Wednesday, December 28, 2011

#1 Mom

For the second year in a row, I have been crowned #1 Mom!  And this year it was a different daughter that gave me the title, so it must really be true., although last year I was World's Greatest Mom and this year it's just #1 Mom, so I guess that could mean #1 Mom in the USA or #1 Mom in Phoenix or #1 Mom that lives in our house.  It's not easy being #1.  I have a lot of competition out there who have been vying for #1 status as well, and it's difficult to quantify how one wins the coveted #1 Mom title.  Is it the number of crafts one does?  If that's the case, I should be #19, 388 Mom since I don't craft.  Is it the tidiest, most organized home?  That obviously cannot be one of the criteria.  Is it the calmest, most even tempered one?  I've lost it there too.  Literally.  So I guess the only way one gets this title is by being the #1 Mom for the child(ren) that she has.  But here's the bonus this year.  I was told by Chloe that ALL her friends think that I am the coolest mom.  Of course, I probed for names.  Who exactly thought that I was cool, because they were in for a big treat.  She gave two names of her best friends and I knew I had done my job right.  Because not only am I #1 Mom and Cool Mom, but I have been told by all my children that I am Mean Mom.  I am the mom equivalent of Secretariat.  I have won the Triple Crown.  And I don't know if any other horse in history has gotten a title in another division, say, in dog racing, but I have been given two other notable titles: Fantastic Aunt (instead of Great Aunt because I have a great niece and great aunt sounds like Great Aunt Ethel who was o-o-old) and Fun Aunt, because I dance around like crazy with my nieces.  I have to work on either Blake or Dillan to get another #1 Mom pen for Christmas this coming year.  Since Dillan has less time to be at home and has the ability to read and make a purchase of that sort, I will work on him.  So if he asks next Christmas what he should get me, you have your suggestion ready.

Mom's Awesome

This is not a blog dedicated to me.  It's the other mom, MY mom.  The inspiration for this came to me when she announced that she and my dad were going to go to see my little sister, Stephanie, and her family in Texas, have a day at home to rest, and then head to Washington to see my sister, Jen, for a week.  I declared that it was The Favorite Daughters Tour, then wondered, why weren't they coming to see me. 
This is the only picture that I have of me and my mom.  Really, it is not a picture of me and my mom together, per se, nor is it a picture of just us as noted by the people in the background and The Pineapple Delight I am beginning to enjoy from the Polynesian Cultural Center.  But I love it because we are both smiling and happy, which is usually not the case when I am around my mom.  I tend to make her a little crazy and irritable. 
Here are the reason why Mom's Awesome:
#1  She can cook.  I know this is what a lot of people say about their moms, but whenever I go back to Utah, I am actually glad to get away from my mom's cooking because I love it too much.  She can whip anything up for a crowd in seconds flat.  And it is very healthy and tasty.  I remember when I was growing up that she would make 10 pizzas at a time.  Our family got three and the rest she was giving away to people that were sick or needed pizza.  The kitchen would be packed with pizza and I may or may not have picked an olive or two off, but I loved those times. 
#2  She helps everyone.  And I mean EVERYONE.  I went back to Utah this summer and heard from so many people how she had changed their lives, etc, because of all that she has done for them.  I really want to have a witty come back like "Oh yeah? You should try being her daughter" and then recant some torturous event that happened or ways in which I was neglected, but I have nothing, because she is a helper to all.  When Kevin and I were selling our house in the Avenues, the wife of the couple that ended up buying it was from my home ward and she told me how my mom had been like a second mom to her when her mom had died in a tragic car accident when she was a teenager, and how my mom would take her to functions where a mom was needed.  I never knew this.  Maybe because all the good that she does is under the radar and she's not looking for any acknowledgements for her good deeds.
#3 She can throw a party.  Our house was the gathering place for all parties in the ward or family gatherings.  She's even had parties there when she hasn't been home, that's how good she is.  I didn't realize how important this was until I moved away and find myself missing all of those family gatherings (especially when I hear about an event that got a little heated).  Thanksgivings have 50+ people there, and she has made her home a welcoming place and made sure that everyone who enters, whether she knows them or not, feels that happy, peaceful feeling that she exudes.  But she did have a misstep at an event.  I remember one baby shower that she threw and everyone had gathered and were talking, eating, and having a good time, when my mom asked where the guest of honor was.  It was then that she realized that she had not invited the recipient.  She quickly called her and she came over, so all was well.
#4  She is industrious.  My mom is one of those people who never sits still, because when she does, she falls asleep from all the work that she has been doing.  She wakes up early, early (which used to drive my cra-a-zy when I was a teenager and wanted to sleep in) and works the live long day.   Now, I wake up early.  I don't get as much done as she ever did, but I try and emulate her.   We never had a plumber come to our house when I was growing up.  That's because my mom fixed everything.  If there was an issue with anything, she would fix it.  Her and my dad had major projects they did every summer when my dad was off from school.  They added a room on the back of the house, redid the kitchen twice, made an extra room downstairs.  I could go on and on.
I could go and on about how awesome Mom is too, but then I would make myself and other moms feel bad because we aren't doing as much.  And by other moms, I mean my sisters.  I kid of course.  Those are four separate blogs right there that I need to do on how I am not as great as they are.  I bet they get it from their mom.  So way to go, Mom!  If you have any comments on how awesome you think mom is, please leave them.  Or, you can leave a comment on how awesome YOUR mom is.  Yay for mom's!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Hungry Like the Wolf or Why I will NEVER Go Fishing in Sedona Ever Again!

The school district that my children are in have Rosh Hashanah off.  It's a Thursday and Friday vacation for the unorthodox folks, such as the Partridges.  We took advantage of the situation (again, not from The Jersey Shore) and took a drive up to Sedona to enjoy the beauty of nature and atmosphere.  Little did I know that it would be a day that would change my life forever, and be one of those days that I would never be the same after.  We took the kids to a trout fishing pond located north of downtown Sedona, where you put your fishing hook in with a little bait and twenty fish come to snatch it off the hook, and you have to move fast to hook one of them.  We let the kids catch one fish each, since none of us really wanted to eat trout.  I had to help Olivia since the jerking of the fishing rod scared her, so she baited and threw in the hook while I attempted to catch.  It was during a brief respite from wrangling that Dillan said words to me that I can't believe he thought were okay to EVER say to me.  And the only reason why I acknowledged what he said was that he was pointing and he is a teenager and he was talking to me.  Maybe I was caught up in the moment.  That's the only excuse I can think of.  He said "Hey, Mom.  Look at that huge spider over there."  Why did I look?  WHY DID I LOOK?!  If I could go back, I would have yelled at him "Don't you know I am an ARACHNOPHOBE?"  But again, I was caught up in the moment.  And really, how big can a spider get?  I've taken care of people that it was a suspected Wolf Spider bite, and I thought how strange it was that after the suspected bite, that someone would go to the scene of the crime to locate the perpetrator.  I thought "How can they find a spider the size of a quarter?"  Well, if I was a good blogger, which I have never claimed to be, I would paste in a picture of how HUGE they are.  Well, that and I reeeeeeeeealy don't want to Google Wolf Spider.  EVER.  It is not the size of a quarter.  Instead, picture a $100 bill.  Then put another $100 bill next to it.  THAT is the size.  After I looked at it, I knew that I could never go back to the innocence from before.  I froze where I was, because the whole day was now shattered as I knew that it was stalking me. just like the ones that live at my mom's house that wait for me and are hunting me ready to strike and scare the devil out of me (obviously I haven't been scared enough).  BUT THEN!  To make matters ten hundred times worse, Chloe told the fishing manager lady about the ginormous spider, and she said "Oh yeah.  That cute little momma had babies two weeks ago."  (Dramatic pause to let this information sink in.)  My life is now defined by that moment before I saw the Wolf spider to my life after.  It's just a good thing that there aren't any Wolf spiders in the Grand Canyon or else I may never go back again (and if any of you have ANY sense at all, you will not burst my bubble on that one).

