My Boys

My Boys

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

July Happenings

 Our boys participated in the neighborhood parade/pool party for the 4th of July.
We spent the evening with friends and fireworks.

We won yard of the month out of the many thousands of houses in our neighborhood. It's a tribute to our hard work each Saturday--Matt mows/edges, the boys and I weed, and I trim bushes. Matt planted our flowers this time, and he does our mulching twice a year.

And random visitor that we had a few weeks ago. It spent the night in our tree and hung out at our house for 1/2 a day.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Summer, Here We Come!

Caleb had mixed feelings about finishing first grade. He was excited to have a break from school, but he knew he would miss his classmates and teacher.

Caleb finished first grade with a bang! He participated in the first grade talent show playing one of his recital pieces. He finished the year making A honor roll all year long. And he was the only one in the school who won the award below from P.E. for running the most laps of anyone in the whole school. He finished with the equivalent of 35 1/2 miles for the entire school year!! Caleb is a super star. He's also probably the only first grader that finished the year without losing any teeth. He is the youngest in his grade, but Matt and I are a little shocked that he has all his baby teeth still.

Carter finished his first year of preschool! I had the privilege of teaching these 6 fun kids for the last year.

 Carter, Bryson and I enjoyed a splash pad during Caleb's last week of school. Bryson wasn't the biggest fan.

Carter had a blast. He is such a ham!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Best Day Ever

Caleb has been counting down to today for the last few days. "Only two more days till THE day." Today was the day of his piano recital. He knew that some awards would be given out, and he was anxious to see if he would receive any of them.

Before the recital, we started out the day with a neighborhood carnival. Caleb tried rock climbing for the first time.

He got about two lengths of his body before he was all done. Poor Carter, who is my adventurous one, was so sad that he wasn't tall enough to do it.

Pony ride

Finally at 1pm it was recital time. Memorizing the first piece, Tarantella, came really easy. It took some work to memorize the Harry Potter song, and he didn't want to do it. I was so proud that he finally decided to try, only because Matt said, "I bet you can't do it."

Then it was award time. Each of the 13 students got an award that shared a special trait about them. Caleb's award was a perfectionist award because he comes to each lesson with his songs learned well with attention to details like dynamics.

Following that, his teacher gave an award and money to the best beginning student, intermediate student, and advanced student. Caleb was given the award for the best intermediate student. He was so happy! She also gave an award for the student that practiced the most and the most consistently. Caleb practices 30 minutes a day, 6 times a week. (I let him choose a day to have a break.) Some days it's a little more and some a little less. We were surprised that Caleb won this award and money as well!

Finally she gave an award for the best student over all. She had a rubric of criteria that she graded by (flashcards, sight-reading skills, practice time, repertoire, etc.) Caleb also won this award! Honestly by this point I was a little embarrassed that Caleb won so many of the awards (and money!), but at the same time I was so proud of him. He has worked very hard and been very self-motivated to succeed.

Here he is later today with his awards.

And we ended the day with a soccer game. This is Caleb's sport of choice, and he gives it his all each week. The skill he seems to have over the other players and opponents is that he never gives up. He constantly runs after the ball even if he's tired. He's aggressive, always in the action. He's also very careful to watch his opponents on defense and careful with his aim when he shoots for a goal. This season so far he has scored 3 goals each game he's played, which is the most amount of goals one player can score. They won today 6-1. (The one goal the other team scored was while Caleb was playing goalie, so that's definitely a position to work on. He hates playing goalie because he'd rather be out there running on the field!)

