Sunday, January 30, 2011

London's Run 2011

Chalk up another good race day. We spent yesterday morning out at Schnepf Farms in Queen Creek running London's Run together. Super duper cold until the sun came up, then it was just plain beautiful weather.

We had a pretty good showing from the running cousins crew. From left: Tara, Shari, Ashley, Austin, Michael, Me & Ryan. I am sure it was a little emotional for the Emelity's running that race benefiting cancer survivors as their sweet dad, my awesome Uncle Mick, passed away from his cancer in 2009. It was so good spending yesterday morning with them, running for a great cause.

Our good friend, Richard Garner, whom I've worked with for sixteen years, and my other good friend and coworker, Robyn Thompson, who just started running a couple of months ago, were both there at the race too. We talk running "shop" at the office many mornings when we all get into work. It's been a fun hobby to share.

We tried to recruit a couple others to run with us too, but so far, no other takers. This was Robyn's first race ever and Richard's second race. Richard beat everyone in our group by a couple of minutes. He had his game on! We were 8 seconds apart at the Turkey Trot, but I was not feeling the juice yesterday. Even though I really had a great time being out there with so many friends and family, that was one of my hardest races ever. I was wheezing so bad with all the bermuda grass and farm dust, and I just felt like I wanted to stop so many times along the course. My time was still pretty decent. 51:10 (8:15 pace), but no personal records being set yesterday. That's OK, though. Every race can't be a PR race. I was just happy to be there and just grateful to run!

I'm so glad that my hot hubby runs too! Just one more thing we get to do together!

Shari, Michael, Me & Ry post-race. Good times for sure! Michael knew a bunch of people at the race - all fellow Mesa officers - since London Solomon's dad, Warren, is also a Mesa officer.

So now I'm trying to decide what's next. Kick it into high gear and get ready for half marathon in early March? Or maybe...I'm thinking of doing P90X in full force again, or maybe Shalene Extreme (another Beach Body work out series). I need something to get all my mid-section parts back to firmness. I've gone soft...and it's not so pretty. And swimsuit season is coming up all too soon. And you never know when we'll sneak in an impromptu Mexico trip...a girl's gotta be ready, you know :) Maybe a good mix of a couple days of running each week and 3 days of strength training to tone. Today is good day to recommit. It's Sunday - my day of rest - and I plan to do just that.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Shaking Mad

I am physically shaking. Shaking mad.

Holy cow, I can't believe that just happened...

I was driving into work this morning and trying to exit off the west bound 202 freeway at 32nd Street. There are two lanes on the exit. Both were backed up, with three cars deep in front of me and growing numbers behind me. I was in the right hand lane. We were not moving.

I looked up ahead to see what the problem was, and sadly, very sadly, there was an old man riding his bike with far too many full Food City grocery bags laced across his handlebars and filling his front bike basket. His bike had apparently tipped from he weight just as he was crossing in front of the exit lane heading south on 32nd street, and he had groceries all over the road. The lady in the first car in my lane had gotten out of her car to help him pick them up and get his bike moved safely to the sidewalk so that the now piling up cars in the exit lanes could actually exit. The lady in the first car in the lane next to mine was halfway out of her car assessing the situation, but not helping.

Horns were honking from all around as I'm sure that none of the cars too far behind me could see the cause of the delay, although it had only been about a minute. Impatience abounds. Rush, rush, rush.

The aged biker man had just about cleared out of the way, when I saw a nice new white Ford F150 swerve out of the backed up traffic behind me so that he could four-by-four over the curb and into the gravel on the shoulder of the exit and be on his merry way. One problem with that - there's really not enough room to scoot a big F150 around on the shoulder when the shoulder is not that big to begin with and has a huge tree taking up most of it.

Clearly, he didn't care, so he tried to squeeze by anyway. And he clipped the side of my Tahoe in the process! I heard and felt a big "thud" as he went by and my eyes jumped out of my socket. He totally knew he clipped me as he looked out his window at me quickly then started to speed off. I caught the first two digits of his license plate before he turned right. I had no idea if or what kind of damage there was, but I didn't want him to get away. The thud was loud enough that it definitely could have left a mark or dent for sure.

