Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Are You Really Sick?

I have learned from my oldest son that your children will "fake" being sick.  This happened a few years ago on a Sunday morning when we were getting ready to go to church.

"I am sick," he moaned with the best sick voice I have ever heard.  I asked him what was wrong which he quickly replied (with the ever so difficult symptom to prove and yet so effective), "My stomach, it really hurts."

So we let him stay home that day. This mysterious illness came back each Sunday for the next two weeks until I pulled my "softy and ever so trusting" husband aside and said, "That boy of yours is totally faking it."

And after we called his bluff, it never happened again. 

The other children, after seeing their brother with a bit of success through the years, too have attempted the "I am sick" routine.  I am a total proponent of letting my kids stay home from school/church every now and again, even if they aren't sick (just in need of a little break) but let's be sure we are honest about our intentions.

I quickly nipped the "I am pretending I am sick" performance in the butt when I instilled the simple rule:

If you stay home from school due to illness, you WILL NOT play with your friends that day.

It worked like a charm.

But the past two weeks have thrown me for a loop.  You see, there really is a stomach bug going around our elementary school.  Tate caught it a few weeks ago.  He woke up in the middle of the night with a stomach ache followed by a release of the day's intake.  There was no question he was really sick.  He missed school, followed by a long 3 day weekend.  He didn't throw up again but he did complain of stomach pain. He then started with a nasty cough. By Tuesday, his cough was gone but the stomach ache was still lingering. So I let him stay home.  Then Wednesday came and went...home yet again.  Thursday...home. Friday with complaints of stomach pain, I sent him anyway...I mean, we aren't perfect, right?! 

Within 15 minutes of the bell ringing in the new school day, I had a call from the school nurse (I will forgo letting you know how long it took before I saw she had called...oops), letting me know Tate wasn't feeling well.

I came and picked him up.

The weekend came and went.

Monday I informed him that no matter what, he was going to school!  He asked me to drive him. I did. Upon opening the car door, he cried, "My tummy hurts."  I had already written a note to his teacher asking her to give him free reign of the toilet. He had to eventually go to school right?!

I walked him in, spoke with the nurse...who explained to Tate, "There is a difference between being sick and not feeling well (his symptoms fell under the second explanation).  Now let's stop worrying about all this stomach stuff and go to class." 

With much hesitation, he went with Nurse Swingle and HAPPY DAY, he made it through the entire day!

Today however he did not.  He started crying about his stomach again. I called the doctor who then told me that indeed a virus was going around and recommended he go on the BRAT diet (Bananas, Rice, Applesauce and Toast).  She said he could go to school.  Tate didn't agree. He begged me to let him stay home. 

So being the super nice mother that I am (yeah right), we marched over to the grocery store and purchased all of the above items. I told him he would only be eating these items.  He would get ONE MORE DAY and then this charade (I really think his tummy does hurt but how bad I question) would be over.

I ask myself, "Are you Really Sick?"

And I answer that question with a resounding, "YES! I am sick...sick of kids that are just barely sick.  That fine line where I need to hire a secret agent to determine if they are faking it or really need to stay home with me where I can mother them back to health."

Wish me luck. I do have 4 other healthy children that may or may not be sick in the coming days :)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Why? Because There May Be a Mouse Under Your Bed

Saturday morning I sat the entire family down and explained what was going to happen.  Instantly there were faces filled with fear, mouths suddenly dropped open and then it began...the moans and groans...followed by the complaining "why!?"

No, they were not being sent to an orphanage (yet).

They were going to clean their rooms. Yep, that's it.

I am embarrassed to admit that I had let the room cleaning slide a bit the past year.  Because of my lack of enforcement, closets were stacked high with old shoes, small clothes, toys from yonder year, dirty underwear, clean underwear, candy wrappers, old candy, dirt, grime, dust (and that is just the closets).

Drawers were stuffed with summer clothes, winter clothes, spring clothes, my clothes (yes I found a pair of my jeans in Tate's drawer) and everything else imaginable.

Their rooms were so dusty that even the walls had their own layer.  The ceilings looked like we had decorated for Halloween with cobwebs dangling in a spook-like fashion from the corners. 

And then there was what was lying beneath their beds.  Books were strewn here and there with trash mingled in between.  Dust! Oh the dust...coughing spells came quickly followed by gagging from breathing in the year of dust that had settled ever so comfortably under the beds. Missing electronic games, iPods, loose change, you name it...it was under there!

But under one bed, the one with only a few books, a couple lone socks, a wrapper or two, and plenty of cat and dog hair (that is where the animals hang out)...there was a suspicious "toy."  As I was just about to place my fingers around "it" to scoot it out with the other objects, I stopped.  It hit me...that is a MOUSE!  I quickly told Sommer (it was her room after all) I thought there was a dead mouse under her bed. She rolled her eyes and calmly said, "Mom, it is probably just one of the cat's toys."

I replied, "Well, you grab it then."

Moments later, as Sommer crawled under the bed to grab the "toy mouse" a shriek (a total mouse shriek), was heard throughout our house.  "IT'S A DEAD MOUSE!" she cried!

Her brother, Calvin was called in to remove the object of our nighmares.  He then proceeded to do what any brother would...place the mouse in front of all of our faces...thus causing more shrieks to ring out.

And then, after we all had settled down, I looked at my darling children...for they had all gathered to see what all of the fuss was about and said,

"Children, dearest children, this is the answer to your earlier question as to why we should clean our rooms in a proper and timely manner. There just may be a dead mouse (or other disgusting item) rotting under your bed."

And after six hours, beds re-bunked, rooms switched around and organized from top to bottom,they are clean...

for now.

Friday, February 24, 2012

A Little Change Goes a LONG Way!

"If you always do, what you have always done, you will always get, what you have always gotten."

