Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Favorite Christmas Gift

As a man, Dale was quite interested this year in receiving a Blu-ray disc player to play the latest and greatest high-definition discs. As a loving son, Daniel was anxious to give his father something he wanted - he just didn't spell very well. And so it is that on Christmas morning, Daniel gave Dale a Blue Ray Disc Player instead of a Blu-ray Disc Player.

The instructions were simple. Connect the first wire to the battery and the blue Christmas light shines a blue ray. Connect the second wire to its battery and the disc spins (by a motor mounted to an old light socket). It has a blue ray and Dale can watch his discs. Isn't that what he wanted?? And who knew it could all be accomplished with leftovers and a hot glue gun? I recommend clicking on the picture to see it in greater detail!
This fine invention also made me think of another of Daniel's finer creations. At the end of the summer, he had saved enough money to purchase an iPod Touch for himself. Once he received it, he felt it needed a name and so he dubbed it Ichapod. Once it was named, he felt it needed a home. The picture below shows his home with beds, shelves, a door, a window, a hook for his headphones, and a bearskin rug for a nice touch! This Christmas also brought a gift of a stereo system with a docking station so Ichapod has a new home now, but none will ever be as nice as that original home sweet home! Ah, to live inside Daniel's head for but a moment...........

Backblogging about Tea

This year I had the chance to practice the fine art of afternoon tea. I got to share a fun, fancy tea experience with Cheyenne, my sister Cathy, and her twins, Madelyn and Marissa. We found the funnest place called Protea Cottage at Gardner Historic Village. There Cheyenne developed a love for egg salad sandwiches. Who knew?

That was so fun, we had to enjoy a Witches' Tea at Cathy's house. She called it a real Brew-ha-ha! The spider cider and hamster and cheese sand-witches were to die for!!

Then we capped off the year with a big girls' tea back at Protea Cottage with my sisters and my mom. Sometimes it's darn fun to have a little culture and a little peace in the middle of the afternoon. Maybe I'll tea even more in 2009!

A Little End of Year Backblogging

My niece taught me the term "backblog." Just as I made sure I finalized all my charitable giving, my medical expenses, etc. before December 31, I wanted to make sure I included a few more memories from this past year. This time tomorrow I will have already started making new memories for a new year. Until then, please join me for a little retrospective look at a few missed moments.

I discovered I never shared a few of my favorite summer activities. They were favorites because they involved sharing time with family. In July, I made a bit of crazy trip in which I drove to Mountain Home, Idaho with Cheyenne where we spent a couple of days with my cousin's family and my aunt. Then I left Cheyenne there while I traveled to Arizona to participate with my sisters in a memorial service for Mabel Hart, my stepmother Carol's mother. It was a great visit with lots of great bonding. Then back to Idaho to get Cheyenne where she had spent a couple of days hanging out at the county fair with the family. A good time was had by all, family bonds were strengthened, and I took a few of my favorite pictures of the summer.

Cheyenne in heaven with her best friend "Conker Spaniel" and my cousin's chocolate lab.

Colleen, Carol, Cheryl, Vickie Stoddard (Carol's best friend), and Cathy at the funeral.

A little bonding over toe rings took place during our visit to Arizona. Oh, and check out the glitter toes I have that lasted all summer long!

Back in Idaho, a little snuggle with Cheyenne and Aunt Mary.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

It's a Christmas Miracle!!

There we were enjoying our Christmas Eve when the doorbell rang. Cheyenne and I went to the door where we saw the following scene - a horse head peering out of a black garbage bag. My first thoughts turned to The Godfather, and I wondered who had it in for us. A closer inspection revealed a tag addressed to Cheyenne with no name after the From part. So, we yelled a thank you and carried in the bag. Inside was a cute, stuffed, standing horse. Cheyenne fell in love instantly. She named it Horsey until later when it was renamed to "Miracle" to honor the Christmas miracle. It will probably still be called Horsey more often, but she loves it! She put a ponytail in her hair, a blanket on its back, and scarf around its neck to keep it warm.

Since its arrival, Christmas Miracle has been no more than a couple of feet from Cheyenne's side. She is clearly a part of the family. I say "she" because Cheyenne was quick to lift its tail and confirm for all in the room that it was unmistakably a "she."

