My Shelfari Bookshelf (These are seriously just a FEW of the hundreds of books I've read lately)

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Slacker's Back!!

Seriously, who's the worst blog slacker on the planet? I know you're thinking it...and it's true! ME! I suck at blogging. But that's OK. I have about 10 or 50 things to blog about, but I'm only gonna blog about one tonight.  I bet you can guess what it is!


One of the greatest experiences of my life. Not only for the fact that I DID it. But because I got to do it with 4 of the most amazing women EVER!!

4 months ago, my sister Dixie sent a little question out to the blogging world about who would possibly be interested in joining a training group because she had the itch to train. We'd be training for a triathlon in May. I (being the blog slacker you know and love) am afraid to think of what would've happened if I hadn't checked blogs that week. I could've been left out of this group! I don't check blogs as often as I'd like, but I just happened to do so that week. I immediately commented that I would definitely need to be one of her "groupies." Luckily, the blog gods were with me, and I was included.

The group consisted of my 3 sisters (Dana, Allyson, Dixie), myself, and my cousin Wendy. (Actually, we had 5 people to start, but Amy Howe was oober busy and had to drop out). Dixie called a meeting, set us up on workout regimens, and gave us weekly challenges. We had several meetings throughout that helped to keep us motivated, and even had our own Biggest Loser challenge (that Dana kicked butt on and won hands down). My body hates me as you may or may not recall, and has continued to horde those extra pounds even as I have tried my darndest to wrench them free. Whatever.

When I started this journey I was completely NOT a runner. I remember my first 2 minutes of butt and legs were like jello jigglers, and my lungs were on fire. I had to stop and walk after TWO MINUTES. A few months later I was able to complete the Ragnar Relay and ran 12.4 miles! I joined a running group, and even joined a gym called Competitive Fitness to help me on this journey of weight loss and overall better health.  I started waking up at 4:30 am to get to the gym by 5. If I missed, I'd go after work. Dana and I would go to Lifetime Fitness together to swim and bike. Dixie started us on Saturday morning bike rides and runs. It was like this whole other world opened up for me, and suddenly I saw what I had been missing for so long. I had been letting life pass me by! I had been the one in bed on the weekends wondering why the heck anyone would be up before the sun. Now I was the crazy! Only, guess what?? I didn't feel crazy. I felt GOOD. I felt HAPPY. I felt HEALTHY. And I felt READY TO LIVE!!!

Wanna know the craziest part of this, though? (And really the best part). This overall amazing feeling began to spill over to the rest of my life. I suddenly didn't want to regret all that wasted time with my kids. I didn't want to look back and only remember sitting on the couch watching TV or going out to movies. I wanted to remember connecting with my kids and creating the kind of family I knew I was supposed to. So, Troy and I started talking. We set some goals. We came up with a family mission statement. We made a goal to TURN OFF THE TV and LEAVE IT OFF any time we were with our kids. When they're awake, we're "WITH" them. Not just in the same room, but actually connecting with them. Playing games. Playing catch. Going for walks or bike rides. Going on hikes. Talking. Laughing. Cooking. Doing projects. Whatever. The point is, if any of you know Troy at all, you'll know that this right here is MIRACLE #2 in our family. (#1 was that we had Brooklyn and she changed our lives forever and we actually liked each other again!!). Troy is addicted to TV. He never wants his comfort to be compromised, or his downtime to be bothered. He doesn't really care about, TV, and sleep. He's changing, though. So it didn't just affect me, it affected him, and us.

Even better...we've almost read the entire Book of Mormon this year as a family--before school! We hardly ever missed all year. We started Family Home Evenings again. We've just been enjoying each other more, and it feels good.  So this exercise thing? It's not just physical. It's spiritual as well. I never want to go back.

Anyway, I'm getting long winded. Sorry. (It's cuz I haven't posted in ages). So...Saturday, May 9 rolls around. I know I'm ready. 2 weeks before we actually went to Tempe Beach Park and rode the trail for the bike, and ran the trail for the run. I did it NO PROBLEM. I ran the entire time and could've kept going--I felt that good! Tuesday of this week I went running with my marathon friend and we ran 5 miles (in the heat) and I was fine!! Could've kept going. So I know I'm ready.

