Monday, November 30, 2009

Our 8-legged Visitor

Church is over. We pull into the driveway and park the Tahoe in front of the RV gate since the garage floor is currently covered with Christmas lights and other would-be decorations waiting to be hung. Click the opener and proceed to the door.
Scream.
Barrett: "Oh my gosh!"
We all look up and see this little creature on the wall of the garage. Actually, it doesn't look little at all. Here he/she/it is after Ryan swooped her onto the floor with the giant broom. Now we get the full close-up look.

Ryan thought it might actually be a tarantula. I have no idea, but I wasn't thrilled to find it in our garage. He/she/it didn't live too much longer after this picture was snapped. Being the good outdoorsman and respector of nature that he is, Mr. Scoutmaster husband suggested that we just set it free. But I won and he/she/it is no more.

What do you think it is? Just a garden variety spider? Wolf Spider? Any guesses?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Turkey Trot 2009


Here's the digital documentary of our 2009 Trot.   With the holidays in full gear, there's probably not a great chance that I'll get to making a little movie of this year's event.  At least not anytime soon.  Ryan and I were both excited for the race.  Don't we look happy? :)



I was so proud of Afton and Barrett for participating this year too.  Here are my beautiful girls right before their 1 mile Fun Run.  Rowan and Easton had a sleepover at Grandma Cheri's house on Wednesday night and stayed with her while the four of us went to the race.  



Morgan ran the 2-mile race.  He and Ryan are both just getting into running recently, which I think is awesome!



Jessie took her 3 girls and my two on the 1 mile race.  Jolie even went along in her stroller.  It was fun watching them come across the finish line and get their finisher's ribbon.   GIRLS ROCK!


I saw two of my fabulous cousins, Jodi & Dyan, after the race.  I love that we all ran!  None of us beat the turkey, but that's OK.  Jodi was home from law school for the holiday weekend. Dyan and I did the half marathon together a couple of weeks ago.  Yay for the Goodman girl cousins!  Note to Karrie:  get ready for next year.  We missed you!

My Stats:

2689 10k finishers
1421 of them female
I finished 215 out of 1421 women (15th percentile)
I finished 34 out of 211 women age 35-39 (16th percentile)
Finish time:  53:41


Our crew after the race.  


Morgan & Jessie & girls after the race


So we don't look quite as fabulous after the race, but we still look happy, right?  Man, I thought the race was tough this year.  I was hoping that after training for 3 months and running the half marathon 12 days earlier that this would seem like a walk in the park.  NOT!  I struggled between 3 and 5 miles so much more than I thought I would.  Ironically, I felt way better running my half marathon a couple of weeks ago.  At the Trot, my chest was still burning a little and feeling weak from the cold crap I'd been fighting all week and it was TOO DANG HOT!  They really really need to start the race an hour earlier.  Starting at 9:00 on a sunny day like this year's Turkey Day is just too late.  And they needed one more water station!  I can't remember the last time I ever felt so thirsty.  Seriously...I was just dying of thirst at 3.5 miles and it seemed like an eternity from the 2 mile marker to just past 4 miles where the next water station was.  AND...(yes I am whining), I know I lost about 20-30 seconds on my time waiting for water at 2 of the stations.  I know they are volunteers, so I should just shut my trap and be grateful.  Perhaps there were just more runners than expected or someone called in sick :), but the stations were understaffed and way behind.  Instead of having a line of people there with their arms out offering cups of water (as is customary in a race), many of us runners had to wait for a cup of water to be poured.  The crews were frantically pouring water as fast as they could, but it wasn't fast enough.  Too bad.  I hope it's better next year.

In the end, I still had a pretty good time (53:41), which is just a few seconds better than last year's time.  I was hoping to beat my last year's time by a little more (like do it in 52 minutes).  It was just one of those sub-par running days, physically speaking, where I certainly felt less than 100%.  We all have those days I know.  I'm just glad that we all ran it and finished and created some great memories doing it!  I am already looking forward to a few years from now when all 6 of us can do it together!


Ryan and Barrett together after Ryan crossed the finish line.  He did great for just training 2 weeks.  He finished in 1:05.



Afton, Lainey, Avery &  Afton: our junior trotters


Morgan & Jessie & crew, along with Jessie's brother, Dallas Woolf, and Jessie's dad, Mac Woolf.  Dallas ran it in 50 minutes and change, which was good enough to beat the turkey this year.  We were joking on Thanskgiving night that the turkey was slow this year (you usually have to run it around 45 minutes to beat the turkey).  My theory was that the turkey was dying of heat stroke in that costume.  I can't even imagine!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Ready to Trot

Tomorrow at 9:00 am, this will be the guy to beat. Well, not exactly this guy, but some real guy dressed up like this turkey. It's time for the Trot. The Turkey Trot, that is. Practically speaking, chances are slim to none that I'll actually run faster than the turkey. He's got some wheels. He usually finishes in 45 minutes or less. Last year, I ran it in 53 minutes and change and I was pretty happy about that. So some amazing force from beyond would have to propel me to even get close to his mark. That's OK. I'm not really trying to beat him anyway, although I would score a free turkey if I did! I'm hoping that whatever this chest congestion crap is that I've been fighting off will finally kick the bucket tonight so I can feel 100%. I've been saying that now for 3 or 4 days, though, and it's still lingering. I'm just feeling wheezy with a heavy chest. Lots of OJ and water. Good sleep. I'm gonna kick it.

