Thursday, September 30, 2010

To make or to not make the bed...that is the question.

I was surprised this morning to hear Brandon say
"Mom, you've got to stop making my bed!" in a kind of half irritated voice.

Honestly, I thought he'd be happy I was doing this nice thing for him. At the very least, pleased that he was getting away with something.

"Why not, Brandon?" I replied.

"Because really, Mom, what's the point? I'm just going to get back in again tonight. And then it's a pain to have to untuck all my covers and pull the pillows back out..."

Sigh. Personally, I make my bed every day. It's a rare day that I find myself climbing into an unmade bed in the evening. (I hate that, by the way...)

A few days ago I didn't get around to making my bed until 6:30 in the evening. But I still did it.

I am of the opinion that even if the rest of the room is spotless, an unmade bed makes things look messy. As also the opposite is true...a made bed will make a messy room look so much cleaner, even if there's still a bunch of stuff all over the floor. Obviously this bit of motherly wisdom has not sunk in with Brandon. Or my girls for that matter. And maybe I'm doing them a disservice when I make their beds for them. I guess I'm hoping that if I do it enough they'll eventually realize that they really like the way that it makes their room look, how it feels when they climb in at night...and decide to keep it up on their own.

Or maybe I'm just making them lazy.

Regardless, it makes me feel better to see made beds in each bedroom!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Collecting bugs...

As soon as I saw Julianne's schedule and noticed who her teacher was for science class, I knew that we would be doing a bug collection. I snagged that first bug off the garage window before school even started. Over the past few weeks that collection of bugs (stored in our freezer in little plastic baggies) has grown until it was time to start classifying the little buggers and put the project together a couple of days ago. We were a few bugs short. Enlisting the aid of Julianne's siblings and visiting cousins, a search was made of the yard and house. Window sills and the basement door frame yielded a few dead flies, an earwig, and a rolly, polly pill bug. The garden was an ideal place for grasshoppers. But some of these finds were deemed un-useable. Repeats of what we already had. Also, most depressingly we discovered that rolly polly pill bugs are surprisingly, NOT insects. Really??

As of yesterday evening at 7:00 we were getting desperate. I found myself regretting my decision to allow Trugreen to spray my house. There was a decided lack of bugs anywhere around. And while that means my money was not wasted, this lack of bugs was making it very difficult to finish up Julianne's bug collection which was due the next day. What I wouldn't have given for a box elder beetle or a lady bug...things that I used to find in huge supply. All the sudden I realized that it was getting dark and the mosquitoes were coming out. Yes! I never thought I would be so excited to see mosquitoes! It took two itchy bites on my arm and thigh but I caught one and was rather proud of my achievement. Between the mosquito, an ant and another dead fly in the garage...a different one than we already had...we were finally up to 15. Hallelujah!

We got way more up close and personal with those 15 bugs than I would ever want to be again. And even though they were dead and it was all in my mind, I itched all over and could just swear that something was crawling through my hair...
But it was all worth it because Julianne came home from school today with the news that she had achieved the full 100 points on her project. Which, in all honesty, is probably just as much my grade as hers. But whatever. All part of being a parent, right?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Best Show On Earth

My Dad emails every Saturday morning. To check in with us all and tell us how his week has been, what plans he has in the works for the day. And my sisters and I, we almost always email back with the same sort of info from our own neck of the woods. This was my email response to him this past Saturday:

"We went to the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus this morning and saw "The Best Show on Earth" in all it's glory. Lots of fun...the kids really enjoyed it, Bryan and I really enjoyed it. The elephants were the best part, in my opinion. Can't beat the elephants.
Right now we are having lunch at PF Changs. Bryan suggested we walk. It was probably two blocks south and three blocks east. The kids acted like we were torturing them by making them walk all that way. Of course, after a full belly, I may feel the same way on the walk back."

It was the first time most of us had ever been to the circus, including me, so we were quite excited. It was gasp-worthy entertainment and utterly fascinating in so many ways. But really, the best part was watching the circus through the kids' eyes. Heightened enjoyment...because certainly, I would've enjoyed the circus myself...but being there together, as a family, well, that made me practically glow with contentment. And I thought to myself (and told Bryan later) we have got to do stuff like this more often.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Favorite Photo Friday: Playing guitar

Spring 2001. Melissa was just learning how to play the guitar and was kindly giving her little 5 year old niece, Rebekah, some pointers on how to strum when we went over to visit one day.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Brownie cravings

This little girl pulled over a stool, opened the refrigerator doors and then climbed on up inside, so intent was she on scoring that last brownie that she knew was in there. I'm not sure if I should be concerned or proud of her tenacity.

