so simple, an hour and you could create your own. But that's another Christmas secret...don't waste time on something that someone else has already done!
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
-because I think my individual contribution will change the outcome.
-because my state is a battleground or swing state.
-because then I earn the right to complain (I get that anyway).
-because I live in America, and going out this morning was one way that I can show gratitude for being an American.
-because it's a right that people have fought and died for. And voting shows my respect for their sacrifice.
-because it makes me feel a part of a greater community of citizens who know and care.
-because I care about my city and my state.
-because I know my legislator who's up for re-election.
- because I can.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
I've been training for the last couple months for the Butch Cassiday 10K in Springdale . This morning I went out for a quick and easy two miles, just to keep my legs fresh, but still have them ready to go on Saturday. We have awesome trails near the house and this morning was perfect. An ideal fall day for a run, cool and crisp and lovely. I was halfway through my run, and had just turned around to head back when I stepped into a leaf covered hole and pitched forward. Immediately I knew that my ankle was sprained. I also knew that I was .9 miles from the car on a trail where it wasn't likely that I'd encounter any help. So, I stood back up and hobbled as quickly and carefully as I could back to the car. I knew I had to get there as fast as I could before I started to feel my ankle and before my body used up it's adrenaline supply.
So, I'll be taking pictures this weekend. Brian, his mom and the girls will be running/walking the 5K and I'll just have to smile and enjoy the scenery. Happily disappointment also tastes like pistachio gelato from one of my running buddies...thanks a million L.!!
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Yesterday Em celebrated her 10th birthday! Here are 10 things about her.
1. She loves to read. Not just a little, but A LOT. If she ever needed to be punished we would do it by taking away her books not her TV time!
2. Blue is her favorite color. The color of her eyes, her walls, her clothes, etc...
3. Her heart is kind. Even as a little girl Em was always very aware of those around her and wanted to make sure that everyone was happy and included.
4. Friends come easily. Em makes and keeps friends, lots of friends.
5. Perfection is in the cards. Em didn't even learn to ride a bike until she was 7. I realized later that she was afraid of falling. If she can't do it right, she's not interested in trying. I'm afraid she gets that from me...we're working on it together.
6. Imagination lights her world. Books about dragons, princesses and other worlds are fascinating to her, and all of her reading adventures carry over into playtime with her sisters.
7. Science is fun for her. Her school curriculum this year covers rocks and on a recent trip to Moab I watched her point and explain to all the other kids the stuff we were looking at. Currently one of her favorite things to do with friends is pound open rocks with hammers to look for 'crystals' inside. She also asked for a microscope for her birthday.
8. She is very coordinated. She plays the piano very well and with expression-which is hard to teach. She is also an awesome swimmer, this summer she started learning to butterfly.
9. Boredom isn't in her vocabulary. She always finds something to do! We could fill her entire closet with boxes and it would be perfect for all the little things she likes to do. She will grow up well rounded because she likes lots of different things.
10. Happiness is being with her. Em's smile lights up a room, and she is one of those people you just love to be around. She is a blessing in our lives and we are so grateful to have her in our family!
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
...I was lukewarm about voting for John McCain for president
...I've never really cared about a vice-presidential candidate, and
...I've scoffed at all the ideals lobbed around at convention time.
And then Sarah Palin stood up and said "No one expects us to agree on everything. But we are expected to govern with integrity, good will, clear convictions, and ... a servant's heart. " After listening to her talk tonight:
...I will defend my vote for the republican ticket.
...I will follow closely this vice-presidential candidate, and
...I support the ideals I heard about tonight, and the candidates who hold them are the ones I will vote for.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
"Mom, what do we do?" they asked. I had each of the girls pack an overnight bag with a few changes of clothes and some of their "special treasures". But then I found myself wandering through the house...what should I take...
From the top of the mountainThe fire never got closer and I never really did pack. But I've been thinking a lot about what I would have thrown in the car. This week I'm constucting my own 10 minute list. I'll post it later. Yesterday was just the practive run, I'm sure there will be more scares in the future and next time I want to be a little bit more prepared, but honestly as long as my family was in the car, who cares about the kitchen table?
