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.