If you want to get fit (or fitter than you are now or even fitter than you have ever been), you have to make some changes! Even small changes make a difference. 

Walk a little longer. Run a little faster. Lift a little more often. Eat a little less (especially candy).

Notice it ONLY takes a little change to make a big difference. A great analogy is to think of a gear. A very small cog can turn a very large wheel.  Simple as that.  Little cog, big wheel turns.  Just think what your "little cog" can be and start moving your wheel!

I know that everyone can make little changes (even you).

Since we are all at different stages in our fitness and we all have different goals, whether those goals are to lose weight, run our first 5k, eat more healthy, begin walking, build muscle...change is a must.

This year I decided I wanted to improve my marathon time. And as comfortable (and fun) it was to run a nice easy pace while chatting with my friends...I wasn't getting any faster. There was NO way I was going to give up my runs with my dear friends so I decided to make a little change in order to reach my goal.

My plan:

1. When running solo, I had to run faster. It didn't matter what the distance, I just had to run a little faster. Anything under 5 miles, required a 7:30 pace. Anything over that mileage, required a sub 8:00 pace. The pace wasn't always spot on but it was faster...and a change.

2. When running with a friend, pace didn't matter. I ran with the goal to enjoy my time with them.

This allowed me to not only improve my pace in the long run (and to reach my goal) but also kept me running with my friends (something I cherish).

It's time to get fit.

Your checklist:

1. Choose an activity that YOU love (or can live with)...not everyone likes to run. Most likely you will keep doing something you love to do.

2. Be realistic. If you have never run before don't make the goal to run 5 miles everyday for the next 10 years. Start by telling yourself, you will run 5 minutes, 5 times a week (and walk the other 25 minutes). Each week increase your running time by 1-2 minutes. In just a few months, you will be running the entire 30 minutes. Don't tell yourself that you will never eat chocolate again (impossible). Why not make a small change such as only one chocolate treat per day (the size of that treat would be up to you).
Last night I found my "little cog" after thinking about my daunting 17 mile run I had to do today.  I texted my friend Ann (who has been sick for a few weeks...I have missed you girl) and asked if I could run to her house.  After the 10 mile solo trek, I reached her house were I was able to take a quick break, filling my water, have a snack AND MOST IMPORTANTLY...take her with me for my final 7 miles!

This little change helped carry me a LONG way....17 miles to be exact!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Must...Stop...Eating... Candy...

I love the idea of lent...giving up something, especially something you may or may not be addicted to (have I mentioned candy?) showing your commitment of bettering oneself.  I am so impressed with those cute piano students who year after year, come to lessons during lent, letting me know they cannot have one of my little candy treats because they have chosen to give up sweets...you guys ROCK! 

But the reality for me, as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (or Mormon as we are more commonly known), we give up quite a bit already.  I feel like we are observing this practice each and every day. And as I chose to forgo certain things with a happy and willing heart (alcohol, smoking, tea, coffee, my two day weekend, etc), I don't honestly know if could let candy go too. I mean, sugar is rather harmless isn't it?!

I hate to admit it but I think it now has become a problem. And it all begins in my closet.  I have a huge Rubbermaid container, overflowing with bags and bags of M&M's, Hershey Kisses, Dove candy bars, Kit Kat's, Swedish Fish...and so much more.  I get most of it for free so I find it quite difficult to not take these delightful sweets off the shelves when the price is so right!

This free and unlimited candy supply has been in existence for many years.  But it has never been a real temptation for me.  Until recently...

Each night, after a stressful and very long day filled with avoiding household chores, lunch dates with friends, long runs in the warm spring like air, a few music lessons with darling students...I need (really need) a treat.

Or at least that is what I tell myself.

And because I know treats are easily accessible and taste so good AND seem so harmless AND make me so happy, I have been eating candy...lots of candy.

I believe when something "can't" be stopped, it should most definitely be stopped...immediately! 

And there lies the problem. I can't.  I won't.  It just seems pointless to simply not eat it for 40 days and then on day 41, go crazy and make up for lost time by stuffing my face with chocolate.

That is why I have come up with my plan B.  This grand idea comes from my dear friend Vanessa (and healthy eater extronanaire). Instead of completely saying no to all sweets (and knowing good and well that I will never stop eating candy), why not simply cut back?!  In honor of lent, I have decided to make a change...something that I hope will last much longer than 40 days...and will change me for the better.

I have taken all of my candy out of my bedroom.  I have purchased small snack size baggies and in those bags have placed realistic sized porportions.

I truly believe in the wise council, moderation in all things.  Too much or too little of anything rarely generates long lasting benefits.

I  really think this is going to work (I will let you know)! 

P.S...if you want some candy, stop by!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I Just Want to be "Whelmed."

Don't you just crave those moments when you are simply "whelmed?"

I woke up this morning and saw yet another huge pile of laundry, dishes to be done, furniture completely dustified...even the walls with their own layer, kids expecting to eat (come on people...didn't you just do that yesterday?!), appointments to be made, appointments to be kept, kids in, kids out, rides and more rides, homework, etc.

My brain quickly went to its "overwhelmed" mode, which connects directly to the place that initiates the "mean psycho mother" switch.  It is in this mode that the heart beats a bit faster, palms begin to sweat, pupils dilate and any creature (the children do seem a bit like creatures when I am in this stage) that happens to cross my path will be considered the "enemy."

What exactly does it mean to be overwhelmed?


[oh-ver-hwelm, -welm] 

to load, heap, treat, or address with an overpowering or excessive amount of anything

Found on the other side of this coin is the "underwhelmed" mode.  This feeling of boredom sometimes comes when a person has nothing to do except tend to a baby, change a diaper and fix a couple of sandwiches.  You may only have the TV to keep you company (which does get old quick). No one is calling (yet), the house is spotless (just you wait), no doorbells are ringing-one after the other asking for play dates (that too will come), no homework, no projects, not much of anything happens on a given day!
This phenomena known as being underwhelmed is hard too.  I have been there so many times.  In this mode, life can get a bit mundane.  You wonder if you will ever have "me" time or "we" time (that precious time with your husband WITHOUT the kids).  You dream about a shirt without spit up, a book read in its entirty, a potty trained child...those days that seem to never end and aren't really that exciting.


