Saturday, October 29, 2011

Just Another Normal Sunday Afternoon

I found these pictures on my camera today...

...and fell in love with my kids all over again.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Picture Perfect

This picture captures my Little O so perfectly - the mismatched clothes, a late afternoon nap, his sweet sleeping face, and his possessive love for this bright blue balloon.

Even as he slept he instinctively held on to the balloon, knowing that if he let it go someone else might claim it and he would wake up empty-handed.

There are all kinds of metaphors in there, but I'm just going to leave it at what you see - a picture of my little guy who is likely dreaming of an adventure involving a bright blue balloon.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Waxing Nostalgic

Last week was Red Ribbon Week at the elementary school. Each day is some sort of fun, crazy dress-up day and the kids had fun putting together some great outfits and hair. Friday, they were stumped. It was "Wear your favorite team jersey" day - but no one had any jerseys.

I told them that it would be fine to just wear a team t-shirt, but they insisted that they must be jerseys. So I pulled these old relics out of my storage chest and told them it was the best I could do.

"Where did these come from?" they asked. "What team is WEST?"

I told them that these were my old jerseys that I wore when I ran on the cross country team back in high school and showed them my last name spelled out in fuzzy iron-ons across the upper backs of each one. I told them how I could never throw them out over the years because the cross country team was like my family and these old jerseys reminded me of many happy times. "No one will probably have ever heard of West High before, but you can tell them it's from your mom's old school in California. Will these work?"

"YES!" they shouted. "You're going to let us wear them? These are SO special!!" They were ecstatic as they decided who got to wear which one. I was ecstatic. I don't really know how to describe the happy feeling I had inside when I saw my girls wearing my old jerseys and understanding how meaningful they were to me - but I was especially thrilled by how excited they were about it.

This picture is definitely one of my current favorites.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

School Picture Day

School picture day was here.

I like to let the kids get crazy for these pictures because we don't buy them. So really, why not?

Princess informed me right off that "I am not really too much of a weird person most of the time so I want to just, um, look mostly just normal in my school picture even though our family is kind of more weird."

I was fine with that.

Hubba recently had a haircut so there wasn't much to work with.

But Cowgirl? She had a plan.

My favorite part is the 'beard'. Apparently the school photographer was not a big fan of this genius idea and told her, "I'm going to have to have you take that ponytail out from under your chin."

It's a good thing I can appreciate her awesome sense of humor and already got a picture before she left for school.

Friday, October 21, 2011

We Are Family

We finally got some new family pictures taken by our awesome friend Jason (who also happens to be an awesome photographer).

If you want to see the individual pictures of the kids, take a look in the sidebar. ------>

I love this shot of Allen and I:

And here are my favorite outtakes:

Here's what happens to a couple after 19 years of marriage and 10 kids...

They get a little psycho-crazy.

And that's just the way we like it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Pesky Little Vampires

Oh, how I love autumn. The beautiful blanket of warm reds and yellows that covers our mountains, pumpkin-flavored everything, Halloween, and the kind of weather which calls for a light jacket or sweater. This year I have one more thing to really appreciate at this time of year - fall marks the end of mosquito season.

Have you ever heard of anyone being allergic to mosquito bites? I hadn't. Then one day this summer Little O's lower leg swelled up to double its size and we couldn't figure out why. A mosquito bite seemed to be the only possibility and we figured it was a one-time deal.


Can you tell where else he got bit by those pesky little blood-suckers?



Goodbye, mosquitoes. We will not miss you.

Not one teeny bit.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Quick Quips

Curly: Mom, look! There is red on the top of the mountains! Wait... is that hot lava?! Are our mountains really volcanoes?
Me: Nope. That is just the trees changing colors. It means fall is coming.
Curly: Oh. So I guess they are fall-canoes instead of vol-canoes.

Can I be a robber for Halloween if I promise not to be one when I grow up?

Hubba: Can I build a spaceship?
Me: Sure.
Hubba: Then I need a blowtorch and some big pieces of metal for my birthday.

Me: What do you want for dinner?
Curly: The potato soup that is red.
Me: You mean tomato soup?
Curly: No, I don't like tomatoes.
Me: You mean the soup we eat with grilled cheese sandwiches?
Curly: Yeah. I want red potato soup and girl cheese sandwiches.

I can't believe they drank from the same cup! That's pretty much like kissing!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Dreams Come True at BYU

My oldest boy is loving the college life. Not only the independence and keeping late hours, but most especially the people he's run into while there.

A couple of the Kid History guys

The one and only Jimmer

I can honestly admit that I am pretty jealous. When I was working at BYU one of the most exciting people I ran into was John Walsh (whom most BYU fans probably don't even remember) and the funny thing about that was that we went to high school together so it was no big deal. I didn't even know he was BYU's starting quarterback until my husband told me.

Keep living the dream, Coolister.

(If you could try to get a decent amount of sleep while doing it, that would be awesome.)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Can't Say I Didn't Tri

Me and my awesome new pal, Christine.

My TriathaMom was a couple of Saturdays ago and I know you've all been on the edge of your computer seats just waiting to hear about it.

I made an awesome new friend, Christine, who gave me a ride up on Saturday morning. We left early so we would have time to drive the bike course before registration started and we talked about how nervous we were the whole way there. (It was her first one, too.) We found the starting point, got lost on the bike course and made it back (with help from my phone's GPS) well before registration ended.

