December 31, 2009


Last night we got back (and I was worried for a while there that we wouldn't.... ran into a snow storm, icy roads, several car accidents/road closures) from spending a few days in Pinetop for some adventures in the snow.

I'm not sure why we wanted to leave our gorgeous desert winter and go freeze, but it was fun.

The kids (and Jay) had a great time sledding (I decided to forgo the sledding and just take photos).

I crack up at these photos because of our mismatched, ill-fitting, "vintage" show gear. Since we are desert dwellers we don't own any, so we have to make due with whatever we can find. Beggars can't be choosers. Jack's coat had a ski lift ticket attached to it.... from 1984.

December 27, 2009


Last night we went to the Zoppé Family Circus! It was so much fun! This is what you think of when you hear the phrase "The circus is in town," and what you see in old movies. It is a traditional Italian family circus, started in 1842. It's just a single big-top tent, intimate seating where you can see everything, lots of audience participation, hilarious clown antics, great talent, and tons of fun. I was very impressed.

If you have an opportunity to go, you really should! They are in town until January 4th (Chandler) and there are still tickets available ($15 for kids 12 and under, and $20 for adults). I think this is an experience my kids will not forget.

I had fun playing with my camera.... took a bunch of cool photos without a flash, lots of experimenting.

December 26, 2009

'Twas the Day After Christmas

On Christmas Eve we went to Jay's parents' house for dinner with his family and a visit from Santa. The food was great, and my in-laws brought back lots of fun stuff from their recent trip.

Then we made a stop at my parents' house, where my youngest brother, who spent two years in Germany as a missionary, taught us some German traditions, including looking for the "Christkind" and singing "O Tannebaum" and "Stille Nacht" in German. (To German speakers we probably would have just sounded like we were mumbling.)

Christmas day was fun and crazy. Jay finally woke the kids up at 7:00 because we couldn't wait any longer. Of all days, this was the one day in the whole year they decided to "sleep in."

After opening gifts, we went to my parents' house for a delicious breakfast of my dad's omelets, pancakes, and bacon, and lots of visiting. And my brother gave me a beginning lesson in using my Christmas present.....
Then we spent the rest of the day playing with our toys.... I took about a thousand photos. It's so much fun! (But I have a LOT to learn!)

My awesome parents....Mary at Grandma's house...
I tried to take a photo of Jay with his present from me.... a Fender Guitar (and lessons)... but this was all I got.Jack wearing the "Yoda" hat that Mary made for him. You can't tell from this photo, but he loves it. Then we played some basketball.
Today the house is still a wreck, but what the heck. I went running with my new iPod Shuffle that the kids got me (with their own money, they were sure to let me know). Hooray! It was really frustrating taking along my old classic iPod that seemed so small when I got it several years ago but now seems gigantic. Funny how that happens.

December 14, 2009

Be the Change

Well, on Saturday, after one month with "Race Day Training" I did something I thought I would never do..... I ran a race! It was only 5K, but that was enough for me! I didn't feel even close to being ready for it, but I survived. Thankfully it was a small race, so not a ton of pressure, but there was a small group of die-hards.

My devoted friend Jenni, who happens to be a serious runner (she does big-time races like this one, at high altitude, even though she lives in the desert), did it with me, just for moral support! She stayed with me the whole time, bless her heart, even though she could have easily run it in half the time I did (an embarrassing 46:36, though at least there were a handful of people who came in behind us). She kept encouraging me and pushed me on (in a nice way). I estimated that I ran (well, jogged, but for me it's "running") about half of the time.

Oh, and by the way, there were little hills all over the place! What's up with that?

Jenni could have walked faster than me (actually, my jog is so slow that I think I could have walked faster than me). My knee was (no, make that "is") killing me. (A knee-replacement is in my not-so-distant future.*) I think I might have given up if Jenni hadn't been there.

Jay and the kids showed up to cheer me on (and video me! Ugh!). I'm doing all this for them, though my kids think I'm crazy.

So, I ran a race. And no, I don't want to run another one.... at least not in the foreseeable future.

Thank you Jenni! I owe you big time! Thank for Jay, for encouraging me to join "Race Day Training." Thank you Diane, for being my inspiration. And to Dixie, for making me do this... thank you... I think. :)

*My knee was crushed in a car accident 10 years ago = multiple surgeries, bone grafts, plates and screws, damaged cartilage and ligaments, etc. My orthopedic surgeon gave it 10 years before it would need replacing, so I'm running on borrowed time anyway.

December 10, 2009

Jedi Don't Dance

I spent the afternoon yesterday helping my SIL who recently gave birth to these 2 sweet Beanie Babies. It was so fun! (Yes, I'm a little baby hungry, but it will have to stay that way.) She is probably exhausted and frustrated and overwhelmed and sleep-deprived, but you would never know it..... she looks gorgeous and skinny and acts calm.