[uhn-der-hwelm, -welm] 
to fail to interest or astonish
I think we all "want" big!  We want the perfect husband, the big house, the adorable kids, the fancy cars, the unlimited outfits, the fluffy puppy, the snuggly kitty...we want and want and soon we fall into the "overwhelmed" trap.
After spending so much of our time and energy capturing our wants we find out some interesting things:

1. Husband aren't perfect
2. Big houses requiring lots of cleaning and maintenance
3.  Adorable kids are loud and require food and clothing
4.  Cars get old and stinky real fast (and big ones guzzle gas)
5. The more clothes you have the more wash (and storage needed)
6.  Puppies turn into dogs (and both poop on the carpet)
7.  Cats shed like crazy and sometimes go pee pee in places other than their litter boxes
And just like that, the overwhelmed mode on your brain begins...creating a very unpleasant wife, mother and friend.
I really think I just want to be whelmed....
...to find joy and happiness with the the moment.  A messy house can wait,  fallen down shutter can too! My oldest child, now a sophomore in high school, who was my little baby girl so long ago (and a time of my life that I may have thought underwhelming...how wrong I was) will soon be gone.  I long for a little underwhelming in my life.
Whatever life moment you are currently living...just live it. Sometimes you will be a bit "over" and other times you will be a little bit "under."
The goal is to enjoy it all, living in the moments and simply be "whelmed."

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Enjoy the View

Calvin and I headed to Wisp for the day, joining three other families for a day of skiing fun!  I have come to realize with my children, when I join them in the activities they love, the view is quite amazing.

Whether we are playing a game of Monopoly, a bike ride around the block, a walk in the forest, or skiing on top of a mountain...I can't beat the view. 

I tend to fall in the trap created by my busy life, whether it be the never ending cleaning list, weekend activites, etc, that can really impede my view.  And although these things must be done, sometimes they can wait just a bit, giving everyone a new view.

I easily forget that my children are actually little adults.  Through them, a mundane day, can turn into quite the adventure, creating wondeful memories for all of us!

When our friends mentioned their trip to Wisp, (a 3 hour drive away), Calvin immediately begged me to take him.  Since Garth had to work, I was the chosen parent.  As much as I wanted to hang with Calvin...and all of our dear friends...I wasn't thrilled about the time and money associated with a day of driving and skiing. 

Last minute, I decided to ignore the adult "thinking" and simply take advantage of this opportunity to be with Calvin for the day.

And I am so glad I did.  It was a blast hanging with my little "mini me," who loves go, go, going. We had great converstation (usually I only get a grunt), a gorgeous day  and a view set into my memory I can't beat!

Thanks Calvin (Hunter and Hansen Families too) for helping me enjoy the view!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Sometimes It Swishes.

For those of you who play basketball, you know the awesome feeling of setting up for a jump shot.  You take a quick look at the basket, you square up, you raise the ball, and release it.  As it makes its way to the basket, it drops perfectly into the bucket, completely missing the rim and with a swish...you have just made a basket with "nothing but net."

Serious elation follows a shot like that.

Unfortunately, most of the time, when I shoot the ball, it either hits wildly on the rim and bounces out into my opponent's hands or it misses the entire basket altogether.  This phenomena is referred to as an "air ball."

A feeling of deflation follows a shot like that.

Knowing my strengths as a basketball player, I avoid making too many attempts at scoring.  I prefer to use my ability to run, run and run...grab the ball and then pass it to one of my team mates who will most likely be doing the "swishing" type shots.

But today was my day!  I was passed the ball at the beginning of the game. Completely open, I shot...and seconds later...swish!  Thrilled, I high fived a few ladies on my team, thinking that would be the end of it...but no...moments later, I shot the ball again.  It too was a swish kind of shot.  And then there was another and another.  I think in total I made at least 24 points...and most where "nothing but net."  We ended up beating the other team by over 25 points.

You might be thinking I should consider signing up for the WNBA (especially with my height...NOT), but I know better. 

I know that sometimes I may have a game where it really does swish...that big slippery basketball leaves my hands and gives our team the perfect shot and a big score.  But I also know being "on" is not a guarantee. 

Some days will be the "swishes" kind of day and others will be  the air balls.

On our bad "air ball" days, should we throw in the towel, stomp our feet and quit?! Should we lower our head in shame because we missed our mark?  Do we look down on ourselves because we aren't good enough, smart enough, fast enough, skinny enough, healthy enough...play good enough!? 

Or do we lean on our team mates that day?  We let them make the baskets...and we give them what we can, a rebound, a steal, a pass. And that way, we all win.

So on a "swish" kind of day, we may be the leader.  We will be the one who makes the points that win the game.  We will lead, we will carry the team, encourage, support and rally.  And that way, we all win.

Enjoy the the ability to "swish"every now and again and be thankful for our friends who "swish" for us when we are having an "air ball" kind of day.

...and  that way, we all win.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

How Sweet IT Is!

There are a lot of sweet thangs out there...everyone has their own idea of what their "sweet" is...

I started thinking about all of the "sweets" in my life while on my run this morning.  Now don't assume I am only talking about "the candy type" of sweets...I mean, I am, I will, I MUST eventually bring them up in this post, but not quite yet. 

My first sweet came when I saw the cutest little Golden Retriever puppy wobble down the sidewalk.  The proudest little girl ever led her new addition along on a bright pink leash, headed to the bus stop.  Immediately the other children began to gather around her...ooohing and ahhhing at the fluffy bundle of complete sweetness that only a puppy can create.  I felt a pitter patter of joy watching this event take place. 

