Thursday, December 2, 2010

Sock Envy

This is one of my dearest friends, Alison. She used to live in Utah, but that was not cold and dark enough for her, so she moved to Norway. As of today, December 2, they had 6 hours and 26 minutes of daylight. I will NOT be visiting in the winter. Compared to Phoenix, where we have 10 hours of daylight right now. But it has been chilly. These are the words that have been used to describe the weather recently: Chilly, Brisk, and (my favorite) Crisp. "We are expecting Crisp weather today in the Valley of the Sun. The high will be 61." So my feet have been cold. Not to say that I have cold feet, because that is something different, entirely. Alison turned 40 the first part of November. Since she moved to a frigid land, and called me in August to ask if our Costco had any deals for bulk wool socks. There was a long pause as I let it sink in what she was asking me. Wool socks are NEVER found in bulk in Phoenix, let alone in the middle of August, when no sane person is thinking of wearing close toed shoes until December. So, being the thoughtful friend that I am, sent her a gifty for turning the big 4-0. Forty wool socks. There were forty other things in there, like forty pieces of gum, and cosmetics with the number 40 in the product description, but I knew she needed those socks. So when the weather turned, I started wishing that I had kept some of those socks for myself. I dreamt of having cozy feet in wool socks walking around in shorts and a jacket. So imagine my elation when I opened my sock drawer and realized: I HAVE WOOL SOCKS!!!! I had forgotten about them, but this is a bonus to all of those treks down and out of the Grand Canyon. It appears that I got new socks for each trip (and maybe more, now that I think about it), because wool socks are essential to preventing blisters that pop in your other dear friend's vehicle just as you have sat down for that long trip back to Phoenix. All right, so it doesn't always work out like expected, but I am soooooo happy. Now that my feet are warm, the rest of me has magically warmed. Or is it because the weather people are no longer using the term Brisk to describe the weather? Now they are saying: Warm, Lovely, Enviable. I still miss Alison, though.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Squeaky Wheel Gone Flat

It is unusual that there are blog posts two days in a row from me, however, there is an issue to be addressed. Yesterday, I was complaining/ whining about being called a "Pest" by my oldest, only brother, Matt, in a letter that he had written to our sister, Nikki. I challenged the fact that I was a pest in a series of texts to him before he had major surgery to correct a faulty heart. He posted this on Facebook today (which is where my blog posts go, so it may seem like nobody likes me because no one writes a comment on the blog, but 99% of the comments are on Facebook. No one wants to admit that they are a follower of me. Too much of a commitment. Thank you Jeri and Emily): "Kim, I haven't received any texts from you in months. First rule of pestering: make contact with target. Somewhere, somebody (who may or may not live in the same area code as me) is saying: "Why does this Kim person keep pestering me?!" Me, I've been sitting here wondering why my fantastic sister Kim hasn't contacted me in weeks :-)." Yeah, I'm a little shocked by the ":-)" at the end, too, since Matt is not the kind of guy to go around putting an expression to the written word, but it may be the new heart that he has. Here I was miffed that I was labeled a "Pest", but apparently it is worse. I am an INCOMPETENT Pest. When I first started my nursing career, and there were no jobs to be had, nurses were getting laid off, and I received some of the best career advice "A squeaky wheel always gets the oil." And I did get the job she was referring to, but now, I feel like I'm a squeaky wheel that has lots all of its air (this parallels with another physical feature that has lost its volume as well), and while squeaking, am not doing anything. But, he did call me Fantastic Sister Kim (I know he didn't capitalize it like it is a real title), so I guess my flat wheel did serve some purpose.
P.S. I love spellcheck again! I just wish there was a log or something of all the times that I have correctly spelled the entire body of a blog or whatever, and then it gets tallied and compared to other bloggers or overachievers, and then you get to share with the rest of the world your accuracy in spelling.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I am not a Pest

When my sister, Nikki, turned forty this year, my over super mom achieving sister, Jen, made her a scrapbook with a letter from all the family about how great (or crazy things) it was growing up with her. I was really glad, because it gave me an opportunity to remember all of the fun times that we had. She brought the scrapbook to St. George when we ran the marathon so we could read what the others had to say. When I read the letter from my brother, Matt, I was a little miffed that he chose to say that I was a "pest" when we were growing up. A pest? Me? How could I have been a pest to him? Sure, I went with him downtown to the Video Cave and hovered watching him play Space Invaders for hours, and then I lingered outside of his room waiting to get a chance to sleep in his bed when he was gone, and may have listened in on a few phone conversations while he was talking to a girlfriend, and may have just been hanging around when he had his hot friends over, but does that really make me a pest? I beg to differ. So he had a minor life threatening procedure does this past week. An ablation. The name is so fun. It required a highly skilled physician sticking a cautering device into his heart to burn the area that was causing his heart to be stuck in atrial fibrillation. He'd already been cardioverted before,, but that didn't work. SO before the procedure, I felt that it was the perfect opportunity to have him rescind the label that he had given me as pest. First I texted: Hey, before you go under the knife, make sure you change your will to say "fantastic sister, Kim" and not "pesty sister, Kim". I waited for a generous amount of time (two hours) without a response. So again: Hey, I can wait for that update on your will as long as I know you are speaking with your lawyer. Nothing. I waited until he was done with his life and death situation to try again, but I went through his wife (my favorite sister) is your husband circling the drain? If no, ask him why he hasn't taken back the pest statement. She said he had a diagnosed case of no remorse. Certainly, this brush with death should have cracked him and gone through the stages of grief including 8: Make a list of all persons we have harmed, and become willing to make amends with them. So again, I texted the SIL, I can't take it. Pull the plug on him. I'm willing to have that will read with the Pesty Kim label there. But she wouldn't do it. He didn't have enough life insurance to give her the life that she deserves, so I guess she's keeping him. But now as he recovers, I see another opportunity to pester him. I may embrace this title and show him what a real pest can be. Too bad he lives so far away.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

No Swimming!

Last Sunday, I was enjoying cleaning up the kitchen, when I noticed I had a visitor at my kitchen window, out on the counter top. I let out a shriek and landed on the counter in the kitchen yelling for the kids to GO GET DAD! It was a mouse. Kevin picked up his weapon of choice, a broom (he had used a broom to kill a mouse years ago when we lived in the Avenues), and wounded the rodent leaving a trail of blood and two boys, one spotlight, and a broom, searching in the backyard in hopes of finishing the job (sorry if there are any PETA people out there). No luck. Fast forward two days, while in my role as the pool girl, I found it. Stiff and floating. I quickly escorted Blake back in to the house, and waited for help to arrive. This came in the form of a 12 year old boy, who ran outside when I told him what I had found. He thought this was the best thing that had happened in a long time. He now had a passenger for his RC boat that he had been cruising around in the pool. I was a spoil sport and nixed the idea. I have never been so happy to say that we will not be swimming for seven months. That will give me plenty of time to decontaminate that pool.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Hills

No, this is not a blog about an MTV "reality" show, this is my attempt to describe my fun, yet hillacious weekend. And a disclaimer: This is going to be a long detailed post, so if you don't have the time to read it now, I am not offended or slighted in the least way. I know how it is, and this post will be here forever, as long as I don't accidentally delete it, so there is no pressing need to read the information now, as there is not going to be a pop quiz on any of the details herein. P.S. I only got 1.25 hours of sleep last night due to over thinking, so if this gets wacky, I'm blaming it on that.

Thursday-Drove to Las Vegas by myself! This really isn't an accomplishment or anything, we had never driven through Vegas to get to Utah, so the experience was new for me, and I'm hoping it will be the last time I travel THROUGH the Hoover Dam. At least until construction is complete. Northbound you travel at a rate of 10 mph for 3 miles, southbound you travel at a rate of 4 mph for 4.5 miles. Not fun.

That's the new bridge to allow those not wishing to drive at a snail's pace to keep their momentum as they travel. Can't wait.