I did some checking online, and there have been about 2,200 runners in the 10k race each of the last two years, pretty much equally split between men and women. But there are at least a couple thousand more there with the 1 mile and 2 mile races, plus all the family and friend supporters. It's a pretty big Turkey Day shindig. We'll run into a ton of people we know for sure. I'm hoping to find some of my cousins that I know are running the 1ok race too: Dyan, Ryan R., Karrie, Jodi, Willy that I know of for sure. And I'm really excited that my Ryan has decided to run. He hasn't really been training very long, but he bought himself a new pair of running shoes after my half marathon race, and he's been out running a half dozen times or so over the past few weeks. He's just excited to be doing it and enjoying the good exercise. We'll both be burning a few extra calories tomorrow to make room for the pie :)

And I'm also excited that Barrett & Afton are doing the 1-miler with their cousins. I think it's great to teach our kids early the importance of being fit. I hope they have a great first race experience!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Lunchtime Potty Talk


Rowan is home from school today with a cough that won't quit. She has maybe gone 1 minute since waking up without coughing, but that might be a stretch. She's been less than par since Saturday, but we've just been plugging along, hoping it's just a little bug that will work it's way out. We've been doing sprays of natural antibiotics, beefing up on the vitamins, doing essential oil treatments, etc. And she hasn't been running a fever. I finally gave in and called Mesa Peds this morning after she wouldn't stop crying telling me how bad her throat hurt, but they were all booked up. In all the offices. Apparently it's sick season all over the valley. I hate going to the doctor anyway. They never do anything for you except tell you it's "viral." Rest, lots of fluids, breathing treatments. Come back in 2 weeks. Yada, yada, yada... My kids are typically so healthy that we hardly ever go. Since we already own 2 breathing machines and I'm pretty much a pro at administering the treatments by now, I think Dr. Mom is coming to the rescue. So far this morning, we've done a breathing treatment, a chest oil rub with Magnesium gel and Physical Therapy oil, followed by a steam towel. Lots of water. I finally had to give in and give her a cough strip too, because all the hacking was making me crazy (and making her throat hurt more). Poor thing looks exhausted from all the coughing. We've got an appointment for first thing in the morning just in case.

So to the lunch...the real topic of this silly post. I just got done fixing lunch for Easton and Rowan. (Easton is thrilled, by the way, that his favorite playmate is home sick. Now he's got a friend for the day :) I made Easy E his sandwich and was in the process of making Rowan's. Easton eyes the cheese on the counter and says, "Mom, can I have some cheese?" (Do you know where this is going?)

I say sure, and proceed to slice a piece of Co-Jack for our little man. Rowan then belts out, "Mom, you cut the cheese!" and both of them start cracking up. I give them a goofy shocked look, which makes them laugh even more, and then the stinky remarks start flying. My 4 and 5 year old duo thought they were stand up comedians. They were cracking each other up with all their potty talk jokes. Finally, I say, "I think YOU cut the cheese, Easton!" He smiles ear to ear and says, "No, Afton is the cheese cutter. For reals and a half."

That's a new one. "For reals and a half."

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Scorpion, a Devil & a Christmas Tree...among other things


Another one bites the dust. Yep, I just killed another scorpion right inside the laundry room door coming in from the garage. One of our "hot spots." Chances are that all six of us stepped right over the miserable creature as we walked in the door from our family dinner tonight. I went back in the laundry room just a few minutes later to lock up, and there she was. Lying in wait. Unfortunately, the bottom of my Roxy flip flop did the honors, so I washed it off in the sink. Barrett laughed at me as I smirked and gave the creepy body shutter. I'm not a big fan of the scorpion hunt. Ryan is our designated hunter, manned with a killer blacklight and that "I can kill bugs cause I'm a man" attitude. Thank heaven for him. I hate scorpions! Not that he likes them any more, that's for sure, but at least he can hunt them like a good husband should and not be scared like me. The last one I killed was 2 weeks ago while Ryan was out of town in Ohio. I went out to the food storage room to put something in the fridge, and BAM! There she was. Right in front of the freezer. So glad I was wearing shoes. Not that I ever really go out there barefoot after living in this house for 5+ years. I know better.

On a lighter note, I registered Ryan, Barrett & Afton for the Turkey Trot just now. It's going to be a family affair. Ryan and I are running the 10K, and the girls are doing the 1 mile fun run with Jessie and her girls. Should be fun! I think 5 or 6 of my cousins are running the 10k too along with a few thousand of our closest Mesa friends. That event is always packed!

