Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - How I feel about Winter/Christmas/Holiday Break...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I can't bake, but I can POP!

Lately the baking around the Ball house has been a series of tried and failed scientific experiments. Messes occurring before the oven is entered, messes occurring during the baking process, and a disaster when the finished product emerges from the oven. I'm not sure what's wrong with my baking skills as of late, but they pretty much suck.

I think there are several reasons for this inability to create a gastronomical success. Here are my theories:

#1: I didn't get the baking gene from my parents. I mean, seriously, how come my mother and sisters can bake and create beautiful concoctions, have a delectable recipe for everything, and present it in such a Martha Stewart fashion??? Huh, Mom, Teressa, Aly, Emily??? Not.Fair.

#2: I am a HUGE multitasker. I can't even watch TV without having laundry or schoolwork in front of me. So, when I bake, I'm usually doing laundry, the dishes, homework with the kids, cleaning the bathroom - (don't worry, I wash my hands), and getting dinner ready at the same time. I just listen for the timer to go off...

#3: I think people leave out ingredients or one step of the direction just to frustrate me and make my baked goods look like a science project gone wrong. This happened last Sunday when I tried to make a recipe from a certain blog. Let's just say, the blog was a total and complete lie. I think the recipe was made up and the pictures the blogger took were from some other place. My cookies DID NOT look like hers and to show her a thing or two, I deleted her blog from my sidebar. Yes, I am heartless! Nah, nah, nah, nah, naaaaah!

I think those are enough reasons to show my incompetence in the kitchen and around stoves. Suffice it to say that my neighbors will not be receiving anything baked, or anything that has to rise, be creamed, sifted, beaten, rolled out, set to a hard or soft ball stage. Nope. They'll have to wait for another, better neighbor to deliver those things.

However, lest this post seem too negative on my part, I do want to add that even though I may not be the baker in my family,

I can sure pop popcorn!

I can also put carmel on top of it!

And stir it through.

I can put it in cute tins!

I can deliver it to a couple of neighbors
(but only a couple since I ate most of it...).

Yep, that's what I can do this Christmas season.
I hope my mom and sisters can understand.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

I'm just saying...

Where has the time gone? My mom used to say that the older you get, the faster time flies. Words of wisdom from a very smart mom!

I've been thinking about my lax blogging lately - due in part to my status obsession with FB. I figure, why do I need to blog when I can write a silly one or two sentence status that no one really cares about? hmmm. That's just it. No one really cares about a FB status and this blog is like my family's journal of the events in our life. So, here I go to get caught up with the happenings in life from the past 2 months. I know a lot of you might not care so you can just go back to check your FB friends' statuses if you want... heehee

The following are a list of things in no particular order that have been on my mind or happening in our life that I think about during the day, or that keep me up when I should be getting my precious 6 hours of sleep each night:

***That my purse is like my life in that it is cluttered, not sure what I'll find in the deep recesses of it, that I would be embarassed if someone peeked into it, starting to get worn out, but I still use it everyday and love the fact that it was a gift from a precious daughter who knows I like nice things to carry stuff in!

***That Thanksgiving dinner was really very tasteless to me. Everything on my plate was a pale color and not very satisfying. We all missed being with our usual company of Jeff, Tresa, Ryan, and Tyler. Her gravy is much better than mine and she decorates the table really cute. I also missed reading her paper and perusing all the ads after stuffing ourselves. Don't go away for Thanksgiving ever again. OK, you guys?
The leftovers we had on Sunday were, however, totally scrumptious! I wonder why that was???

***That I miss Alyssa being home. But when she is home, I worry about her and where she is, who she's with, what she's doing, why she hasn't called to check in, if she's driving safely, etc... That will never change.

***That teaching first grade is such a blessing for me this year! What a 360 degree turn around from the dregs of 5th grade last year. The funny thing is, those 5th graders from last year, who are now in 6th, are so happy to see me in the hall, give me hugs, tell me how great I am and how they miss me.. Um, kids, could we have seen a bit more "love" last year??? Yeah, didn't think so.