I picked up my two sisters, Stephanie and Jen, from the Las Vegas airport, and we were on our way. My parents and Nikki had already made it to St. George because they didn't have any dam traffic, so they had gotten us checked in to our lovely condo. Huge screen TV included to watch all the football or conference your little heart desires. With the assistance of my St. George navigator (thanks, Nik. For those of you who are college students, Stephanie is available to get you around Dixie area on a bike.), we found the local Costco. We purchased four items for the group, but Costco's always fun. And different in Utah. As are most things there. We had a rousing night of watching football where I learned a new football term. For those of you who don't know, my dad coached football at Skyline High School and we watched a LOT of football growing up, so while I don't know positions and everything, I like to think that I have a solid football knowledge base. So at the end of a game (it could have been the USU vs BYU game or Texas A&M and another team-they have blurred in my memory at this point) the kicker was "iced". I thought my family had just made it up until the announcer said "They're icing the kicker." You'll have to google it because this post is getting long enough as it is.

Friday, Kellie and Perry Jr. came in on a little plane. Perry Jr is Baby Yan'Tu, but my dad thought that Perry Jr. suited him just fine. Perry Jr. tried his hardest to stop being cute the whole time we were there, but to no avail. We all went to the expo. Who doesn't love a good walk around looking at stuff that you didn't know you needed until you got there and then thought it was the best idea you'd heard all day? The best part was when I saw a sales person from the local running store wearing hot pink knee high compression socks. I walked up to him and told him that he was my hero, because whenever I wear my white knee high compression socks in public, I get "Nice socks." I knew if he was planning on running around in those, I would fit right in. We met an 80 year old man from Japan who had run the St. George marathon for ten years in a row! He was kind enough to let us take our picture with him.
What an inspiration! Isn't he cute?

Then we got down to business. Shopping. Dad had chosen to stay behind because he knew. He knew that five girls + one mom=extended periods of shopping and talking, and why not use that time more effectively by golfing two balls for nine holes. I'd say that's excellent time management skills. Lunch at Smash Burger was a party in my tummy.

We decided that at this point it would be a good idea to drive the course to see what we could expect along the way. We had to drive it backwards then forwards because there is only one way to Central, Utah where the race starts. We came across the first "little" hill and I assured Nikki that it was nothing to be concerned about since there wasn't much of an incline, so it really wouldn't feel like much, to which she said "It's going to feel like hill!" That got a great laugh and a future idea for next year.

Nikki and I at the start line. Now we drove the course as we would be running it. Didn't seem too bad, but there was the ONE hill that I thought I had trained properly for. No problem. Emily told me I had this one, and at least I wasn't running an ultra marathon like she was.

Of course, we had a spaghetti dinner, reminiscent of many prerace meals from my childhood, not for me of course, but for the champs. Another football game. May have had another "ice the kicker." I had bought us all matching pajamas in celebration of Nikki's 40th birthday so that we would all have something to take home to remember.

Dad didn't get any matching pajamas, but I don't think he really cared. Heck, he may not even WEAR pajamas for all I know.

Race day! The big question that I got asked was: Was I going to wear makeup? Uh, yeah. I needed all the help that I could get to look bright eyed and bushy tailed at 4 am. Jen woke up to take us (didn't ask her, she just did). The buses were very well organized and lined up ready to get us to the starting line. At the start line, there were fires and hot cocoa and bandaids and port a potties, all essential to a good start. Nikki and I discussed our strategy. Don't pee your pants, stay with the 3:40 pacer, toss gloves as needed, don't step on any roadkill, avert eyes when someone dashes for the bushes. The start of a marathon is really uneventful for those back in the pack. It's more like a shuffle. But we started. Yay us! Nikki had used the johns (sorry, John) five times before we started, and hit promptly hit the first one at mile three. I ran ahead, stopped at the next one, she ran ahead of me, she stopped, I ran on, staying with the 3:40 guy. we ran over a few hills that were tought, but I knew "the big one" was coming up, so I kept on. My family planned on cheering us on in Veyo, so I was looking for them. They were hard to miss:
This provided some great comic relief. I laughed as they took this picture:
That's me waving my arms like a crazy girl.

And then The Hill. It looked benign enough, maybe a 6 % grade for 2 miles. My coach, Stephanie (she was made my coach the day before. Her experience in coaching is that she talked to a guy from Gilbert that morning, who had run the Top of Utah marathon two weeks before) said that I was to look straight ahead while I ran up the hill and it would feel less bad. As I started the Climb, Gonna Fly Now by Bill Conti or "Rocky's Theme" came on. This may have been the worst strategic move that I could have made during this race because I ask you, How is it possible not to run your guts out when you hear the trumpets start on that song?! It's impossible! And I was not about to take the time to get my iPod off my arm, change songs, and put it back on. So I pushed. Hard. Up hill. That dang hill NEVER ended. (I feel like I'm sounding like a bit of a wimp right now. Check out what Emily did that same day: ). After I had that hill under my belt I swore. Out loud. Under my breath. In the port a potty. I'm not proud of that, but that hill really stunk! After this, everything went downhill ( no pun intended) for me. Walked a little. Started feeling dehydrated. Saw the 3:50 guy go by me. Wished I had spectators to provide social pressure to keep going. Wished I hadn't lost Nikki. Longed for a ride in the ambulance. Although I made sure that I was actually running when the photographers came by. Did get a boost at mile 21 when I saw John and the kids. Nothing like a three year old yellng for you. I asked Braiden if his mom was in front of me (which I knew she MUST be because she had the mental toughness not to wish for an ambulance). She was in front of me. That was kind of bad news for me because it added to the "forget pushing really hard" that I had succumbed to. Then came my coach, Stephanie, to run with me. Thank you, Stephie. I told her not to go too fast because she had fresh legs. The spectators started becoming more regular. Saw mom and Kellie and Perry Jr around mile 23. One of the most welcome sites I saw was four little girls holding out their hands for a high five. Of course I had to high five them. Popsicle at mile 25. Wet towels at mile 25.5 (seriously? No one thought that could be beneficial at mile 18?) Steph left me at mile 26. Do you finish weak or strong? Me, I finished strong. I sprinted to the finish line. Still finished slower than marathon #1. Medal, misters, then ice cream. I cannot figure out who wants to eat right after a long run. Not me. I would rather drink any calories. So I had a Sprite. Ahhhh, Utah. Found my peeps.

That's Nikki during the race. These are my peeps:

Jen ran illegally with Nikki for a while as well. There's even proof that she was in a marathon as she is in one of Nikki's marathon photos. But guess what Nikki's time was for her FIRST (and she says only) MARATHON EVER? 3:48! She qualified for Boston on her very first marathon ever! No wonder she is a state swimming champ! If I could just hone the mental aspects of competitive sports that she has, I could be a force to be reckoned with. Way to go, Nikki! That's how you celebrate turning 40!

Nap. Long hot shower. Conference. Football. Ice the kicker.

We all went our separate ways in the morning. So much fun getting together with my family. We really missed Matt though. He "said" he had a business meeting, but I'm thinking he didn't want to hang around a pest. That's me he's referring to. Me?! A pest?! Well, get ready mister, because this is your notice to clear your schedule for MY 40th birthday celebration. It's a toss up between the Honolulu Marathon, Grand Canyon hike, or a cruise with Michael Ballam (for those of you unfamiliar with Michael Ballam's work, I am a fan of his, mainly for the role I've seen him play many times. I won't say anymore than that for fear of getting accused of sacrilege).

The big question is: When is the next marathon? After doing some research, I have discovered that I need to run a "flat" marathon to be faster. That would be Phoenix or Las Vegas. Phoenix is in January. That's probably the one. Then we are going to Catalina in March, where I will run the marathon there, but this one will be trail run, so I will not be attempting a qualifying run there, just enjoy the run. And what did I learn from this one? Train for the course, not just the most dominant feature of the course. I did A LOT of downhill running, because that's what I thought the course was, but not too much uphill running. And I need to really work on my mental game if I'm going to qualify for anything. But I will take any marathon, running, hobbling, cartwheeling, as long as I get to have some time with just my sisters (and brother).

Thursday, September 23, 2010

"It's Broken!"

