Monday, September 21, 2009

Cali's Real Birthday!

Yesterday was Cali’s 14th Birthday. I got up at 6 a.m. to make muffins, decorate the house, and hide money for a treasure hunt. Climbing onto the stool to hang up crepe paper was excruciating on my quads, but so worth seeing the smile on her face!

I decided since she was turning 14, I’d hide her b-day money in really hard to find spots. We usually take it easy on the kids for treasure hunts, but I knew she’d enjoy the challenge. I found out later, no one likes to look around the house for an hour – even if they are searching for money! Lesson learned.

Grandma Joannie, Grandpa Markie, and Josh all came over to enjoy Cali’s b-day dinner: grilled chicken, homemade mashed potatoes, asparagus, rolls, and Earthquake Cake. Yummy!! We all agreed we’d like to have a b-day dinner every Sunday!

After dinner, Carson told Cali he had a special surprise for her. “Cali, for your b-day present, I’m going to let you sleep on the pink futon on the floor right next to my bed!” Now, the pink futon is a 20- year- old piece of ¼ inch foam that people sleep on in emergencies! Carson felt like he was really giving Cali a treat though!

Being a sweetheart, Cali said, “Carson, I think I’ll take a rain check and sleep by you this weekend when I don’t have to get up so early for school.” Carson gladly accepted the offer.

Cali, thanks for being such a super-de-duper, fabulous, on-the-ball, kind, loving, considerate, helpful, truly outstanding daughter and sister! I am truly blessed to have you in my life! Love ya!

Cali in her new b-day robe with Nyah and Hugh Hefner!

Cali getting ready to blow out her candles. Ian, being a clown!

Real Time in Logan, Utah

10:00 p.m. Borrowed an alarm clock from Aunt Katie. Set it and reset it for 4 a.m. three different times. Also set the alarm on my cell phone. I am not going to miss this race.

10:30 p.m. Hunkered down under the picnic blanket I brought along to sleep with. It is very itchy. The blowup bed I brought is deflating already. I think I’ll add some more air.

11:00 p.m. Extra air didn’t help. I feel like I’m camping. Five hours till the alarm clock goes off.

12:01 a.m. Cousin Marissa just walked down the hall. Haven’t seen her in years. Got up to give her a hug. Can’t believe I am still awake.

1:00 a.m. Might as well go to the bathroom. See if an empty bladder will help me sleep.

2:14 a.m. Am listening to Donna breathing. Sounds like she’s asleep. What’s wrong with me?

2:32 a.m. I think I may have fallen asleep for a few minutes. Dreamed about crazy monkeys. Really looking forward to choking down that banana and bagel in a few hours for my pre-race carbs.

3:58 a.m. Might as well get up. The alarm is going to go off in 2 minutes anyway.

4:01 a.m. Found out the alarm on my cell phone works!

4:10 a.m. Sitting on the potty saying silent prayers. Sure hope I don’t get Toxic Shock Syndrome during the race from this tampon! How many hours are you supposed to wear these things?

4:20 a.m. Strapped the timing bracelet onto my ankle. Look at myself in the mirror. Ready or not!

4:35 a.m. Deflating a blowup bed is a very noisy process. Hope I don’t wake the whole house up.

4:40 a.m. Carry bed, itchy blanket and bags out to car. Maybe I’ll trip, twist my ankle, and won’t be able to run!

4:45 a.m. Driving towards the bus pick-up. This banana tastes like rotten squash. I sure hope the potassium helps me out today in a big way!

5:00 a.m. Park the Pathfinder in the parking lot. Don’t know what to do with my keys. Don’t want to carry them. Don’t want to put them in my bag (what if they lose it during the race and I can’t get home?!) Stash the keys in the wheel of my tire. Hopefully the car will be here when we get back.

5:15 a.m. Climb aboard the school bus as a group. Donna and I met up with Marissa, Stacey and Amy for the ride up. Laugh and laugh about running potty stories. I’m sure the people around us are dying!

6:00 a.m. One hour till race time. Porta potty line is super long. Still 7 people away from entry. A man’s been in there for a really long time.

6:15 a.m. Porta potty man exits. Terrible fumes exit with him. Everyone is gagging. Should’ve brought air freshener.

6:40 a.m. Finally inside the stinky porta potty. Go, Vanessa, Go!

6:50 a.m. Take all my layers off. Gag down some Cliff Blocks. Shaking from the cold and nerves. Turn the music up. Ready to go!