***That I feel so blessed to have a healthy family who are capable of playing sports at each season of the year and keep my driving skills up to date by dropping them off at practice, and picking them up, then driving to their games!

(I am serious about them being healthy- we are lucky.)

***That Christmas is going to be here in less than 2 weeks and I'm still not finished with my shopping and hope that I've made everything "fair" with the kids and that I hope I can get my mom's, dad's, and mother in law's gifts sent out so they'll reach them in time! Whew. I can really start to stress myself out at this time of year. I don't think that's the purpose of this season???

***That I can't believe I haven't even done anything for our Christmas cards this year. We took a few pictures downtown on Thanksgiving day but those turned out blechy. I had a clear vision of us standing against the old brick walls of beautiful downtown Boise, looking all perfect and card-ready, but when you don't have someone to tell you to move to the left, or put your foot there, or suck in your gut, or try not to look like a pirate, well, it's dang hard. Alyssa did a great job managing to balance our camera on the tripod on top of a garbage can, however. Self-timer just didn't cut it though, and we turned out grainy and awkwardly posed. We definitely need some re-takes, but Bill isn't as excited about old brick walls like me.

***That if I can never run again I will be the saddest person on the planet. Been too busy to actually schedule a PT appointment, been stretching, doing other exercising, and taking some Advil. Been adjusting the way I sit during long meetings at church, or while I'm on the computer. Been visualizing what it's like to have my legs carry me for miles and miles. Yep, I've been on the edge about this, but maybe once I'm home for more than a couple hours at a time, I'll actually do something about it...

***That I will be glad when Kourtni gets her license. That I will not be glad when Kourtni gets her license. I have very mixed emotions about that girl and her socializing skills. She feels the need to go to parties, bowling, movies, b-ball games, etc... but she has no way to get herself there other than ME! And, after all, I do have awesome driving skills thanks to running her and her siblings around, but, my word! That girl is on the go and that means that I have to be on the go as well. I'm too tired and old to be on the go like that, so it is really nice when another parent chips in to drive but that hasn't happened too much lately. Oh, Kourtni, I love you, I just get tired thinking about taking you places...

***That I live for the weekend. I get giddy when it's Friday! A little more sleep, a little more time at the gym, a little more free time, a little more time with the family. Can you say it with me, "Ahhhhhh!"

***That I love having someone other than me or my kids clean the house. Wow. That's about all I can say. Too cool to come home from work and have your home sparkling. To look at the shower walls and actually see, what looks like, your reflection in them. To have the dust bunnies removed from the ceiling fans. To have mopping done in the laundry room! To have each bedroom vacuumed on one day! To have my toilets look amazing! Wow. I'm definitely thinking about adding this luxury to our budget...Thanks Merry Maids, you did a phenomenal job! Can you come again???

***That it really is ok for us not to have Christmas lights on the house. We can just enjoy our neighbors' lights and imagine what our house would look like if it were trimmed in red and white sparkly orbs...Wow, it would look great! But, this is an extremely busy time of year for he-who-would-get-on-the-house-and-put-up-the-lights, and we're just grateful to see him before 9:00 each weekday night and occasionally on Saturdays. Besides, we don't need any broken bones, sprained joints, or twisted tendons from what might happen if we got up on the roof...

***That I really am grateful to have such a good group of people who surround me each day - my little family rocks! These 5 people in my life are forgiving, patient, obedient, wonderful, funny, smart, amazing, and loving. I don't know what I would do without their support and presence each day. I love my ball babies!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Made of Spare Parts

I've been feeling a lot older than my 42 years for the past couple of weeks. You see, I have this horrible pain in my right butt cheek that will not go away no matter how many stretches or ibuprofen I take. It has bothered me before in getting ready for some of the half marathons I've done, but it has never lingered this long before. It's sidelining my running and it's making me a HUGE crab. I don't like feeling like a 72 year old. It sucks.

To make matters worse, I did something last night in my sleep that totally made me wake up in tears and agony.