At the end of the day, I asked Caleb if the day had lived up to his hopes and dreams. He told me that it was the best day ever! I love this kid so much!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

18 months

18 month stats
Weight: 23 lb 3 oz, 36th percentile
Height: 32.25", 43rd percentile

I had a few concerns about Bryson for this check-up. His soft spot has not gone away, which is supposed to go away by 18 months, and he has grown an extra front tooth! (The dentist confirmed it was an extra tooth but would not do an x-ray due to his age.) Both of these are signs of the disease Matt was born with, cleidocranial dysostosis along with the bulging of the forehead. Bryson has this as well and has had an off-the-charts large head since he was born. His head measurement has continued to follow the growth curve though so it hasn't been a major concern. Cleidocranial dysostosis has been passed down through Matt's family, but only through the females. So some of these tendencies in Bryson that lean towards the disease are definitely a surprise because it doesn't fit the family pattern. His physical and mental development are coming along just fine. He's slightly under normal in terms of how many words he can say, so I'll continue to watch this and encourage words. If he does have the disease, it is a much milder case than Matt had and worst-case scenario will result in any extra teeth being pulled. 

Besides these health concerns, he is such a fun boy. The older boys love playing with him and laughing about the cute things he does. Bryson has proven to be very stubborn in his eating. He's refused to try bread, but just a week ago tried a homemade roll and liked it! He ate leftover rolls for the next few days, but today when I gave him a roll with his dinner, he refused to eat it again. Moody and stubborn! He's started to throw some tantrums too when he doesn't get his way about something he wants.

He is most definitely a momma's boy. When Matt gets home from work, he'll run over and give him a hug and kiss, then wants nothing to do with him the rest of the night! It proves to be quite funny sometimes with his refusal to go near Matt!

Bryson currently loves to look out the window for lizards which conveniently hang out on one window screen in particular. That window happens to be in the piano room which works out nicely when I need Bryson distracted so I can work with Caleb for his piano practices. 

He went through a phase where he would not lay down for me to put his diaper on each changing. It got to the point where I was tired of the fight so I became very adept at putting on diapers while he stood up. Just within the last week, I can spread out the diaper, pat it, and he'll come running over and put his head down in the diaper. We're starting to practice sitting on the potty before bath time every night. He loves his bath time!

18 months is an age I look forward to with each of my children so they can start going to nursery at church! Actually due to callings that have kept me busy during 2nd and 3rd hour both with Carter and Bryson, it's Matt that looks forward to it more than me since he's been on baby duty. Bryson did great his first week.

Words he can say: hot, hi, and dogga. He also has specific sounds that he makes for things like airplanes and lizard.

Playing at the park

He's growing up so fast!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

May Beginnings

Every year we enjoy going to a neighborhood festival to raise money for underprivileged children.

Carter on a camel ride

Caleb participated in a hula hoop contest at the festival for 8-year-olds and younger. I didn't realize he was so good! They must work on it a lot in P.E. It got down to three children left that were going strong, so the judge made them start walking while hula hooping. He ended up in 2nd place.

My newest nephew, Talmage. We were so excited to finally meet him!

Caleb participated in the 1st grade play at school. He had a one-line part as a mosquito.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Zion's Ragnar Relay

I never knew 6 years ago when I ran my first half marathon that it was just the start of (hopefully) a long running career. With 6 half marathons and 2 full marathons under my belt in these last 6 years, it was time to try something new. A friend and college roommate put together a team of 8 women for the Zion's Ragnar Relay. I didn't know any of the ladies except for my roommate, Elise, and her younger sister, Kimberly, but I enjoyed getting to know all of them over the 2 1/2 days we were together. I hadn't seen Elise in 10 years, so it was such a treat to spend time with her and catch up on our lives!

Our team:
Elise, Kristin, Karen, Rebecca, Me, Jen, Faith, and Kimberly

This Ragnar Relay is different from most in that all the teams camped out in one central location. The three different loops that each runner runs started and ended in the same place. This is a view of the entire camp. The green and white tent in the middle and very back of the picture was the "transition tent," where you passed off the bib to the next runner.

