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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Annual Fall Trip to the Mesa

Well lucky for me and the rest of the family Ben's Young Men's hiking trip had to be canceled. So instead of Ben doing a mighty hike with the youth in the ward, he got to take his family on a little-bitty hike on the Grand Mesa. We do this every fall-time; it's perfect for our little family: a short hike to a beautiful lake. Today was the warmest we have ever had there. It was totally nice. Lucy and I got a little sun-burned, too.

Me and Lucy trekking on up to the lake.


Lucy playing with worms - she was so interested in them. Mainly interested in pulling them apart. Awesome.


Since the boys learned to cast, this was a perfect opportunity for them to apply it! Fishing was much more fun for them, for sure. Jonas and Miles both did great in casting. It was just too adorable watching them.


Lunch time! And, if our batteries didn't die I would have gotten pictures of:

Emmy literally getting stuck in the mud.

The one and only fish caught on Emmy's line. A pretty big and beautiful rainbow trout. Not your typical stocked-trout.

The boys out on the rocks in the lake.

Wilson dragging around his leash.

All the kids getting soaked in their jeans, up to their mid-thighs, playing in the lake.

Lucy, Lucy, and more Lucy.

Jonas and his skinny 'n' white bare legs "jogging" on the trail back home
(his soaked jeans were causing some extreme discomfort, especially on some foot-wound he had gotten earlier. so we took of his pants and wow! did he become happy again. and the cutest 1/2 naked hiker in the whole entire world.)

The 3 kids eating cookie-dough ice-cream from a small-town local store on our way home.

A perfect way to end a delightful day.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Baby's 1st Steps

Okay, technically speaking it was really Lucy's 4th and 5th steps. But fun!
video
I totally wasn't expecting this. A lot of times when she stands I'll hold my arms out and say, "Walk!" She never has done it. . . until this morning. Super cute.

This video is really about nothing. But it shows what the girls were up to this morning. :)
video

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Last Saturday of Summer 2011

Our last Saturday was nothing real special, but oh well. I got in a good run in the cool morning, Ben chopped down one of our dead trees out front, and the kids just had fun doing whatever. Here are some pics just for fun:
I don't know why, but I really like this picture. Cute Lucy is probably why.

The boys had one last requirement to get their final merit badge: cast a line. They had practiced it quite a few times during the summer (when they were actually at a lake fishing), but hadn't quite gotten it. So Ben took the hooks off their fishing poles, weighted down their lines, and instructed them a little more and a little better. And wah-lah, the boys could cast. They were really excited about it!

And here they are with their entire merit badges earned this past summer. Wahoo. Fun times. So we had talked of glorious plans to celebrate the completion and earnings of their merit badges. Anywhere from Dairy Queen to Chucky Cheese (neither place have my children been). And we ended up at McDonalds. Ha! But it was exciting to the boys for 2 reasons: 1. They got to get something other than a plain ice-cream cone (chocolate shake for Jonas, M&M McFlurry for Miles) and 2. They got to play at the play-thingy (something we hardly ever, ever do). So it was special, right?! :)

We girls came, too. But the little girls didn't get a "special" treat like the boys - but a treat is still a treat. In fact, Lucy had gotten immunizations yesterday and the nurse there had given us 2 coupons for free ice-cream cones at McDonalds. So, Lucy got her very first own cone:
Uh, yeah, she was lovin' it.
Just devouring it! I think she loved the yumminess of it, as well as the knowledge that it was hers, all hers. Holding it herself was just as exciting as eating it, I think, for her.

Here's Lucy going down the slide. She was a little unsure, as you can tell by her still holding on to the edge. Cutie!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Updates

Here is what will probably turn out to be one long boring post. But I haven't posted updates in a while (have I?) so I thought I should - for my very own sake. Selfish, aren't I? I'll start with the cutest, ahem, I mean youngest.

LUCY.

So this picture was taken one month ago, on her birthday - but I never got around to posting it, so here it is! How lame to post it so late, but oh well. Lucy is grand. Still not walking by herself, but loves to hold hands and walk. Still loves the stairs and is now a master of both up and down. Loves to giggle when being tickled or when everyone else is laughing. Loves to eat whatever we are eating - or at least loves the idea of it. Doesn't totally love sitting in the stroller for our 3-trips daily to school, but if upset she usually calms down before we're out the back gate. Loves her friend Levi - one month older. Loves her cow-milk only if "sprinkled" with some pink nesquik stuff. Loves taking baths with her big sister. Loves getting down and dirty - literally. Loves to have her cranky time/hold me or I scream time when I'm getting dinner ready. Loves to play in Emmy's room.

