Monday, August 29, 2011

Humphrey's Peak

We did it.  We summited the highest peak in the state of Arizona:  officially it is 12,633 feet above sea level, although my GPS watch gave us a few extra feet.  The day couldn't have been any more fantastic either.  Perfect weather.  Started at 62 degrees when we got out of the car at the base of Snowbowl in Flagstaff at 8:00-ish.  Probably didn't get above high 70's all day.  A few sprinkles, a beautiful breeze.  Ultra fab.
Yes, that says 12,653 feet.  That's about 20 feet above the "official" height, but hey, at that height -what's 20 more feet? The air was thin at that elevation - no doubt about it.  I don't think I've ever been up that high on foot before.  Not even on skiis.  I told my Uncle Randy on Friday that we were hiking Humphrey's over the weekend and he said, "That's great.  It's no 14,000 footer, but still impressive."  That from the Colorado native where there are 52 mountains boasting at least 14,000 feet.  Still, for me, a Mesa girl who lives down at 1300 feet, it was HIGH!

We all did great - our legs and lungs seemed ready for it.  My only complaint was the crazy bad elevation headache I got as we approached the 11,400 foot mark.  I could start to feel the pulse in my head and within about a half hour, my eyelids were pounding.  I popped a couple of Motrin on the mountain and indulged in a huge ice cold half Coke/half Diet Coke at the Chinese Food joint where we dined in Flagstaff before heading back down to the valley.  That helped - a little - but the headache lingered on until I fell asleep Saturday night.  Still, it was so totally worth it. 

The view from the top...amazing!  This is what I looked at while I ate my lunch.  Not too shabby.

There was supposed to be about 10-12 of us going, but in the two days before the hike, all but four of us backed out for one reason or another.  It ended up just being Ryan, me, and two of our good friends who are hiking the Canyon with us next month:  Richard Garner (pictured here) who've I worked with for 17 years, and Penny Bauer (pictured below) who has become a great friend just this past year.  She's also good friends with my cousin, Dyan, who was the one who originally invited her on our R2R trek.  Penny's girls and our girls have become such great friends this year through basketball and softball and pretty much being together all summer long.  Fall ball practices just started this week and our girls are playing together again.  Barrett and Hallie are on the same juniors team and Afton and Syd are playing together in majors.  Can't wait.  But I could wait for the heat to pass a little. Holy's been smokin' hot this past week.
The car ride up and back was so fun too.  We all just talked and talked and talked.  Richard has a daughter, Amy, who is also great friends with both Barrett and Hallie, and Both Richard and Penny have boys at Mountain View who know each other and play sports together.  And we all know so many of the same people living close by in Mesa.  It was just great company all the way around.

The tundra terrain was rocky after we passed the tree line

But the landscape looked so different while we were inside the thick forest, making our way up.  Lots of moist ground, lush greenery, and tall trees as high as we could see.

Penny... back to the place where we started.  It looks deceptively easy at the start - wide open meadow with tall grasses.

Love this view - nothing but clouds at 12,633 feet!

Penny on the rocky hike  - about 300 feet or so below the peak)

25 days from now we'll be heading up to the North Rim!  Woot!  Woot!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Officially In Training

August hit and training officially began.  Actually, we've never really stopped training, but now we're adding back in the weekly hikes along with the normal running and working out so that we can be ready for the big one next month.  R2R 2011 is just around the corner...less than 4 weeks now. We're all getting pretty excited!  Here's a couple quick pics from our Usery Pass Mountain and Wind Cave Hike a couple weeks ago.  We hiked 12 miles in 4 hours under mostly cloud cover and 85-93 degree weather.  Nothing to complain about for an August Saturday morning for sure...
Ryan and I about half way around Pass Mountain, just pausing for a quick photo op.  We hiked with Uncle Dale, cousins Matt and Luke, friends Billy & Karynn Rowley, Penny Bauer, Pam Sarbo and Katy Vermillion.  Great morning on the mountain.
 Me at the top of the Wind Caves after we hiked the Pass Mountain loop.

