Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Dear Kids, ______ Is My Favorite Child

Dear Miles, Jonas, Emmy, and Lucy,

So you all like to ask me which one of my kids is my favorite.  As a parent, we are not supposed to have favorite children . . . but I do.  And I will tell you who it is soon . . .

But, first, you have each had your turn as my favorite child.  Miles, you for-sure held that position for at least the first 21 months of your life - seeing as you were my only child.  Jonas, you took over Miles' position as favorite when you came along.  A new, sweet baby versus a toddler - it wasn't too hard for you, Jonas, to win "Mom's favorite" during that time!  Emmy you came along in 2007 and as a beautiful new baby and our first girl, you took the claim to being my favorite child.  How fun you were to dress!  For the next few years it probably depended on the day who was my favorite.  But dear little Lucy came along in 2010 and "favorite child" definitely belonged to you, Goose, at least for a while! 

But now it is 2017 and you are all dying to know who my favorite child is.  So I will tell you.

My favorite child is Brigham.  That's right, our dog.  So if you want to become my favorite child here are just a few tips from Brigham:

1.  Always (as in 100% of the time) be excited about going for a hike - jiggle your entire body, in fact, to show your excitement.  Keep coming up to me and push your nose on my body because you just can't stand having to wait a second longer for our hike!  You should know we're going out for an adventure just because of what I wear - so, yes, show total excitement when you know we're going for a hike (or a bike ride or, heck, even a walk around the block).

2.  Never complain on the before-mentioned hike.  In fact, run and frolic and have the time of your life!  But, never get so far ahead whereas I can't see you - or, if by chance you do, wait a moment or two until you see me, give me a nod, and then continue with your frolicking.

3.  Don't require any special treats or snacks while hiking.  Because, duh, the hike is the treat!

4.  Always thank me for an awesome adventure.  But, please, not in licks.

Those are just a few things you can do to claim the title of "Mom's favorite child."  Good luck!


Sunday, September 17, 2017

An Update on ALL of Us

I know that my updates get long and wordy . . . but I haven't done one in a while . . .

Ben - His days of bishoping are now numbered.  Probably in the 60-day range or so.  I'm excited!  I know he is too in many ways - but I also think he's feeling all of the "I should have's" or "I didn't do enough here's," etc.  He gave a great ward-conference talk last week and I was hoping that his stress that he'd been feeling because of it would go away.  Which I guess that stress went away, but it was a heavy Sunday full of heavy issues and he almost seemed even more stressed afterwards.  Again, I'm excited for his release!  :)  Work continues to go just fine - he works with Dr. Singh in the hospital on Mondays and the rest of his time at the Surgical Center. 

Me - I have been pretty busy since school has started.  Out of the 4 weeks of school, I have worked 3 of them.  I wasn't supposed to work last week, but they needed me and it's hard for me to say no - even though I wanted to.  A group of ladies were getting together on Thursday and so I opted for not sleeping after my shift and hanging out with them all day.  We had a great time biking from Ridgway to Ouray, then to lunch, then to the Hot Springs.  It was way better than sleeping all day!  But, yes, I was tired.  Work is okay.  I have been floated a couple of times to the med-surg. floor - which I hate.  If that continues, I really will quit my job.  I hate med-surg. that much - it's actually why I quit the last time (8 years ago) I worked.  The weeks I work I am just busy with work, helping out in my kids' classrooms, grocery planning and shopping, laundry, and picking up the house.  So when that opportunity came last week to do something "fun," I just had to forgo sleep.  I'm still suffering from achilles tendonitis and some sciatic issues.  It makes me feel old, although I don't think 38 is necessarily old.  I have a new calling coming up next week . . . stay tuned to find out what it is.  :)

Miles - He is in his last year of middle school.  As far as I know, he is doing okay.  He joined StuCo (Student Council) after I encouraged Jonas to do so.  I'm now kicking myself that I didn't encourage Miles to join it his 6th-grade year!  Doh.  Miles likes StuCo and loves being part of the concession stand at our school for the local sporting activity.  He likes making the nachos.  He loves getting 1$ of concession food per hour he "works."  Go junk food.  He and Jonas love getting to school early to play Gaga ball.  Check it out here.  This gaga ball court is outside and is extremely popular.  A student built it for his Eagle project.  It's awesome.  Miles has had his fair shares of wins.  I'm scared of our high school here and am not excited for him (or anyone in my family) to go there.  So . . . I started doing a little research in to BYU's High School courses.  I am definitely looking in to that as an option for next year.  We will see.

