Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Boys and The Girls

This is what the
did on Saturday:
cut up huge fallen tree with chainsaw, built fire and ate fastfood
And the girls
shopped, went to lunch and had pedicures.

Everyone had a perfect day.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Searching For a Fabulous Find

Today I discovered the new Salvation Army Family Store!
I was with Sommer at the time and asked if she minded if we took a quick peak.
"Ewww!" She replied. "Used clothes? Have they been washed?"
I tried to get her a little bit more excited by telling her she might find a pair of Ugg boots.
"Yeah right. Like someone is going to get rid of those!" she said.
I couldn't wait to get inside and start searching for a fabulous find. Sommer reluctantly stood beside me as I started scoping out the place. Rows and rows of jeans, sweaters, name it, they had a rack (or two) for it.
I showed her a totally cute Old Navy skirt. She wouldn't have anything to do with it. I found some American Eagle interest whatsoever.
But I was determined to find something. I will admit that knowing she wasn't comfortable made my shopping extravaganza a bit stressed. I came away with nothing...THIS TIME! But I did see some great things such as:
Mini Boden shirts (the cutest brand for kids from England)
A couple of books I really wanted (only $1)
A big comfy black sweater (Sommer said it was too big for me)
A Banana Republic shirt
Some cute skirts (Gap, JJill)
I will be back and I will find something fabulous. Just you wait.
And I am going solo...

Friday, November 28, 2008


I was running today and was ever so grateful for my IPOD.
Even more thankful for
music! if you want to get movin', here are some of my lastest and greatest
get ya movin'
songs (pleae don't judge...I know, some of the singers are a bit teen):
New Shoes: Paolo Nutini
Give it 2 Me: Madonna
Human: The Killers
Paper Planes: M.I.A
Just Dance: Lady GaGa and Colby O'Donis
Womanizer: Britney Spears
All I Want is You: Barry Louis Polisar
Shake it: Metro Station
No Scrubs: TLC
Hop a Plane: Tegan and Sara
Gettin' Jiggy Wit it: Will Smith
Mercy: Duffy
Leavin': Jesse McCartney
White Winter Hymnal: Fleet Foxes
I'm Alright: Jodee Messina
Pump It: Black Eyed Peas
How Far We've Come: Matchbox Twenty
Me Love: Sean Kingston
Potential Break Up Song: Aly and Aj
Viva La Vida: Coldplay
Strange Hold: Ted Nugent
(if you want more...I have 'em)
...and if you ask really nice, maybe I will put them on a disk for you..

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Best Preschool

We love our preschool:
4 R's.

Every year they put on a Thanksgiving Lunch for all of the children. They don't ask us for anything.

And for Christmas, instead of "teacher's gifts, " they ask us to bring in a toy to donate to


I can't believe my little Ashton is our last 4 R's student.

I love this school.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Bed Wetting

If you grew up wetting the bed (I was five), your husband grew up wetting the bed (he was 6) and you have five kids living under one roof...YOU WILL EXPERIENCE someone wetting the bed each week.
Take for instance Sunday night.
Two brand spankin' clean beds...WET. Making things more work for me the next day is how my my kids deal with the situation during the night.
Theylike to take their HUGE down comforters and place on the lovely wetness. They then lie on top, staying dry. This leaves me with not only, matress cover, sheets and clothes to wash but MASSIVE bedspreads...which take like 5 cycles to dry in the dryer.
Bless their hearts least they don't wake up their very OLD mother in the middle of the night.
...and bless my four year old's heart too. After wetting his bed, he takes his little blankie, a couple of pillows and camps it right on the floor beside his bed.
Gotta run and make a bed!

Friday, November 21, 2008

I Saw It!

I saw TWILIGHT this afternoon!
...didn't love it.
But I liked it. Especially Edward.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Nerd Alert

My 20 year High School Reunion is coming...

What a bunch of nerds!
(do you know which one is me?!)
Ironically, one of my kids asked me what a nerd was last night...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Today my friend,
brought me over my very own Metronome.
It helps a musician keep time with the music.

I am attempting to learn a Beethoven piece (not optimistic) so we can play it together with his violin...

...I am thinking I need at least 2 years of practicing...

and even then, I am not so sure.

I have been thinking lately that I need help with keeping time with life.

I am attempting to learn to be more





Full of Love

as I am bombarded with life's demands.

I need a metronome. A beat that keeps me steady. When I get off track, I will immediately know something is off, not quite right. I will do all in my power to get back on the beat.

But we do have Life Metronomes...many of them:

The Holy Ghost


Our Children


we have to listen... we have to be willing...we have to work keeping life's beat.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Getting to Gettysburg

Our family went to
We drove through three states and arrived in just over an hour. I told the kids that "when I was growing up, that would have been impossible."
They said, "cool" and went back to their movie...
Here are some serious soldiers (with Abe Lincoln in the back).

