Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Sixth Day

On Saturday night as I drove us home from our date night (dinner at Blue Adobe Grille and stake conference), I told Ryan that today was a fantastic day.  I loved it, loved everything about it, but it sure seemed like it had been going on forever.  I was so exhausted my eyes were blood shot and on fire and the lids were begging to shut.  And it was only 9:15. 

I was hoping that when we got home, the house would be sparkling (OK, maybe not sparkling but at least tidied up), and the kids would have all made it through the wash & rinse cycle and be ready for bed.

Wishful thinking.
Actually, they usually do pretty great on date night.  I rarely have any complaints.

But this Saturday, all but one of my offspring looked exactly like they had when we left them at 5:30. Still wearing the same, dirty play clothes from our crazy busy fun Saturday, still with hair disheveled, not all the dinner mess entirely picked up, and some sort of minor tornado remains in the family room.

But they were happy.

The babysitter offspring, to her credit, had been sidetracked by her grandma's new iPod Touch that she was setting up for her and had sort of forgotten about the kids and the house I'm guessing.  Good thing they are pretty self-sufficient on date nights.  Really, since we have the TV-ban in effect Sun-Thurs, date night is often supervised TV or movie watching for our peeps.  Not really a tough gig.

Just wish they would have bathed.

Anyhow, back to the fantastic day, quick version:
  • Left the house at 5:55am for an incredible run.  Amazing red sunrise, felt like a champ, chalked up 9 miles
  • Said goodbye to Ry & Barrett at 7:15 as they headed out to Quail Run for her softball games.
  • Transported the 3 youngers to Quail at 8:15-ish and spent the next three hours watching the tourney in the most wonderful Saturday morning weather.  Barrett's team won the first game 10-8, and barely lost the second 6-5. She played well both games and was hitting the ball hard.
  • Squeezed in some errands and solo shopping (my favorite kind of shopping) for family birthday gifts while Ryan took the peeps home.  Ended up browsing at Kohl's for a little too long and ended up with a few new things for me :)
  • Home for a fun afternoon with the peeps.  Everyone was outside all afternoon...scootering, bike riding, skateboarding.  Lots of trips in and out for snacks and water.  The kitchen floor needs a serious mopping.
  • Bribed Easton to get back on his bike again (he learned to ride a year ago but had a couple bad falls and has done everything in his power to avoid the bike ever since).  This time, the bribe worked, and he picked the dollar store for his reward if he would get on and ride.  He said, "Can I get six things since I'm six?"  Sure.  You bet.  Just ride.
  • And he did.  I helmeted and padded him up (just in case), but as the old saying goes, "It's just like riding a bike."  I ran behind him for a few streets, thinking maybe he needed me, but not even close.  Not even for a minute.  The kid was flying all over the place, up and down the streets with ear to ear grin, not wanting to stop. He was a riding machine.  So after getting completely winded sprinting after him for no reason, I decided to get on my bike too, and all the kids and I enjoyed a family bike ride.  Ry sat in the driveway trying to repair the scooter and change a bike tube since he's still on the DL.
  • Then the dollar store.  I was hoping to put it off til Tuesday since I needed to get ready for our date, but the whole instant reward motivation thing was nagging at me so we went.  Hauled all the peeps plus one neighbor friend to one of my least favorite places and let the kiddos pick out their dollar store gems.  Easton ended up buying six stuffed monkeys with velcro hands that can hang on anything (and have so far).  Bunk bed rails, ceiling fans, necks, door knobs, bicycle handle bars.  I guess it was $6 well spent since the boy has been loving his new monkey pals and he's loving the bike.  Finally.
Stake conference was great - all about the family.  My favorite subject.  Speakers were great.  Music was too.  I cried.  That didn't help my red tired eyes at all.  The visiting and pie afterwards were even better.  So many great friends and family to visit with.  Loved it. The night ended watching a movie in bed with Ryan, but I didn't even come close to making it to the end.  Ryan caught me up on the second half on Sunday morning when we woke and it turns out it wasn't that great a flick anyway.

Great Saturday. And I loved that my kids loved it.  Afty told me as I tucked her in that she was so happy today.  She told me that she loved that we just spent the whole day together as a family and that she was glad that she hadn't played with friends because she would have missed out on all of that.

