Thursday, November 26, 2009


First, I must preface this race account with Calvin's awesome FIRST ever 5k race! The boy ran a rockin' race, coming in at 24:30 without even training one day. Man that boy has talent. I love it. And now I have us signed up (including the rest of the family), for another 5k in a few weeks.

TTTTTT is TT stands for: Thankful That The Thanksgiving TURKEY TROT is Totally Trotted!

I get myself so worked up about races. Why don't I just go out and enjoy the sights and sounds, people and pets, experience and excitement of racing?

Because...I like a CHALLENGE with plenty of pain (epidurals not included)...AND that is what all the other runs during the week are for!

So the latest and greatest idea of mine was to take a few months off from marathon training and dive right into 5k record breaking. That meant no more long 20 mile runs. What it did mean though was running my guts out on the track.

I have plenty of zippity do-DA mentors out there! I have brother Matt who is wicked fast indeed. I have friends here in Virginia who not only run super speedy marathons but blast it in a 5k. This time my friend Jen got on board and decided to be my personal "pacer" today.

My goal: Beat my fastest 5k time to date which was set exactly two years ago: 21:26. And while at it, go ahead and break the 21 minute barrier. That means I had to run a 6:45 minute mile. Ouch for me.

So at 8 am this morning, I attempted to break my personal record....

There are over 3,000 trotters lined up. Many friends have gathered together at the starting line ready to get hearts a racing.

The gun goes off. The first mile is downhill, so the plan was to hit it hard. Within 50 steps, my heart was a pumpin' overtime and my legs a screamin.' Jen places herself a few steps ahead of me and begins giving me a play by play attack plan. This girl isn't even huffing or puffing due to her amazing running skills (her PR is in the low 19 minute range)...and I try to not hold that against her.

You would think a measly 3.1 miles would be a walk in the park...especially compared to 3 and a half hours of running a marathon! But there is nothing like a full out sprint for 20 odd minutes...don't like it one bit. I definitely prefer a longer slower run...

So mile one passes. We hit a 6:35 pace. Perfect time, but I know it is way too fast for my skill level. The only good thing, is all of the children that weave all over the place have been left in our dust.

Mile two begins with a lovely uphill. Then another hill and maybe even another. Jen keeps telling me to pick it up a bit...what?! I think is she crazy! But after seeing our 2 mile split come in at 7:15, I start to worry. I am not going to be able to do this unless I can pick it up!

But then I think, one more lousy mile...7 more minutes...maybe less if I dig deep.

We turn the corner for the final .75 mile (uphill). Jen pulls the pace up and tells me to keep with her. I do! And then she says, "Heather, you will now pass me and start picking people off." I look at my watch, it says I am running 6:15's. I am dying. I can hear the announcer. I am getting closer. My legs are burning. My heart is about to explode. I pass a few boys. I see two speedy girls (go girls) that I just can't catch. I see the timer, it reads 20:50. Click, click...I give it a good push....I give it everything I have...


2 seconds off my goal time.

I think, "Seriously? I couldn't run just 2 seconds faster?!" Nope. I couldn't have. Not this time.

What a great day of pain.

I wonder if I burned enough calories in 21:02 minutes to cover my Thanksgiving dinner? I doubt it.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

I am Not Sick

I am totally not sick. Even though I have somewhat of a cough, I am not sick. I ache a bit, but no way am I sick. My eyes are sore, but nothing a little sleep can't cure. Calvin was home with a 102 fever a few days this week. Nope, I don't have a fever (I have checked a few times though), therefore not sick.

Tonight I feel sick though. A little cough, a little ache, my eyes fever. I guess I should go to bed and give another day of "not being sick" a try.

There is absolutely no time to be sick anyway!