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Blake in the 'Hood

I took Blake for a drive on Friday so I could see what the course was going to be like for a half marathon that I was running on Saturday, and we had to drive about four miles through South Phoenix to get to the start of the course which was in the South Mountain Preserve, so thank goodness, I wasn't going to have to run through South Phoenix, although, truth be told, I have run to my car from a patient's house on more than one occasion, but that doesn't really count.  I was nervous to drive him through the ghetto because I didn't want him to see anything unsavory, such as drug deals going down, or ladies of the night up early, or a homeless person getting dressed for the day, so my plan was that we drive straight through and not to draw attention to anything going on out on the streets.  Now, in South Phoenix's defense, when that area was my territory and I was seeing patients in that area, I never saw anything really bad, but now that Kevin has to drive in those areas, he tells me stories that have scarred my imagination.  Like the time that he saw a "lady" getting dressed in an empty lot.  Or when he saw a man....Okay, I can't finish that story because my mom might read this.  So, as I was attempting to get through there as fast as I could, Blake was yelling out "Look at that, Mom!" It was a Llantera, or Mexican tire shop.  And then "Mom!  Look over there!"  A Carniceria, a Mexican super market, all in very bright colors.  And then his favorite "MOM!"  A gentleman's club with pinatas outside.  Maybe I have become jaded to all of the fun that is South Phoenix.  Maybe I'm looking for the bad when I really should be noticing all the bright colors and regular people just trying to get by.  I'm still not getting out of the car for a closer look.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Teenagers Can Be Funny, Too!

Against his wishes, I am going to write a blog with my oldest child in it.  He asked me earlier this summer not to blog about him since it was "embarrassing".  I'm lucky that he didn't see that blog about when he was nursing his kitty. 
Anyway, I bought a couple of tubs of hummus at Costco, which the boy LOVES hummus.  Who knew?  So he told me that I needed to get all of the different kinds of hummuses.  I said "Don't you mean 'hummi'?" To which he insisted it was hummuses.  I gave him some examples in defense of my case, such as more than one cactus is cacti, and more than one alumnus is alumni.  Chloe tried to join in and also named Moroni.  I asked her what the singular of Moroni would be.  Dillan had the answer.  "Moron."  And to think, that I thought he was past the age of giving me any funny material to write about.  Thanks Sweetheart!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Rim to Rim Fall 2011

In a word: Fabulous.  In two words: Not Stinky.  In five words: I even took a nap!  I'm not talking about the hike, I'm talking about the dreaded shuttle ride from the South Rim to the North Rim.  I was not looking forward to that at all since the last trip when I was trapped in a super stinky, too cramped van for four hours.  But this time, we got the NEW van that had not gotten stinky yet, AND Kevin and I had the four person back seat to ourselves!  So I took advantage of the situation (not the one from the Jersey Shore) and laid down and fell asleep.  Our driver's name was Steve and he had crazy eyes, but those eyes came in handy when a deer darted in front of us.  There was rain along the way.  And a rainbow, which Crazy Eye Steve kept pointing out and swerving off the side. 
Before we started out trek as we were waiting for the shuttle to load up, an Italian woman was fascinated with the new hiking poles that Kevin had bought this summer.  They are super light weight and collapse to smaller than other poles.  She spoke to him in Italian and then she called all of her Italian friends over so they could admire them too.  It was quite a sight to see him explaining to these people in English and they responded in Italian.
So, it was chilly when we got to the North Rim.  I know that's all relative, but I was not prepared.  Fortunately, I had a husband who bought me gloves and ear warmers. 
We started out on the trail at 7:15 am.  Kevin took a picture because he said I looked like a hobo. Hey, I don't like to be chilly.  He also made fun of my pose.

There he goes!  I had a fellow hiker ask me if someone was chasing me because I was going so fast.  I told him "No!  I'm trying to keep with that guy!"  I did twist my ankle pretty bad and heard a crack, but kept going.  What were my options?  Sit? 
We came round the trail to the Pump house Residence where Kevin turned around to me and pointed out the best news of the day.  A NEW BATHROOM!!!!  And to think that I had just watered the trail about 1/2 mile before because previously, there was no bathroom there, in fact there was a sign right by where that tree is that said "This lawn is NOT a toilet!"  And now it is!  Of course I had to christen it.  There wasn't even a cobweb in it!  We knew it was brand spanking new since it wasn't there on our rim to rim to rim hike in May. 
At the next usual stop, there were workers doing some tree trimming.  Kevin talked to one of the workers and discussed the trees that were there and what needed to be done to take them down, etc.  Then we came to a group of hikers that yelled out "Who wants to see a rattle snake?"  What are you supposed to say to that?  Yes, but not too close?  Kevin told them it wasn't a rattle snake (they were from New York, so they probably think that all snakes in AZ are rattlers)  You be the judge.

We traveled a little further and some other hikers paused to admire a plant that looks like a giant morning glory
It's hard to tell from this picture how big it is, but it is about the size of a softball.  As the ladies were admiring it, speculating as to what kind of flower it was, Kevin breezed by and said "That's a datura plant.  It's poisonous and a hallucinogenic."  I'm sure they were shocked to have this drive by expert just spout off that information.  I dubbed him the "Ben Driggs of the North Kaibab Trail" since he knew all of the flora and fauna.  Only Mountain View members will get that reference.
We got to Phantom Ranch, had a quick bite then left.  I was hitting the wall, and had to mentally gear myself up for the task ahead.  I don't think I've felt like that for a while.  But I drank my Perpetuem (HIGHLY RECOMMEND) and took off.  Devil's Corkscrew was next and I HATE the sandy part leading up to it because it is not easy to walk through sand in hiking boots, but thanks to the recent rain, the sand was packed down.  Whooppee
I got out at the top, all sweaty, disgusting, dirty with my pack on and hiking poles and some older man said to his wife "Here comes a serious walker."  If I had the energy, I would have told him all of the serious WALKING I had done all day long.
I checked in to the Maswik Lodge, and it was lovely to have a bath and clean up.  We ate at the Maswik Lodge as well, and Kevin and I couldn't decide if it was because the food was so good or the fact that we were so hungry, but it was the best meal we had on this trip.  Hands down!  AND to top it off, the Utah vs byu game was on!!  We kept saying what a perfect evening it was.  Sad for the team that lost very badly though.  Lucky for us, that wasn't who we were cheering for!
Thanks to the McKellars for keeping our people safe.  Olivia did suffer a minor head injury when she was jumping up to see Dillan's snake and hit her head on the edge of the cabinet and she has a small gash in the top of her head, but that could happen anytime, even if I was looking right at her. 
***NOTICE*** Sisters and Brother, This is NOT the hike that we will be doing next fall.  That one will only be 17 miles of hiking.  This one was a little longer at 24 miles.  Oh, and the crack in my ankle?  I don't think I broke it or anything, but it stills hurts.  I put myself on mandatory Kindle reading until the end of the week.  Then I will stop reading.  Maybe.  Unless I find another good book to read.  Why are there so many books I want to read?  Will I ever get them all read?  If not, please put some in my casket.  Seriously.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