Here are a couple of things that could have foreshadowed some problems ahead...#1 I took my bike in on Friday for a tune up and to be sure it was "tri-ready". They took my water bottle off and didn't put it back on, but of course I didn't notice that until that night at 10. I had NO water bottle. Dixie assured me it was a short enough race that I'd be fine without it. #2 It was like the blazes of hell at 7 in the morning. Already. hmmmmmm....

8:15 BAM! My wave is off! I'm swimming in the nastiest lake water ever. It's totally green or yellow (whichever it was I just know I could see ZERO when my face was in the water). However, I didn't let that stop me. I kicked butt on the swim! I was one of the first to finish in my wave, and even passed up lots of orange caps (the wave before). I got out and found my legs a bit wobbly beneath me, but I was still ready to go! I was super thirsty already and thought it was not a good sign, but what could I do? No water bottle. I took a quick drink. 18 minutes after I started, I was off on the bike!

The bike was seriously a bit harder than I expected, and I'll tell you why. It was full of some serious hills...and I was PARCHED! Picture the driest your mouth has ever felt. Then picture watching other people with water bottles and camelbacks while you just try and swallow the dry straw in your own throat! It was agonizing! My bike helmet clip felt too tight because I couldn't swallow. It was not good. However, I persevered. I finished in 55 minutes (which really is about what I'd been doing in my practices...maybe a couple minutes slower).

As soon as I racked my bike I took my time in the transition because I HAD to get some fluids in me. It was 300 degrees and I needed water. I even drank some nasty Gatorade, which I HATE! I rinsed and spit and drank some good long drinks. Off I went to my run. As I exited the transition area my whole family (Mom, Dad, aunts, uncles, cousins, husband, children, bro-in-laws, nieces, nephews) were there cheering me on and I am serious - I ran past them bawling. I couldn't stop the tears from flowing. I was exhausted and overwhelmed and so completely elated by their support. It was AMAZING! Can't describe it.

As I start running I keep thinking: Your goal is to run without stopping. No matter what, don't stop. Keep going. Fight it. Fight it. Fight it. Crap...I'm gonna die. Gotta stop. NO! Don't stop. You are going to hate yourself if you stop. Fight it! You CAN DO THIS! You just ran 5 miles. Oh my gosh, I'm gonna die. Cramps. Breathing hard. Is it seriously 110 degrees? Just a little bit further....dang it. I stopped.

I'm still so disappointed in myself on the run. I stopped, and I had the hardest time starting again. I ran probably half a mile, then walked half a mile. Then ran half a mile, then walked half a mile. I ran the full final mile, but seriously I was dead. Dehydrated, SUNBURNT like you cannot believe, and just exhausted.  However...

I got to the final stretch and my boys were waiting there with big grins (and I swear  I am emotionally broken, because I keep crying over this whole event...even as I'm typing this), and they cheered me on and started running in with me. I could see them with water bottles for me and a bouquet of flowers, and proud smiles on their faces. I ran in. I crossed the finish line. I. Did. It.

It took me 1 hour and 55 minutes (10 minutes longer than my goal). But I did it. No one can take that away from me. And no one will ever be able to take away from me the feeling I had of seeing my whole amazing family there, braving the heat, cheering me on, and making me feel like a rock star. I didn't come in first. I think I was actually 252nd! But it didn't matter because I was a winner to them.

The worst part was for my sister Allyson. Her stupid tire blew on the first lap of her bike ride. I rode right past her and it was terrible. It took 40 minutes for someone to finally come and help her. She just stood there crying, waiting for help. She finally got done with the first lap when BOOM! The other tire blew. Two stupid flats! Luckily Dana finished her bike ride right then and switched out with her, so Allyson could finish. But when Allyson came through the transition from the bike to the run she was bawling and it just about killed me. So I went on the final 3.1 mile "run" with her (after I'd finished), and it was worth it. She's AMAZING! She finished even with 2 flat tires and a blister the size of Texas on her foot.

My sisters (and my cousin) are all amazing women. They all overcame so much to get where they were on Saturday. I'm actually kind of sad it's over, because this was such a bonding experience. All I can say's only a beginning. I've started a journey that I don't see an end for. I've lost 15 pounds, gained lots of muscle and stamina, and gotten closer to some truly remarkable women. My next one? June 6. Wanna join me??

She swims. She bikes. She runs. SheROX! 

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Ragnar Relay

Well folks. I made it. I am still alive and moving (though slowly) and I feel AWESOME!! Here is a not-so-quick rundown of my amazing weekend.  (You can see my photos with comments on my facebook page).