I was honking at him and waving my hands in frustration and talking to him very loudly in my car (as if he could hear me.) About 15 seconds later, the cars in front of me moved and I was able to turn right too. I could see him up at the light at McDowell, but it turned green before I got there and he sped off like a bat out of hell. Same thing with the next two lights, but I was on his tail. By the time we approached the light at Indian School, I had gotten his license plate and then the light turned red. Ah ha! Gotcha.

I pulled up in the lane next to him and rolled down my window. He was all smiling and talking on his cell phone and then he looked over at me and saw that I was staring at him and he rolled down his window too, with his phone still to his ear.

"You wanna piece of me?"

No, just kidding. He didn't say that. But that's what he looked like he was gonna say after all semblances of smiles had instantly vanished.

I said in very even keeled albeit serious voice, "Hey, you clipped the side of my car back there when you were getting off the freeway."

Know what he came back with?

This, in the most angry, offensive and condescending voice I could even try to impersonate: "Go make up some other s**t lady, I didn't clip your car. I clipped your damn mirror. Get a grip, you're full of s**t. GROW UP!" And then he rolled up his window and turned right.

What the he-double toothpick?

Seriously, HE told ME to GROW UP!

How about, "Hey, I'm sorry about that. I thought I could squeeze by. It doesn't look like I did any damage to the car, though. Are we cool?"

Or, "Man, I was in a rush. So sorry. I thought it was just your mirror, though, so I didn't stop."

Nope. None of that.

Oh my gosh! I was fuming. Grow up? Me, the 39-year old mother of four, driving to work - the one who was patiently waiting for the senior citizen and his good Samaritan helper to move his fallen bike out of the way. The one whose car was clipped by an impatient 40-ish year old jerk driving a jacked up truck who couldn't wait 30 more seconds and decided to four-by-four off the shoulder to pass it all, clip my car in the process with not even so much as an apologetic wave or quick roll down of the window to check the potential damage and then drive like a banshee for three miles, all so that we could end up side by side at the same dang stop light. ME grow up?!!

Talk about road rage. This guy was wound up and mean and nasty from the get-go. I feel sorry for the person who has to wake up next to him every day.

Thank goodness it looks like he really did just hit my side mirror (hard) and that there is no discernible damage. The mirrors flex, which helped absorb the impact I'm sure.

What a way to start a Wednesday morning!

Monday, January 24, 2011

I need some grease

We made it through the weekend. Our preparations for yesterday's church meetings were a little more extensive than normal, but it was all good. Singing in the ward choir, speaking in sacrament meeting, and teaching in Relief Society (me) and Deacon's Quorum (Ryan).

Good, because it's over. And good because the spiritual preparation is always worth it no matter how the end product gets delivered. And good, I guess, because I only cried during about a third of my talk instead of the whole thing. We had some great discussion and participation in my RS lesson on Larry Lawrence's conference talk, "Courageous Parenting." I was feeling super humbled and a little inadequate to teach that lesson directed to the parents of teenagers since we don't even have one official teenager in our house yet. She's close, but still not official.

I was grateful for the good women in our class with much more real life parenting experience than I have who offered their thoughts and shared experiences about how they've raised their teenagers in our challenging times. I was blessed to be among such good women.

So now it's on to the next thing: preparing for our stake RS mini conference coming up in two weeks. I've got to get busy on my talk for my class and figure out what I need for my display. I don't think I'm really a display girl when I teach. I never bring my own tablecloths or flowers. I rarely ever have props or pictures. And I never have. How did they let me in as a RS teacher anyway? JK. Just shattering the stereotype I guess. But for this kind of a conference, I guess I sort of need a display. I have a few ideas - very few, but a few nonetheless. But I have an amazing mom who's super good at the display thing, and she's offered her help. Give me a topic like photography or family history or journaling or memory keeping (like I had when I taught at the conference four years ago), and I'm all over the display. Visual aids out the whazoo. But this time around it's a little harder. I am excited that I kept some of the props from our Love Boat Valentine's party last year. I think they might come in handy :)

Anyway, much more importantly...