***Sidenote: It all began about 3 years ago when Bill and I went skiing for the first time in 15 years. I got a little cocky toward the end of the day and felt like I was 20 years old again and limber as a gymnast... Nope. Not happening. I got taken down by some dead bushes and ski equipment went flying. So did my left arm. It flew right behind my head and when I got the snow out of my face, I wondered whose arm I was laying on. I did make it down the mountain, but I needed Bill to help me get my coat, skis, and paraphernalia off so we could get in the car and make our way home. It took a couple of months to feel better, and it still continued to make me wince every now and then. This summer I had a date with the sidewalk - a face plant date. Yep, I injured the same shoulder again, plus a hip as well! Yay me! Again, it took awhile to feel like I was post injury self. It slipped every once in awhile and jumping jacks were definitely not my friend.

OK, back to last night. I woke up on my stomach with incredible pains shooting through my shoulder which felt like a stretched out rubber band. I had either separated or dislocated something in my battered little shoulder. I quickly moved to try to right the wrongly stretched ligaments, tendons, and bursa inside - all while crying out for Bill, trying not to throw up, and breaking out into a cold sweat. It was not a pleasant feeling. It hurt like the dickens, to put it bluntly.

And now I feel old- AGAIN.

And now I need to see a physical therapist for my butt and my shoulder.

I'm convinced I am truly made of spare parts. It sucks to get old.

(I put this picture here to show that at least my hair looks youngish...)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Halloween Headaches

For Halloween this year, I just wanted to go back in time and have my children dress up as their younger selves. I wanted a sweet little cowboy, a darling little cowgirl, and a good green faced witch.

Awww, the good old days when I had time to be domesticated and actually put time, energy, and thought into costumes for my kids. (And when they were so young that they agreed to be anything I could make - just give me some felt, iron on adhesive, and face make-up!)

This year, I was not domestic. In fact, we spent 2 Saturdays searching the thrift stores to see if I could find someone else's past domestication. I was tired after driving to 4 different smelly stores that were filled with loads of other people searching for the same things.

Success was had with Payton's costume (just don't tell anyone his shirt was found in the girls' section). Score at store number 2. Not so for Kourtni and Lindsay. After several more attempts at second hand shops, I called it a day and offered many suggestions: a pirate, a gypsy, a scarecrow, a white trash gal, a hippy, a nerd, a UPS girl, a dead football player, and the list went on. We had the parts for those outfits at our house, for Pete's sake. Lindsay relented and a dead football player it was. Yippee!

Not so easy for Kourtni. We drove around and around on Saturday the 31st to see if there were anymore ideas out there. NOPE! After several "I told you so's" and "why don't you just take my suggestions", we headed home with no ideas.

After going through my closet, trying on different shades of acid washed jeans, and going through my drawers of old "Stuff", Kourtni decided that she would take after her father and deliver the goods for Halloween by posing as a gangsta UPS gal. Thank goodness for "snap decisions"...

Thank goodness that there will be no more trick or treating for the girls next year.
Thank goodness for UPS clothes.
Thank goodness for patient friends.
Thank goodness Bill and I had an extra 40 bucks to pay our kids to get rid of their 10 pounds of candy.
Thank goodness I can take all that sugar to school and give it out to deserving 1st graders for the rest of the school year! (Yes, there is that much.)
Thank goodness Halloween comes only once a year.
Thank goodness for soft bristled toothbrushes, Crest toothpaste, and Glide floss.
Thank goodness for Dr. Wagner when the toothbrushes, toothpaste, and floss don't do the trick.

Thank goodness I'm done.

Tin Grins are In!

Yes, it's true. We have another brace face in the Ball household. Little Miss Lindsay Lou donned her tin grin this past week and now joins Kourtni as a patient of Dr. Jarvis. (We just hope Lindsay doesn't get the violent feelings toward the doctor like Kourtni does... After each appointment Kourtni wants to "punch him in the face"... Yeah. Having those things on your teeth for 18 months gets old.)

