Monday, November 29, 2010

The Weekend

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

Just a Bunch of Turkeys

We're keeping the tradition alive. Running the annual Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving has become a tradition for us, and we hope it keeps going on for many, many years to come. Barrett and Afton have two trots under their belts now. We were proud of them for coming out and being a part of the festivities. They both ran the 1-mile race again and did great!

The girls ended up running by themselves this year (well, not really - there were a thousand or so other runners doing the 1-mile fun run too, but no one else they knew). Jessie & her girls were planning to come and do the run too, but they didn't end up making it so our girls hot footed it alone. We saw them off and took some video footage, then made our way back to the park to watch them finish. Way to go girls! You were awesome!
Ryan & the girls after their race

Ryan and I both had a great race - personal bests for both of us - so we were pleased. We didn't beat the turkey, but then again, we weren't expecting too. His young turkey legs have a little more kick in them than ours do. After the race, we met up with all our Goodman family clan, who were also there participating in the annual trot just like they do every year. Barrett, Afton & Aunt Diane all hung together while we ran. My cousin, Willy, beat us all, but he was just a few seconds ahead of his dad, Bishop Uncle Jim, who was just a few seconds ahead of me. Ryan & Morgan both finished within 30 seconds of each other too, and Rita (my awesome cousin who just had a baby this year and started running again after several years off), was there running too and did so great. Jodi was thinking about running despite the fact that she has been so busy in law school and hasn't been running much, but she decided to cheer from the sidelines. I loved that we were all there together on Thanksgiving morning - burning some calories, juicing the legs, living strong. Just a bunch of turkeys we are. And I love it!

(Front row: Willy & Afton; Back Row: Rita, Jodi, Bishop Uncle Jim, Kelli, Ryan & Barrett)

Ryan & Morgan post-race. Ryan finished in 53:09 (8:30 mile pace) and Morgan finished in 53:38. Way to go guys! And check out those race bib numbers...

On the way home, a good of friend of mine from work, Richard Garner, called. He and his daughter, Kourtney, had also run the race and this was Richard's first race ever. He's been running for about a year or two now and finally decided to do a race. Well, we've been talking a lot about running over the past year and his goal was to run a sub-8:00 average which would be 49:40. He sort of egged me on at work when I told him I wanted to run a 50:something race, telling me that I could do a sub-8:00 10k. Well, as it turns out, I could and I did. Funny thing - he finished in 48:55, beating his goal and just eight seconds ahead of me. I ran a 49:03 race (7:53 mile pace), and I was really happy about that. I've never run a sub-8:00 10k before. Neither Ryan or I ever saw Richard or Kourtney before, during or after the race since they started a little ahead of us in the pack (and there were thousands of people there). But 8 seconds! We were cracking up as we talked. He said that if he knew I was only seconds behind him, he would have run faster. I told him that if I knew I was only seconds behind him, I would have run faster still, just for bragging rights at the office for the next year....

As always, the trot was a fun way to kick off another great Thanksgiving. Can't wait to do it again next year! Hopefully we'll get a few more of our Goodman cousin running crew to join us in 2011.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Walk Like an Egyptian

One thing I love about our kids' school is that they truly immerse the kids in learning. The teachers have designed curriculum to help the children really embrace their projects and create a memorable learning experience. This year, Barrett's sixth grade class is studying world history in social studies. The module they just finished up was Egyptian history. We've been eating, sleeping and breathing Egypt for about two weeks now, and I have to say I'm a little happy we're moving on. My kitchen counter has finally re-surfaced after being buried for a week under a paint cloth, glue gun, sticks, paint, clay, all sorts of adhesives, jewels, ribbon, scissors and all things crafty.

Here's Barrett's completed pyramid from the outside. After it was all finished, we sprayed a final layer of spray adhesive and then sprinkled sand (courtesy of our neighborhood park) all over the outside to give it an "authentic" feel.

Barrett did a great job on her weapon room. She has hand crafted axes, a shield, a knife, ropes & nooses, and sticks. Even though the room was pretty simple, this was actually my favorite room in the pyramid. I must be related to Michael :) Her "Treasury" room was filled with jewels and mirrors and a gold plated hand crafted mini-chair. So cute.
Other rooms in her pyramid housed the death trap room with the pit of snakes and torches, as well as her food chamber where hand crafted clay baskets were filled with beans, oats and other delights.

In the king's chamber, a ladder is the only way to reach the gold sarcophagus and chest of treasures. Barrett made the sarcophagus in her art class at school. Inside, is an awesome wrapped mummy.

Barrett's friends, Tea and Riley at their Egyptian festival. All of the kids had to select an Egyptian God or Goddess for the festival and then dress up like that figure and deliver a short speech. It was a hoot to see all the kids in their outfits. I was actually pretty impressed.

Barrett's friend, Scott Nelson, showing off his killer pyramid and costume.