This is what Blake was saying and inconsolable with tears. He had just been on his trike riding around the house, when he stopped suddenly in the kitchen and burst into tears. After Kevin held him for a few minutes while we tried to figure out what was broken, since he did not appear to have any physical damage to him or anything that was in the vicinity of where he had been, Kevin asked him to show him what was broken. That's when Blake picked up what had broken off the floor. It was a lock of hair. His hair. We continued interrogating him as to what could have caused it. A run in with the Shelf Reliance? A trike gone awry? No. It was assault and battery at the hands of his older sister, Olivia. Was it hair envy or something more sinister such as an attack on a brunette? She had cut his hair with the kitchen scissors. A little lock off the top. She didn't fess up right away, of course, because she knew that her brother loved his hair. This boy spends minutes brushing, spraying, and cockatooing his hair. I don't think that's an actual term, but that's what he does. The good news for him is that the he will still be able to achieve the peaked look that he is going for.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Second Biggest Loser

This blog is dedicated to my hero, and kindred spirit in self criticism and abs, Emily. She ran the Top of Utah Marathon. She didn't ask me to run with her because she knew I would be singing "I'm on the Top of the World, looking down on creation....." the whole time, and while she is a good sport, would have gotten annoyed by mile 0.5. Her race didn't go like she had planned and trained for. I will attempt a link here: This is her blog about what happened during the race. Not what she planned like I said. It reminded me of a time in my college years when I faced disappointment after long preparation. I was taking a physiology class at Snow College, which was hard, but I love, love, loved because I was doing well in it, understood everything, and I loved everything science, and I studied like a fiend. I was not accepting anything less than an A. In fact, in my English class my second year there, I protested an A- that I did not feel I deserved. Anyway, I took a test in physiology , thought I aced it, then got my results back. I was crushed. Floored. I had studied! I knew this stuff! I took my test paper home, went in my room, put on some sad music, and laid down on my floor and started crying. Bawling. At this point, my best friend, Julie, walked in my room to find out what was wrong. I told her that I failed my test. I had studied! I knew this stuff! She took the test from my hand, because she couldn't believe that I would have failed. That's when she saw my disappointing score: 89%. B+. Not even an A-! I believe she looked at me incredulously, because unlike my fierce determination to get straight A's during college, her determination was to have a good time. She even went on vacation in our living room for a week during our first quarter. She went on and on about how most people would be happy with this, even ecstatic, and what was wrong with me? I was being too hard on myself! But I knew that it was unacceptable. I didn't get another B the rest of my college career because it stunk so bad that one time. So, Emily, I can empathize. And you are still my hero. In fact, you are probably more my hero now because I get it. And I am sure that you burned that lime green top, or have framed it to remind you NEVER AGAIN. P.S. I love spell check. It reaffirms that I am a great speller when it says "No misspellings found."

Thursday, September 2, 2010

My English Assignment

Dillan started middle school. I thought I might break down and cry right in front of him, but I held it together. So I was happy when he came home with his first honors English assignment and it was for me! Well, technically Kevin and I, but I knew who was going to do this. The same person that arranges all of the appointments, extracurricular activities, knows where every single person is at any given point in the day, and knows all of their measurements. Me. The assignment was in a million words or less describe your student. The teacher gave ideas of what to put in the body of the paper such as My student is best at.....(BTW, they can't put things like son/ daughter because there might be a grandparent, aunt, or witch taking care of the student. I learned this when I was the secretary of the PTG. Must be PC.), what are my student's weaknesses, what do I want my student to learn this year, etc. I knew that the teacher would get a lot of boring responses such as "My son likes listening in class, doing his homework, and going to school. He is wonderful at everything. I can't think of one thing I'd like to change about him. He's a gem." I don't know who this child is and have been beating myself up for years thinking that this child was possible and somehow I was doing it wrong. But my son is wonderful and talented and happily flawed. P.S. So am I. I meant the party about being happily flawed. So I decided that the best way to get my assignment to stand out in a sea of a hundred students, I comprised a poem about my boy, er, young man. Here goes.

A Poem Dedicated to Dillan Partridge, My Sweetheart *

Dillan is the eldest of four
And that means that he has patience galore.
Height has always been something he boasts,
If he had his choice, he would live on the coast
To study the life of ocean and sea
And snorkeling and surfing is where he would be.
A natural athlete is what he’s been blessed
And swimming is the sport he does best.
Violin is the instrument he plays,
But fiddling is what he loves to display.
Give him some free time and reading he’ll choose,
Even if it means sleeping he’ll lose.
Handwriting is something he’s trying to fix,
It used to look like he was writing with sticks.
Turning in homework in the past has been rough.
This summer he learned to do the right stuff,
By organizing, planning, and following through
And turning in assignments when they are due.
The subject of writing he needs to improve,
We hope that this year he can get in the groove.
As a teenage boy he’s growing up faster,
And if he ran out of food it would be a disaster.
My sweet little boy is growing up fast,
Before we know it, middle school will be past.

*Please do not tell Dillan I called him My Sweetheart. I would hate to embarrass him. OK, maybe I do enjoy embarrassing him, but not this time. Also, I apologize for any rules that may have been broken as far as meter, rhyme, syntax or any other English violations I may have made. Kim Partridge

His teacher responded that it made her smile to read the poem and appreciated the format I had chosen. Initially when I was composing the email, I asked if I was going to get graded on it, but then I thought "If I don't get an A, I will revise it over and over until I do, and I'm not sure I have the time for that right now." So, instead, I thanked her for the opportunity to reflect on my boy who I love with my whole heart, warts and all. Not that he has a warty heart, or that I have a warty heart, although I may use that phrase now to describe naughty people. "Oh, he didn't know it was bad to run over the old lady with his bike. He has a warty heart."

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Why is it so HARD to blog on a regular basis?

Maybe I am just looking for funny stories to share and I have none that I can remember, so I think it is not worth putting a post together. But I do have ideas. That should count for something, right?
Idea #1 It's getting colder here. Yesterday, the expected high for the day was 108. This was not enough for a "heat advisory", which I find is hilarious that we have a heat advisory because I'm pretty sure we can all step outside and figure out if it is hot or not. Today, the high was an extremely cool 95. The forecast is for more 90s with the captions "NICE". Only here is that true.
Idea #2 I have a pet peeve with my husband. Ok, I probably have more than one, but this is the biggest issue I have with him that drives me bananas. I have a 24 oz yellow cup that I am constantly refilling throughout the day with water because I drink A LOT of water. I have had this cup for several years and I do wash it on a regular basis, and when it goes through the dishwasher, I am lost without it and have to use a regular cup. So, here's the issue. My husband is a light housekeeper, meaning he will put a load of laundry in the washer and think that he's done the laundry, or rinse the dishes and put them in the sink and not go one step further and put them in the dishwasher. I am ok with all of these things, but whenever he sees my yellow cup not in my hand, he puts it in the sink with the other dirty dishes! Then I have to wash it or get a regular cup and use it until it goes through the washer! It drives me cuckoo! I even went so far as to write in permanent marker on the cup the following statement "Do not empty this cup and put in the sink, EVER!!!" It worked for a few weeks until the permanent marker wore off, then he was back to his old tricks. I think it scared our housekeeper though, because she will not put that cup in the sink now, and I didn't realize that she could read English.
Well, I think this blog will appease my followers for a little while until I have another idea. Could be a loooong time.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

A Catch Up Blog

I'm surprised that none of my two followers have chided me for not updating my blog. Here goes on what has happened this past month.

So I don't want to bore you with ALL of the details, but I took the two little ones to Utah, while the two olders were in Kentucky visiting G & G Partridge. I took the opportunity to cool down, probably too far down, because I started saying things like "It's hot!" when it was only in the 90s. Things I miss: Fry sauce at fast food restaurants (I know I can make it myself, but it's so much more fun to have someone do it for you and hand it to you in a little container), mountains, being able to walk outside at any time and not burn the bottoms of your feet if you aren't wearing shoes, and having little connections with people because you dated their brother in high school or you know someone that you grew up with that is in their ward. I don't have any of those connections here.

