Sunday, August 29, 2010
Monday, August 23, 2010
for an overnight this past Friday & Saturday.
They're working on their fishing merit badge.
Ryan is not a fisher.
Good thing his assistant scoutmaster & quorum advisor are.
They had all the gear, and most of the boys caught fish.
They were out on the lake in canoes and kayacks.
Ryan kept busy de-tangling lines, helping them cast,
but he didn't catch any himself.
I'm sure the troop is anxiously awaiting the fish fry
at this Wednesday's mutual activity. Oh, yum...
While he was away with the fish and the boys and the
foil dinners and the campfires,
our numbers were down by three. Right after
we got Ryan
out the door on Friday afternoon, I loaded up
the peeps and drove Afty & Rowan over to their
cousins' house for their much anticipated sleep over.
I almost didn't let Rowan go.
I had such an internal struggle after the week we had,
but decided rather than "punish" her
disappoint her cousin who had been looking
forward to their slumber party all week long),
I could maybe turn the whole awful week into
some kind of learning experience. I wasn't sure how, though.
I talked to my mom about it earlier in the day while the
girls were at school. She gave me her best advice
under the circumstances:
Well, we had a really good, long talk when she came home.
We set some new parameters. We talked about the big picture,
well as much as you can really do that with a six year old.
We came up with a plan. We offered some apologies.
She committed to try harder, be better, be kinder. Me too.
We even designated a new "thinking chair" for those times when the temptation to catapult her body into a flailing tantrum are just too much to resist. In theory, she agreed to go there without coersion should the moment strike.
It's been 2 1/2 days since that talk, and she hasn't visited the thinking chair yet. There was brief mention of it Sunday morning as we waited in the driveway before church and she almost couldn't hold back, but her mood abruptly did a 180.
I think we might have actually had a pivotal moment together in our unceasing battle of the wills. We went two whole days, not only not butting heads, but actually enjoying each other. She accompanied me to the grocery store on Saturday evening, just she and I. As we loaded up our groceries, I complimented her on her pleasant behavior. It was such a breath of fresh air.
She's pretty much been amazing since that talk. Hmmm...how long can this last??
I don't know, but I'm eatin' it up and milking it for all it's worth. Tonight's FHE might be the real test.
Since we were down to three on Friday night, Barrett & I rented"The Last Song" from Blockbuster and had a movie night in my bed. We saw it together in the theatres when it first came out. I cried almost as hard the second time. Barrett's a little less sentimental than me. She didn't shed a tear, but we laughed and drooled over Will together. Easton sacked out early,
so it was just the two of us.
Really, I was the backup plan since her real plans fell through with a grounded friend. But that was OK - I think we both enjoyed spending the evening together.
After my 5 mile run early Saturday morning, the rest of the day was really all about the kids. Drop offs, pick ups, swimming, play time. We managed to get the house pretty clean too.
I killed off 3 of my big "hot spots." You know, those places that are clutter magnets and never seem to go away. When Ry got home, he asked, "So what was the occasion for cleaning
the laundry room?"
He noticed. I conquered the heaping mail pile and already too tall stack of bring home papers from schools that had amassed on my kitchen counter. I also de-cluttered two upstairs hot spots.
I had great visions of knocking out the whole house that day, having a paper-free office desk,
all the D.I. baskets unloaded, bagged and on their way to a new home, all the overflowing dresser drawers freed from the too short jeans and too tight shirts and the mis-matched socks.
Oh, the dreams I had.
Not sure why I dream like that. I know better. Maybe a better word than dream is aspire. I aspire to complete.
But the hot spots, dishes, laundry and bathrooms was all I could tackle in one day. I had the energy to do more, but I was in kid concierge mode and the day flew by.
Saturday night was date night, and a good one at that. We ate Mexican, saw the movie "Salt", which I loved. Angelina Jolie is one tough chic.