Growth Hormone

Did I ever mention that Julianne gives herself daily growth hormone injections? The whole story with all it's many details would make this post far too long. Suffice it to say, after many tests and months (years, really) of close scrutiny of Julianne's growth rate, Dr. Lindsay (Julianne's long time pediatrician and endocrinologist) formally recommended growth hormone. His expert opinion was that Julianne was looking at 4' 8" as her final adult height. So we, including Julianne, discussed and prayed and fasted and discussed some more. And finally came to the conclusion that we trusted Dr. Lindsay. Injections started on Julianne's 12th birthday back in February. I gave the injections for awhile until Julianne started feeling comfortable enough to take over. We visit Dr. Lindsay every 3 months to chart Julianne's progression. We had one of those visits this past Saturday. Dr. Lindsay was pleased. Julianne is growing as well as he could've a rate of 4 inches per year. Julianne was very happy to find out that all those daily pokes have not been in vain.
Setting things up on her "easypod" and inserting the needle.

Cleaning her arm. She rotates between both arms and both legs.

A very matter of fact "ouch" came out of Julianne's mouth after administering this injection. Sometimes they hurt a bit, sometimes they sting. Some days, much to Julianne's delight, she doesn't hardly feel a thing.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Looking fancy for church...

That's one good looking couple, if I do say so myself. (I'm especially enamored of that sweet pocket square...and the man sporting it, of course!)

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Friday, September 17, 2010

Favorite Photo Friday: Pirate Brandon

Checking out the cool pirate gear while wandering through the shops in Downtown Disney. October 2004.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

My to-do list in pictures

Make a dinner menu and a grocery list and then actually go grocery shopping.

Scan and/or print all the primary songs involved in the primary program and compile them into a 3 ring binder in the order they are to be sung so I don't have to flip pages back and forth in the songbook while I accompany the practice this afternoon and the actual program on Sunday.

Return "When In Rome" to the Redbox at the grocery store. Make sure to watch "Leap Year" so that can get returned also.

Order a hanging cage stand on-line so Max, the parakeet doesn't have to sit on the kitchen table any more.

Vacuum all the hamster food off the carpet in the basement. (Why, oh why, does Lilian and her friend Julianna always do this every time they play together??)

Give this girl a bath before preschool.

Correct these math papers for Brandon's 4th grade teacher.

Empty the overflowing garbage cans.

Dust. Someone told me today that "dust is Heavenly Father's protective covering for furniture." That may be all fine and good but when the dust is thick enough that your kids are starting to sign their names in it, maybe it's time to do something about it...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


LOTOJA is a European-style road classic that is unparalleled in distance and beauty. At 206 miles, LOTOJA is the longest one-day USCF-sanctioned bicycle race in the country. LOTOJA participants come from all over the United States to test their physical and mental stamina on a course that climbs and descends three mountain passes in the first 110 miles. The race starts in Logan, Utah and finishes in the shadows of the Teton Mountain Range at Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

I did it! I rode LOTOJA! And yes, I rode it in a 5 person relay but this is big, my friends. LOTOJA is a serious bike race for serious bikers. And I was one of very few women that participated. Which makes me feel like a serious biker chick! It was quite the weekend experience which, for me, got started Friday evening. After packing bags and bikes we all made our way up to Logan for a 6:30 dinner reservation at Hamilton's Restaurant. The place was packed with LOTOJA goers. They even had a special LOTOJA menu for the that was specifically arranged with meals that lent themselves well to "carb loading."Afterwards we split up and made our way to where we were sleeping that night...the homes of Brian's and Jason's parents who graciously allowed us to take over beds, couches and air mattresses for the night. We were all nervous. Anxious to get to bed knowing that alarms were going off at 4:30 am. But that anxiety led to giddy silliness as we all prepared our gear for the next morning. I haven't laughed that hard in a long time. At the same time, it was fascinating to watch Alan, who was riding the full 206 miles as he prepared his gear and talked Adam (his support) through what he would need at which stops, etc. Besides just physical training, what planning has to go into a feat like this!4:30 am came all too fast. My nerves didn't make for very good sleeping companions. Regardless, I jumped right up and since I was the first rider for my team, decided to forgo the oatmeal and settled for a banana and some caffeine filled "shot blocks" for breakfast. 45 minutes tires pumped, my race number attached to my biking partner Kim, and I were standing in the pitch dark, freezing (34 degrees) cold at the starting line. And I started to panic a little bit. I've never seen so many bikers in one place before. Gutter to gutter wide and as far back as I could see. They were letting them go in waves every couple of minutes. How in the world were we going to get moving packed in like sardines?? How was I not going to crash into someone???? 5:51 am Kim and I started off. Slowly, carefully. And then faster and faster....we were on our way!It was the most unique ride I have ever been on. So dark it was hard to see the road, despite the headlights we had on our bikes. Eventually the sky started getting lighter, but then the fog rolled in. One patch of fog so heavy that I was frantically trying to make my light go brighter, point it more firmly towards the road. Then the cold really settled in. My toes went numb. My fingers went numb. Then, after awhile, my fingers started REALLY hurting and I started really worrying about frostbite. But through it all we tried hard to enjoy the journey. To fully take in and appreciate the fact that here we were riding LOTOJA!!! Those 35 miles went pretty fast...the sun was just peaking over the mountain when we pulled into Preston, Idaho. My body was stiff with cold and I got really light-headed the second I got off my bike (probably related to all that caffeine..) but Kim and I were so proud of happy with our ride.
We sent the next two riders on their way and then racked our bikes and headed off to the next meeting spot. My body spent the next few hours going from shivering cold to boiling hot and then back again as my internal temperature tried to re-set itself.
And then, the great majority of the day was wrapped around picking up riders, sending more out and cheering for them along the way. About 6 miles out we parked the car, pulled our bikes off the rack, watched for our two riders to come by and then joined them, ALL of us, to finish LOTOJA together. I'm sure we made quite the sight... 2 relay teams worth of red jersey clad girls, riding in a line under the big FINISH banner. Our team name was announced. Our time of 11 hours and 57 minutes was flashed across the screen.
The LOTOJA finish line was quite different from the Ragnar finish line. Ragnar had a huge party at the end. Music, group pictures, free food. LOTOJA was much more understated. You finish. You congratulate yourself. You go home. It surprised me at first. But I think it's because Ragnar promotes their race purposely as a running party. And although the race is HARD, they encourage silly team names, costumes, and decorated vans. LOTOJA takes itself much more seriously. Funny enough, although Ragnar was physically harder for me, I'm more proud of accomplishing LOTOJA. But though I'm more of a biker than a runner, if I had to choose next year one over the other...I'd choose to do Ragnar.After rolling over the finish line, we congratulated each other, high-fived, took some pictures...and then took our celebration to The Q, a restaurant a few miles up the road. We all looked haggard after our long day but oh, what fun to share war stories and revel in our accomplishment. It was especially fun to hear the experiences of the guys that had done the whole 206 miles on their own. I can't even fathom how hard that must've been! We ate and we laughed and I looked around at all these friends and felt so grateful for the opportunity to do this with them all. This right here...this was just as good, if not better, than the actual biking.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