I did have a milestone reunion to attend. Granger High School class of 1990 20th year Reunion. I had mixed feelings about attending, because I didn't want to not remember people, or worse, have people not remember me! What if they didn't recognize me? My hair is tame, I wear less makeup (believe it or not) and I didn't have braces. I convinced Kevin to go with me. He equated it to a wedding reception where you don't know anyone. But it wasn't as fancy. No cake or paper streamers. Fortunately, I did know people! And they recognized me! And I recognized the important ones! And Kevin got a news story out of it! Back up. When I say I recognized the important ones, I am not insinuating that not everyone is important. We all know everyone is important, but I mean the important ones to me. It was more fun that I thought it would be, and I didn't even win any of the prizes. Although, the categories were: Traveled the Furthest (New York won), most kids (I have the requisition amount: 4), and oldest child ( the winner, I think, had a 21 year old. Not even close), so I did not feel bad about achieving any of those feats. Being there actually made me wish I lived in Utah, just so I could run into people I grew up with or live by them or have our children date (yikes!), but I will have to continue cramming all of the fun into a couple of weeks in the summer.

I will not relate all of the fun things that I did there, but I will mention two. I had to work while I was there, and since my mom and I did not have a 12 year old boy with us at the time, we could not get the internet connected to my computer, so I decided to get a hotel room on the nights that I had to work. I thought it would sound bad if I told people that I worked at a hotel all night, until Chloe said You can tell them that you worked in a bedroom at a hotel all night. That was worse. Julie and I were having lunch on one of the nights that I would be working, so I invited her to have a "sleepover" at the hotel with me. It was so fun because even though I was taking calls for part of the time, it was so great just to hang out, like in college, and relive all of the silliness that happened, like when she got caught by the seat of her shorts on the chain link fence when she was climbing off the shed roof of our backdoor neighbors house, and was hanging there unable to free herself. The other thing was that after Kevin and the older kids got to Utah, we went to Park City for the day. It was truly glorious. We walked around and ate lunch. Then the kids said that they wanted to jump on the bungee tramp set up at the base of the Alpine Slide. Kevin bought them tickets while Dillan and I waited in line. Kevin came back with three tickets, but Dillan said that he didn't want to go. He was afraid that he would throw up since we had just eaten. With a growing line behind us, and not wanting to waste the money that had been spent on the ticket, I volunteered to go. Mind you, there were only kids jumping and in line waiting to go, but there was a 200 lb weight limit, so there was nothing holding me back, except I hoped that my bladder was strong enough for the jumping.

Yep, that's me trying to do a back flip. I was able to flip twice, but that thing was such a workout! I was sweating from five minutes of jumping. My abs were sore for two days. I told everyone in line that it was not as easy as it looks.

That's us pre jump. I would have looked much more disheveled if it had been taken after.

I love visiting Utah and family and friends, but it is so nice to come back home, even if it feels like I am in a roasting pan when I go outside. And I am happy to report that I cannot remember getting in trouble one time while I was there. I think I did ruffle some feathers (Mom's) but I have blocked out what I may have done. Until next year.....

Monday, July 5, 2010

A Schizophrenic Weekend

This is the only way that I can describe the emotions that I have gone through this past weekend. And now I don't know if I should start with the feelings of elation of the feelings of lugubriousness. I will start with the feelings of elation, because then if you get bored with this, you don't have to suffer through my suffering.
This extremely cute baby is not mine, as far as I know. My littlest sister, Kellie, had him on Friday. He was 8 lbs 12 oz (if I remember right. All I can remember for sure was that he wasn't bigger than 9 lbs 10 oz, because if he was bigger, I would have had to have another one just to maintain the record. She argues that due to her diminutive size that she is the winner with mom to baby ratio, but I say we're going off the baby's weight, not the mama's, because all uteri are created equal). Look at that cute little face! I can't wait to hold him and hold him and hold him some more when we visit in a couple of weeks. His name is Yan 2 Perry Edward Kimberly Barber. Ok, so he doesn't have my name and it's actually Yan'tu, but I will be calling him Tuey. He's the baby brother of four sisters that are full of personality, spunk, and the genetic cuteness. He's in for a ton of costume changes.

Not that the birth of an adorable little boy isn't big news, but hold onto your hats, people. My dear friend, Emily, yes. the one that ran the marathon with me in January in which no one noticed me, except my fantastic sisters, because, well, here let me remind you:

She's the one in the hot pink top, not that you even looked at anyone else. This was a charity run for her, meaning, she ran 26.2 miles at MY pace. We finished in 4:12.05 and 4:12.06 holding hands across the finish line. It's true. Call it cheesy, but we agreed upon it before the race. She qualified for Boston a couple of weeks before this marathon and then AGAIN a couple of weeks later, in which she won that marathon. She set a goal for herself to qualify for the New York Marathon, which for her age is 3:23. I would like to not put the comment that I texted her when I realized how fast per mile that was, but I texted her "Do you know how fast you have to run to get that?" It's true. I didn't mean her specifically, I meant in general what a person must do, but it was not received like that. Not kind, especially after all she did for me in my first marathon and brought my sisters together. Sooooooooo........this past weekend was the marathon which she set for herself to qualify. Without going into detail, the last two-three weeks leading up to the race were horrific, emotional, torturous, and I don't have enough words to say the level of rottenness that she was going through, even leading up to the start of the race. I doubt that anyone with a third of the garbage leading up to it would have had the mental/physical/emotional stamina to even step foot on the course. So, on the morning of the 4th of July, I was up at 6:30am, the race start time, and I checked the Flat Foot Traffic Marathon site to find out where she was. Nothing. So I had to wait. I don't like waiting. Why couldn't I be there to cheer her on and scream crazy supportive things like "You go, girl!"? Well, because it was in Portland and I was in Phoenix. I was very jealous of her just for that. Anxiously, I sat by my phone waiting for anything, even a text saying that she tripped on her first step, broke her leg, and that was it. Finally, at 10:19 her mom sent me a text. It said "She finished and we are looking for her time." I was thrilled to hear that she had finished and didn't die! Not that this was a possibility, but you know I am a little dramatic. And then, at 10:25 she texted me "I got it!!!!!!!!!!" That's the exact number of exclamation points. She ran a 3:20.29!!! I was textless. Tears welled up in my eyes. I can't even begin to describe my complete admiration for all that I knew she had been going through, and to do that?! She is a wonder. Now I am blogless in trying to describe how amazing she is. She kept thanking me over and over again for all I had done for her, but really, it was all her. I was just her little cheerleader giving her the encouragement to do the things that she is capable of. And from now on, until she does something else super amazing, I will refer to her as New York Marathon Qualifier Emily.

"Cried and cried. Her eyes were red." from Madeline, the book. Now for the sad, sad, sad news. Alison left me. For another country. She moved to Norway with her husband and family. I found myself breaking down in tears thinking that I could not see her whenever I wanted. Not that I could really do that before she left since she lived in Sandy, Ut, but I didn't have to cross an ocean to see her. She had planned on coming to Phoenix on her way to LAX (really, it's on the way people) and we were going to hang out for a couple of days. She got a lot of opposition from her dad who was helping her drive to LA, but she was determined, but then reality hit. There was just too much to do and too little time and she was not going to be able to make it. I thought about flying up to Utah and driving with her to California, but knew that it was not feasible and would put a great deal of strain on the husband. I cried thinking that I wasn't going to get a chance to say good bye, and in the end, we said good bye by text. I think it was better that way because if I had talked to her I would have been a blubbering fool. I know, I know, I should just get an iPhone, there's Skype, and I will be going to see her for a European vacation, but it was difficult. She has been instrumental in molding me into the fascinating, super mom and wife that I am. It's taken her nearly thirteen years to do it, and I am still a work in progress, but who's going to pick up the slack now that's she's gone? I guess if Emily can qualify for the New York Marathon under the phenomenal circumstances that she was under, she's up for this kind of challenge. I just hope she realizes the kind of time commitment that is necessary to help me achieve my full potential.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day!