She was a real trooper and I got the mother of the year award for making her walk to the orthodontic office during the school day, sit in the chair for 2 hours with no motherly love sitting nearby, and walk back to school for the rest of the day. Lindsay is awesome and she didn't even utter one word of complaint at having to deal with a delinquent mother who was busy teaching her 24 "other children".

Come back in about 18 months to see the big after reveal! 'Til then, no pop, no carmelly candy, no jerky (poor carnivore!), no Skittles, no sugary gum, no hard shell tacos or Doritoes, etc. etc.

You can do it, Lindser!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Fall Pictures

So I've discovered this thing called Facebook. Do you know what I'm talking about? This online phenomena where you can reconnect with old friends. Where you can spend limitless hours perusing their photo albums, profiles, and such? Yes, I've found it and I'm not sure that it's a positive thing for me. You see, lately many of my Facebook friends have posted new fall family pictures, complete with beautiful autumn colors and leaves of breathtaking beauty mixed with a perfectly coordinated family who have gorgeous (the girls) hair and make up, and (the men) great outfits to go along with the rest of the gang. Hmmm. My thoughts go back to last fall when it was like chopping fingers off to find something, anything, for my family to wear for a family picture. It was like herding cats to get the entire group to decide on a pose and to maintain that pose while I quickly balanced our pathetic digital camera on a rock, set the self timer, sprinted back to my spot, and tried to smile like we were all so relaxed and happy to be there. Yes, we haven't taken any cute fall family photos. Reason number one is that we need each member to be here (unlike my mother and father who had a family picture taken while I was at Ricks College...yes, really.) and Alyssa is definitely not here. Reason number two is that we are slaves to everything football. College football, Optimist football, Sunday night football, ESPN football, etc. Football takes a lot of our time. Reason number three is that I feel like a fashion dork most of the time and I am really not sure what I would have our family wear. I was thinking that we might look good in coordinating Snuggies? Reason number four is that our little camera has been taking pathetic pictures lately (or maybe I just need to read the unopened manual that tells me how to use it) and I just don't want to sprint around setting self timers in a park with lots of unbalanced rocks.

So there you have it. Four reasons why the Ball family just doesn't have any fall pictures that depict our cuteness. You'll have to settle for the grainy, unfocused, candids of what we've been doing lately.

Try not to be jealous if you see them on my Facebook.

Doin' the tummy rub dance on Dad's birthday. You had to be there.

Lindsay's city cross country meet.

Kourtni's choir concert.

Number 81!

Sweaty, sisterly love.

Little Broncos Optimist Football Team 5-2!

My view from the worn out desk chair at the computer.

The cat and Kourtni.

Another running picture with lots of grass in it.

A very muddy practice. The mud did not come out of his shirt but it did come out of his pants!

Bill's 44th birthday!
(See what I mean about grainy?)

Bill's newest friend and my newest nemesis...

My zebra snuggie. We should all get them, look like we've just woken up, and have a family picture taken. What do you think? Sorry you have to turn your head to see this fashionable photo.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Church Thingy and Kourtni

You've gotta love Kourtni. I mean, who doesn't? She is nice, fun, positive, in tune with her mother's emotional needs, funny, happy, and on and on.

She keeps us laughing. She keeps us shaking our heads. She keeps us driving to pick her and her friends up at late hours in the night. She texts almost all the time. She has 8 million friends. She is a character.

Ever since she was a young girl, she has said funny things. We've laughed at mixed up phrases she's gotten confused so many times.

For example: Upon hearing that Bill was going to the landfill to drop off some large hunks of junk, she perked up her ears and said, "I want to go to the land mine!"

When talking of rude people overhearing another's conversation, she proclaimed, "I don't like ear droppers!"

After watching her sister intently, she announced, "I'm watching you like a duck!"

There was a point in time when Alyssa and I started to write down these funny Kourtni-isms. They were that humorous and I wanted to remember them! Too bad I don't know where that hilarious list is.

I guess I'll have to start a new list beginning with her latest proclamation from yesterday (General Conference Sunday) when she asked, "What time is that church thingy on today?"