We had a terrific weekend together. Awesome date night Friday night, a decent run Saturday morning, Ryan doing some service at his parent's house, Afty's first basketball game, lots of outside play time for the kiddos, friends over, dinner out at Lenny's Burgers Saturday night with the peeps, lots of studying, great Sunday meetings, a tasty Sunday dinner of chops, Caesar salad, zuchini, roasted red potatoes, fruit and garlic bread with Grandma Cindy & Grandpa Steve joining us, chocolate chip cookie making, good scripture session with the fam, getting logged into family search and indexing my first few batches of names (totally cool), happy kids, remote control car races, and three good nights of sleep.

Who could ask for anything more?

Actually, if I could ask for one thing, it would be to get my wheels back. Not that my wheels were ever race-winning wheels by any stretch, but they were certainly faster than my wheels of late. I need some grease. Ever since I've been on the mend from my chest congestion crap that plagued me in late December/early January, my running times have been less than stellar. I feel like I'm pushing myself just as hard, if not harder, than normal, but the watch tells me differently. It's like someone poured a little lead in my shoes or something. I don't know. This morning was so hard to run. It was cold and breezy and pitch black in the 5:30 am hour. I had a hard time getting up. I tried to talk myself into staying in bed, but I am glad that from somewhere deep within I convinced myself to launch. And I ran with no tunes - something I haven't done in a long time - but Rowan had borrowed my iPod Saturday night and I couldn't find it anywhere. And being the kind mother that I am, I didn't want to wake her that early to find out :)

Ryan and I are signed up to run London's Run this Saturday out at Schneff Farms and I wish I was feeling more on top of my game. Yes, I know, I'm a little competitive.'s in my blood. And if I'm honest with myself, I'm kinda sad that I'm not running the half marathon on Saturday. Up until the week before Christmas I was planning on it, but I never got in a long run more than 8 miles after that, then got sick, so I caved and settled for the 10k. Not that the 10k isn't a good race - don't get me wrong - every race is a great race, especially when you give it your all. But I sort of feel like I cheated myself of the opportunity to push myself a little more and do something hard.

We all need to do hard things from time to time. It keeps us focused and disciplined. It keeps us working and moving and doing and being. I got on the scale today for the first time in quite a while. Why, I don't know. I was even more frustrated that I've let the running slack a bit while keeping the winter appetite in full swing.

Some changes are on the way, though. I've got a feeling. I've got the desire. Working on the plan.

Friday, January 21, 2011

I am happy

I put away the groceries, cleaned up lunch, and just rotated the laundry. Still need to put the clean sheets back on the bunk beds (not my favorite chore), but I have exactly 15 minutes until the Friday afternoon kid-fest begins. Since it's our only no-homework, no music lesson, no sports practice afternoon, all the kids will want to play with a friend. I'll give it about 2 minutes from the time they walk in before I hear it. "Mom, can I play with a friend?"

Today the answer will be a simple yes. The errands are done, the house is in good shape. I'm in a really good mood :)

I am happy today. It's only 2:12, and I feel like I've accomplished a lot. I'm looking forward to date night tonight. Not sure what we're gonna do, but any date with Ryan is a good one.

This morning I had a little "me" time. Ryan left early to go stay with his dad today (he's home from the hospital but still having a lot of issues with low blood pressure and dizziness/vertigo, so he needs someone around).

So I got the three girls to the bus, then came home and finished getting myself and Easton ready, then took him to the bus, then headed out early to make the most of my 3 1/4 hours alone...

After I finished my temple session, I still had an hour left before the kindergarten bus arrived, so I indulged and went to the nail salon. It seems like I rarely ever have an hour unspoken for, so it was a real treat. I've been thinking about getting my french nails put back on for a while now (they've been off for a year and a half and I kinda miss them. Ryan misses them a lot :) But I haven't been able to find a free hour in the last month. Then last week Ryan made some funny comment about how one of my goals for 2011 should be to get my nails done again, so I took it as a sign...

And I just have to say that my hands look beautiful. I know that's not at all humble to say out loud, but I LOVE THEM! My french nails are click-click-clickin away on the keyboard right now and I'm smiling all alone upstairs at my computer. Easton is out in the side yard with his tub of sand, a box, a handful of broken sticks and a bucket of rocks. He's the happiest kid on the planet right now.

OK, 2 minutes till the girls walk in. Better wrap it up.