Luckily we only have 5 kids...a sixth wouldn't fit on the cannon.Our favorite stop was Devil's Den. Here we found huge rock formations where the kids (and parents) squirmed in and out, scrambled up and over and wriggled through the stones.

Garth is working on getting the second half of his body through this crevice.

Inside the rock.

Looking up at my cute man.

Calvin was having "a moment."

Upon arriving, Tate scrambled up this rock. He danced around.
He was so happy.

Happy Still...
But I have to tell you that after following his brothers around the dangerous rocks (there were huge dangerous crevices that had 20 feet drops), we all had a huge scare. I was with Ashton and heard screaming. I ran up to the top of one of the rock formations and saw Tate hanging by his finger tips from a ledge. Below was a deep crack (and wide). Calvin and I got to him seconds before, he fell. On lookers were staring in fright. I grabbed his hand and lifted him over the drop onto a safe spot...just in time.
We are grateful for miracles.

Sommer looking over the valley.

I love these picture of Ashton and Ethan working themselves through the rock.

It was so Windy and Cold!
We were loving these rocks to ward off the chill.

The wind was whipping on the top of this hill. The boys could totally lean forward and the wind held them up.

Stopping to see the Virginia Monument.

The "Tower."
I have to admit I was a bit nervous with the strength of the wind and low railings.
The kids ran up without waiting. But everyone was safe and

A bit cold...

Thanks Garth for planning such a great adventure!
We hope our kids came away with a greater understanding of the sacrifices that were made on this hollowed ground in 1863...

A Wonderful Cause...

Hilary has a new CD (to hear her sing live click here):
"If I Only Had Today." sister rocks!

And my brother
rocks too!
...together, Mark and Hilary are doing something wonderful!
Here is the amazing cause...
South Valley Sanctuary

Mark says,

"For the past three plus years I've been a volunteer on the board for a non-profit domestic violence shelter ( The sanctuary provides emergency shelter for women and their families who are in immediate physical danger. It has been a rewarding experience. I recently approached Hilary about performing a benefit concert for the shelter and she has graciously accepted. The concert and dinner will be held at LaCaille restaurant ( on November 21. If any of you are going to be in town or have friends who might be interested, I'd encourage you to attend or pass along an invitation. The cost will be $100 per person, with all proceeds going to benefit the shelter."

Saturday, November 15, 2008

No Dust Bunnies Here...

I am not going to mention whose bed this might be but I am going to take the time to warn you what might be hiding under your child's dust ruffled bed. If you thought dust bunnies were bad...what about this?!

This is all trash. Halloween candy anyone?!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Memory Lane...

Today I was taking a "run" down memory lane. I found these photos from 5 years ago when my baby brother, Matt and his wife, Tiffanie came to Virginia for a visit. It was extra special because Matt (the runner extraordinaire...marathon PR of 2:39), had been training me via email/phone for my first marathon! He surprised me by coming out to cheer me on and then ran the last 15 or so miles with me. He was such an inspiration, that it turned me into a lover of marathons, taking me from a 3:53 (my first marathon time) to my PR of 3:30 (four years later on the same course).
He is a rockin' brother (Mike and guys rock too)!

On their visit we went to Harper's Ferry with all of our kids...they only had two at the time and we had 4. Their Lizzie (6 weeks older than Tate), is only 1 here. By the way, I miss my long hair...growing it back as I write.

Here is TATE in all of his glory. He can still be found playing in dirt.

Look at little SOMMER. I can't believe our little girl is growing up. It is all happening way too fast.

Boys are born shooting guns. They know how to hold 'em, make the noise and turn anything into a weapon. CALVIN...our total boy...shooting the photographer.

Here we all are (sporting the ever so popular GAP hooded those things)! ETHAN is so little. I can't believe that he is Ashton's age in this photo. We still own that jogging stroller...used it today matter of fact! Luckily, I was only pushing one kid!

And here is the Porter Family, minus Ashton. He would start "developing" a few weeks after this photo was taken (TMI?!).

What fun for me, taking this trip down memory lane. We are all growing up way too fast. Lucky for me I have a husband (and daughter) with super memories to capture the moments for me. It is really the main reason I blog remember.
And boy howdy-how I wished I lived closer to my siblings...MISS YOU GUYS! No fair I am all by myself on the east coast!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Friend Since Third Grade

This is my oldest friend...not in age of course! I have known this dear lady since 1980 when our family moved from Cheyenne, Wyoming to Anchorage Alaska (did you know our mom's were best friends too...and still are?!).

You know you have a great friend when after 29 years, they haven't changed a bit (time to plug in my scanner and get some proof). She has always been kind, funny, real, and someone I could trust. We were the cutest little things during those pre-teen years, hanging out with our big brothers or bugging our older sisters.