The Ragnar Relay is a 202.1 mile run from Prescott down to Mesa. There are 12 runners per team, and 6 runners in each van. Van 1 started (for us) at 8:00 am Friday morning. (There are different start times for different teams depending on speed. We were one of the slowest teams, so we got an earlier start.) :) The people in my van were: Amanda Mahowald (the 6th grade teacher that got me into this), Dan Bowser our 69 year old team captain, Sue Daul, Brenda Careaga, Steve Hosfield, and me. We were called HalFast (half assed) because we're "half the speed, twice the fun!" We had painted donkeys on our vans with our theme. Thank goodness I was on a team like that because otherwise I could've really let them down! I'm certainly not Speedy Gonzalez!

You can actually go to the Ragnar Relay website and see the legs I had to run I was runner 2. The first leg you can see was 3.6 miles, but it was a lot of uphill work. It was rated HARD for a reason! I did fairly well on it because I was pumped up at the beginning of the race and still had some energy. I did walk for a little bit of the time, but I passed up 4 runners (we call that "roadkill." See how I talk like a runner now??). I finished really strong, and felt great afterwards. One leg down!

After the 6 of us finished our legs we handed off to Van #2. We now had about 6 hours to rest, so we drove to the next major exchange point and spread out our sleeping bags and blankets onto the hard ground and tried to rest. Didn't really get much rest, though. :) I finished reading "Hunger Games" and tried to sleep, but the hard packed dirt didn't really cushion my hips so well, and the blaring music and sun didn't help much either. It was still nice to be able to just relax and chat with each other for a while.

At about 8:00 or 8:30 (can't remember) Van 2 finished and handed off to us. (Oh, when I say handed off, what actually happened was we passed a slap bracelet to each other instead of a baton). It was totally dark by now, so everyone had to be wearing reflective vests, headlamps, and a flashing red reflector on our backs.  This was actually cool, and my favorite part of the trip. I got to run in the pitch dark on Highway 93 for 4.6 miles! It was tough when cars were driving right at you with their headlights blaring, but I made it through. In fact, I'd say I did the best on this run because it was cool, my leg was nice and flat, and I was able to run almost the whole time without stopping. I finished in 51 minutes.  But, when I finished that leg I actually felt sick to my stomach. I had to walk around quite a bit after that one and let it settle. It was not fun. I couldn't keep my eyes open in the van after that.

By about 1:30 we finished our 2nd legs and stopped at the next exchange point which was Middleton Elementary School (I think) where we got to crash on a classroom floor. I didn't get much sleep here either. The hard ground and warm room were not very helpful! I did get maybe an hour of sleep, though. At 5:00 they woke us up and shooed us out, so we headed to the next major exchange point, which was a high school (can't remember where), where we were able to kind of clean up and get ready for round #3!

The final leg of this race began at about 9:00 in the morning. I ran from 11 - 12. It was the HARDEST leg of the race for me. It was rated HARD because it was literally straight up hill the whole time until about the last mile. It was also extremely windy. I was already exhausted from lack of sleep, and I felt sick to my stomach before I started, so I think I sort of psyched myself out before I had even started, but I did start! I felt like I was standing still when I was running, and I was having a hard time...but I persevered! At about the last mile I ran great and was able to finish strong. It was 4.2 miles.  

In all I ran a total of 12.4 miles (a half marathon! of course, not altogether, so doesn't really count the same...but still...). Before this I had never run more than 2 miles at a time, and I would have NEVER thought it was even possible. It was one of the coolest experiences of my life, though, and truly life changing. The atmosphere at an event like this is charged and electrified. Everyone is there for the same reason, everyone cheers you on as you go. It gives you the biggest boost of energy when your van (or someone else's) will stop and yell for you and give you that support. It was the coolest thing to be running on these roads where police would stop traffic for you, and to be seeing cars pass and think: "I used to be one of those people just driving by in the car wondering who would be crazy enough to be running! Now I'm one of those runners!" I never thought I'd BE one of those runners. But I was!  And even if I wasn't the fastest, I discovered that I was faster than anyone who never even tried. Faster than anyone who stayed in bed. Faster than anyone who gave up or quit. I was faster than I had been last week. It was such a great discovery!