Yeah. That's our Kourtni! We totally love her sunshine and silliness in our family!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Secret

I've always tried to be a positive person. Tried to be tactful about something negative. Tried to look for the good in unhappy situations. Tried to cheer up the sad. Tried to be a shoulder to cry or vent on. I was really good at positivity (is that a word?) when I was younger and my kids were smaller and had smaller problems.

As the years have crept up on me and my children have grown, I've become less of a positive person and more of a snark. More pessimistic. More sarcastic. More "half-empty" less "half-full". More judgmental. More cynical.

I decided today that I have to change back into the positive person I think I used to be.

If I want to live longer, be happier, be healthier, and just plain more pleasant, negativity needs to become a thing of the past for me. You see the light when on today as I was sitting in a crowded high school auditorium listening to a fabulous presenter about how "worksheets don't grow dendrites". Her comments were very applicable to the classroom - as they were intended to be - but her comments were also highly applicable to typical non-teaching-professional as well.

Did you know you will live 8 years longer if you laugh at least 3 times a day?
Did you know that your brain doesn't recognize the difference between a fake laugh and a real belly jiggling one?
Did you know that everyone needs to wake up each day with a purpose in mind for the day?
Did you know that people who lose their purpose tend to die within 24 months of that lost purpose?
Did you know that most famous comedians live or have lived well into their 80s?
Did you know that most professional successful athletes use visualization to make themselves more confident?
Did you know that it is imperative for your health to get at least 7 - 9 hours of sleep each night for important body repairs?
Did you know that you were born with 100 billion neurons in your brain?
Did you know that when you learn something new you grow a new dendrite? (It's part of your brain that talks to the axons which promotes healthy synapses... makes you smarter.)

I love teaching, but some days it's so nice to be the one being TAUGHT! Thank heavens for October Idaho Teacher Inservice Days! Thank heavens for Dr. Marcia Tate! Thank heavens for her secret! I'm sharing it with you, right here, right now, in hopes of passing along the vital information I learned today... Hope you can use it in your life!

The Secret

Find something to look forward to
Something to love
And, something to do!
Don't worry! Be happy!
Eat as you should
Exercise makes your life all good!

Here's to having a purpose and being positive.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

John Deere or Massey Ferguson???

Wow, 17 days of school have passed and I've definitely learned a lot about the typical first grade student:

1. They are like lemmings - if one laughs at the funny part of a book, THEY ALL LAUGH.
- if one has to go to the bathroom, MOST ALL OF THEM DO, TOO.
- if one tells a story to Mrs. Ball when she has asked for "QUESTIONS" THEY ALL HAVE A FUNNY STORY TO TELL.
- if one is praised for a beautiful job of writing his or her name - THEY ALL NEED PRAISE FOR THEIR SCRIPT.

2. They like to blurt whatever is in their brain OUT LOUD - my dad is IN JAIL.
- I losted a tooth LAST NIGHT.
- It's not fair she found the MAGIC PIECE OF TRASH.
- Move YOUR clip, Mrs. Ball.
- I'm the smartest in the class since I WAS DONE FIRST.
- When is it lunch? - (THIS SAID AT 2:00...)
- I'm done now what? Now what? Now what?
- Mrs. Ball, Mrs. Ball, Mrs. Ball... (adinfenitum...that means FOREVER)
- The slug has escaped from his cup that Missy brought in this morning!

3. They know A LOT for being 6 - Mrs. Ball, he just said a bad word - whispers: moron
- Mrs. Ball, she just said a bad word - whispers: crap
Mrs. Ball, was that tractor in the apple book a John Deere? Or was it a Massey Ferguson?
- They can read like no one's business! Some up to 90 words a minute - sheesh!
- They know our routine down to a science and DO NOT LET ME FORGET IT!!!

Yep, I've learned about 3 things during the past 17 days.

