Thursday, April 26, 2012

Can you believe it?

It's been 15 years since I was last in school.  Last year when I was working on my application and paperwork, I decided to fill out a scholarship application just for kicks.  I didn't figure there was any way I'd get one, but hey, what can hurt right?  So as it turns out, I did get awarded a scholarship.  (Thank goodness there are foundations and endowments set up specifically for those of us who are non-traditional students.)  Tonight was the awards ceremony and since Trav is out of town I took Gideon and my mother-in-law (who to this day cannot work a digital camera as this photo will testify.)  It was a good evening, I even ran into Trav's cousin Pepper who is also returning to school after many, many years and also qualified for a scholarship.  So that was really fun.  And I did have the most hadsome date in the room!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Day at the Zoo

So this morning my dear friend Sara called and asked if we wanted to go to the zoo with she and her boys, Lincoln and Levi.  Since the only thing on our agenda today was cleaning house, we decided we could put that off a little longer and go have fun instead.

 (See Sara, isn't she so cute with her boys!)  Anyway we had a great time, the weather was awesome! We packed a picnic and had lunch there.

 Parker's little dress used to be one of Travis's Aloha shirts from Hawaii.  Cute huh? Thank you Aunt Mimi for being so talented!

 All of our cute kiddos, Parker, Gideon, Lincoln & Levi.

After the zoo, we went over to the playground for a few minutes.  We actually ran into another friend I haven't seen in a long time so that was really fun.  Now we're all tired and worn out, so the housework still isn't getting done.  Oh well.  There's always tomorrow!  And if I've learned anything it's that the mess isn't going anywhere.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

"Congratulations! You're Last!"

In 2009 I was 50 pounds overweight and struggling to train for my first ever race. The idea of being able to run an entire 5K without walking was overwhelming. I couldn't. In fact, I didn't. My first few races were a walk/run and very slow.

3 short years later and I've managed to lose 40 pounds of that weight (that last pesky 10 pounds seems like it wants to stay glued to me forever! BAH!) And I've run every distance of race between a 5K up to a full marathon. And having done that I can state with much confidence that the Menan Buttes Trail Challenge is the hardest race I've ever done. Last year I ran the 12.5K and barely survived. So this year I came back and decided to tackle the 25K. That's right. I'm such a glutton for punishment that not only did I repeat the course that "Trail Runner" magazine has called the "Toughest race in Idaho" but I doubled the distance.

See here's the butte. It doesn't look so bad from down here, but that first mile is brutal!!! A 700 ft climb before you've hit 9 tenths! Everyone is walking within the first few steps.

We got lucky with the weather this year. It's been unseasonably warm. So the start line was a balmy 55-ish. (In past years it's still been snowing so that's a big improvement.) It got warm fast though. And I'm blaming the great weather for the abundance of people there today. Last year it was pretty much just people affiliated with the race, but today there were scout troops and college kids in abundance. (Stupid BYU-Idaho! I totally forgot that dragging an adventurous co-ed up switchbacks to the top of a volcano is a preferred date for broke college boys.)

The course is pretty easy but can be confusing if you're not familiar with the terrain. After you've reached the top of the butte, you drop down into the calderra. In fact, the only flat spots on the entire race are when you're down running through the crater. It's the only time in the whole race when you can just open up and flat out run.

You come out on the south rim, run around it, drop back down into the crater, come out the north rim and run around it until you get to the service road under the R which you run a mile down then turn around and run back up. Finish your loop around the north rim, drop back down into the calderra and run the south rim again, back down the face to the parking lot. If you're running the 12.5K (the most popular distance by a long way) you're done! Hooray! But if you're one of us 6 brave (or stupid) souls who entered the 25K, you get to turn around and do the whole thing again! The plus side is that at the halfway mark for us they had the usual array of water, sports drinks, oranges & bananas, but also preztel sticks & m&m's. (Someone must have read my mind!)

This is down in the crather and actually one of the widest points of the entire trail. Most of it is single track.

Those of you familiar with the area, can you spot the Cunningham Family Hacienda? It's there!

This run is so different from any kind of road race and even trail race most people are used to because there are sections of it where you can't run at all. You're climbing up rocks.

Yep. You get to climb up that. And it takes all four limbs! It's deceptive though, because once you reach the top you see this:

Which also takes hands and feet to scale.

It's kind of beautiful in a way. I mean if you're into sage brush and lava rock. I'm not, but after deliriously running miles and miles through it, I can appreciate it's distinctive features.

My personal favorite part of the run is along the north rim. I love the views from there and the terrain is conducive to running with just a few small spots of climbing to mix it up.

This is the north rim. Or well, my view from it today!

More north rim. I don't know why I like this section so much but I do! I ended up finishing dead last of the half dozen who did the long distance. But it worked out okay. I got a prize for being the caboose! (See Gideon holding it below!) And a free pair of Montrail running shoes because I kept going and didn't quit. I told the race director my grandmother is the Energizer Bunny, so it must be in my genes.

Oh and one more thing about this run, you don't ever want to wear good running shoes or clothes because you pretty much just end up caked in dust and dirt thanks to the fact that the wind never stops blowing here. Anyway I'm super sore, but I feel great because I finished really strong. And hey, I ran 15.5 miles up and down a volcano today. What did you do?

