Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The walking wounded and zombie-ish

Brandon's first day of gymnastics summer camp....
Apparently leaving at 7:45 AM and spending all day living, eating and breathing gymnastics workouts can leave you rather wasted.
He's excited to go back again tomorrow.
But I bet he'll sleep well tonight!

Julianne spent the day swimming at a friend's pool.
She forgot the sunblock.
I tried to chastise her.
But then she reminded me of this from a few weeks ago:

But still.

Went to Cherry Hill yesterday.
Got Lilian out of the truck and then leaned back in to grab the swimming paraphenalia.
Suddenly, heard a loud yell and then Lilian started crying uncontrollably.
She'd accidentally backed up to the exhaust pipe.
That's a nasty looking burn, eh?
Again, ouch.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

THS class of '91 reunion

Bryan and I attended my 20 year high school reunion last night. It's very strange to think I am old enough to have graduated TWENTY years ago! I don't FEEL that old. I don't think I LOOK that old either (thankfully). But having your 20 year reunion just seems to be one of those markers in life that proves the time is passing. Along with having a teenage daughter in high school or finding gray hair...it's kind of a "Welcome to Middle-Age!"

I've changed a lot since high school. When I graduated back in June 0f 1991 I had shoulder length, curly, big, BLONDE hair. I didn't even weigh 100 pounds yet. I was the tiniest, skinniest little high school graduate you ever saw. Since then...I grew 3 inches, I developed some curves, my hair is now long, straight and dark BROWN. I had more than one person last night comment that if it weren't for my name tag, they would've never recognized me.
Left to right: My senior class yearbook picture, my Concert Choir picture, and my graduation picture. Go ahead. It's alright...you can laugh. Is that some big hair or what??

This reunion was something I was looking forward to...but with some slight trepidation. Would I recognize anyone? Would any of the friends I shared the same social circle with be there? Would it be awkward? Bryan is less than enthusiastic about reunions...we did NOT attend his reunion last year. So in order to make sure that he would be at least somewhat gung-ho about attending with me, I called his brother Steven in Wyoming who was also in my class. Were he and Sara coming? And if not, could I convince them to?? :) Steven said that yes, he was interested in the reunion. This bit of information helped Bryan feel more comfortable about going....any time spent with Steven is a good time. And it was good for me too, because at least I'd know and feel comfortable with Steven and Sara if the evening turned out to be a dud. But though it WAS great fun to double date with them (and my old college roomie and high school buddy, Heather, who also came with us) the evening ended up being a rip-roaring success. Lots of familiar faces that I was happy to see and that were equally happy to see me. Some unfamiliar faces (thank heavens for name tags). Lots of laughing and catching up. I went to school with some really great people. And, I have to admit...I looked pretty good. It's always nice to walk into your high school reunion feeling like you look better now than you did twenty years ago!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Gymnastics Team Banquet

So, first things first. I had a serious proud mama moment last night. You know the kind...where it takes you so completely by surprise that you have all sorts of thoughts and emotions roll over you so fast that you find yourself dangerously close to tears. Should I cheer and scream or should I just shake my head and cry. Or maybe both?

We had a gymnastics team banquet last night. A big to-do...for both the girls and boys teams and families. After dinner and slide show, a few awards were given out. Coach Gabe had already awarded "most improved" and recognized the team captains. Then he pulled out one last trophy and said that is was for the "Gymnast of the Year." He'd been working with this boy for the past few years, he said. A boy who had improved so much in the few years of being on the team. A boy who worked incredibly hard in the gym, was a great friend to all the boys and who was passionate about the sport. A boy, who he already could tell, would go far in the gymnastics world. He and Coach Adam were in complete agreement that the 2011 "Gymnast of the Year" award should go to....BRANDON CROFT!!

This is where I went "Huh? Wait....what? Really???" I did not see that coming! Brandon didn't either and it took him a minute for the information to sink in before he got up, amidst all the cheering, back slapping and clapping, to take his place beside Gabe. I tell you what, he was one happy kid. :)

I went early to help decorate and set things up. Here's the "awards table"....with the boys still having their usual Friday workout, despite all the craziness of women running around and back and forth with tables, chairs, balloons, food, gift bags, and various other decor.