This is one of my all time favorite pictures.  And I am with one of my all time favorite people.  This is Kim and we were roommates at Weber State during my last year at nursing school.  From the moment I met her, I loved her.  She was happy, funny, super spiritual, and most importantly, she loved to sing.  We lost touch with each other after getting married and moving, but thanks to modern social networking, I found her!  I think it was one of the most happiest moments to find her again.  So this past summer, we got together in Utah while she was staying in Park City and I was doing my tour of Utah.  We met at her condo in Park City with all of our kids, who fortunately each had a buddy to play with, because from the moment we got there, Kim and I talked and talked and talked like we hadn't seen in each other for thirteen years.  We laughed, we cried, we ate, she fixed my inner being, our kids ran around like wild animals, and it was one of my most favorite days while I was there this past visit, and maybe even the whole year.  It was such a filling of my friend bucket to spend that time with her.  We cried over the recent loss of her baby Beau that never took a breath, and we commiserated on our common losses, but how we each have angel babies that are waiting for their mommas.  It brought back all the memories and sorrow that we have endured, but how the knowledge that we have of the Atonement, has made the experience less painful.  It was like she said at Dillan's private blessing when he was a newborn (and his mom forgot that the time changed for sacrament meeting EVERY January 1st and sent out the wrong information to all my family and friends.  I thought it was going to be a disaster, but ended up being one of the most spiritual experiences of my life), and she said in her testimony how blessed we were as friends to let time pass (then it was probably a few months, not several years!) and how we would always be connected and be able to have an enduring friendship.  Kim has changed me, and For Good, as the song in Wicked says, she'll always be with me "like a hand print on my heart."  I am so blessed to have her as my friend.  I hope to be the kind of friend and person that she is with such unwavering faith and pure joy.  I love you, Kimmy!
Oh, and the picture.  We must have been going out on a date or somewhere that we were a little dressy, and we asked our roommate, Heidi, to take our picture.  She gave us a "One, two, three" and then passed the LOUDEST gas, ever.  This picture captured our reaction.  It always makes me smile.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Summer in Review

Let's be honest here, people.  It's STILL summer here.  Just because the kids have started school doesn't mean that it's nice and lovely weather.  I'm going to petition that school start in the beginning of October and go six days a week until the end of April.  Just a thought.
So this summer vacation raced by.  Here's a sample of what happened.  And don't bother thanking me for putting it all together in one tidy little blog instead of dragging it out over two months. 

Swim team:  Olivia was very nervous to swim in her first meet and was in tears the night before because she couldn't bear the thought of coming in last place.  Her first event, she got first place, and continued to dominate those 6 and unders.  She came in 6th place in the for the division championships for butterfly, which was out of probably 60 swimmers.  She has postponed her swimming career this fall in order to pursue her career as a gymnast/dancer.  Dillan broke his wrist two weeks before championships, so he competed, but it was apparent that it affected his racing.  Chloe did very well and got 6th in IM and 2nd in breast stroke for championships.  Can I get a woot woot?  Actually, I only deserve the woot woot because I was the driver to and from and to and from swim.  The swimming ability and coaching has very little to do with me.  Here is a sample of Chloe's swimming in the Finals for the Title of Division Championship for the 9-10 year old Girls in the 25 m Breast Stroke:
We went to Utah for three lovely weeks. I love Utah in the summer. And it seemed like we were there for a much shorter period of time than three weeks, probably because we were going here and there and having a grand time. We saw everyone we could squeeze in, and still, we didn't get to see everyone. I will try to recapture the fun in a photo essay shown here:
 Fun at Grandma's with a Marshmallow Shooter.  I opted to not use the fancy device and tried to hit the kids with a marshmallow shooting out of my mouth.  I think I was a better shot with that than the actual shooter.
 Chloe and Malia at the Reese Family Reunion.  Unfortunately, Olivia and I were two hours late for the event and missed chatting with most of the cousins.  Another unfortunate thing was that someone broke in to my parents and sister Jen's minivans!  We were in Davis County on the 24th of July!  Don't robbers take the day off?
 Two beautiful nieces, Tiana and Kailee. 
 Sisters picture.  Uh, Kellie, the color scheme for the day was peach.
 Olivia on a rope swing at Heritage Park.
 Blake getting a shave at Heritage Park.
Funeral luncheon after Kevin's Aunt Linda's funeral.  Notice the dress I am wearing.  It is the ONLY one I brought for the three weeks thinking that I would only have to wear it three times to three different churches.  Well, I was WRONG.  There were four other events where I needed to wear a dress.  And one of them was the next day with the same group of people!  I warned them ahead of time that I did have other dresses.  But after I thought about it, I felt like a Pioneer Woman who only had one dress and didn't complain.  I tried to hold out and not get another dress while I was there, but when I saw a dress that was too good to pass up, I couldn't resist. 
Other events worth noting:  I spent the most wonderful afternoon/evening with my former roommate from college, Kim, which I will blog about separately, and I had a lovely evening out with Julie.  We are planning on celebrating our birthdays together on a girls WEEKEND.  Just the thought of that will get me through tomorrow.  And I had a double exercise day when I went to see my friend, Kami, who I have known since I was five (don't do the math, please).  We picked her kids up from school via bicycles and jogging stroller.  Then there was a huge hill and of course, what child can resist rolling down a hill?  Olivia and Blake certainly couldn't.  That was such a fun day.  Herriman is the happening place to be.  When I was growing up, I was so jealous of Kami's super long ponytails.  I wanted my hair to be that long, but my mom never wanted to take care of long hair, so I never got the chance.  Sigh. 
That's what I can remember so far.  If there is anything noteworthy, I will try to remember it.  For those of you who give me a hard time about not blogging more often, I'll have you know, I blog ALL OF THE TIME in my head.  I wish there was a way that I could think up a blog and it would already be there and I wouldn't have to sit and put it all together, like this.  Then I would be a much more prolific blogger.  And since I'm making requests for things that will never happen, I would also like books that I don't have to sit down and read, ones that all of the information just goes right into my head and I know it and act on it, because I have been spending way too much time reading.  I know, because I have gotten complaints.  I'm not saying who from.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