Awwhhhh, how sweet is that?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Taking Flight

What a super cool way to kick off our weekend.  This is us, after our helicopter tour of the Superstition Mountains and East Valley.  It was so awesome. Really awesome.
Ryan, me, Dad & Mom

I was the lucky one who got to ride shot gun with our pilot, Carl, since I brought the camera.  Nice.  The view was spectacular.  So here I am, snapping a quick self-photo at 120 miles per hour somewhere high above the mountains.  I'm not sure what our elevation was.  I took a bunch of pics (of course), but here are just some of the cool ones I'm sharing.
Near the beginning of our flight (we took off from Falcon Field Airport).  This is a view of Red Mountain and the Central Arizona Project (CAP) canals. Ryan pointed out that he mountain bikes along this canal path out to Red Mountain.  He thought it was pretty cool seeing things from this perspective.

More of the canals and dams

The dam at Saguaro Lake

Saguaro Lake...being out on that boat down there would have been pretty sweet too.  It's been far too long since I've water skied and I miss it.   We need some boat friends :)

Canyon Lake

Weaver's Needle - up close and personal

Flying above Flat Iron - if you look close, you'll see 3 people on top of the Flat Iron.  We did a low fly by and they all waved.  I loved seeing the top from this view since I've hiked this peak before and know what an incredible climb it is to reach the top.

My mom and dad loved the trip too.  

Can you see the Phoenix on the mountain back there?  I've already signed up for the Phoenix Half Marathon on March 3, 2012, and the race will begin at the Phoenix on the mountain and end somewhere around Falcon.  I'm pretty stoked about it already.

Our freeway system heading back into town towards Falcon Field

Good back seat riders for sure.  It was cool wearing these headsets because we could all communicate with each other during the flight.

Ryan and my dad chatting it up with our very knowledgeable pilot, Carl, who was a great tour guide in addition to being a great pilot.  He told us a lot about the history of the area which was neat to hear, especially since all four of us are Arizona natives.  Turns out he is also a scoutmaster, so he was telling Ryan about cool places/hikes to take his scouts as we flew around the East Valley.

Thanks, Carl, for a great flight, and thanks, Mike & Shari, for the fantastic Christmas present.  What a cool memory we'll always have.

Lainey Louise

Just had to share these cute pictures of my beautiful niece, Lainey.  Last Sunday, Miss Lainey turned eight years old and will be baptized on November 12th.  We had a lot of fun doing this little photo shoot at the temple last Sunday afternoon.

Isn't she a doll?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thursday Update

Long sleeves.
They've been gathering dust on my closet shelf for at least 7 months.
Getting passed over routinely for the running tanks and short sleeves.
But this morning that all changed. 
It was the first day for the long sleeves this running season.
Seriously, this morning was so fantastic.  It was dark and cold...well, maybe not quite cold, but definitely very cool... and perfect at 5:45.   Just the way I like it. Ideal for another fast run.  And it was.

This morning was also the first morning for Ryan and his new cast.  Cast #4, that is.  He got black in celebration of Halloween.  Afton might spruce it up with an orange duct tape band around the top.  We'll see.  He had x-rays yesterday and his fracture is starting to heal on the interior part of the bone, but it's still a clear break all the way through on the exterior.   Last week's discovered blood clot (that brought a day of appointments, more x-rays, another cast cut up and replaced, a trip to the imaging center for an ultrasound, a trip to the hospital, and a week of twice daily self-administered blood thinning shots to the abdomen) was not our most exciting discovery, to say the least.  Ryan has been such a trooper through this whole ordeal, but I can definitely see those moments here and there when he is just so sick of it.  Sick of the crutches, sick of the scooter, sick of the immobility, sick of the hassle, sick of the doctor visits, pretty much just sick of it all.

Although this latest ultrasound (Tuesday morning) still shows that the blood clot is there, the pains in his leg have subsided and the clot hasn't moved above the knee, so the docs are saying it's low risk for now.  So he's off the blood thinners for now and hopefully nothing eventful will come up over the next couple of weeks before he has to go back in again. 

As for the rest of our lives, we're pretty much doing the norm.  Lots of softball games.  Lots.  But we like it that way. We like being outdoors and watching our girls be active. Our littles love playing at the ball park three nights a week and staying up late and seeing how many treats they can sneakily buy from the concession stand while I am not looking.    We love associating with good friends there and having our parents come and support the girls at most every game.  Our kids' grandparents are amazing.  So involved.  So dedicated.  I hope I am half as amazing as a grandma when it's my turn.   This is the last week of regular season fall ball play before the tourney starts this weekend for Barrett.  Afton's team is done for the season tonight. 