The tables were decorated with letters spelling out all the kid's names. I made sure to decorate the table with Brandon's name. :)

In the midst of things...

Slide show. Very cool.

Boys team....minus a few who were out of town on vacations. This is one amazingly talented and fabulous bunch of kids!

Friday, June 24, 2011


Step by step instructions on how to achieve the perfect faux-hawk:

First... bend over double and stick your whole head upside down into the water.

Second... snap your head back up "Little Mermaid" style.

Third... stand up straight, smile, and be ready to accept any and all compliments on your new perfect faux-hawk.

Side notes:
1. It helps if you are in a pool where spraying water all over with your "Little Mermaid" style hair flip doesn't cause dismay and frustration to your parents.
2. Also, having not had a hair cut in more months than you can count helps too.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Wasatch Back Ragnar Relay!

Run. Drive. Sleep? Repeat.

The Wasatch Back Ragnar Relay is the epitome of contradictions. The highest of the adrenaline highs and the lowest of brutally miserable lows. Physically and mentally. One minute you are swearing (literally) that you will NEVER put yourself through this insanity again. The next you are laughing uproariously at something that would probably not be anywhere near as funny if you weren't ridiculously sleep deprived...and realize it is the hardest you've laughed in a long time. Ticking off mile after exhausting mile through the night is more than made up for by the exhilarating final finish with all 12 of your teammates under that big Ragnar arch. The deprivations you put your body through end up being looked at as fancy war stories later on. When else would you ever find yourself paying a couple of bucks to get a few hours of sleep on a hard gym floor at the local middle school? When else would you ever feel comfortable enough with random friends (some of which maybe you hadn't even really ever met until you became van-mates) to share the experiences of puking on the side of the road at the end of your run, or that darnit...you need them to wait a minute while you make a "honey bucket" run because you really need to pee. Conversations about sweat and stinkiness and upset bowels and weird eating habits and blisters and chaffing and snoring and every other weird kind of thing that would normally be very TMI is considered completely normal when you spend over 30 hours with 5 other people in such close quarters as a mini van. But these are the people who cheer for you when you are running. Who give you water every mile. The people who serenade you with really bizarre songs every time you run by (thanks Katie, Greg and David)! Who share their food with you, who encourage you and/or commiserate with you when you are down. Who will take miles for you if you are injured. It's some serious team unity. And I'm not sure I've seen it happen anywhere else than in Ragnar.

Part of the Stone Creek Stoners team for the second time, this year my van was made up of myself, my sister Katie, my teammate from last year...Greg, his brother David, Byron and Mandy. Five of the six of us were from Snow College and the memories and stories were flying fast and furious. Once again I was runner 7 so I knew exactly what to expect this time and overall I feel like I ran better than last year. Helped, I'm sure, by not only having trained a little more throughout the year but also by the fact that the temperatures were a good 20 degrees cooler.

Coming into the exchange after my first run. 4.0 miles from Liberty City Park into Eden around noon on Friday. Jamming out to my musical theatre playlist (selections from Aida, Les Mis, Scarlet Pimpernel, Wicked and Chess...I am such a theatre geek...) it was my best run. Interesting, seeing as last year it was my worst.

After we arrived at Snow Basin having all completed our first legs, we handed the "baton"...or orange slap bracelet as the case may be... back over to van 1 and decided to have a picnic style lunch in some trees.

Then we headed off to East Canyon State Park...the next place we would be meeting up with van 1 again...to get some rest. The day was cooling down quickly so we changed into warmer clothes and climbed inside our sleeping bags on the lawn...along with hundreds of other Ragnar runners. And although it was nice to relax, none of us really got any actual sleep.