The other reason I'm so happy is that I finally made it to Fresh and Easy. I know, I know, it's just a store, but really...I've missed it so much. I was spoiled for two years having one just around the corner from my house. When it went out of business last fall I almost cried. It's my all-time favorite grocery store. I finally depleted my huge stock of Fresh & Easy salsa and black beans that I stockpiled before my store closed its doors, and I've long since run out of my favorite fiesta corn chips, garlic tandoori naan bread, fresh squeezed OJ, ultimate cottage cheese, braided wheat pretzels and many other F&E delicacies I came to rely on. I don't know what took me so long, but I finally googled my favorite store and found out that they still had one open about 7 miles away (Recker & Brown). HoOOoooray!

So I gave the green chain my $98.03 today and came home with two cases of black beans, six jars of roasted chipotle tomato salsa, and a cart full of other gems. Ya, I know, it's the small things that make me happy.

Time's up. They're a minute late. Must be walking home slowly enjoying this amazing January weather. It's 70-something degrees outside and just too irresistible. I think I'll go shoot some hoops with Afty to get her warmed up for her first game tomorrow!

Happy Friday.

Friday, January 14, 2011

As of late

It seems like lately I can't buy five minutes to sit down and blog. I keep thinking that today will be the day, but then it's gone before it began and I am too tired to stay up another minute to write.

But now I have some time...

It's Friday night and three of my four kids are through the wash and rinse cycle and now lounging on the couches while iCarly entertains them before bed. The fourth is busy blogging herself. Ryan is at the hospital with his dad, who is not doing so well.

We were supposed to be up in Strawberry right now, hanging out with our Brown cousins at their cabin, playing games, eating the delicious-looking cookies I bought today on my Sam's Club run, and getting excited about a day in the snow tomorrow. We were all packed and fully loaded, ice chest and all. All the kids were in the suburban and we just said our prayer and kissed Ryan goodbye for the weekend. Afton was picking out the first flick for the car ride while I dialed my sister-in-law to see if they were already on the road.

Apologetically, she told me they weren't going tonight after all, and thought that we'd already gotten the word hours earlier through our husbands. Um, no...

So even though we were all super sad and I was frustrated that I'd spent the better part of my day readying our family for our weekend getaway, I can't really be mad. It was just a miscommunication in the midst of a crazy day and hour to hour changes in Bob's diagnosis. Ryan's dad went back to the ER today (he's already been there once this week, not to mention his various doctor visits) after a really horrible night last night. He's on home dialysis now and seems to be in the late stages of renal failure now based on all the challenges he's been having. The last few days have been particularly difficult, though, and they are hoping that during his hospital stay that they'll be able to regulate his chemical and hormonal levels and get him back to normal. He's not only suffering from incredible sleep deprivation due to his night dialysis and all the discomfort that brings, but they think he was over dialysized causing his sodium to be at critical levels, which is contributing to acute anxiety attacks on top of everything else. We are praying hard for him and hope that the doctors can work some magic.

So Ryan and his siblings are at the hospital with their mom, keeping an eye on their dad. Everyone is tired and worried. Hopefully Bob can get some rest and get stabilized soon.

Shifting gears...

As of late (since I've been slacking on the posts)...

Ryan and I celebrated our 39th birthdays on Jan 4th and 8th. For our birthdays, we went shopping for new ski jackets and scored some sweet ones. We took Barrett & Afton with us up to Utah from Jan 5th - 9th to ski a couple days and attend my darling cousin, Amanda's, wedding in the Salt Lake Temple. What a great week we had up there. I need to post about that trip separately with the pics and details, but it was too much fun! The girls had a fantastic time (except for their last run on the last day when they both had good wipe outs), and so did we.

Afton had her first practice this week for her new basketball league, and she's super excited about that. She's on a co-ed team so I'm hoping she hangs tough. She's our little jock for sure - can't wait to see her out on the court. I also signed up all three girls for softball, which will start right after basketball ends. Easton wasn't at all interested in playing t-ball. I'm not sure what to make of that. On the one hand, I'm secretly thrilled since I hate t-ball and that would have made our crazy ball season life even more complicated, juggling four sets of practices and games instead of just three. But on the other hand, his insistence that he never wants to play baseball came as a huge shock to both Ryan and I. Who is this child we named Easton (after the Easton baseball no less?) Doesn't he know that not playing baseball is really not a possible outcome we ever contemplated? After all, he has baseball genes and baseball blood that runs thick and strong. For real? Never ever wants to play? We debated it with him for quite some time.