The kiddos are all doing fantastic in school too.  I had parent teacher conferences last week and I couldn't have been more pleased as I listened to all of their teachers say such nice things about our kids.  Ryan and I were, of course, happy to see straight A's across the board, but truth be told, that's what we expect.  And the kids know it.  They know they are capable of it and that their best is what we ask.  So far, so good.

Since this is a random update of sorts, I'll just add that tomorrow we're doing something cool.  Super cool.  We are going on a helicopter tour of the Superstitions and East Valley tomorrow morning with my parents.  It was Mike & Shari's Christmas gift to us last year, but we had a hard time scheduling it during the spring when the weather was nice due to a million conflicts, and then the summer heat didn't sound too appealing.  So we are finally going and I can't wait.  I just hope everything is safe.  In some way, it's a little ominous to think about "what if," especially since Ryan, me and my folks will all be on the same helicopter.  Just pray for a safe flight!  Hopefully I'll have some cool pics to post.

Until then, Happy Thursday.  And Happy Birthday to my mother-in-law, Cheri. Hope your day is fantastic.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Today I was.
Fast, that is.
Yesterday I decided that today I'd be fast.
And that's pretty much all it took.
Amazing how that works.

I've said so many times, and firmly believe, that 90% of running is mental.  That old adage that goes, "If you think you can or think you can't, you're right" is so true.   The things that run through my mind when I run is endless.  I think about everything and nothing.  Kids, work, to-do's, song lyrics, the scenery, the smells, memories, frustrations, ambitions.

Sometimes all I can think about is putting one foot in front of the other, or just making it to the end of the street or to the next parked car or to the next driveway.  Then other times I find myself a mile away from the last time I remember thinking about the run and realize that I've successfully kept my mind focused on something else for the past 8-ish minutes.  I love those times.

Well, my next race is two weeks from Saturday and I just finished my longest training week on the schedule.  My Saturday long was 12 miles.  I ran the whole gamut of thought during that hour and 40 minutes.  Wondering why I was doing this (again), especially on such tired feet, wondering why this felt so much harder than last week's 11 or the week before's 10, wondering how I was going to run my half if I was struggling this bad at mile 7, thinking this was a piece of cake at mile 7.5 when I turned around at Power and realized that I'd been running uphill eastbound on McDowell for the past three miles, feeling like the strongest girl on the planet as I hit mile 9 and thinking I could run to Phoenix, wishing I had my inhaler at mile 11, and then feeling like a hero again when my Garmin beeped at 12, then a little disappointed as I realized my average wasn't nearly fast enough to be ready to beat my PR.  I was all over the map, but I did it.

Yesterday as I drove to work thinking about my early Monday morning run and the upcoming race, I started wondering whether I've trained hard enough - fast enough - to chalk up a PR on November 12th.  I wasn't so sure.  I'll have to run 13.1 miles faster than an 8:17/mile pace to beat it, and lately, I've been super comfortable running in "my comfort zone" around 8:30-8:40 pace for my training days, or even a little slower on the longs.  Not nearly fast enough.

So I talked to my friend, Robyn, at work, who recently joined our running world about a year ago.  She just ran her first half in Chicago on 9/11 and is doing the Women's Half on Nov 4th.  We talk about running a lot, and we started talking about our goals for our upcoming races.  I told her I wanted a new PR.  Of course - don't we always?  Truth be told, I have a hard time with the cliche phrase,  "I just want to finish. "  Hogwash.  Really, if we are super honest with ourselves, who just wants to finish?  If we've trained, we know we are going to finish.  Don't we want to finish strong?  Be our best?  Give it our all and leave nothing left in the reserves when we cross the finish line?

Maybe that's just me.  Maybe I'm just super internally driven.  And maybe a smidge competitive.  Just maybe :) But I don't think it's just me.  I think that for most of us, if we don't set a goal, or set one that's too easy to meet, that we're short changing ourselves.  Or maybe afraid of failure.  Who cares if you don't cross the finish line ahead of your target as long as you gave it 110%?  But set a goal and push.  Push.  Push.