EMMY
Oh I think she's had it a little rough lately. She needs (and oh I need her) to take a few naps a week. She gets tired. And when she gets tired she gets. . . ugly. Seriously. M, W, and F are her nap days. I can't force her to nap. So I tell her if she doesn't nap, she has to be quiet in her room. But we all pay when she doesn't nap. Last night she was soundly sleeping a little after 6:30 and tonite by a little after 7. She's finally kicked the pull-ups at night thing. Hallelujah. She's not a fan of walking to school 3 times a day. We do "mommy and me" school 3-4 mornings of the week (while Lucy takes a morning nap). It's wonderful having that time with Emmy. But she is so different than my boys! She is hard to teach. I keep telling Ben it's because she eats her toothpaste. He doesn't agree. Now I'm not saying she's not smart, but I am saying she is not interested in academia. I know she's young, but I also know that her 2 brothers showed a far great interest than she does. So I'm trying my very best to be patient with her - and, truthfully, I think I'm doing great. :) She's doing great. She wants to do it now and every morning begs to do school. So that's an improvement. She's not skipping her 6s when she counts this week. Writing her name has become more than just thoughtless scribbles - now it thoughtful scribbles. Kidding. Kind of. She's definitely getting there. Oh, she lost her chicken Princess Nora to a raccoon. We came back from our trip to Littleton and found 4 chickens running in our yard (thus out of their coop and chicken run area). But only 4 chickens, plus a lot of white feathers all over the place. Princess Nora was white. And Emmy's only chicken. (The decapitated body was found by Ben a few houses down in the alley way. . .) Emmy took it like a girl. But now is much better (thanks to an amazing brother, Jonas, who when hearing of the death of Princess Nora came right up to Emmy and said, "You can have one of my chickens.")

JONAS
Our little kindergartner. He says he loves it and I hope he does! He told me one thing he doesn't love about kindergarten - waiting for recess. Ha. He loves girls. Like thinks they're beautiful and stares at them. He tells me so. In fact he's already asked one girl if she'd marry him. I guess she said no. That hasn't stopped him from talking about her quite often tho. . . He often tells me he's the smartest kid in his class. I don't tell him otherwise - let him have confidence. :) I wouldn't go as far as to say the smartest, but that kid does have plenty of smarts. He reads 3-5 letter word books really well. He's always loved the letters - in fact, Ben reminded me the other day, that before he learned his "A, B, Cs" he learned what they said, "aaaaa, bbbbbb, kkkkkk." If that makes sense. He can't stop talking about what he wants when he turns 6 (some lego boat thing) and when he turns 7 (a chiuaua). He mastered 1/2 the monkey bars this past week and showed it off to me one morning. He sits by 2 girls that talk mean and threatening words. He tells me that ______ (one of the girls) lies a lot. I think he's right. He's great at getting ready for school in the morning and filling up his water bottle with fresh water and ice. He loves to "cook" his own oatmeal (in the microwave). He loves to make his own cheese or meat sandwiches. He's hated PB for a while now, but suddenly likes it again (perhaps his beloved in his class once said she likes it???). When I gave them celery with PB and craisins on it, he cheered! He's a wonderful boy. Oh yeah, he continues to dote on Lucy.

MILES
Such a great little student. He adores school. When asked how school was that day, he either replies "Great!" or "Fun!" When asked what was so great or fun, he replies, "All of it!" He likes to do the "pocket dance." A term he made up. I guess many mornings, before school, a bunch of hispanic kids get up on the outdoor stage and dance. It's about the greatest way to start your day - watching a bunch of adorable hispanic boys dance. Seriously. Miles dragged Jonas over to watch one morning and it was just hilarious - in a great way. Miles tried to convince Jonas to go up and dance . . . to no avail. (He would have been the only white boy :) But Miles told me at recess that day he got up by himself on the stage and started doing the "pocket dance." Putting his hands in his pocket and dancing around silly like. Emmy likes to do it as well. I was busting up this morning watching those 2 dance around our family room. Miles is a great little reader. He's recently read the chapter book "Stanley, flat again," (a fun book - he asked me to read it and so I did). Now he's reading "Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger." He loves it. He even read some at recess time this week. Now that's my boy! He's in to collecting rocks. Mainly playground rocks. We've asked him to stop. . . (there's only so many tiny pebbles a mother can stand in her home). He likes the kids in his class and talks about them a lot. He, too, continues to love little Lucy and can be really helpful with her at times (sometimes I ask him to "babysit" her at the home while I try to get something done. . .)