We opted to stay in a cabin rather than a tent. I didn't know then that this decision was worth every penny! I flew into Salt Lake City Thursday afternoon then drove down with Elise, Kimberly, and Faith to Zion's National Park. We arrived Thursday night in time to check out the camp, pick up our shirts, bib, a few other running goodies, and sign our lives away with a waiver. (Potential to run into wild animals on the trails)

We all attended a mandatory seminar giving more instructions and safety precautions.

Me, Kimberly, and Faith waiting for the seminar to start

At 10:30 am, the running began. (There were a total of 350 teams--huge event! The start times were obviously spaced out throughout the day.)

Each runner on the team runs all 3 loops, but not in the same order. Our first runner started with the green loop, 3.1 miles, followed by the second runner on the yellow loop, 4.6 miles, and I was the third runner and started on the red loop, 8.2 miles. I was very excited to get the longest run out of the way first! I was scheduled to run my loops as follows: 8.2 mile-loop at noon, 4.6 mile-loop at 9 pm, and 3.1-mile loop at around 5 am.

I'm used to running on flat ground, low elevation, and lots of humidity. I knew running in a very high altitude on hilly trails was going to be a completely different story. I had no idea what to expect out of my times other than the fact that I would be slower :o). I'm a very competitive person, and when I sign up for a race, it's with the intention of improving my time. It takes a lot of work to constantly train to run faster, especially with having babies throughout the 6 years I've been running. I'm close to the peak of my fastest running times where I was at pre-baby #3. So even though I tried not to have high expectations for this race, I still was hoping to have good running times. 

I had no idea that "trail running" included hills that were steep enough that running up them was next to impossible! In my opinion, the hills (which were many) were hikes! The 8-miler had some steep climbs here and there, but for a whole mile (5 to 6) it was a very steep hike. I did my best to run what I could, then hiked up the rest. There were also several parts of the trail that were so narrow that passing/being passed was very difficult. (No one passed me on the red loop, but I was passed a handful of times on the yellow loop.)

 Here's a selfie of me starting to run again after reaching the top of the mountain on the 8-miler.

And here's the view from the top of the mountain. The view on the 4.6-miler was supposed to be the prettiest, but I ran that one in the dark.

I averaged 9:50 miles on the 8-miler. My shoes, socks, and feet were covered in red dust/sand. I was so grateful to head back to the cabin and shower afterwards. If you camped in tents, there were 12 showers available for use between all the campers which meant long waits to use a shower.

My 4.6-miler began at 9 pm. I had no idea how difficult it would be in the dark. My headlamp didn't shine particularly bright, and my handheld flashlight didn't seem to help much either. I was constantly looking for the trail markers to make sure I was going the right way! And I was constantly watching out for rocks, sticks, and other debris that I might trip over. It was cold, in the low 40s, and very windy at the time I started so I fit my head lamp around my beanie. I should have known better because I got warm quickly on the first steep climb and had to remove the beanie. With my incompetence, I couldn't tighten the headlamp just right around my head. It seemed no matter how tight I tightened it, it still slid down into my eyes. (Maybe I have a weird-shaped forehead! Probably that I'm incompetent though.) Because I was tired of stopping to mess with it, I just decided to deal with it. So for the rest of the run, every few minutes I was constantly pushing the headlamp up on my forehead. Annoying. Other than the headlamp and the dark, I enjoyed that leg of the run. By now I knew to expect the steady climb that the 4.6-miler contained for the first half of the loop. With the stops to adjust the headlamp, hiking/walking up the steep climb, and the fact that I slowed down so I wouldn't trip over the rocky parts of the trail, I averaged 12-minute miles.

My biggest complaint about the trails was the way each loop ended. They all joined together for the last .5 mile or so for some steep, narrow switchbacks. Because they all met up at this point, there were a lot more runners, and because it was narrow, it was difficult to pass. Any race that I have run, the course is designed to allow you to finish strong. It just makes sense. So as I attempted to finish strong on my first loop, I was fuming that 1) these tough switchbacks were put at the end of the race and 2) I'd have to run them for each loop! Grrrr.