Karynn & Billy Rowley - I'm super impressed that Karynn is going to be hiking the Grand Canyon with us next month.  She and Barrett are the same age - only a few days apart.  I hope that Barrett will have the desire to train and do it with us in one of the years to come.  Hopefully next year...hint, hint...

The weekend before last, Ryan and I got away for our anniversary and spent the weekend in Scottsdale at a resort.  We had such a great time together...going out to eat at some fun new places, hanging by the pool, relaxing, hiking Camelback Mountain together, going out for breakfast, shopping at Fashion Square.  Here are just a couple shots from the top of Camelback.  It's a good, short hike (only about 4 miles roundtrip starting from the car on Invergorden), but it's still a true climb reaching the peak.  It had been a few years since I'd been up Camelback and we really enjoyed it.  I also enjoyed the big french toast, eggs & sausage breakfast afterwards :)  Did I mention that we went out to eat a lot???

I love this guy.  I love that he's my hiking partner, in addition to being my best friend and love of my life.  It's all good :)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

And Another Year Begins

They have a whole 8 days under their belts now.  The novelty has worn off a bit.  Homework is starting.  Reality might be starting to set in...summer vacation is really OVER.  Don't get me wrong - they are all enjoying school.  All of them like their new teachers and seem to be making plenty of new friends, not to mention re-connecting with the old ones that we saw less of during our busy summer.  But it's back to the grind.  No weeknight TV.  Getting outfits and lunch boxes ready the night before.  8:00 family prayer & scriptures.  Bedtime before the wolf howls at the moon.  Waking up when the lids want to stay shut.  And so it goes...

But we're used to it, and most days we all make it through pretty well.  Our new system of rotating kitchen cleanup & "family round up" duty by assigning everyone a day of the week seems to be working fairly well.  But then again, it's only been a week and a half.  Time will tell if it sticks.  I think it's gonna, though.  I like it.  A lot.  

So here's my sweet Afton on her first day of 5th grade.

  • Has Ms. Kemp for her teacher at Hale
  • Still loves creating and still the duck tape queen.
  • Still our most obedient 
  • Starting to feel out the boundaries a bit
  • Already likes the boys
  • Still a tom-boy at heart, but becoming ever conscious of her feminine side
  • Getting a little relief from her crazy allergies with her new allergy doc and some meds
  • Playing piano, getting ready to start fall ball
  • Still always going, going, going...loves to be active!
  • Has a mind that is one-step ahead...always thinking about the questions no one else asks
  • Had the most fantastic summer vacationing and playing non-stop with her best friend, Sydney Bauer, whom she just met in January.  They were on the same basketball team together, then the same softball team, then All-Stars.  They were like peanut butter and jelly all summer long.  Swimming, playing, late nighters.  Syd came on 2 vacations with us, and Afton spent 5 days with her family up in Snowflake.  We love the Bauers and are so glad our girls have become such great friends.

Here's Rowan on her first day of 2nd grade: 
  • Has Ms. Day for her 2nd grade teacher at Hale
  • Definitely our little fashionista
  • Finally losing some teeth (a bit of a late bloomer in that regard)
  • Increasingly becoming Easton's best buddy
  • 110% social 
  • Still feisty & head strong beyond my ability to understand at times
  • Sporting one incredible little rockin' body
  • Has become quite the hugger lately
  • Is so super smart...and so perceptive.  
  • Had a killer summer vacationing in Mexico, California and 3 trips to the cabin.  Spent lots of time in the pool, lots of time playing with friends.
  • Funny quote during last week's meltdown over a wardrobe battle (well kind-of funny, kind of scary) : "If you'd just let me shop for my own clothes I'd have more friends!"  Oh my gosh...I about died with that one.
  • But...we survived and she was back giving me luvs a few minutes later.