This is my dad and I on my wedding day. Yes, he is a handsome fellow. I have been very fortunate to be his daughter, although, I am sure there were many times during my childhood that he would have wanted to sell me, or at least put a lock on my mouth that only he would have the key. These are the lessons that I have learned (and am still learning) from my dad:
#1 Get an Education. My dad worked as a Skyline High School counselor (and coach of several different sports) for many years, and then ended his career as a Career Counselor. This came in very useful when I was in high school and getting my act together so I could get a scholarship and then decide what I was doing. I will never forget the day when my dad sat me down and asked me what I wanted to major in. I hadn't really thought about it, so I said I wanted to be a nurse. That decision, besides deciding that Kevin was going to be my husband, shaped my future. I often reflect on not having such a wise father to point me in that direction. Yikes. I could have floundered for years trying to figure out what I wanted to do, and not had the career path that I have had which has given me the opportunity to work from home. But, I think my dad had ulterior motives. If he ever gets sick, he will have a private nurse at his beck and call. But I think I'll have an assistant help change any, um, bedpans. Since Kellie is the baby, and we made her do whatever we wanted when we were younger, that will be her.
#2 Healthy Lifestyle. My dad has always been a picture of health. I remember when we were all gathered round the TV, and my dad would be on the floor doing sit ups or push ups. He never wasted time or lounged. Even when he was watching golf on, he would be practicing his golf swing. I've never seen him indulge too much or be idle. He attempted to get me involved in sports at a young age, including swimming and running. Funny how life turns out. Now I am a runner and have swimmers. Again, his legacy will affect my children and their children to be active and healthy.
#3 Financial Wisdom. My dad would say "I put ____in my IRA." I had no idea what that meant, but I knew that he was saving up his money for when he retired. If there was anything my family needed, my dad would save up to purchase. This meant learning delayed gratification and the value of a dollar. Now, he is retired and enjoying the fruits of his labors.
#4 Gospel Strength. My dad has served in many callings in the church, including bishop and stake president (currently). he has served faithfully, magnified his calling, and I have never once heard him complain about his responsibilities.
#5 Straightening me Out. I mean my teeth, by the way. Braces, oral surgery, and dental implants did not come cheap. I never heard a complaint. Only that I had a $10,000 smile. Gulp.
#6 Patience. How do you not have patience with one son and five daughters, one of them being me. My dad was very slow to anger. I can count on one hand the times that he yelled at me. And I deserved all of those times. Now, if it were Kellie writing this blog, apparently, she had a different experience. his patience must have all been used up by that point. Sorry, Kellie.
I could go on and on, but then what would I have to say next year? I am so very blessed to have such a rich heritage. I know that with this rich heritage I have a responsibility to be the best person I can. Thanks, Dad!!! I love you!

Friday, June 18, 2010

But the Biggest Surprise by Far....

That is one of my favorite lines from a children's book. It is from Madeline, which I bought when Dillan had an emergency appendectomy at the ripe old age of three. After he had recovered and was home (after 11 days in the hospital, two grandmas coming in to town to help with a moment's notice, and many promises for a new fish tank-even back then he loved fish), we would read that book at night and he would show his stomach when we said "But the biggest surprise by far, on her stomach there was a scar." Now both of my boys are scarred. Blake's open tummy surgery was this morning when he had to have an epigastric hernia repair. The surgery was scheduled for 9:30, which meant we were to get there at 8:30, which meant I had to keep him away from food and drink, even his all time favorite, hot cocoa, which I knew was going to be challenging. So I was glad and rushed when the outpatient surgery center called just before seven and wanted to know if we were on our way. They had changed the time, but had not informed us. YIKES! I was still working, so I had to hurry and find a couple of nurses to cover for me (yes, I am so fantastic that it takes TWO nurses to do the job that I can do), rush us down there, but at least I didn't have to deny him food and water any longer. We got banded at the hospital, went in quickly to pre-op, he hated wearing the band, and asked me several times to take it off. He was even very polite about it and said "Peas." When the nurse came to get him, and I kissed him good bye, he started to cry and let out a "Mo-o-o-ma!" It was like the surgeon had a knife to my heart at that moment. I was brave and went back to the waiting room with tears in my eyes. It's a good thing that Kevin wasn't with me at this point, otherwise, I may not have been so brave. He had a delay in getting there because he waited for the sitter to get to our house. He was there when the surgeon came out to tell us all was well, about 28 minutes after I left my boy. Not a bad gig. The doctor did not make a good impression on Kevin when she shook his hand then wiped her nose with her hand. Thank goodness the procedure was over or he may have asked for another doctor. Blake came out of anesthesia beautifully. We were told he might be angry when he woke up (as the other kids in the room certainly were), but he woke up then just wanted to cuddle. I took this opportunity to do so. I know how quickly the cuddling will be gone. We came home and took a nap together. I am a stickler for sleeping in your own bed, but this was an exception. After reading about friends going to Toy Story 3, we did that as a relaxing activity after he woke up. So cute, and no social message, unless you count the part where we are to recycle our toys......Wait a minute! There was a social message! Go green. Dag nab it. They snuck that one in and I didn't even realize.
The doctor had told us that he needed to avoid "strenuous activity" for two weeks. Uh.....he's two, and has three older siblings, who all love to play with him. So when he started chasing the chickens back into the coop, I was yelling at him to avoid strenuous activity or his stitches would burst and there would be guts all over the place. He still chased them. So, I believe that he has made a full recovery, and will be the same happy, lovable little boy with a scar on his upper stomach that will look like this: l
Thanks to half of my followers for the magical muffins. Love 'em.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Swimmers, Take Your Mark......

My children are swimmers. Don't ask me how this happened, besides the fact that we have a pool and live in a climate where swimming is a year round sport, but I was not the State Champions in the family (that's Nikki and Jen, by the way). It started with having children that have asthma (darn genetics!) and that swimming was a great sport to improve asthma. This was the beginning of a lifetime of swim meets, more goggle purchases than I want to admit, and so many blue ribbons lying around, that if they get anything less, they have to walk home (just kidding. Sort of.) I love swimming besides the health benefits, they are competing against themselves to improve their times and improve their health and Chloe's favorite, the social aspect. Summer swimming is a little different than the rest of the year because the team that they swim on is less structured than the school year one because it is more of a recreational team for kids who don't swim competitively, so my kids love the change of pace because then they get to have a little more fun. I love cheering them on. Yes, I'm the mom at the side of the pool yelling at her baby to swim faster like they are swimming in the Olympics. I love it. Maybe because it reminds me of my childhood and cheering on my sisters.

So it came as a great shock to me this morning when Olivia told me that she wanted to meet with me in the "white living room" to discuss why she was not going to be on the swim team. You may have guessed that the white living room is where all serious matters get discussed. She had a list of reasons why she did not want to continue her career as a swim team member. She started on this team two weeks ago and has not participated in a meet yet because, well, for selfish reasons on my part. #1 Too late at night. I am a bedtime stickler. #2 She would be too slow. I'm not saying I expect her to come in first, but it makes the whole meet take longer when they have those little kids who are struggling to complete 25 yards. #3 One less person to give money to so they can get something from the snack bar. These were her lists of reasons for not continuing: #1 She didn't sign herself up, I did, and she never okay'ed it, therefore, she was not accountable for showing up to practice. #2 Gymnastics will improve her flexibility, whereas swimming will not. #3 She's not very good at butterfly and did not wish to continue this futile exercise in occupying her free time. How can I argue with that? For those of you who are shocked that I would give in to a five year old, this is Olivia we're talking about, who has been called "self assured" and I didn't think that she needed me for anything except as her chauffeur since she was two. This is the girl that told me last week that she wanted to lay on the chaise lounge, so she could "bask in the sun". So her brief career on the swim team is over. She does not have asthma, so I couldn't even argue my case on that point. I never saw her as a competitive swimmer anyway, so I am not surprised. And I believe that this is the first of our discussions that she wants to have in the white living room. So for now, this is the only kind of swimming Olivia we will know.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Another Grand Canyon Hike

Hi, my name is Kim and I'm addicted to hiking the Grand Canyon. Who knew? Certainly not Kevin when he took us on our first hike three years ago in the middle of July, that he was unleashing a beast in me that would be compelled to go back again and again for increasingly harder hikes. This last hike that we did was a build up to my goal of a rim to rim to rim hike (48 miles in one day), so I wanted to hike the North Kaibab trail from the top to the river to the top again in a day, which is 28 miles round trip. The trail description makes it sound more treacherous than the south rim trails, so I had been training pretty intensely.