Jonas - He seems to be happy with middle school so far.  He likes riding his bike to school each day with Miles.  And he, too, likes being a part of StuCo and likes telling us his funny experiences.  It's cute.  He started up swim-team again.  He was supposed to go four times a week, but that's just too much.  So he goes three times a week and misses out on Tuesdays practice - which is our church youth night and so it works out well.  He will sometimes complain of having to go to practice, but he always comes out of his practices happy!  He still is so emotionally labile - he can be fine and dandy one second and then you tell him an answer he doesn't like and he thinks the sky is falling.  He'll be turning 12 in just a few short months!  So fun.

Emmy - She is adjusting okay to her class.  She is in a 3/4 class - so it has both 3rd graders and 4th graders.  I'm not going to go in to all the details, but it's not the best of situations, but is working out okay.  She has a male teacher that she loves, "even though he yells a lot."  She had a friend come over after school on Friday and that was a pretty big deal.  I just don't know many of the parents and so it's hard to set up play-dates.  But I did and she and Rosalinda had a good time.  Rosa has big crushes on Miles and Jonas.  :)  Emmy is hopefully getting ready for a gymnastics competition soon - but her coach has yet to sign-up for a specific meet and date.  I hope he does because Emmy really does want to go to a competition.  She goes to gymnastics 2-3 times a week and loves it.

Lucy - She is doing very well as a 1st-grader.  I have been to her class several times (every Tuesday at 10) and it's fun to see her and her classmates.  She's a smart and good student.  She is in her third year in her music/pre-piano class and loves it - although it is getting harder, which means harder "homework."  She loves gymnastics and I wish she could go more often and be pushed a little more.  But she is going to a different class now and I do think it will push her a bit more.  She, like her sister, has potential for sure.  One of her best-friends, Dory, is now going to the Ridgway school and will be moving out to Ridgway sometime in October.  It's a bummer as they were such great friends!  But she still has a lot of good friends at school.

Wilson and Brigham are just fine!  Wilson seemed almost-dead before we left for Midway, but we came home and he was looking more alive than ever!  That dog is definitely on his 9th life.  :)  Brigham is great and loves, loves, loves going out with Ben and me when we go mountain biking.

Our family is getting ready for our 2nd-ever triathlon.  Our teams will be the same - Team Wilson (myself, Miles, and Jonas) and Team Brigham (Ben, Emmy, and Lucy).  There are quite a few more family-teams this year and so we aren't expecting our 1st and 2nd place finishes as we did last year b/c there was only us.  :)  Our family is also planning on hiking our first 14er this weekend.  Camping Friday night and then heading up Mount Handies dark-and-early Saturday morning!

And that's that.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Swiss Days

It had been a few years since we got to enjoy Swiss Days and its festivities and so we decided to go up to my parents' place for a long weekend and enjoy Swiss Days, my parents, Midway, etc.!  We were able to leave on Thursday (we checked the kids out of school just a wee bit earlier than normal) and came home Monday night.  So it was a nice, long weekend break for us!

On Friday we went to Swiss Days.  The girls each found some things to spend their money on . . . the boys were on their own to roam, browse, etc.  Neither boy spent any of their money on Friday.  After a couple hours of checking out all the craft vendors, we went back to my parents' home and ate lunch - and then it was off to the pool!  We grilled some dinner and then Ben and I (and Brigham as our third-wheel) went on a mountain-biking date.  Ben had checked out some trails right by my parents house and so we went and explored that - we couldn't quite find the trail he wanted to do, so we just rode wherever.  It was fun.