A puppy...how sweet it is (a big stinky dog...not so sweet anymore).

It wasn't long before the first rain drop fell. I knew it was going to happen after watching the early morning news forecast us a rainy day. While most people seem to get a little depressed when clouds make their way to town, bringing with them a sprinkling of drizzle, I don't.  I love the rain.  A chilly day, combined with precipitation (in any form) immediately calls for a fluffy warm blanket, a good book and treats.  Knowing I have a very difficult time slowing down, the rain has a calming effect on my hectic, self induced crazy life.

Rain...how sweet it is (HUGE rain storm while on a beach vacation...not so sweet anymore).

Music can really get me moving and grooving while I run.  I seriously have the sweetest play list right now on my iPod!  I start my runs at a relaxed easy pace but as soon as my awesome be-boppin' songs come on, my pace naturally picks up. I have a spring in my step created simply by the super fun and fast tempo music!  When you have to run (yes...I have to run...it is crazy how many times I am being chased by a criminal...dumb luck I guess), music makes it so much more fun.

My play list (just in case you care):

Brighter than the Sun (Colbie Caillat)
Give Me All You Luvin' (Madonna)
Drive By (Train)
Young, Wild and Free (Snoop Dog)
Wild Ones (Flo Rida)
Turn Me On (David Guetta)
Knockout (Lil Wayne and Nicki Minaj)
Tonight is the Night (Outasight)
You Da One (Rihanna)
Domino (Jessie J)
Mr. Saxobeat (Alexanfra Stan)
Love You Like A Love Song (Selena Gomez)
Sexy and I Know It (LMFAO)
Moves Like Jagger (Maroon 5)
Im Into You (J Lo)
Tonight is the Night (hot Chelle Rae)
Last Friday Night (Katy)

Music...how sweet it is (until I find out my iPod isn't charged, has been stolen by one of my children or dies unexpectedly)!

Candy is magical in every way. It can make a saddened heart smile...guaranteed.  I can't tell you how many times I have pulled a simple Tic Tac (orange flavor) out of my purse and saved a mother from her tantruming child.  Candy can be as valuable as money too.  I mean, I can offer my child a dollar or a Hershey bar to empty the dishwasher and the candy is chosen 100% of the time. And believe you me, I have tried to use carrots or an apple as an incentive and to this day, it has never been chosen (sorry nature).  If you haven't had those little Cadbury chocolate eggs found during the Easter season, don't...they are very dangerous (in a good way).  Friends of mine know that I always have candy on hand. Not only do I keep it in my purse, car and church bag...I have multiple secret stashes throughout my home.  P.S. I love to share...

Candy...how sweet it is (unless it's gone).

Thrift stores are seriously sweet when you don't have the money to buy the brands/styles you want (and I am serious about my brands...probably from all of the years I worked at Nordstrom).  There are some sweet stores of the thrift variety in our area (and I am sure in your community as well. While in North Carolina last weekend, Michelle introduced me to a couple of her favorites...and showed off her awesome stylish fashion...SWEETNESS).  Today I needed a shopping fix, so I headed to Falls Church.  For $40, I came home with 3 pairs of boots (oh how I needed some new ones), skinny jeans (been coveting a pair for months), shirts, a sweater, shorts, all totally cute, brands I love and just my style.

Thrift store...how sweet it is (unless I can afford Nordstrom...it smells much better).

Of course husbands are sweet.  My children are too.  Friends fall easily in the sweet category as well.  Vacations to Hawaii, the cruise I have never taken, skiing, seeing a show in New York...also find their way into my sweet archive.

In reality, our own "how sweet it is" list is as long and luscious as the next person.  Which is absolutely wonderful...that each of us have lives filled with sweetness!  The problem isn't the absence of wonderful things that bring us joy, it is lack of recognizing those simple yet sweet blessings that surround us.

Take a moment to remember your sweet.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

On My Laundry List...

(the stack is so big it is covering our entire king size bed and all 7 of us are hiding under this pile...do you see my little head sticking out under that towel?)

Well...laundry is actually on my laundry list (as well as 500 other things).

After having a non functioning washing machine for two weeks and going out of town during part of that time led to the largest pile of laundry in need of folding I have ever seen.

I could have done it last night but it was Valentine's Day, a pretty good excuse I must admit. I thought about folding it today, especially after seeing the dog sleeping so comfortably on the pile but I passed once again.

Tonight I have decided to hire some under age workers to help me with the mound.  I have a few bags of M&M's I picked up today for literally next to nothing to coax "the help" into my room. After they follow the little path of M&M's, I will quickly lock the door behind them and throw my head back as I cackle a hysterical evil laugh...then in all seriousness I will say, "Start folding!"  I will then hop into my bed, grab my own bag of chocolate and turn on American Idol.

Doesn't that sound divine?!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Coming and Going

I love the feeling I get when I am passing through an airport.  I experience a real sense of joy seeing the hustle and bustle of people headed to who knows where...some are coming (from where?) some are going (where to?)...rarely do I know.

Feelings of exhilaration enter my soul when I am walking with purpose to my gate...going somewhere...whether to visit my parents, lay on a beach, run a race, see a friend...having the opportunity to place the stresses of normal life on a shelf for a short time.

I love the going.

On occasion, I strike up a conversation with the stranger next to me and learn about their coming or their going...everyone will have a story...I love to hear them.

I see mothers with children in tow, carrying bags, favorite stuffed animals, loaded down...sometimes one of those children fall desperately to the floor in a complete exhausted tantrum(wouldn't it be a sight if we as adults did that?).  The mother, trying to contain her composure (and hide her own exhaustion) deals remarkably with love and patience.  It reminds me of the many times I traveled with my five little ones (whew!).  I love to offer a hand.