Paul and Emily McKellars were the ones in charge of the ninos with one tiny threat: Keep these kids alive or you'll have to live with that guilt for the rest of your lives. Friday morning came, and we were basically a slow crawl.

This was the scene on the way out of Phoenix on the only freeway to Flagstaff. No, it wasn't a get out of the heat traffic. There was a three mile back up from a brush fire off the side of the road. Gave me an opportunity to take one of these pictures:
Someday, I am going to make a scrapbook of all of the pictures that I have like this of Kevin. It started out when we were engaged, so I hope I can locate that first picture.

Drive to North Rim takes you through the Native American Relocation Land or "Land of Desolation". It's the same drive that we take to Utah, so I know the pit stops well, but it felt lonely not having kids chase for lizards at the Chevron outside of Lees Ferry, or having to say "No" to kids walking down the candy aisle on the way to the bathroom.

We got there just in time for dinner and got the most amazing seat in the house.

That was our view out the window in the lodge. We had several people come stand in front of us to take a picture as the sun went down. At least no one spilled a drink.

Our room. Well. The biggest problem for Kevin was no TV. This meant no Lakers game. There are no TVs up there, so we couldn't even switch rooms or whatever. Early Saturday, we got up and ate donuts (our usual prehike breakfast) and hit the trail.

We started at 7 am, with no major events on the descent, except my left two middle toes felt numb, just like from the marathon. I was not happy, because I have been through a lot of trial and error to get the right boots for me to keep all of my toenails, and the thought of losing any did not make me happy, but I knew it was a possibility. And like last time, Kevin's legs kept us basically running the whole way down.

Kevin can't resist taking a picture by Ribbon Falls. We got to Phantom Ranch in 3 1/2 hours, which is good time (on the south side, which that trail is 6.7 miles, we make it down in two hours), I changed, we ate lunch, then I had a couple of Snickers bars (wh-a-at?) and started the long climb back up. There are a few differences with the north and south trails. #1-south side, you start heading up right away, north side, you don't start your true ascent for 7 miles from Phantom Ranch. #2-There are more people on the south rim trails. Just makes it more interesting to talk to people about what they are doing there. #3-There are more places to stop on the south side, like boulders to sit on. The biggest difference is that first seven miles of slight incline hiking. I didn't like that very much because it didn't really feel like we were doing anything more than just walking down a trail. We stopped and had another snack at Cottonwood Campground, and I was ready to hit the steep part (finally) and Kevin told me to go on up ahead.
I do not like to separate, but we had bought walkie talkies for the trip and had assured that they were working and plus had met several people on the trail who knew where we were headed. So up and out I went. This is when it gets steeper than the south trails, and super bonus here, shaded almost the entire rest of the way. I dare say I got chilly towards the top. I had to put my running sleeves back on.
I got out in 11 hours and Kevin was a bit behind me, but I must say, I felt that I had not been sufficiently challenged, and as I waited for Kevin to get out, I decided that if I did not have any blisters on my feet or potential toenails lost, that I was going to hike to the south rim the next day. I knew Kevin wouldn't be up for it so I would have to go alone, but I felt like I could do it. Once we got back to the room and had a chance to inspect the damage, the biggest surprise by far, was that THERE WERE NO TOENAILS INJURED ON THE HIKE!!!! And, even better, no blisters to explode in your friend's car as you start you four hour drive back to Phoenix (sorry about that one, Myrissa). I couldn't believe it! Finally, after five hikes I had come up with the right pair of boots, the right lacing technique, and the right socks. Glorious. Unfortunately, I had a different problem. Chafing. On my back from my Camelbak on each of my iliac crests. This was what prevented me from hiking rim to rim because it was bad enough that I knew I didn't want to put a pack on that for a day. Sadly, Kevin did get a large blister and will loose three toenails. He had boots that he hadn't worn hiking before.

Now, on to my next phase in my goal. Rim to Rim to Rim. There are a lot of runners out there that do this hike, and I feel like I am ready to do it. Now, my usual hiking partner has asked that I look for someone a little more in shape than he is (running your own business does not give him enough time to train properly), so I will be searching for a partner to make this trek, because I am doing it on October 23. If you are interested, please submit your application. Must be willing to endure a little bit of competitiveness and fast hiking. All right, Emily. I will keep the competitiveness to a minimum.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

An After Dinner Chat

"....So that's when I said to the kids, 'If I die and you have to transport my body somewhere far away, please make sure that I am in an air conditioned vehicle." That was the end of the conversation that I was having with Kevin, when one of the party guests that we were at, sat back down at our table. Then there was an awkward pause. We were at Melrose Makos Fundraising Luau (the Kemas would have been HORRIFIED at the dinner served. That's the last time I go to a haole luau expecting good pork) and the two of us were sitting there talking, with no interruptions, phone ringing, or children fighting, er, I mean, having a heated discussion, with potential assault and battery, while the rest of the guests were outbidding each other on the "silent" auction. There were a lot of nice things up for auction, like a individual swim lesson with Misty Hyman, a signed Larry Fitzgerald football, and 56 Diamondbacks tickets. I guess not many people are rooting for the Diamondbacks right now. But I had put my bids in on what I wanted, like tickets to the zoo, gymnastics lessons, and circus tickets (didn't win the circus tickets. Sad.), and while I am generally a competitive person, I wasn't feeling it. Later on, Kevin was feeling competitive and started bidding on the reserved parking spot. He was outbid by one of our friends, but then made a backdoor deal with one of the ladies that had won a parking spot, so he has a spot to park his monster truck for the meets. I'm pretty excited about that one. We can arrive whenever we want to and pull up and not have to park down the street. That is if no one decides to park there despite the fact that it is a reserved parking spot, because I don't think that there are "Melrose Police" to enforce this. But, I digress. Back to the conversation we were having. I was telling Kevin about Sharon and Bill Gold transporting Bill's uncle, who had died, up to Bountiful, Utah from Phoenix, AZ in the back of Bill's pick up. All I could imagine was the body getting bot and dirty. I know, I know. He's getting buried, so what's the big deal, but I just can't imagine having the body in the pick up, driving with it, stopping with it, and it's creepy. The kids and I were in the car on our way to Arizona's only, and most crowded, aquarium, when Sharon called me to check in with me and tell me this story. So, of course, once I got off the phone, they wanted to know the details, and that's when I told them that I was to be transported in an air conditioned, close topped vehicle. Now it's out there on the world wide web and I don't have to put an addendum in my will. But poor guy at the luau. He was at a loss for words when he sat down for that ending.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Day of Vindication

For those of you who read about my Day of Rejection, which included me getting strong armed out of the PTG, you will be happy to know that there was a Day of Vindication. This came last week at the hands of my dearest and cleverest friend, Myrissa, quite inadvertently. One of the requirements that I had as the PTG secretary was sending out a weekly email detailing the events of the PTG happenings for the coming week. I knew how bored I would be if I had to suffer through the same news week after week delivered in a bland way, so I did my best to liven it up with a little humor and wit. Myrissa knew the details of my ousting from the PTG and told me how much she had enjoyed the emails, probably because we both have the same sense of humor, but had no need to miss them, because her boys, except one, were enrolled in a charter school, and he had been accepted into the charter school, so none of her children would be at the elementary school. So, when the weekly email came out last Monday, wrapping up the year and informing people that if they wished to be removed from the email list, to please respond to get taken off. Myrissa, still believing that it was I who was responsible for the email sent this response "Please remove me from your email list as I am taking my children and fleeing from the school because I know that there will not be any entertaining emails next year." She hit the send button than wondered if I had actually sent the email since it was much drier than the ones I had sent out. She called me and asked if I was the one that was getting the email responses, and I told her no, the torch had been passed. That's when she relayed the story and I laughed so hard that my abs got the best workout ever. She said that she had thought about putting in the email about how rotten and conniving the PTG was, but thought better of it. Oh how I wish I could have seen the PTG president's face when she opened that email to know that I was going to be missed, and that someone said they were not going to be there because of me not being in the PTG (even if it isn't true). Thanks Myrissa for being a true friend and giving me the vindication from this ridiculous chapter in my life.