On Saturday Ben took the kids down early for the pancake breakfast.  I went for a run with Brigham.  I met up with them later and we watched that parade together - my parents were busy these two days volunteering their time at the Ham and Cheese sandwich booth (which was the booth their ward was assigned to help with.  My mom had already spent hours and hours making their special cookies and Swiss Bread.  She was called/assigned over this duty.).  The parade was fun!  We then walked around the vendors some more and got some lunch.  We watched some of their musical performances, including the One Voice Children's Choir. The boys bought me some cool earrings - how fun!  Jonas ended up not getting anything at all - Miles bought a cool shirt.  We went back and I took the kids swimming - while Ben grocery shopped (he loves going to the grocery store!) and made granola for dinner.  :)  After dinner we watched the BYU football game.  It was very depressing - enough said about that.

Sunday was church, of course.  The kids all knew where to go as we were just there two weeks before!  Jonas fit in easily with his class of boys.  :)  Lucy enjoyed her class and teachers, too.  Miles was fine.  Emmy had a great teacher - her grandpa!  My dad teaches her class and so that was fun for them!  After church and some of the kids eating lunch (the rest of us fasting), we took the kids for a walk up Memorial Hill.  It was memorial in the sense of it being super-duper hot and the kids being super-duper grouchy that we made them go for a hot walk - ha!

We had a really fun and yummy dinner that night - raclette.  The kids totally enjoyed making up their own dishes.  Super fun.  After dinner we went over to Christian Sabey's house in Heber.  We visited with them for a few hours and then went home.

On Monday Ben and I (and our third-wheel) went on another biking date.  It was an awesome trail and we had a great morning ride!  We came back and then went to Zermatt's mini-golf course.  It was totally fun - except when my ball was so close to the hole and I couldn't get it in again and again and again!  The kids really had a good time, too - as did my dad.  It was my dad's birthday, too!  We should have let him win - but, instead, he got 3rd place.  :)  Then it was back for a quick swim in the pool - while I got the car packed up and lunch ready.

On our way home Jonas ended up barfing.  Yuck.  We stopped in Junction for Cafe Rio - and to clean up the car as much as possible.  We were able to take out the floor mat and clean that up (I say we, but really mean Ben).  Other than that, it was a pretty uneventful ride home.

Brigham was really interested in our fancy Arby's dinner on the way out.  :)

 Pancake breakfast time!

 Midway is such a cool town!

 My dad found a great spot and parked the Ranger there for us to watch the parade - like he always does!

 Oh, Jonas did buy himself a snow-cone.  :)

 Watching the parade on the Ranger is so cool and fun.

 The boys helped Grandma get our fun Sunday dinner ready.

 Our memorial walk up Memorial Hill.  Brigham and I were the only ones smiling.  :)

 That's pretty much how all the kids felt!  :)

 Brigham was just one big slobbery mess.

 Putting the final touches on our raclette dinner.

 Super fun and delicious!

 While Ben and I were out on our date on Monday morning, I had Miles make Grandpa one of his favorite things (at least it used to be):  Coffee Cake!  Happy birthday to you!

 Brigham likes air-hockey, too.

 Mini-golf.  Lucy had quite a stellar start, but it quickly went downhill from there.  :)

 Emmy had a great time and even beat me!  (Which isn't saying much, but still!)

 Jonas wasn't too great.  But I think he still had fun, although it doesn't look like it in this picture . . . :)

 Miles did awesome - probably because he wore his awesome new shirt he bought at Swiss Days.  He ended up getting 2nd place!

 Ben.  He's always good at whatever he does!

 My dad had some great holes - and then some not-so-great holes.  He lost to Miles by one point.  :)

Hehe, the winner!  I made him pose for me.  :)  The results:  Ben, Miles, dad, Emmy, me, Jonas, Lucy.  My mom was score-keeper.

Another awesome trip to Midway.

The Day Emmy Turned 10

Well it's taken me a while to get this posted because I've been working the past two weeks and we went out of town last weekend . . . so finally I have some time.

Emmy's 10th birthday was on a Sunday - which doesn't lend itself to the most "fun" birthdays, but I think it was a really great day for her and the rest of us.  I had set up a Daddy-daughter date for Emmy and Ben on Saturday and so they went to Amazing Glaze and painted some really cute mugs.  They both had a great time!