Now what I need to do is: take it all in, remember the funny stuff, breathe regularly and consistently, keep my voice level and slightly syrupy, give daily hugs and/or high fives, recognize good behavior, and be prepared for ANYTHING! ('cuz it just might happen!!!)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Klutzy Kris

This was the summer of the klutz. That would be me. No ice, no snow, no slick surfaces waiting to suck me down. Just pure ditziness on my part.

You've seen the pictures of what that dreaded bolt did to my leg. I now have a garishly colored purple scar on my thigh. One that gets more and more purple after a workout or a run. Good thing that leg is covered up most of the time...

I haven't posted my second incident of the summer:

With the sidewalk.
Broad daylight.
In my childhood hometown.
In front of a school parking lot filled with children and parents.

The sidewalk reached up, grabbed my foot, pulled me down in an instant, left me bloody and in shock, feeling like my hip and shoulder were a 90 year old woman's. I was in town to help Lyss move into her dorm and, needless to say, I was not a very huge help since I could barely gimp along!

Thankfully, these other road rashes that are finally healing. Four distinct areas on my body with four distinct (and disgusting) scabbed over areas.

I'm ready to look like a 42 year old and less like a 4 year old who doesn't know how to remain upright on a bike.

I'm practicing how to stay upright on my feet from now on!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Lumpy and Bumpy

About 21 years ago, on a very lumpy, bumpy double bed, in a quaint house Bill and I called home, I made the decision that would affect the rest of my life. (No, it was not to get a queen bed either...) There were 2 options for my future employment: teaching or nursing. I chose the first and have really never regretted that decision. After all, there are many good things to like about teaching: June, July, and August. And that isn't just something you read on a teacher's mug, either. It's very true and right now the third reason is almost over and it's time to bite the bullet and get back at it.

My kids have always been real troopers when it came to the classes I taught. When they were young and needed a babysitter, I loaded them (Alyssa and Kourtni) up in the car with a babysitter in the front seat, and headed out to school. Now babysitters are no longer needed and their actual help is very much appreciated! They have always been interested in the funny, sad, disgusting, and interesting stories I told them about the children in my classes.
"Miss Kris, my dad thinks you look like a dinosaur...but I don't think you look like a dinosaur!!!"


"Mrs. Bald, your make up is soooo pretty!"
"Mrs. Balls, your earrings are beautiful!"

They have had to compete, in a way, for attention from me - I have had an additional 20 to 25 kids in my life as well as the ones I gave birth to. They have always asked me about my students. They have been interested in my days. But most importantly, they have always been quite willing to help me out during the middle part of August when my classroom needed to be moved into, rearranged, put together, etc. etc. I've been lucky to have great helpers who, only occasionally, will barricade their brother in the square crawl space in my room...

They are excellent at organizing my things.

They are wonderful at resting when it gets too hard to handle.

And they'll hang posters 'til the cows come home for a new pair of jeans from Hollister or American Eagle...
Thank you, Ball children. I love you and appreciate all that you put up with from having a mother who is also a full-time teacher. You are the best! Thanks for your help again this summer.

Thank goodness for that lumpy, bumpy double bed in the quaint house in Rexburg where Bill and I called home 21 years ago. I know I made the right decision!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Lucky Lindsay Lou!

Awww, feel the estrogen in the air!!!! Mmmmmmm! We have another female teenager in the Ball house as of August 12, 2009. Lindsay turned 13 which explains the picture above! It seemed only logical that we eat her birthday lunch at one of our favorite local places of pure yumminess - Lucky 13!

We enjoyed a fun day of helping Mom in her classroom, eating lunch out (the best part of the birthday!), making the Funfetti cake (requested by the birthday girl), eating Chicken Alfredo for dinner, going to Young Women and winning the Fugitive Game (yay, Lindsay!), then returning home for a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday singing, ripping open the birthday gifts, and the devouring of cake and ice cream...literally devouring. (We love cake in this family.)