It was so cool to hear people talk to me like I was one of them. When they'd say "well, you're a runner, so you know..." and in my mind I'd be thinking "ha ha! fooled you, didn't I??" But by the end of the weekend, I truly felt like I could be included in that category of "runner" and I wanted to (for the first time since high school) BE a runner. 

I am more excited for my triathalon than ever, and am joining the East Valley Runners club (which is the group I was with), and will continue my running journey. I know now that I LOVE being an actual participant in these events, and that I NEED something like this to motivate me to do more in my workouts...or to even make sure I DO my workouts! I'm now considering a 10K as my next goal. I've already conquered a 5k! :) I do SheROX in May, and then who knows what's next? I said I would NEVER EVER do a marathon...but now there's a crazy little notion in the back of my head that says: "Never? Really? That's an awfully long time...and you never thought you'd do a triathalon...and you never thought you could do this relay...maybe you shouldn't say never...maybe someday you WILL do a marathon..."

CRAZY, HUH??? Maybe. But here are some of the greatest things I got this weekend:

1) A new group of amazing friends.
2) A confidence in myself that I hadn't had before.
3) A renewed motivation to push myself and work hard.
4) A desire to continue competing in events.
5) A STRONG desire to never let life pass me by. I could sit and watch TV, eat, be lazy...and watch life go by. Or I could be out there EXPERIENCING life. Not just me, but my family. There are so many things going on each weekend that we could be experiencing, that we don't.
6) A personal confirmation that eating right and living a healthy life are NOT as hard as I thought, and that I actually want to do that even more now.
7) A husband who said he might even consider doing something like this....(SERIOUSLY...that right there is a bit of a miracle).
8) The knowledge that I can do anything I set my mind to.
9) Inspired by over 2000 people who chose to spend 2 days running.
10) 2 new quotes: "The miracle isn't that I finished.  The miracle is that I had the courage to start.
John "The Penguin" Bingham
Once we clear a hurdle, it doesn't seem so high.

Clear those hurdles in life, friends. You can do it! :) I did it, and my next one's in sight!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

4 Miles Baby!!

So yea. I'm innocently walking my class back from PE this morning when one of the 6th grade teachers comes walking down the hallway and asks me what I'm doing this weekend. Well. This isn't just any 6th grade teacher. This is the MARATHON RUNNING 6th grade teacher. Ya...she did the New York marathon this year, the PF Chang's, the Rock'n Roll, and just 2 weeks ago an ULTRA marathon, which is 31 stinking miles. She's pretty amazing.

So I was a little concerned about where this question was leading, but I told her I wasn't doing anything. So she asked........if I wanted to join her group for the Ragnar Relay. What the heck is the Ragnar Relay you ask?  Well, it starts in Prescott. There are 12 people on a team (or 6 if you're super crazy and like torture), and you each take turns running different legs of the race. Not little legs mind you. Big fat legs. Until you make it back to Mesa about 36 hours later. Non stop. 

She told me I would be doing the shortest leg. That would be 4 miles---3 different times! One of them even in the middle of the night.  I told her that a runner, I am not. Yes, I've been training for a triathalon, but the running is seriously my weakest area. My downfall, if you will. But I told her I'd think about it.

Well, the thing is I couldn't stop thinking about it. CRAZY. WHY was I even thinking about it? The last time I ran 4 miles in a row was in high school! But, it kept poking its way back to the front of my brain. Plus, she's hilarious and I knew we'd have a blast. So I told her I would do it. WHAT??? Am I insane? Possibly.

We leave Friday morning at 4:20 am (yep), and we won't stop or get home until Saturday  night. I will run 3 different times, the first 3.6 miles, the second 4.6 miles, and the last 4.2 (I think). 

I decided that I better just try out a run at the gym tonight to see if I could seriously do this without completely dying. (I did assure her that I was a crappy runner and I'd probably have to walk, and she told me it was fine. Apparently our team is called the "Halfast" group...half the speed, twice the fun...which is great for me! But really they're all part of this running club, and I am definitely not).

I decide I'm going for 4 miles (are we remembering here that the last time that happened was almost 20 years ago???).  I turned on my iPod, set the speed for 5.5, and off I went. I upped it to 6.0, then 6.5, and wouldn't you know it...I ran FOUR MILES! In a row. With only a SLIGHT stop for speed walking halfway through. And guess how long it took me? 45 minutes and 35 seconds. That's about an 11 minute mile in case you didn't want to figure out the math. Seriously? I have NOT been pushing myself hard enough apparently, because I did it! And I felt good! I was tired, yes. But I did it.

