Sunday, November 17, 2013

Laughter is the Best Medicine

     Yesterday, Dad took our entire family to The Texas Roadhouse for lunch.  The rolls were drenched in honey butter, the dinner salads tasted divine, and the steaks and chicken melted in our mouths.  Our waiter's name was Boston Rob.  I am a Survivor fan, so I love Boston Rob, but our waiter was not THE Boston Rob.  He was a great waiter though.  After Boston Rob brought us our bill, Dad took the bill and with a very serious look on his face said, "Rob, our family is actually a group of food critics. We have rated your service on a scale of 1-5.  What score do you think you deserve today?"
     Boston Rob looked a bit horrified.  He paused for just a moment and then said, "Well, I think I did pretty well, but definitely could have done better.  I am just coming back to work after being pretty sick, so . . . I'd only give myself a 3.5."  
     Hypochondriac Vanessa started to come out.  I desperately wanted to ask Boston Rob what terrible illness had kept him from work.  Was it typhoid fever?  Was it the mumps?  I just knew I was going to catch whatever illness he'd had.  However, I held it together and simply said, "We gave you a perfect '5', Rob.  You did a great job!" I have not had any strange symptoms of illness as of yet.  I am hoping Boston Rob was completely recovered when he touched our food. :)
     After lunch, I took Ian and Nyah shopping for new pants.  They have both grown a couple of inches in the past few months and have been wearing high water trousers to school.  Ian hates to shop for clothes, so I was dreading the experience.
     H&M opened up at The University Mall in Orem.  We found some great deals there on corduroys.  I sent Ian into a dressing room with piles of clothes, and plopped myself on a stool to wait.  Two important notes:  1) Nyah was in the dressing room beside Ian and 2) there were other mothers sitting outside the dressing rooms around us waiting for their own daughters to model clothing.
     After a few minutes in the dressing room, Ian emerged in a good looking pair of cords.  He did a few dance moves and then turned around to show me how they fit his bum.  I said, "They look great!" not thinking anything of the bum shot.  The same thing happened with the next two pairs of pants.  Ian did a little jig and then turned around to show me the rear shot.  I happened to turn my head sideways at some point during this process and noticed another mom chuckling at us.  I guess it is a bit strange for a 15 year old boy to ask his mom's opinion about how pants fit his bum.  
     At one point in the process, Nyah walked out of her dressing room to model a skirt for me while Ian was back in his room dressing.  Suddenly, we both heard Ian muttering in a weird voice, "Oh, these pants feel so good." 
     Nyah looked at me aghast.  "Mom, tell him to stop!" 
     "Ian, stop it!" I whisper-yelled.
     I heard Ian chuckle and say again, "Ooh, these feel great!"
     Nyah looked like she was going to pass out from embarrassment.  Teenage boys know how to torture their sisters and their mothers!

       I am so grateful for my children.  They make me laugh daily!  I think they got their sense of humor from their dad.  He is pretty funny too!

     A couple other memories from the past month:  Nyah had a fantastic time running cross country this season.  She made some terrific friends and developed a love for running.

      Carson and I attended a wonderful Mother/Son Pack Night this month.  My amazingly talented neighbor planned the night and we enjoyed it so much.  I am so grateful that Carson and I got to spend some one-on-one time together learning more about each other.
     One thing I learned about Carson this month:  he wants to be an artist when he grows up!  He said I shouldn't show this picture to Grandpa because he will think Caron is going to be a gangster when he grows up!
     When Cali came home for her birthday a while back, we gave her a ring we had made that is inscribed with her Instagram name, "floralfoxx".  I am so thankful that she and her sister are the best of friends.

     Marisa, Donna, Jill, and I headed down to St. George to run the Snow Canyon Half earlier this month.   I am so lucky to have such wonderful running friends.  The weather was beautiful and it was so fun to run into Jeff during the race.  He wasn't even breathing hard when he sprinted past me. :)

     Last, but not least, Caleb had a birthday this month!  He and his beautiful girlfriend, Emily, came over to our house for dinner.  This picture makes it look like he got applesauce for his birthday, but his real gift was actually a baggy of banana muffins.  What a jokester!
      November is a month of gratitude.  I am so grateful for a family that laughs together.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

St. George Marathon 2013

Training for a marathon is never easy, but this year, it was tougher than usual.  Trying to fit the mileage in around school and family was tricky.  4 a.m. runs became the norm instead of the exception.

As the St. George marathon got closer, I started wondering, "Did I do enough?  Is my body going to break down?  Is my brain going to break down?"