The only reason I really want to know who brought this sweet gift to her is that I'd love to share Cheyenne's joy. Pretty much, she got a best friend out of the deal. So, if the giver is reading this blog, I thank you. If a reader of this blog knows the giver, please tell them thank you. If the giver has never heard of my blog, someday in heaven, he or she will see the video review and know that they did a kind and wonderful thing. Thanks for thinking of my daughter 'cause she loves the horse, it made her feel very special to receive something special, and the surprise was a delightful moment in our Christmas!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Early Christmas gift

I've never been the type to shop for myself at Christmas. I like the surprise of someone else picking gifts. However, this year, I did buy some cross country skis on a good sale and I told Dale to put them under the tree for Christmas. They were there until last Thursday when we got about 7 inches of snow. I felt compelled to try out my new "backcountry" skis in the "backyard." So, I handed Daniel the camera to document the moment for my blog. I stepped out of the garage onto the concrete pad for the maiden voyage of the skis. [Note: In the past couple of years of skiing, I think I've fallen twice or so. I've done okay.] I stepped to the top of the ramp (made of concrete, I might add) that goes to the backyard, and I went about 3 feet and fell hard! Daniel just snapped and laughed. My whole right side still knows I fell! After regaining my composure, if not my dignity, I continued skiing around the yard. After warming up, I went down the offending ramp two more times without incident. I've broken in my skis and my pride, so let the cross country season begin!!!!!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Spirit of Christmas

Last night I got to witness an evidence of the true spirit of Christmas. Let me start with a little background. Last year Cheyenne had the chance to go with her Activity Days group of girls to sing Christmas carols at a local nursing home. They were joining a group of high school students who sing there regularly. Actually it's the swim team whose coach takes them there every Sunday night to sing. Well, when they arrive, they first go to the rooms and get the residents who are more severely handicapped and need pushed in wheelchairs and such. The other 8 year old girls just wanted to wait, but Cheyenne wanted to go get the residents so a couple of high school boys invited her to join them. She happily went in and met a man who is not elderly, but is quite disabled. She chatted with him and pushed his wheelchair down the hall. She was so excited to tell me all about her new friend when she came home.

Fast forward to this year. She's now in a different group for Activity Days because she is a year older, but her old leader invited her to join them again this year. I decided to go along this time. She was so excited. When we got there, the leader invited her to be the only one to go again to get the residents. This time she got another person, but she was disappointed because she didn't see her friend. Soon after, he was pushed in. She ran up and grabbed his hand and said, "Hi, do you remember me?" He smiled and gave her a high five. I describe her as being like a therapy dog. She just bounds around in groups like that trying to spread joy. Then she came and stood by the swim coach to sing.

As I stood there singing with this group, I saw the following: I saw a group of about 12 teenage swimmers and a coach who come to this home every single week during the year to bring joy to these people. I saw a teenage boy at the piano who could and would play whatever song was requested. He was sharing a talent he'd worked hard to develop. I saw about 12-14 residents, mostly in wheelchairs, smiling and sometimes tapping to the beat. I saw a few of them who had family members sitting by their side as they had come to visit. I saw a swim coach who doesn't know Cheyenne, stand by her with her arm around her trying to help her read the words to the songs even though Cheyenne can't really do that. With each new song, she'd point out where to start and she'd try to help her along. I saw a leader of 8 year old girls who had made the arrangements to join the group, arranged rides for the girls, and made it possible for them to learn at a young age how to serve and be around people that are different. At the end of the singing, I saw those sweet little 8 year old girls go around and say hi and "Merry Christmas" to all the residents. Finally, I saw another group of people come in who were there to provide some music.

Everything about the experience touched my heart because I saw people reaching out to other people in whatever way they could. I guess it's because I could stand there and see such a broad range of mental and physical capacities among those present that I could recognize how lives were being touched. I think the Savior would have been happy had He been there -- in reality, He probably was there. I'm glad I was too.