Lindsay, we absolutely love you in this family! You are most excellent in so many ways!
Since you're now a teenager, I thought I'd list some totally awesome things you're, like, so good at:
- You are the bomb at setting goals and following through on them.
- You keep a most excellent room in most excellent order.
- You like to hang with your Mom - STILL!!!
- You are, like, the best cook at breakfast time - often making eggs for you AND Kourtni...
- You know how to prioritize your to do list - fer sure!
- You are a totally excellent mix of serious and silly.
- You are still happy without a cell phone - yessssss!
- You are so awesome at keeping a ultra cool journal with ultra cool illustrations and keepsakes.

There are many more ways to love Lindsay, but I'm sounding a bit cheesy so I shall stop for fear of further embarassment from our newest teenager.

Love you mucho - Lindsay Lou!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

It's Over! (And I'm still alive)

Well, I'm baaacck! Back from good old Girls' Camp, back from the all-summer-long-dreaded- 4th-year-overnight hike, and back from sleeping in my cold car to my nice soft warm fluffy soft warm fluffy nice soft bed...

As you may remember, at the beginning of the summer I blogged about dreading 2 things: running at 3 in the morning and hiking into the wilderness and staying overnight. Yay! Those two events have come to pass and I am still alive and kicking! I'm also deliriously happy to say that I had a fabulous time during both of those said events!!!

I have to give a huge Kudos to my darling of a husband, Bill.

He prepped me, previewed the hike with our family and hiked by me, talked lovingly to me, filtered my water, cleaned up our camp, hung up our food to keep it away from the bears, allowed me to freak out a few times in the preparation, and still managed to love me in my states of mental unsteadiness that occurred as we got ready for this. He. is. a. STUD!!! I love him mucho mucho!

We hiked with 18 girls and 5 of us adults. The scenery was breathtaking, the experience was one every young woman should have. It helps build character and lets a young gal know she can do hard things - like carry all of her possessions for 2 days on her back! Sure we sweated through our clothes as we carried 35 pound packs on our backs for 3 hours. Sure we had no bathroom facilities. Sure we had to sleep on the hard ground. Sure we were not able to have a campfire since we were in the wilderness. Sure we had to be careful with our water so we didn't get any giardia. Sure we had to listen to the high mountain winds howl around our tents all.night.long... But we all made it! And I think that all involved are better people since we did it.

It sure is good to be back, though. Payton is glad to have a mom again, he's glad to have company during the day, and he and Bill are glad to have something for dinner besides cold cereal...

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Bitten by a Bolt

For years Bill and I have taken a nightly walk during the spring, summer, and early fall evenings. We love this time together. It's like a mini date each night! Sigh...
On Thursday night we decided to take our "walk along the canal" route. Nothing too strenuous, you get to see the sunset, dogs bark at you from way down below since the canal bank is situated high above the homes below. Easy route, good company, nice conversation, solving the world's problems... you get the drift. Well, as we commenced under the broken chain link fence, and proceeded up Federal Way (It's a road with an incline on our way home), we didn't have a care in the world! Cars whizzing by us at 45 miles per hour don't scare us since we have a nice section of bike path that we traverse on the way home. However, sadly, the bike path ends when we have to turn down the final road that heads home.

Amity Road, scary Amity Road.
No sidewalk.
Cement guardrail on one side of the road and metal guard rail on the other side.
Cars approaching at 40 to 45 miles per hour.
And did I mention that there is no sidewalk to walk on?

I usually walk on the side of the guardrail that puts me out of direct impact with approaching traffic. I feel safe, Bill is protecting me on the opposite side of the rail, and the dogs who bark at us from their safe back yards are still far below us.

EXCEPT---The metal guard rails are fastened to their wooden posts with something that is
extremely sturdy and makes the guard rail stick to the wood. Huge metal bolts with sharp teeth and long fangs. Well, maybe not fangs, but sharp teeth!
I, however, didn't notice the particular bolt sticking out 5 inches ready to make contact with my thigh until it was too late and I felt like I had been bitten by a metal bolt - the kind Frankenstein has sticking out of his neck, Folks!

Notice the blue aura around the gash...ouch.

This photo just makes my leg look fat(ter)...