Through high school, I had someone who was a friend to all and supportive... and although surrounded by so many, I knew she would be there for me. We stood by our values no matter what (and it didn't take long before our friends knew the kind of people we were).

After growing up and getting ready to attend BYU, everyone told us NOT to be room mates! They said it would never work out! How wrong "they" were. We became even better friends during our years at the big BYU. I had someone who listened, cleaned up my side of the mess every now and then (we took turns with the disasters we created), participated in pranks (remember the blue sock?), understood my crazy quirks and was always matter what. We played racquetball, ran, climbed the "Y," went on road trips, studied and slept. She was a constant in her beliefs (and it wasn't until recently she told me she wasn't always on her knees praying for hours...she actually had fallen asleep that position), never crossing the line, always keeping the faith.

We both served missions. She wrote me letter after letter, each one building me up and keeping a part of home so near when home was so far away.

We both married boys from Virginia (3 months apart). Thus keeping our friendship right where we needed it (although I know it would have remained strong no matter the distance).

We both had five kids (4 boys and 1 girl) all the same ages.

And today we are as close as we the little girls giggling under the sheets talking about cute boys some 29 years ago. Besides a few wrinkles (I think I have more) things are the same. Giggling will happen when I am with my friend...she is so funny. And guaranteed, I am asking her advice and she gives me "right" answers. It's also sharing the joys of motherhood (and how to keep it that way) and me asking her to "tell me about the old days (my memory isn't so great)."

I am so thankful, I was given this friend. I love you Maleen...your parents got it right when they put Joy in your name!

You Can't Beat Chuckers

What should you do when the kids are out of school?! Go to Chuck-E-Cheese's of course! We did have a no school today due to the Veteran's Holiday. But we lucked out...Fairfax County Schools were in school. Since I dislike crowds so much, we headed to a Chuckers in the Fairfax area! The place was brand new, had loads of new games and the place was ours!

Calvin and Ethan were thrilled with their drinking "glasses." They have never looked better having soda swirl around their eyes when they drink. Too funny. I think it only cost us around $20 in tokens...and they are worth 50 cents.
They loved this bubble ride. Ashton rode it numerous times. Ethan's joy radiates from his face as he takes a turn. There were quite a few "simulator" like rides at this Chuck-E-Cheese. Great fun!

Monday, November 10, 2008

8 miles

Running Boston 2008....

I ran 8 miles today.

I am so thankful I can run again. After 6 months of pain and suffering (most of it mental from the inability to run), my stress fracture is healed! Ahhh! But as one injury fades into the distance, another begins to bunion (thanks to my good friend Dana for pointing it out last year). I didn't even know I had one...I thought the huge bump on the side of my big toe was just part of me. I asked the doctor about it after he took my cast off last month. He told me not to worry about it unless it was causing me pain. Ironically, I have never felt pain there...until the cast came off. I then went running a few weeks later and thought it was the strangest toe hurt. Of all places, a toe. But I have learned to run with pain. I think it comes with old age. Everyone has pain somewhere...I can take the toe pain right now.

The possibility of running the Boston Marathon again totally thrills me! I am testing my body's limits this month and inching my mileage up to see if it can take it. Actually...after training and then running last year with a broken foot, I know I can take it, but pain free would be so much more fun...

Anyone want to go for a run!?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Family, Friends and Fire

When your friends say bring the family...there will be fire...we come a running! What a perfect afternoon we had on Skyline Drive in the mountains of Virginia! A bit cold, but nothing hot chocolate or fire can't cure!
Ashton relaxing in a bed of leaves.
Tate and his buddy Cameron. Keeping each other in and out of trouble!

I loved this picture of Calvin throwing leaves...

Calvin with his new haircut. We are pleased we can see his face again. What a cute boy.

I will tell you something. The most simple things bring you closer together...thank you family, thank you friends...and for the warm fire, thanks.

This is Our Man...

We are the luckiest 6 people in the world!
This is OUR man! He is isn't scared of anything (except spiders, ticks and when you jump out and scare him when he comes around a corner). We love that he is goofy, even at his age (he is like 30 something).
Not only can he chop wood, he can find it too! (Moments after this picture was taken, he chopped off his finger, no wait, that was what happened when he was chopping wood a few years ago)

He doesn't just find the "easy kind of wood," the kind any old person can find just lying around. No, no, he pushes his own wood down and then and only then will he chop it up for our fire.

He usually inspects each tree before pushing it over. Here he is analyzing this speciman to see if it is worthy of our fire. Look at Ethan checking out his amazing father!

After searching, pushing over and chopping the wood, we can all relax by the blazing warm fire and enjoy an afternoon of hotdogs and smores. Thanks Garth for being our man. And for teaching our four little men how to grow up to be real men just like their father.