Sunday, April 26, 2009


The only thing worth celebrating about Spring is Easter. Otherwise, this sloppy, muddy, windy, allergy-inducing, snot-nosed Spring can just progress nicely into the burning summer.

We had a good Easter, attending church and (re-)learning about the Savior and his resurrection. Kenzie kept asking me why they wanted to kill Jesus. Ummm... They were bad. Then I tried to explain about power and fear and then I turned the time over to Mike. Not really. I told some lame story about being afraid of Jesus because they thought he wanted to be the boss, but they wanted to be the boss, and so they killed him. Really? That's what I came up with. I'm thinking about applying for a job with the church curriculum department. I'm a shoo-in.

There needs to be a website with good answers to the difficult questions children ask--- maybe there could be multiple answers so we could choose the one that best fits our child or situation. The page could be a list of difficult questions with links for each age listed underneath. The links would lead to wonderful, illustrative, clear answers that laid the foundation for a child's faith and life. Could someone please get to work on that?

The Easter bunny hid eggs during nap time. We are half-hearted about the Easter bunny. Frankly, I don't care if my children believe in some large bunny that leaves eggs around.

After a fun easter egg hunt, we went to dinner at my mom and dad's. My aunts and their families came and it was fun to see my cousins. They did another Easter egg hunt there, and the girls were pleased as punch that Jana's girls were there too. They love playing with their second cousins. We ate way too much delicious food including chocolate dipped strawberries, homemade orange rolls, and homemade chocolate marshmallow eggs. Heaven. I think there was some ham and salads too.

Shanna, my cousin, helping Hannah find eggs. We wish Shanna lived closer--she would be our favorite babysitter.

Cambrianne showing Hannah where to find some more eggs.

Kenzie, Cambrianne, Hannah and Brandilyn after the Easter egg hunt.

We stopped for a short visit at Reid and Shirley's and were stuffed with more food and candy.

This post is late, so now the girls (and I) have managed to consume most of the candy. So much so that that is my next sacrifice for the marathon: Goodbye Candy.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Warp Speed Ahead

A few months ago, I gave some advice on how to slow time down, to make it seem like you are a sloth in a river of tar. Now I would like to offer some advice on how to make it seem like you are a cheetah in a flash flood:

Sign up for a marathon. I honestly know of no other way to make time fly--except if you're in college and you have a big paper due along with really large, comprehensive tests. But it's been a long time since I've had that, so now my method is to sign up for a marathon.

January disappeared in a cloud of anxiety over my knee and whether I would be able to run at all. February got lost somewhere in the fact that I was only running 1/3 of what my training schedule said I needed to be running. March was misplaced by a bad cold and April? Well April went frolicking away in a rash of crappy weather and a strained quad.

Now I am 3.5 weeks away from running 26.2 miles and time is flying. I have to do something crazy to give myself some sort of mental edge, because I certainly won't have a physical edge--more like a physical flab.

I've considered shaving my head, but I don't want to emphasize my good looks too much--it might be distracting for all the other runners to see my face in all its glory--unframed by hair. So I can't do that.

I think what I will do is employ another time-slowing strategy to make it seem like the marathon is forever away, that I still have plenty of time to train, that I will be ready, that 26.2 miles is not that bad--I will give up chocolate. Time-slowing factor on a scale of 1-10: 10. Torture-factor-to-make-marathon-appear-less-daunting: 10. Motivation-to-reach-finish-line-and-eat-chocolate-creamy: 10.

Okay, here I go. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Moab Trip

Mike and I have decided that when we steal someone's identity and take out loans in their name the loans will be used to purchase a condo in Moab.

This last weekend we had a great time with Reid, Shirley and Scott down south.
On Thursday we drove and drove and drove. We tried sitting Hannah and Kenzie next to each other so they could see the one video player we have, but that only lasted until Provo. They have really been annoying each other lately. Poking, hitting, spitting, chasing each other, pulling, pushing. I need to get some advice on forcing your children to be nice to each other. Because force always works. As does yelling and idle threats.

Our condo was nicer than our house. Anytime I'm going on vacation with another family (because this is about the only way we can afford it), I'm renting a condo/house. It really is the way to go. all the way. They should pay me for this free advertising.

The girls loved going to the pool (even though it was a little colder than I prefer for swimming), and they loved playing at the condo playground which is what we did when we arrived.