Around 10:00 we packed up our gear and by 10:30 I was running again. This time, a 3.8 mile route up East Canyon. It was much more brutal than I remembered. And though it's not on the same par as the "Ragnar Hill" (Guardsman Pass) that Katie and Greg tackled the next day....it was still a wicked hill. It's a pretty dark stretch of road...and a route that two years ago Greg "lost" Geri (our team captain) on. It's become kind of an inside Stone Creek Stoners team joke and Greg always promises me, every time the story comes up, that he won't lose me like he did Geri. This promise came once again as they sent me off running and then went ahead a mile to wait for me. I must have been running faster than they expected because as I passed the van, slowing down a bit and waving wildly...I realized they weren't even looking out the windows. It made me giggle a little bit and I continued on. But not long after, I realized that they were probably still waiting, waiting, waiting. Perhaps a little irritable about the fact that I was running so slowly...and then irritability turning into worry that maybe something had happened to me. I knew that Greg was probably just dying about the fact that he had "pulled a Geri" on me. They finally caught up to me around mile 3, gave me water and apologized profusely for "losing" me. Realistically I wasn't lost. I knew exactly where I was and exactly where they were. And I laughed good and long at Greg's face when they finally found me. :)

Thank heavens for Katie's foresight in bringing this blanket and for her generosity in sharing with me. It was a mighty cold night!! This is the two of us in the back seat of the van at 4:30 AM. Both of us having finished our second routes and both of us trying valiantly to stay awake. (Oh, how I loved doing this race with Katie!)

Luckily, about 45 minutes after this picture was taken, we handed off the well traveled orange bracelet back to van 1 and made our way to that middle school I mentioned before. The guys made the decision to sleep outside but Mandy, Katie and I forked over the $2 with happy expectations of warmth and flushing toilets inside the school. For one more dollar we could've taken showers but I was not about to waste my limited sleeping time showering! Especially when I still had one more leg to run!

People were sprawled out through the hallways, in classroom door alcoves and then lined up wall to wall in the gym. After taking my turn in the bathroom (Ahh...you don't know how decadent a flushing toilet is until after you have spent all day using the "honey bucket" facilities) I found a place to lay down my weary body and fell immediately into a solid sleep. After only an hour and a half I woke up, surprisingly refreshed.

My last leg was a 4.2 mile run through Heber. This was the run where I got serenaded by my van-mates every time they stopped to give me water. I have to admit...as silly as they sounded, I loved it. It just seemed like the perfect example of the giddy, sleep deprived, slap happy-ness that tends to come out early the second morning. It's beyond the stupor of the exhausting night. It's beyond the grumpy whining that "I will NEVER do this again!" This extreme giddiness is adrenaline and caffeine fueled and is what carries you through the final hours and into the finish line.

(These pics: at the exchange passing the bracelet on to David for his final run. He was suffering from an injured achilles tendon but was stubborn enough to insist on finishing his final leg even though he was in a lot of pain. Rumor has it that his ankle is swollen to the size of a grapefruit today, poor guy.)

Because of our unusually cold and wet spring, there were worries that traditional Wasatch Back routes would be impassable. And yes, some legs did have some changes due to road conditions. Particularly of concern was Guardsman Pass leading up and over the mountain into Park City. This specific pass is fondly known as "Ragnar Hill" and is the most brutal leg of the whole 191.7 miles. This leg was Katie's third and final route. We had been informed that yes, there was snow at the top, but that the road had been cleared and was passable. We were confused, at first, because when Katie got out of the van to start her run up that brutal hill there was no snow in sight and the temperatures were in the 70's. She ran. And then walked. And then ran some more. I couldn't believe how fast she was making it up that hill. We stopped every 1/2 mile to give her water and encouragement. And then, suddenly... ah-ha! The snow! In patches at first. And then finally enough snow that it looked like Katie was running through a tunnel with 6 foot walls of snow on either side of her. The temps dropped dramatically but for Katie, I think she welcomed the cold. Let me tell you...my sister? She is a rockstar runner!!This is when we first started seeing snow. By the time we were into that "tunnel" of snow, we weren't able to pull over anymore, which meant I wasn't able to get a good picture to truly show what Katie was running through. But dang...would you look at that hill she's running up??

I loved this sign. I looked forward to this sign. This sign was my friend.

