Monday, May 30, 2016

Sunday Cooking and Healthy Strawberry Cream Smoothie

Most Sundays we spend together, at church, at home, on walks and in the kitchen. I love that everyone gets involved with the Sunday meal. It makes cooking so much more delightful! Since we have 9 o'clock church right now, and don't often have time to make a big breakfast like we normally would if church was later, we make breakfast for dinner fairly regularly. On this particular week, Scott and Elisabeth made a braided cinnamon bread which we then turned into French Toast. It was so yummy!
 A couple of weeks ago, on a Saturday, Jane had a lot of sugar and junk food(she attended a birthday party plus she had her normal saturday night treat) and that night she threw up. This has happened with some of our children in the past. But what's different with Jane is that she is now afraid of having sugar and if she does have some, she feels sick, almost instantly, but I really think it's in her head. Hopefully she will get off it soon. Because of this, she's been asking for more healthy treats, and if we're in a time crunch, smoothies are wonderful! We love this Strawberry Cream Smoothie. I love these cute kids and their strawberry mustaches!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Charles 4th Grad Program, Annie Soccer, Wet Run, Mexico Report

Charles had his 4th grade Program last week. I had heard about it a month ago and then figured as it got closer, Charles would come home with details but this kid did not want to go and dance with girls or sing, so he did not tell me. Ever! Elisabeth, our 6th grader, came home from school one day and said they watched the 4th grade program during an assembly that day, and that Charles was the only one who was not dressed in his white shirt and jeans, but he wore his typical athletic shorts and t-shirt. I messaged a mom from the class and asked her about if she'd heard anything about when the night program would be for the parents and she said it was going to be that night! I found Charles and went through his very messy, and full of papers, backpack, looking for any papers that he might have failed to give to me with the dates on them or other important information, while we had this conversation: "So your program is tonight." -Me
"Oh. Yeah, I think it's at 7." -Charles
"Uh, why didn't you tell me this the other day when I asked you? And it's at 6." 
"No, it's at 7. And I didn't tell you because it's optional."
"No, it's at 6; I Just got off the phone with Kaden's mom who confirmed that time. And it's not optional. We are going so get your white shirt and jeans ready." 
Mumble, groan, whine. 
So we went and he danced and afterwards we went to their classrooms where they presented their county reports and I apologized to his teacher for not being dressed appropriately for the assembly earlier that day and I told her about his 'optional' response, to which she laughed and said, "I'm not too surprised. He did not want to sing and dance and he told me he probably couldn't make it tonight."  
I pulled lots of papers out of his backpack, plus some heavy rocks. 

 He looked very handsome in his outfit so I even took a video of his dance so we can enjoy it for years to come.

 Annabelle got to be goalie at her soccer game this past Saturday and she didn't let any in.
 Earlier that same Saturday morning, Lisa (a friend/neighbor) and I drove down to American Fork Canyon where we ran 9 miles in heavy rain with her sister in law and another friend. Running that long in the rain isn't so bad when you have friends to visit with :). But we were soaked through, all our layers, very fast.
 Elisabeth did a country report on Mexico last week, and I did a 30 minute presentation for Annabelle's 2nd grade class last week, also on Mexico. It was nice having us do the same country because we shared information and ideas. And Elisabeth taught me how to do a slideshow using which I loved! It's fun (and a little scary), doing something new.

Her teacher, Mrs Shaddick, took these pictures during my presentation:

 Here we are doing the hand slap game on the floor while reciting a song/rhyme which helps us remember the days of the week in Spanish (went to the tune of Frere Jacques..."Lunes, Martes, Lunes, Martes, Miercoles, Miercoles, Jueves Viernes Sabado, Jueves Viernes Sabado, Domingo. Domingo.")

I went to the Mexican Market the day before my presentation and picked up some Mexican Chocolate and some Mexican sweet bread for Elisabeth and I to pass out during our presentations. This mexican hot chocolate is nostalgic for me. With my dad being from Mexico, we always had this on hand and I had it a lot growing up. It's different than your typical american powdered hot chocolate. This chocolate comes in these brick like circles and you can cut/brake off a triangular piece to eat or put in hot milk. I used to sneak these chocolate pieces as a child and eat them :). And they don't taste like your normal chocolate bar either. It's darker and grainier, but I loved it. 

 And I was happy to cook some up for my kids and let them enjoy a special treat from my childhood. (When I drank it, I always had bread to dip inside).

