Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Monday, December 20, 2010
The countdown is on. Five more days...
I have most of my wrapping still to do.
I think I still have a couple of small things to pick up, but I need to check my list.
Then check it twice.
But only one more work day this week, then I'm off for a week.
How sweet is that?
When I come back, I only work one day next week.
Then one day the week after that.
Then on to Utah for a little ski vaca and wedding action.
I'm super stoked.
Four work days in three weeks.
I could get used to that.
The kids are giddy about Christmas. They've been negotiating the waking time for the big day. I'm saying 7:00, but they've got the push on for 6:30. I might give in.
No one has tried to guess their reindeer name yet, but that's probably because there aren't very many packages under the tree yet. We've got Dasher and Cupid and Comet and Blitzen this year. I'm hoping that tonight or tomorrow night will be "the night" where I stay up wrapping until the wee hours. There's always gotta be one of those. Every year I swear that I'll "wrap as I go", but it never happens. Why break tradition now?
We had a great busy week last week. Relief Society progressive dinner, Rowan's 1st grade Christmas program, Easton's kindergarten program, Barrett & Afton's piano recital's and donut fry, Easton's gingerbread house decorating at school, the Ward Party and all the prep for that, a wedding reception, a bridal shower, some good runs, two birthday parties, Barrett's Christmas party at Katy's, Christmas open house at our new neighbor's Saturday night, a wonderful church service with lots of Christmas music and great speakers, and a special dinner at Mike & Shari's and FHE last night.
The ward Christmas breakfast turned out so fun. Great food, festive decorations, good music, spectacular ward friends and neighbors! And Santa came with all his bells and glory and the children were thrilled. What a fun day we had. It was my last gig as the ward activities director. Someone else will get to lead the charge for next year's parties. I'm moving on and settling into my new jobs as the ward music chairperson and RS teacher. I think I'm gonna really like both of the new callings. This Sunday is my second lesson and I've now officially joined the choir. I sang in it on Sunday and I have to say that it was actually really fun. The musical talent in our ward is amazing. Amazing.
I must confess, I'm pretty excited for this week too. In case I don't make it back to blog before Christmas, Merry Christmas!
Monday, December 13, 2010
Last night at the Brown house...
Ryan and the girls played a marathon game (two actually) of Afton's new "Build It Monopoly" game that she got for her birthday. It's been updated for modern times. Boardwalk and Park Place have been replaced with the new hip "districts", and you can no longer procure a piece of real estate for $380. Nope, we're talking millions now. The small bill in the bank is $10k. Some things cost upwards of $7 million. There are new hazards like power plants and sewer stations and prisons to diminish the value of your properties and make them "unrentable." You can build industrial or residential. You can pay $1 million to the planning and zoning department and get perks.
Yep, it's Monopoly for the present day. And our kids are diggin' it.
Meanwhile, the two youngers colored more Christmas pictures to add to our already fantastic display of kid art covering the office french doors. And they colored and fully assembled their very own "dream" book using the stash of scratch paper we keep handy for just such crafty occasions. Truly, I was impressed. Each page, illustrated by Easton and narrated by Rowan, expressed things they dream about in pretty amazing detail. Things like chocolate and monsters and Christmas morning and camp outs and bunk beds...
Ahhhh...that brings us to the newest addition to the Brown house. Yes, we got new furniture for Easton's room. Actually, it is now Easton and Rowan's room, and Afty Cakes is beyond stoked to finally get her own room. Rowan & Easton are sharing the new bunks - a twin over full number - plus two new dressers and a cool ladder desk. Their room looks super sharp and they are seriously loving it. All the kids are really. There's something a little magical about bunks. Kids are drawn to them. I about died day one just trying to sheet them up. I broke two nails and skinned my hand. Broke into a full sweat by the time I was done climbing up and down, moving the dang ladder back and forth. Lifting the mattresses. Tuck here, tuck there. Heaven help them to not wet their beds. I don't think I can handle sheet changing more than every few weeks.
But they're great for forts. Most of our linen closet has already toured their room in the tent parade in just three short days. Barrett has managed to sneak in the last two nights to sleep with Easton on the bottom full size bed under the guise that "she forgot to put clean sheets on her bed." Um, hummm....
So the bunks are a hit. We still have some rearranging to do in Afty's room now that she's minus one extra full sized bed. It feels enormous. Hopefully, the troops will be happy in their new digs, and Rowan won't make Easton crazy with her...her, um, everything. Messiness, 'tude, sassy pants. We'll see. So far, so good.
Monday, December 6, 2010
Monday, November 29, 2010
I taught my first lesson in Relief Society yesterday. The topic was very appropriate given the season: Gratitude. Our lesson was based on President Monson's Oct 2010 General Conference talk, "The Divine Gift of Gratitude." My neighbor and I were talking about the upcoming lesson topic a week or so ago, after we had just had a whole stake conference full of gratitude messages and talks and lessons about it all month, and she joked that we were all going to be a little sick of being grateful by the end of the month :)
I cried a lot. No surprise. Hopefully everyone knows I cry often by now and they just accept that. I told Coralee, who is the Education Counselor in our Relief Society, that I was happy to accept the calling to teach, but that she better expect the tears. I'm sure I've blogged about it before, but my theory is that when the Big Man Upstairs was divvying up the "gifts" before we came to earth, he gave me an extra strong dose of emotion. My spirit is really tender and I am easily moved. I could rarely ever even make it through a primary sharing time without crying, let alone teaching in front of a bunch of women.