I'm Stuck

Blake knew his alphabet by the time he was 21 months, something I admit that I pressured him into because Dillan knew his alphabet at 21 months, and I was not willing to let my baby live in the shadow of his older brother. So it came as a great shock to me, when Blake was singing his ABCs last week (he turned 2 on April 21) and he sang "Q,R,S....Q,R,S....Q,R,S....I'm stuck." I helped him out with the rest, but he may never live this down.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Boys I Love!!!

Blake celebrating his 2nd birthday.
Dillan and Kevin at the Priesthood Session of Conference

Handsome fellas!

Dillan and Kevin putting Dillan's Greek War ship for his project.
Notice the bobsled in the background. Fancy photography.
Valentine's Day dinner for my sweetheart (s).

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Call 9-1-1!

This was what Kevin said to me on Monday night as I looked out our bedroom sliding glass door and saw flames coming from the alley. Let me back up a tad. We had just come back from Dillan's strings concert, had just gotten Olivia and Blake out of the bath tub, and was in my bathroom getting a bandaid for Olivia's big toenail that had been ripped in half the day before in a door incident (side note-that one got me a little queasy. I had to take a moment to regroup when I saw the toenail bent back on itself and flesh from the toenail bed. I did rise to the occasion though), when I noticed that our room was glowing. Looked in the back yard and saw the flames shooting in the air. The recycling dumpster was on fire. I told Kevin there was a fire, he ran into the closet, and then leapt over the treadmill out the door, dragged the hose across the pool, then yelled for Dillan to get the shovel. Chloe ran outside and started crying telling Kevin not to get hurt. She may need to work on her emergency preparedness skills. I called the fire department, then got Olivia and Blake dressed (didn't want to seem WT with the kids in the nekked outside) then stood on the corner outside our house to wait for the fire dept. The excitement brought out the neighbors and gave us a chance to discuss each families emergency preparedness including: if the house is on fire and you are nekked, it's ok to run outside. No one will point and laugh. This is actually the reason why I always wear pajamas. I am scared to run outside in an emergency in my garments. Here in AZ, they will at least stare at my funny underwear, if not point and laugh. Anyway, the FD FINALLY got there after Kevin and Dillan had it mostly out. Interestingly enough, one of our kiddie corner back door neighbors brought out his fire extinguisher, pulled the pin, aimed, then discharged it into his face and shoulder. He did not stick around to provide any more "assistance". The FD did not have to fill out a report. I found that surprising since there was another dumpster fire two weeks before. Pattern? Kevin saw a couple of hooligans leaving the alley when he was pulling up from after the concert, so he went to go track them down. He didn't find them, but he has always amazed me how he is so aware of what is going on and his quick thinking skills. Speaking of quick thinking, when he ran back into the closet, it was to get his firearm, in case there was a bad guy out there trying to lure someone out with the fire. Man, he's good. Dillan is so lucky to have such an awesome dad to teach him important manly things like this. Olivia's response to the fire was that she couldn't wait to tell Daniel S. at school the next day. I hope he's not a budding pyromaniac.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A Day of Rejection

It's actually been longer than a day, but it all came to fruition on the same day.


We decided that Dillan would do better in a different setting than the public school, so I have been looking into private schools, and the Paradise Valley Christian Preparatory Academy is less than a mile away from us and has very good scores, small class sizes, etc, and since we are Christian, I thought that this would be an excellent fit. Kevin and I took the tour of the facilities and filled out an information card, including which church we went to. All seemed well, and that it would be our decision until I was called by an administrator and asked if I had had a chance to look over their statement of faith. I said I hadn't, to which she said that it was a contradiction to what we believed and therefore would not be able to attend. I didn't quite know what to say. I thought that with "Christian" in the title of the school, that we would be okay. I knew that the doctrine that they were teaching was not the same as ours, but should they be worried about confusing Dillan? I would think that they would want to convert him to their team, if anything. Kevin thinks that they are more worried about what Dillan would be teaching the other kids. Funny thing is, some of our friends that have kids there are less than model citizens of the Christian faith and I highly doubt that they are regular attenders. Oh well. They aren't the only fish in the sea.


I have been strong armed out of the PTG. For the past year, I have been serving as the secretary, which I was told meant that I would take the minutes for the PTG meetings. I also got the responsibility of sending out a weekly email with the PTG goings on. I knew that it would be tough squeezing in all of my other obligations plus this, however, since I have three children at the school, I felt like it was my duty to run for office. I ran unopposed by the way. At the very last second before the elections began, I threw my hat in to the ring, so really, it was me or nothing. I thought that things were going well, even though I knew I wasn't putting forth my best effort because #1 it was a volunteer position and #2 I'd never been the secretary of anything before, so there was a huge learning curve as I tried to figure things out, but I was told by many reputable sources than the weekly emails I sent out were funny and interesting. So, I was caught off guard the weekend before the marathon, I received information from the fund raising VP, I'll call her "Kassie", for a mass email that I was to send out for Bingo night to plead for volunteers to help out. I sent her an email back letting her know that I was getting ready for the marathon, that all of my sisters were in town, and the earliest that I could do it was Monday, and if she wanted, I would give her the email account info so that she could do it. Well, she was pretty upset that I had the nerve to run a marathon instead of perform my PTG duties because she had done a hundred things for the school that week, so hearing that I was running a marathon was "a little hard to take." Well, apparently, this was the beginning of my demise, because after that point, I knew something was up. I was asked three times by the president of I was going to continue on for next year. I knew it was still a big time commitment, but I felt like I knew what I was doing. So when the president asked me a FOURTH time, in a not so nice way indicating that I had an easy PTG job and the others had been doing more than their fair share, I said "You can take this job and shove it!" All right. I didn't say that exactly, but the meaning was the same. Then I proceeded to "tattle" on them to the principal. I know. Childish. But I told her that if she was ever having a hard time finding parent volunteers, it was because of this kind of behavior from other parents. The principal sided with me and was HORRIFIED to find out that I would not be continuing on as secretary. Shortly after was the annual Spring Fling, which is a huge fundraiser for the PTG. I was responsible for the announcement of the event. I sent out an "Ode to Spring (Fling)" which, I must say, was clever and cute and I got a the most responses from any email I sent out. It was kind of like when a boyfriend dumps you (not that I know what that experience is like) and you get super hot and he realizes what he is missing, that was the effect the "Ode" had. I was invited to the Appreciation Dinner for the PTG board which I respectfully declined. Twice. I knew if I went, it would turn into a "Real Housewives of Phoenix" moment with name calling, finger pointing, and table flipping.


I wasn't picked to run the NYC marathon. Talk about adding insult to injury.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A Gym Rant #2 or Pants on the Ground

I didn't think another incident would happen that I would blog about from the gym, but alas, I have more material. Soooo.....last week, I had just finished my super strenuous, athlete in training workout when I walked in to the Women's Locker Room. Now, I am not naive that there is better than a 50% chance that I will see nudity when I walk in there. I am not offended by nudity, since I have seen so much of it, and at least 90% of it has been unattractive nudity (you guessed it, Blake is the other 10%), so there is little nudity that shocks me. Which is what happened when I walked in to the locker room. I came around the corner, and there was a woman, probably in her 20s, with her pants halfway down, or halfway up, depending if you are an optimist or a pessimist, so she was nekked from her midriff to her midthighs. Uh, yeah. But that isn't why I was appalled. I was horrified at what she was doing, standing up, nekked. She was texting! I don't know of one phone call, text, letter in the mail, or loud speaker announcement, that would cause me to stop pulling my pants up! Seriously, uncalled for. But that is what this generation is turning into. The text vs. common decency.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Signs that Spring is Here (in Phoenix)

The signs of spring in Phoenix are quite different than living in Utah. Here are some that I have noticed.
#1 Rattle snake calls are up.
#2 I pay a lot more attention to the pool (Side note-I fixed the pool pump! It had stumped the husband, but I did it).
#3 Orange blossoms fragrant the air.
#4 I wear a short sleeve shirt and pants, instead of a long sleeve shirt and pants. No shorts yet, silly. That's not till it's above 95.
#5 Baby quail. Cute!
I'm so glad that it's warming up. I have been cold for four months. I mean chilly willy. I don't expect any sympathy from any really cold weather people, but I am so glad that I don't have to bundle up to go outside. I was seriously perturbed that I had to put a jacket on to go outside. There's no way now (I hope) that it will dip below a high of 75.