So back to this morning.  I told Robyn that on my way to work, I decided I needed at least 3 FAST runs over the next couple of weeks so that I would be ready to push on race day.  I told her I had a five-miler today and that I was going to run sub-8:00 the whole time.  I haven't run sub-8:00 since April.  Sure, I could blame it on the heat - we supposedly lose 10% of our speed for every 10-15 degrees over prime running temps.  So maybe that had something to do with it.  Or maybe I've just gotten comfortable.  Probably a little of both.  So I pushed and I did it.

I was fast and it felt good.  Good to know that our will power can be strong when we decide ahead of time and tell ourselves we can do it.  Just like the little engine that could.

Monday, October 24, 2011


Last night after we got home from my cousin Nick Willis' missionary open house, I told Barrett that she just looked so stylie and cute. So she humored me and let me snap a quick photo on my phone. So good to indulge her mama :)
I love this girl. Love being her mom. Love having a friend to chat with and stay hip with and sing loud with in the car to Taylor Swift. Lucky me.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Just Like Old Times

Not too many people are lucky enough to grow up on the same street with their cousins, let alone live in the same state with almost every single one of them and know them all - and know them well.  So I count myself among the luckiest.

I can't remember how many times I've told my kids stories about growing up on the farm, living on the corner of Harris and Hermosa Vista and always having my cousins around to play with in the summertime.  I have a lot of stories.  A lot of fond memories.  Well...this fall break was all about rekindling the best friendships with so many cousins and friends.  I was thrilled that our kids not only had a blast (as usual) hanging out with their first cousins that we see all the time, but that they also got to know and love their second cousins, the Chesleys, who came and spent the week with us.  What a blast - for me too!  Jules and I talked and laughed more than we have in years.  It was such a good time catching up and just enjoying a week of relaxation.  We are already looking forward to next year.

Tanner, Afton & Ty (they spent a lot of time playing at the beach - boogie boarding, paddle ball, football, long boarding)

Dad and Mom just chillaxing

The whole Chesley crew:  Taylor, Jules, Loren, Wyatt, Ty & Kylie

This is pretty much what Ryan did every day.  Just chilled.  Not too much else he could do on the beach with that cast.  So he read a lot and enjoyed the fabulous beach weather.  We only had one cool day all week and the rest of the week was totally clear and sunny.  Loved it, and loved getting a little October tan!  And I enjoyed reading and sleeping in and eating a lot...and oh, I loved the runs in the fantastic weather at sea level.  I had a 24-mile week and my Saturday long at the beach was an 11-miler, so I got to run through some super nice neighborhoods in Luecadia and check out the killer beach houses.  It was pretty sweet.

Easton was always busy at the beach.  I cracked up when he told me this fort was his "man cave."  I asked him where in the world he heard that expression, and he said, "Bryant told me."  Nice.

Speaking of Bryant, this may be the last fall break beach trip for Bryant since he'll be graduating in May and starting college next fall.  Holy cow, time flies too fast.

What cute girls we have!  Kylie, Taylor, Afton, Barrett & Randi

So glad the Berrey's came again this year too.  
(Afty & Lily playing in the sand)

Rowan and mom

Randi & Barrett


Molly Girl & Row

We also celebrated Barrett's 13th and Tate's 7th and Jayme's 34th birthdays while we were there (they all share October 13th). We started the celebrating early that day with an impromptu donut party at 8:00 am.  Loved the Luecadia Donuts and loved seeing the smiles on our kids.

Katy, Barrett & Randi

Barrett's friend, Katy Anderson, and her family also joined us at the beach for their first ever camping experience.  Not just first beach camping, but first camping.  Ever.  As in never ever before camped.  But they loved it and said they had a blast.  Katy's mom and I (both of us named Kelli) conspired and surprised our girls with Taylor Swift tickets for Barrett's birthday.  We just went Friday night to the show and it was so amazing.  A whole separate post about that to come...

My always-creative Afty Cakes made a sand/rock turtle at the beach.  I so love her and all the cool things she creates.

Buddy spent tons of time in the water after discovering this summer how much he loves to boogie board.

Trey & Rowan also rekindled their BFF relationship this trip. They spent so much time playing together and Trey got to stay over an extra day and hang with us when his family went home on Saturday morning.

Good times in Cali...again.  I love my family and loved our time together this year.