It's Broken Part III

This blog title is starting to sound like a (forgive me) broken record. This time the break does not have to do with Blake. It has to do with my other boy, Dillan, who enjoyed an evening of roller skating with the youth from church and fell back and caught himself with his right hand, and now has a broken wrist. I didn't believe him at first since he wasn't loudly complaining about it, but then this morning, he said I had to take him to the doctor, and this is a boy who does not complain. So I took him to the doctor's. Then to X-Ray. Then to the orthopedist. Then to Costco (he was STARVING). The orthopedist took a look at Dillan and asked if he'd hit his growth spurt (Dillan is currently measuring in at 5'11"), I told him that he hadn't. I think the doctor was a little skeptical until he looked at the X-Ray and said "Oh, no, he hasn't hit his growth spurt. Look at all of that room in his growth plate. How tall's Dad? He's going to be a big boy." I told Dillan he may outgrow his uncles in height. Looks like he will be destined to a life of basketball. Or swimming, which was my main concern with this break, not because it is going to be 119 on Saturday, but because he has his swim championships in less than two weeks! The orthopedist put a soft cast on him that he is able to take off for showers or training for swim, but absolutely no horseplay in the pool. No Wet 'n Wild. No piano, either. I don't know what this boy is going to do with himself. I bought him a new book that he was wanting to read because I felt so bad for him. The good news to all of this is that because of the multiple visits to doctors, etc, I got to spend the WHOLE day with my boy. It was great. He,however, was a little bit shocked that his mother had no idea the importance in noting the different kinds of cars that there are, such as a Nissan 350Z vs a Nissan 370Z. I told him I have never paid that much attention to cars, and that before I had my BMW, I had no idea that there was a difference in all of the series, or whatever. I thought they were all the same. He was flabbergasted. He then sought to quiz me on cars, which has been a common theme for us that he will quiz me on his strongest subject at the time. And I have always been lacking in the kind of knowledge that he has. So, here's to happy healing for Dillan. That wrist has to heal properly so he can hit the big time in the NBA. Or the USSA.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Who's Team Are You On?

My children (minus Blake) have an Olympic Gold Medalist for their swim coach, Misty Hyman. She's great and I remember her winning the medal. We had been in the Valley of the Sun for less than one year, so I didn't know that she was a local OR that she went to the high school down the street that my children will go to. But I will never forget how close the race was and how she overcame the odds and won despite not being the favorite. And then there was her contagious triumph at winning and the biggest smile ever. Chloe was a newborn at the time, so I had lots of time to sit and feed her and watch the Olympics (just because I enjoy embarrassing my children, Dillan attempted to breastfeed his stuffed kitty). So now that she is coaching my children, I thought that they should watch her defining race. You can watch it too on YouTube. You can also watch me on YouTube, but it is far less exciting. I will attempt the link: . I don't know if that worked. I will have to check later. So I gathered the children that I had at home, which was everyone minus Chloe, who was getting coached by Misty at the time, and explained to them that this was Misty's race and who she was up against, etc. I'm not sure if Dillan was serious or not, but he said "I think she's going to win this race." I let it slide and didn't give him too hard of a time. Even though it happened ten years ago, Dillan and Olivia were cheering Misty on the whole race. That is until the last fifty when they were coming down the home stretch and Blake yelled out "Go Susie!" We all looked at him in disbelief. He was cheering for her opponent? The one that was favored to win? And how did he know her name? Fortunately, my other children did not do an "in your face" when Misty won. That would have been poor sportsmanship. I shared this with Misty about how her future team member was not cheering for her. She said she'll make it up to him when he's older and have him do extra butterfly.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Give it a Tri

No, I didn't misspell (because we all know how much I love to spell correctly). My sister, Nikki, has been talking to me about doing a triathlon in Utah in July. I have been afraid of the swim, because even though my children are swimmers, I am not. I gave up on swimming when I was eight years old and my goggles broke. Poor excuse, I know. But I KNEW that I had the biking thing mostly down because I have been going to spin classes for months and working my tail off. I love the puddle of sweat. I feel like I really accomplished something. Plus, I get to look in the mirror and compete with myself. So I bought "clipless" pedal shoes (I don't know what the technical name is) to try out in class first and then hit the road. The first pair and class were a disaster and HUGELY embarrassing as I attempted to #1 Put them on and #2 Clip them in. Why are they called clipless when I have to clip? Anyway, I took that pair back and got an easier putting on pair. Unfortunately, they are loose in the heel, but that was not crucial at this point. I wore them to class, and it was a SNAP, or CLIP, if you will. I tried them on my bike that Kevin bought me four years ago that until I got my shoes, did not even realize that they had clipless pedals. Silly me. Wonderful husband. I tried them in the backyard with the assistance of Chloe (and Blake, although his help was minimal. He got on his bike in front of me to demonstrate how one puts their feet on the pedals and then he raced me back and forth.) as she held the bike. After loosening the tension that I learned on YouTube, I was a professional at getting them clipped and then getting out. I took to the road. I went around the block a few times and felt pretty good. I was warned by Ed Packard that it wasn't a matter of if I would crash, it was when. I knew he didn't realize what a cautious girl I am. I was telling myself over and over again on my first "real" ride that I was clipped in and unclipped each time I was coming to a stop and had trained myself to unclip the left pedal since I am right handed. I don't know. I read that somewhere. All through the mountain preserves, neighborhood, canals, dirt trails, I was attacking the road. Well, kind of, since I am not used to the out of control feeling of the bike on the road. On my LAST stop, and chance to unclip, I failed. It was at the busiest intersection of my ride. I hit the ground and a bush. Road rash. Bike grease. Pride smashed. Thoughts of running later gone.
I also had thought of "What will I wear to church on Sunday to cover this? I will need to get a maxi dress." I was afraid that I would have everyone asking me about it and having to relive the story. That was until I got in the house. NO ONE NOTICED. There I was helping each one of them. Kevin asked me how my ride was. Blake and Olivia had demands. I started Dillan and Chloe on their chores. No one saw. Finally after thirty minutes of talking with everyone, Chloe noticed. Of course. She has always been very concerned. I thought it was a bad enough way to draw attention to myself. That is, until I went to Wet 'n Wild after this and put three large bandaids on there to protect the injury and came home looking like this:
Now it looks like road rash with white stripes, thanks to too much fun in the sun. I can only imagine what I am going to do next to draw attention to it. BUT, this will not keep me from using clipless pedals or biking outdoors again. I just hope the next crash is not in front of a bunch of people.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A Sunday Discussion and Protest