And one other Christmas note, I must share that the Christmas tree picture at the top of this blog is the first Christmas tree I've ever actually decorated that was not just a tree with lights and all my old ornaments and my kids' ornaments. (Note: The picture didn't resize that well. Click on it to see a much better picture of it.) Each year, we do the same family tree because the ornaments have such sentimental meaning to me. This year, we put that tree in our new basement, and I wanted something festive upstairs. So, I channeled my inner Jessica to plan a tree and I used my outer Cheryl to buy everything inexpensively and I decorated a 4' tree for my living room. Thanks to my sisters and nieces for my inspiration. It makes me happy when I walk in the room!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

My day

The other day my niece blogged about her schedule for the day.  As I was rushing through my day today, I just kept thinking that I should blog about my schedule for the day for purely selfish reasons so someday I can remember this time in my life.

My day started at about 6:45 a.m. to get Daniel to his 7:30 a.m. piano lessons.  Before I sat on the couch again tonight, I squeezed in the following:

His lessons and driving him to school, getting Cheyenne ready to go to school (thankfully Dale got her out the door), picking up Mom from my sister Cathy's house to take her part of the way home (to Cove Fort, total of 5 hour round trip), visit to the doctor for a flu shot, stop at the store to buy a few Christmas decorations I wanted, picking up the junior high carpool, tutoring for one student in Geometry, going to junior high parent/teacher conferences with both kids in tow, doing a couple loads of laundry, doing two rounds of dishes, getting the kids ready and attending their piano recital in Orem, eating pie with the family to celebrate the recital (there's always time for pie), helping with homework, reading a bedtime story, and finally - blogging.  I think I'm done now.  

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Festival of Trees 2008

In 2007, my sisters and I decorated our first tree for the annual Festival of Trees to benefit Primary Children's Hospital. As soon as we were done last year, we began planning for a bigger tree this year. Fortunately, Cathy hit some great clearance sales that got us started with a 7.5 foot tree and a killer collection of candy-themed ornaments. That was followed by little purchases here and there by everyone to gather the ornaments, ribbon, toys, additional decorations, etc. that became this year's "Visions of Sugarplums" tree. And so I present its life story.
"Hmm, we've each been gathering ornaments and stuff for a year. Maybe we should meet and see if they match and see if we have enough. Oh, and we should eat!" "This is great, they match! Let's make a list of everything we need to bring to the expo center...."

"We included lots of decorative stuff and a few tools, but did anyone's list include an extra radiator hose clamp? We have a situation...."

"It's a good thing Cathy and Colleen were so handy with that clamp. Now it's a good thing we have Jessica the decorator on staff. What should the rest of us do? We can watch, glue a few things, and maybe eat and visit."

"It took us all day, but doesn't it look great? And it's so fun that it was done by 3 generations with Grandma, Colleen, Cathy, Cheryl, Heather, Jessica, and Romney. I wish Romney were still here for the picture. She was here all day, but had to leave before we took this. Too bad Cheryl doesn't have mad Photoshop skills or we could insert her. That's okay, we'll just put in a separate picture of her."Here's a nice portrait of what the buying public got to see, minus the decorators. And a little closeup makes it look good too.
"So, who's starting the list for next year?" "I don't know, but make sure we don't choose a spot on Aisle G by the huge dock door that was open all day." "Oh, and maybe we should bring more chairs and a table to work on. That's what the 'professionals' seem to do." "And who's going to bring the food?"

Epilogue: The tree and all its decorations were donated by us along with our time. It sold at auction for $950 that will go straight to the children in need. Merry Christmas!!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Did anyone else have this for a home evening treat?

Yes, it's another family home evening moment. I'll just say I love whatever my kids are in charge of . Cheyenne taught us a great lesson about Family and Friends complete with stuffed cats and a dog playing the roles of the family and friends. Following the activity, we were each presented with our own Santa treat. Three guesses of who was in charge of the treat...

And I'll save you having to ask... The hat, face and arms were sugar cookies, the eyes were raisins, the fingers were Pocky sticks, the body was a frozen waffle (Dale bought them), the boots were Hershey bars, and the suit was jam, blueberries, and whipped cream. Yum!!!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Like mother, like son

Yesterday after church, Daniel decided he wanted to make a cake for fun. He wanted to make a cake shaped like a cooked turkey. We talked about ideas of how to do that, then he realized he should make dark meat and white meat. In the end, we had a great looking turkey cake that was part white and part chocolate, complete with some stuffing pieces leaking out the back end. I'd say this kid has a bright future ahead of him!
Check out the white meat breast and the dark meat drumstick. Yum!!!