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
In 1989 this copy was found in a flea market, the buyer paid $4 for a frame he was interested in and found the document underneath the picture.
It was most recently sold for 8.14 million dollars.
There is a handprint on the bottom left corner and writing on the back (but no secret treasure maps).
It is a Dunlap Broadside. One of the original 25 copies of the Declaration of Independence printed on the night of July 4, 1776. It was on display in the Utah State Capital last Friday and the girls and I went with Grandma Diane to see it.
I struggled a little to explain the significance of this very old piece of paper that we waited in line for 2 hours to see. Our freedoms had their groundwork laid with this document, these were the thoughts behind the value of the individual and their right to self-determination. And America has lived up to the Declaration's promises and taken it's high-reaching ideals and implemented them for everyone. There have been failures to live up to the promised life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all, and yet we've done a pretty good job. Even when we haven't quite lived up to the assurances provided the Declaration has stood as an ideal, as a better way, and as a hope for the future. And it is one of the reasons that our country is great!
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Well, I started CONSUMING them this weekend during our family vacation. I began at TWILIGHT, when Brin informed me it was time for bed. I tucked her into her sleeping bag and read by the light of the NEW MOON (and the tent light). It was a little COLD outside, and I found my arms falling asleep from loss of BLOOD as I rolled from side to side. But I…I was SLEEPLESS. I did eventually SURRENDER to the NIGHT but continued my HUNT the next day. It took me all of 72 hours to PREY through all 2444 pages, I read through the ECLIPSE (ok, so it only visible at the North Pole) and into the BREAKING DAWN—not really.
It took me a day or two to recover from the reading FRENZY. The DAZED look has finally faded from my BLOODSHOT eyes. And now I feel…QUENCHED.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Sunday, July 13, 2008
I like open spaces. I like my privacy. I like to get away from it all. So it's ironic that one of my all-time favorite camping spots is a cave-like rock formation in Canyonlands 150 miles south of Moab that sits near a favorite family rated slot-canyon. I think I like it so much because the trip combines a lot of things I like; camping, jeeping, hiking, slot canyons, and lots of friends.
Once inside the slot canyon, the kids can go wild. The width of the canyon is 3 ft with walls of 150ft+. There is a special side route that we always take the kids through that requires removing belts, hats, and exhaling for 5 seconds while slipping through. I don't get on the scale to check my weight much but once a year at this spot I know if I've added 10 pounds. We've only had one person get stuck and a good relaxing exhale solved that (sorry, I swear it looked like you would fit!). Kids love the narrow parts but if you are claustrophobic, stick to the main trail.
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Sunday, July 6, 2008
This is what summer is all about. My sister Lisa is visiting from California and on Thursday all the sisters (and sis-in-law, of course) got together at a local park. By the time we finished eating all of our kids were pink-cheeked and sweating and the fountain on the other side was to cool to pass up. This is how to spend 100 degree days!
Thursday, July 3, 2008
After all six of us had run we passed the "baton" back to Van #1 at Snowbasin and headed to the lodge for massages, ICE cold showers and FOOD! And then we hit the road so we could be at the next exchange point.
I started Leg #2 at East Canyon State Park at about 11:15. It was a little scary to accept the baton from Kelli and take off into the darkness with my little headlamp all by my lonesome. And then after about a mile it was awesome! Other relay cars (and much to my dismay too many runners) passed often enough that it wasn't complete solitude, and yet it was. With no i-pod and only the sound of my own breathing it was by far my favorite leg. My husband (who is the greatest) met us that night to shadow the nighttime runners. He and his friend lit the road for us with their bike lights and carried our water bottles. He was about 25 minutes to late for my run but he shadowed each of the others and let our Van just be at the next stop catnapping until they came in. Now that is true love!! After we finally passed the baton off to Van #1 at Rockport Reservoir around 4:30 am we headed in to Heber for "bed".