Luckily, Nyah drove down with me to St. George so I was forced to keep my nervous energy in check. We had a fabulous time talking and laughing the whole way there.  Nyah ate 3 tacos from Taco Bell and 2 orders of nachos.  I ate a bag of Kettle Cooked potato chips.  (great pre-race food)

The next morning, I woke up at 3 a.m.  Shockingly, that is a "normal" time with my new schedule.  I was nervous.  I went to the bathroom 4 times.  I gagged two pieces of peanut butter toast down in the car. I felt sick. Why is race day filled with such anxiety?

We stood by the porta potties for 1 1/2 hours.  It was cold.  I ate a banana.   I felt sick.  The lines for the bathroom got extremely long, so I decided to brave the outdoors.  I really would have been a great pioneer. :)

When the starting gun went off, I had trouble hitting pace.  I couldn't get around people.  I was worried about tripping on blankets and clothes that fellow runners were dropping everywhere.  At about Mile 2 I was able to hit pace.  I drank every 2 miles and ate GU every 4 miles.

I didn't listen to music at all during the race.  I found myself talking out loud to myself:  "Vanessa, you can do this.  This hill looks just like Center St.  After you get up the hill, there is bound to be some downhill.  Nyah is going to be at the finish line.  Just keep going."

In any other situation, I think I would probably be put into a mental facility.  Talking to oneself is not normal.  Is it?

The last 3 miles were extremely difficult.  I pretended I was out for a regular run around my neighborhood and talked myself through different landmarks that I see on a normal day.  It really seemed to help.

The last .2 miles was glorious.  Seeing all the people standing along the sides of the road gave me just the boost I needed to finish.

It was a great race.  I got a PR:  3:06:36.  The best news though:  I ended the race without any gloves, but it was because my hands got hot.  No potty stops during the run!

Off to College

This was one of the hardest days of my life.  Saying "goodbye" to my eldest . . .

We loaded the Pathfinder up to the brim with Cali's clothing collection.  Before we drove to Utah State, we had to make a pitstop in Salt Lake to watch Carson play in a soccer tournament.

Carson, Ian, and Aaron had to stay in Salt Lake to play another game.  Nyah, Cali, and I drove to Logan, shopped at WalMart for much needed apartment items, and then carried every single item that Cali owns up 3 stairwells to her unairconditioned broiling hot apartment.  I had sweat dripping from every inch of my body.  It was disgusting.  The boys showed up just in time for photos.
It was heart wrenching to see the girls walking side-by-side . . . one last time.
Ian spent hundreds of hours learning to make a quilt.  He made the quilt for his sister, Cali  It was the best going away present in the universe!

Luckily, Cali is only a couple of hours away, but oh, how I miss my girl!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Ian's 15th Birthday

 Ian "accidentally" discovered his birthday present about a month early.  It was an effects pedal for his electric guitar.  He found it hiding in the car washing wagon in the garage.  I asked him to wash my car, forgetting that I had "hidden" his present there.  Surprise ruined.

Thus, when Ian's birthday rolled around, I had already spent all of his birthday money on the pedal.  I felt terrible that he'd have nothing to open on his birthday.  I dug around in my pockets for some change.  I had to buy him something to open on his big "15"!  I found enough change to buy him a Duck Dynasty t-shirt.  He is a fan. :)

 Cinnamon streusel muffins were on the menu for his birthday breakfast.

We went laser tagging for Ian's birthday that evening even though we had just participated in the same exact activity for Carson's birthday the week before.  The kids and Aaron played 6 or 7 games of laser tag.  They were very sweaty.  They were very happy.
Happy birthday, Ian Riggs!  I think you are absolutely amazing!

Carson's 10th Birthday

Carson's birthday wish list was rather simple this year:  flavored drops for his water bottles and a board game.  

 Ian surprised Carson with a brand new soccer ball.  I thought it was so sweet that Ian spent his own money on his little brother.

 We headed to Nickel City - - Carson and Ian's favorite hangout. We all enjoyed some laser tag!

 We finished the day off with some J Dawgs.
 Last, but not least, we headed home to enjoy some warm chocolate chip cookies smothered with ice cream, whipped cream, and a cherry!
 I can't believe my baby has been around for a decade!  He is amazing!

A Kayaking Trip at Utah Lake

Carson got to celebrate his birthday a day early with our friends, the Ruckers.  Carson couldn't stop smiling all night.  He had a blast on the kayaks at Utah Lake.  We met two guys at the lake that have a skimboard company.  Jill and Carson tried the skim board out and flew down the sand.  We all had a blast!