My collections

Last summer I noticed the collection of race numbers that my friend was keeping in her garage. Anytime she, her husband or one of their kids did a race, they kept the number and hung it with pride. I thought that was a fun idea and decided to start my own collection. Mine hangs in my closet. I'm sure the collection will grow over the next few years but I have a pretty good start to it, don't you think?

I'm still debating whether or not to call my new vinyl stickers a collection. All I know is that I'm awfully proud of them. They both represent some serious training, time and accomplishment.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

My new tattoo?

This stamp makes me an official LOTOJA participant. I stood in line for a good hour today to pick up my packet.... ie: race number, timing chip, free t-shirt, the ever important vinyl logo for my car window, and other such swag. While there I had to sign my life away on some official looking wavier. And also get my leg stamped.
We leave tomorrow afternoon. A big group of us from the neighborhood. 3 relay teams of 5 people each, 6-7 single riders, and a few spouses. Plans are for a big dinner before splitting up to a few different family cabins for the night. I ride the first 35 miles of what will end up being 205 miles for my team. I start at 5:45 AM in the cold and dark. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Big enough for preschool

1st day of preschool for my baby, my honey girl, my Lilian today. She was so super excited to see Miss Cindy, to sit with her friends Charlie, Ashton, Luke and Sophie. When I went to pick her up she came running out to me singing some little song they had learned...something like "start each day with a song." She excitedly told me all about coloring a picture and listening to a story. I told her that I was so glad that she had fun and asked her if she was excited about coming back tomorrow. She kind of just stood there for a minute, looking a little uncertain. And then buried her head in my shoulder. Hmm. I guess as much fun as preschool was today, it might have still been a little bit overwhelming and new. I think she'll be fine tomorrow but maybe this will be a bit of an adjustment for her.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Incentive or punishment?

This is the view that greets me when I walk down the hall to girls' bedrooms. Do you think that the girls will be embarassed enough that I have posted these pictures to keep their rooms clean on a more regular basis in the future? If nothing else, I suppose I could say it's punishment for not cleaning a few days ago when I asked them to.
Do you see that suitcase on the floor in the middle of all the mess? Yeah, Rebekah still has not completely unpacked from her Washington D.C. trip. She got back two weeks ago.

Julianne's room isn't quite so bad. She did a spur of the moment whirlwind clean about a week and a half ago when she had some friends coming over. But still....

Favorite Photo(s) Friday: From behind

I seem to enjoy taking pictures of people from behind. All three of these pictures are some of my all time favorites. Go figure.

August 2003. Julianne and her friend Tiffany walking home from their first day of Kindergarten. They were both so little, their backpacks looked huge on their backs!

Halloween 2007. Rebekah and her friend Deidra, a clown and a witch, patiently waiting for it to be time to start trick-or-treating.

December 1998. Two-year olds Jordan and Rebekah at the airport waiting and watching for that plane to land... the one that would bring Uncle Kevin home from his mission.