And here's our little man, Easton, on his first day of full-day kindergarten:

  • Has Ms. Etzen for his kindergarten teacher
  • Has been sooooooo happy going to school on the bus with his two sisters and all the neighborhood kids every day.  So different from last year when he did half day at Hermosa Vista and was the only kid at the bus stop.  He wasn't often too thrilled to get on.
  • Loves recess and PE as every well-balanced 5-year old boy should
  • Would wear basketball shorts every minute of every day if I let him...and no shirt.
  • Still does the one eye half squinted thing when he smiles
  • Is making me laugh all the time now...funny how their sense of humor seems to develop overnight
  • Still my lover boy...he cuddles with me on the couch every night during scrips, still loves to have his back rubbed and scratched, and still gives me hugs and kisses pretty freely.  Although he did let go of my hand yesterday morning just before we turned the corner at the bus stop...just in time to keep his buddies from seeing
  • Had "too much fun" goofing off and playing hard this summer.  He got so tan too with so much time out by the pool and at the beach.  He loved spending a lot of time at the cabin, and loved playing musical beds with his sisters in their upstairs forts and as they slumber partied in each others rooms...back and forth for the last several weeks of summer.

And here is our growing-up-way-too-fast 7th grader, Barrett, on her first day of junior high.

Does anyone else remember when she looked like this...on her first day of kindergarten?

  • Has lots of new teachers now that she's in junior high...and a new locker to boot!
  • Super responsible & getting more beautiful every day
  • Terrific straight-A student taking full load of ELP/accelerated classes
  • 120% social
  • Likes to be in the adult conversations but still loves to hang out with her friends
  • Is meeting so many new friends at school every day...I am really proud of her for going out of her way to introduce herself and ask other kids their names.  It's awesome!
  • Still our go-to babysitter for our weekly date nights
  • Getting ready to start fall ball (she's moving up to Juniors Division this year!)
  • Wearing a size 9.5 shoe already (I only wear a 7.5!)  I hope she grows tall too!
  • Such a good friend - both to her buddies (both girls and guys), and to me.  I love that we can talk about anything.
  • Had the most ridiculously busy fun summer.  We figured out that she wasn't home for more than a week at a time for the entire summer break, and often it was less than that between her comings and goings.  She did cabin for Memorial Day (and invited a friend), then Girls Camp at Lo Mia, Mexico with the family, a week at Time to Blossom Young Women's Conference, Cabin for 4th of July extended weekend (and invited two friends), family beach camping in Carlsbad (with cousins and friends too), Snowflake for 24th of July weekend with Hallie Bauer's family, family cabin trip at end of July, and finally Ward Youth Conference.  Seriously...too much fun!  She told me somewhere near the end of summer that she didn't have any time to even think about being bored.  No joke!
Ryan and I are lucky to be the parents of these great kiddos.  They are all so smart and so good and just growing up at the speed of light.  I love their ages right now...I kinda want to freeze them for a bit.  Just so I can catch up and figure out what to do next.  There's no do-overs in parenting.  That's a little daunting thought.  I hope we don't screw it up...and I hope they turn out fantastic in spite of us.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

His favorite

It's sort of a tradition. It's undoubtedly an indulgence. And exactly what he loves...

Happy 15 Years!

Today is the day...celebrating 15 years married.  I remember hearing in a young women's lesson many moons ago that the decision of who you marry will have more to do with your happiness than any other decision you will ever make.  I wondered back then if that were really true, but now I know for myself and I couldn't agree more. I know we're just at a small stepping stone on the way to forever, but I love that I'm on the road with this handsome guy.  He's the love of my life.  Over the years, I've often said that I'm lucky to be married to him (and I am), and he's been kind enough to say the same about me.  But the truth of it is, I think we're just lucky to have each other.   I paroused my iPhoto albums last night and tagged a couple handfuls of pictures we took together this year.  I'm sure I've posted some of them on my blog here and there already, but here's a little tribute to "us" - remembering just a few of the moments we've spent together so far this year.