And then there is the coming...anxiously returning home to the life I love, albeit hard at times, stressful too, but mine, all mine.  Children who place arms around me and tell me they missed me, sharing my adventures with friends, and reminiscing with my husband about the journeys we have taken together.

I love the coming.

Best of all is the perfect the combination of going away with the one you love and then coming home together....

This happened one year ago today...I miss you Hawaii but so grateful for the memories.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Laughter is the Best Medicine

Besides a melatonin combined with a half of a Tylenol PM...or maybe huge amount of chips and guacamole...

Laughter truly is the best medicine.

My kids claim I don't laugh enough. I reply by telling them that they aren't funny enough.  Truth is, I laugh on the "inside" unless you are super funny. So in reality, if you can get me to "LOL" then you can pretty much consider yourself a really funny person!

And speaking of funny people, I was fortunate enough to see the ever so funny (and gratefully ever so clean) comedian, Jim Gaffigan on Saturday with my bestie, Michelle in North Carolina.

It didn't take long before I was LOLing with the rest of the folks (although I still don't think I laugh quite as much as some).  He is one funny dude!

Here is one of my favorites by Gaffigan:


You want to hear a funny thing? I love bowling...and was on a league growing up...I know embarrassing!  And because we love it, we host a bowling tournament every so often with our friends.  Let me know if you need to be medicated with some "laughter" and you can join us for our next tournament!

I have to mention (for memory sake), the two empty seats that were in front of ours before the show began. Both Michelle and I were relieved that our view was not impeded by anyone or anything.  But that feeling of relief was short lived when a middle aged couple sat down in front of us.  The man was tall but not that tall. He sat in front of me. And although we was a few inches taller then the rest of the folks beside him (I know because I checked), I could still see over his head.  But his date was not only tall, she decided to wear her hair in an up-do.  And within her up and do, contained what looked like a mass of feathers.  She was easily 4 inches taller than her man, making Michelle's view of the stage non-existent.  We figured she would "settle in" to her seat, relax into her date's arm (which was around her with his fingers making a little circular motion...around and around her shoulder...driving me crazy to just watch...can't imagine how irritating that would feel), giving us a little break with her long torso and high hair...but no.  Come to find out, she liked to sit a bit forward with the straightest back I have ever seen (maybe she was a ballerina or didn't like seat backs)! 

Luckily Michelle was willing to seek out an usher and explain our sad tale of woe. Moments later the supervisor grabbed both of us and took us to the lower level. On our way down the stairs, she explained that all of the workers had seen this "super tall lady with the feathery hair" come in.  They had mentioned how sorry they felt for the sucker who had to sit behind this woman (us). So she was more than happy to find us a better spot...which ended up being on the main floor and rather close to the stage!

Boy am I feeling good today...thanks laughter!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Simply Run

Today it was 14.  Next week it will be 16.  There will be a few 18.  Then come the 20 milers...

Man this is hard.

But I also can remember when running 3 miles was hard.  After carrying 5 children, serving a mission, having a broken foot, etc...there have been plenty of periods where I could not run.  And running again was so hard.  But I wouldn't let the "so hard" keep from me ever running again. I decided I would simply run. Before I knew it, I was running 3, 4, 6...and then a marathon!

And you would think that after doing this whole marathon training "thing" ten times, it would get easier.


I have run 14 miles more times than I can count.  I have also run more than 14 miles more than I can count. And yet, each time I set out on my weekly long run, I have to mentally prepare myself. I find my happy place..and pace...and then simply run.

I try not to over think the number of miles required, the weather, an ache...there will always be an excuse. 

Sometimes I have friends to run with.  Sometimes I have to run alone (today).  Sometimes I have music and other times my iPod dies (today).  Sometimes there is wind to push gently at my back.  Sometimes (no make that all of the time), that same gentle wind, becomes  a real pain when I face it head on (today).  Sometimes there are hills to climb (today) and other times I get to run down the hill.

Today I heard birds chirping happily in the trees. The only reason I heard them was the iPod dying at mile 10.  I was actually grateful to hear their song for a few miles instead of the loud numbing beat that I had heard so many times before.

I waved at friends passing by as they started their busy day.  And I waved at strangers who walked the same path as me.

With 14 miles completed, I feel stronger both in spirit and body.  It is amazing how running can do that.

Was it easy? Absolutely not.  But I had the choice this morning to avoid or to conquer my goal. I chose to conquer! There will be more challenging goals coming my way in the next few months and I will accomplish those too.

By simply running.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Whine Wednesday

Today is totally a Whine Wednesday!

(I like this picture very much but I end the above sentiment with the word...TOMORROW)

I will be grateful for this day...tomorrow.

So don't worry, I plan on a "Thankful Thursday" but for now...I must whine...just a little.

1.  When your washing machine breaks down (go here to read about our past washer woes) it literally can break you. After five years of washer woes, and finally getting a new one for free from Sears, we have luckily been free from any problems.  But everything changed on Saturday...it broke.  Imagine how many loads of laundry a family of 7 can create...mounds!  Even though Grandma did some over the weekend, within what seems like hours laundry begins to pile up! It is taking over our house.  HELP AND GACK!  So my "washer whine" has to do with the repair company that NEVER showed up today during the FIVE hour window of time requiring me to remain home hoping to see their lovely faces.  After calling Sears and speaking with someone from... INDIA (seriously?), we came to the conclusion that they had the wrong number.  Next appointment...Monday!

2.  After finally spot cleaning the many stains on my living room carpet (walked on daily by piano students) AND spending the previous evening cleaning the hardwood floors...the "huge" snow storm didn't bring snow but dag nab bit...it did bring in my son with the muddiest shoes ever!  He casually walks into the room (yes, white carpet) leaving a trail of my tears as well as his dirty footprints. I think I will clean that up tomorrow when I am in a better mood.