I am the Primary teacher to the five turning six year olds in our ward to a very energetic group of seven children. They have keen insight and interesting comments to share. So this was how one of our discussions went today (names have been removed to protect the parents)
Child #1: Why are we called The Latter Day Saints?
Me: Because we are in the latter days or the last days.
Child #2: This isn't our last day. We have a lot more Sundays to come to church, like until we die.
Child #3: No, we don't have to come to church after we are parents. We can just take our kids to church, drop them off, and then go home.
Needless to say, I told Child #3 this story, and they were a little bewildered that this was their child's take on coming to church on Sundays.
And now for the Protest. Olivia has a lifelong friend, Charles, who she has been in charge of since they were babies. I have informed Charles that he can speak his mind around Olivia and that she is not in charge of him, but he's dealing with a strong personality. So in singing time at Primary, the chorister divided the kids into boys and girls so that there could be a competition to get the kids to sing (BTW, I know that there is not supposed to be any competition in Primary). Unfortunately, there were about nine girls on this day and four boys, two of whom were in my class and are challenged in the singing department, so it was really two boys trying to out sing eight very vocal girls and Olivia, who can out sing anyone. When the competition was over, the chorister declared that the girls were the winner. No surprise. But Olivia was not going to take this information sitting down, because, after all, her dear friend, Charles was singing his heart out. She turned to Charles and said "Charles, do you think that's fair? I don't think that's fair. There were a lot more girls than boys and you didn't have a chance." She then pleaded her case to the chorister and told her how she was not doing her job right because really, there should not have been such an imbalanced competition, and to make it fair they should have divided into equal groups. I never pictured her as a lawyer, but she's got her first case.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

It's Broken, Part II

For those of you who have followed my blog, and that means two people (that might be a record for the least amount of followers. It goes with the Most Boring Blog on the Block criteria), you will remember Blake's first incident with something being broken. I am supposed to be able to insert that right "here" and have you click on the here and then the blog post will pop up and you can refresh your memory, but I do not know how to do that. Today, Blake had a little bit of diarrhea. Sorry. I should have warned you that it may get a little graphic. He looked to see what happened in the toilet and said "It's broken." Yep. It was.
And since I have opened the door for graphic speech. I was reminded recently of a one of my favorite nursing stories. A man was having his lower leg amputated due to a history of diabetes. Unfortunately, this is something that can happen to one with diabetes. He, however, was not ready to part with his leg yet. He asked if he could keep the amputated leg and have it bronzed for a paperweight. If you are thinking this is a good idea and wonder what the paperweight looks like, IT DIDN'T HAPPEN. That's because you are not allowed to remove body parts from the hospital. That story really wasn't that graphic. I'm going to have to do better than that.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Trip to the ER

The Partridges are no strangers to Epipens, thanks to the fact that 75% of them have one for nut or egg allergies. We have never had to use one, thank goodness. But Blake took matters in to his own hands today. Literally. When he self injected the auto-inject ADULT strength epipen into his little boy big hand. Chloe called me in a panic and terrified, as she had been left in charge of him and he got a hold of the epipen and shot himself (I kept saying that today and had to rephrase myself) um, he injected himself with a needle in the palm with the epipen. She felt so bad and kept telling me how sorry she was and how bad she felt as I raced home from my drive to Costco (yay for close Costco) and got there to assess the damage. I called my doctor's office, who told me to call poison control, who told me to apply a warm compress and look for blanching and cool areas, which would indicate that the area had vessel constriction. All I could think about was the babies and little kids in the burn unit that were on epi drips and what that did to their poor little extremities as they slowly died from feet to......well, let's just say I pictured his hand turning black and falling off. So I took him to the children's ER. And then I wished that I worked in the children's ER, because I LOVE that rush of adrenaline that comes with taking care of critically sick people. I really miss it. But then I remembered the kind of people that are allowed to procreate, and reassured myself that I was fine where I am. His hand turned out to be fine, although I was concerned with the white streak that is noticeable at the base of his thumb. I was reassured that it would revascularize soon and I needn't worry. He was a very good patient. He will be unscathed by this event. I cannot say the same for Chloe. When I had to leave for the ER and I told her that she was in charge of Olivia, who, let's face it, has never really needed any kind of supervision since she was two and will arrange appointments and is charge always, and I told Chloe that she was to watch her and she was in disbelief that I could trust her to babysit one of my children with her obvious irresponsibility. Some things never change. Chloe has always been cautious and concerned about other's well being, and Olivia has always been in charge.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Grand Canyon R2R2R

What in the world does that mean? For those of you who are not endurance junkies or insane or promise your wife this for her birthday present, it means hiking the Grand Canyon from the South Rim to the North Rim back to the South Rim. In less than 24 hours. Total mileage? Depends on which trails you take. We went down South Kaibab (7 miles from trailhead to Colorado River), up North Kaibab (14 miles from Phantom Ranch to trailhead), down North Kaibab (you can figure out that distance.), then up Bright Angel (9.8 miles from Colorado River to trailhead). There is added distance when you factor in the trail to and from Phantom Ranch and the trips to the toilet off the trail, so we'll call it a 45 mile hike that goes a lot of down then a lot of up then a lot of down and then a.......lot.......of........up. But this recap does not start with the hike. It starts with some touristy things.
This is the Hermit's Rest Trailhead. We did NOT hike this trail. I repeat, there is a trail in the GC that we did not hike. Not because we couldn't, because we could have if we wanted to, but because we had to conserve all of our energy for the task at hand. We took the shuttle over there, which was quite nice, but a little stinky with all of those bodies.

Kevin took this picture and told me that he got his mad self portrait skills from JT (Justin Timberlake-and he's not kidding). So I had to try out what I had learned from the person who learned from the master.
Not bad, right?
Friday morning 3:50 am wake up call. Get ready with layers because it was expected to be chilly to start out, which I understand is all relative, but when the starting temp is in the 40s, that's chilly for us. Caught the Hikers Express Shuttle at 5:00 am, which the term "express" should be used loosely here, since it took us 20 minutes to get to the trailhead and we stopped twice. Got to South Kaibab Trail Head. Used the potty. Of course. Took this picture ate 5:30 am and started down, down, down:

You see that wrap thing on my head? I love it. I bought that at the General Store up there because I was concerned for my warmth. The print on it is a trail map of South Kaibab and Bright Angel. It kept my ears pinned to my head so they were nice and cozy. And if you look in my Camelbak you can see the top of my Nalgene bottle and it looks like there is dirty water. Not the case. It is Perpetuem, an endurance athlete drink. Remember this. It saved Kevin.
So we trot down. The BEST thing about the early am is NO MULE TRAINS. None. It's the little things like this that really made a difference. We did see a trio of crazed Asian descent people. They were whooping and had on a floppy shoes and a bottle of water. That looked like the extent of their provisions. We saw them at least three miles down, which is the easy part, and there is no water on the South Kaibab trail. I hope they made it out alive. But maybe they saw us and thought "There go two crazy Americans. They have no survival skills if they need all that stuff to keep them alive." We got to Phantom Ranch in two hours, which is good time. I know it seems like not fast, but we had to stop twice (for me). We ate and used the facilities. There were several people up milling around in the area, but the cafe was not open. Here we are after we refueled:

How many pictures do we have like this? I'm going to say a dozen. On to the North Kaibab! We did not see anyone for almost six miles! And the two people we saw snuck up behind us. I almost had a heart attack. I was worried about getting attacked from behind after Susie told me that the trail is rampant with murderers and rapists (she told me this to discourage me from hiking to the top alone if anything happened to Kevin). We stopped at Cottonwood Campground for food and refill water. It was eerie that there wasn't anyone. This is us in case you have forgotten what we look like when we are hiking:

Hey! Where's me? Oh, that's right. Potty break.