ME
Life is busy now. In a very good way. But exhausting at times, too. This past Monday I was able to go to the boys' school and help out in each classroom. I went to Jonas' class from 9:30-10:30 and that was fun. He was sooooo happy to see me. Such a cutie. He was bummed he didn't get to work with me, but hopefully sometime he will. Then I went back to Miles classroom from 1:15-3. From 1:15-2 the kids are all in P.E. and so I do some tasks for the teacher - like unstapling (so hard!) the work stapled on the outside hall wall. But I loved it. Truly. Then from 2-3ish I sat in the hallway and 6 different kids came to read to me. I loved it, too. So great. Such sweet kids, I thought. So I love that I'll get to do this every other Monday. Tuesday morning Emmy, Lucy and I got to a local and free "music" preschool thing. It's great and Emmy just loves it. Wednesday mornings we are in a play-group co-op with 3 other moms and kids. Each play-group time has 2 moms there - the hosting mom and one more. So twice a month I'm with Emmy (one time at our home) and the other 2 times I drop her off. It's really great. This past week was at our home and it worked out splendidly. Wednesday afternoons Emmy does ballet. Thursday afternoon we do storytime at the library and then today, after story-time and picking up Miles, we went back to the bike jumps and met our friends and had a grand old time. Fridays I have nothing scheduled or planned. I like it that way. It's good to have things going on all week, and so by Friday I'm ready to just do. . . not much. I can no longer run or bike in the mornings as it is still dark by the time Ben has to leave for work. Boohoo. So now my exercise schedule is all over the place. Every morning I do something: a work-out video or jump-rope. I love jump-rope because I get to get out in the fresh air - even if it's just my backyard! 2 evenings a week (Tuesday and Wednesday - a reminder for Ben :) I go on a run as soon as Ben gets back from work. I have dinner pretty much ready to go and Ben does the final touches. It works out, I think. But I really hate evening exercising, but I do want to continue to run of course.

BEN
Ben is truly great. He really is. I hardly mention him on this blog, but I should more often. I'm such a lucky girl to have gotten a man that is so supportive of me and my desires and loves me. Sure, he's got his quirks. . . but they are less than mine so I try to overlook them. . . well, most of them. He sure made some disgusting bread this week. Just ask him. He stunk up the whole house with his extra fermenty rye bread - he could hardly smell the loaves, let alone taste them. I thought maybe the beer-drinkers would have liked it? He made some other bread that I thought pretty nasty (not a fan of caraway in bread), but at least he liked this one. He hardly exercises, but has far greater abs than I probably ever will (so. not. fair.). The kids all love and adore him. Lucy screams out, "Dada!" when he comes home from work. It's pretty much the greatest welcome-home ever. He wants to live in Maine. Seriously wants to live there. Unfortunately his wife doesn't. . . at this point. His home and its forever needed projects, his wife, his 4 kids, his kids' chickens, and his church calling (have I mentioned ever that he is the Young Men's president?) keep him busy. I love him. I love having him home. I love having him near me. I love talking to him, even if he's not really listening or unable to remember what I just told him. I love that when he hugs and kisses me Emmy asks, "Are you getting married again?"

Life is good. Really good. With really bad moments. I need to remember this more.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Friday the 13th

So last nite we had an additional 13 people sleep over at our home. So 19 of us in all! It was rather delightful. A few of Ben's best-friends from HS ran the Imogene Pass Run. It starts in Ouray - which is about 45 minutes from our home, so lucky us we got to see the runners and a bunch of their families.

We had a bunch of Formisanos come and stay: Paul (he ran), Shanna (his wife) and their 2 kids: Olivia and Maren; and we also had Paul's lovely sister, Lara. Then there were the Tandbergs. Paul and Kristen (bro. and sis.) came. As well as Dave (bro. and runner). Then Dave's brother Steven and his wife Crystal, along with their 3 little girls: Mariah, Lila, and Emmalynn. Pretty fun, huh?! Steven and his family didn't come until midnight and so we woke up to a fun home - our kids were in happy heaven. Oh they had fun and kept wanting to know how long their "cousins" would be staying. It was a perfectly crazy Saturday morning.