After a quick $2 shower (worth every penny) we crashed literally on to the wrestling mats laid out in the gym at 5:45 and had about 2 hours of sleep until we got the call that it was time to go again.
Leg #3 was the hardest for me, I started around 9:00 so it wasn't to hot yet, but I went from feeling like I had totally fresh legs the first 1/2 mile to "just keep running, just keep running" for the last 2 miles. I was exhausted! But then I got back in the car and got to cheer everyone on the rest of the race. It was incredible to watch my friends run. I knew how tired I was on my flat route and to watch them run hills and perservere was inspiring!
We crossed the finish line together 30 hours, 24 minutes and 34 seconds after our start! A third place finish for our women-sub-masters category. And we're signed up already for next year...anyone wanna run?
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Sunday, June 8, 2008
Tee and I at the finish line with the Big Bad Wolf
Yesterday I rode in the Little Red Riding Hood Century, a women's only cycling event. I rode with my friend Tee, and even though we signed up for the 45 mile segment we decided to do the 60, and I completed it! I was in the saddle for just under 4:30, and I've decided that is a long time to be on a bike!
We started in Wellsville at 8:00 am and it was cold! About 45 degrees, we started off at a great pace and made our first rest stop in Newton about 17 miles down the road and just over an hour into our ride. After a quick stop we were back on our bikes and on to the next loop. The first three or four miles were a gradual uphill, and I had a hard time getting back into the rhythm of our first section. But then around mile 25 or so we had a fantastic downhill, always lots of fun. Of course we made up for it with a hard climb before we coasted in to lunch back at Newton around mile 33. I needed the rest and the calories. After lunch even though we were headed south again we were right into a pretty strong headwind and mile 33 to the rest stop at 41 was the hardest section for me. The wind finally dropped off again around 50 miles but as we looked back to see our lunch spot across the valley we could see it being drenched by rain. I think we rode around the storms all day, they always seemed to be about an hour behind wherever we were. Thank goodness! After another stop at about 54 miles we had a stong finish back in Wellsville. My friend Tee is awesome, she could have done the entire ride in a lot less time and yet she stayed with me and I had a fantastic time. She "pulled" me and a couple new found friends through the hardest part of the ride. I promise to practice more so I can repay the favor soon!
Tee and I at the finish line with our celebratory Martinelli's
The valleys we rode through were beautiful and green, the west side of the Logan Valley is just gorgeous! And the little towns we rode through were so picuresque and pastoral. I can't wait to try again next year maybe by then I'll be doing the whole century and taking a turn at the front!
Today the girls went with their primary to the I am a child of God exhibit at the Museum of Church History and Art. Sadie told me all about the "church mouse" that was hidden in one of the exhibits and Brin enjoyed the coloring. I think we'll have to go back together.
Friday, June 6, 2008
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Monday, June 2, 2008
1) Can I watch TV?
2) Can I play the computer?
3) Can we watch a movie in the car?
So...to avoid having to answer these questions more than 20 times a day we are making TV & computer rules. Right now that's one hour of TV and 30 minutes of computer a day, and no movies on car rides around town. But we will also be compiling a list of things to do besides the above 3 activities...Stay posted for our upcoming summer adventures...
6/1 Strawberry Jam
6/2 Catching Caterpillars
I promise there is one inside the jar. We found our new friends on a thistle plant outside the house. We're hoping that we might actually have a few chrysalis' in a few days. I'm going to have to do some research with Sadie and see how long that takes.
"I'm spoiling the ending, not only of the entire book, but of this particular piece of it. I have given you two events in advance, becasue I don't have much interest in building mystery. Mystery bores me. It chores me. I know what happens and so do you. It's the machinations that wheel us there that aggravate, perplex, interest, and astound me."