The funny thing is I've "hated" running for so long that I never gave it a chance. This made me think I might not actually hate it after all.  I can't explain the euphoria felt after that accomplishment tonight. Am I still scared to death for this weekend? YES. But at least I know I can do it. It is possible. And I won't die.  

Who knows? Maybe after this triathalon I'll join that running club. Nothing seems impossible anymore. I did it. I'm proud.

But let's hope I'm still alive on Sunday. :)

Monday, February 16, 2009

My Body Hates Me

OK, so it's official. I've decided my body has it in for me. I know, I know. It's my own fault. I've abused it for too long by filling it up with junk food and garbage. But still! You'd think that it would thank me for trying to fix that, and for trying to make it more healthy with exercise all the time. Nope. It hates me. 

I suppose it's just gotten used to all that extra fat, and it's become attached to it emotionally. I don't know. But I do know that it's TICKING me off!! I mean, come on. I have been diligently working out 5 days a week for 6 weeks whilst training for this triathalon. I have been a trooper on these fitness/food challenges that Dixie has been throwing at me (no soda, no eating after 7 pm, 5 a day fruits and veggies, no snacks except fruits and veggies, writing down my food/calories, and now no sweets). I haven't been perfect on the challenges. I've struggled with the fruits and veggies, and finding time to write things down has been tough. But I HAVE stopped the eating just because crap.

So I ask you...should NOT my body LOVE me for this and help me out by shedding a few of those unwanted, unnecessary, unseemly, UGLY fat pounds?? The answer, my friends, should be a resounding yes. But unfortunately for me, my body says NO! I LOVE the fat and want to keep it. Stupid body.  

You know what it's done? It's shed a MEASLEY 2 pounds since beginning this training on Jan. 1st. Just 2 pounds! On Saturday it was 3 pounds, but today when I weighed, it was back to just 2. Two. T-W-O. Dos. A Couple. Twins. A pair. 

Now, I'm not giving up, but I'm telling you my motivation and dedication are wavering in the face of this stubborn body of mine. I am biking, swimming, running, and weight training diligently and getting no results. For the love of all that's holy, people, what's wrong with me??

Never fear. I shall persevere, and eventually I will wear my body down so that I will be the champion. I WILL lose the weight, and I WILL look hot...eventually. Wish me luck, though, because right now my body is laughing at me and holding those two pounds in front of my face with a taunting jeer saying: "See these, sucker? I want them back, and I'm not giving up any more!" And I'm trying with all my might to look that body in the eye and stare it down with fierceness and shout back: "2 pounds is 2 pounds, jerk! Just watch out because IT. IS. ON!"

But I'm kinda struggling...

I need a boost. This will all work for me eventually, right? 

Or should I just blame it all on that blasted diabetes?! Ya...that's the reason....


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Facebook is Addicting!

So, I realize I'm a total slacker when it comes to my blog, and I haven't posted for a while. I have to say that Facebook has officially sucked me in! It is addicting.  Here is the weird thing, though. I had someone "friend" me and could NOT figure out where I knew her from, or if I actually knew her. I waited to confirm until BINGO! It hit me! It was a student of mine from when I first started teaching...12 years ago!!

She's all grown up and engaged to be married. Who feels OLD??? Yep, me. So then I visited her page and looked at all her friends (like 400 something), and I found LOTS of my old students. It was so weird to see them all grown up, kissing boys, dressing...not like 10 year olds, etc. I still picture them as 4th graders, ya know??

Anyway, they are doing great, and I'm seriously enjoying catching back up with them...because after all, I spent 180 days of their formative years with them, and I'm pretty sure I'm the reason they're doing so well....KIDDING! But honestly, where does the time go??

Shouldn't everyone stay their innocent little selves forever? Ah well... 

Carpe Diem and all that.

Mrs. Crandell

Saturday, January 24, 2009

As You Wish...The Results

So, here you have it! The results of our hard working MLK day at As You Wish. I was actually quite pleased with mine. I'm going to take it to school to show it off properly. :) Troy loved his (notice the blood on the front of the shark's mouth? Nice touch, babe). Cooper wasn't totally pleased with his (not surprisingly), but didn't complain too much. Surprisingly it was Carter who was unhappy with his because he didn't feel like he painted it well enough. I think it looks great! He's currently keeping change in its mouth. Brooklyn was thrilled with her poo-green colored flower. Yep, when you mix all the colors, that's what you get! It's the most beautiful flower ever! She's taking a nap with it right now...