Barrett missed church today as she was claiming a stomach ache and near vomitting. Turns out that she started feeling better this afternoon and now seems fine. While I truthfully don't think she was faking it at all, I'm sure a lack of sleep and being super tired added to her "sickness" this morning at 7:00 am. Amazing what a little rest will do to help you recover :) It was so weird being there without her. She never misses. And we missed her. Church was good. Talks by the Hollands on honesty and service. Good messages for this Thanksgiving season for sure. I substituted in primary again today too, although today I was teaching Afty's class. Holy moly. It was crazy. There were only 6 kids (3 girls and 3 boys) - all 8 and 9 years old. But the contrast couldn't have been more vivid. The girls were angels and boys were...well...not so much.  And I'm being kind.  One in particular was pretty much a little devil.  I'm not sure if the total lack of respect and talking out and unbelievable wiggles and inappropriate comments were a result of sugar highs, sassiness, ADHD, or just the fact that he's a 9 year old boy, but I was frustrated! I kinda want do-overs so I can start fresh and see if some different tactics would have made an impact. All my Love and Logic skills that I've read about and been practicing at home were lost somewhere in my memory banks.  I should have taken the same approach as I do with my kids and finally given him the choice to participate with our class in a respectful way, or choose to go to Relief Society.  I took him out once for a talking to, and later in class asked him twice if he wanted to go to Relief Society.  He declined.  But I failed...I should have held firm, stopped the warnings and given the old, "Well, by the way you are choosing to act, it appears that you have chosen Relief Society.  Let's go."  And then escorted him out.  Maybe next time... 

And finally, the highlight of our afternoon...WE PUT UP OUR CHRISTMAS TREE TODAY! Hooray, hooray, hooray! No, it's not decorated yet, but all 12 feet of our tree is up and lit and beautiful. Just begging for decor. Either tomorrow night or Tuesday night we'll hopefully get to the decorating. The kids are super excited to help! That's one tradition we always look forward to. While we were putting the top section on the tree, Ryan asked if we'd ever had our tree up so early in the season before. Nope. This is a first for us, but I am really excited about it. It makes me feel on top of things a bit more. Like I'm ahead of schedule or something. We'll see how long that feeling lasts...

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Teeples Family Dinner

Two Sundays ago, we had a big Teeples Family dinner at our house. The occasion? Celebrating all five of the Teeples sisters being in town at the same time. Plus, we hadn't all been together in a few months. The last time was at the funeral of my Uncle Mick in early August. So it was a good excuse to call up my aunts and uncles and cousins and parents and brother and Grandpa and all their peeps and have a little shindig. Unfortunately, the love of my life was out of town that weekend, visiting his Grandma Brown in Ohio. That was the same day as the Primary Program, too, so he really missed out.

Before the memory fades and the pictures get moved back behind the upcoming holiday pics, I wanted to post some of my awesome family.

Here is my wonderful Grandpa, Reid Teeples, and his five beautiful daughters. After my sweet Grandma Sue died two and a half years ago, Grandpa and Krissie sold thier lifelong Phoenix home at 42nd and Thomas and moved into our neighborhood. Grandpa had been trying to talk Grandma into moving for several years, but she wasn't much into change. We are so happy that they are so close now! Just a jog away. My mom is probably more grateful than anyone, as she makes a few trips to their home every day to care for her baby sister, Kris (who is now 47). I can't imagine how trying that would be if they still lived in Phoenix. Holy moly...

My mom is the oldest, followed by Pauly and Laurie (back row standing but in reverse order), then Nancy and Krissie (front row sitting). Nancy lives outside of Denver, but is considering moving to AZ with my Uncle Randy now that all of their kids have grown up and flown the coop. It helps that Randy's new job has him traveling to AZ often, so they might as well just move here, right? We're excited! Pauly lives in North Pole, Alaska, for the summers, and in AZ now for the rest of the year. A few years ago they bought a house here, and gradually started spending more and more time in AZ. Now that my cousin, Ben, is enrolled at Red Mtn, they've pretty much stationed themselves here during the school year. Hooray!!! My mom, Laurie and Kris are all locals, thank goodness!


My beautiful and oh-so-fabulous SIL, Shari, and the world's best brother, Michael. I couldn't be more blessed to have them in my life! We're gonna miss them this Thanksgiving, though. Shari's grandpa just passed away, so their whole family is driving up to Utah this week. They'll spend Turkey Day with all the Lee clan in Utah, do some visiting of Temple Square (their kids have never been), and have the memorial service on Friday. Drive safe!


Rowan has been soooooooo happy to have her cousin, Lily, in the neighborhood. J.R. & Corinne moved in down the street and around the corner from us just a month or two ago, and we have been lovin' it. So much fun having young cousins around to play with. Lily and Rowan are even in the same kindergarten class together at Hale and the same primary class at church. Both of these beauties are turning 6 in December too. Just a week apart! Yahoo! Lily was over playing today and the girls just get along so well. We love it.


And here's Miss Ella. Easton's little playmate and Lily's little sister. She's got some of Rowan's spunk and a cute blooming personality. Welcome to our neighborhood, Ella!


