Thursday, April 30, 2009

Top 5%

to see how proud we are of our Lyssie Lou!

Wow. Top 5% of her graduating class
one of 100 students in Boise who were honored at the
Century Scholars Awards Banquet.

Yep. We be proud!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Ode to the dog

Guarding the homestead - or maybe just taking a breather...

With the some of the family after doing what he loves best - running free up a hiking trail while peeing wherever his little heart desires!

Recently Griffey turned 12 years old, and the older he gets, the more he definitely wears on us. He's a part of the family and we get a kick out of the zany things he does. He's not the wanderer he once was: he prefers to stay closer to home now that he's a "senior citizen dog", but he still yips in the morning when he hears the dresser drawers open because he knows that it means someone is getting up, getting dressed, and probably going for a run and he does not want to be left out of the fun!

Here's a poem that sums our dog up:

My Dog May Be a Genius
by Jack Pretlutsky

My dog may be a genius,
and in fact, there's little doubt.
He recognizes many words,
unless I spell them out.
If I so much as whisper "walk",
he hurries off at once
to fetch his's evident
my dog is not a dunce.

I can't say "food" in front of him,
I spell f-o-o-d,
and he goes wild unless I spell
his t-r-e-a-t.
But recently this tactic
isn't working out too well.
I think my d-o-g has learned to

Happy Birthday to the world's smartest (and fittest) dog. Not sure there are many 12 year old dogs out there with the energy, stamina, and anticipation of Griffey the dog. We like him and hope he continues to take us for runs for a long, long, long time!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Robie Creek Rocks - now that it's over!

That's me on the very far right - I don't have a sunburn. yet.

There's Alyssa, bottom left. No sunburn for her either. Yet.

Awww. The whole family came to support us! They are so sweet!

Two racers - both in the blue theme of the race.
Oh, my.

Finished with another Robie Creek, my 6th one to be exact, and Alyssa's 2nd one. It was a gorgeous day with temps in the upper 50s when we started out at high noon. There are a lot of tricky things about this race, but the start time is probably the trickiest part for me. I'm used to running at a very early part of the day, then coming home to my bowl of oatmeal, honey, and walnuts. But on Robie race day, I have to change my schedule all up. Eat my oatmeal first thing, so it has a chance to digest and give me the needed energy to power up the hills. Drink water but only up until 2 hours before the race - you don't want to spend any unnecessary time at the portapotties on your climb up. Then drink about 2-3 8 oz cups of water 15 minutes before start time.

Um, the water thing didn't happen.
I couldn't stomach drinking that much water and risking my bladder turning on me at mile 7... I needed to focus on other things like what cool Robie tattoos I could put on my body before the start. I needed to focus on taking a good picture for posterity. I needed to warm up with the girls before the start, and I definitely needed to shield Joni from any oncoming runners when she needed to go to the bathroom behind a car 'cuz the line was too long... 5 minutes before the start.

There are a lot of tricky things about that race! Here they are from my perspective mostly in the order of which they happened:

-Sunscreening up before the race and forgetting to do your shoulders and arms.
-2,400 other runners' breathing patterns
-Losing Alyssa at the start line
-Finding Alyssa at about mile 2
-Getting sunscreen in my eyes for about 5 miles 'cuz I.Am.A.Sweathog.
-Deciding that Banana Boat Sunscreen makers are liars. Their sunscreen is not sweatproof!
-Seeing older women and men pass you without breaking a sweat
-Figuring out when to take your gu before it gives you a rash between your boobs 'cuz that's where you had to stash it...
-Deciding to say good bye to Joni 'cuz she was just too fast for me!
-Somewhere losing Alyssa
-Choking on water as I gulped it greedily from a cup and sniffed it up my nose
-Being sticky between the boobs 'cuz my gu was REALLY warm after I took half of it at mile 5.
-Listening to my FM radio/MP3 player on a classic rock station because I'm too lazy to download songs and getting BAD reception with every swing of my arm 'cuz we're up so high in the mountains
-Wondering if the Red Bull they gave me at the summit would actually give me wings like the commercial said it would (it didn't)
-Deciding how fast I'll have to run down the backside if I want to cross the finish line at 2 hours
-Deciding I can't calculate anything in my head when I'm running pell mell down the mountain
-Screaming at myself in my head to KEEP RUNNING! DON'T WALK! for the last 2 miles
-Trying to envision what a mile really is compared to what the Robie organizers say it is - I swear the last mile is 2 miles. Seriously, people.
- Crossing the finish line without running into someone as they make us STOP and give them our timing chip
-Wishing that we had a camera in our stash bag at the end so we could take a picture of how dirty, salty, sweaty, tired, and happy we were!