7:00 a.m. Some pioneers just shot some guns near the starting line. I guess that means, “Run!”

7:15 a.m. Running downhill. Getting a side ache under my ribcage. Doesn’t make sense.

7:30 a.m. Still running with rib ache. Where are all my friends? Keep on running, Vanessa.

7:45 a.m. Tried to drink Gatorade while running. It was red. It didn’t make it into my mouth. Look like I’m bleeding to death.

8:40 a.m. Almost to the ½ marathon point. Marissa just waved as she passed me. She rocks!

8:41 a.m. ½ marathon point. Good pace. Donna just passed me. She is doing awesome! Asked how I am feeling. I can feel the wall coming. My legs feel like rocks!!

8:50 a.m. Have reached the bottom of the mountain pass. No more momentum to push me along. Feeling extremely sluggish.

9:00 a.m. See a lady standing with a beautiful silver tray full of fruit. Maybe an orange will help give me some more energy.

9:13 a.m. Orange did not help. Need to find restroom fast.

9:16 a.m. Porta potty ahead. Uh, oh. There’s only one porta potty and people in lawn chairs lined up right beside it watching the race. How embarrassing!

9:17 a.m. It was embarrassing!

10:00 a.m. I now feel like I’d like to quit. I am no longer running. I wouldn’t even call it shuffling.

10:05 a.m. Just saw Rachel from the gym. She isn’t actually in the race, just helping to pace her friend. She asked how I was doing. I feel like crying. I am crying.

10:22 a.m. Just asked a stranger what time it is. 2.6 miles left to go. Don’t know if I can do it.

10:25 a.m. An annoying 16 year old boy keeps passing me. He is breathing very heavily and chanting to himself. Can’t people suffer in silence?!

10:39 a.m. One more mile left to go. Longest mile of my life.

10:50 a.m. Crossed the finish line. The clock said 3:48:blah, blah, blah. 3 minutes shy of Boston qualification. Shouldn’t have eaten the orange. Shouldn’t have used the porta potty. Probably have Toxic Shock Syndrome. Please remind me never to do this again.

11:15 a.m. Laying on grass looking at the beautiful blue sky. Feel sick to my stomach. Can feel blisters on my feet.

11:30 a.m. Pick up my duffel bag. Limp back to the car. It’s still there!

12:00 (Noon) Call Aaron to tell him about race.

12:30 p.m. Making plans for a marathon in April. I know . . . I know . . . I know . . .

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Not So Tasty Pork Tenderloin

I was so grateful to my mom for making dinner on Sunday. My only assignment was to bring the rolls. Now, I have spent a lot of time training my kids to always be polite about whatever is served for dinner. They can be honest, but not mean. For example, when I served the Pizza Casserole last week, I got comments like, "This is interesting, Mom." "Is this pepperoni in here?" and my personal favorite, "Are we going to be having this as leftovers tomorrow night?" Because I force the kids to be polite, I also have to be a good example.

So, when Mom showed up with dinner, we peeked under the foil wrapped skillet to see what the main dish looked like. To my chagrin, I saw 2 lumps of grey meat with dallops of purple goo on top. My nostrils quaked as the ripe smell of fish filtrated through the air. What were we having for dinner?

The kids voiced my thoughts, "What is it, Grandma Joannie?"

"It's pork tenderloin," my mom said. "All I had to do was put a little grape jelly on top, check it with a meat thermometer, and voila, it was done!" The side dish mom brought was a new recipe as well: vegetable curry. The kids looked mortified.

Nyah pulled me aside. "Mom, do I have to eat that?"

"Yes, Nyah. You at least have to try it!"

I was wondering if I was going to be able to get it down myself.

Everyone sat around the table, staring at the pork tenderloin medallions on the plate.

Carson voiced our thoughts, "It sure looks like fish!"

Ian, my fish lover, had already dug in. "It tastes like fish too, Grandma!" Ian was overjoyed!

At the end of the meal, the pork tenderloin medallions were almost completely gone, thanks to Aaron, Grandpa Markie, and Ian. Grandma Joannie and I also made a valiant effort at eating the fishy pork. Needless to say, all of the pork eaters, with Ian as the exception (he has an iron stomach), were in the restroom most of the night. This recipe will not be added to my recipe collection.

Monday, September 14, 2009

What are you doing to fill your lamp?