Me: "Easton, everyone in our family plays ball."
Him: "Except me."
Me: "No, even you. You will have a blast. All your sisters play ball, your dad and I play ball, your grandpas and grandmas played ball. Your cousins play ball. Everyone plays."
Him: "Except me."
Me: "Why don't you want to play, Bud?"
Him: "I just don't."
Me: "Well, maybe next year when you are six you'll be ready and want to get out there and play too. We'll keep practicing at the retention basin and get you ready for next year."
Him: "In case you forget next year, I still don't want to play. Never ever."

Oh my. And while I know that he is only five and could very very likely change his mind, he seemed so insistent. Never. Never ever. Hmmmm....

We dutifully attended four parent teacher conferences this week too, and a I squeezed in a day trip to Park City for some meetings (going back again next week also). All the kids are doing great. All three girls got straight A's and their teachers had such kind words to share. Ryan went to Easton's conference Tuesday since I was out of town, and they were generous in their praise as well. He's still having a few issues to work on, but half day kindergarten is treating him well overall.

And we finally de-Christmas'd the house this week. Well, almost. We still have to pack the naked tree back in the boxes and hoist it up on the shelf, but all the ornaments are off and packed away, as are all the rest of the house decorations inside and out. I know it's January 14th already, but that still isn't my record. We made it to the 20th one year. Truly, I thought I'd be all undecorated by New Year's this year since I had the week off between Christmas and New Year's, but Rowan's sick stint and hospital stay threw quite a wrench in those plans. Then we were just so busy the next couple of days, then off to Utah and been working ever since we got back. My visiting teachers came over on Wednesday to my still fully-decorated house. I was a little embarrassed, but they kindly suggested that I could just keep it up through Valentine's day now and call it our Love Tree. Good idea.

Not sure what else of significance I've missed posting about. Oh, I guess I totally missed blogging about Christmas. That's a biggie. Might not happen at this point. Hopefully I'll get our ski trip up soon. Life is crazy busy. This coming week will be no exception. Ryan and I are speaking in church a week from Sunday and both of us are teaching that day too (Relief Society and Deacons). And I'm prepping for a class I'm teaching at the Stake RS Women's Conference a couple of weeks later. I have a zillion thoughts all over the map with three topics in the works. I hope they all come together.

Finally...I managed to squeeze in a couple of runs this week. I've got a race two weeks from tomorrow and I've been slacking. Slacking for good reason, I suppose, but slacking nonetheless. Rowan's sickness, then I got sick, then work, Utah trip...Weds and today my runs were both slower than I'd like, but at least my lungs and legs didn't forget how to run.

OK, now I've reached the point where gravity is winning the battle with my eyelids and I'm bobbing and weaving at the laptop. That's a sure sign I've gotta hit the hay.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Maybe next week's family home evening lesson should focus on humility...just thinking out loud here...

Monday, January 3, 2011

She's Back

Here's our sweet Rowan, spending her Christmas break from school in Cardon Children's Hospital at Banner Desert. Thankfully, it was just a few days, but that was three days more than we wanted. Between the sickliness on Monday, the multiple doctor appts on Tuesday, and the hospital stay, the week was pretty much gone before it started.

The pediatric opthamologist she saw on Tuesday referred her over there on Wednesday after a couple of doses of antibiotics Tues and Weds morning didn't seem to be touching the infection. In fact, she was getting rapidly worse.

The pediatric emergency room got her in pretty quickly (within an hour), and she went straight to a triage room. There, she was showered with gifts by the nurses who were sad (along with Rowan) that she was spending her 7th birthday in the hospital. I was sad too. It was pouring cats and dogs outside while we sat cooped up inside the emergency room floor with no windows to the world. We were kind of sad and lonely together. And super bored.