Sunday was fabulous as most Sundays are. A double farwell in our ward, followed by a great Sunday school lesson. We played some games together after church, I tried my hand at a new delicacy from my Hershey dessert cookbook, and took it with us over to Mike & Shari's for some supreme Italian food and great company. We visited about the Grand Canyon -Mike has done the hike a few times, so he dished out some pointers and made me even more excited to go. I hope they go next year too. I think they might.
We ended the night with some scriptures & prayer. Easton sacked out on the floor after two verses, and Rowan wasn't too far behind. With 2 down and 2 to go, Ryan suggested a re-match of Ticket to Ride.
We should've just gone to bed,
but we're all so competitive.
We gave in.
One final game before bed,
even though bedtime had passed.
We were rebels.
Afton & I tied (seriously, how crazy is that!)
You know what that means?
Another rematch tonight.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Nope, it doesn’t work that way, but somehow our best intentions sometimes morph into a reality at the other end of the spectrum.
Going a full day without butting horns with my certain trial child would be a miracle. I pray for those miracles every day. Last night, the phrase “piece of work” actually escaped under my whispered breath as the child walked away and the other one smiled in complete agreement. P.O.W. Yes, that was the only kind way to describe her, and hardly kind at that. I know we’re all born with our own unique set of gifts and trials and quirky personality traits and flaws and potential and wonder. I get that. But sometimes I struggle with the package. It’s stronger than I’ve seen in most anyone I know, and truthfully, it’s a little scary. I feel inept at times, challenged much of the time, and perplexed too often.
This followed by more frustrations about instrument practicing. Turn the TV off. Please get in the shower. Are your clothes ready for tomorrow? Stop doing that to your sister. There’s no need to talk to me like that. That couch is not a toy. Please be kind. Be kind. Be kind. Be kind….
Fast forward an hour…
At the end of one of the most restless family scripture reading sessions I can remember – again, a night laced with good intentions - I had used all my love and logic tricks and was at a loss. I could have sworn the kids were on speed, but I know better. It was attention deficit super duper hyperactivity disorder to the max in the upstairs loft of the Brown house. Ants in their pants. The kind of chaos you’d laugh about on America’s Funniest Home Videos. There was intentional tripping, blatant disrespect, sassiness, whining, fatigue, teasing, back talk, threatenings, crossing over the imaginary lines…I told Ryan that I was reminded of Elder Bednar’s classic conference talk about perseverance and consistency. "He's breathing my air!"
I’ve been known to occasionally do a reenactment of a particularly funny tantrum, just so they can see how ridiculous it looks. I almost caved last night and took the stage. But then I thought better of it. It was too funny and I wasn’t sure I could do it justice.
After the third “tuck” of a certain child who couldn’t stay in bed (so not normal), and after providing some much needed counseling to a tearful child who felt incredibly unpopular at school that day, I finally made it back to my room. As the late night finally came to an end, I wished, for many reasons, that I could have do-overs.
Do-overs. Remember those? How do you earn a do-over anyway? I guess you finally shut your lids, wake up with puffy eyes, roll to your knees, and pray even harder for the miracles, for the forgiveness, for the patience, and for the determination to be better. Then you strap on your shoes and let the asphalt absorb your stride as the miles help clear the mind.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Here it is: the Mountain View High School Class of 1990 website.
I'm pretty excited about it. I hope it serves it's purpose. I hope lots of Toro 1990 Alumni come to visit it. I hope our reunion is a success.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
"Imagine hiking two Camelback Mountains in a row.
Believe it or not, that would be easier than hiking to the Flatiron, a prominent rock outcrop overlooking the western flanks of the Superstition Wilderness.
The ridiculously steep route up Siphon Draw gains nearly 2,800 feet in 2.8 miles, stressing thighs, burning lungs and sending heart rates into the red zone.
It's one of the best hikes in Arizona."
We left the kids fast asleep with Barrett in charge of the slumber at 5:15 am, and were making our first steps up the trail at 6:00am on the nose. Surprisingly, the weather was incredibly pleasant for a mid-August day, mostly because the sun hadn't reared its head over the mountains yet which meant we were blessed with shade all the way up and about a third of the way down. The breeze was nice too. It didn't get really warm until about the last thirty minutes of the hike (despite what the gallon of sweat soaking through on my shirt might tell you.)