We were preparing our lesson last night for Family Home Evening. We usually aren't that on the ball, but we are going to teach the lesson to ladies at a nursing home, so I thought we'd better sound a little bit organized. We decided to share the parable of the 10 Virgins and how we too need to prepare ourselves for the Savior's Second Coming. I asked each of the kids to share how they are filling their own lamps:

Nyah: I pray to Heavenly Father.
Carson: I am nice to people.
Cali: I read the scriptures.
Ian: I am going to buy a plane ticket to Adam-ondi-Ahman.

Oh, dear. I think we are going to have to edit Ian's comments before the lesson tonight! At least I know he's staying very focused in Primary!! Ha! Ha!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

How are the Following things Connected? Fugitives. The Pink Panther. Lots of Girls.

It was Cali's 14th B-Day Bash on Friday night. The festivities started at 7:30 p.m. We split the girls into groups of 3, dropped them off about 1 1/4 miles away from our house, and left them with nothing but a bottle of water and glow sticks to find their way back to our house. An added twist: they were chased by 3 "police cars". If they were caught, they had to ride as prisoners around the neighborhood. If they were fast and good at hiding from the police patrol, they had the opportunity to make it back on foot and possibly win the prize! I stayed at home to watch for the winners. While the girls were out on foot, I started hearing police cars and ambulances racing up the highway. Needless to say, I freaked out. Luckily, all the girls made it back safely to the house, either in a "police car" or on foot. They loved it!

After cupcakes and presents, we got out the movie grub (popcorn, candy, twizzlers, drinks) and watched "The Pink Panther" outside. Aaron set it up with a projector that shown against the back of the house. "The Pink Panther" is rated PG. I had never seen the whole thing, but figured it was probably appropriate for 14 year olds. Luckily, most of the girls had already seen it at home, so I knew there was parental approval. There were a couple scenes (lady sitting on Steve Martin's face, Steve Martin giving same lady Heimlich Maneuver from behind, etc . . .) when I just closed my eyes and thought, "Oh, no!" My kids stayed up to watch the movie as well. The next day, Nyah was sitting in the kitchen and said, "Mom, is that really how you give someone the Heimlich Maneuver?" Hopefully she isn't permanently scarred!

Happy 14th Birthday, Calz! We love ya!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

He Actually Ran!

Ian has never learned how to run. He is 11 years old and has never quite gotten the knack of putting one foot in front of the other and pumping his arms at the same time. Uncle Ryan has always nicknamed him, "Crazy Legs Ian". I just always hold my breath and hope Ian doesn't topple over as he's moving down the sidewalk.

Ian has also always gotten extremely tired during our family walks around the block. When he was 8, he still wanted to ride in the stroller, when he was 9, he wanted a piggy back ride when we reached the end of the street. Aaron and I have always been more than a little concerned. How do you TEACH a child to run?

Soccer season began a couple of weeks ago. Ian has never been able to play forward because he just CAN'T or WON'T run. He asks before every game though, "Dad will you put me in as forward?"

"Well, Ian, you have to run a lot and run fast to be a forward."

Last night Ian got his wish. He played forward. And what do you know? For the first time in 11 years, I saw my boy run --- and run fast! His arms were apumpin', his legs were in sync . . . he was sprinting down the field, as fast as the other guys!

Aaron actually had tears in his eyes after the game. "Did you see it? Did you see Ian run?! My boy ran!"

It's the little things . . .

Friday, September 4, 2009

No More Webelos!

Well, folks I did it! I mean, Ian did it! Ha! Ha! He finally earned his Arrow of Light. He stood on one side of the bridge as a silly, immature, not fully vested Webelo, and walked across the bridge to become a completely serious, dedicated, hardworking 11 year-old Scout.

One of the best moments during the ceremony, was when Bro. Casper gave him a handmade Webelos hanger to put all of his pins on. It is a rather large, blue Webelos shaped piece of felt that Ian has already hung on his bedroom wall. When Bro. Casper presented it to Ian, Ian promptly hung it around his neck. This was definitely not an appropriate course of action. Remember though, he was still the immature Webelo at this point. He then had to march across the bridge (which was too narrow for Ian to get over) with the wide wall hanging around his body. I couldn't stop the chuckles!

Because Ian has advanced, he now gets to spend a couple nights a week earning merit badges, just like Russell in the movie, "Up." Unfortunately, Russell didn't tell us in the movie about how painful the work is for each merit badge. I am now begging Ian to go back to Cub Scouts. Pack Nights are a lot less painful than this Merit Badge stuff. I would say, "Watch out Eagle here we come!" but I think I better just say, "First Aid Merit Badge here we come." I don't want to be too optimistic!