3.  Will my tub ever get fixed?

4.  Why did Ann have to get sick today right before our scheduled 14 mile run tomorrow?  And Vanessa, why do you have a meeting?  Linda T., work schmurk...I need you guys!  Now I am left to run alone!  Thanks a lot!

5. Frustrated that my dear friend Erin's little 11 month old son is very sick.  He had a seizure the other night, leading to worry that his white blood cell count was low.  A whine for her, from me...because she would not. Erin, you are an amazing woman.

See that wasn't so bad!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Share Yourself

Remember the children's story, The Rainbow Fish?"  I loved that book!  As I read it to my children when they were young, I hoped they would understand its message of sharing oneself with those around you.   My little ones would touch their tiny fingers to the Rainbow Fish's shiny scales in awe of her sparkles. 

With all of the glitz and glam glittering over the Rainbow Fish's outer shell, one would think she was the happiest fish in the sea.  Yet, we are surprised to find out, that although she is beautiful, she is actually lonely and sad.  Other fish have attempted to be her friend.  She believes that their requests of having just one of "her sparkling scales," is wrong and will actually take away from who she is....

How wrong she was...

Thankfully by the end of the story, she realizes she has made a huge mistake.  As soon as she begins to share herself, she becomes truly happy.

With only one sparkle left, she is surrounded by many new friends, who each now possess one of her special scales.

I am indeed grateful to those friends (and family) who have shared themselves with me.  Each willing to give me one of their shiny scales:

running buddy
nutrition expert
taxi service
movie date
home decorator
adventure partner
words with friends opponent
lunch date
biking partner
shoulder to cry on

I would never be me without you.

Thank you friends for your willingness to...

Share Yourself

Monday, February 6, 2012

A Tangled Enjoyable Mess

Before I share the thoughts in my head, let me start with a disclaimer:

I know I have created my CRAZY life. It is self inflicted. I know it and I kind of like it that way.

My life, simply put is crazy.  Let me tell you what I did today and you tell me if your day was less crazy or more:

6:50 am: The alarm goes off  and I get up without too much difficulty (happy I am finally back on east coast time)
6:51: Wake up Ethan so he can beat Calvin to the newly painted/decorated "boy" shower.
6:52:  I sit by Ethan's bedside until I am sure he is actually awake. After he unpleasantly moans, "Mom! I am awake!" I leave.
6:57:  I go back to my warm bed for my daily "study" time.
7:00-7:10: Read scriptures on Smart phone (sometimes longer, sometimes a shorter time frame...but at least I do it daily people).
7:10-7:30: Check email, Facebook, texts and play a few hands of Words With Friends.
7:30-7:45:  Ask my two middle school boys if they want me to make them breakfast, which leads to their daily reply, "No!" Ask the boys if they want me to make them a lunch..."No!"  Ask the boys if they would like a Huggle. The look in their eyes say, "No!" but I take that silence as a resounding "YES!"  I get my hugs and we pray.  And just like that, hree kids are officially gone for the day (Garth takes Sommer to early morning seminary each morning...bless that man!)
7:45-8:00: Hop back in bed and play a few more rounds of WWF...kick some butt as well as my own.  I await the arrival of my snuggly Tater Tot.  We snuggle.  I then shower and get dressed.
8:00: I wake up Ashton who loves to sleep in and has informed me how painful it is to be woken up each morning. He says he prefers to wake up "naturally."
8:00-8:45: I am overjoyed that 7 and 9 year olds allow me at this age to not only make them breakfast and lunch but actually talk to me in the morning. They each chose who will empty the top or bottom of the dishwasher, practice the piano and head out the door to "play" until the bus comes.
I don't go anywhere until the bus comes.  This is a necessity due to their active nature and the multiple times they have come in crying with a skinned knee needing not only a band-aid but comfort only a mother can give.  Today brought a special surprise.  No, there wasn't any blood...instead Ashton came in crying because he had stepped in poo.  This was a lovely addition to my already crazy morning since it was "soft" poo and his shoes have the deepest treads taking full advantage of "housing" that nasty substance.
8:45: I clean shoe in record time. The bus comes.  All five children and husband are off...I will be joining them 15 minutes later.
8:45-9:00: Straighten morning disaster (and last nights mess...shhh...don't tell)...I won't have any other time to tidy up.
9:00:  Make the 25 mile drive to get fingerprinted (no, not a criminal...just going to be a substitute teacher with all of my extra time..ha).
10:00:  Quickly change into workout gear for my 10:05 training session.
11:00: Quickly change back into clothes
11:01 Call to see when we can get broken washing machine fixed (say a little prayer thanking Heavenly Father for my amazing mother-n-law who offers to do our wash...FOLDING INCLUDED!)
11:05: Call to schedule space for our next coupon class (do you wanna come?)
11:15: Meet Jean for lunch.
12:45:  Stop at T-Mobile to buy a case for new phone.
12:50:  Quickly change into workout gear for my 8 mile run (I am training for Boston so it is a necessity).
2:00: Quickly change back into clothes.
2:30: First piano student arrives
7:00: Last piano student leaves
7:00: Make dinner
7:30: Family Home Evening starts (bribe children by reminding them that when holding FHE, treats will be served///they quickly comply).
8:00: Ignore dishes until tomorrow (or hope one of the kids will do them)
8:01: Hop in bed for my evening of mindless TV (I need to post about that...or maybe not)
9:00: Hop out of bed to tuck in little boys
9:01: Hop back in bed for my evening of mindless TV.
10:00: Hop out of bed to tuck in older boys (this just means I offer a back scratch and in return get a hug and some good conversation...sometimes.)
10:01 (notice the sometimes...most of the time, they mumble...goodnight mom) Hop back in bed for my evening of mindless TV.
11:00: Catch up with WWF.
11:30. Earplugs in, pillows (two) fluffed, block the little light on TV that is much too bright, and fall asleep within minutes.