This part is called "slippery rock" and is the point where many hikers apparently turn around. Or so I read. Whatever. Why would you even make this journey if you weren't planning to shoot for the top? Anyway, it was indeed a steep, slippery slope to climb. Ryan and I both commented that it was a good thing it wasn't wet. I have no idea how you'd scale that thing wet.
This was pretty typical of the hike. Lots of hand over hand and straight up stuff.
The whole hike is 5.8 miles round trip. It took us 2 hours to get up, and 1:45 to get down. We stayed up top and enjoyed the incredible views for about 30 minutes, ate some fruit and granola bars, changed my socks, listened to the sound of peace on the the mountain top, took a few pics, joked about things we could do up there that no one would ever see or hear...It was a good morning for sure.
And here we are at the tip top of Flatiron. Pretty cool view. Super cool company if I do say so myself. Some fellow hikers arrived at the top just a few minutes behind us, so we took each other's pictures. Love this one. It looks like we're on top of the world. Not quite, but 3000 feet up isn't too shabby.
The hike up was the cardio workout. The hike down was the quad workout. It was fun busting out our new day packs that we bought each other for our early anniversary presents (Happy 14th Anniversary, Babe. I have a separate post to follow about that too...) I also broke in my new Solomon hiking shoes this trip. They worked great. No blisters.
We saw this guy on our way down the mountain. Some hikers from Denver told us that it was a collared lizard and pretty rare to find. They are lizard gurus (or so they say), so we thought we should take a pic. Of course, this was the only pic our kids really cared about.
I think our next long hike will be on the 28th. Not sure yet where it will be, but we probably only have 2 more practice hikes before the real deal. Oh, and lots of miles on the asphalt. We're sort of dual-track training for the Rim2Rim in September and the Shun the Sun Half Marathon in early November. Good times.
Friday, August 13, 2010
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
I guess that's to be expected on the day before school starts. Still, I was spent. I'm quite sure that staying up too late a couple nights in a row working on our Mountain View Class of 1990 website and then the stadium trainings had something to do with my fatigue. Maybe the heat a little. Whatever the reason or myriad of reasons, I was tuckered out last night.
The Brown Family's Tuesday, August 10th included all of this good stuff and more:
- Early morning workout with Ryan up at Mountain View. We ran at the track and did tons of stadiums - getting ready for the big hike next month.
- Meet the teacher day up at Hale for the girls. Three new teachers, three new classsrooms, three new school t-shirts, one big lunch check and one big PTO donation. Hooray! (NOTE: We did meet the teacher at Hermosa Vista Elementary on Monday night for Easton. He's starting half day kindergarten there today. We ran into a zillion people we knew there and everyone kept asking us if we were transferring. No, it's just Easton. The girls are staying at Hale. But we loved his new school and are so excited for him. Oh, and we did Meet the Teacher at Field Elementary after that Monday night for Barrett's ELP class. Same teacher for ELP as she had last year, but a new theme. This year they are studying the Stock Market. I'm pretty stoked about that.) We've met lots of teachers!
- Home for quick laundry rotation and potty break.
- Dentist appointments at 11:30 in Gilbert for all the kiddos. Knock on wood, but they all still have perfect teeth. No cavities. No problems. Barrett is still waiting for 3 baby teeth to come out so they can get moving with her braces. Maybe one more year. Afton has five loose teeth and Rowan, much to her dismay, is starting first grade with all 20 of her baby teeth and none even close to loose. Easton's are perfect.
- Lunch and shopping at Sam's Club with the crew. It's amazing how much lunch you get for five people at Sam's Club for $13. Seriously. Kinda helps with the sting of the final bill when you check out from shopping and wonder if you'll ever leave with a bill under $200.
- Home for about 30 minutes for grocery drop off, email checking, and more laundry rotation and showers for all the kids (so they could have freshly washed hair for Jayme).