On Sunday, we got up in the morning, Emmy opened a gift, everyone ate some sugary birthday cereal (Cocoa Puffs) and then we were off to church.  Emmy had fun at church - sharing time included having little ice cream sundaes (to go along with a great lesson on Sundays/Sundaes) and her class had a sub and they didn't have a lesson, just "fun" as Emmy put it.  :)

Ben gave Emmy the gift of coming home straight from church - Emmy even got to ride with him.  That was pretty awesome.  We had lunch, opened up the rest of Emmy's gifts, and then watched the movie Matilda.  For dinner Emmy requested porcupine meatballs and they were yummy!  Ben then had to leave "for an hour" meeting for ward conference planning, or something like that.  Two-and-a-half hours later, he came back.  There might have been a tear or two shed by the birthday girl.  But Ben finally came home, we quickly had cake, and then sent the kids to bed - it was a school-night after all.  :)

It was a great day and Emmy was super happy - she's so old now!

 10 - wow!

Emmy having fun opening her gifts.

 Haha, I love this picture.  Emmy is writing in her locked diary . . .while Ben is coming at her with her nerf gun.  :)

 Emmy got something that puts jewels in her hair - Jonas had a lot of fun doing it!

 Emmy and one of her favorite gifts - Broster the teddy bear.  The kids all pitched in their money (plus a little bit from me and Ben) to buy the bear at the farmer's market.  We decided on Broster - a mix of brother and sister, since they gave it to Emmy.  Both Emmy and Broster are so cute!

 Another favorite gift - a mini locker.  She requested it - but I don't think either of us knew it would be this small!  I love the kindergarten picture she found and put up in the locker!

 Birthday cake!  It was some ice cream cookie dough cake.  Very rich, but yummy, too.

10 years old . . . aiyiyi.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Happy Double-Digits Emmy!

Well, you are 10 today!  Happy birthday!  You've been excited for this day for quite a while.  You kept telling me how once you're 10 you'll be able to stay up late.  I was like, "Uh, no."  Mainly because you share a room with your 7-year old sister.  Then I read your birthday letter from last year and it mentioned how when you are 10 you'll get to stay up later!  We'll see about that . . . there is a chance we'll move the boys permanently downstairs and then you girls would have your own rooms - then maybe you can stay up later.  :)

As I read your letter, I thought, "Yep, she (you) is pretty much the same!"  Still a lot of sugar and spice and FIRE.  :)  You're crazy and can drive me crazy lots.  But I'm also crazy about you and love seeing you and hearing you and watching you.

Seeing you:  You cut your hair real short this year and it was a perfect fit on you!  You got oodles and oodles of comments from people everywhere who just adored your hair.  I loved it and so did you.  But you are now growing it out . . . we'll see how long that lasts once the snarls come back, too.  :)  Either way, you are totally beautiful.  I love seeing how you tie up all your shirts in the back with a hair rubber-band.  It's not something I taught you - your figured out that style all on your own.  You're petite, of course, so a lot of shirts are big on you and you like a more fitted look.  It's good to see you have some sense of style . . .  I love seeing you and your sister play.  I love seeing you and your brothers play.  I love seeing you run.  I love seeing you read.

Hearing you:  I love to hear you sing.  You sing just like me - I'm so sorry!  I have nobody to blame but myself for that.  :)  But it's sweet.  You do like to sing to songs we listen to in the car.  Your brothers, mainly Jonas, do not totally love it.  I loved hearing you talk about Dork Dairies this past summer.  You totally got in to the series this summer and would tell me all about it.  We even listened to one of the books on our girls-only trip to Utah.  I also love hearing you talk about your "special" friends.  You are greatly endeared to the special need students at your school.  You've had a couple in your classes and you have been really great with them and they have all really liked you, too.  You would make a great special-ed teacher!