Keep on keepin' on. Up to about this point there is very little incline as it runs along the river. After we get through this campground it starts heading up. I chose to listen to General Conference on my iPod. Which I was very glad that I had that thought because I don't really need motivation music, and besides, I am a little sick of listening to it right now, so I filled my spiritual cup as I drained my physical cup. There was a terrifying moment on the trail. No, I didn't slip off the side. We came across this:
FIRE!!!! In the Grand Canyon!!! One of the Natural Wonders of the World! Oh, wait. There are guys in yellow jackets that seem to be tending the fire. And it is very controlled. Thank heavens! I was worried that I was going to have to activate the emergency system, but more importantly, HOW WERE WE GOING TO GET TO THE TOP OR BACK AGAIN IF THERE WAS A WILDFIRE?!?!?! So, my thoughts were selfish, but glad that this was not a wildfire, but a controlled burn. Keep going.

I was getting a little antsy that we were not moving faster, but I could tell that Kevin was hitting the wall. Hard. And I did not want to push him beyond what he felt he could do. A few times he told me to go on ahead, but I refused to leave him (again, the murderers and rapists might get me), but finally once we past the Supai Tunnel, I agreed and went on ahead. I got to the top at North Kaibab and was met with five hundred flies, and some of them were biting. I was not amused. Especially when I tried to eat something and they wanted to join the party. A young man who was working at the North Rim Lodge was there and was quizzing me about all of the details of the hike that we were taking and how long had we been hiking and how long did it take to get to the river and how could he do it and how long the trails are. Kevin got out and is usually a very friendly person and will talk to anybody, but he barely acknowledged my companion. I knew he was in trouble. Here comes the Perpetuem! I had enjoyed my own earlier, but I gave him the Orange Vanilla flavor, and he said that he felt better instantly! Unfortunately, the water was turned off at the top. And at Supai Tunnel. Which meant that the next source of water was at Cottonwood, which was about seven miles down. Not good. There were a couple of hikers that were at the top that were planning on going down the next day, and they had some spare water, so we "borrowed" (I wasn't planning on returning it, though) some water. Here is us at the top:

If you do a Rim to Rim to Rim, this shot is obligatory as proof that you made it to the other side.

Back down. This part gets tough because your toes have gotten relief from the going up and now you are going back down with a steeper decline. I could feel my right two toes were getting blistered, but kept moving. Here's me by Ribbon Falls:

Two things that you could learn from this shot. #1 Hiking poles are ESSENTIAL. I mean it. They reduce the effort on your legs by 30%. #2 Compression socks are ESSENTIAL. This was the first time I have worn them on a hike and I could tell a difference.
It seemed like everything took FOREVER on this trip. For instance, when on this trail is "The Box" which is the relatively flat section that I talked about that is about eight miles, but it seems like sooooooo much longer. We crossed five bridges that seemed like fifty. Got back to Phantom Ranch at 8 pm, which we were worried that the cafe would not be open, but it was and it was rockin' in there! People were still having a good time. We needed a break and something new to eat so we each got a bagel with cream cheese. We saw a ring tailed cat and a fox when we were leaving. There is no picture of us this time. We were beat and .........go. And it was dark, which really shifted our perspective because we didn't have the visual cues to let us know how far we had gone. And there were spiders. Toads. And scorpions on the trail. Kevin told me later that he tried to step on all of the spiders because he was in front and didn't want me to freak out, but after a while he became too tired to even do that. I didn't care about the spiders. Or the scorpions. Because now, all I could think about was the mountain lion that I was SURE was stalking us. I even turned around a few times, sure that I would see eyes shining in my headlamp. We did see a lone doe on the trail. It became a mental challenge, because I kept thinking about taking a shower and getting into bed. So I started counting in my head. I counted to 100, and then when I got to 100, that was one, and I told myself that we would get to Indian Garden by the time I had 32 sets of 100. I only got to 26! I was so happy. Kevin laid down at Indian Gardens. I did not. I was not too tired to remember the spiders and scorpions. He asked me to take this picture:

He said he wanted a picture of him for the kids in case he didn't make it out alive. So once we pushed on, I kept thinking about how selfish I was for asking my husband to do this with me. I had to stop that, so I counted again. The moon was full so it helped light the way. I was so happy when we got to the 3 Mile Resthouse! Only three miles to go! We still had three miles to go? Ugh.

Onward. Now instead of counting, I tried predicting how far we had gone and kept saying in my head: "We've only got 2.9 miles to go, we've only got 2.9 miles to go" and then when I thought we had gone a tenth of a mile, I changed it to "We've only got 2.8 miles to go" etc, but I hoped that I was underestimating how far we had gone, and when we came up to the 1.5 miles resthouse and I had in my head that we still had 2 miles to the top, I was elated! Kevin saw the emergency call box and commented that it looked really good right then. Still going up. This part is such a mental endurance challenge that I can't even describe it. You know you have to keep going because you can't pull off to the side of the road and motion to the medical response team that you're feeling lousy, you have to get out! And I could NOT have done it without Kevin, nor would I have wanted to, despite the fact that I thought he may not make it. But when we saw the sign for the Bright Angel Trailhead, I don't think I have ever had that much relief or love for my husband. WE DID IT!!!! Truly an amazing bonding experience. And here we are at 0230 in the am:

The looks on our faces do not relay the exhilaration that we had. Must be the tiredness.

We got back to our room and surveyed the damage, which was great. I had chaffing on my shoulders from my pack, two blisters on one foot, two toenails sure to go, sore backside, but that shower. That shower! And then the bed. And the sleeping in. Nice.

We were beat up, battered, but definitely closer as a couple, so for that, the experience was truly once in a lifetime. That is, until Kevin told me three days after the hike that he would do it again. Wh-aa-at? Yep. He says he'll do it again and wanted to know if I would to. Of course I would, dear.

P.S. Siblings: This trip is NOT the one that we will be taking for my 40th birthday. Mom said there was no way she was going to allow it. Ours will be the much easier 17 mile hike.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

What Have the Partridges Been Doing?

That is what you are all wondering. I will provide the answer in a form of pictures. This is what the Super Bowl is all about.
Chloe got braces. She can thank her mom for that. Genetics. Hey. you can't win them all.

Trampoline providing hours of entertainment that usually ends with someone getting bumped.

I have been asked by the bloggers at The Cutest Blog on the Block to please move my blog to The Most Boring Blog on the Block. Even bloggers have their standards.

Accessories Included

Olivia loves to accessorize. I don't know where she gets it from. Ever since she was little, she could be seen with a purse, rings, necklaces. She then moved on to gloves and scarves. Yes, even in the summer. She has now discovered a world of possibilities with, what else, pipe cleaners. I will show you what she has come up with so far:

Sound check.

The Adoring Fans love a pose

Don't call me four eyes!