Miss Rowan was very brave as they stuck her vein with a big needle and drew lots of blood for testing. Only a few tears were shed. They started her on IV fluids and gave her some Motrin for her fever. They took her in for a CT scan of her brain, which showed infection and swelling in her soft tissues around the eye and her sinuses, but no absessess of infection behind the eye or any foreign matter.

Then we waited and waited and waited for a couple more hours in this room on the emergency floor with all the patients who'd already been through triage too but were waiting on the next step. Waiting with six other families of sick kids and babies and siblings of those a room too close for comfort for six families. In a room filled with some lethargic kids hooked to IV's, some crying babies, a couple kids running around in only a diaper while their parents looked on, the smell of McDonald's fries and chicken nuggets about to make me toss my cookies. In a room where I was the only one speaking English and where the cartoons playing non-stop on TV overhead were making me nutty.

Until...the nurse finally came in and took a look at my face and knew that I was going nuts. She kindly said, "You know that Rowan's already been admitted, right? We're just waiting for a bed to free up." Nope, no one told me that. Thankfully, we only had to wait a few more minutes before she took us to a private room in the ER where Rowan started her IV antibiotics until her room upstairs was ready. Rowan and I were starving by then and had already eaten through my purse stash of granola bars and emergency crackers we stashed before leaving the house. Ryan came to the rescue with some food, and then we finally made it up to Rowan's room around 8:00 or so that night.

We loved our surprise visit that night from Bishop Uncle Jim. What a treat for Rowan! Rowan showed him her IV attachment to her arm, and Bishop told Rowan that he had one of those attached to him for EIGHT MONTHS while he was in the hospital with his cancer treatments. Rowan's eyes got big as she processed eight whole months...we were so grateful we were only there for a few days!

Here's our cutie pie sporting her IV on Thursday, with her eye looking marginally better.

The kids all came over to visit for a while on Thursday morning, and were happy to see that she was being well taken care of. Easton loved the "nourishment" station out in the hall where he could get awesome hospital ice to snack on, not to mention little cartons of orange sherbet ice cream from the freezer. Nice. Barrett and Afton and I cruised down to the cafeteria while Ryan stayed with Rowan, and they were duly impressed with all the food selections we had to choose from. In the world of a kid, those things are pretty cool.

After we were both sick of watching TV, we tried to kill time in the room by doing crafts. Grandma Cheri brought over some wood ornaments for Rowan to make and she also played with the fashion stencil set, courtesy of the nursing staff. Grandma Cindy, Corinne, and cousin, Lily, also came to visit and bring her birthday presents, as did our primary president and super awesome neighbor, Louisa LeSueur. (I think Rowan secretly enjoyed all the attention).

We put a puzzle together (actually, it was pretty much all me killing time while Rowan watched Disney Channel). Thanks, Grandma Cheri, for bringing it over. I texted her a picture once I was done, and she offerred to bring me some Buzz Lightyear puzzles she had in her stash. But I declined and decided to bust out my new Baldacci book, Hell's Corner, that Ryan got me for Christmas.

The hospital food was pretty so-so (and some pretty nasty), but at least the breakfasts were good. It's kinda hard to screw up breakfast...

Rowan and mom with matching wrist bands...

We were super thrilled when Rowan's nurse came to check on her around lunchtime on Friday. Rowan had finished eight rounds of IV antibiotics and the doc said that she was looking great and that we'd be able to leave that day! Hooray! Hooray! Heading home for New Year's Eve!

Before we left later that afternoon, the nurse took Rowan to this awesome toy closet (which looked like a toy store) so Rowan could choose a couple of parting gifts. Super sweet. She went home with a full nail polish set and of course, a giant stuffed orange shark because, really, who doesn't need one of those?

We spent New Year's Eve at home with the family, eating Tia Rosa's take out, watching Rowan open her presents, and playing a bunch of games. Rowan had a full on melt-down that evening as I'm sure she was exhausted from the lack of hospital sleep, just like me, and not feeling herself with all that medication in her body. She's still such a peanut - only 46 pounds. Thankfully, she crashed early and after 12 1/2 solid hours of sleep Friday night without a peep, she woke up Saturday morning like a new woman.

Now she's on oral antibiotics for two weeks, but she is doing fantastic. Looking great, feeling great. No more fever. No more swelling. The redness is gone. Smiles. A little sass. Just the way we like it :)