This week:

1. Spent all day Saturday with the General Primary President training all primary presidents in our region (awesome indeed).
2. Sunday drove Sommer to the Washington DC temple to hear/see Sister Dalton, the Young Women's President speak to all of the Young Women in the region (awesome indeed).
3. Two kids to dentist, haircut, Visiting Teaching, was visit taught...
4. Watched Brittany solo for the first time. Her feeding tube was only knocked out three times thus spraying the both of us with her formula. When her mom came home, she assured me this happened often and while I cleaned up the mess in the kitchen, she went to hose down Brittany.
5. Planned a bridal shower for a friend with one week notice...a super success...whew!
6. Let Sommer stay home from school and took her on a New Moon and lunch date.
7. Ran way too much (training for a 5k race next week where I hope to get a personal best)
8. Had our Christmas photos taken (love them) and then had cards I haven't even thought about sending them yet).
9. Stained our decrepit swing set (nightmare)...thanks Calvin for all of the help...other 3 boys, not so much.
10. Took two older boys on date with Garth and I. A little bit of a bust when movie was sold out. time to be sick!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

What to Blog About...

I could blog about all of the Halloween candy I have been eating (just found an entire bag of Reese's...I ate 3 so far today...oops just ate another). Should I mention the amount my kids have been eating?! With five kids, three of which stayed out for hours, only can bring about mounds of the stuff. I keep telling myself I am going to throw it all away, or donate or freeze it...but I can't.

I could blog about the crazy afternoons I have created for myself. I now have 26 piano students and it might be killing me...slowly. I really love it, I do. It just is a lot when five darling kids come home from school, homework needs to be done, dinner prepared, etc. I get calls or emails every other day with moms wanting their kids to take from me (love the compliment), I can't seem to say no. Even when Garth peers into my office as I am talking with them, shaking his head and more. But how grateful I am for the extra income it has provided us during hard times. It's just a lot.

I could blog about the hours of TV I watch each night, many of which are a total waste of my time. I try not to tune in but it calls me...every evening at 8. It's kind of like a time card. I literally "clock out" and begin my zombie-like ritual over and over and over again. I need to stop. But if I did, I would just turn to reading and that usually isn't the scriptures at that hour.

I could blog about Sommer's 8th grade math that I can't do. Or Calvin's 6th grade math. Or dare I admit, Ethan's 4th grade math failures on my part. Thank goodness for a brilliant husband. I think we will be okay with his tutoring skills even through High School. What in the heck are math investigations? That don't even add and subtract like I did growing up!

I could blog about my dirty carpet and my longing for it to be burned. Not going there.

I could blog about my car. About 6 months ago I left the sun roof open (I never use the dang thing and the one time...) on a totally clear night. It poured rain and left 3 inches of water in my middle console. Needless to say, my radio didn't work for weeks. When it finally started working again, there was a constant buzzing from one of the speakers...even when the car was off. This of course ran down the battery. After taking the car in, we were informed it would need to go to the dealer and some small expensive part (which can only be found by ripping off the entire front portion of our car) needed to be purchased. Like we have money for that. At least I have jumper cables in my car and I am pretty.

I could blog about the HUGE amount of food I have in my pantry thanks to Harris Teeter's incredible sales and cutting coupons. It is the greatest thing ever. I know it gives people the creeps when "couponers" start talking about "couponing" and all of the money they save. But in reality, we just want to share the joy of such a simple thing that can save you literally HUNDREDS of dollars a week. It is so dang simple.

I could blog about Brittany. I get to watch her every Tuesday. She has NBIA, a rare genetic disorder. In only a few short years, she went from a normal child to one that is fed through a feeding tube, can't walk or talk. I have learned how to feed her, drive her wheelchair (haven't crashed yet), give her breathing treatments and in an emergency, give her oxygen. She even has her own elevator. She is a beautiful 14 year old girl who loves the Jonas Brothers (this week I found all of their music videos on YouTube, and we watched each one while I feed her. She thought it was really funny when she accidentaly knocked off her feeding tube and it went zipping around spraying us with her formula. And she laughed even louder when I didn't mix up her pills enough in her tube and it clogged the whole thing. I was there holding her syringe full of formula calling out to one of her parents (who had just got home from a walk and were upstairs getting dressed). I said loudly, "Sandy?" "Rich?" "Anyone hear me?" Help?! Brittany started giggling. I then shushed her and said I was going to get in trouble. She laughed more. After no answer, I ended up having to hold the full syringe while maneuvering her electric wheelchair to the base of the stairs in hopes of getting her parents attention. She laughed the whole time...even while I bumped her a few times in the process.
It has given me pause seeing this little girl with so much joy! She can't speak but yet she communicates. She can't walk, but through her loving parents, is able to see the world. She depends on help 24-7 and she gives those that serve her, so much.
I have a tendency to rush through life. When I am with Brittany, my life slows for a moment and I am reminded to hush the rush. I look forward to my time with Brittany.