The Race to Robie Creek really rocks no matter how tricky it is. In fact, that's why I love it so much. The challenge. The training. The craziness. The competition. The after party. The t-shirt (even if it is ugly and white). The friends you make while standing in the portapotty line and bus line. The delicious cookies, bread, macaroni and cheese, potatoes, chili, and diet pepsi. The gnarly sunburn I got on my arms, neck, and the back of my calves. The 3 toenails I'll definitely lose. Alyssa getting an award for finishing 2nd in her age group. The cheering for the winners as they accept their eccentric prizes. It's all worth it. It's the experience!

Thanks Rocky Mountain Sailtoads! You guys are awesome! See you next year, hopefully 7 minutes faster.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


My 8 favorite TV shows:
1. LOST! Man, oh, man, do I look forward to Wednesdays and all the utter confusion that show brings with it!
2. The Fat Show (The Biggest Loser) Nothing like a little Bob and Jillian to shake things up a bit with those slowly morphing into thin people contestants. I'm sad Sione is gone. :(
3. 24 - Yep, we love killing, shooting, espionage, illicit goings on under the covers, and such on a Family Home Evening night... Heathens, aren't we?
4. On The Road Again - Cooking show on PBS with Gwyneth Paltrow and a bunch of other foodies as they go through Spain eating and driving in beautiful cars while the wind rustles their hair ever so gracefully. They even make wine look yummy as they caress it in their mouth...
5. Saturday Night Live - OK, I am a heathen, but I love this show! Bad thing is, my kids also like it and that isn't a good thing. My favorite segment is Weekend Update but without Amy Poehler, it's just not the same.
6. TODAY Show - I can't get ready for school without this playing on my bedroom TV. It makes me anxious, nervous, and panicky about the economic future of our country, but for some sick reason, I love to listen to Matt and Meredith go on and on!
7. The Office - what more can I say? It's comedy done right! Another reason to love and look forward to Thursday night!
8. Survivorman - This dude is OVER THE TOP! But, hey, he's one calm, collected guy as the temperature plummets to 40 below or goes above 130! Love to see what cool ways he collects water, cools himself down, or takes apart a jeep to make butter. Yep, he's cool.

8 things I did yesterday:
1. Went to the gym at 5 am and did weights and elliptical - no running!
2. Taught 5th grade and enjoyed the afternoon while the class watched Bedtime Stories as part of our party we earned.
3. Helped plan a volunteer appreciation lunch with several ladies at school.
4. Sat down to read a paper and almost fell asleep.
5. Took Kourtni to her friend's house to watch scary movies.
6. Made salmon for dinner for Bill, Lindsay, and me.
7. Went to a movie with my honey - Taken - if you have teen aged, forward, independent daughters, you should take them with you. It's scary!
8. Picked up Kourtni and Hannah from their friend's house - no scary movies were watched!

8 favorite restaurants:
1. Cafe Rio - only in Utah, sigh. This place is the bomb! If you like Mexican food, and your name isn't Bill Ball, you'll love this place for its sweet pork and delicious tomatillo dressing. Oh, and for its yummy handmade tortillas. It has really good diet coke, too. Oh, you should also try the cheesecake flan and tres leches desserts also! Pure deliciousness!
2. Andrade's - only in Boise! Delicious chips, warm beans, and salsa! I love his seafood enchilada called Enchiladas Cancun. Yummmmm...
3. Macaroni Grill - love their bread and olive oil! Drool... They also make a great Penne Rustica that I order each time. And they have good chocolate cake too!
4. Sonic - yeah, I'm bad, and even though they get our order consistently wrong (must be the 6 different personalized orders we have to give them) I love their sonic burgers and Route 66 ginormous diet Coke with their delicious soft ice....ooooh, and don't forget to try a strawberry lemon cream slush! Heaven!
5. Cheesecake Factory - they have divine fried macaroni and cheese. Whoa, comfort food to the max!
6. Fanci Freeze - in Boise only. They have great shakes! Shake on the bottom and sundae on top. No lack of calories there!
7. Costco - love their $1.50 hot dog and diet Coke. Ummmmm! (Only once in a while though...)
8. JCW's - only in Utah. They serve up a mean burger and skin-on fries and they have the most outrageous shakes! They are monster sized and sort of monster priced as well. It's a great splurge though and I'm over the $40 lunch for me and 4 kids. Yep, I think I'm over it..

8 things I'm looking forward to:
1. Summer and the warm weather and the bike rides and the hikes with Jen in the morning and swim team and brown legs and fresh tomatoes and no schedules and the walks with Bill in the evening and the books I get to read and the family vacation we'll hopefully take and the excellent morning running temperatures and the cool air conditioning- yes, summer.
2. End of school. End of story.
3. Getting Robie Creek out of the way!
4. Training for a marathon this fall.
5. Getting a tan at the pool!
6. Getting a helmet so I can go for motorcycle rides with Bill!
7. Sleeping in a bit more this summer.
8. Catching up on the reading I want to do.