Someone is supplying her with these pipe cleaners since I don't have any at home. Who knows what she could come up with if she had an endless supply of these. Headbands? Scarves? Bathing suits? I will not be getting any pipe cleaners for her now that the thought has crossed my mind. It is only a matter of time before she tries it.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Stairs-It's A Miracle-Pants

Yes, it is a funny title, but it sums up our family's weekend at Catalina. We went there so that I could run in the Catalina Marathon, which, for those of you who don't know, the main reason why I signed up was because it was a winter marathon on a Saturday that was close enough for us to go to, plus, I have a budding marine biologist who jumps at any chance to be near the ocean. I didn't look at the course profile until after I signed up. Gulp. A lot of hills. Oh well. I finally talked myself into it being like an upside down Grand Canyon.
One of Kevin's client's (who is in the opening credits to M*A*S*H. She is the blond nurse running toward the helicopter), her ex husband has a condo on Catalina and they generously let us stay there. It was so beautiful and away from the main part of Avalon, so we got around on a golf cart. The first time that we took it out for a spin, Kevin and I took Olivia and Blake. Olivia sat in the front seat next to Kevin and as soon as we started going, she sang "In the Tiki, Tiki, Tiki, Tiki, Tiki Room" over and over until we got to our destination. Who needs a radio when you've got Olivia? The trouble that I saw immediately with where we were staying was: the stairs. 51 to be exact. That's how many we had to climb to get in, and then once inside, there was a couple of steps going up and down in the condo to each room. I knew that I would be feeling it after I ran.
Chloe was our photographer, so all pictures that you may see are from her. Dillan was in heaven and wanted to be at the beach all day and checked on when the low tide would be so he could go in the tide pools to capture whatever he could get his paws on. Kevin went snorkeling and came within 20 feet of a sea lion. He said that it had a lot of brown teeth, so he hurried and got out of the water.
So here is the race report, which, the most interesting part was getting to the beginning. I was told to purchase my race day boat ticket because that was the ONLY way to get to Two Harbors on the other side of the island where the race started. I bought my ticket with my registration, planned to be there at 5 am for a 5 am departure time, and planned out when we were leaving the condo with Kevin and went to bed in my own bed (that's what serious athletes do. I guess. Or ones that will use any excuse to get a night of uninterrupted sleep). Kevin and I left at the previously determined time, and got to the dock at 5 am. Just in time to see the race day boat leaving the dock. I ran down to the end and started yelling "I'm still here!!!!!! You can't leave without me!!!!!!! That is the only way to get to the other side!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Right then, another couple pulled up in the same predicament. I was told later by the fella that Kevin turned to him and said "I'm going to do whatever it takes to get her to the starting line. She'll be too mad if she doesn't run." The Harbor Patrol officer came by. We asked him what to do and if he could help. He said we could try a taxi, but we already knew that they didn't open until 7 am because we had asked them on the first night we got there. We drove over to where the race planners were setting up the finish line and told a guy our troubles. He looked stunned that this could have happened and didn't have any idea what to do to get us over there. Kevin said that maybe he could call the race director and see what could be done. That's when he said he was the race director. We went over to the grocery store that had a couple of people in it getting ready for the day. Kevin asked them if they knew anyone with a boat. They looked at him like he had three heads and said "We aren't hoity toity people who have boats. We work in a grocery store." I told Kevin that I wanted him to pinch me because this was a nightmare and this kind of thing doesn't happen to me!!! I plan for things like this NOT to happen. Kevin thought we should go back to the Harbor Patrol and see if he knew ANYONE that had a boat to take me and the other two (BTW, the girl had a potty mouth and started swearing at people. I didn't think that it was a good time to tell her that she may get a better response if she acted like a lady instead of a sailor) to the other side. He called one person, but they couldn't, so he suggested that we find the sheriff to see what he could do. As we drove over there, I started praying as hard as I could that we would find a way. We saw the sheriff at a stop sign and told him what was going on. He said he didn't know anyone with a boat (who owns all those boats in the harbor????), but that he could see some people that looked like runners getting into a van a few houses behind him. How he even thought that these people looked like runners is beyond me because it was two ladies in there 50s that didn't look like they were in exceptional shape. We hurried over there and Kevin asked them where they were going. Two Harbors. Tears started welling up in my eyes. Kevin asked if I could hitch a ride. They said of course. I hugged everyone I could in that van. There was the couple and a woman and her two boys. Kevin gave the man some gas money which he tried to refuse, but I think at that point, Kevin was so relieved that I wouldn't be mad (not at him, of course, since I should have known better), that he insisted and told him gas was expensive. I have no idea how much he gave him. We had lost the other two a little while before, but Kevin (the do gooder that he is) tracked them down and was able to get them in the van as well. It turns out the driver was the community pastor and they were going to drive over the night before to take the two ladies to the starting line, but were unable, so them even being there at that time was a last minute thing. My prayer was answered. And, yes, Mom, I did thank my Heavenly Father that I was getting to the start. This meant that I got to drive through the interior. which was beautiful, and get a sneak peek at the course. Hilly. We got there in time to take a potty break and walk to the starting line and then start. The course is so amazingly beautiful. Waves crashing on the rocks below, wildflowers everywhere, green hills, a few buffalo, and ocean air. I knew by mile 10 that I would be doing it again and again because it was my kind of course. It really is like hiking the Grand Canyon, but there's more up than down and it's all mixed up. I was so grateful that I had hiked the GC so many times with Kevin because he flies down the trail, which is harder for me than going uphill, so I had enough experience of keeping up and not trying to put on the brakes that my downhill running didn't suffer. Plus, the aid stations were fully stocked with peanut M&Ms, Swedish Fish, pretzels, cookies, and Twizzlers. I told Chloe this and she said I should have taken my number off and gone back for more, and I told her it didn't matter! I could have had as much as I wanted, there was no limit to what I could take. She may sign up for the marathon next year. And then, as promised, the last three miles are at such a decline that you could roll down. It was super fun. I ran through the Botanical Gardens, which was funny, because all of the sudden you see beautifully manicured plants and shrubs that are identified, and it took me a second to figure out that I was in the Gardens. Kevin and the kids caught up to me with a couple of miles left to go while they were in the golf cart yelling words of encouragement like "Go faster, Mom!" and "He touched me!" and "Mom, I'm hungry". It was a glorious sight to see the finish line, and get my FINISHERs t shirt, pin, and medal. I loved it. And I am still sore from running and I can truly say it is my favorite course I have done.
We went to church the next day in the bank building, where the sacrament service was held in a small room. Our family made up 60% of the congregation. Dillan passed the sacrament. Olivia asked me where her Primary class was, and then during "Gospel Doctrine", she had ALL of the answers. Kevin kept giving me the eye to get her to stop raising her hand, and I tried to get her to tell me her answer first so I could screen it, but then she would change the answer she gave me. And, it is very funny when the prayer is being offered and the two year old goes to the bathroom and chooses that reverent time to flush the toilet.
I'm sure there is more to all of this that I can say, and if there is something that I forgot, I will put an addendum, because I know there are many of you anxiously awaiting this report. Thanks to all of those who cheered me on in your hearts. At one point during the race, I swear I heard someone say "Kim!" but then looked around and no one was there. I'm sure it was either my sister, Jen, giving me encouragement, or Emily yelling at me to keep running.
I almost forgot about the "Pants" part of the title! Blake discovered that he loved saying the word "pants", so if there was any break in the conversation or a dull moment he would say "pants" and it would put us all in to giggles. Then on the ride home, the kids were watching a Veggie Tales movie and a song about, of all things, Pants, comes on, and, well, you can imagine the laughter.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Just Married!

