Sunday, May 27, 2012

Busy Day at School

I think this was the first time I've taken the bus with all the schoolkids on a field trip. All I can say is WOW. And possibly OUCH. A new definition of torture, perhaps? I sat toward the back of the bus, which, I should have remembered from my own school days, is where all the noisy boys sit. As soon as we were on the bus, the chaos ensued. They were good about staying in their seats, but the noise level was out of this world! I thought, "Surely they'll calm down after a few minutes." Not so. It took about 30 minutes to reach our destination (the city landfill), and they were going strong the entire way. At one point, a couple of the kids literally had a screaming match. I had to go to my happy place inside my head. Finally, the bus was coming up to a red light, and I took my cue and headed up to the front to take haven with the other adults. You can see Micah with his buddies. I was in charge of making sure six kids didn't get lost or into trouble. The adults weren't too thrilled with the idea of a field trip to the landfill, but I was actually looking forward to it. What does happen with our garbage, recycling, and green waste? Did you know that each person produces an average of 5.5 pounds of garbage per day? And most of what it taken to the landfill are items that are easily recycled. It was a good reminder.
 We returned from the field trip and I stayed on to visit in Ella's classroom. She was in the middle of her French class, and I was able to help sort papers for the teacher. Ella soon had to leave for her choir concert. She's been participating in choir since the new year and has really loved it. The director is talented and has a beautiful voice. They've been learning patriotic songs for Memorial Day. They performed in front of the school. It was really great. Here is my darling Ella:
 Ella, next to her friend, Leah, and others.
 Ella begged me to stay for recess. She and her little girlfriends were so excited! (It doesn't take much!) We went out, and I quickly became the most popular person because I was giving free helicopter rides. But, boy, was I dizzy! And then I did a few cartwheels with the girls and Ella said, "Mom, I never knew you were so fun!" (Is that a good thing?) I'm so glad I got to spend time with Micah and Ella. Thanks to Mom for making that possible by taking care of Mira and Matthew all day long. What a treat for me.

Car Wash

We've had some ups and downs with our temps here in Utah for the past few weeks. We hit a record high last week, then we get some cold, wet days. On this particular day, the three youngest took advantage of the sunshine and decided to break out the hose to wash the car. They consider it a treat!
 Above, Matthew is enjoying the suds. Maybe a little overzealous. I think we lost most of what was in the bowl. Below, Mira thought the flower bed neede a little water. With a smile.
 Ella and Matthew working hard. They ran out of steam after working on the lower portion of the front half of the car, not surprisingly.
 Strike a pose, baby.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Ogden (Half) Marathon

This was the first time I'd ever run in an official race of some sort (if you're not counting 5th grade track, ha ha). It was a daunting goal to set, but I knew if so many others did it, then I could, too.
 Yes, I am one of "those" people who has to wear some sort of sweat band. It's either that, or have sweat pouring into my eyes the entire race. So I give up looks for convenience, oh well.
 Above, Chad and I are at the starting line (Chad's in the blue, I'm right behind him). It didn't stay that way for more than a minute. Chad came in a full 20 minutes before I did.
 Here he is, running strong. Sadly for him, he was dealing with gastrointestinal issues the whole time. He had to run through cramping and queasiness the whole time. But he ended up getting his best 1/2 marathon time he's ever had. I know he wonders how much better it would've been if he'd been feeling 100%.
 Dad surprised us and met us as we came out of Ogden Canyon, heading toward the riverfront. There were just a few miles left at this point, where it started getting harder. Seeing Dad there gave me a little mental push.

 Somehow I thought I looked so much better running, but I should've known better! The majority of the run was spectacular and I felt great. The views were amazing and it was encouraging to be running around so many others, doing the same thing. I ran by one man in his 60's, pushing his adult son in a wheelchair. That was amazing and told me you can do more than you think, as long as you're motivated.
 Right by the finish line were Janna, Alan, Amber, Colin, Ella, and Matthew. I gave a passing wave of the arm when I saw them. It was all I could do to push myself across the finish line. That last mile was pretty difficult. When we were all reunited, I saw a sign Alan had made that read "Go Mom and Dad. We Love You!" with balloons attached. Very sweet.

After all was said and done, I realized the hardest part o f running the 1/2 marathon was the training for it. It's certainly not something you can decide to run the day of. It takes consistent, concerted effort to achieve it. And it all culminated on this day. It was a great feeling, running through beautiful Ogden Canyon, knowing that I would complete it due to my planning and preparation. I think I kind of got the running bug. I didn't love the training, but the actual running of the race was inspiring and made me want to do it again very soon.

Mira's Field Trip to Wheeler Historic Farm

Mira's preschool had a field trip to Wheeler Farm, which we'd attended a couple of years previously. But this time was different in that I didn't have all the kids with me. It was just the two of us, and that was nice. (Thanks, Mom, for holding down the fort.)
 Mira tried to get one of me. Not quite ready...
 There we are!
 Me and my girl. Love her!
 One without teeth...
 and one with!
 And the little irrigation ditch is just the right size for jumping across.
 Whew! Made it.
 Mira with her little class (sitting just next to her teacher, Miss Cami).
It was a surprisingly hot day, and we were so tired by the time the tour ended. On our way back home, we stopped by a 7-11 to get Slurpees. I wish I could have a picture of Mira's eyes bugged out when I told her I'd buy her one. It was the best news she could've received. (The kids have asked for Slurpees before, but we've never bought them. So this was a huge treat for her.) I'm glad I could share this day with my special 5 year-old girl.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's Day

Yesterday was a wonderful day with my mom. She came up, along with my dad, as well as Chad's parents and sister. (I should've taken pictures.) They went to church with us, sat through Primary while I did Singing Time, and then had a meal back at home. (It was lovely to sit next to my mom during Relief Society while Chad did Singing Time in Senior Primary for me, thank you, Sweets.) I grilled up salmon and shrimp, we had corn on the cob, watermelon, brown rice, and garlic bread. For dessert we had a lovely Strawberry Cheesecake Trifle.