So I guess that is what I am blogging about today....

Friday, November 6, 2009

Hilary's NEW CD!

I can't wait to hear my sister's new Christmas CD!
Can you?!
If I had a picture like this of myself, I would blow it up lifesize and put it on my front door...I'm just saying.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


It was another successful Halloween!
1. We had two skeletons (Ash not pictured). This is the 8 consecutive year we have had a skeleton child
2. Grandma Gair another Boo-tiful costume for Sommer
3. After a 4 year hiatus, we finally had another "army guy."
4. We almost had a Heather Clone when Ethan decided to dress up like a runner. He changed his mind moments before the night began since his wig itched him like crazy. Darn wig.
5. Our street put on their annual Halloween Block Party.
6. Garth and I made a very cute Osborne couple: Ozzy and Sharon!
7. Calvin went as a simple "ghost."
8. We filled out bags with candy galore! And I love candy.


Saturday, October 17, 2009

How Much Do You Really Want To Know!?

I am busier than I ever thought possible! I thought when the kid's went to school, I would be on the sofa in my pj's eating Ben and Jerry's out of tub and watching Reg.

No. On the contrary! I will preface this by saying all of the business is totally my fault.

It all started on the first day of school when I started gutting out the boys room. It didn't end there. I then switched Cal and Ethan into Ashton and Tate's room. They look great and due to my evil Mother ways, they are remaining clean.

I then proceeded to start my room renovations. This took major muscle, garbage bags full of garbage, clothes to give away, craigslist items up for grabs and undertaking painting my bathroom. After "the couch" was moved to the garage (it was so disgusting no one on craigslist wanted it but a dear garage saler did!...old friends was our eddie bauer denim beauty I slaved a week at the Nordstroms sale to purchase 14 years ago) and other chairs moved in its space the four day project was done. Besides totally stained carpet (which at this point will remain until the day I probably die), my room looks so good! No kids allowed to set foot (or clothing item, toy, etc) in there without a raising their hand and swearing they won't touch, leave, remove or stain anything in there! So far so good.

Then it was time to fix the huge holes and scratches that were given to my walls as Garth moved the above mentioned denim couch to the garage. Bless his heart, he thought Calvin and Sommer were professional movers and asked them to help as I taught piano lessons. I watched in horror as he pinned the couch against the wall with his arms in a high outstretched formation. At the same time he was yelling at the "two movers" to lift! After my little piano student shrunk down onto the piano bench wondering what was going on, I ran to his aide and we finally got the blasted thing into the garage. What was left were three lovely holes and quite a few ornate scratches streaming down the staircase wall. Upon seeing this (and having such a lovely clean and organized upstairs), I decided the OTHER HUGE hole in our wall made a few years ago in the hall by a child slamming the doorknob into the wall (and the next two years, children making that whole bigger and bigger) needed to be dealt with.

After calling my super duper fixer dad, I headed to LOWE's telling myself over and over again..."I can do this!" I bought the necessary items and began patching away. After a nice sanding and what seemed like constant dusty remnants being vacuumed over and over again, it was paint ready!

This is when things got a big hairy. You would think matching paint would be a breeze, right?! WRONG! We had this area of our home painted about 4 years ago. I had lost the swatch but figured I would recognize the name of the paint right away at Shermin Williams. I get there ready to work my memory magic to find out they didn't make that paint anymore! What?! The painting associate told me to simply give them a quarter size sample and they could match it. That would have been nice to know the day before, I PATCHED THE WALL where I could have easily torn a little sample off.