- Hair cuts for all the kids at Tantrum at 3:30.
- Walmart trip (for the last minute school supplies that we didn't anticipate). Big mistake. Walmart was insane. Half of Mesa was doing the same thing we were. It took 25 minutes to check out. No lie. I was so done with people by the time we came home. Thankfully I love my people and they were all pretty good considering the day we had. But Easton was super done too.
- Finally, home for good and ready to dive into dinner prep at 5:45.
- Kids turned our living room floor into school supply heaven while I prepped food. With supply lists in hand, and Barrett in charge of the chaos, the four of them divy'd up the crayons and pencils and glue sticks and scissors and binders and notebooks and hand sanitizer and tissues and filled their backpacks with first day of school treasures. I could hear the craziness from the kitchen. I only elected to intervene a couple of times when I thought World War 3 might break out about whose package of pencil lead was whose.
- Dinner - all vegitarian. A mish mash of quick and easy favorites: corn on the cob, baked potatoes, salad, fruit, bread (that we picked up at Walmart). My kids wanted to know where the chicken or the chops were. None tonight. We're going meatless today. Barrett kept asking what the entre was. I told her it was the baked potatoe and she smiled. But they all devoured it. Easton told me I make the best dinner ever. He's so good to me.
- More laundry, the final checking of the packs to make sure the lists were fulfilled. I realized today that I forgot the white pillowcase for Easton's painting smock and Afton's dry erase marker. They'll live without for a day or two I'm sure. Hopefully they don't bust out any paints in kindergarten today though. I liked the shirt Easton picked out and would love for it to come home paint-free.
- Baths again to wash off the stray hairs, then father's blessings from Ryan for each of the kids. That was my favorite part of the day. I cried in each one. They have such a good daddy.
- Prayers and tucking. Only 40 minutes behind schedule. Not too bad for getting back into the routine.
- Time with Barrett (my night owl) helping her tweeze her eyebrows back into perfect shape for Day 1 after being neglected for a couple of weeks. And I did the requisite checking to make sure all the outfits layed out on the ledge actually matched and all the shoes had socks to go with them.
- 10:00 - finally done with the day. I'm pretty sure I was out when my head hit the pillow.
Final note: when we were at Walmart, we ran into a couple of friends from the neighborhood, Gail McClure (Easton's preschool teacher from last year) and Connie Shelly (my good friend and our ward Relief Society president). Gail and Connie are best friends. As we laughed and visited with them for a few minutes, they commented that they were having some serious nostalgia watching me trek through Walmart with a full brood of kids in tow on the day before school started. All of their kids are grown now. They reminded me to cherish these days because they are gone before you know it.
So true. I can hardly believe that my little man is in school already. He was just born, wasn't he?
Friday, August 6, 2010
I just crunched some numbers, and I'm way overdue. Like, 300 miles overdue actually. I skipped a whole pair. I've been alternating back and forth between a couple of pairs, but both are so worn down.
Maybe that's partly why I've haven't been feeling the love on the asphalt so much lately. I kind of just chalked it up to the heat. But maybe it's been a combo of both.
And I think I need to reload my iPod with some fresh tunes. That might help bring back the love.
So today at lunch, I finally made it over to one of my favorite places. Runners Den. I love that place. It's over in Phoenix on 16th Street and Maryland, not too far from my office.
I made a new friend at the store, too. Well, sort of. Not like I'll ever see him again until I go back next time, but he was really nice. He's a small, thin man - totally looks like a runner - and he made me laugh a ton. He treated me like the runner I want to become instead of the runner I am. When he asked when I bought my last pair, I told him I wasn't 100% sure (probably about 10 months ago?) and asked him to look it up in my file.
Yes, I have a file.
Actually, everyone who buys shoes there has a file. It's not like I'm special.
He said, "So it was before your marathon in January, right?" He smiled.
Me: "Um...I didn't run a marathon in January, but yes, it was before then."