I know you have all been asking me "When do we get to see your wedding video? How come you haven't posted your wedding video?" All right, already. It's only been almost 16 years of bugging me, but I've FINALLY got it on DVD (thank you Costco!). Now for your viewing pleasure, four hours of our wedding day!!! All right, I decided to actually have people watch it, so I condensed it into a less than ten minute video. I apologize for the lengthy cake cutting, but I didn't edit very well, and the shot of me and Cathy outside in their backyard cutting our open house cake is in the middle, because, again, poor editing skills, but please notice the cake and cookies. The cookies had "Kevin and Kim" written on EACH one and were tied with a ribbon, and the cake! The cake was so beautiful and was made by Cathy's friend.

Now, some of you may be embarrassed at how silly you were (Jake and Adam), or how young Kevin looks, and how I STILL look the same. Ok, except for the fact that I stopped dying my hair brown and it is its natural shade of dark blonde with highlights and lowlights. I love the shot of my dad looking exhaustico. That shot should have been after my sister's wedding two months before when they put on a luau for her AND we had to go to Hawaii for her open house. That was exhausticating. The shot of my dad should have been jumping and shouting for joy that he had gotten rid of me! A special thank you to Uncle Bruce Merrill. The Merrill's may have a reputation for always having a camera or recording device handy, but I am so grateful to have this momentous day recorded forever. Let's hope I stay looking that young forever, too.

What It's Like to Live Here in January

I hesitiated putting this video on my blog because I didn't want to upset anyone that was living in a frozen tundra, but then I remembered that ALL of my followers live here, so I needn't worry about upsetting anyone. This video is from January 31st in Tempe Towne Lake, which is in Tempe, AZ about 20 minutes away from our home. I don't have it on this video, but I said that Dillan is not with us because he chose to have an Air Soft War with his friends instead of hanging out with us. Enjoy the show!

Happy President's Day!

This post should have happened yesterday, but we were celebrating too much yesterday and didn't have time. I assured my children that just because they had the day off of school, it did not mean that they had the day off of learning. I asked them to pick a president that they didn't know much about and to research that president and write a few paragraphs about their life and read it to me. Chloe chose William Taft. I don't know why either. She wrote out her three paragraphs and then ended it with "He was the Fattest President" just like that in multiple colors. She got an A+ for creativity. Dillan was not involved in this assignment as he was doing hard labor with his dad at different properties, so he did have the day off from formal education, not a day off from real life education. I asked Olivia which president she would like to research. She said that she wanted me to write down who her favorite presidents were and then she would decide. Here is the list: Abraham Lincoln (she already wrote something for school about him. It was the fact that his son died in the White House, and then he got shot in the head while he was watching a play. ), Theodore Roosevelt, Andrew Jackson, and Barack Obama. I have no idea where she came up with those names, except the first and last one. We chose Andrew Jackson, because he is on the $20 bill. Later in the day, she went to gymnastics, where she comes easily to her, as she was somersaulting at age 2 and does a far better cartwheel than her 10 yr old sister. I told her how proud I was for her hard work and how when the coach would give her correction, she would try her hardest to do it. She said; "Thanks Mom for supporting me." Heaven help me.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Marathon #3

I participated in the Rock and Roll Marathon for Phoenix this past Sunday. There is no picture here because I was so fast no one could capture me. Ha. Kevin had to wrangle the kids and my designated photographer was busy keeping bees off of herself, and my pit crew was running beside me to see if I needed anything. So I will not go into the gory details of what went down, but I will say this: I am learning from each marathon. I hope to get FASTER at each marathon, but unless I run as a port a potty, that may not happen soon. I learned that salt is key. They passed out salt packets at mile 20-ish, and I felt a second wind almost instantaneously. I learned that my sisters make it so much more fun, and that includes my spiritual sister, Emily. By the way, you may notice that she has updated her profile picture on Blogger. She's still trying to pass my abs off as hers. That picture is from the marathon, where she missed her PR by one minute. ONE MINUTE. That really hurts. But she'll smash it before the end of the year. I learned that I can finish strong. I ran the last two miles stronger than I thought I could and even got a high five from a marathon coach at the end. It was the only high five I gave out during the race, well besides the high fives to Blake and Chloe. I learned that I need to train outside. Kevin told me this morning that there are no indoor marathons/ triathlons. He quickly retracted the statement because he knew I would find one. I learned that having your daughters dance recital the night before does not allow one to carb load or hydrate well enough. So the next marathon is in seven weeks. I know. It's crazy. But this one is a "destination marathon" where the family will enjoy a vacation and Mom will be gone for a few hours. I'm running the Catalina Marathon. Dillan is beside himself with giddiness. This is his element. The Ocean. Marine Life. Snorkeling. Surfing. Swimming. I hope we can get him off the island once we're done. Olivia thinks that the ferry ride to the island will be like a cruise ship and wants to throw confetti off the side. I will have to give better directions to my photographer. And I will have to get my pit crew to focus and NOT get distracted by the ocean. I'm looking forward to this one as it has been described as a "long slog uphill" by Linda Esplin. I know how to do a long slog uphill. BTW, I told my favorite brother about what the siblings are doing for my 40th birthday, and I told him that we are hiking the Grand Canyon, and he asked me if I knew what it was like to hike uphill for nine miles. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? was all I had to say. I referred him to this here blog about my numerous GC hikes, including rim to rim, and soon a rim to rim to rim. My favorite SIL did tell me that he suffers from narcissism, but I didn't realize how severe his case was. So there you have it.

As Seen on TV

You may have been watching TV since the beginning of the year. I know my sister, Nikki, had been. If you have been watching, you may have seen me in a commercial for Nutrisystem. That is if you have good eyes, know that I am in a commercial, or recognize my living room (that's how Stacey recognized me). This is one of my commercials: . That one is the most recognizable one of me. Here is another one where you must watch closely in the first three seconds or you will miss me: . I lost 55 lbs on Nutrisystem. It was super easy, although the first week was bordering on torture. That was two years ago and it is still gone. I am sooooooo happy that I did it. So, if you see this commercial, you can tell your family and friends that you know someone famous. Of course, it was bound to happen that I get famous since I live in a famous ward/ area. We have Laurie Kauffman, mom to Benji and Lacey Schwimmer of So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing with the Stars fame (she teaches my daughters dance, and she means business!), Stephenie Meyer grew up in our ward and her in laws are still in our ward, Misty Hyman, Olympic Gold Medalist, is my children's swim coach, and now me, famous actress.