A followup post

I felt the need to follow up on my last post by showing what happened to the poor Ninja who served as a priest in the lesson. Sadly, on another day at another time, Daniel didn't need a priest. What he needed was a victim. And so it was that the same poor unsuspecting Ninja found himself with a fuse wrapped around his leg and a flaming match at the other end of the fuse. I know there were some magnesium filings involved as well, but mostly I know what the end result was. Here lies the poor Ninja of days gone by...

Monday, November 10, 2008

Tell me the stories of Jesus.....

Come on in! Take a peek in our house during family home evening. Daniel gave a sweet lesson about gratitude including several scriptures from the Bible, quotes from a talk, and the reenactment of a famous parable.

There once were ten lepers. (In this case, I think the missing hands have more to do with disorganization in a teenage boy's room than with the actual effects of the disease.)

They came to Jesus to ask what they should do to be healed. (Despite his appearance, he did not tell them to use the Force.)

Jesus told them to go see the Priests, so they did.

Only one returned to give thanks to Jesus. He told that one that it was his faith that made him whole. The end.

After the parable, the lesson continued as we each had a chance to list different things we are grateful for so we could see the "thankful-o-meter" move its red arrow from left to right. I was thankful at that moment for a son who had the engineering skills to make such a thing actually work!

Monday, November 3

Mom: Daniel, you look so handsome. I want to take a picture before we leave. Just stand there in the hallway for a minute.

Cheyenne: Is Daniel leaving on his mission???

Mom: No, we're going to a band concert!

Not so Eensy-Weensy

Apparently our Halloween was all about "bigger is better." Here we see Cheyenne disguised as a giant spider and although you cannot see it, she has a giant spider butt. That shot is followed by one of my two children (look closely by his right leg or click on the picture to see it bigger) about to be eaten by Godzilla! Eeeeekkkkkk!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Problem with weight gain

I recently had Daniel at the doctor where we were thrilled to learn that he had gained some weight and is now in the 10% percentile for his age. Apparently he saw my excitement and translated that as 'more is better.' Any suggestions on how to deal with sudden, excessive weight gain????????

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The ABC's of my life of late

Since starting this blog, there have been many periods of my life when I've wanted to blog, but I've been too busy living my life to take time to write about it! The last four weeks or so have been that kind of busy plus some. To catch you up and to record my thoughts for posterity, I'd like to generate an alphabetical listing of my life over the last month or so.

A - Apples. I got lots of apples from my generous mother-in-law, so I made lots of apple stuff.
B - Birthdays - I got to celebrate and celebrate and celebrate my birthday. Cheyenne is sure I'm 25. If that's true, then I must be a trophy wife to Dale. Cool! Then we all got to celebrate Cheyenne's big ninth.
C - Cheyenne - Cheyenne just takes time: time for school, time for playing, time
for helping her be Cheyenne.
D - Daniel - Daniel just takes time: time for school, time for playing, time for he
lping him be Daniel.
E - Eating - No matter how busy I become, there are some priorities that never fall off the chart.
F - Friends - Thanks to my birthday, especially, I got to spend lots of time with many of my dear friends. Thanks for everything, everybody!
G - Games - I wasn't playing many myself, but I did manage to squeeze in some listening to BYU football. It's been a shaky month, but they are back to winning games. Yea!!

H - Housework - Again, no matter how busy I get, some things don't go away
. It's happened late at night, but the toilets have been scrubbed and the house is tolerable.
I - Infinite blessings. Fall is a great time to think of harvests and blessings. We've had a lot. Things have been crazy, but not a day goes by that I don't see the hand of God in my life. We have every need met, excessive joys and blessi
ngs on top of that, and opportunities galore. Each day I could make a list that would go on and on. Sadly, I often get too busy to do so. However, when I stop for a just a moment, I can visualize the list and that keeps me going.
J - Japanese student. We had the privilege of having a 14 year old Japanese student stay with us for a week. He was part of a larger program that visits Utah each year. I loved the experience of getting to know someone from a
different culture and having my kids share that experience. Mid week, Daniel pointed out that he'd decided he and Kentaro had more in common than different. That comment alone made the week worth it!
K - Kids - Did I mention that I spend a lot of time doing things with my kids??