This is what happens when I'm on my phone not paying attention to my children when I should be: stickers all over my face, compliments of Jane. Love our Jane! And I will make an effort to do better about not checking messages when they're around. 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Reliable Commuter Car, Black Widow

I took this picture on a Sunday afternoon, of Charles and Nora building and playing together. Charles and Nora are quite similar in their personalities. They both are full of energy and ideas, they both are very affected if they have a low blood sugar (more so than my others; to the point where it's hard for them to function at all if they haven't eaten in a while), they don't often clean up after themselves and they are easily overwhelmed when they are asked to clean up a mess, even if it's small. I remember when Charles was small, if I asked him to clean his room or tidy up something, he would fall to the floor and often stay their for a long period of time because he didn't know where to begin and just felt overwhelmed. Nora does the same thing. And sometimes she'll fall asleep on the floor while she's down there. 

 Scott and I have been having car troubles for awhile. His car problems started years ago but have gotten worse with his longer commutes (about 30-45 minutes each way, depending on traffic). My van started acting up last September when Scott and the kids drove out to Washington to be with me and my family when my dad passed away. Between the two of us, our vehicles have spent a lot of time in the shop over the past several months, with alignment, axles replaced, brakes replaced, fuel tank replaced, harmonic balancer replaced and most recently Scott's truck started leaking again and this time it's the water pump(I think) that needs to be replaced.  We've spent a lot of money on fixing them and they are still not fixed.  We own both of our vehicles and we decided it was time to get Scott a more reliable commuter car, so we put his truck up for sale, and we bought a toyota corolla.

We didn't want to buy something brand new because they are so expensive and the value drops significantly as soon as you drive it off the lot, but this one is a 2015 and has under 10,000 miles on it and is much cheaper than a new corolla. And you can't get much more reliable than a toyota. We haven't sold the truck yet but we have gotten several offers on it (we were very honest and upfront about the condition of the truck), we're just waiting for the right price.  

I was sweeping out the garage last week and found this black widow in a corner near the garage door! Yikes! I quickly got rid of it and then talked to Jane and Nora, who were with me, about not playing with spiders (they love rolly pollys and ladybugs, so I wouldn't put it past them to discover a new insect friends). Looks like we're going to need to spray the house soon.  

Monday, May 16, 2016

Mother's Day! I love being a mom!

 Mother's Day I was served my favorite breakfast: green smoothie, made by Elisabeth, and my favorite dinner: enchiladas, rice and beans, made by Scott and the kids!

The kids all had their homemade gifts that they'd done in school or at activity days and I bought myself white church shoes, from Scott :).

 With our 5 kids ranging in age from 4 to almost 12, my role as mother now, has changed somewhat from when they were all young and needing me to meet most of their basic needs (feeding, changing, keeping them safe, carrying them from place to place). In the mornings, once I've taken care of myself, 'sharpening the saw' as Stephen R Covey would put it, I am the supervisor/manager and I make sure children have done their chores, made their lunches, fixed their hair and cleaned up their messes before they head out the door for school. During the day I do a lot of cleaning, cooking and spending time with Nora and Jane, who is in half day kindergarten. We read stories, do homework, I help Jane with her piano, we have quiet reading/writing time, and I try to have them get some exercise each day (endorphin's make us happy, and I like happy people :)); Nora's exercise is usually biking to school with the kids and mom each morning. Once the kids are home, around 320, I am usually in the kitchen where I welcome them and ask them about their day, they get a snack and start on homework and piano and I am there to help with whatever they might need, including memorizing spelling words, timing for reading or math, helping with a project etc. I'll also usually finish dinner prep at this time and do a little more tidying. Oh, and I'm also the chauffeur and Wed and Th I take kids to piano lessons and during different seasons, I drive different children to different sports practices. I'm grateful we are close enough to our church that our kids can walk to cub scouts and activity days.

 On weekdays, the kids don't get much play time with friends, maybe 30 minutes if they can quickly get all their homework, chores, piano etc done, but Friday and Saturday they often are with friends for several hours so I try to have a snack out and ready to share because I know they'll be hungry from playing for so long, and because I want them to stay at my house :). So I suppose I have ulterior motives...I like my children to play here and I want their friends to feel loved and welcome.
 One of the kids snapped this picture as I was tidying up something in the kitchen, and visiting with them at the same time :).
I love being a wife and mother. It is the most satisfying, fulfilling, hard, challenging, growing and rewarding experience of my life. I'm so grateful each one of these spirits were sent to our family. I've learned so much from each and every one of them and they continually help to strengthen and refine my character and I've grown closer to Christ through that process. Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

My First Half Marathon

I ran my first half marathon last Saturday! Wahoo! But before we get into race day, I want to record the events and the training that took place getting up to this point. And I'm going way, way back. 