We headed out for Telluride (where the race ended) and missed speedy Paul at the finish line. :( Out of over 1,100 runners, Paul was 47th or 48. Talk about crazy! And this is an insane run - a 17.1 mile run on a rugged mountain path trail, with an elevation gain and then loss of about 6,000 feet. Wowzers. We then waited a little bit for Dave to come in (who just came from Florida 2 days ago - zero elevation there!) and then just a few minutes later came Lara - who always looks beautiful at the end of these excruciating events! Those 3 were pretty impressive, that's for sure.

We hung out for a while and then our family went to a little park in town that was just. . . cool. It was like a little "toddler park" in the forest. There was a little pond, too, that delighted the boys. We ate our lunch there. And Lucy was just the cutest (we were so sad we forgot to take our camera!). She could totally climb up and around the play-equipment and then she'd go down the slide. . . all by herself. The end of the slide totally levels out and so she'd never just kabomp off it. Oh her face was just The Best as she would come down the slide. You could tell she was lovin' it and also that she felt a little like she was livin' on the edge. And when she'd finished, you could see how awesome she thought she was. Oh it was the best.

After lunch we went to the gondola - a free ride up and over the mountains. Lucy ended up falling asleep and we couldn't find any free parking, so Ben dropped me off with the 3 older kids and he drove around with Lucy. It was a great ride and the kids loved it. It sure was steep at times - wowzers. We got back and found Ben - he was chatting with Formisano/Tandberg clan, as they were getting ready to head up on the gondola as well. We said our goodbyes and then drove back home.

A fun weekend with some old-time friends. Old-time friends = good-times.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

A Little Trip to Littleton

SATURDAY
We got to Littleton on Friday evening, right at dinner time. We had a lovely dinner outside in the backyard. We ate and then kids frolicked around a bit. A nice evening. Then Saturday the boys (2 old ones, 2 young ones) headed out on the Highline Canal (a huge path system all throughout Denver suburbs) to go on some more bike jumps.
But what the kids did most was not bike-jump. They did a lot of exploring around! How fun. This was their "secret" place as Jonas told me when he saw the picture. Looks pretty fantastic.

They did do some bike-riding, too, though. I just had to show this one as it is so classic: Jonas' crooked helmet and his tongue sticking out. Awesome.

Guns! What happened was that there were 3 other boys there, ages 10-11ish, who wanted to ride our boys' bikes. Well our boys wanted to play with their toy guns. Perfect swap - everyone was happy!

More riding. . .

We girls had a good time, too, while the boys were away. Lucy pretty much napped the entire time. And Diana (Grandma) helped Emmy make play-dough and then we just sat and played for the next hour or 2. It was fun visiting with Diana and just being with just Emmy.
There she is all ready to make play-dough.

Emmy also enjoyed eating some lunch out back with Grandma - shirtless of course. Why not?

SUNDAY

Miles and origami. Jim and Diana had bought some origami kits and boy oh boy were they tough to do! Holy moly, I think I succeeded in getting about 2-3 of the animals made. But Miles just kept working on getting them - or getting me to work on them. :)

Cute and ready for church.

A lovely Sunday stroll. On the Highline Canal of course.

Professor Maxwell at your service.

Professor Silly Maxwell at your service.

Sunday nite. Grandma Dee (Great-Grandma) came over that evening as we had dinner and celebrated (with rhubarb pie) Diana's birthday. Our 3rd dinner outside - the kids were in heaven. Grandma Dee brought each child a little stuffed animal some friend of hers had given her. Jonas just immediately attached to his and this is how we found him sleeping that night. So sweet.

MONDAY
Race day! Due to parking issues, my whole family was not going to be able to make it and watch me finish. Oh well, no biggie (though of course it would have been fun). So my most wonderful of husbands (okay, okay, I do only have one), who had already expressed a thousand sweet times how he wanted to be there the whole time with me, decided to come up early with me and take Lucy along, too. Lucy might have had a hard time being away from both me and Ben for that long of a time. So we got up around 5am and headed out at 5:20. We got to the event place by 6 and it was a chilly morning. Brrrrr.
Here I am getting ready - with my littlest fan! Of course she was ogled and ahhhed by everyone there. :)

The race started out with a 5K+ run (3.1 miles, plus some). I ran faster than I normally do (which is still sadly slow) and didn't enjoy the last 3/4 of a mile that was all up hill. As in Up a Hill, as opposed to a gradual incline. Wowzers. It was a little daunting because this was the 1st time I was doing it and I knew I still had a bike race to do and then run this again - with this at the very end. Bummer, but oh well! :)


Here I am after my first running-leg and in "transition" area. I drank some water, threw some skittles in my mouth, and headed out. The bike-ride was 18.6 miles. I was hoping for some fast down-hills, but didn't get it. There were downhills for sure, but not long enough or steep enough to fly. . . :) There was a killer up-hill (that I got to do twice since we did the loop 2 times). But the ride was fun and neat and enjoyable (exercise-enjoyable, as opposed to eating-chocolate-chips-enjoyable).