L - Laundry (see 'E' Eating and 'H' Housework)

M - Math. I spend a lot of time tutoring math. I mostly do Geometry these days
with my cute teenage boys, but I probably spend even longer doing Cheyenne's third grade math with her!
N - NOAH'S, NOAH'S, NOAH'S - This has been a dominant force. Noah's has officially opened its second facility in South Jordan, UT. The opening, the stockholders' meeting, the new website, it's all been a time-consuming affair. For those of you who haven't also been living there lately, make a note to check out
O - October. In some ways it felt like it came and went so fast that I have no record of it. In other ways, it feels like I lived a lifetime and experienced months of things in one short month.
P - Pies. Early on in the month, before things got out of control, we squeezed in a little pie baking to foward our quest to make all 300 pies in the pie book. The apple with just brown sugar and a touch of spices was really good. The peach with vanilla bean sugar was just okay. Oh, and 'P' is for pumpkin seeds. I love roasted pumpkin seeds. I ate a lot of them!!
Q - Queasy. That's how I've felt at different times this past month as I've watched the great economic crisis destroy my savings, as I've listened to campaigning for the upcoming election, and as I've seen tragedy unfold in the headlines. It's a good thing I have the letter 'I' and so many others to counteract 'Q.'

R - Reading. I'm still reading, if only in 2-minute increments. It enhances my life so much. I'm still helping Cheyenne read. I help at the school changing Take Home Reading books. And I encourage Daniel to read.
S -Single motherhood. Refer back to 'N' above to see that I spent a lot of time at Noah's this last month. My time has been only a fraction of that spent by Dale who has worked almost non-stop for a month now. I have determined t
hat I would make a lousy single mom.
T - Trick or Treating - We had a very warm Halloween night which made the trick or treating pleasant even for me! Cheyenne was a giant spider and Daniel went to school as a couch potato. Pictures will be coming later, because words are simply inadequate at every level!
U - UEA - The kids were out of school for three days for their fall break, also known for the Utah Education Association meetings. As I was consumed with Noah's, they had a great time-- thanks to my mother-in-law and my sister. They had sleepovers in Kamas and at the cabin, and they were happy, happy kids. THANKS, family!!!
V - Very simple pleasures. When our Japanese student was here, we spent a day playing in spots on the Mirror Lake Highway. We hiked, we threw rocks in the lake, we climbed up Provo River Falls, and we roasted hot dogs. It was a beautiful day, and we enjoyed each moment of these simple things we often take for granted.

W - Wood, as in splitting it. When I went to retrieve my children from Colleen's cabin, they were splitting wood for the winter. It had been a long time since I'd split wood. The smell of the chainsaw brought back powerful teenage memories. I had to warm up, but I can still split wood. There is something very satisfying about a little knowledge like that.
X - Xtraordinary weather!!! Ok, I'm cheating a little on the spelling, but the sentiment is there. Mid-October brought our first big snowstorm, but it passed quickly and was followed by two weeks of gorgeous, warm, fall weathe
r. With highs of 65-70, I enjoyed Fall like I've never enjoyed it.
Y - Yippee! My friend Evan had another MRI and his brain tumor shrunk again. Cheyenne faithfully prays for him multiple times a day, and we could not be happier to see positive gains for him. Chemo has been so difficult, and forward progress means everything. Yippee!!!
Z - Zoo! I got to go to the zoo with Cheyenne for her birthday. I took Chey
enne, her twin cousins, and a friend to the zoo. It was a gorgeous fall day, and who can't be happy at the zoo?

Friday, October 17, 2008

It's not so good to be a cougar fan....

My last post (some time ago now) began with the idea that it's a good year to be a cougar fan. That was then, this is now. Alas, our kitty cats were shown the door last night by a very good, very fast TCU team. They were found to be declawed and were defenseless, I guess. Not only did they lose the game, but it meant their nation-leading 16 game win streak came to an end. So sad.