In high school(which was 15+ years ago), I hated running. Fridays were the worst because I knew we'd have to run a mile in PE and so I always tried to get out of it. Running was killer, I had a hard time breathing and I was not fast and my face was always beet red. I was also 15-20 pounds heavier than I am now and I ate a lot of fast food and other junk, which makes running even harder. 

Once in college, I had roommates that ran regularly in the mornings and I joined up with them several times, doing a mile or two, but I still didn't really like it. Going to BYU, and living on campus, you are bound to get more exercise because campus is huge, and so I think all that extra walking (and sometimes running) to classes each day, helped. 

Scott and I were married in 2003 and started our family right away. Which meant I wasn't running, but I did a lot of speed walking while pregnant and then with strollers, for many years. Sometimes I'd go out for a jog, but speed walking was more my thing, and I did it 5 times a week for 30-45 minutes. Over the years we got an elliptical (which broke a couple years ago) and a treadmill (which also broke a few years ago) and so I would use those, sometimes jogging, but mostly walking, and I did Billy Blanks Tae Bo exercise videos and Zumba once a week.  

After we had our fifth, and last, I go a couple more exercise dvds, a few Bob Harper dvds which include weights and do a lot of full body workouts, which are an hour. We moved to Colorado around that time and I signed up with some friends in my ward, to do a 10k. I had never in my life run 6 miles before, or even 4 or 5 miles; I honestly didn't think my body was capable of doing that, so I wasn't sure how this was going to go, but I wanted to give it a try. I wasn't at all concerned about speed, I just wanted to see if I could do it. And I did. I finished in just over an hour so my miles were around 10 minutes. I found that it actually wasn't that hard, probably because I'd been doing intense hour-long exercises (mostly with those videos...Bob Harper and Jillian Michaels are great), so this didn't seem too different. After that Scott and I both decided we wanted to work on our speed. Our goal was to run 1 mile in 8 minutes, and then some day we hoped to be able to run a 5k doing 8 minute miles. But that almost seemed impossible because running a mile any faster than 10 minutes felt really hard. In Colorado we are surrounded by very large hills and it's impossible to run out my door and not take at least 2 very large hills, so I'm sure that strengthened our legs. Around this time Scott and I also started doing more weight lifting, a few times a week, lifting heavier weights, and for longer periods of time plus we did exercise programs on available on our Roku device, like The Daily Burn, which had all sorts of exercises from dance, to weights to HIIT to yoga. All of these exercises helped us work on our endurance and strength, and helped prepare me to do more. 

Last year in July, Scott and I did a sprint triathlon (swim 300 meters, bike 6 miles and run 2 miles) and then in August I decided to do a free 1/2 marathon that my good friend Gina does with her family (they do it all themselves and have aid stations etc) each year over Labor Day weekend in September. I got up to running 8 miles(my farthest run ever!), but then my dad was in a car accident at the end of August and I flew out to be with him and was there for a couple of weeks, during which time he passed away and we had his funeral. So I missed that half but thought, I'll try to do it next year and I kept on jogging occasionally and exercising daily.

A few months ago, I think it was in March, my good friend Elisa suggested I run a half marathon. She'd done multiple halves in Utah and her favorite one is in Provo, where you run down the Provo Canyon. She said it's beautiful and there's a lot of down hill so it's not too hard. I thought it sounded fun, but she was pregnant and wouldn't be able to do it with me and I didn't really want to do it on my own (Scott hurt his foot this year so long distance running for him was out for the time). A few days later she sent me the link to the race, which would take place in the first week of May, and I looked it over and decided to sign up. 