Michael, my awesome Dad and terrific Uncle Randy, enjoying some good post-dinner conversation. I bet Randy was telling them cool experience or golf story. He has such a great sense of humor, fun demeanor, and is always full of entertaining stories. We love them and we hope the Hatch's find a house in AZ soon!
Aunt Nancy & Uncle Randy Hatch. Their kids are all over the country now. Empty nesters for real. Here's the scoop on their kids (my awesome Hatch cousins):
  1. Brittany and her husband, Derek, & their 4 kids are in Fort Collins, Colorado, while Derek is finishing his residency. He'll be done in May (after 4 years of college, 4 years of med school, and 4 years of residency), and ready to start his "official" career. He already has a job lined up in Oregon or Washington (I can't remember). What a long haul to get there. They came and visited us in June, but we miss them already. We don't see them often enough!
  2. Amanda (aka "Mandy Cakes") is working in SLC and doing well. She is beautiful and fun and such a catch. And we miss our Cakes dearly! My kiddos grew so attached to her for that year or so she lived with my parents after college. We hope she comes to visit us soon!
  3. Nick and his wife, Jenna, and baby Siena, are in Virginia. Nick is in his second year of medical school back there. None of us have seen Siena in person yet (she's brand new), but we've loved keeping up on them through their great blog.
  4. Cami is going to BYU Idaho and living the good college life. I think she's a senior this year! Holy Cow! How did that happen? Cami was the flower girl at my wedding...13+ years ago. Wow.
  5. And then there's Matt, the kaboose of the Hatch clan. He's in his Freshman year at BYU. Rumor has it that he's a dating machine :) He'll be turning in his mission papers next year and getting ready for his two years of service.
So none of the Hatch peeps were at the Teeples family party except for Nancy and Randy. We missed them for sure.


I just had to throw this one in for good measure. Laurie was doing the professional hair fluff and flip in prep for the photo, and we were all cracking up. I love these smiles!


And here's my best friend, my incredible mom, and me, posing for the memory books. I don't know what I'd do without her (and I hope I never have to find out!)


Most of the Goodman/Brown grandkids minus Tate & Easton. Seven out of nine isn't bad. Who knows where they went. They dashed at picture time.

The Emelity crew. They were just missing my cousin, Briana, and her son, Gavin, and of course Uncle Mick, although I'm sure he was looking down that day and smiling. It's been almost three months now since he died, and we miss him so much. My Aunt Laurie is doing pretty well considering, but she definitely has many rough days. I can't imagine losing my spouse at such a young age. We love you, Laurie, and still pray for you all the time! I'm so glad you all came to dinner.

The Berrey crew. My cousin, Davey, is on the far left. Rowan has a huge crush on him and asks about him all the time. She just lights up the minute he walks into the room. In most pictures, my cousin Heather's son, Riley (far right) is typically making a crazy face. He's actually just smiling pretty normal in this one. But Hmmm...look at my Uncle David. I wonder where Riley gets that jokester instinct???

Super good time that day with all the fam together. I wish Ryan, Briana, & Phoebe and the Hatch cousins could have been there and we'd have had 'em all. But still a pretty good showing for a last minute get-together. Good times.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Fancy Fox


Flower clip: check.
Bling Bling Sunglasses: check.
Diamond earrings: check.
Sassy hairdo: check.
Cuffed capris: check.

No doubt about, Rowan is my Fancy Nancy. She's the child who, in preparation for going to bed, brushes her hair, puts in a flower clip, and accessories with a necklace.  You never know who you might run into in the middle of the night you know.  

So when I saw this picture in Rowan's backpack this morning, it made me smile. Rowan truly is one "Fancy Fox."


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Race Day: I Loved it!



I made a cool, short flick (about 3 1/2 minutes) about the race yesterday.  Click here to view it:


(NOTE:  If the link takes you to my photo gallery and not specifically to the movie, just scroll to the bottom and you'll see the movie at the bottom of the page.  It's called "Kelli's Run From The Sun Half Marathon.")

This post is more for me than anyone else.  Actually, I guess that's pretty much the case all the time.  I love keeping a blog just like I have loved keeping a journal and scrapbooks and pictures all my life.  I never want to forget how I felt at certain moments of my life.  Especially the important ones.  

"Life is not measured in minutes, but moments."

Here are my thoughts and feelings about yesterday.  

I've been training for this race for about 3 months.  I already posted about my pre-race excitement on Friday morning.  That night, Ryan and I went to HoHoKam Stadium to pick up my race packet (bib number, timing tag for my shoe, t-shirt) and eat a little pasta dinner.  Carb loading in preparation for Saturday.  After we picked up the goods and downed some BJ's pasta, salad & bread, we visited for a few minutes with my cousin, Dyan, and her family who were there doing the same thing.  It was actually Dyan who blogged about this race in the first place and inspired me to sign up.  This was her first half marathon too.  

We made a brief visit to a friend's wedding reception on Friday night, but were called home just as we went through the receiving line.  No dessert for us.  Rowan had been complaining of a tummy ache before we left, and apparently, she wasn't bluffing.  Barrett, our babysitter for the evening, was in no mood to clean up Rowan's throw-up (I don't blame her), so she saved the mess for us.   To her credit, she piled on a few towels to at least get the spew out of view, but there was no other attempt at clean up.  Thankfully, my amazing husband volunteered to do most of the clean up.  What a good man...