I helped out in Barrett's class the day they made their Egyptian death masks. We made a mold of each of the students' faces using these plaster strips and water. It was actually a lot of fun and pretty cool to see how their molds turned out.

After we got the plaster molded to their faces, they had to sit for about 15 minutes until the plaster hardened. They were all pretty great sports about the whole thing.

Here is Barrett's finished death mask, hanging on the wall at her Egyptian fair.

This whole Egyptian immersion was definitely a family affair. I sewed Barrett's costume for her using a pattern my mom had from years ago. I pulled the skirt fabric out of my stash that I've been planning to use for new Christmas nativity costumes. This was supposed to be a wise man's tunic, but I made it into a wrap around skirt instead that will double as a sheath type thing that we will use this year in our nativity. And I seriously scored on her gold fabric as I wandered the clearance aisle at JoAnn after Halloween. 60% off. Nice.

Both Barrett and her friend, Katy Anderson, were dressed as the Goddess Maat (since they are in different home room classes, they both got to dress up as the same Goddess.) There's a whole story to the feather that Maat wore on her head. Ask Barrett to give you her speech and you'll learn what it's all about.

We were proud of Barrett and enjoyed her whole Egyptian immersion experience and fair. She did a great job and earned an "A."

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Great Day for 13.1

Saturday couldn't have been a better morning to run. It was cool and crisp and just absolutely gorgeous outside. Cold really, but for running - perfect! I love to run in the cold. So here we are, my honey & me, just getting ready to start the half marathon.

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.

Post-race. Happy to be done! See that reddish circle on my rib cage? Ya, that's blood. My sports bra was rubbing me wrong starting at mile 4, and that bothered me more than anything else the whole race. I was chaffed pretty good and ended up with a nice little patch of blood to show for it.

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

Top 3's

I have a bunch of fantastic ideas forming in the mass beneath my crazy head of highlights. All kinds of memories. So many unwritten treasured remembrances and traditions and loves... and pictures stacked in boxes from days gone by, just begging to be scanned. Memorabilia to tie in. I'm just not sure when the "season" will be ripe for me to put it all together in my oft-imagined Book of Life like I've schemed. It's gonna be a fabulous life history book someday. I can feel it. he he. But until then, I'll just keep plugging away at my blog and our scrapbooks here and there, keeping track of our highs and lows, our comings and goings, my thoughts about this and that. And a few other things. Maybe someday I'll pull it all together for publishing.

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.

(I figured I should scrapbook last year's race since the 2010 race is only few days away. Now I don't feel so behind.)

(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?)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Just grateful

Sunday at church was our monthly Fast & Testimony Meeting. It's usually the first Sunday of every month, and a day when we come to our meetings fasting and more receptive to inspiration and the spirit. In our sacrament meeting, instead of hearing prepared messages from a couple members of our congregation who were asked to prepare a message on an assigned gospel topic in advance, we do something different. Of course, we still take the sacrament - which is the whole reason we come to church in the first place - but then we are all invited to share our testimonies. Unprepared, unrehearsed, heartfelt thoughts about the things we believe to be true. In our ward, every fast and testimony meeting seems great to me. I'm sure that many people feel that way, but really - we have a spectacular ward. So many incredible members. People of faith. People of character. Such strong testimonies.

Well, this past Sunday, after the sacrament was finished and after our good Bishop shared his testimony and turned the remainder of the meeting over to us, there was a lull. Kind of long lull actually. No one was coming up. My dad finally got up and shared his sweet testimony and relayed a neat missionary experience he had last weekend sharing the Gila Valley Temple with some of his non-member friends. After he sat down, again there was another lull. A long lull. Strange. My heart was pounding and my eyes were already teary. Coming to a meeting fasting already makes us more susceptible to the spirit. Add to that the tender words shared earlier that morning in our ward council meeting by our bishop, and also those shared by my dear friend, Louisa, who gave us the spiritual thought. And add to all that the fact that I always cry at church anyway. Seriously, always.

I was already clutching two wet tissues and going on a third. But I got up anyway and shared my simple testimony. My voice was crack-ley like it always is when I'm teary. Nothing new. So I spoke through my tears and I shared my conviction about the things I know to be true. I also shared my thoughts about the importance of missionary work and gratitude for everthing we have in our lives. I spoke of how the gospel is so much more than a Sunday thing. It's all about us. It's part of everything we do, everything we work for, everything we teach our precious children. It guides all our actions, influences each choice we make, and shapes who we are striving to become. The gospel of Jesus Christ is about becoming like Christ. Every day. One step at time. And I'm grateful to have that incredible influence for good in my life. I'm grateful to be on the path and grateful that I can get back on it every single day, even if I flounder. So grateful.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Shun the Sun

If you just happen to be up and about in the early morning hours this Saturday, say around 7:00-ish, and you just happen to be frequenting downtown Mesa (maybe at the temple or Bosa Donuts - two of my favorite places), look for us. Give us a high five. Or wave. Or you could even blow us a kiss. Just sayin'. Because we'll be in the neighborhood too.