Well I calmly returned home to and actually found the swatch card! I felt so empowered. I marched back the next day to get my paint to find out they didn't know what kind of paint was on my walls!

Well I uncalmly returned home to get a bucket of old paint we had used at the same time but was of course a different color. The next day (mind you...this store is 15 miles away), I march in with sample card and paint can. They tell me, that the paint in the can I brought in was not the same that could have been used for the lighter color I needed!

I couldn't believe it! I just need some paint to quickly cover my repaired walls people! It was then they used their computer to find me in their system from 4 years ago. Luckily I knew my painter and as easy as pie...they found me...they found the paint! Why didn't we do this to begin with.

So with paint in hand, I returned home and began to cover. Now...hoping the paints matched after four years, my blood pressure began to rise (you see, these walls connect to an entry way with ceilings sky high...and we are in no position to be repainting whole walls). As it dried I was overjoyed to see the colors matching perfectly. But later, tragedy. The new paint was shiny and the old paint dull. All were eggshell but after four years...eggshell dulls, therefore new paint is shiny.

Now you can see, in many a place, shiny and dull, shiny and dull. Boo to that project. IT will remain as is until further notice!

One room left to do upstairs...SOMMER! She has had the same paint, decor, etc for 5 years. I decided I would go ahead and redo her whole space. And within two or three days we will reveal her new ROOM! And let me tell you it ROCKS! But I am tired.

All of this and so much more have filled the past 30 days:

1. I have 24 piano students each week
2. I ran a triathlon relay (doing the 10k portion), the Army 10 miler and the Baltimore Marathon
3, Trying to go to the temple each week...seem to be averaging every other
4. Primary President
5. Craigslist Seller Extraordinaire (need help...I will help you)
6. Lunching with friends
7. Trying to help Garth get kids to their sports
8. Watching their sports
9. Not writing on my BLOG.

I am all over pjs, couch and ben and jerry's the next 30 days!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Random Happenings

Since I haven't blogged forever, here is a random sampling of our Haymarket Happenings the past month.
It started with the first day of school. More importantly, my first day with no kids in 14 years.
Here is our street's bus stop.
Elementary School: Ethan (4th grade), Tate (1st grade) and Ashton (Kindergarten)
Middle School: Sommer (8th) and Calvin (6)

They are so cute together and such great friends. Calvin is loving his first year of middle school. He even made the football team being only one of two sixth graders who made it!

Then we went to the Renaissance Festival in Maryland.

Garth is the biggest fan of this annual event. And we love to take him!

Here he is getting ready to win an ax throwing contest. Yes, he did win. He says he was born in the wrong time.

The kids think he is a do I (minus the donkey hat).

Very tall man...

Our little Fool.

Our Gossip...

Another fool and a sloth...

They were punished and quickly repented.

And then just this past weekend I ran my first triathlon. The only problem is I still haven't swam or biked...maybe next year. Being on a relay was the only way to go...and much warmer.

Here is my teammates: Stephanie (biker extraordinaire) and Vicente (he could have whipped us in any event but since neither of us swim he had to take that slot).
We ended up getting fourth (by 30 seconds...not taking the fall for that one) out of 20 or so teams) and missing the

Garth was sent to Utah to see the BYU game (I won't mention which one). He had a blast with ALL of my siblings (boo again...wish I could have joined in the fun)! Thanks Matt, Mark, Mike and Hilary for showing him a super time!

Why so dorky?
Love my boys!

When Your Happy...

I love the song, "When Your Happy and You Know it..." I am happy. I know it (I am clapping my hands right now by the way). Nothing spectacular is going on here to make me extra happy. No glamorous vacations planned, money is still tight, so are my pants. Kids still think I am a mean mom, the basement has MESS written all over it. And so on.

But I will tell you a little secret:

I have been getting up early these days. We read scriptures with the kids (sometimes only a verse but reading...), get them all off to school without too much craziness (last year I was awaken by my daughter each morning as she sweetly said from the front door, "bye Mom, I love you." Yes, it is true, I was lazy). We kneel to pray as a family. The dishes are done, lunches are made all before 9 am.