On a totally unrelated note, I took Brooklyn to run errands with me this afternoon, and can we just say TRAUMATIC?? Ya, first we went to Sport's Authority to buy compasses for science camp. After I paid and was ready to leave she was NOWHERE to be found. Nowhere. I searched that store up and down, yelling her name, had her paged a couple times, had a worker helping me look. I finally panicked so much I called Troy to tell him I'd lost our child and could he come help me look, and that's when I found the weights section in the very farthest corner of the store. Hiding from me. With a big smile on her face. Thinking this was cute, and funny, and a really great game. AAAAAHHHHHHH!!! I was NOT happy. Got my adrenaline pumping for sure. I gave her a good talking to and hugged her tight and spanked her bum, and then we headed off to our next store.

"I stay right by you right Mommy?" she says. "Yes you do. RIGHT by me. Hold my hand." Second store, success! We picked up our As You Wish items, and as we were leaving I saw the 90% clearance sale at Bath and Body and remembered that I HAD to stop there. I stock up every year at this amazing event. So, we stop. As soon as we walk in, what does Brooklyn do? She picks up a large candle and drops it, shattering glass all over the floor! YEP...she did. I'm embarrassed and offer to pay for it, blah blah. They tell me not to worry about it. I keep a much closer eye on Brooklyn. But at this point she is 1) tired, and 2) in heaven because it's all this yummy smelling girl stuff that she HAS to touch and smell! I keep telling her no. I grab her hand. She starts throwing fits. Lots of them. I finally decide, "trip over, let's pay." But the line? LONG, of course. I have to end up holding her (building muscles the whole time because of serious fit throwing and body clenching she's doing) while in line, the whole time listening to her scream and watching people watch me.

We finally make it to the line and to try and get her to shut the H up at this point I ask her if she wants to help hand the lotions to the lady. She of course does. But she basically just throws every single one at her. Luckily, everyone was nice, but I was very happy to get her out of there and back home for her nap. So that picture you see of her holding the flower? She's still ticked about having to go to bed and was STILL throwing fits. Which tells me she definitely needed the nap.

Moral of the story? DON'T take Brooklyn to stores with me EVER AGAIN!!! Or at least not if she hasn't napped...
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Thank You, MLK!

So, I just want to publicly thank MLK for all he did for us. I realize he was a great man who helped bring about civil rights for all...but I really just want to thank him for giving us a holiday! :) Seriously, I so needed Monday off. I got through all my mail (piled to the ceiling) paid my bills, started laundry, straightened up the house, and got water and milk (which we were in desperate need of) all before 12:00.
After 12 we decided it was a family day, and doggone it, we wanted to spend it together doing something fun! We were going to try out the Wildlife World Zoo...but it's so far away and closes rather early, so by the time we were ready it was not an option. Then we thought we'd take the lightrail to Phoenix and check out the science museum. (They do have a Star Trek exhibit there right now. I mean, come on, how cool is that?? :) But, again, with the time--it wasn't going to be worth the money and effort. So...we searched through our coupon book and found: 50% off for up to 4 people at As You Wish!

We've been wanting to try this out for a while, because my brother Eric and his family swear by it. It's a bit pricey, so we thought it would be worth it since we had the coupon. Well, it turns out it was a BLAST! Everyone had a great time (including Troy, which is weird, cuz he usually only wants to go to dinner and a movie. Ever.) But, he really loved it.
Brooklyn painted a little flower. Well, she painted it all different colors and had a wonderful time. I'm not sure what it will look like when we get it back, but she was happy! Cooper and Carter both chose different fish, Troy chose a shark (which he embellished with "blood" all over the teeth. Nice.), and I chose a cup that I could use at school for pencils/scissors/etc.

The painting and being creative was really quite satisfying, I must say! I don't know that any of us will win awards for our artsy-ness, but who cares?? There was no fighting or arguing or complaining for a whole hour, and we left there feeling good about what we'd accomplished. We also left there a LOT lighter in the wallet, because that 50% off for up to 4 people? That's just on the time spent painting, not the it still cost us $80! But it was worth it!
Just look at our faces: What fun! (Well, don't look too closely at mine. I look terrible and old, but whatever).