And so the next day brings much of the same. I constantly go nonstop until 8 or 9 each night. And you know what... I love it. It reminds me when Matt and I went to the show, the Blue Man Group on our trip to Vegas (BTW...we thought it was kind of dumb for us but would have been perfect for our 12 year old sons). At the very end of the show, streams and streams of toilet paper-like material falls from the back of the auditorium. It is then dragged over the entire audience. This tangled mess continues to flow over everyone for what seems like an eternity. There was so much paper surrounding each of us but instead of worry...it brought uncontrollable laughter. I had tears streaming down my face as the non-stop paper passed its way up and over and around Matt and I.

It really was the best part of the show...that Tangled Enjoyable Mess.

And such is my life...the best part truly is the Tangled Enjoyable Mess.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Back Up Plan(s)

I love back up plans.

It seems too often that moments before we are running out the door to church, I hear one of my younger children exclaim, "I can't find my shoes!"

It used to stress both Garth and I tremendously as we quickly scoured our house, searching for the missing shoe.  But now, I don't get stressed.  I simply have a pair of Crocs as my back up plan.

Today the black Crocs saved the day.  Did Ashton look his Sunday best?  Not quite.  Did he have shoes to wear, yes.

Back up plans are essential.  Notice how I put an "s" on plans...sometimes we need more than one back up.

On our 6 hour drive from Salt Lake City to Las Vegas last week, Mike, Matt and I needed a back up plan when Mike noticed the light on the "empty tank" lit up.  We were having so much fun, we failed to even check such an essential item...gas...before setting out on our adventure.  And if you have traveled I-15 south, you are well aware that gas stations are few and far between.

Mike made it clear he had a back up plan...Matt and I.  He calmly and resolutely explained that not if but when we ran out of gas, Matt and I would place our running shoes on and...you guessed it, "run" to get gas.

As we continued to drive mile after mile on fumes, we anxiously awaited (especially Matt and I) for a town that would provide us with a full tank. 

After 5 miles passed and no towns in site, I went with my back up plan...a quick prayer. 

I honestly think we drove at least 20 miles with an empty tank.

And gratefully, no running took place that day...see...we needed more than one plan.

We often hear about the importance of staying out of debt, having savings, a storage of food and water.  These are back up plans!

Most people believe that debt isn't real, that saving for a rainy day is pointless (and of course no fun) and storing food is totally dumb.

It's not.

This past year, Garth lost his job AND experienced illness.  How grateful we were to be out of debt, had just enough money to meet our needs and food to feed our family.

And we had multiple back up plans set and ready to put into effect.

Do I like Crocs? Absolutely not. In fact, the funniest quote I read the other day posted on Facebook by my friend read,

"Wow, that's a nice lookin' pair of Crocs," said no one ever.

Do they cover our feet? Yes.

Do I like to run out of gas? No.  Do I want to run 5 miles to get it when if I happen to have an empty tank? No.  Do I believe in the power of prayer. Absolutely.

Do I like having a limited supply of funds? No.  Do I like all of my five children?  BIG YES!  Am I willing to give up the things of the world, instant gratification and the like in order to have those amazing children?  Oh yes and yes...

“If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear."
D&C 38:30

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Fabulous Family

We did it!

Thank you Dad for orchestrating our little family reunion last week!

And thank you mom for turning 70.

And a special thank you to Marylin, who took our family photos!

(no one was harmed in these pictures...except for my pride in the last one posted)

I love my family.

Seriously the coolest guys ever.

And the best women around.

and just for your entertainment...introducing "Living in the 80's"

Heather and Hilary

What an amazing weekend.

My only request is we don't wait another 20 years (and we hide the above photo).

I love you all.

Friday, February 3, 2012


I believe in miracles but I don't really believe in "magic." I mean...do you?!

David Copperfield would like to make us believe he can actually place a hanging car from his stage without us seeing him do so.  He would also lead us to believe he can make a group of 20 audience members disappear from a sealed box (and David C also wants us to believe that he is still 40 years old as seen in this giant poster taken 20 years ago)

And getting to meet David Copperfield backstage doesn't happen magically either (that requires a brother who whispers, "Follow me and keep your mouth shut").

Casinos in Las Vegas try to make you believe that everyone is a winner. The belief that the bright lights, free drinks, and "happy" people will magically make you an instant millionaire...is simply not true.

Sometimes though, you may get "lucky" on your first ever gambling experience and win $200!

Thinking I won't gain 10 pounds when I may or may not eat an entire loaf of cinnamon bread from Great Harvest Bread (I don't know what I am talking about), Chipotle every other day (still don't know what I am referring to) or one of my chocolate bars from my secret stash each night (nope, no idea...) is complete hogwash. Pants will eventually get tight, fat will begin to form around the mid-section...even though I may believe that "overnight" I gained 10 pounds...not true...the weight gain happened over 6 nights.

So, truth is, I totally believe in miracles.  They come (we drove 20 some miles on an empty tank with the light on in the middle of nowhere....making it to Nephi, UT just in time).  But the only way "magic" happens is through our own hard work (or avoiding the many buffets...oh how I love Creme Brule), a little luck, and of course David Copperfield.

See..Vegas can really teach some great life lessons.

Thursday, February 2, 2012


Words are powerful.
They can build a person up or they can tear a person down. 

Words are powerful.
They can create a change for the better or they can keep one complacent.

Words are powerful
They can bring joy or they can bring sadness.

What words are you choosing to use...with yourself, with your family, friends? 

Take a moment to view short video that illustates the power of words.

By simply using "different words," we can make immeasurable differences in our own lives and the lives of those we love (can you imagine if you changed the words you used and the TONE?).