And here is what sweet little Lucy did while I was on my bike. :) And what a good dad to get her to fall asleep without a murmur.

Awake and totally happy! Waiting for mom to come.

The last part of the race. I had just finished The Hill. Yay!

And here I am crossing the finish line. Whoopeee. (The time is not my actual time, seeing as I started 15-minutes after the first group went out.)


And post-race: Lucy had already begged another racer to give her her food - she was "signing" eat or food and the lady claimed, "How can I refuse?" :) Lucy didn't really like it. I didn't either. So I think Ben ate most of it :)

So let's talk goals. I had the goal of a finish time of 2:20-2:30. Totally got that: 2:08:04. Most of you won't care, but here's the low-down (or slow-down, ha! i'm so funny):

1st running leg: 27:48 (pace 8:58 MPH)
1st transition: 0:52
Bike ride: 1:09:22 (pace 16.1 MPH)
2nd transition: 55
2nd running leg: 29:51 (pace 9:38 MPH)

I had the goal of feeling good when I finished. Which I did, for the most part. The bright, blazing sun seems to make me sick. So once I got out of that, I felt dandy. And had some cold water, that was blissful, too. And saw my handsome man and adorable baby. That also made me feel grand.

The last goal I did not meet. I did not run faster on my 2nd leg. Which is understandable, but still. Ben told me I should have run the first one really slow. :)

So I was pleased with myself when compared to myself. Not so much so when compared to others! I was 5th out of 6 in my age group. :) And 118 out of 176 total runners. 36 out of 57 females. Usually in races I'm in the 50th percentile. And that's fine with me - 50% of people run faster than I, and I run faster than about 50% of the others. I like that. So being more towards the bottom is not as fun. But oh well. I think this race attracts more "serious" athletes. I think my Utah races has a wider range of "athletes," with me being right in the middle of that kind of mix. How's that for an excuse?

Anyways, it was a great trip. Ben and I also took a trip to Fort Collins, with Lucy, on Saturday afternoon. I have talked of us moving there one day and so we went to check it out. It was a crazy weekend to go with the college students all dressed up like a bad Halloween party (really, they were in costumes) for a bike parade or something that had happened earlier that morning. But we had a really good time with just the 3 of us. Jim and Diana were amazing to watch our other 3 kiddos so much! What a treat - for all of us. :)

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Advice Please

So I know I've had a few cousins and at least one friend do a triathlon. I never will since I can't swim too well - I won't pay to practice, either. So, I'm doing a duathlon on Labor Day. A duathlon is a run, ride, run event. It's been really fun training for it - at least it's different than just running. I love running, but it's good to mix it up a bit.

So, since I've never done a multi-sport event, I need some advice. Like what did you do for water? Just leave it by your bike at the transition spot? Did you eat anything - like MnMs or jelly-beans - for some quick energy at transitions? Should I wear I visor when I run since I'll be running when the sun is up (which is something that I hardly do).

What other tips do you have for me?

And just so you know (or maybe this is just for my pride: admitting defeat before I even start!): I think I'll be one of the slowest racers. And I'm not just sayin' this. I've looked at last year's results and while this race might be a good "first-time duathlon" it doesn't necessarily mean it's for slow people. Oh well. Someone's gotta be last, why not me?

Also, it's a 5.2K run, 30K bike ride, then another 5.2K run. I have a goal time (remember I'm slooooow, seriously) of between 2:20 and 2:30 (but that doesn't include my transition times, which is a part of my time. So I'm not really sure what to expect?). I also have a goal of feeling good when I'm done. :) Another goal: to have my last run be faster than my first running-leg! I don't know why, but this has usually happened in my training. Not way faster, but anywhere from 45 seconds to 2 minutes faster. And when I checked out past results nobody ran faster their 2nd run. So maybe that's far-fetched, but I think it would be cool. We'll see!