Speaking of kitty cats, a short part of my day today was spent trying to interpret a voicemail message from my nephew Andy (who has Down's syndrome) while he enthusiastically informed me that Cheyenne was being "mean to the kitties" while she played there with Colleen's kids. Apparently, she was "playing house" with them, which involves things like wrapping them in blankets for bed. When I called back, Colleen was quick to point out that the kitties were now safely "taking a nap" in the garage to which Colleen held the key. Ah, my life. And let me add that my life is better because Andy The Enforcer is in it!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

BYU Cougar Tidbits

As some of you may know, it's a good year to be a BYU football fan. It's been a pretty good year so far. It'll be fun to see how it goes from here. In addition to enjoying the regular season so far, I've had some other BYU football experiences lately that have made it even better. And a couple of those experiences made it better simply because they made me proud to be a cougar fan.

First, on Thursday, September 18, my good friends had a visit of a lifetime with the team. Sadly, this is my friend who is currently fighting an inoperable brain tumor. He was selected as a Thursday Hero to be honored by the BYU team. For a few hours, he and his family were treated like gold by the BYU team. She documented the whole event in great detail at her blog which can be seen here. Be sure to read all the individual entries as they describe each part of the day. It's worth reading if you just need a pick me up to remind you about what's right with the world or if you are a BYU fan and you want confirmation that the program really is about more than football.

The next evening, Friday, September 19, the football team came to do a fireside in our city. They make it habit of doing firesides in the area wherever they happen to be playing that weekend, especially for away games. So, we went to hear what they had to say. For one hour, we heard a couple of the players speak, different groupings of the players sing, and the coach and his wife speak. Afterwards, they spent about 15-20 minutes signing autographs and talking to fans. It was truly impressive. It reminded me that they really are decent young men trying to do good with their lives. I liked that they sang, for us and with their teammates. They weren't great singers, but I liked that it showed some vulnerability in front of teammates. They didn't always have to be the toughest guy. I liked that they were together doing something inspiring and kind the night before the game instead of being in a bar somewhere. The players and coach both seemed to really mean what they say about football not being the number one priority. It was a little bit refreshing. Of course, I was watching them, knowing how kind they'd been to my friend, and they seemed very real.

Then came Saturday, September 20, the game day. On that day I capped off my BYU Cougar experience with a fun adventure, courtesy of my kind sister. Cathy and her husband Clark invited Dale and me to join them for a view of a BYU game from the loges or box suites at the stadium. Clearly, I've now seen how the other half lives. It's gonna be tough to go back. There were 12 of us in the room with seats, tables, a TV, and a great view of the field at about the 40 yard line. I didn't have to climb over anyone to go to the bathroom. I didn't have a sore rear end from the metal bleachers. And I didn't have to plan for the weather. It was great! At the end of the 3rd quarter, one of the BYU food services employees came to the room to deliver sundaes and banana splits just as we had ordered them at the beginning of the game. There really was a moment when it felt a little surreal that I was sitting with my banana split (which I could freely enjoy thanks to the previous day's triathlon!) watching the game in perfect comfort. I'm sure I won't be doing it again any time soon, but it was a fun outing for the day. It was yet another fun summer adventure (fall didn't start till the 22nd) in my summer of fun adventures. Thanks, Cathy, and Gooooooooo Cougars!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Must blog about this

It's the dinner/homework/craziness hour at my house. The last thing I need to be doing is blogging, but I accidentally stumbled on this article and I thought I should share it with all my loyal friends and family in case anyone is still looking for a birthday or Christmas present for me. Take a look at this and imagine the possibilities!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Sisters' Try-athlon

Let me begin by saying that my sister Cathy is a rock! Some time ago, she decided she'd like to try doing a triathlon. However, she wasn't sure she wanted to get a bunch of expensive equipment or buy cool triathlon clothes, etc. She wanted to just "try" it. So, we sort of planned a sisters' try-athlon (my term, not hers). She and I trained throughout the summer, but clearly she trained more intensely. I was at a bit of a handicap with no pool, but she practiced pretty faithfully. So, today was the big day. She swam a full 1/2 mile in her pool. That's 84 lengths of her backyard pool! You go, girl! I swam 28 just to support her and have wet hair with her. We then biked for about 10.2 miles. Then we ran/walked for 3.1 miles. We were pretty pleased with ourselves! And look, we were even smiling and looking good at the end.
Now, let me clarify that we didn't time ourselves changing clothes in the street -- we went in her house to change out of our swimsuits. We swam in a pool -- not open water. But we didn't bike with super cool light as a feather road bikes -- we used our mountain bikes. And we did this as novices, not as well-trained racing machines. We did it and we did it well for us!