After our fun time at As You Wish, we went to the store to buy Cooper hiking boots for 5th grade science camp that's coming up in 2 weeks (Yep, I'm a teacher of 5th graders, and this year he gets to come with me!) We actually had to go to 3 different stores, and Troy was a great sport about it.

We then went to Mi Amigo's for dinner, which turned out to be delicious! I've never been there before, but I'm sure I will be going again. After dinner, though, was my very favorite part of the day. We went to the park by our house because Brooklyn had been begging all day. I thought we'd stop for a while and just push her on the swings and be done, but thankfully I was wrong.

First, TROY GOT ON THE SWINGS (yep, weird, huh??) and I pushed Brooklyn while the boys ran around. Then I got on the swings for a while. After that, somehow, we all started playing tag and it was SO MUCH FUN!! Troy was carrying Brooklyn around and we were all running around chasing each other, or running away from each other, having a blast! After a while, Brooklyn got down and was totally part of the action. I'd say we played tag for about 20 minutes or more. We laughed so hard, and really had the best time ever. I don't think we've ever done that before, but I can bet you we will be doing it again. (However, any of you who have had kids will know what I'm sure you go potty before running around and laughing with your kids...yep, motherhood has its sacrifices and it's blessings, for sure. The bladder issues? Not a blessing!) :)

The payoff? My boys were happy and helpful the rest of the night, and when my sister Allyson asked them about Monday Carter said: "Monday? That was probably the best day of my life!" And he meant it. Isn't it crazy? Just a little together time goes such a long way. I love my kids, and right now...I love Martin Luther King, Jr. for bringing us closer to each other. Thanks MLK!
Posted by Picasa

Friday, January 16, 2009

Our Family Pictures

Well, here is just a sampling of our recent family photo shoot. Click on it to see the pictures better. Can you help me decide which pictures are the best to have printed? I need to know which family picture to choose. (We have 134 pictures to choose from...I just posted a few of my favorites). I know some of you saw this in our "New Year's" card, but those were really small pictures. Hopefully you can see these better.
Posted by Picasa

Family Fun Bowling Night

So the other night I wanted to go out and do something fun because I had such a busy day ahead of me, and I needed something to look forward to. I asked Troy if he wanted to go out, and then I called my brother to see if they wanted to join us. He told me they were going bowling with Dixie and her family, so we decided we'd tag along with them. It was so much fun!

This was Brooklyn's first bowling experience, and they had a really cool thingy that the little kids could roll the ball down so that it would go straight down the lanes and hit the pins. They also had the bumpers up so there were no "gutter balls."

It turned out to be a very fun evening! Troy won and Brooklyn (due to that contraption...or pure beginner's luck) took second, I got 3rd, Cooper got 4th, and Carter came in last...but really, we all stunk it up! :) Troy did OK, but I didn't get even one strike, and only one spare...and usually I do much better than that!

All in all I think this was better than a movie, and it was fun to have the kids with us for an evening out.

(If you click on the collage you can see the pictures bigger-cuz I know you want to!) :)
Posted by Picasa


A friend of mine just emailed this to me, and I thought it was too funny not to share. Hope you get a good laugh! (Actually, I have another one that I'm going to borrow from another friends blog to share here, too. It's teacher humor, but I think it's funny for all.  Am I wrong?)
(It says: When I grow up, I want to be like my Mommy!)
(Here's the reply the teacher received the following day)


Dear Mrs. Jones,
I wish to clarify that I am not now, nor have I ever been, an exotic dancer. 
I work at Home Depot and I told my daughter how hectic it was last week before the blizzard hit.  I told her we sold out every single shovel we had, and then I found one more in the back room, and that several people were fighting over who would get it.    Her picture doesn't show me dancing around a pole.  It's supposed to depict me selling the last snow shovel we had at Home Depot.
From now on I will remember to check her homework more thoroughly before she turns it in.
Mrs.  Smith

You gotta love kids and their amazing spelling!

I was tagged!

I was awarder the "I love your blog" by my friend Kimberley Smith (who taught Carter 1st grade--one of the best ever!) But with the award goes a tag, so, here goes:

1. Where is your phone? next to me on the table

2. Where is your significant other? driving home from work

3 .Your hair color? auburn

4. Your Mother? amazing and BUSY

5. Your Father? faithful and WISE

6. Your favorite thing? Family

7. Your dream last night? Dream? That would mean I actually sleep...

8. Your goal? Stay-at-home-mom in a nicer/bigger house

9. The room you're in? Kitchen

10. Your hobby? Reading

11. Your fear? Something happening to my family 

12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? In Arizona in that nice/big house... 