I believe more in the council, "Early to bed, Early to rise." I am still working on the early to bed wisdom but getting up each morning is putting an extra spring in my step.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Get a Grip

I need to get a grip and start writing on my blog again. I have been so busy I feel like the most I can do is write a one sentence blurb on Facebook these days!

So much has happened the past month:

1. We moved west
2. Had another child
3. Got another dog (and a horse and a coup of chickens)
4. Garth had a face lift
5. Sommer graduated from High School and entered BYU
6. Calvin went on the golf pro circuit and placed!
7. Ethan finished and published his memoires
8. Tate joined the circus
9. Ashton took over as manager at the local McDonald's (mostly for the free chicken nuggets)
10. I retired from running and eat bonn bonns all day.

Wow! I really do need to post more often!

Maybe next week!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Bunny Day

Finally have a chance to explain bunny photos. We were out of town when the neighbor kid's taking care of Joey hear and see a small animal in his mouth. It ends up being a baby bunny. They find the nest in our backyard, move it to the neighbors safe yard (no kids, animals). Next morning two of the three babies have passed and no sign of the mother. Calvin brings bunny in and checks internet on how to take care of a newborn bunny. Off to Petsmart for "kitty milk" and a bottle. Calvin and his friend Jackson stay up all night to give bunny feedings. The bunny, also known as Thor, lives in their care for 2 days. He passed later the 2nd day and is buried with tombstone (or tombpaper) in our backyard. Precious watching these tough boys taking care of the little creature...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Beach Bums

We are official Beach Bums.
We headed to VA Beach last week to join up with the Andersons and Bloomers for a couple of days of surf and sand...oh yeah, and RAIN!
I say BOO to rain.
Garth and the kids didn't mind at all. But then again, they like to spend most of their time in the ocean so I don't even think they realized it was raining. I on the other hand, prefer the the sun!
And lucky me, we did get one day of sun. Then one day of clouds, and one day of rain.
Not to worry, I built an awesome tent.
Highlights from our trip:
1. The Free Breakfast Buffet every morning. If only Ashton would have eaten SOMETHING they were serving. Luckily, I had brought a box of Honey Nut Cheerios for our little prince.
2. Relenting and letting Ethan buy his beloved hermit crab. He played with it on the beach all day and in the hotel room. He loved that crab. The day after we returned, it was found leg less and dead. Ethan was devastated. The funeral and burial took place today. In lieu of flowers you can send him another crab...
3. Friends for all. Garth and I loved having our friends. The kids loved all of their friends. The beach was a perfect playground for all.
4. Timeshare presentations. Love these! I am never afraid to say no. And always happy to accept free gifts. After their lovely 90 minute attempt at getting the very POOR Porter family to purchase a VA Beach timeshare (yeah right!), we walked away with a $75 gas card, $40 lunch and a 2 night stay free for next year!
5. The freedom of kids getting older. The three older kids spent their days roaming the hotel and surrounding areas. Garth, Sommer and I were able to go to dinner at the Cheesecake Factory in peace. I went to bed BEFORE everyone else (remember those days of putting little ones to sleep in a cramped hotel room to then have to whisper softly or watch TV on mute hoping not to wake the sleeping beauties). We could actually relax around the water. Everyone could walk. And most of the kids could CARRY items!
6. I didn't hear anyone snore! Thank goodness for a hotel suite and 4 out of 7 of our family members non-snorers (for those that haven't heard, I am a horrible sleeper with any breathing, snoring, moving, blah blah blah...those things that keep people alive when they are asleep).
7. After a 2.5 hour drive from VA Beach to Williamsburg (this should take MAYBE 40 minutes), we were thrilled to use our season passes to Busch Gardens for a much needed break. No real lines...and it wasn't raining (it was pouring down in VA Beach).
8. The super long tunnel that takes travelers under the Chesapeake Bay, is a perfect place to have a "no breathing" contest. Ashton won by miraculously holding his breath while talking!
9. Racing three families in the Scurries (the 6 seater bikes). And almost causing some teenage girls to tip over at top speeds. Thrills all around.
10. Kids (and Garth) sleeping while I drove home (so cute seeing everyone sleeping...but did hear a fair share of snoring)...but absolutely NO TRAFFIC for the remaining 2.5 hour drive.