This year I will be trying to use different words that convey the same meaning, especially with my children.

Instead of my requests turning into nagging, I hope they will build confidence and a desire to complete the tasks at hand.

For example

My normal request:

"I need you to empty the dishwasher!"

My new approach using different words:

"You are so wonderful at emptying the dishwasher! I can always count on you putting everything in its proper place while being so careful!"  Will you please work your magic and empty it for me?"

It doesn't take much "changing" to see change.

Making it to the Top...Following His Lead

Our second round of mountain running took place in Lehi, Utah only two days later.  We decided to run up one of the smaller peaks along the Wasatch Mountains.  Our dad drove us to the base of the mountain about 1 mile from their home in Lehi.
There was no path to follow leading us to the top of this mountain.  Random trails made by dirt bikes from years past and deer were our only guide. 

Because of the remote location and difficult terrain, Matt stayed with me, leading me to our destination to the top of mountain peak.

We spotted numerous groups of deer along our trek up the mountain.  Our biggest thrill came when we spotted two stoic elk, positioned themselves along the ridge adjacent to ours.  Decked in massive antlers, they watched us make our climb as the sun rose behind their backs.

The climb to the top was rather simple.  Having Matt as my guide, we quickly reached the top. After reaching our destination, we decided to name the peak, Mount Linda, in honor of my mother's 70th birthday.  A perfect rock was found that formed the exact lines of this ridge.  We presented it to her upon our return to her home.

The difficult part of this climb came as we began our descent back to the town of Lehi.  Matt had spotted a set of tracks made by a recreational vehicle on the ridge beside us.  He decided that would be our goal...to make it to those tracks.  We headed down the opposite side of the ridge and were immediately met with deep snow on a steep hillside as well as sections of alders requiring us to bend and twist in order to make our way through.

There was absolutely no point in our descent that I doubted Matt.  He had climbed miles and miles of mountain ranges in Alaska, Utah, and Nevada. I knew he could get us down the mountain safely...I trusted him completely.  And Matt knew I would follow his every step.  I literally placed my foot into the place his foot would leave...over and over again as we made our way down.

I was amazed as he easily followed random tracks made by deer that had traversed the mountain side earlier in small herds.  Matt made his way quickly.  I followed quickly.  There was little time to dottle as the deep snow made its way into our socks and began to freeze our ankles.  Matt knew, we needed to make our way in a timely manner.

At one point, I saw him look back at me. Seeing a hint of worry in my eyes, he reassured me as he pointed to the tracks which looked far in the distance, "Relax Heather. We will be to the tracks within five minutes."

And sure enough, five minutes of deep snow, led to the tracks we had seen from the top of the ridge.  As we began to run down the tracks, Matt quickly told me to follow him once again as he moved from the slippery surface of the iced tracks to the middle. I worried only for a moment quickly realizing how much easier it was to run down in the soft snow.  Stride for stride we made amazing progress and before I knew it, we had reached the bottom of the mountain.

How exhilarating it had been to make it to the top.  How grateful I was for Matt with the knowledge to lead us back down safely.

After running the few miles back to the house (a total of 7), we were greeted by our sweet nieces exclaiming, "We saw you at the top!"

Come to find out, my dad had been following us the entire time with his binoculars, watching our progress as we made it to the peak.  I love that he was there too, just in case we needed him.

We aren't simply wandering aimlessly around on our journey here on earth.  We have purpose.  We each have our mountains to climb, each given our own pace, each with One to follow in time of need and each being watched at all times by Him.

It makes me happy to know that.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Making it to the Top...At Your Own Pace

My brother Matt, is a mountain runner. I am not.  I prefer a nice flat run where I can get myself into a comfortable pace and run.

Mountain running doesn't offer comfort and requires a totally different strategy.

Lucky for me (sense the sarcasm?), Matt took me on not one, but two, mountain runs this week. 

Our first run took place in the beautiful Red Rock Canyon right outside of Las Vegas.  Within minutes of our "run," my heart was pounding, legs aching, which quickly led to negative thoughts entering my mind (and maybe a few inappropriate words). I wasn't worried if I was going to make it to the top, I wondered if I would be able to keep up.

After five minutes, I knew I wouldn't be able to stick with Matt's pace (and a slower runner NEVER wants to slow a faster runner).  I did what I have always done on my runs with my brother...sent him on ahead.  Whew!

I knew if I stayed on the trail, I would be fine. 

And after seeing him quickly disappear up the mountain (see above picture...he is a small dot up in the canyon), I was ready to make my own ascent to the top.

Luckily our journey here is set by our own pace not someone else's.

We have a path we can follow. And although the path may be smooth and flat at times, we eventually have to face the mountain and leave our place of comfort. If we are going to make it to the top and reach our goal, we will need to leave the easy path and pace and face the unsteady shale, the jagged rocks and steep climb.

And so it was that day at Red Rock I realized that although each of us vary in our ability, we are all able...we just may take longer than someone else.

Matt made the climb in under 30 minutes. He not only had a body conditioned for climbing but he knew the path he should take.  He passed other climbers who commented to me after I asked if they had seen my "jerky brother" that indeed they had seen the amazing runner, my brother, actually "running" up the rocky mountain side.

I on the other hand, took much longer.  And although I did pass the other climbers as well (come on people, I am in shape too...just not in "Matt" shape), it took me more time.  I ended up taking a few wrong paths, leading to more difficult passes on the rocks.  I even had to walk at times.

After reaching the first summit, Matt was there waiting for me (he had already been to the top) ready to join me for the final ascend and lead me to the top of Turtlehead peak.

Together we reached the top.

And as we looked down into the valley below, we both smiled, happy.

(Wait until tomorrow, when I share my thoughts on our Utah climb to Mount Linda!)