I kicked Sarah out of the house to do some shopping sans kids, and after the babies were changed and fed, and sleeping soundly, I folded some laundry while Jack played with Owen. They were running around with lightsabers and yelling stuff. I wasn't paying much attention until Jack stopped in front of a large mirror and said, "Hey, look at that mirror!" Owen obviously wasn't impressed since he sees it every day.... he said nothing.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Jack doing a silly little jig while admiring himself in the mirror. That made me smile. Suddenly Owen got a really intense look on his face and said in a very serious Jedi voice, "Jack! There's no time for dancing! We have a mission! Remember General Grievous?"

I busted out laughing... but I covered it OK with a cough.

And they were off once again on their "mission" to defeat the "big 4-armed robot" (Jack's description).

It's really too bad that Jedi don't dance.... I mean, they would if they could, but they just don't have time for dancing.

A Weird Side-Effect of Working Out

I have discovered that lately any time I do some repetitive motion, whether it's grating cheese, stacking dishes, scrubbing something, etc., I find myself subconsciously counting, as if I'm doing reps.... sit-ups/push-ups/squats/lunges, etc. Weird.

November 24, 2009


Today I registered for my first "race." It's a 5K on December 12th. Anyone want to join me? I will be mostly walking, but I would love some company....because I'm terrified. Here is a link to register.

November 19, 2009

My New Thing

Years ago (too many!) during my last semester of college, I took a P.E. class in "Beginning Golf." To make a long story short, I needed a .5 credit class to fill a gap and it was the only thing I could get into at the last minute. I certainly never would have taken it otherwise.

I had never played golf in my life so I didn't know what to expect. Actually, I really enjoyed it. The teacher was funny and interesting, and I found that I wasn't half bad at it. It was an easy "A." I learned the rules and how to swing, watched/evaluated a few hours of the "Masters," and played a couple of rounds of golf at a local course. That was about it.

Then toward the end of the semester, the teacher announced that there would a written exam. How annoying. BUT, he said we could opt out of the exam and get an "A" on it by participating in a study for his doctoral dissertation.... he was a graduate student in exercise physiology. (Yes, people actually study it!)

I don't remember exactly what he was studying, though I have wondered a few times what his conclusions were, since, yes, I participated in the study. (I have always hated multiple choice exams.)

It was pretty straight forward; I went to the exercise lab (yes, lab....weird, I know) during my appointed time, where he hooked me up to a bunch of wires and tubes, and made me do stuff, like run on a tread mill and ride a stationery bike, and did a full-fledged EKG, etc.

I was curious. When he was done, I asked a lot of questions, and he showed me a chart of physical fitness levels, from poor to superior. He told me I scored very well. I was pleased and figured I did alright because of all the aerobics classes I went to that my roommate taught, and all the walking I did around campus, and well, everywhere, since I didn't have a car.

Still, I wasn't happy with my body because I wasn't as "skinny" as I thought I should be.

Anyway, pointing to the chart he said, "'Superior' is the professional athlete range. The range just below it is 'Excellent'." Then he surprised me by saying, "You are at the top of the 'Excellent' range, right on the border to 'Superior'." I was speechless. And so proud of myself. And kind of confused. It was the best shape I have ever been in in my life, and yet I wasn't skinny?

That was when I decided that you don't have to be "skinny" to be physically fit.

Then the years went by..... I got married and gave birth to 3 kids, gaining weight with each one. In between I broken a lot of bones in a serious car accident and spent about 6 months in a wheel chair doing physical therapy and learning to walk again. Exercise was no longer part of my life. I have exercised since then for periods of time, but nothing serious.

That's changing.

I'm making exercise part of my life again. (Maybe because I'm rapidly approaching 40? Yikes!) I have started working out with a personal trainer who is working my tail off. I'm more sore than I have ever been in my life.... more sore than I thought was possible. But I'm determined to get back to "Excellent" physical fitness.

Even if I don't get "skinny." (But I'm still hoping.)

Just thought you should know.

November 01, 2009

Disneyland 2009

We took the kids to Disneyland for Fall Break. I never get tired of it! I am constantly amazed at what a great job they do, with everything....oh the detail! I wish we could go every year (so far it's been ever other year). But holy cow it's expensive! What's the deal with Collin being an "adult" now that he's TEN??????

We drove over on Wednesday, and stayed at the Howard Johnson across the street. It has a really fun water park which we took advantage of on Friday night.... it was hot and we were tired. It was a great break! We always go in October and it's always been cool, so we were surprised it was so warm.

We spent Thursday and Friday at Disneyland. We were joined by our friends for part of the day on Thursday, which was fun. Since our kids have tons of autographs and photos with characters from years past, we decided that this time we would not stand in line or go out of our way to see them. But we did have a fun moment with Alice and the Mad Hatter....