As I was running, I was thinking about the fact that every day there are lots of people who exercise way, way more than we did today. However, I also thought that there are those who do less. The reality is that our experience was never about an absolute target. It wasn't about beating a bunch of other people (although Dale points out that I came in first in my age group and second overall.) It was about challenging ourselves, reaching a goal, seeing what we could do, seeing if we liked it, and spending time together. Without question, we reached our goal.

This was always primarily Cathy's goal -- and she did it so well! I'm so proud of her. But I want to publicly thank her for a whole lot of motivation this summer. I went on some beautiful bike rides with her, including the one we did today. I got out of bed and went running multiple times this summer, just because I knew I had to face her! I pushed myself, and I accomplished the task. After the fact, it's fun to say you did it. Oh, and I can eat dessert this weekend without one hint of guilt. Thanks, Cathy! And may we continue to stay active together! Love you!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Treasure in the basement

My friends Brooke and Margot came today to can peaches. Before starting, I tried to clear off the counter in the lab downstairs. It was covered with Daniel's project stuff. Among his things, I found a 4x6 index card folded in half. On the front were written the words "The All-Knowing Index Card." That alone made me laugh, but Margot was quick to point out that there were more words on the back. They were as follows:

How to Use the All-Knowing Index Card
1. Ask question.
2. Hit self in forehead.
3. Say "Dooby-Dooby-do" twice.
4. Count to four.
5. Open the All-Knowing Index card.

When you open the card, it's blank. Perhaps if you've done the other steps, something magical happens when you open it. I don't know for sure because I didn't follow all the steps, but I can say it was magical for me. Finding things like that remind me of the great fun it is to have Daniel for a son! He makes me smile, even when he's nowhere around. And, really, I now have an All-Knowing Index Card. How cool is that????

Monday, September 15, 2008

A final summer adventure

I really don't like seeing summer end so I just keep having fun as long as I can! Our family went to the Olympic Park in Park City to ride the zipline and the alpine slide. I was trying to be so brave 'cause Daniel was a little nervous. I was fine till we got off the chairlift and found ourselves looking down the zipline. You sit in a chair-like harness then press your knees up against a metal door that will open when it's time to go. It's not natural - it shouldn't be natural to press yourself against any kind of wall that you know is going to open and send you flying down a cable. I was a little hesitant to get strapped up, but sweet Cheyenne looked over (with her face pressed against the door) and said, "It's okay, Mom. I've done it before!" (Do I need to remind her of the infamous Tower of Terror photo??) So, Daniel and I closed our eyes and the door opened. Surprisingly, you just headed down the cable, and it was a blast! We don't have pictures because the camera was pressed up against Dale's door and he just couldn't get to it.

After the zipline we hit the alpine slide. Cheyenne climbed in the first car. I said I wanted to go first so I could watch her come down. "Well, I want to watch you come down," she said. How do you argue with that? So, she went first and I followed at an appropriately long distance. When I did catch up with her, she had a very large black mark all down her back and leg. Apparently at some point she fell out of her car, at least enough to scrape along. She didn't want to share details but she wished she could go again -- immediately! Gotta love her! And I've gotta give Daniel all kinds of props for doing something scary and loving it!!

The rides we went on were great, but after seeing that ski jump up close, that's a whole new category of crazy! I won't be blogging about a ride on that!