Saturday morning finally came.  The alarm went off at 5:15 and I was up.  Quick power breakfast of good carbs.  Bagel with cream cheese, glass of OJ, and small banana.  Ryan and the kids were up at 5:45.  Dressed in my bright orange running shirt (Ryan's pick over the bright green), I headed over to the stadium around 6:20. Thankfully, HoHoKam Stadium is only a few miles from our house, so the drive was quick.  It was a cool morning, but I opted for short sleeves and shorts as I knew I'd heat up as soon as the run began.   Ryan and the kids met me outside by the start line about 10 minutes before the gun shot.  We took a few pics together and they all kissed me good luck.  I saw Dyan and her running buddy at the start line, so we chatted it up for a few minutes before the race began.  We felt some very light sprinkles, but nothing significant.   Since the race was being timed with the electronic shoe chip we slipped into our laces, it didn't matter when we started.  Our individual race times started as soon as we crossed the start line.   I was fussing with my iPod when the gun went off, so I was walking up to the start line sort of casually.  It was funny listening to Ryan on the video camera.   He was worried for me!  "Come on Kelli, get the iPod working!  Go!"  But I hadn't even crossed start yet.  My watch said 7:01:22 when I started.  Let the race begin.

The race started off great.  I felt terrific the whole first half and was pacing a little ahead of my per mile goal.  I really wanted to finish under 2 hours, so I was trying to pace at 9 minute miles. Every mile marker I checked my pace, and I was staying ahead of pace consistently.  Ryan, my mom, and the kids were waiting on the sidelines at about the 6.5 mile mark as I turned off of Center Street and headed back onto the canal path for the second loop.  It was fun seeing all my kiddos there and giving them high fives as I ran by.  I loved the support!  Right as I hit the halfway point, my killer iPod running mix blessed me with "Who Let the Dogs Out" and I smiled wide.  Perfect.  

I still felt good as I ran east on the canal and headed south again on Stapley.  However, within a few seconds of my entering Stapley off the canal just north of Brown Rd, the rain started coming.  And then it really started coming down.  By the time I got to University, I was completely soaked.  By Main Street, my wet shorts were starting to rub a little on the inside of my legs and I was worried I might get chaffed.  And I was right.  Still, the run was going well and I was still pacing strong.  At 10 miles, my legs were starting to feel pretty tired.  My heart and lungs felt great.  I wasn't struggling with breathing at all.  Just the legs.  I think that having to run so cautiously with extra intent in the rain wore them out a little more.  I was worried about slipping since the asphalt was so slick.  Thankfully, the rain stopped on Main Street and didn't start up again.  

It was not long after that, somewhere around 10.5 miles, that I started to play the mind over body game.  I was talking my legs into running when they really wanted to walk.  Again, I was blessed just then with another great motivational running song.  The Beastie Boys, "No Sleep Till Brooklyn."  Just what I needed, just when I needed it.   For the next two miles, I just ran. My chaffed inner thighs were bothering me more than anything else, but the tired legs were taking a close second.  There were signs posted all along the course.  Motivational things like:

"The fastest way to the finish line is by running." 
"Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right."
"Mind Over Body." 

And my favorite one at about the 12 1/2 mile point:  

"Enjoy your pain. You've earned it."

When I hit the corner of Brown and Center, with HoHoKam stadium in view, I was so excited.  Until I kept running and realized that that course was winding us all the way around the whole dang stadium!  It was an evil plan by the course makers for sure.  You think you're almost done, but nooooooo.  Just keep running...just keep running...just keep running, running, running.  

As I turned east off of Center into the stadium parking lot, I saw my mom up ahead with her camera.  She was there, cheering me on!  "You can do it, Kelli.  You're almost there!"  And so I propelled the legs forward some more until I rounded the stadium just outside the left field fence and started my run around the outfield.  Just as I passed centerfield and was finally thinking, "Oh my gosh.  I really am almost done!"  I could see the finish line.  My iPod started a new song:  "Climb" by Miley Cyrus.  

I am a pretty easily moved to emotion kind of girl anyway, but it just kicked in strong right then.  I was physically giving it everything I had, my legs were on fire, the chaffing was burning, and my instantaneous onslaught of emotion was vivid. The lyrics to "Climb" could not have been more fitting:  

"I can almost see it.  That dream I'm dreaming.  But there's a voice inside my head,  saying 'You'll never reach it'..."  

Literally, tears welled up in my eyes as I entered the stadium at right field and started my quasi-sprint down the line toward home plate.  I fought them back right away, but felt such intense emotion that I never imagined I would feel.   I scanned the crowd as I ran toward the finish and locked eyes on Ryan for just a second.  I had great visions of sprinting to the finish, but as I watched the video afterwards, it was hardly anything close to a sprint.  I was just so thrilled to run across that finish line.  I was happy and tired and elated all at once.  

My immediate look at my watch told me that I had finished in 1:57 and change, but I quickly forgot the seconds amidst my relief to be done.  I later pulled up the results online, and found my official chip time:  

1 hour, 57 minutes, 30 seconds.  

