Sunday, April 30, 2017

Beginning of April

We are busy, busy right now with all the recitals that have been thrown on top of our normally busy schedule of lessons and practices. I'm looking forward to a slower paced summer with more time at home. 

Currently we have 3 kids in piano(Elisabeth, Annabelle and Jane) and Charles just switched from piano to guitar. So four private music lessons a week, plus all the daily practice that goes with it. Also, Elisabeth and Jane are in tumbling, Annabelle and Nora were in dance but actually just finished up last week, and Charles is in baseball. We also have scouts for Charles, Young Women's for Elisabeth, Activity Days for Annabelle, and I am a cub scout leader. Basically every night of the week, except Saturday and Sunday, we've got things going on, and usually multiple things. Yes, I am definitely looking forward to a slower Summer. 

I've never wanted to be one of those parents that fills their kids schedule with all sorts of extracurricular activities; I want them to have free time and time at home with us, and they do, but because we have 5 kids, even if we say, 'one private music lesson and something else (like sport or sewing class etc)" that ends up being 10 things in a week! And we don't make them include scouts, yw or activity days in their 'something else'. This is a phase of life, just like all the others we've passed through thus far, and I'm grateful to the Lord for the energy and strength, and past experiences that have prepared me for this time where I need to do more and be more for my growing family. 

And speaking of doing more and being given strength, I have a half marathon coming up next week and I've been doing the Hansons Training Plan that my sister-in-law told me about (just found it online), which means I'm running 6 days a week, 2 faster, harder workouts, 1 long run, and then a few easier and slower runs. It's been really good, and I can tell I've gotten stronger and faster but I'm also getting more tired and need more sleep at night and that what I eat really matters especially the night before one of my either faster or longer run days. I am sure loving bananas these days and I never really did before. Here's a shot of one of my tempo runs, which basically means I'm running at my race pace. I did seven miles that morning at an 8:14 average pace. I actually am hoping to run my race at an 8 minute pace, and I have gotten a tempo run faster than this, but it'll be close on race day. 

It may be hard to tell from this picture, but I am sopping wet. That's 14 miles of running in the nonstop rain. The visor may look pointless but it kept rain from falling directly on my face. This was my first time running 14 miles! Woot woot! And being a Seattle native, I'm not afraid to run in the rain...we did everything in the rain. 

This is a text that was shared between me and my sister-in-law who is a good runner and has given me lots of good advice and help throughout my training. My text is in the green. 

 Speaking of doing hard things, our little Nora is on lesson 88 or so from her book 'how to teach your child to read in 100 easy lessons'. We started this book a few months ago and she's doing awesome!
We've also put some sight words on our kitchen wall that she's been working on. The ones on the left she's got down, the ones on the right we're currently working on, and the ones above we haven't gotten to just yet. This girl will be ready for kindergarten, and just on about 15 minutes a day of work! Nice Nora!

 I LOVE general conference weekend! We love listening to the uplifting words of our living prophet and apostles from the comfort of our own home (or from the conference center if we get to go; tickets are free, you just have to be lucky enough to get some). Saturday we mostly listened to conference while we ate fun foods and played games and Scott listened in the basement as he framed :).

 Saturday afternoon, Annabelle and I were able to go to the conference center with Stacy and Mark Haggin and the missionaries for a session (thank you Stacey for the tickets).

 I was able to go on a field trip with Elisabeth this month which I think was my first time joining her on one of these. When you're the oldest with four younger siblings, it's harder for mom to leave for an outing. But now that it's just me and Nora at home, and Nora is 5 this month and more independent, I was able to leave her with Lindsay Geilman, a good friend, which was so nice.

 Stephen and Marie came out for a visit from CO, and stayed with us for a week. They've been out three years in a row so their visits may be a yearly tradition. Stephen and Marie are not LDS, but they have done some humanitarian work with their church, so Marie and I and our littles went on a tour of the Humanitarian Center and Welfare Square in Salt Lake City. I am amazed by all the good works!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Work, Hank Smith, AC Recital, Jane is 7

Costa Vida opened up by our house, about a third of a mile away, so Nora and I went there one day for lunch after a long day of errands. 
 Nora is in love with Poppy from Trolls, so much so that she wants to wear her hair to be like Poppy's some days :). It doesn't stay up this way too long because after a while it hurts her head.
 Our van has been having lots of issues since it hit 100k miles, which means it's been in the shop fairly often. The silver lining is that the weather has turned beautiful over the past few weeks which means Nora and I can walk to a lot of the places we need to go. We've just put some more money into the van for some big fixes and we're hoping it'll last us another year while we continue to save for the next vehicle. And we'll be saying lots of prayers as we drive to Seattle this summer that we make it there and home all in one piece.
Charles has started a little bread making business. He's made several batches over the past couple of weeks and sold 11 loaves now. He's makes a cinnamon whole wheat bread that we love to make into French Toast. It's good for them to work and make their own money, learning to tithe, and starting to save for a mission.  