But I was still understandable through the tears, and I think it went pretty well. I bore testimony about the importance of being grateful, which is something I believe so strongly in, and shared a couple of funny stories about my kids. They are great, by the way. I love that they teach me so much every day. Truly, it's humbling. The lesson is over now, though, so on to the next one. My next lesson (the day after Christmas) is on D. Todd Christofferson's talk, "Reflections on a Consecrated Life." I've read it a few times already, and there is much to reflect on for sure. Glad I have a few weeks to ponder on that one before I teach again.
We got our outside lights up on the house and in the yard on Saturday. Actually, when I say "we", I mean Ryan. I can only take credit for the blinking lawn snowflakes, which I have to say are the sauce. The kids and I did a neighborhood spirit check on Saturday night - a quick drive-by really - to see who had the holiday spirit. We were duly impressed with Lockwood street (no thanks to the Berrey's - hint, hint...) as just about every house was decked out in awesome lights. There's got to be a lot of pressure living on Lockwood in the midst of all that lumination. It's awesome.
I have to say that the Harris Park effort was weak. Weak, I tell you. But we're hoping that the lack of lights is just attributable to the fact that it's still technically November and that hopefully by this weekend, we'll be seeing the lights in full force.
We also put up the tree on Saturday and got it all decorated last night. The kids were huge helpers. Really, they were. Especially Easton & Rowan. They carefully unwrapped each ornament and placed about a hundred of them side by side on the lower three feet of the tree. Then they handed them up to me on the 12 foot ladder so I could reach the high branches. We only had to do a little rearranging after we discovered we had no ornaments left for the whole left side of the tree. But it's all good now. Nicely placed. Well lit. We used every single ornament and I think I would like more. But we're not buying any new ones this year - really, we don't need more - I just like a really full tree. I think I get that from my mom. My kiddos turned on the lights this morning before school and sat by the tree. Rearranged a couple more ornaments - again. Moved them to the perfect spots - again. It made me smile.
Oh, and I have a full blown cold. Saturday night I sensed the beginnings of it. The perpetual sneezes. Dry throat. Dim headache. By Sunday morning, I was 75% sure it was going to hit hard. I made it through church with only a half dozen sneezes and a nose running like a sieve. I'm sure all the ladies in Relief Society just thought I was wiping my nose incessantly due to the tears I was shedding, but that was only half of it. Today I have the full blown head cold. The real deal. I'm about a third of the way through my newly opened Kleenex box. Since I can't breathe through my nose, my mouth is getting an extra workout, which makes my throat dry and leads me to chug more H2O. Which is good for me, I know, especially when I'm sick, but I'm wearing out the carpet on the pathway to the bathroom.
We've been healthy for so long. Especially me. I can't remember the last time I was sickly. I haven't run since the Turkey Trot, which means I've had three days off, four if I don't make it out tonight. I never take 3 days off. Really, never even two. So I'm a little worried about not running (you lose the stamina so fast), but I just couldn't peel myself out of bed this morning with my hollow feeling head and dry throat and the thought of the bone-chilling cold at 5:30 am. My iPhone told me it was 33 degrees, so I acquiesced and stayed in a bed wrapped tight in my blanket for another half hour.
Maybe tonight. Maybe not. For sure tomorrow.
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Monday, November 22, 2010
Monday, November 15, 2010
I love that all our kiddos were there to cheer us on. They didn't even complain about having to wake up at 5:45 am! But then again, all the fun they had at the event with the bouncers and face painting and never ending snacks helped a little I'm sure.
The race was great for both of us. Although we started the race right next to each other, as soon as the horn blew and we crossed the chip timer, we both just took off and never saw each other again until the finish. I felt really good the first several miles and was running several seconds ahead of my typical pace. But my heart and lungs and legs felt strong so I just kept it up. Thank goodness for my Garmin watch. I absolutely love that thing. It was so nice to be able to look down at each mile (or whenever) and check my pace. Shortly after the halfway mark, I noted that my overall average pace was slowing about 2-3 seconds with each mile, so I worked a little harder to keep it steady for the next couple.
Around mile 9 or so as I was heading west on Main Street, I saw a couple of runners far up ahead wearing those bright orange vests like traffic cops sometimes do. As I closed the gap a bit more, I was able to make out the words "Guide" on the back of the man. As I got a little closer, I saw that the two were connected with a leash of sorts, and then finally was able to read the rest of the writing on the back of their vests as I ran close up behind them. His said, "GUIDE. I'm running for my wife." Hers said, "Caution: Visually Impaired Runner." She was blind or very nearly so, running a half marathon with her sweet husband as her guide, tied together with a rope. He ran a half pace ahead of her so that she could "feel" the direction of the path through the pull of the rope. Of course, I teared up as I passed them. Again, another reminder that I always, always, always need to be grateful.