Monday, April 9, 2012

Well...He does have a point....

I remember vividly the first time I ever used a curse word. I was 6 and still in kindergarten. I was trying to get undressed and my shirt was stubbornly refusing to cooperate. With one arm sticking out the top and one pinned to my side and my head buried in fabric somewhere in between I marched out to the living room calling for help. To emphasize my displeasure I stated to all within earshot, including my younger sisters (of whom there were only three at this point) that "I don't even know why in the hell I put this shirt on in the first place."

My mother instantly grew still and with a fury in her eyes I have only seeeen a hanful of times since, demanded to know where I had learned that word. Still stuck in the shirt and confused by her vehemnence at a word that I'm pretty sure I'd heard my grandpa say at least twice a day for my entire life, my bravado waned. "I don't know," I whispered.

"Well!" She snapped, reaching up and ripping the shirt from my head only barely avoiding taking my ears off with it, "That is not a nice word and I don't ever want to hear you use it again!"

I knew she was serious by her tone and withering glance so I said yes ma'am and scurried back to my bedroom, never to revisit the incident again. (Imagine my confusion though the following Sunday at church when I heard the word hell used from the pulpit no less than twice.)

Yesterday afternoon when Gideon dropped his candy and he said "Damn" I didnt bother to question where he heard it. I simply sighed deeply while Travis and his mom looked on curiously whispering, "He didn't hear it from me," and "Well we really do need to start watching what we say," and "I hope he doesn't say any other words he's heard me say." It wasn't worth getting upset or angry over. I simply looked at my sweet son and calmly explained that isn't a nice word and we really shouldnt use it. Instead we should say "Darn" or "Bummer" or even "Rats."

Without a trace of guile my four year old looked me square in the eye and said, "But mommy, beavers build dams."

Damn that kid is smart.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter 2012

So last weekend while Travis was home we had our egg-coloring party. The toughest part was keeping Parker away from the die. She seriously just wanted to stick her whole hand into it.

Gideon picked out this egg kit with the face stickers and I honestly think his favorite part was putting a face on each egg and naming it.

And then they sat in the fridge for a week until the Easter bunny could come and hide them. Which of course he did last night.

Unfortunately, I have no pictures of the egg hunt or the "before" pictures of the Easter baskets, because the morning (and last night) just didn't go as planned. I got no sleep. It was nearly 5am, before I finally drifted off. So when Gideon came running up to my room at 6:30 shouting loudly that the Easter Bunny had brought treats, I just wasn't even awake yet. He was very good about not touching anything until I gave him permission to go through his basket. I was hoping that would keep him occupied enough to let me sleep for a few more minutes. But every 60 seconds or so he came tearing back up the stairs, "Mom! Mom! Mom! Look what I got!!!!" So finally after about 10 minutes I just got up. By that time Parker was make lots of noise and clearly ready to be up as well.

And that's when things got really crazy. She immediately started spotting the eggs that Easter bunny had hidden and proceed to pick them up and throw them across the room as hard as she could. So we literally dumped stuff out of Gideon's basket and sent him on a wild chase to find all of the eggs as quickly as he could before Parker could destroy them all. (By this time I realized I was not going to make it through the morning without Advil and caffiene.)

Anyway we managed to get Parker to eat some applesauce before she tore into the candy, but only because we put the candy up high and trapped her in the high chair. Gideon however ate Jelly Beans, Marshmallow Peeps and a giant chocolate bunny for breakfast. (Which he proudly informed me he at all by himself. I was shocked because I was trying to fix my hair and get my face put on and didn't even realize he'd opened it.) Needless to say, he was buzzed.

Parker's Easter jammies were some that Nana found on clearance and saved for her. Aren't they sweet!

Anyway, so here's the aftermath....

Anyway after the mad egg hunt/race and the basket grab, I went to work getting dessert ready for dinner tonight. The kids were a big help of course, especially when it came to cleaning the beaters.

And then Jesse & Kelly came over with Tyree and Ryan who's in town for a few days gathering up some of he and Skye's stuff from mom & daddy's house. And Trav's parents came and we had our traditional Easter morning breakfast of Goldenrod (aka creamed eggs over toast.) I realize now that when we were growing up, the reason we always had goldenrod on Easter was to use up all of the hard boiled eggs. But it's such a tradition in my family now, that none of us can imagine Easter morning without it. Sadly I was busy getting food ready and never did take any photos of everyone here for breakfast. But it was a nice relaxing morning with my family that I very much enjoyed.

After everyone left, it was time to get ready for church. Gideon has been asking to wear his new suit to church for two weeks, so he was the first one dressed. That's him holding up the petticoat Nana made last year for Parker, which she still wore under her Easter dress today.

Aren't they darling!!!! I may be biased, but I do have the cutest kids!!!

See we actually got one decent-ish family photo! Which is amazing considering Gideon was climbing the walls with a sugar buzz and Parker hadn't had a nap yet and was coming unglued.

After church we went to Trav's parents house for dinner and then enjoyed the afternoon with them before Travis had to leave to head back down to Soda Springs for work. With the exception of my monster headache that I can't seem to get rid of, we're calling it a success.