That translates to 8:59 minute miles.

Sweet!  I beat my goal time.  I finished the race and did it under 2 hours!  And as Jessie pointed out, I can say that that was the fastest half marathon I've ever run!  

Here are the stats:

269 half marathon runners (there were others running the 5k)
121 men
148 women

I placed 38 out of the 148 women.
I placed 16 out of 62 women in my age group 30-39.
I placed 100 overall (men and women combined) out of 269

Hooray!  Hooray!  What a terrific day.   Despite having legs that are unbelievably sore today, I am already looking forward to the Turkey Trot 10k on Thanksgiving and the next half marathon. Yes, there will definitely be another one in my future.  It was such a fun time.  Such a great experience.  

Thanks to my great husband and kids for all their support.  And thanks to my mom for being there too.  (BTW - the kids had a great time while I was running.  They played in the Kids Zone on the bouncers.  Did face painting, crafts, ate donuts, popcorn and cotton candy.  All before 9:00 am!)

Here I am right before the race.  Super happy.  Super excited.  37 years young...healthy...ready to run my first half marathon.  Could I be more blessed?


To Our Veterans: Thank You!



This past week, we had the opportunity and privilege to celebrate Veterans Day in remembrance of all the soldiers who have fought valiantly for our country.  For us.  For our safety and protection.  For our defense of freedoms to worship, bear arms, speak openly, own property, get an education, start businesses, live prosperously.  Freedoms that we would be lost without.  I am so grateful for the incredible sacrifice that so many have made in honor of our great nation and for our benefit.

Pictured above, is my Grandpa, Reid Teeples, who served in the navy during World War II.   We are blessed to live so close to him and for our children to know this great man.  Easton and Grandpa Reid in particular have a very close relationship.  Easton goes over to his house several times a week with my mom as she tends to Krissie.  The two of them eat cereal together, work outside together, and really enjoy each other's company.  We love you, Grandpa!

We also have some other great military veterans in our family:

Ryan's paternal grandfather, Robert Brown
Ryan's maternal grandfather, Merlyn Hawk
Ryan's great uncle, Keith Hawk
Ryan's uncle, Roger Andrus
My uncle, Dale Goodman
My cousins, Dale Goodman, Jr., Mark Goodman, & Matt Goodman
Ryan's cousin, Matt Andrus

(I hope I'm not forgetting any...)

Thanks to all of you for serving us so faithfully! 

When Ryan was back in Ohio last week visiting his Grandma Brown and Great Uncle Dale Anderson, he also visited many other extended family members and did some family history leg work while he was there.  Ryan visited several cemeteries and gathered information on family members who have passed on.  One thing he noted was how many served their country.  As we work on our family history work this year, it will be neat to make a list of all the veterans in our family lines.



Since Ryan is the scoutmaster in our ward, one of the things he does on every patriotic holiday is drive the scouts around to post flags in the neighborhood.   Any one in the neighborhood can participate in the annual scout fund raiser by donating $35 to the scout troop.  In return, they get a flag posted early in the morning and taken down at sundown on 10 holidays throughout the year.  I love driving through our neighborhood and seeing so many flags waving tall and proud.  Easton and went along to help the scouts.  Here he is, posting the flag in our yard with Ryan.  Priceless.




Barrett usually hops in the back of the trailer, too, to ride along and help out where she can.  (I think she likes hanging out with the 12 & 13 year old boys!)  It was a great start to a great Veteran's Day this year!

That Was Easy



Today at church I substituted as the Primary chorister for my friend, Robin, who was going to be out of town.  Since race day was fresh on my mind, I decided to do a "Music Half Marathon" for singing time.  I posted a Start and Finish sign on the walls in the primary room, and then posted mile marker signs (2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 and 13) around the room in between.  I explained to the kids how during a race, you'd see these markers posted along the course to help you know how far you'd come and how much farther you had to go.  I told them the best mile marker of all was the one that read "13" since you knew you were practically done!  

We started with a couple of wiggles songs (to get our race bodies and race voices all stretched out), then headed for our first mile marker.  Before we got to each marker, I chose 2 reverent children to come up to the table and "face off" on opposite sides of the Easy Button (see above).  Our pianist played a few notes of the song, and which ever child could name that tune first was instructed to push the easy button.  They loved it!  They were all familiar with the "THAT WAS EASY!" voice that emanates from the tempting red button when pushed.  They could hardly keep their hands off of it.  If the button pusher was successful in naming that tune, they moved us ahead to the next mile marker post, flipped it over, and read the instructions about how to sing the song (i.e., staccato, opera style, high low, follow the leader, marching, with flags, etc.)  It was super fun.

But the thing I'll probably remember most about our Easy Button/Music Half Marathon Day was Easton.  As we were leaving church today, walking out to the parking lot, he was gleefully holding the Easy Button in one hand and the flags in the other.  He said in all seriousness, "Mom, we don't have a green one."

Me:  "A green what, bud?"
Easton:  "A green button."
Me:  "What?"
Easton:  "We need a green button like our red one.  When you push it, it would say, "That was hard!"  And then he giggled away.  He thought he was pretty funny (and he was).