The last mile was my hardest for sure since I'd been running faster than I'd ever run for that distance, but there was a blessed fellow runner with red hair and a bright green shirt running pretty close with me the last mile or two. We kept passing each other, back and forth, and gave each other a little inspiration near the end to keep kicking it in high gear. Or at least the highest gear we could manage after mile 12. At about 12.7, I was starting to slow a bit, and he said, "Come on, we're almost there!" And that was all I needed to keep running hard.
Ryan and I both finished strong, better than anticipated, and really felt great. The muscles weren't even very sore that night or yesterday. Amazing! I guess all the extra post-race stretching helped. And the super long hot shower I took when I got home! Man, that felt like heaven. Oh, and the hour long rest I took with my feet up that morning :)
My goal was to run faster than last year's race (which was at 8:58 pace or 1:57:30) and Ryan's goal was to finish in 2:10. Since this was his first long race, he was just benchmarking based on his typical training times for long runs, and he did so terrific! I finished in 1:49:43 (8:22 mile pace) and Ryan finished in 1:59:29 (9:06 pace). We we were both really happy with the race and our effort. Great weather, cool race t-shirts, yummy pasta dinner the night before, plenty of restrooms and water stations, lots of fun for the family, and great post-race treatment. It was all good. Very, very well run event. I'm pretty sure we'll be going for Shun the Sun #3 in November 2011. We're kinda liking this new tradition in our family.
It was fun giving our kids high fives a couple of times during the race. They were waiting for us on the side of the canal bank along with Grandma Cindy after our first mile and at the halfway point, then they were all there cheering at the finish line.
Rowan's amazing face painting. Seriously, they did a fantastic job! She just loved it and kept it on all day long on Saturday.
Me just shortly after crossing the finish line. I was pacing around in circles cooling down and bringing down the heart rate.
I love this guy!Our crew after the race! Thanks again, kids and Grandma Cindy, for coming to cheer us on. What a great day.
Friday, November 12, 2010
So today I was thinking about some of my top 3's. (That's one of the sections of my imagined book by the way.) Here are some of them:
- 3 candies I love: sour jelly bellies, Hot Tamales, cinnamon bears
- 3 colors I wear most often: black, aqua, hot pink
- 3 vacations I've loved most: Kauai 2009, New York 2000, Park City 2010
- 3 things I need to work on: daily scriptures, less snacking, saying "yes" more
- 3 things I'd like to do more: read, sew, play games with my family
- 3 games I love right now: Rook, Ticket to Ride, Take 2
- 3 stores I spend too much money in: Costco, Old Navy, Michaels
- 3 things I love to shop for: shoes, running clothes, fabric
- 3 ways I usually wear my hair: flat ironed straight, big curls, ponytail
- 3 places I often frequent for lunch: Rubios, Safeway Deli, Blimpie
- 3 things that make me crazy: a messy house, un-gratefulness, whining
- 3 favorite family vacation spots: Carlsbad, Rocky Point, Cabin
- 3 things I rarely do: drink soda, get on the scale, sleep in
- 3 things I hate to be without: cell phone, toothbrush, lipstick
- 3 indulgences I deeply enjoy: fresh donuts, graham crackers & milk, ice old cream soda
- 3 favorite dining spots for "family night out": Red Robin, Islands, Someburros
- 3 places I want to go: Nauvoo, Grand Caymans, Alaska
- 3 hard things I might do someday: run a marathon, publish a book, pay off our house
- 3 things I'd like to be when I grow up: a professional photographer, 100% self-employed, the best grandma on the planet (although that position has already been filled)
- 3 things I love about my life right now: my romantic husband, being a mom, living strong
- 3 things that simplify my life: my mom, the gospel, my suburban
- 3 favorite hobbies: running, scrapbooking, photography
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Last Saturday, I spent the day at one of my other favorite places (besides Bosa Donuts and the temple). It's been months - five actually, but who's counting - since the last time I spent any time with my scrapbook supplies, so I was really looking forward to a long, good day with my pictures and crafty spirit. I just booked the class a few weeks ago after realizing that we actually had a free Saturday and knowing that I had a bunch of store credit burning a hole in my account from all my past cancelled classes. It proved to be a great day. Lots of pages made. Lots of laughing with my girlfriends who I've missed. Lemon slushes from Sonic and Tia Rosas rolled tacos. It was all good. And Ryan and our kiddos had such a great day together. They need good father/kid days together where Dad spoils them rotten. They texted me pictures throughout the day at all the fun places they went. I was actually a tinge sad not to be with them, but since I was staring at their cute faces all day on my scrapbook pages, I managed to survive.
These are a few of my recent pages. The one at the top is my favorite page right now. Probably 'cause the kids are so cute and the memories from our summer Park City vacation are so awesome.
(Yes, this is last year's 5th grade spread, but hey...we haven't even gotten the 2010 pictures back yet so I'm still ahead of the game, right?)