13. Where were you last night? The gym, swimming

14. What you're not? a good homemaker

15. One of your wish-list items? A house in an actual neighborhood

16. Where you grew up? Mesa, AZ

17. The last thing you ate? cookie dough....I know...but it was GOOD!

18. What are you wearing? jeans and a long sleeved shirt

19. Your TV? on while Brooklyn watched "Little Mermaid 2"

20. Your pet? 2 dogs (want them??)

21. Your computer? Toshiba laptop

22. Your mood? content

23. Missing someone? not really

24. Your car? Honda Odyssey

25. Something you're not wearing? jewelry (which is weird)

26. Favorite store? The Red Dot Boutique (Target)

27. Your Summer? GREER!!

28. Love someone? Family

29. Your favorite color? Green

30. When was the last time you laughed? Today

31. Last time you cried? Tuesday, while watching The Biggest Loser

32.Something you crave? Sweets (esp. cookies and brownies)

33. Why you blog? Memories

I now award the "I Love Your Blog" Award to:

Allyson Van Patten

Dixie Dixon

Lana Shumway

Tammy Adams

Wendy Daw

Julie Fischbeck

Friday, January 9, 2009

Happy New Year!

So, I realize this is a little late, but HAPPY NEW YEAR! Troy and I took our kids as well as my brother Eric's kids over to Porter and Lana's house for a fun New Year's party, and we had a great time! Thanks Porter and Lana! There was lots of yummy food, fun games, great company, and it was a nice way to ring in the new year. Dixie and Shane, Porter and Lana, Troy and I, and Russell & Monica Kay were there. Porter had created a fun quiz for us to do when we got there, and had counted a candy jar for us to guess (which I WON!!), and there were movies for the kids to watch so that the adults could enjoy their time together. We played Buzz Word (fun game! the women totally rocked it), and the Newlywed Game.

Brooklyn was a trooper and totally stayed up til midnight. Cooper was zonked on the couch, but Carter and the other kids (minus the little ones) made it through and partied hard until the ball dropped. We had party hats, horns, poppers, and streamers to help us ring in the new year. Overall it was a great time!

I've already been doing great on my new year's resolution, which is to train 100% for the SheROX all women's triathalon on May 9, 2009 at the Tempe Town Lake. I've run, biked, and swam everyday (except Wed. and Sun.) and I feel great! I'm getting so excited for this event and know that in 4 1/2 months I will be in way better shape than I have been in a while, and I'll be able to finish this thing.

Hope you're all doing great! Make it a great 2009!
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Day One of My New Life...

OK, so it's official. My traithalon training has begun.  I woke up bright and early at 9:30 :) and set off to do my 19 minute run. Dixie has created a schedule for me for every single day of training for the next 4 1/2 months until the May 9th triathalon. I get Wednesdays and Sundays off (for my Young Women calling, and for the Sabbath). 

I thought 19 minutes would be fine. Just so you know, the run scares me the very most.  I'm a pretty good swimmer, and I've been doing the biking classes at the gym for a while now, so those 2 don't scare me too much. (However, combining them all together is much different than just doing them by themselves...and it terrifies me a bit right now).  

I started my ipod, stretched, and then left the comfort of my front room. All I could feel for the first few minutes was my butt (and every other place with fat on me) jiggling. Embarrassing. I was sure that everyone (all 2 cars that were out and about) could see my jiggliness, and I was mortified. I decided to just ignore it. After 2 minutes I was ready for my first "interval training" so I walked for 2 minutes. :) Yea, I have a ways to go!

This was how it went: Run for 2, walk for 2, run for 3, walk for 2, run for 4, walk for 3, run for 3, then I walked all the way home. So I actually did more than my 19 minutes... Seriously, though--it felt good! I know I will be so much better in 4 1/2 months, and I can't wait to see those results, but I was proud of myself for being on schedule and getting my new life started. 

Tomorrow I swim for 24 minutes, and Saturday I bike for 48 minutes. I'll probably just do the bike class at the gym, which is actually 60! :) Starting Monday I will be doing both swimming and running in the same day...yikes! 

Happy New Year to me!