I had about 7 weeks to train, and like I said, I hadn't done any running for months, besides our few days in North Carolina,  because it was so freezing cold  and the smog was horrible! So horrible that schools were not allowing children to go out to recess multiple days, because of what smog does to your lungs. But I kept up my intense hour long exercises 5-6 days a week throughout the winter, just indoors. I did lots of videos and checked out a lot of new videos from the library.   By that point I could do 2 miles at around an 8 minute pace(though they were very hard and I would pray a lot and would get a lot of help in the form of added strength in mind and body in order to get those times), but then I'd slow down to around 9 minutes or slower. I found some training schedules on pinterest and went with one that was 6 weeks long. I would run MWF, Monday and Wednesday I started doing 3-4 miles and then moved up to 6 miles, and Saturdays were my long runs which started at 4 miles and I increased them by 1 1/2-2 miles each week so 5 1/2, 7, 9, 11 13 and then I went back to 6 for the last three weeks prior to the race, first because my toenail was giving me a lot of pain, but once that healed up my sister-in-law, who did the boston marathon and lots of other races and has been running forever, told me not to do a long run the week before the race. She was also training for a 1/2 marathon which she ran the same day as me, but in Snoqualmie Washington (and she killed it and ran it in 1:30, so 7 min/miles!!). So even though I say I trained for 6-7 weeks, I had been exercising an hour, daily for years so it wasn't like starting from nothing :). 

Robin and I were able to do one long run together when we visited Becca in Idaho last month. We did 11 miles which was my first time hitting that number and running with her, who is super speedy, I ran it doing 8:30 min/miles which was fast for me and a bit slow for her :). But I learned so much during that run! It was nice to run with someone who kept a faster pace so I could hear the beat of our feet and how fast I should be going. She also brought water and a Stinger Waffle snack for us to share which I'd never done before but was SO helpful! It gave me that extra added boost of energy I needed. She says she runs with water/snack when she's going more than 8-10 miles. I had called her multiple times prior to this day asking for advice on how to increase my speed (quicken pace, don't lengthen stride), and how to get ride of the headaches that always seemed to come when I ran outdoors (if nose is running, which mine ALWAYS is when I'm out running because I'm allergic to trees, grass and weeds, don't breath through nose, but through mouth and she said I can shoot snot out my nose if I need to as well by covering one nostril at a time :), haha, gross, but it works!). She also mentioned good posture, especially when going up hill like not bringing shoulders up to ears and hunching, and trying to breath evenly. There's probably more, I just can't think of it now. Oh, and when I told her about my toenail, she suggested resting my foot, not doing a long run for at least a week and trying to go without shoes for several days to rest it, and then if possible, to get shoes a 1/2 size bigger. I did all those things and it healed completely! I had Altra's in size 9 1/2 which is already a 1/2 size bigger than my normal shoe, and then I ended up getting the Brooks shoe in a size 10 and that is even better! 

Altra Zero Drop, Provision 2 and Brooks Ghost

The week before the race I started to get anxious and nervous and excited. I read lots of running articles and texted Robin and Elisa regularly asking them questions about what to eat the night before and morning of, and other things. I'd been working on my speed; my phone tells me my speed every 1/2 mile, and then that last week I borrowed my friend Elisa's Garmin Forerunner watch and really tracked my speed. I was usually running miles between 815-850 which is not super consistent, but I was also listening to general conference talks and music and so I wasn't completely focused on my speed the whole time. The day of the race, I would have to wake up at 4am Saturday morning, so that week prior I made sure I was up by 5 every day so that I was tired enough to get to bed by 9pm Friday night. I also made sure to not have any sugar the days leading up to the race and the day before the race to eat well, and that night I had a bigger dinner, later in the evening, around 630-7pm (I ate 2 enchiladas, rice, black beans and salad, all of which I know sit well with me because we have it so regularly.). I laid all my running gear out the night before...Elisa's Garmin, my mp3 player (which I didn't end up running with...I sat by a 7-minute/mile pacer on the bus up to Provo Canyon and he said he doesn't run with anything in his ears because he likes to listen to the beat of his feet and his breathing), headband because if there's any bit of wind it bothers my ears, and I run in a very light, long sleeved shirt because I'm allergic to trees and weeds and grass so my nose constantly runs and I need something to wipe it on and carrying around enough toilet paper, and then dirty toilet paper, is not an option. I also packed up a couple of Stinger Waffles: one to eat an hour before the race, and one to eat 45 minutes into the race. 