The next day Mike and I woke up early and snuck out for a bike ride. The sun was just peeking over the horizon when we arrived at the Sovereign Singletrack trailhead. We were the first ones there and only saw two other bikers at the beginning. I mountain bike intermittently, so I am a frightened and timid biker. I can count on one hand the rides I have done on sandstone. So it took me about an hour and an almost-fall-off-the-side-of-a-steep-and-treacherous-mountain scare to really get going on my bike. On the way out I mostly got off my bike for every obstacle. But after my bike tire slid off the side of the mountain and I almost followed but managed to ditch my bike and scramble back onto the trail, holding my bike from falling to the bottom in a spectacular, crushing smash by the rear wheel, I think the scares were scared out of me. We rode out for an hour and on the way back I managed to stay on my bike for most of the ride. Mike kept telling me it was not very technical and I suppose for him it wasn't. The next day it was his turn to gloat as I walked around saddle sore saying to him, "Aren't you sore at all? Really? You're not? At all? Not even right there?" (Thanks Reid and Shirley for watching the girls when they woke up and getting everything ready.)

When we got back we met up with the Barkers and headed into Arches National Park. It was a cloudy, humid day. Pretty good weather for a hike. Kenzie hiked the whole way up this, "strenuous" hike. We were so proud of her. There were a lot of people, but it was still fun. We even met some old friends from when I coached at Brighton. We were hiking up and Mike said, "Steph, that boy looks just like Paul." I looked up and saw the boy and agreed he looked like he could be Paul's brother. Then I looked further up the trail and saw Paul's parents. Small world.

Reid carried Kenzie the whole way back, but I think with a little bit of bribery she would have done it herself. Hannah did well in the backpack, and took her nap the last 15 minutes of the hike.

After lunch we seperated from the group to hit Sand Dune Arch, where the girls had tons of fun playing in the fine sand. Next time we'll bring buckets and shovels. We spent the rest of the day there letting the girls run and play.

The next day I got up early, ran 18 or 17 miles (I got lost, so I'm not quite sure) and then we headed home in the rain. It was a short, fun trip. We enjoyed spending time with family and getting away for a little bit.

See this scrapbook bigger here.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Hannah Takes Over the World

We have crash landed into Hannah's terrible twos. (Dear Hannah, If you ever read this I want you to pretend that the first sentence reads: My darling and adorable daughter turned two today. What a joy our Hannah is. She never whines, she never cries, and she obeys without question. I can only hope that her two-year-olds are as wonderful for her as she is for me. Now stop reading. Go back to your previous activity knowing that your mother was wonderful and you were too.)

On the Friday before Hannah's bday we took her and Kenzie to the Living Planet Aquarium. It was a fun place, with lots of things for the girls to see. Kenzie had a great time and Hannah was mildly entertained. Hannah liked the coral reef play ground and the fish. Kenzie liked the sting ray petting pool.

My favorite was the free "shrimp" manicure. They let you stick your hand in and these shrimp things come and nibble off the dead skin. Mar-veh-lous darling. I wish they would have let me stick my feet in. :)

For Hannah's birthday, we celebrated at our parent's houses when we went for general conference. At my parent's Hannah got a Doodle board, (Kenzie tries to steal it every chance she gets and it kept them entertained for long periods of time on our drive to Moab), and a Elmo doll. She loves Elmo and squeezes him and smiles at him constantly. (You have to bribe her for a hug to anyone else, but Elmo gets tons.) Shaelynn gave her a Cabbage Patch Doll. For Kenzie's birthday, Shae gave her a Fancy Nancy doll. As Hannah was given the wrapped present from Aunt Shaelynnie, she whispered as she ripped off the first wrappings, "Fancy Nancy!" I'm not sure if she really wanted a Fancy Nancy doll, or just remembered so well Kenzie's doll. What a silly girl. She sleeps with her Cabbage Patch all the time and it gets more hugs than I do, too.

At Mike's parents Hannah got some really cute p.j.s, a fun princess picture and wall stick on and a mirror to decorate. We decorated the mirror today and she loved putting jewels and stickers and glitter all over it.

Mike took the day off on Monday and we went to the park to feed the ducks and play. We also got to go on a grocery store tour for Kenzie's Joyschool.

Kenzie gave Hannah a princess plate, cup and bowl set and Mike and I gave her a little pop-up tent to play in and some clothes that are already too small.

Hannah, your sweet, mischevious smile makes us laugh. The way you love to make us laugh and the way you follow Kenzie's every move makes us smile. You definitely have a mind of your own. You are good at counting-- you always ask for "One, two three, five six," when we give you a treat; you love to sing--your favorite song is "I'm a girl" from Signing Time by Rachel deAzevedo (you say, "I a gil pwoud be me", and you are getting really good at speaking. You and Kenzie sometimes tease each other mercilessly. We tried sitting you next to each other in the car on our trip last week and you hit and poked each other so much we moved you back to your original seats. You love treats and coloring and being outside. When we go to the park swinging is all that you want to do. And you always say to me, "Push higher, mom" You are a polite little girl and when I help you find something you say, "Thanks mom." Everything is a game to you, even time outs and being in trouble make you laugh. You hate when mom and dad leave you. And it takes you almost an hour to warm up to big crowds, even if they are your own extended family. You don't put as many things in your mouth as you used to, but we still have to watch carefully and if it gets too quiet, I know I better be finding you soon. You love ponies and playing like you are a kitty or a baby. Your favorite story is the Ladybug Counting book and Red Shirt Blue Shirt. You really are a wonderful addition to our family.