Watching you:  Of course I love watching you at gymnastics.  It's fun to see you get new skills.  I especially love watching you with your cousin Grace doing gymnastic routines.  I can't wait to watch you someday in a gymnastics competition!  Your coach says you and your team will be competing soon, but we'll see . . . I hope so.  I loved, loved, loved watching you sing with Lucy in sacrament meeting on Mothers' Day.  You and Lucy memorized your verse and it was just about the best present ever.  I loved it so much.

I love seeing you - especially when you make good choices.  I love hearing you - especially when you are saying nice things.  I love watching you - especially when you are working hard.

I love being a part of your life and especially being your mother!

I love you,

Monday, August 21, 2017

The First Day of School (for everybody else), 2017-2018

And they are back to school - every one of them now!

First-grade for Lucy!  She has Mrs. Dodd.  Jonas had her for first-grade, too.  She is fabulous and Lucy already loves her!  She had a great day and was so happy when I picked her up from school!  Lucky for us, 3 days before school started they hired a third 1st-grade teacher - so Lucy now has 20 kids in her class, instead of 32.  Thank goodness.  This is Mrs. Dodd's last year - it should be a great one with Lucy in it.  :)

 4th-grade for Emmy!  Wahoo.  Although it's a little strange this year as it is 3rd and 4th graders in her class and in every 4th grade class.  Instead of having huge 3rd-grade classes, the teachers decided to have five 3rd/4th grade classes.  So every class is a mix.  Emmy is not thrilled about that at all.  I'm not either, but think it will be okay.  Emmy is thrilled that she has Mr. Scott.  He's like the most fun teacher in the school - plus he gives out candy.  The students all rotate and have other teachers for math and writing, but Mr. Scott is her homeroom teacher and she totally likes him.  She was all smiles picking her up from school today, too!

 Miles is in 8th-grade and still doesn't know how to smile for the camera when it's just him.  :)  He admits it himself and we all had a good chuckle as we looked at the pictures this evening.  Miles has all your regular classes (Algebra, reading, writing), plus science all year (no social-studies - is that weird or no?!), art, and I can't remember.  He seems excited about all of his classes and his teachers.

 All four kids ready for a new year of school!

 Such crazies.

 My adorable Northsiders!

 I rode my bike with the boys for their first day.  Miles is tricky and likes to ride with no hands.  We pray all the time that our boys will be safe as they ride their bikes to and fro school each day!

My handsome Centennials!

Fantastic Fillmores

Our trip to Utah was quick - we got in late Friday, woke up early Saturday, and played with friends late that night.  Then we went to church on Sunday and we left straight from the parking lot to home!  But we still did a lot!

After my triathlon, we came back to my parents' home.  Actually, my dad took our kids home - me, my mom and Ben stopped off at Cabela's on our way home.  The kids got to spend a couple hours at the pool and they loved that.  My parents had something going on that night, and so we went down to Provo.  We wanted to eat out at Macaroni Grill - but it was completely closed down.  Such a bummer!  So we ate (after getting menus and then leaving The Pizza Factory) at a being-remodeled Olive Garden - the ambiance was less-than-ideal, but whatever.

After dinner we went to see our friends the Fillmore family.  There were four of us families that were all great friends here in Montrose.  We Maxwells are the only ones left here!  The Fillmores left first - they moved to Seattle about 6 1/2 years ago.  We haven't seen them since.  But they were getting in to town on Saturday night (the mom, Brandolyn, is going to BYU's education week) and so we went to their grandma's place soon after they got in.  We talked the Fillmores in to hiking the Y.  It was fun and a good adventure.  We loved spending time with Golden and Brandolyn - and their kids!  We topped it off at the BYU Creamery - although most of our family was still full and just got a drink.  :)  It was good and we stayed up too late with them - but it was worth it!

 At the start of the hike!

Six of the eight kids up at the top - little Lucy and Nora were still making their way up.  :)

We love friends and Provo!


Many months ago I signed up for Utah's TriathaMOM.  It's a sprint triathlon that is just for females and is non-competitive.  I had always thought I would never be able to do a triathlon because of the swimming part.  But I started swimming last fall/winter and after months I was able to swim consecutive laps - it was truly a miracle!  I had never ever swam a lap in my life.  I started slowly - I would swim a lap with flippers, a lap with a kick-board, and then a "real" lap.  Then repeat.  My first laps that I swam, and this happened for weeks, I would have to stop after a length.  Anyways, once I started being able to swim laps after laps, I decided to sign up for my very first triathlon.