Scott and I got up at 4am, drank some water, I read my scriptures, stretched, got dressed and by 430am we were out the door and Scott drove me down to Provo. While he drove I ate a 1/2 piece of whole wheat toast with almond butter and a banana and water. We got to Provo around 5am and he dropped me off near the buses that would take  650 of us up the canyon. I was up the canyon, near the start line by 540am. The race would start at 7am. In the meantime I stretched, got some more tips from the pacers (I made friends with a few), found the pacer I wanted to try and stick with, used el bano, and was in line between the 8:23 and the 8:46 pacer before 7am. The 8:46 pacer was a fun little lady that I enjoyed talking to so I started out running with her, for probably the first 2 miles, but it felt so easy, going down the canyon that I thought I'd try and catch up to the 8:23 pacer. Well, that didn't ever happen because he was running faster than 8:23 pace, but I did get within a couple minutes of him and kept my eyes on his sign for a lot of the time, which he held in his hand. The first about 7 miles of the run were mostly down hill, not too steep, just really nice. I loved being able to look around me at all of God's beautiful creations from the trees to the hills, the mountains and the streams. Absolutely gorgeous! I even found myself singing songs in my head about God's goodness and all his creations.  The next 6 were flat and rolling mostly, and through Provo city which meant there was not much to look at besides the cars, traffic and buildings, and I found myself praying a lot more during that time because those miles were harder and I needed extra help. I tried hard to focus on my breathing and to listen to my feet, and I frequently checked my Garmin so even though it was hard, and I got tired, and then my legs/calves felt tight and cramped during the last three miles, the Lord blessed me with strength and I was able to stick with my pace and finish strong. 

I finished in 1 hour 49 minutes and some seconds, which came out to an 8:22min/mile pace! I was very pleased with the run and how it all turned out. Scott and the kids were waiting for me at the finish line (and they passed me during that long, hard stretch and yelled and waved which was fun). Once done I grabbed some orange slices and a banana and water which they had out and ate/drank it all quickly, then found a honey bucket and changed into dry clothes, because my sweaty stuff was making me cold, fast.
I went to get some food (they had french toast from Magleby's) and ate and stretched while the kids played in the bounce house and got their faces painted. 

We drove home (I rubbed my legs while we drove) and I took a quick shower when we got home while Scott made me a PB and banana protein smoothie, and then we jumped back in the car so we could make it to Annabelle's soccer game :).

I ate a lot of food that day, I felt hungry and thirsty all day and I massaged my legs regularly, because they were a bit tight and sore but it wasn't horrible and I could still walk and move fine. Sunday I was still a bit sore, but it was feeling better, the hunger pangs were gone, and by Monday I was good; did a three miler monday morning and 6 on Thursday, which felt good. This has been a fun experience for me and I'm sure I'll do one again sometime in the near future :). I plan to continue doing 6-mile runs 2-3 times a week plus mixing in other 1 hour exercises on the other days. As for a marathon, I'm not sure I'll ever want to do one because I'm beat after 13.1 and it takes nearly an entire day for me to recover. Plus the half took me almost 2 hours, which is time away from home, even though I did train earlier in the mornings. But a full marathon would be four hours and it's not just 4 hours that one day, but all the long training leading up to it. I think the only way I'd run one is if my kids want to do one and talk me into it because then it'd be time spent together.  

Monday, May 9, 2016

Ducklings, N riding a bike, J lost tooth, Friends Staying Over

We found a mama duck sitting on eggs in a bush at the parking lot of our church about 6 weeks ago. We've been checking in on her nearly every day and finally this past week when we came, we found about 6 had hatched! 
The little baby ducklings are so sweet!
Nora learned how to ride a two-wheeler with pedals this week! Just a week or so after she'd turned 4! She's been on a balance bike for the past year and we'd tried to get her to Jane's old bike with pedals for several months now because she's so fast on the balance bike, but she refused. She would respond with, "No. I'm not big enough. When I am four." She seemed scared of it when I tried to sit her on it before so I just let it go. Then a few days after she turned four she started talking about how she wanted Jane's blue bike down (I put it up high in the shed so it was out of the way), and I'd say, 'sure, we can some time.' But I figured it'd be like the last time when she sat on it, tried once and decided it was too scary, so I didn't think there was any rush. Then the weather was nice for awhile and I was outside every morning in the front yard weeding and she begged for the blue bike and I figured she needed something to do, so I got it down, she sat on it, and I told her I'd run with my hand on the back a few times but then I'd need to get back to my weeding. She agreed and we set off. I gave her some suggestions as we ran/biked like, push forward on the pedals with your foot, and don't push back, and go faster. We did this for a few minutes and then I told her to keep practicing on the grass, which was nice and soft in case she fell, while I worked in the yard. Oh, and we also put long sleeves and pants on her in case she fell, hopefully preventing scrapes. After about 20 minutes of her trying to figure it out on her own, while at the same time, begging me to help again, I told her I'd help for a few more minutes. I held onto the back, we started off, I told her to go faster and then I was barely touching the seat, and then I let go and just ran beside her and she kept on going and said, "Nora, you're doing it all by yourself!" and she smiled and kept on keeping on! Those balance bikes make it really easy for them to learn how to bike because they get the whole balance thing down and now they just need to pedal. No training wheels required. That's how Jane learned to ride too. 
Because the weather has been so nice, once it hits about 3pm, we walk/ride over to the church parking lot where the girls ride around as we wait for the kids to get home from school which is within about 15 minutes or so. We took these selfies one day while we were waiting.