Having said that, the trails were very peaceful. It was so nice to be out running in nature in the quiet where I could contemplate and reflect. There were many analogies to life as I hiked up the mountains to get to the top.

I didn't want to eat dinner before I ran my 4.6-miler (I don't run well with food in my stomach), so I waited to eat until after I was done at 10 pm. Again, I was grateful to be able to head back to the cabin for a warm shower. Because we were running around the clock, people were sleeping in whatever shifts they could. I was planning on getting up around 4:30 am, so I didn't stay up too much longer before heading to bed.

At around 3:30 am, Elise woke me up. We thought she'd be running at this point, but the runner two legs before her never came home to wake her up! We looked outside and immediately knew why. It was pouring, windy, and very cold. Pouring rain meant slippery, muddy trails. This translated to very little running happening from here on out--it was mostly going to be walking. About 10 minutes later, the runner, Jen, that was supposed to wake Elise up finally came home with Faith. They shared their experience with running in the rain, wind, and cold and how it was sheer misery. We were all so worried about Kimberly who, as the first runner, was doing her last leg of 4.6 miles at that point. Elise, who was scheduled to do her 8.2-miler next, was feeling very uncomfortable about running in the current conditions, and we talked about pulling out of the race. At the same time, she couldn't not do her run if her younger sister was out there doing it. She decided to get ready and go wait in the transition tent for her sister to finish. The rest of us went back to bed for a few hours.

As Elise waited in the transition tent, she was able to talk to runners who were coming in from the trails. Due to the weather conditions that made it unsafe to run, there were several teams already pulling out of the race. Runners said that as you got to the top of the 8.2 and 4.6, it was snowing and that it wasn't worth the risk of injury. After talking to other runners, Elise texted to say she pulled our team out of the competition. This was about 6 am. Those of us who were awake anxiously awaited news on Kimberly. What should have taken Kimberly about 1 1/2 hours took her over 3 hours. She said runners were crawling on hands and knees up the steep parts; she fell 11 times and twisted her knee. Despite this injury, we were so glad she made it back safe. There were several runners that were missing out on the trails, and I believe one runner had to be life flighted off the mountain. When Kimberly and Elise got back to the cabin, we were quick to try to make her comfortable (hot chocolate, shower, warm blankets when she got out).

After another morning nap from 7-9 am, I woke up to this. The race was officially cancelled at 7:30 am due to snow.

(My hair is so long! This is the longest it's been ever!)

Again, we were all so thankful that we stayed in a cabin! The pouring rain, wind and cold would have been miserable in a tent. It made everything so muddy so that people were having difficulty getting out of the campsite due to vehicles sliding in the mud. The weather forecast did not predict snow. As the race date got closer, we all knew there was a slight chance of rain Saturday morning but hoping it wouldn't come to fruition. I felt horrible for all the people that brought kids with them.

Here's the campsite mostly cleared out at about 10 am.

Elise and I at the finish line that each runner ran through after each loop

We enjoyed a relaxing day. Around lunch time, we took some group pictures. 
(The snow was mostly gone and the weather was beautiful! Perfect running weather.)

Celebrating Kimberly wearing all our medals, the only person on our team who finished the entire race

 It was definitely an adventure. Would I do it again? Totally. It was so fun! The rest of us were really sad at the way the race ended. We wished we could have finished the race.

Thanks ladies for a wonderful weekend, awesome conversations, and an unforgettable experience!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter Festivities

This was the first Easter that I can recall where I haven't celebrated at least partially with some of my siblings/parents (or extended family when I was at BYU). Instead it was just us this year.

Dyeing eggs

On the hunt...

Bryson figured out real quick that there is something yummy in those eggs!

I made our traditional Easter dinner all alone this year! Ham, funeral potatoes, deviled eggs, veggie, and rolls. We enjoyed spending the day together and discussing the special, real reason we celebrate Easter: because our Savior, Jesus Christ was resurrected and lives!