His name is Craig. He's 56 and he's definitely on my Hero List. He's running the St. George marathon next month and this will be his 200th marathon! No, that wasn't a typo. Seriously....200 marathons in one lifetime. And he's still going!!! He says he wants to be running marathons when he's 82. Every single Saturday, he does a long run. And by long, I mean 15-20 miles. Craziness. He runs 7-8 marathons a year.
I can't even imagine. I've never heard of someone who has so many miles under his belt.
As he was fitting me for my shoes, he asked me if I was in a running group, because "you should find a group to run with if you're going to be ready for your marathon this January." Again, treating me like the runner I aspire to be. He gave me a couple of suggestions on how to find a running group. He's been running with his group for 24 years. Apparently there's a whole bunch of insane marathoners out there who have logged a zillion plus miles.
I told him that my husband was running the next half marathon with me in November. I'm really excited about that. I'm not sure that Ryan's all that excited about it yet, but I know it will be a great experience for him. Having that goal out there is so motivating. My Runner's Den friend said that after 36 years of marriage, his wife isn't a runner yet. He's still convinced that someday she'll start.
So I'm all pumped up about my cool new shoes and excited to start breaking them in tomorrow morning. I was a little pokey on my run this morning so it's time for some Saturday speed redemption. And truth be told, my wheels were spinning the whole drive back to my office. 26.2. Could I do it? Do I want to do it? Should I do it?
Yes, I think I could, should, will. In 2011. My 40th year.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
I was thinking the other day about the whole blogging thing and how this evolution of technology over the past five years or so has made such a difference in the record- keeping of our generation. Sure, journals and scrolls and brass plates and stones have been around since the beginning of time to provide a means for our ancestors (and us) to document our lives. Well, not so much the plates, scrolls and stones for me. Just the journal. I have random spiral notebooks all over the place with notes and thoughts written down as the moments roll. I think I got that from my Grandma Sue. She was the queen of journaling on any little piece of anything she could find. When she passed away three years ago, her writings were found everywhere, all over the house, tucked inside books, in drawers, in dressers, on the backs of envelopes. She was always writing. I miss her.
We spent four days in Pine this past week, enjoying the beautiful cabin that she and my grandpa built about 45 years ago. My grandpa was there with us and shared some of his life stories with us as he often does when we take time to sit and relax. What a great trip that was for our family. One of the most memorable ones, I think. Why? I don't know really. But the bonds were strong and I came home loving my brood more than ever.
I've been keeping my main journal on my laptop for about 13 years now. I've transferred it from CD to CD with each new machine, but still it has lived electronically for the longest time.
But now...now with the blog, my journaling and documentation of the comings and goings and experiences of my whole family is so much more consistent and vivid. I'm writing my personal history, one day at a time. And I find that I have the impetus to write more often while the moments are fresh and my memories are sharp. As I think back about my journal writing days of yore, I realize that never before have I written so much. 170 times in one year. That works out to almost every other day on average. What's more, I have pictures documenting the journey. Reminders of the joys and the funnies and the growing experiences and the progress of our clan...
Still, I wish that I could find (or make) the time to write every day. Surely, there is something of merit or something worth remembering or learning from in every day of our lives. Even something small. Something one of my kids said. Something I felt impressed about or frustrated with or enamored by. Something I read that made an impact, something I heard that struck a note. Something I felt that left me changed. Something that I might want to remember again someday...
It's been too long since I've scanned any of my scrapbook layouts to post. I'm so behind on scanning. Actually, behind on way too many things, but somehow keeping afloat amidst the craziness we call life. I love going back through those albums I've worked on over the years. My kids love it too. Sure, it's fun to see the pictures and the pretty page embellishments and the evolution of my scrapbooking techniques. But mostly, I love to read the journaling. I love to write on my scrapbook pages and share the feelings of my heart. There are so many letters (or at least long paragraphs) written to my precious children in those pages. All kinds of thoughts and dreams. Some lamenting, lots of praise. And mostly, just love. Someday I hope they cherish those thoughts shared by a young mother doing her best to raise a brood of four with the help of one very awesome husband and the rest of our village.