These girls are so fun! I am absolutely loving the stage of all our kids right now! They are independent, hard working and wanting to please mom and dad. I know it won't last forever, but we're sure enjoying it now! I am also enjoying the freedom that comes from having older kids like the freedom to use the bathroom alone, and the freedom to go to a Zumba class once a week, and to volunteer in my kids classes (I just bring Nora) and the freedom to go on date nights weekly because I don't have a baby I have to nurse, and we have a built-in-babysitter, and I love sleeping through the night and not having diapers :). But when I was in the baby stage, I enjoyed that too. I loved the snuggles and cuddles, the smiles and giggles, being there for all the many 'firsts', first tooth, first crawl, first walk, first word, etc, and it's always nice to be needed and wanted. But I'm in another stage of parenting now and I love it too! Bring on the teens (in another year for Elisabeth)! Let's hope I don't regret saying that :).

Our friends went out of state for several nights and asked if their two youngest, who are 12 and 9, could stay with us. We had them from Tuesday night through Friday late afternoon, and then we had arranged for them to go elsewhere Friday night because I had my half marathon in provo early Saturday morning and I needed to be well rested and we can't all fit in our van. Abby came back Saturday afternoon and stayed the night, and then their parents were home by Sunday morning. The girls spent a good amount of time working on their world reports, and they are very close friends and so they spent a lot of time visiting as well. Because it was on school nights, we had them stay in our guest room so that children were getting sufficient sleep.
Jane lost her very first tooth this week! It's on the bottom, front, and, as you can see, there's already a tooth growing in behind it. 

We made sweet potato muffins and banana muffins one late afternoon, just before the kids got home from school and there were 30 muffins, and within two minutes, this was the only one left! Granted, we did have Abby and Ethan, plus Maddy and Kennedy over so there were 9 hungry children, who had just gotten home from school. It's why I made them! They love coming home from school and finding a fresh, homemade snack, and I love that they love these 'healthier' whole wheat, no sugar, snacks.
Amid our very nice, 70 degree weather, we've also had some thunder storms with pouring rain, and hail. Those are fun to watch and listen to. It reminds me of home growing up in Seattle. Except we didn't have a lot of pouring rain, more like a constant drizzle.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Father's and Sons Campout, Girls Night, Planting Seeds

Friday night was our stake Father's and Sons camp out, at Hobble Creek Canyon. Scott took off work early so that he and Charles could be up there by around 530. They had hot dogs and sausages for dinner and they brought some oatmeal cream pies to share :). They both had a great time camping, spending time outdoors and being with friends. 

Since the boys were gone for the night, we invited some girlfriends over after dinner, whose husbands/sons were also out. Kim, Amanda and Kelly came over with their girls and we ate snacks and visited, and the girls watched Napolean Dynamite and then played until around 1015-1030. The next morning I went for a 6 mile run while Elisabeth watched the girls...this coming Saturday is my half marathon! I'm pretty excited/anxious. 

The boys got home around 9am Saturday morning and we left by 930 for Annabelle's soccer game. After soccer we came back and planted vegetable seeds in the garden, as well as herbs and flowers along our back fence. We're so excited to have a garden again this year since we were renting the past two years and could not have one. I'm excited for the kids to be able to help take care of and nourish the seeds they've planted and to see them grow and then be able to pick and eat the fruit of their labor :). Planting seeds is so much like our own personal testimonies. Once the seed is planted, or the testimony started, it's up to use to daily nourish it and strengthen it through scripture study, prayer, temple attendance, family home evening, church etc, and once they are grown and strong, we continue to nourish and care for it so that it does not become weak and die. The steps are simple, we just need to be diligent and consistent and we will be happy and blessed now and forever.