I got my body markings (race numbers on the arms, age on the left calf) and we went to set up our bikes in the transition area. I was happy to see that ours were not the only mountain bikes, although road bikes were definitely there in abundance. As the sun started to come up we took advantage of the short lines at the port-a-potties and then played the waiting game until start time.

As we walked into the pool area my concerns about being too cold were immediately put to rest. In fact, it was almost too warm inside the rec center. As Christine and I found a place to sit near the pool I noticed that the pool was 13 feet deep at one end and had a small 5 foot deep shelf-with-drop-off on the other end. I immediately started to stress out over this. One thing they stated on their website was that if you needed to walk the swim, you could. I was comforted by the fact that I could walk if I tired out - alas, I am not 13.5 feet tall. From that point until the time I exited the swimming pool I am fairly certain I exhausted myself with anxiety.

Just before the swim began a gal with a microphone hooked into the rec center's speaker system talked about something for 5-10 minutes. There was so much chatter going on that I could not understand a word - but luckily the instructions filtered through the crowd and we all realized that those with the fastest starting times needed to head up to the front of the pack. I knew I could do the swim in about 20 minutes or less so I ended up being just in front of the women who were using kickboards for the swim. I almost cried a few times, almost completely gave up once, watched as some of the starting swimmers returned from their bike ride, but after roughly an hour I was able to start swimming.

People using kickboards passed me, one sweet gal even asked if I was okay and if I wanted to share her kickboard, but I finished the swim second from last. A paramedic stood where I exited the pool and asked, "How are you feeling? Can you do the bike and run?" I told him I was going to finish this thing, no matter what, and didn't even try to run to the transition area because I was completely worn out.

I toweled myself off, laced up my shoes, snapped my helmet on and headed for the start of the bike portion. As I left the transition area a volunteer called, "LAST BIKE OUT!" I started to pedal and could never really gain any momentum because the first 4 miles was a gradual uphill slope. However, I had promised myself that I would NOT walk any of the bike ride because that would be just silly. I passed a couple of women with flat tires and one gal who was walking her bike. I offered words of encouragement and they did the same. At the end of the 4th mile was what I heard many of the other racers dub 'Sick Hill'. I shifted my bike into the lowest possible gear and s l o w l y made my way up it. It about killed me when the chain slipped and I had to dismount to fix it. Talk about jello for legs - and I still had 7 miles to go! Once I crested Sick Hill it was pretty smooth sailing from there on out. There were a couple of magical downhills where I'm pretty sure I was flying. At one point a white van pulled up alongside of me - my family! They were there to cheer me on. What a boost! That gave me the burst of energy I needed to finish up the bike ride.

I hurried in to the transition area once again to ditch my bike helmet ("Nice hair!" Allen called out to me, laughing. I had serious helmet-head with my natural curls frizzing out along the bottom. So I quickly put my hair into a ponytail, too.) and head out for the 5K. As I left the volunteer directed me to the 'after-party'. "I'm just starting the 5K," I told him. "Where do I go?" He instructed me to follow the green arrows and then called, "LAST RUNNER OUT!" (What the heck is that all about, anyway??) I started at a speed-walking pace and eventually decided to see how my legs would respond to a slow jog. It actually felt pretty good! I passed up a couple of women who were walking this portion and some of my kids ran the last mile or so with me. I would say I probably ran at least 2 of the 3 miles. Go me!

As I came in to the finish I was ready to cry. I did it. I could now call myself a triathlete! I got my cool finisher's necklace:

(So much better than the typical medal that I would never wear again!)

and a big hug from Christine who had waited there for me for who knows how long. Allen parked the van and the kids went crazy with the bounce houses, cotton candy, balloons and free food.

At this point I pretty much just wanted to fall asleep.

When I got home I looked up the results to see where I finished. Out of 331 women I placed 321st. However, the most important thing was that I finished at all since I was really only competing against myself.

Would I ever do this again? Probably not. After my anxiety over the long wait to swim in a 13 foot deep pool and a bike ride geared towards beginners which exhausted me to no end, I think I'm going to call it good and stick with running.

In conclusion: I came. I swam. I biked. I ran. I finished.

What's next?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Book in My Brain

On the days that I forget to bring my music with me as I run I find that I notice random objects and start putting a story to them in my head to pass the time.

The one constant item along my running route is the back cover of a Harry Potter book.

Somehow, I forget that it is there until each time I pass it by - and then the story continues from where it left off.

It goes something like this:

There is a land in the future where lies are forbidden - even in the form of books. Fictional books are considered fabrications of untruths and over time they are banned and destroyed entirely. The only writings which remain are personal records written by the people who inhabit this place. Many years pass and we meet a young girl who has never heard of fictional stories or characters. One day as she walks through a wooded area she notices a flash of faded colors near the base of a tree. She makes her way over and picks it up - it has writing on it which tells of a land where magical things happen. She begins to wonder where this land is and how she could get there because it sounds fascinating. She goes back to the place where she found the book cover and searches for more to the story. She eventually somehow finds a water-stained, worn and haggard copy of the book (in a hollowed out tree stump? In a hole dug out of the earth beneath a boulder? Maybe some of the pages are missing?) and thinks she is reading someone's history.

That's as far as my brain has taken it. Are these fragments of a real story that I've heard about and forgotten or is my brain really creating all of this?

I need to know which road I should take from here. The easy road, which consists of finding the book already in existence - or the hard road, which means I need to continue my brain-writing. Because either way I am engrossed and can't wait to find out how the story ends.