I will say I recommend it all and I'm grateful for an awesome family to share it with. May summer never end!!!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I must have eaten too much sushi

For anyone who doesn't know, I have had an underactive thyroid for many years. It's not a big deal, it just means I take synthroid daily. Well, over the last month, I've had a couple of blood tests done that showed my thyroid is a little out of whack. Yesterday, I had a doctor's appointment and he officially diagnosed me with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. Those are both big words. "Itis" mean enlarged, of course, and with the Hashimoto part, it made me wonder if that meant my neck was enlarged from swallowing a large piece of sushi. But, thanks to the internet, I discovered that's not the case. It continues to not be a big deal. Mostly, it just means they have to check my blood a little more often and adjust the dosage occasionally. And, fortunately, I can still eat all the sushi I want.

However, I'd like to milk this a little bit. Some of the symptoms include sensitivity to cold. Hmm, has anyone been around me lately, like at church where I've occasionally resorted to taking disposable hand warmers to accompany my sweater/coat? It also causes fatigue. Hmm, doesn't sleep apnea, being Cheyenne's and Daniel's mom, and nearly everything else in my life cause fatigue??? I think I might use it for a good excuse when exercising is hard, though. Oh, and it has been known to affect fertility. Enough said.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Gotta love your children

Two great Cheyenne quotes for this week.

Last night she was standing behind me. She said, "Mom, your hair is turning white!" "Yes, it is," I said. "You're turning into a grandma!!!" Your kids are so good at humbling you! However, I will digress long enough to take this chance to congratulate my sister Cathy who is going to become a grandma for real sometime tonight or tomorrow.

Today, we were talking about riding the Alpine slide in Park City. Cheyenne said, "When I go down it, I'm going to scream like a boy!"

Thursday, September 4, 2008

That Wilde Reunion

Let me start by saying that at some point I'll get caught up and my blog will start being in chronological order again, but for now, please just go with me.  My life isn't in order most days, so I think my blog should also reflect that disorder, right?

So, let's talk about the Wilde Family Reunion.  This is absolutely one of the highlights of the year for me.  I love the Wilde family, I love the fun things we do, I love the memories.  This year was especially great because Dale's sister Susan, her husband Neil, and their four boys were all here.  It's been three years since they moved to North Carolina, so they are not always with us.  They were all here this year which added to the fun.  

This year's reunion (August 15-16) was basically brought to us courtesy of my sister Colleen.  She was extraordinarily generous in sharing her home/pool in Draper for a morning swim followed by the sharing of her cabin for an overnight stay up in the mountains.  THANKS SO MUCH!  We partied in the pool, we visited the Olympic Park in Park City (home of 2002 Olympic events like bobsled, luge, and ski jump competitions), we hiked, we ate a lot, we did puzzles, played games, visited, and generally enjoyed each other's company.  While we took lots of pictures, I've chosen these to highlight the madness of the pool, the group
 shot to prove we were really there, and the one of LuDea
n holding the snake just because LuDean was holding a snake!  I love her!

We see each other a lot of other times of the year, but there's something special about this time.  It's become a treasured time for me to see the rest of the family, to catch up, to make new memories, and to remind me how much I love them all.  I look forward to many more to come!

Sisters Hiking

The adventuring just never ends....  Last weekend began with a Friday hike to the top of Mt. Timpanogos with my sisters.  It's tough to say what the motivation was for this one.  It's been 23 years or so since I last did it, and I think about as long for Cathy.   It's only been 2 for Colleen.  She's the one I question the most since she knew what she was getting into.  For those familiar with the routes, we went up on the Aspen Grove trail which begins in Provo Canyon.  We came down on the Timpanooeke trail which ends up in American Fork Canyon.  It was fun to do both trails because they have really different scenery (and because we got to see them both on what may be our last hike up that mountain!).  Partly I think we did it because we can.  The three of us are always trying to push each other a little to stay healthy and active.  We wanted to be the 40-something women showing our kids we can still do it.  And partly we did it because it's beautiful.  It's tough to describe all the waterfalls, all the vistas, just the beauty of the mountains.  If you're interested, click here to see an album of the pictures I took on the trail.

Our route took us over about 14 miles and up and down about 3,500 feet.   The mountain is about 11,000 feet high, but the trailheads are high as well.  We were gone for about 11.5 hours, with 1.5 of that spent resting for lunch and observation at the top.  Overall, I was pretty darn proud of all of us!

Thanks, Cathy and Colleen, for a fun day and awesome travel companions!  I hope we can always enjoy times like this together.