At Tower of Terror ride (California Adventure) during Spring Break 2011

at my Grandpa Harry's gravesite service 8-2-11

on the beach in Rocky Point (June)

at the cabin in Pine (Memorial Day weekend)

on the balcony of our condo at Las Palomos (Rocky Point)

at the finish line after London's Run (January)

at Bass Pro Shop on one of our date nights :)

at Luca's - our favorite restaurant in Mexico

at my cousin, Mandy's wedding reception in Salt Lake (1-8-11 Ryan's birthday!).  I tried to add a picture of us skiing at Alta, but it kept coming in sideways.  So just imagine us on the slopes...we had such a blast!

on Manhattan Beach Spring Break 2011

Happy Anniversary, Ry!  I love you to infinity and beyond...

Friday, August 12, 2011

Celebrating Grandpa Harry

Our family had such a great day together - Tuesday, August 2, 2011 - remembering our dear Grandpa Harry who passed on July 27, 2011.  What a great celebration of his life.  He was such a good man.  My dad gave a terrific life history, followed by touching and funny remembrances from Katrina, Dale and Jim (who also gave some spiritual thoughts).  A cousin, Jimmy Wright, who is an Area Authority, was also there presiding and he shared some thoughts at the end.  The music was beautiful and perfect - prelude by Faie Solheim on violin and Roxane Udall on piano, "Families Can Be Together Forever" by the great grandkids, a solo "Be Still My Soul" by my cousin, Chad Jr. and a beautiful trio "Nearer My God to Thee" by my SIL, Shari, niece Randi, and friend Sammi Lee.  The luncheon was so good too - lots of love and service went into that by our Harris Park Ward Relief Society.  Here are some of my favorite pics from the day.

The whole Allred clan (my Grandma Rita's side of the family).  Back row: Iva Jean, Mickey, Mona, Beau, Dustin, Steve, Marty, Jim & Clyde Jr.  Front Row:  Tom, Clyde, Dale, Sydney, Katrina & oh man...can't remember her name, darn it.  Somebody help?

Randi and the great grandkids taking a rose off the casket as a sweet remembrance

Barrett, Randi & Afton at the cemetery

Grandma Rita with her brother, Uncle Clyde, and her sister, Aunt Iva Jean

 What handsome pallbearers!  These are the Harry Goodman grandsons (minus Van, who is serving his mission in Atlanta right now and Craig, who was out of town).  From left:  Chad Jr., Mark, Willy, Matt, Luke, Jimmy, Dale Jr., Joe & Michael

My dad, Steve, and Bishop Uncle Jim

The four Goodman kids:  Steve, Jim, Katrina & Dale at the funeral luncheon.  They all did such a great job paying tribute to their dad.  It was such a nice service!

Dang, we're just mission Laura in this photo and we would've had all 8 of the Dale & Nedra Goodman kids together.  Love these guys!  Really, I have the best cousins in the world.  From left: Joe Goodman, Dyan Ricedorff, Julie Chesley, Karrie Platt, Matt, Dale & Mark Goodman.  It was so good seeing you all last week!

 Dyan & Ryan with Jack & Jay at the luncheon (Miss Kate stayed with a sitter)

 And this was only half of us.  We sort of huddled into two groups at the cemetery to take advantage of the little shade we could find.  It was definitely hot and humid...that's what we get in August in Mesa I guess.
 The rest of the group huddled under the awning by Grandpa's casket.  Joe did a terrific job dedicating the gravesite and offering our family's thanks in his prayer.

 Jodi, Rita, Sumo, Willy & Luke (my Uncle Jim & Aunt Diane's kids) - absolutely love these cousins!  Can't wait to hike the GC with some of you next month too!

 My cousin, Karrie, and her girls.  Sadly for us (but happy for them), they just moved last weekend up to Prescott Valley as Jeremy is helping to start up a new medical practice up there.  Best of luck with the move, the new school, the new house, the new job, and the new baby on the way! We're sad you're not hiking the canyon now Karrie, but I guess you have quite enough on your plate...

 The Chesley Crew (Loren, Julie, Taylor, Kylie, Ty & Wyatt)

 Aunt Nedra, Uncle Dale & Karrie

 My Aunt Katrina (right) with her cousin, Sydney who drove up from Tucson for the services

Sumo, Rita & Willy