8 things on my wish list:
1. That our house was paid for.
2. That Bill was more happy with his job.
3. That I could have felt more at ease teaching 5th grade earlier than now.
4. That I could find comfortable, cute, stylish shoes to wear to school. My feet are paying the price and looking pretty un-cute. Why can't I find any?
5. That Alyssa will be happy and satisfied with her college choice!
6. That we could take the whole fam on a huge trip with warm water, warm sun, warm beaches in a very tropical locale.
7. A new Volvo hard top convertible - cherry red or black - either color will do, I'm not picky.
8. That Bill and I will have good health to enjoy all those years of retirement that will be here in less than 13 years... oh, and that we have enough money left in our 401K to be able to enjoy those years as well!

OK, I'm supposed to tag 8 people, so here goes!

1. Alyssa
2. Lindsay
3. Aly
4. Leslie
5. Terrie
6. Nisa
7. Amanda
8. Stephanie

Saturday, April 4, 2009

18 years old.

What do you do when your child turns 18? Do you keep acting the same? Do you still buy her food? Do you let her stay out all night? Do you badger her about keeping her room clean? Do you keep paying for her invisalign? Do you bug her about keeping those invisalign trays out of drinking glasses filled with baking soda and water? Do you lecture her about disposing of apple cores and apple stickers once the said apple is eaten? Do you continue to treat her as someone who isn't a legal adult? Do you keep asking her where she is going when she walks out the door with her purse and car keys?

I don't know the answers to most of these because she is my first:
My first to walk.
My first to go to Kindergarten.
My first to be a big sister.
My first to be baptized.
My first to turn 12.
My first to take driver's education.
My first to drive.
My first with whom I will not drive.
My first to go on a date.
My first to stay out past 11:30 pm.
My first to attend high school.
My first to get a job that requires her to drive to the job.
My first to go to prom.
My first to save more money than her mother ever could have saved in high school.
My first to go to Washington, D.C.
My first to be a free thinker (and a smart, intelligent free thinker at that).
My first to have Democratic views.
My first to dye her hair.
My first to soon graduate from high school.
My first to want to go on a senior trip without me.
My first to get accepted to an institute of higher learning.
My first to turn 18.

She is my first and I'm not too sure what to think of her turning 18 and into an adult. I'm sure she'll be a totally competent adult. But am I ready for that to happen? Am I old enough or mature enough to let her make her own decisions that are beyond my control? What do I do when she is at college and I don't know if she's eating right or if she's home at a decent hour or is she needs a little advice or if she's having friend problems or if she can't get that stubborn stain out.

She had a good birthday. She got luggage. What more could an 18 year old ask for? It's not that we want her to leave or anything, we just want the packing part to be stylish and sturdy and to hold up.

It's weird to have a child be so old. Wasn't she just born? Wasn't she just running upstairs in her diaper to get Tod Jenkins to come down and help her mom because mommy was having a kidney stone attack? Wasn't she just commenting on my "bristheses being more longer than hers" as I was nursing her younger sister in the hospital? Wasn't she just making up songs and singing almost every minute of the day? Wasn't she just telling me that she wished we lived in a trailer park? Wasn't she just modeling her Kindergarten clothes for Grandma? Wasn't she just learning how to ride a bike? Wasn't she just trying to get rid of the Hitler scab beneath her nose because she fell and scraped herself up? Wasn't she just scoring 7 points in her first soccer game?

Nope. Those things happened a long time ago and I need to realize that she has grown up. She is ready for the real world whether I like it or not. She will thrive in the college environment that awaits her next fall. She will continue to be an independent thinker and a smart one at that! She will be successful because of the work ethic she has and the independence she exhibits.

Happy Belated 18th birthday, Lyssie Lou.

yeah, even when you stick your tongue out for me.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A letter to one I love and miss

Dear Sleep,

Why do you hate me so? Why do you refuse to come and play with me at night time when I need you? Why do I have to toss and turn and shake my pillow to get you to enfold me in your arms? Why do I need to constantly look at the luminous light of my dreaded alarm clock as it constantly marches on into the late hours of the night and wee hours of the morning? Why do you make me close to tears when I don't know where you are?

Sleep, why do you like Payton and Bill so much? Do you have something against the women in the Ball household? Do you like boys more than girls? Do you have something against a mom who needs more than 4 hours of your blessed yumminess each night? Why do you suddenly show your face when I am driving to my place of employment and I'm in a CAR? Why do you not come to me when I'm in my comfy, soft, warm bed? Why?

Sleep, I need you more than ever. You came to me so easily when I was taking a week's break from my busy life. You were there for me, and I need you here for me now. Now. When I need you most. Now. When I need to feel vibrant and alive throughout those school hours. Please stop avoiding me, sleep. I haven't been avoiding you. I love you, sleep. Have I done something to offend you? I really don't know what it is but I'll do whatever you want, because I'm tired of being friends with your buddies Advil PM and Tylenol PM - they're so fake and don't make me happy like you do. I like you, sleep - au natural!!!

Sleep, will you please visit me tonight? I don't think I want another night without you. I feel deprived of your presence and I miss you terribly. Please come back!

Your extremely good friend who loves you above all other types of naps,