We'll be the cute couple in running shorts, traversing the asphalt and canal banks just north of Brown, starting at HoHoKam Stadium on Center east to Stapley, then up to Main, west to Center, and back to HoHoKam. And then we'll do the loop again. We'll end at home plate, crossing the same plate that so many of the Cubs baseball greats have passed. Yep, Ryan and I (and several hundred other runners) will be there running our 13.1 miles. This is Ryan's first half marathon, which is huge. We're excited. I'm especially excited that Ryan is running. He's made amazing progress this year as he's started really training for this race and chalking up 4 days/week of running. He's lost almost 20 pounds this year, and is fitting into all kinds of clothes that have just been taking up closet space and gathering dust for the last decade. He's looking good. And we're both feeling good, which is what's really important.

So even if you don't just happen to be in the area on Saturday morning, cheer for us from a far. Or better yet, grab your box of Bosa Donuts and a lawn chair and sit along Main Street or Center Street and cheer on all the runners as they pass by. Or even better yet, strap on your shoes and come down and run too. They have a half marathon, 10k, 5k, and family fun run too. Something for everyone. I think my cousin Dyan is running the half with us again this year too, and so is our fellow Rim to Rim hiker, Chuck, and my friend Melissa Lee. And my friend Stephanie is doing the 10k. And I think my friend at work, Richard, is running the 10k too. So it should be a party all the way around. I bet that since they added a 10k to this year's races, there will be a lot more runners than last year.

13.1: here we come!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Halloween 2010

I know, she's a little too cute for spooks. Six years old going on sixteen. Check out those eyelashes! Love them. Wish I had them. Rowan seriously loved dressing up like a rock star this year. She's all about the glam anyway, so this get up was so her.

Our little Spidey...trying his best to look tough, but really just looking cute.

Afton sported the only "scary" costume in our family this year, and she did a pretty good job of it at that. My little almost-three-year old niece, Jolie, wasn't too thrilled when Afton came by.

I'm not exactly sure what Barrett was supposed to be, but she made this cute tu-tu in Activity Days last month and she wanted someplace to wear it. So she jazzed it up at home by adding several pieces of black tule to it, and voila...she had the inspiration for her costume. Originally, she was going to be a fairy (all in white with wings), but then she added the black, ditched the white, ditched the wings, crimped her hair and suddenly morphed into something more of an '80's rocker girl. So who knows, but she was stinkin' cute!

My niece, Jolie, and SIL, Jessie at our church Halloween party. It was our annual chili & fry bread and homemade root beer extravaganza. And a good one at that! We had a huge turnout, as always.

Our cute cousin, Lily, had the best costume ever! She was a walking glow stick. I'm not sure how many glow sticks she was sporting, but it was amazing. This picture doesn't even begin to do her justice. It was just so dark out by the time I snapped this pic, that the flash sort of detracted from her "glow." So cute! J.R. said he ordered a whole case of glow sticks off of to hand out for Halloween treats, but then they decided that this would make a great costume instead. Lily was a hit!

Grandma Cheri and my baby nephew, Dax, at the chili bake. I remember when Avery & Afton were matching lobsters when they were just babies. We made those costumes 9 years ago! Holy cow!

Barrett & her friends at the chili bake, all looking super cute!
My cute rocker niece, Avery, & blood-sucking vampire, Afton (best buds)

Here are all my cute nieces and nephews who came over to our ward party and then went trick or treating together. It looks like Afty was the only one who made it in the picture. I think Rowan, Easton & Barrett ended up a couple streets apart with the Berrey cousins and must not have reconnected with all the Brown cousins. Thank heaven for cousins! Ryan and I were still up at the church cleaning up the huge party mess until about 7:45, so we missed the trick or treating again. Maybe next year I'll be back among the civilians and take the peeps out. I did take Afton down one last street when we got home and we met up with our other three kiddos.

But everyone seemed to have a great night on Saturday enjoying all the neighborhood festivities. Ryan and I both crashed hard Saturday night after a very long day on our feet. We both ran long Saturday morning (I ran 10, he ran a full 13) then pretty much stood all day and night setting up, working the party, then cleaning up. It felt so dang good to put my feet up, I can't even tell you. Sunday (actual Halloween day) was good too. Church was great, followed by a relaxing afternoon at home (thanks for bringing over some left over white chili, Mom - it was delicious!), then a nice evening sitting out on our driveway with the kids eating popcorn and visiting with the neighborhood trick-or-treaters. Our home teacher and his kids came by for a bit too and shot a few hoops with our kids.

We live in a great neighborhood! Close to so much family, great ward, great people. Love it here.