Happy Birthday Hannah. We love you!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Mike turns 30

More accurately, but longly, this is the title of this post: Mike Turns 30, Runs a Half Marathon and Signs up for a Subscription to Bikini Bootcamp--so he can be swimsuit ready, you know.

Saturday was an eventful day for us. Back in January when our resolutions were fresh, and we felt all hopeful, we signed up for the Strider's Winter Racing Circuit. Then I got sick, Mike had a two week work training and my brother got married, so we missed a few of the races. Saturday was the half marathon in the series (a 5K, 10K, 10 miler, half and then 30K). All week Mike had debated about whether or not he could handle a half marathon. Well, he handled it. 1:41 to be exact. That's pretty good for someone who has never ran that far. I was impressed (and extremely jealous. Hey I've ran way more miles and I didn't run that fast.)

It was a brutal race. Mike stuck with me, Cristina and Leah for the first 7:30 mile and then he headed down the canyon, listening to STP. Mike said he was just having a good time until the wind hit. For the last 7 miles of the race (it's 13.1), a strong, freezing head wind battered us. I kept expecting to see Mike, but he trucked it in. I made him a sign to wear that said, "It's my birthday and my wife made me wear this stupid sign." But for some reason he didn't want to wear it.

He's been limping around all week, but wow! Isn't he amazing? That's the most miles he's ever ran in his life. I was so proud of him, even if he didn't wear that sign.

On the way home we stopped to get some windshield chips fixed and then we went to pick up the girls from my mom's and we all took a nap. After that Mike went to help Josh and Sherrie construct their new swingset. That night he went to the priesthood session and then we ate scones and banana splits at Reid and Shirley's and opened presents. So far his favorite present has been the Myst game I gave him. He used to play it on the computer when he was little and he's totally loving revisiting it with his siblings.

Somewhere in the flurry of activity, Mike lost his wallet. Or so we thought. Until the bank called us on Tuesday to ask if we had signed up for Bikini Bootcamp. Ummmm let me think. No. Neither had we gone to Babies R Us, nor had we signed up for Skype. Argghhh! Thus began the calling and cancelling of all accounts, library cards, video places, etc. And thus began the worry. Is this a smart thief or a stupid one?

A few years ago Mike scanned everything in his wallet (smart!, then you know who to call to cancel). As he reviewed this scan he realized that an old military id he carried with him had his social security number on it. Worry, worry, worry. Is the thief going to be smart enough to open new accounts, steal his identity? We are praying it's just a small-time idiot who once they realize the card is no longer valid is going to throw the whole wallet away, where it will quickly be buried or compacted in a landfill never to be found again.

This is our hope. Our other hope is that we somehow figure out who has his wallet and then go into their house Kung-Fu style and take the wallet back after teaching valuable lessons about stealing. We figure we have better chances with the first hope.

We're trying to keep a sense of humor here, but it really depends on how far this thief tries to go. Honestly, this isn't something you can look back on and laugh at: "Oh, haha, remember the time your wallet was stolen and they stole your identity and later you were pulled over for a broken headlight and then arrested for outstanding warrants for check fraud?" or "How about that time, hahaha, when the National Security Administration came and knocked on our door wanting to know why you were buying a small arsenal and in contact with Afghan terrorists?" Or, now I'm really laughing, "It was so funny when creditors called us and threatened to foreclose on our house because of that outstanding debt on the yacht loan you supposedly took out?" or "Oh geez, remember that slap-your-knee funny time when we tried to buy a couch and they wouldn't let us because our accounts had all been completely maxed out?"
Yes. Hilarious times, having your wallet stolen and praying your identity is still safe.

Join us in praying for stupidity and hoping Mike suffers a lot less on his next birthday.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Fare thee well Contest

Thanks everybody who participated in my Couples Challenge. It was good clean fun and it got me on the right track for exercising.

Unfortunately I have already fallen off the wagon in the treats department. I guess I will just have to keep upping my mileage so that I can continue to eat 6 chocolate muffins with oreos stuck in them per day. I've upped my effort now up yours metabolism. (bwahahaha)

Does anyone have any ideas for another contest? I'm taking a break for awhile. Although, I have been seriously considering renting (as in tearing) my clothing (those stupid jeans that still don't fit) and creating my personal version of the Title of Liberty--Liberty from chocolate that is. I'm trying to get ready for this Ogden Marathon and I need some sort of mental edge. I'm wondering if giving up chocolate will give me an edge, or just put me on edge.

So let's hear how you did this last week. We scored 18. We gave up. If you haven't sent me/handed me the $5, please do so ASAP. I'll announce the winner as soon as I get final totals.