Kids say the darndest things!

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Race: 22 hours away

I am super duper excited for the race tomorrow. I feel ready. I've got lots of good friends and my peeps thinking fast thoughts for me. I posted a comment on FB the other day about getting excited for the race, and had a ton of nice comments in return from my FB friends. My cousin, Heather, asked me last night on Facebook if I was nervous or just excited. I'm pretty sure it's just excited. Really, I don't have anything to be nervous about. It's not like I'm trying to win a medal or place in the top 3 of my age bracket or anything close to that. I'm just running for me. It's been a really great thing for me - having this half marathon as a goal, that is. I've stayed focused and committed to my training schedule. I haven't missed a workout in 3 months. And the real bonus is that my beheiny is actually shrinking a little and my back fat is nearly gone. Amazing! Still have quite a way to go to look cute in those blinged up little designer jeans that I've never purchased...They're calling my name but my behind has been talking sense into me for too long now, saying, "Wait! You want to look cute in those if you buy them! We gotta shrink first!!!" Too bad I'm losing a little fat in some of the more important places too (like the boobs). I guess that's a side effect of losing a little weight, eh? The stored fat goes first...Sorry, this is probably TMI.

But after this race and the Turkey Trot 10k on Thanksgiving, I'm pretty sure I'll keep this running thing up, probably mixing back in some of my favorite P90X workouts to tone my core and arms (which I've been really really neglecting!) This whole fitness thing I've been into for the past year and a half has really helped changed my lifestyle. I'm more conscious about what goes in my mouth (mostly), more focused on getting enough rest (mostly) and more desirous to be fit. I'll still never pass on a Krispy Kreme, though. That's just going too far. Life is too short and wonderful to miss out on donuts. I was telling some friends last week that I think I can actually say that I'm enjoying running now. I never thought those words would come out of my mouth, but it might just be the case. It's sort of addicting. The sense of accomplishment, health, overall well-being I get from running is having a pretty amazing effect on me. So weird, I know. I look back at my earlier posts at the beginning of my training schedule where I was struggling so much. I think I've come a long way. Our bodies are amazing, that's for sure.

So I pray that tomorrow will be a good run day for me. The temperature is supposed to cool down quite a bit, which is great since I like running when it's cold (at least cold for us Arizona girls. It's supposed to be in the 50's tomorrow at 7:00am). My lungs and heart feel strong. I hope the legs follow suit and do their job tomorrow. I'll post the results for sure! Although my goal has always been just to finish the race and chalk this one up as "done", I've started to feel a little more competitive lately and now am striving to finish in under 2 hours. That translates to running 9 minute miles for the whole 13.1 mile race. For all those amazing marathon gurus and those with fire in their wheels (I know quite a few friends and family in this camp), that's nothing to speak of, I know. But for me, I think that would be a pretty good clip. I've done most of my long runs at that pace or close to, so I think it's doable. I'll know 24 hours from now when the race is over!

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Identity Theft: For Real


It happened. To me. All those books I’ve read and movies I’ve seen…that stuff isn’t really all that made up. With the synergies of today’s technology and criminal minds, I firmly believe that just about anything is possible.

Yesterday, I was at work, typing an email to a colleague when the little “you’ve got new mail” window appeared in my lower right hand corner. It’s that fade in and out window that just appears for about 5 seconds so you can see who’s just emailed, then decide if you want to click over and read it now or wait till later. Well, when my little notification window popped up, both the sender and the message title was a bunch of garbledy gook. Nonsensical.


What the heck?

So I clicked into my inbox, and saw that my email had been flooded with a ton of spam emails that were now coming in one by one, non-stop. Each one was from a different sender, something like:

Wckojeorjam937fh290uj;goj8994@aol.com or jlj0-0893480klker0cfj3864kn@crap.com and on and on. They were each filled with a body of text all with the same gibberish. And they kept coming and coming. So I called our IT gal over immediately and showed her what was happening. She had me copy and forward some info about one of the messages so she could start investigating.

And they kept coming and coming.

I was getting spammed something awful.

But that was just the beginning.

As I sat there in confusion, scrolling through the sea of spam, I noticed one lone email amid the mess that appeared to be a valid email. It was from the payroll service provider that we use for RMB Properties (through a very large, reputable bank), with the message line “Payroll Confirmation.” Panic set in before I even clicked on the message. I sped through the email, horrified that I was being notified that I had just successfully processed my company’s payroll for the pay period ending 11/13/09.

One little problem there.

I had not entered payroll, and I am the only payroll administrator for our company.

The email further instructed that if this message was sent in error or if I had any concerns, please call a 1-800 number. My fingers could not dial fast enough. As I worked my way through the customer service menu and held on the line for the operator, I looked up and the email from the payroll service was gone. Seriously, gone. Impossible, I thought. An email can’t just disappear. Surely, it must have gotten moved to another folder – like junk suspects, junk mail, trash or some other place. I looked all over and it was seriously gone. Sucked into the black hole of oblivion that is the home of internet fraud.