Van 2 of the Stone Creek Stoners:
David, Byron, Katie, Sarah, Mandy, Greg

The finish line was awesome! We sent off Mandy, our last runner, and then made our way to Park City High School where we met up with van 1. (They had been eating Cafe Rio and getting massages. I am so doing van 1 next year!!) We watched and waited and when our team number was called and we saw Mandy round the bend, we joined up with her, all 12 of us, to run the rest of the way together under that big arch... "Welcome back Stone Creek Stoners!!" I can't tell you how chill inducing-ly awesome that was! :) We got medals, we took pictures, we ate pizza, we talked to other friends who were also Ragnarians. And then, more than a little bit exhausted, we made our way down the mountain and back home.

We're already planning to do it all again next year.....

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

"Do you want to run a relay race?"

The Ragnar "Wasatch Back" running relay is this Friday and Saturday. I've been spending all sorts of time making playlists on my ipod, buying food that is high energy and good for refueling after a run, watching the forecast and trying to decide what to wear, etc. The closer it gets, the more excited I am. Bryan has been watching all of this preparation and can't seem to wrap his brain around WHY in the world I would want to subject my body to such deprivations. And to each of his questions and statements, all I can say is..."It's FUN!" So when my sister, Melissa, sent me this video I laughed and laughed...because it pretty much IS the conversation Bryan and I have been having. (Well, you know...other than the part where he wants to run me and my relay team over with a van...) :)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Late night creativity

If you ask Lilian, "chalking" is one of the coolest things ever. But to stay up till 11:00 at night and color on the side walk with glow-in-the-dark chalk? Now THAT is some serious awesomeness!
(Washing the glowing chalk off her hands in the pitch dark bathroom was pretty cool too...)

(Click on the picture....it looks neater close up.)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Little Red Riding Hood 2011

This past Saturday marked my third year biking Little Red Riding Hood {LRRH} up in beautiful Cache Valley. It's starting to look like a yearly summer tradition...

This year I rode with six other ladies from my neighborhood. LRRH was the unveiling of our new biking attire. Remember how I mentioned here that our neighborhood was getting custom biking jersey's imprinted with our motto "NOW Girls"...which stands for No Opportunity Wasted? Let me tell you, we looked sharp! See for yourself:

{Didi, Jenny, Brandi, Brooke, Emily, (Me), Ann}

So not only were we seriously styling...but you should've seen us ride! All 7 of us in a tight line, drafting and zipping past everyone. We got many, many compliments...from the neat jerseys to the impressive/intimidating riding style.

{Funny side note: No Opportunity Wasted is written on backs of our shorts at the waist line...one word per line going down. Which means that while riding hunched over our bikes, our jerseys riding up every so slightly...all you can see is the word "Wasted." Which made us all crack up into gales of hilarity when we realized it. We thought it was rather appropriate. :)}

I had signed up for 100 miles. Skip this next part if you don't want to hear all of the whining and excuses for why I was nowhere near ready to accomplish that goal this year...

1. Weather. Wettest spring on record. Hard to get out and train when you've got freezing rain {and sometimes even snow} clear into May.
2. Loss of my normal biking partner, Mylissa. Due to pregnancy, she is out this season for any kind of riding. She and I are really well matched in regards to riding skill, style and philosophy. Plus, she was really good at pushing to find little pockets of time and weather to ride when I would've been more than happy to just be lazy all day. I've missed her horribly.
3. The gym I joined last fall with intentions to take spinning classes all winter cancelled all their classes and daycare a month after I joined. Sigh.
4. A week and a half before LRRH I caught a cold which had me struggling with a sore throat, coughing and exhaustion.

Due to these things I seriously considered dropping out of the ride all together. As you can see, I did not and I'm glad. It was a challenging day, certainly...riding with a cold and not as well prepared as the other ladies who, being very competitive, driven and focused, HAD been spinning all winter. But it was a great ride all the same.
In order to save my strength, I modified my route a bit. So 24 miles into our ride, I veered off onto the 50 mile route which cut out a 25 mile loop at the southern end of the course. I made it to the lunch stop early and then rested and waited for the rest of my crew to arrive. After lunch I continued on with them back onto the 100 mile route for almost the entire rest of the ride... but then turned around at the last rest stop up in Idaho to get a head start back, cutting off a few more miles...and got to the finish about 15 minutes before they did. All in all, I biked 70 miles. Which, actually, is a personal record for me! Considering I was riding on limited training and a cold...I'll take it!
Didi and me. Apparently my new lime green jersey now clashes with my teal green handlebars. Ah, well.