 The framing in the basement is coming along. We think he'll be done framing in 2 Saturdays. He gets down there a couple of nights a week, but usually only for an hour tops, and then on Saturdays he can spend several hours down there. He is amazing!
 Scott and I and most of the kids (Elisabeth was babysitting for someone in our neighborhood), attended a missionary musical fireside on a Friday night and got to meet Hank Smith! Scott and I had met him before at a marriage retreat in Aspen Grove, but this was the kids first time and he is a celebrity in their eyes.
 Saturday Emily Call and I took our webelos for a 3 mile hike on the Jordan River Trail. They all did great!
 March is Jane's date night month with mom and dad and she chose Kneaders for dinner and dessert.
Annabelle and Charles had their Spring Piano recital and both did well. 

 I took a picture of the menu last week because Scott walked by and added "meatballs" to the spaghetti on Saturday, and then Annabelle quickly inserted 'real' before meatballs. I guess they didn't love my lentil 'meatballs'. The joys of living with a vegetarian !
 Jane started tumbling at Jolley's in November of this year and she is already doing back hand springs! We've known for the past year or two that she was strong and fast and she was always doing cartwheels and one handed cartwheels around the house, even at age 4 so we figured she'd be good at tumbling, but we have still been amazed and surprised at all she's been doing so fast.
 Here is a picture update of Nora's toe. This is the toe nail that fell off when at a friends house. It's looking a lot better but is still pretty gross.
We had been looking at patio furniture at Costco and RC Willey and I figured I'd need to spend around $800 for a table with 6 chairs, but then I came across this cast iron set on KSL (used) and we snatched it up for $270 with delivery! I think we'll add an umbrella to it one day. 

 Jane turned 7 this month and she had a Moana party with her friends at our clubhouse. This is the cake I made. Two tier, the top is a white chocolate raspberry cake (amazing!) and the bottom is a chocolate cake. We frosted it in a blue butter cream, added some piping gel to make it look like shiny water, graham cracker crumbs on top for the beach, added some buttercream flowers and grass, hazlenut cookie sticks for 'logs' and then added a Moana and Hey hey figurines along with the black and white picture of maui that we colored in, laminated and then attached a kabob stick to the back.
 We found these party favors at the Dollar Tree. The gum and the flower Lei's came in packs of 3-4 so it was pretty inexpensive.

 We watched Moana in the clubhouse theater, and the girls played some arcade games, we had cake and ice cream and fruit and colored some Moana pictures.
 The next few pictures were taken on Jane's actual birthday. She requested a donut and cereal for the family for breakfast.
 We got her a new gymnastics suit and some clothes.
 She picked out these ankle boots from Granny. Oh and since her birthday was on a Sunday, I got Cafe Rio for lunch the Friday before and brought it to her and we ate together in her school cafeteria.
 Nora is doing really well with her reading! She's around lesson 80 now from her book and she's got a lot of sight words down as well. It's amazing what a difference 15 minutes a day (weekdays) can make.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Half Marathon Training, Marks Baptism