Kylie and Sommer...Striking a pose
The best beach toy ever...and it was given to us by a stranger.

Always looking for "Shark's teeth" or "crabs."

Garth and Jim waiting for the BIG WAVE!

Morgan and I keeping dry. Is that a great tent?!

Doing what I do best...lounging around and talking....thanks Cherilyn.

Sommer giving the evil eye to...someone...

Not sure what is going on here...but I think it was done while "roaming" without parent supervision.

Neptune, Kylie and Sommer

Ashton and Will. They had a blast playing together.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Better Shots

This is what a real camera and someone (Michelle) who knows how to use it can capture:
Turnigan Arm
Byron's Glacier


The final rock climbing section to peak of's FLAT!

A better shot of Mr. Moose.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Quick Peek at Alaska Trip 2009

I am back from a whirlwind trip to Alaska!
As expected, I had a wonderful time! Man, I love this place.
I have been super busy but I at least wanted to get some of the awful pictures (would have been better with a decent camera and decent photographer) blogged!
My wonderful friend, Michelle came with me. We were able to see some beautiful sights, visit with my parents and hang with my bro Matt and his wife Tiffanie (and their kids). I had a blast at my 20 year reunion too!
Let me start with my nature shots:

There is a moose in this picture...can you find it?
One of our many gorgeous views of Anchorage from Flattop mountain.

Another view of some of the trails we had just ascended...

Here is Michelle climbing up a rather steep part.

A view from the bluff off my neighborhood...turnigan arm is in the distance.

The other view from the bluff. Many, many a day were spent playing in these woods. Behind them now are huge neighborhoods.

We took the tram up Alyeska Ski Resort to the top of the mountain. I so DID NOT enjoy the 42 temps and very windy conditions. But the views were spectacular!

Looking down the mountain. You can see Turnigan Arm. By the way, we were lucky enough to see a very disappointing Bore tide (they only occur every so often...this is when the tide is rolling out and the new tide is rolling was supposed to be a huge 8 foot wave)...where along with hundreds of people saw nothing.

Our tram view from the top. Matt did a race here last year where the goal was to see how many times one could run up this trail in 9 hours. Really? Is that fun?!

A glacier (on Michelle's camera it looked much prettier and blue).

My daddy-O

The best shot from like 6 attempts of me taking a picture of us...

My nephew, Josh making an attempt at the Skinny Raven shop pull-up record. He did 22 getting his name on the board!

My Brother Matt, making the same attempt. He got 18. Just enough for the free t-shirt. Boys...

I could do one (girls have to do 9)...barely.

Was it windy on our hike you ask?!!

Yes. It was windy. Very.

20 Year High School Reunion! Totally fun.

Some of my high school gal pals. Kristen (on left) had a little get together before the reunion. People asked me how I got so tall...heels baby...high uncomfortable ones.

Matt eating Thai food. So good...ha ha ha (he was speaking with a thai accent saying, "so good, ha ha ha....")...had to be there.

We have entitled this picture, "Summer in Alaska." We were freezing but no, we didn't wear my mother's furs out in public.

My darling mother! It was so great to see her.

Michelle, Tally and I freezing...where were the fur coats here!?

Flowers, flowers everywhere. Alaska is one flowered up place! Had to take a picture with these HUGE blossoms.

Eating lunch with Tiffanie, Liz and Tally. We did a lot of eating.

Feeding Tally honey for lunch. Look at the angelic light shining down...

One of the bears we saw...

The other bear...

Picture by glacier waters and large glacier (the name of the blasted thing escapes me).

The other "hot" bear we would have kissed him too...look at his six pack abs!

We were too "hot" girls in a very "cold" environment but we still had the best time ever!
I can't wait to go back!