... and had Woody to ourselves for about 20 minutes.We discovered the best souvenir in the park.... silhouettes! You MUST visit the Silhouette studio on Main Street. It was amazing! This woman cut gorgeous silhouettes of our kids, in less than a minute each, with nothing but a piece of paper and a pair of scissors. Seriously cool! And considering how expensive all things Disney are, it's a bargain at $9... you actually get two copies that are mirror images (the paper is printed black on one side and folded, so you automatically get two) and they mount them for you.
These actually look like my kids!(Sorry for the blurry photos... I was shooting without a flash to avoid glare, and I was in a hurry.)

Some of the other highlights at Disneyland:

1) Riding in the front compartment of the Monorail with the operator... kudos to Collin for being brave enough to ask. The view was great and we got to chat with the operator and she told us a few interesting facts.
2) Eating dinner at the Blue Bayou... finally! We have always wanted to. It was expensive, but worth it. We had a great table close to the water. The food was delicious and the service was excellent. The kids were amazed at the "magic" inside that absolutely convinces you that you are "outside." It was so peaceful and relaxing.... great to get away from the craziness.

3) Making faces for the camera on "Splash Mountain." We rode several times (to get wet... like I said, it was hot) and realized that every photo had all the same expressions (not just us, everyone!).... either big smiling laugh, or freaked out look. So, we decided we would do the opposite... look mad, bored, etc. It was kind of hard because your natural reaction is to laugh. Here is the result.
Jay got reprimanded over the loud-speaker for standing up in the middle of the ride to take this photo. Apparently, there are hidden cameras everywhere.4) Jack's first time on the Indiana Jones ride. It was closed last time we went (he wouldn't have been tall enough then anyway). He loved it... great ride! He did NOT love Space Mountain... the Halloween version was a little too scary for him. We all love Big Thunder Mountain.

5) Fireworks! The Halloween Screams show was spectacular! Definitely worth waiting up for!

We spent Friday at California Adventure. I like the changes they are making to the park. The new Toy Story ride was fun. Jack and Mary were tall enough for California Screamin' this time, and they loved it. (I can only handle once on that ride... I guess I'm getting old!). Our favorite is still "Soarin' Over California." So cool!

Best souvenir at Cal. Adv.? Mr. Potatohead All-You-Can-Fit-in-the-Box. We had fun choosing pieces and stuffing the box full.

Other highlights of California Adventure:

1) Singing in line. While waiting for the Tower of Terror, I heard Jack singing quietly to himself. I asked him what he was singing, and he said, "Oh, just a little song I made up." I asked him to sing it for me. It's to the tune of "The Wise Man and the Foolish Man."

The Tower of Terror has shocks all around.
The Tower of Terror has shocks all around.
The Tower of Terror has shocks all around,
And the hotel is haunted now.

It was so funny. We all sang it the rest of the day.

2) Laughing our heads off (and kind of freaking out) on the giant ferris wheel. Man those swinging gondolas really SWING!

3) The Pixar Parade. Very cute and fun parade. We had good "seats" too.

4) The Genie at the Aladdin show was hilarious. We also had great seats, and only waited about 10 minutes.

5) Drawing lessons. "Drawn to the Magic" is a very fun way to get away from the noise and crowds, and get out of the sun.

When we finished up there Saturday night we drove over to stay the night with our friends who graciously put us up in their lovely home. Thanks guys! We went to church with them the next day and got to spend some time visiting before driving home.

It was a great trip!
Halloween costumes were easy this year; Mary did a repeat of Dorothy with the costume I made for her a couple of years ago (I made it big for that reason... all that work!), Jack wore his Indiana Jones costume from his birthday party earlier this year, and Collin wore some of Jay's Darth Vader gear, adapted for his smaller size. They were pleased with how they looked (and received lots of compliments) and had a great time trick-or-treating.

Too much candy?

Several years ago I learned a great lesson about Halloween candy from my sister; let them eat as much as they want (that night, the next morning).... they either eat it all and then it's over and you don't have to deal with it anymore, or they get sick of it and throw the rest out. Brilliant!

Be prepared to shed a few tears

I love this album. It's beautiful and inspiring.

However, be warned that if you are listening to this on a Sunday morning while you are getting ready for church, don't listen to tracks #2 or #6 while you are trying to put on eye makeup... you will be defeating your purpose. I learned that the hard way this morning.

October 30, 2009

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween!

Yes, I know I have been very absent for a while. And yes, I know it doesn't sound like much of an excuse, but I HAVE been extremely busy.

I am determined to catch up though, and since this blog is really my journal, I refuse to leave anything important out. That is why I will be going back and filling in the gaps.

In the meantime, I will leave you with this lovely Halloween version of our family photo that Jay created. Amazing what you can do with photo software.