Friday, Annabelle and I made CTR and Temple sugar cookies for Mark Haggins baptism which was the following day. It was nice to have Annabelle's help and company as we rolled out dough and decorated the cookies; Jane and Nora also helped cut out a couple of the cookies from the dough. 
 I didn't have any big, nice serving platters so I used my large pizza pans and covered them with foil (since they were pretty marked up).
 That same day, Nora was carried home by a neighbor because she had injured her toe while playing on a moving teeter totter while at their house. She had gone their with shoes, but then had taken them off before this happened. I don't know if you can tell in the picture, but the majority of her toe nail was removed; it's pretty gruesome and we have to change the bandages multiple times a day right now.
 Friday night, Scott and Charles went camping with the 11 year old scout group and so the girls had a movie night and then danced for a bit after. Elisabeth and Annabelle had friends come over, and we watched Trolls and ate pizza, popcorn and treats :).
 I signed up for a couple of half marathons over this Spring/Summer and my first one will be the first week of May which means I am currently increasing my mileage. I'm following a training plan my sister-in-law Robin sent to me which has me running 6 days a week (though most weeks I only run 5 days and on my day off I do yoga) I am also lifting weights twice a week and I go to a Zumba class on Tuesdays. I lift on the day that I do intervals, or speed training, because it only takes me about 1/2 hour. Most of the other run days I run 6 miles, one tempo (race pace) run, and the others at a minute slower pace, plus a long run on Saturday(also slower pace) which has been 10 miles for the last 2 weeks and even though the training only has me go up to 12 miles, I think I'll do one run that's over 13. Here is my stats from my last Saturday run.
 After my long Saturday run I quickly got ready in my church clothes and dashed Elisabeth off to gymnastics, and straight from gymnastics we went over to the church for Mark's 11am baptism service. This is Mark with his missionaries. It has been such a privilege and a blessing for Scott and I to be able to be with Stacey and Mark each week in their home, with the missionaries as they received the missionary discussions. I met Stacey months ago when I was a new move-in and was asked to visit teach her. At that time, they didn't know anything about Stacey and her family except that she was also a new move-in and that she was not active. Elisabeth and I went over (after a lot of prayer), and met Stacey and we became fast friends. She came to book club with me, and to a relief society dinner and then to church and then started having the missionary discussions and her husband, who is not a member, joined in and it's been amazing. There is A LOT more to their story, which I have recorded in my personal journal, but we'll leave it here at that.
 Here are Mark and Stacey. We sure love them!
 My kids were able to sing at the baptism, along with Becca Blacks kids (our Relief Society president, who has also been at all of the missionary discussions), Elisabeth played prelude and played during the kids musical number, I was the chorister and Scott gave a talk on the Holy Ghost. Mark had a couple of good friends who are also members of the LDS church who flew in from Alaska and one baptized him and the other gave a talk on baptism. It was a beautiful service and a day full of love and peace and happiness.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

First week of March

This is what our monthly calendar looks like as a blank slate, and by blank slate I mean, we leave the items on the calendar that are the same every month, and then once the extras are cleared, this is what we have, and then I fill in the other items like recitals, dates, birthdays, games, hikes, temple trips, special events etc. I cannot function well without both my monthly dry-erase board calendar and also my phone calendar which is regularly sending me reminders. And since I got my smart Garmin for Christmas which is connected to my phone, I also get those reminders buzzing in on my wrist, which I love and need! 
Remember our nice mudroom that Scott and I made this year? This is what it looks like right after the kids get home from school. I need to be better about making them put it away nicely EVERY time. Yep, nagging mom here. But I'll do it with a smile and a cheerful voice :). 

This is my bookclub group, minus several women. I have been attending this book club regularly since 2007, minus my 2 years in CO, and I sure love these women and I love that we have read so many good and uplifting books together. It's nice to find friends with whom you can discuss and share uplifting ideas.
We ordered our lumber for the basement and it was delivered on a Friday morning, so before the kids took off for school, we had everyone help bring it around the back, and pass it through the basement window and on to dad.
Here are some before pictures of the basement:
This will be a bathroom on the left, and a small guest room on the right.
Where the lumber is stacked will be a larger family room with a large screen and a game table of some sort and probably a counter.

Over here we'll have a small utility closet and a gym! We are both super excited about having a gym in our home! The winters here are very cold, snowy and they last several months, so it'll be nice to have a space where we can have gym equipment and room to do our thing each morning.
Nora is on lesson 76 from her "how to teach your child to read in 100 easy lessons' book. She is doing amazing! Reading is really starting to click which is wonderful and I've loved seeing her huge leaps of progress over these past few months. 

I took this picture of Annabelle in her jazz dance class. The class is not very big for the 12 girls they have packed in there, but she still loves it. 

Elisabeth had a recital this month, and it was different from all her other recitals. This month they honored Marshall McDonald whose children also play for Bridget, and he himself has published many books of arrangements and has done arrangements for the Piano Guys. Bridget also invited family members who play other instruments to participate in this recital which was fun. Normally her recitals are under an hour, but this one was over an hour and a half.

Elisabeth played Abide with Me.
Sorry for the sideways picture. Just wanted to show that I've started upping my long runs again. I had been pretty consistent at 6 miles during the winter for long runs, but I'm up to 10 again. I will be doing the Provo Half in the beginning of May, and then Scott and I will do the Bryce Canyon Half in July.
Sweet Mark Haggin came over Saturday to help Scott in the basement. They got most of the floor framing laid. By the way, he is getting baptized this Saturday! We are so happy for him and his family! 

And here are Scott and I at the Mt Timpanogos temple for a Saturday date. This was my first time going to this temple, Scott's second time, and we loved it. We went with our ward and there were only a few other people that came, the Davis' and Andy Watson, so afterward we grabbed some dinner with the Davis' at an Indian restaurant(Andy needed to get home to his family). Lovely evening!