As far as moms go, I did rather well for myself (if I had any say in that!). Mom is selfless and thoughtful. She, along with Dad, gave us a wonderful childhood. She's always looking out for us, even her children are in their 30's. If there's anything she can do, you don't have to ask twice. In fact, many times, you don't even have to ask. She just anticipates. She is gracious and kind to people around her. What a gem we have in her. Love you, Mom!

Elmo and Aprons

I just adore this photo. Here is Matthew, chillin' in his caterpillar chair, Elmo positioned with Matthew acting as puppeteer, while watching Elmo on the screen. He was one happy boy.
 A couple of days later and it's time for lunch. Matthew dons the apron and it's so irresistible, I have to get a shot. (Or course Mira doesn't pass up a photo op!)

Happy 11th Birthday, Colin!

I can scarcely believe our Colin is now eleven years old. Just in the past several weeks, he's really demonstrated increased maturity. We are so proud of the boy he's becoming. It's a joy to watch him grow and learn. For his birthday breakfast, I made one of his favorites: chocolate chip pancakes. The pancakes practically caught on fire because of all the candles (you old man!)
 He was still trying to wake up, but excited for his special day.
 He got a Boy Scout shirt, since he's now in the 11 year-old Scout group. Very exciting! And he's wanted a flat brim RSL hat.
But the best part of his birthday was taking off with Micah and his buddy Orion right after school to Boondocks. There are arcades, mini golf, race cars, XD theater, etc. They had a total blast! We were there from 4:30 until 10pm closing. We stopped midway through and had a Little Caesar's pizza and root beer. One highlight was when #10 Jazz player, Enes Kanter saw the boys getting off the race cars and challenged them to another race. (I took a picture with my cell phone, but good luck to me getting it off there.) All three asked for his autograph afterwards and were just glowing the rest of the time. Even though they had school the next day, they were going hard til closing time.

Some special things about Colin:
*He really looks after Matthew and cares for him, plays with him, takes him off my hands if I'm really busy.
*He practices violin and piano daily and has made great progress. His teachers love working with him.
*He does very well in school. On the big test, the CRT, he was one of the top scorers in the 95th percentile
*He adores scouts and is excited about all the adventurous things he'll get to do.
*Collecting so-called junk from the field behind our house is a big hobby of his, Micah's and Orion's. He'll head up making fliers, organizing their stuff, and keeping track of everything.
*He's good at so many things, it's hard to whittle it down to just a few. He loves basketball, tennis, and soccer.
*Colin's not shy about raising his hand to answer a question at school or church. He's happy to participate.
*Every single fast and testimony meeting he gets up to share his testimony at the pulpit. He's brave and such a great example. I know it's not easy to get up, but he's told us that he just feels like he needs to.
*If there is something he's done wrong, or feels bad about, he cannot keep it from us. He just has to confess. He's such a good boy.

His birthday was Wednesday, and then just this Friday, Chad and I decided it was time to try Colin out as a babysitter. It had been in the works for a while. We just needed to see that he was ready for the challenge. He'd proven himself by his actions at home and we knew he could do it. Chad came home Friday after work, we fed the kids and left Colin in charge while we went out to dinner and ran some errands. We had a few rules: #1 Colin is in charge, #2 No one calls us except for Colin, #4 Do not answer the door or phone. He kept Matthew occupied for an hour before getting him ready for bed. Then he put on a DVD (movie night, baby!) and served up some brownies. Afterward, he shooed the kids off to brush teeth and get in bed. We walked in just as they were settling in. He did awesome! We only had 2 phone calls from them and nothing extreme. How exciting for us and for Colin! He earned a few bucks, and made us and himself proud.

Saturday, May 5, 2012


Last year we had such a great time at the Scout-O-Rama, we wanted to be sure to make it there again this year. I trailed the girls, while Chad took on the boys. We split the difference with Matthew. The girls enjoyed a rope swing and...I don't know what to call the other thing they did.

 Look at Ella's grin! Love it.
 They were into it all. If they found something they liked, they wanted to do it over and over. But the South Towne Expo Center is huge and there was no way we'd get to a lot of it. Here are the girls trying their best to get across a "bridge".
 The girls did leatherwork
 Even Matthew wanted to make something. These days, his favorite color is yellow. I don't know if that's because it's fun to say, or he can easily recognize it, but he was thrilled to have a bracelet with yellow beads.
 Chad took pictures with his phone, so these are the only ones I have of them with my camera, but they did some neat things. I mean, for $5 per family, it's amazing, all the activities that are available!

IDM Friends

Friday we had some friends over for dinner. It had been two years since we were last together. There was a lot of catching up to do. Ella and Baily Hincks were best buds within minutes.
 Truman, Eve, Dexter, Graham, Laura, and Sitota Gundersen got right into the mix. They were all lively and fun. The kids had a great evening together.
 Mira, "I want to see the pictures!"
 Colin, trying to run away.
 Bret, Sitota, and Kathleen Gundersen:
 Emily and Mike Hincks:
Kathleen and I served together for one great month in Bangor, Northern Ireland. Emily and I were comps in Bangor for my last 4 months. They served together as companions, and both of their husbands were in the IDM, and I served in districts with both of them. All four of them really terrific people.

Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?

The kids were going through the dress up closet and found this little gem for Matthew. Micah talked it up and was able to get Matthew into it enthusiastically. We had fun pretending he was chasing us, ready to eat us up. Adorable!