Totally panicked now. The payroll guy gets on the line, and after confirming my identity and listening to my crazy story of the last few minutes, confirms that yes indeed, their system showed that I had just entered a payroll run for $17,708. What the crap??? I asked him if I could see what had been entered, like which of my employees were scheduled for payment, etc., so he directed me to the payroll preview screen.


I am sure my face lost all color as I clicked on that file and saw four brand new employees listed, none of which were our employees at all. Each one was scheduled for payroll direct deposit in random amounts over $4k each. Four fictitious employees with fake social security numbers, random local addresses all within a 5 mile radius of our RMB office, birthdays, bank accounts and routing numbers.

Is this creepy or what? So….I of course told the guy that these were not my employees, that I had not entered payroll, and the identity theft remediation wheels were set in motion. Calls to everywhere. Frozen accounts, notifications to our ID theft service, fraud alerts placed with the credit reporting agencies, calls to bankers, deactivated email…

I was physically shaking and sick to my stomach. So scared. I felt so violated and panicked as I racked my brain trying to understand how this could happen. I’ve tried to play investigator in parallel tracks with the fraud investigators. I’ve tracked the routing numbers used for the new employee’s bank accounts, and they are for banks all across the country. I’m going to run a social security number check today as well to see if they are even legitimate numbers or ones belonging to dead people.

We’ve run through a variety of scenarios among the IT group and fraud people, but ultimately, everyone seems just baffled and impressed (not in a good way) with the technology used to pull off this scheme. The head of the fraud group at the bank is involved, and per the rep working with me, he only gets involved when it’s very serious. Great. Somehow, someone penetrated through the layers of security via spyware or malware or Trojan horses or encryption or whatever, hacked into a giant institution’s payroll system, also hacked into my company's firewall blocked email in some way such that they could pull out an email that they were hoping I wouldn’t see, all while I was being spammed to death by a zillion emails.

Seriously…if I hadn’t been sitting at my desk at that very moment or hadn’t been intently scrolling through the messages, I never would have seen that payroll confirmation email before it got wiped off the system. And because there is a backup of everything on our server, our IT gal was able to go to the backup version of the email and see the incoming message at 12:18 pm, but then there is no trace of it. Seriously, gone. Within a couple of minutes at the longest. The outsourced IT guy that we consult with when things are bigger than our internal capabilities assured us that this was impossible, but he couldn’t find the email either. Impossible, eh? Sure, eventually I would have figured out that we’d been scammed, but the money would have been gone and the process would have been even more horrendous working through fraud claims, etc.

So I have no idea how far this identity theft/fraud thing might go, as I don’t know where the breach occurred (a home computer, work computer) since my work email is listed as the notification email address in the payroll system. I don’t know if someone is out there lying in wait to bite again on some other piece of our personal financial information, or if this was a blanket payroll scheme, or what. I’m scared. I pray this is just a crazy isolated incident and that perhaps I was just part of some big payroll scam. I hope it's not personal...Nothing like this has ever happened to me. It only happens to people in movies and in books, right?

Thank heaven I was at my computer when it went down. Thank heaven I have some good ID theft advocates working on my case. I pray that they’ll figure this out soon. So now I have a new work email address: kellis@pivotalgroup.com. My personal email account is still the same: kellisuebrown@mac.com.

I’ll blog again with updates.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Our Good Friday

We took this guy (our favorite guy actually) to the airport to go visit his Grandma Brown in Ohio. Grandpa Bob was already planning to visit, so Ryan decided on Sunday to tag along too. He hopes to do some visiting with a bunch of Ohio relatives, and gather some information while he's there for family history work. We miss him already!



Easton and I were busy on Friday as normal. After the errands, we came home and baked chocolate chip cookies to take to Afton's class for her "full jar of marbles" party. Easton was happy to visit her class today and be the star. He passed out all the cookies to Afty's friends and loved it.

After school, it seemed like most of the neighborhood kids hung out at our house. At one point I went out and there were about 15 kids in our driveway, riding scooters, shooting hoops, playing four square. Even a couple new ones I've never met. Funny. I'm pretty sure the chocolate chip cookie sale in our driveway was the big draw. Afton was being entrepreneurial, trying to make a buck or two, so we agreed on a 50:50 split of the cash intake. I got half for the ingredients and labor to bake, and she took in the other half for her supreme saleswoman efforts. Her jar had $18 bucks in it before we knew it. Easton was practically devastated that the cookies were gone, and even more so because none of that money was his :).


Once we decided to split the profits, Afton's master mind kicked into high gear. She kept proposing to sell the delicious cookies for $1.00, then $2.00 as the ching ching kept racking up in her mind. I had to delve into a little Economics 101, explaining the concept of "what the market will bear" to help her understand that while our cookies were indeed fabulous, I was pretty sure that most people wouldn't pay $2.00 for a cookie. So we landed at 75 cents, and that appeared to be a market clearing price :)

Rowan and Maya

Easton: inspecting his scooter after giving it a full wash. A hand wash I might add. Lots of dish towels and soap used on that baby...


Intrastate commerce in action...


And here's the man holding down our fort, showing off his frog puppet he made at preschool last week. We love you, Easton. Thanks for being so cool!