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
As I finished my long solo last half of the bike ride last Saturday I had my fingers crossed that my tires would be ok. The ride was supposed to be fully supported, which I thought meant that if you got a flat there would be someone to fix it, but I saw no one along the bike route and the spare tire I was carrying would not have done me much good without a tire lever and a way to inflate it...
Saturday, May 17, 2008
I did it! My longest bike ride so far and at a (for me) decent pace. I met my friends at 6:30 this morning and we drove up the Utah State Fair Park for the Cycle Salt Lake Century. I was a little nervous about the 7:30 mass start. Bikes and crowds of bikers make me a little anxious, add to that my exactly one week old "real" bike shoes and my not-so-lightning quick reflexes and natural grace and it's understandable. But, it wasn't bad at all. The ride out was fun, all the traffic was stopped and it was nice and cool. It was a new experience for me to ride in a pack, I decided it's actually fun to be surrounded by other bikers and had a good time. I hit my turn around at the rest stop at mile 18, my friends who were doing the 72 mile loop headed on and I turned back. The ride back was not so fun, this time all the people I passed were heading the other direction--that doesn't count--and I was alone the entire 18 miles. I guess if I want to stay with the pack I better up the mileage next time! But I finished my 36 miles in about 2:15. Not to shabby for a brand new biker and all good preparation for Little Red Riding Hood in another couple weeks!
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
We made flourless chocolate cake, pate a choux and pastry cream.
Flourless Chocolate Cake is one of my all time decadent dessert faves. Our chef showed us how to make a blackberry gelee to top it off and I think I might have a new favorite topping...the recipe was so simple and the thoughts of how many ways I could use it sent me into spirals of delight...homemade vanilla ice cream, apple crisp, grilled peaches, lemon cheesecake...I could go on...
The pate a choux was new for me, I've seen many recipes but never tried it. As soon as I have vanilla beans to make the pastry cream (and for homemade ice cream) I know how I will spend a couple delightful hours in my kitchen. Does anyone want to go in on those? They come in a pack of 75 on www.pastrychef.com and I just can't see myself using all of them in the next couple of months. The pastry cream was fantastic, and as I watched I kept thinking I can do this!
As I left after class I couldn't help it...I picked out a box of chocolates to take home. It was my reward for not licking my fingers the entire 3 hour duration of class...and I have to say they have been worth every calorie I will have to run or bike this week to equal out!
Thursday, May 1, 2008
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Why is it that my best laid plans always go so seriously awry?
Today was the SLC 1/2 marathon. The one that I blogged about at the beginning of the year, because if I put it in writing I would be more committed to training for....the training part I could handle, the injury part I hadn't counted on. I tore one of my left calf muscles at the end of January and although I could walk again after a week I haven't been able to run since.
So I've been feeling a little bit sorry for myself...and then Brian and I got road bikes. We had been talking about them for a while and I was trying to convince him that I was serious about doing a triathlon. And so instead of pouting this morning we called some friends and went for a bike ride. I was committed to the mouth of American Fork Canyon and back. I was hoping that it would be about 10 miles, but by the time we got back to where we had parked I had ridden 23 miles! We added an up the canyon and around the Mt. Timpanogos temple loop and it was a lot of fun!
I'll still complete a half marathon. And the Wasatch Back relay is still on my list. But I've now added "Little Red Riding Hood" a bike ride just for women up in Logan in June. So right now I am still and out of shape recovering runner but one way or another I will still have fun this summer...
Sunday, April 13, 2008
9. She talks confidently to strangers about every exciting part of her day.
8. She has a favorite website and can log-in with her own user-name and password.
7. Her appearances at your bedside in the middle of the night are counted monthly instead of nightly.
6. She is too old for Elmo and Dora the Explorer, and she knows who Hannah Montana is.
5. She can play guitar hero and fancies herself a drummer.
4. She is able and willing to help empty the dishwasher, the garbages and clean out her own sink.
3. Her bicycle and scooter now only have two wheels each!
2. She dresses herself and wants to do her own hair with all the logic and style sense of a five-year old.
1. The tooth fairy has made her first visit to this little princess!