I've discovered it's pretty hard to tell who individuals are when everyone has on not only matching clothing, but helmets and glasses. Here we are at the mile 24 rest stop in Benson.
Top to bottom: Jenny, Brooke, Emily, Brandi, Ann, me, Didi.

Ann took this picture when she was riding at the back of the pack. We were a little more spread out here rather than in a tight little line...but still drafting. This was near the end of the ride up in Idaho. {I think that's me with my brown pony tail trailing down my back...}

Along with the swag t-shirt, the LRRH socks and the finish line bike chain bracelet I came home with one other unexpected souvenir....a sunburn {ouch!} which has now turned into a lovely {sarcasm} bikers tan. Maybe I can work to get rid of those unsightly lines when I run the Wasatch Back Ragnar Relay next weekend....

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Bikers Tan

This, my friends, is what you call a "bikers tan." Very similar to a farmers tan, obviously, but this tan is slightly different in that when you are on a bike (if you neglect the sunblock like I did...) the tops of the thighs ABOVE the knee (not below) to the line of the biker shorts gets burned. And then the backs of the shins below the knees also get burned. This makes for some really odd lines. The bikers tan that I received this past Saturday biking Little Red Riding Hood (more on that tomorrow) was on full display when I went running today. I'm hoping that our upcoming trips to Cherry Hill will help even out those lines eventually....

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Lilian's "Tangled" birthday party

Lilian's "Tangled" themed birthday party took a lot more effort that I originally anticipated. All my fault, of course. I got all sorts of excited about a website that had all these great ideas....and then found myself up till 1:00 AM Sunday night trying to get it all put together for Lilian's 10:00 AM Monday morning party.

1. The invitations. How cute! And how hard could it be? Not too, really. But time consuming, yes.

2. Take home gifts for the party attendees...because Rapunzel loves to paint, remember?

3. Pascal party blowers. Originally I was going to have the kids make these during the party. But then I made one myself and thought...a bunch of 4 year olds putting these together? Nah, not going to happen. So I made 12 of them myself. Julianne, however, took one look and claimed they looked more like fish rather than chameleons...so she took on the task of making them some curly tails and feet.

4. Rapunzel hair. Ten minutes from start to finish, the website said. Umm...no. Apparently making an 18 foot long braid with 36 strands of yarn takes 4 sets of hands and a whole lot longer than 10 minutes. But it makes for a fun decoration. And came in handy for some games later...

5. Julianne has been into making these tissue pom poms every since my sister Melissa taught her how at a baby shower a few months ago.

6. THE CAKE! (No way, no how was I going to attempt the fancy tower cake in the website I was shamelessly copying. It's one thing to do the invite or the braid...but the cake? I ordered this one from the local bakery. Much easier.)

7. While the kids were arriving we had them coloring Rapunzel and Flynn Rider pictures. After everyone was settled, I pulled out some sun-shaped sugar cookies, yellow frosting and sprinkles and let them go to town.

8. Games were next. First, Pin the Frying Pan on Flynn Rider. My brother-in-law, Jeremy, drew the poster for his daughter's "Tangled" party last month and they kindly let us borrow it.

9. Then tug of war with Rapunzel's hair.

10. And finally jump rope with Rapunzel's hair. (Julianne came up with that one on the fly. Can I just say...I never could've pulled off this party with Rebekah, Julianne and Brandon????)

11. Opening presents. Lots of chalk and art supplies. Lots of Rapunzel paraphernalia. All good stuff. (Funny enough, Lilian was pleasantly surprised when she realized her friends were bringing her presents. She thought the party was only about friends coming over to play games and eat cake.)

12. A "thank you" and a hug for each and every guest at the party.

13. Blowing out the candles on the cake after everyone sang "Happy Birthday." Come to think of it...I'm not sure we've ever told Lilian that you're supposed to make a wish first. Hmm....