Friday, March 12, 2010

A Gym Rant

No, not a gym rat, a gym RANT. That's what I am about to do. Picture the scene, if you will. This AM, I chose to go to the gym, because I knew that I would be at the 6th grade Greek Olympics during the day, and didn't have time to hit the treadmill at home, and since I have officially started training to hike the Grand Canyon North Rim over Memorial Day weekend with Kevin, I thought it would be a good idea to do the Stairmaster for as long as the time allowed (20 minutes-would love to sneak in longer, but there are only two Stairmasters at the gym, and I don't like to get in trouble. I also like to follow rules. You can ask Emily, who I made tell me which side of me she was planning on running during the marathon, and she stuck to it. It was the left side of me, by the way). So.....the Stairmaster is quite an intense cardio workout, so I had worked up quite a sweat, but didn't feel like I had gotten all of the cardio that I wanted, so I moved on to the elliptical machine. There are 12 at the gym, 2 downstairs, 10 upstairs. I chose the one closest to the fan, and turned the fan on, because I was sweating, and once I got going on the elliptical, I was sweating like a pig hiking out of the Grand Canyon in the middle of July. It was at this point that an older gentleman came up to me and asked me if I needed the fan on. I said "You can turn it off if you need to." Which he did. Then he chose an elliptical machine the FARTHEST (or furthest- I may get corrected here) away from the fan, and left me there to sweat so much, that I pictured an apparatus to collect the sweat, much like a rain gauge. Kevin asked me why I didn't just get off and turn the fan back on. I didn't want to break my rhythm. Where was Julie when I needed her? Gillette, I mean, not Taylor, because, even though Julie is of unusually small size, she can pack a punch. If anyone has a wittier response than "I'm sweating like a pig here, you choose" let me know. I am open to suggestions.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

It could be Hazardous to your Ears to have a Nurse as a Friend

Just ask Emily. She was the victim of a visual that only a nurse can paint. Kevin learned very early on in our marriage that if I ever said "Guess what happened at work today?", he would halt the conversation right then and there. He has learned that if the conversation starts drifting into nursing territory, that I get the eye that means "Please don't say another word." Too bad for Emily she doesn't know this yet, even though she should have had a clue when I told her that story about Lisa Long from college, when she and I were running the marathon, and I told her about when Lisa had some sputum in her throat and mistakenly said that she had some scrotum in her throat (bet you can't have a little tickle in your throat and not think about that). So, when she got on the subject of her "lady" issues and I inquired about the physicality of her husband as it related to her, which, of course, to me, opens the door for talking about, you know, the "shar pei" look. I had to spell it out for her, because, despite the fact that I was attempting to be delicate, she just wasn't getting it (if you are not getting it either, please, let me know. There are certain words that I don't want to put on the blog). I also used the analogy of a man trying to put a turtleneck on. I think this sent her over the edge. Little does she know that I have A LOT more up my sleeve. Imagine if I worked in the ER. That is like a gold mine for party stories, all of which are told with complete anonymity for HIPPA reasons. I haven't even told her about the man with the elephantitis issue.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


It's true. I am wallowing in suffer, even as we speak. Last week, after a day of Pilate's and elliptical, I stepped out of the shower, and thought, "Odd. My right shin is numb. Maybe the water was too hot." It didn't go away. Thanks to Google, I was able to self diagnose that my ailment was the result of a compressed disc/ nerve in my back, caused by (gasp) RUNNING! What?! And exacerbated by Pilate's maneuvers that are not recommended by chiropractors. UGH!! Just when I was starting to get faster and run for longer, this happens! Poor me. Now you see why I suffer. I am going to Dr. Berg, Chiropractor, from the ward, who, by the way, has THE most modest patient gowns I've ever seen. They Velcro in the back and go past my knees and almost to my elbows. I may "accidentally" walk out with one in my purse. I'll have to bring the big purse next time. He is doing stimulation therapy on my back (feels like a million little hands massaging my back. And, like other massages, he takes me off of it just as I am falling asleep. Meanie.), followed by distraction therapy. This is stretching out my lower back, although, I'm not sure why it is called "distraction", because I like it. He does distract me by talking about Kevin, so I guess that could be it. Every time I have gone, I have asked him, WHEN can I start running. He says maybe four to six weeks. I have decided, that maybe doctors orders are really just suggestions, and meant to be a sort of guide. In the mean time, no Pilate's, no running, but I can "pool jog". Stepped in to the pool this AM and almost died from exposure. Like hypothermia, not exposing my neighbors to me in a suit after four months of no tan. So, I will not be pool jogging until June, maybe May if the temperature gets above 105 by then. Oh well. Kevin and I are planning a trip to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon for a down and up in one day (approximately 28 miles with an average grade of 21%) and the doctor did say that walking was good for me. He NEVER said that I shouldn't do it at a 15% incline with a 15 lb backpack on. Alright, maybe the SUFFERING was a little dramatic, but you know me. My mom always said I should have been an actress.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Way to a Man's Heart...

Ladies, how many times did you hear this saying when you were dating? I know I heard it a lot and made plenty of dinners, treats, breakfasts (just kidding) for gentleman callers, and I still employ this tactic today. Not just today, meaning Valentine's Day, but today as in the present. I love love love to cook. Love it! Especially when it is gourmet or fancy. It is my creative outlet. I don't decorate (Kevin-our new lovely bathroom, all him), I don't sew (Myrissa-Could you hem these pants for me?), and I don't scrapbook (poor kids. Only Dillan do I love enough to have a scrapbook. That or he was numero uno and therefore, I didn't have any other people vying for my attention). So I cook. When I discovered that Valentine's Day fell on Sunday, I was a little disappointed. No flowers delivered that day. No dinner out. But then I realized, it was the best because I got to use my culinary skills to make a dinner for my sweetheart. And four observers. The menu was Beef Wellington with Gorgonzola, Yukon Gold Potatoes with Fennel Puree and Rosemary Butter, Roasted Carrots, Texas Rolls, and Not Yo' Momma's Banana Pudding. Why do I even bother to go out when I can make such a lovely meal? Oh yeah. The dishes. However, it is tradition (one that I feel I have to announce every Sunday, just like I do for my Sunday afternoon nap) that Kevin does the dishes. He has recently recruited Dillan to be his sous washer. I will put a request in now that every Valentine's Day be on Sunday. P.S. Not only did my dear husband love his dinner, but the observers did too. I'm pretty sure I knocked this one out of the park.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

You're a great provider!

Yesterday, I was thinking about how Kevin is a great provider for our family, when it reminded me of another great provider, me. I will now share how. When Olivia was born, I went to Dr. Stamps for her two week check up. Her birth weight was 7 lbs 15 oz, but she now weighed in at 8 lbs 14 oz. A pound weight gain after the initial weight loss, which provoked Dr. Stamps to exclaim "You're a great provider!" while simultaneously glancing at the source of nutrition. What's a girl to say but "Thanks!" I relayed this story to Laura, who had delivered Charles eleven days after Olivia, so she was anticipating the same reception when she took him in for his weigh in. Charles did gain a significant amount of weight, but there was no mention of her status as a provider. Sad. But, I was able to pride myself on the title of "Great Provider for Nursing Baby" for at least a year.