Yeah, this nasty bolt managed to rip a huge hole in and ruin my favorite shorts and gave me a terrible looking gash on my thigh. The worst part about this injury is that the bruise surrounding the gash is so sore! I can hardly walk without throbbing heartbeat pain in my thigh! I know it will get better, but you can bet I'm going to walk next to the traffic in all upcoming walks!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Dear BYU...

Dear BYU,

I am perturbed at you. You have made me feel mad, sad, anxious, irritable, a little depressed, slightly insecure, and a whole lot of old. You see, my oldest daughter will be attending your "hallowed campus" in the fall. Be good to her because I had to leave her with you today. Because of you lurking in the background, I was constantly aware of the hours ticking down until I had to return to Idaho without her. Because of you I didn't really get to enjoy the time with my family because I was too preoccupied with Sunday - the day I left. Because of you I wasn't myself most of the time while I was in Utah. That's not fair and I'm a little irked. Please take care of her and make sure you take every precaution to ensure her safety while on your campus. Are the locks to the dorms new? Are all the lightbulbs in the outside floodlights working by her dorm? Are your campus policemen well rested? Are the boys who will attend your school fully passing background checks? Are the creepers and men in their 30s told to stay away from incoming freshmen girls? Let me assure you, I have many more questions for you since it is not easy to leave a child at school and return home to find her bedroom empty, her picture wall blank, her clothes absent from the closet and dresser, and to find no laptop on the computer desk. Not easy AT ALL.

BYU, will you please make sure she finds gainful employment with you? She is a good worker and knows how to be consistent and responsible in her work environment. She has an open mind and has been exposed to lots of diversity in her short 18 years. Please make sure her mind is continually expanding with lots of valuable information that your employed professors get paid to impart. She is a very tolerant individual - one who gives people a chance even when they look, sound, or seem close minded. Keep her head full of important facts and make sure we get our money's worth each and every day.

BYU, you are getting her for 4 years - maybe 6 if she likes you enough and wants to continue to grace your classrooms for even more higher education. But that's it! You don't get her for one year more. Give her back to me after she is finished!

BYU, do you get many letters from selfish mothers like me? Am I the only one? Do you think I'm being a little overbearing in writing this note to you? Hmmm. I don't and I really don't care what you think. I love her enough to let you know my feelings about how you are taking her away from me. I know it's for the best and that she will enjoy her years with you, but I intend for you to take the very best care of her that you possibly can. Do we have a deal? I hope so.

The momentarily slightly blue mother of Alyssa.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Another Race with a Brown Shirt

Once again, Lindsay and Payton laced up their running shoes, donned the lovely brown t-shirt, hydrated themselves with all the free chocolate milk they could stomach, ate as many Power Bars as they were allowed, then were off and running at the Main Street Mile.

It's a pretty fun race.

You get to see the mayor. You get to see an ice cream truck with kids running after it. You get to smell sweaty kids. You get free chocolate milk. You get to take funny pictures. You get to relax and enjoy the fact that you, the parent, does not have to run a mile as fast as you can! Ahhh. The Main Street Mile. Wanna join us next year? heehee


Hiking. It seems to be a theme for me during the summertime.
While the kids are at swim team, my friend Jen and I hike up beautiful Table Rock. It's early morning exercise at its finest! The views are breathtaking, the conversation is priceless (we've solved lots of problems and vented lots of stuff), and the workout, oh. the. workout. LOVE IT! We've done this for years! Probably like 6 years now, huh, Jen?
This year Alyssa even joined us for several tramps up the trail. It is a sad moment when swimteam ends and I realize that hiking up to Table Rock is almost over... sigh.

This summer we did another type of hike. With lots of cousins. With steeper trails. With a cave at the end of the trail! The following pictures are views of us hiking Mount Timpanogos...or as Bill used to call it "Mount Tippin-over-the-cave". Loved. It.

Deep in the dark, dark cave...

The heart of Timpanogos

Awww... love in the cave!

Wowww... lovin' that cave!