So last Saturday was the race.  We left after Jonas' first day of middle school and so got in to Utah late-ish.  I was not expecting anyone to come with me in the morning to get all set-up and stuff, but Ben wanted to and was planning on it and so that was super nice.  We dragged Miles along so my parents would only have to take one car with the rest of the crew.

We got up at 4:30 AM and was on the road by 5.  We got to the race by about 6 AM and I was able to set up my transition area and check out "the hill" on the run.  I finally sent the boys away to get some breakfast.  A friend of mine from Montrose was doing it as well - as well as one of her friends.  So I hung out with them.

The race started a little after 7:30 and we were in line waiting our turn for the swim.  We were supposed to be grouped according to our swim times . . . but it was sort of a joke.  We saw "expert" swimmers who wouldn't put their heads in the water, were walking, etc.  The swim-part was quite lame, actually.  I was behind people who were walking (it's a shallow pool)!  It was super frustrating.  I got bonked, hit, and splashed - and I'm sure I did my fair share of hitting, bonking, and splashing.  I lost count of how many times water got splashed up my nose.  It was very unpleasant.  You are told to pass on the left  - which sounds good, but not when you have people swimming on both sides of the lane.  And lots of people - like 10 or so in the same lane.  Anyways, I swam it and finally got out!

Then it was to transition area to get on my socks, shoes, and helmet.  Plus eat an energy chew and put in a stick of gum (in my training I realized how dry my mouth got after swimming; gum really helps).  I felt great on my bike ride.  I ended up passing lots of people.  I made it back way faster than I was predicting.

Last was my run.  I dropped off my bike and helmet and started to run!  It was an out-and-back (like the bike ride) and it started by going down a good hill.  Then it was pretty flat to the half-way point.  Then back - including, of course, going up the hill at the very end.  I passed many people on the run as well - and got passed by one person.  I felt good all the way to the finish line.

I ended up placing 25th out of 364.  That is like amazing for me!  I never do that well!  I think it was because I was with a group of mom-athletes.  :)  But I liked being with them - I felt good and strong.  I honestly felt like I was going to be slow on the bike-ride - but that's because I ride with Ben!  Ha.  Also, I got 7th place out of 100 women in my age group.  Top ten!  Wahoo.  I was really pleased and excited.

I think my training I did over the summer worked great.  I did at least 5-6 "tri-trainings," where I would do it all - swim, bike, and run.  I always swam 1,000 yards for those trainings.  The triathaMOM was only a 300-meter swim.  The bike-ride was supposed to be a 12-mile ride, but was only a little over 11.  The run was a 5K.

 It was still dark and a little chilly!  Here I was setting up my transition area.

 Ben took a picture of the pool.

 Christine, Heather, and myself - all from Montrose and all doing our first triathlon!

 There I am waiting to get in to the pool - finally!  :)

Haha, nice picture Ben!

 Done with swimming (Ben missed me as I jumped out of the pool and ran by) and on to biking!

 Coming in from my ride!

 There was free cotton candy for everyone waiting, plus bouncy houses and face-painting.  It was all free.  My girls really wanted their faces painted, but the line was way too long.  The girls enjoyed the slides and everyone enjoyed the cotton-candy.  :)

 My fans!
 Finishing up my run - almost done!

 Our legs got stamped with our age - awesome.  Ben loved checking out all the ladies' legs to see their ages.  It was actually cool to see everyone's ages!

 My fans!

Me, the TriahaMOM, with my four awesome kids.  My biggest fan and supporter, though, was/is Ben.  He's great and amazing and always super supportive of me!  I'm a lucky gal.

Just for my records, here are my stats:
Place 25th (out of 364), swim time 9:24/swim pace 3:08, T1 time 2:10, bike time 34:42/bike pace 20.7mph, T2 time 0:56, run time 29:03/run pace 9:22, total time 1:16:13:8, 7th place out of 100 in my age division.