Saturday, June 27, 2009

Stairway to Heaven

I have a friend.

My friend wants to go on a hike.

A long hike.

On a tall mountain.

With me.

I'm not ready to die.

Or go for a helicopter ride.

I need to prepare.

So this morning, bright and early, I drove myself to BYU campus, parked my sexy mom minivan, and climbed what is lovingly referred to by some as "Heart Attack Hill."

Not once, not twice, but six times. This is harder than it sounds because...

There's a steep little RAMP that takes you up heart attack hill, and there are STAIRS (one hundred and one of them, to be exact) that take you up heart attack hill. I climbed BOTH of them SIX marvelous, toilsome times--EACH. For one solid hour, I went down the ramp, then up the ramp. Down the stairs, then up the stairs. Lather, rinse, repeat. Repeat repeat repeat.

So technically, I climbed it twelve times. Six on the ramp and six on the stairs. Go me.

I obviously did not die, but I was purpler and sweatier and breathlesser than I am when dear old Zac is done with me (see yesterday's post). I kicked my own butt and it felt fan-flippin-fastic!

This was taken right before I tripped over my shoelaces and rolled like a frightened potato bug down the remainder of the ramp. (Ok, not really, but it could totally happen because I'm clumsy, and I thought it sounded really funny when I pictured it happening in my head)
I think it's fitting that there's a very bright light at the end of these stairs, don't you? On those last few passes, I could have sworn I heard the faintest of whispers: "Go toward the light. Go toward the light. Go..."

Yes, I said "breathlesser." I call it writer's license.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Devil in Disguise

Look at this face.

It's the face of an angel, is it not?
Happy, kind, warm, welcoming...
pain-inflicting, sweat-inducing, nightmare-causing...

This is the face of Zac, my personal trainer. He doesn't LOOK like a felon, does he? (Yes, I checked, and in the state of Utah, attempted murder is a felony, and every week he tries to kill me). Actually, I guess you'd say he's more like a paid assassin--and *I* am the one writing the check!

Every Friday morning, when I walk into Zac's house of of business, I look like this (ok, maybe not EXACTLY like this, but something close to it):

I look fresh, clean, polished, like someone with a pulse and a hygiene regimen.

This is what I look like just sixty tiny minutes later, when Zac (a.k.a. the Grim Reaper) is done with me:

'Mild stroke purple' is a good color on me, don't you think?

All kidding aside, and in Zac's defense, it really is more of a love/hate relationship. It's painful and it's hard work and I smell like a locker room when it's all over, but the benefits are slowly but surely showing themselves. I'm down 11 lbs since Zac's abuse started. I'll take that.
Thanks, Zac.

I guess sometimes tough love really is the best kinda lovin'.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Dads I Love

This post should have gone up a little bit earlier, but I'm still a couple of hours shy of midnight on Father's day, so I'm making the cutoff...barely.

I just spent a fun weekend at a family reunion. Yes, I said "fun" and "family reunion" in the same sentence. I'll admit, I wasn't excited about it, and I wasn't shy about letting anyone within earshot know it. Mostly I just wasn't too giddy about yet another trip to St. George, after taking so many road trips in the last two months. BUT...I can admit when I'm wrong...sometimes...and I'm happy to say I'm eating my words. I had a great weekend and really loved spending time with family I've missed and don't get to see very often.

One thing I loved about this weekend was watching all the dads. Really good dads. To me, watching a man care for his children (and his wife) is like poetry in motion. A beautiful thing, really. I want to thank my cousins and my cousins' husbands for just plain being good dads. The same guys who are laughing at their own farts and playing teen-oriented video games one minute can metamorphose into these loving, caring, doting dads the next minute without even missing a beat.

I want to take a minute and tell you about a few of my favorite dads:

Jim and Phil.
These two were my favorites to watch this weekend. They are my brothers-in-law and I adore them. I don't know many men who are as hard working, generous, kind, and surprisingly funny as these two. They are both the dads of two little ones, and I watched all weekend as they jumped every time one of them needed a drink or a clean diaper or a kiss for a boo-boo. They love their wives and they love their children and it shows in everything they do. I am so glad they are part of our family. My children and I are blessed to have them around.

Uncle Russ.

I know I speak for all of my siblings when I say the following: Uncle Russ rocks! We absolutely love our Uncle Russ. In many ways, he has filled the role of a dad for us over the years. He is thoughtful and loving and giving and is so much fun to be around. I wish we could see him (and Marcia) more than we do. p.s. That actually IS a picture of my uncle Russ, and NOT a picture of Rod Stewart, just so ya know.

My friend, Jon.

If you look up "reliable" in the dictionary, you'll see a picture of this guy. (this one here isn't the best one I have, but I wanted one of him with his kids!). He makes my list of best dads I know for a number of reasons, but the biggest is his never-ending devotion and constancy when it comes to his children. It doesn't matter what's happening in his life, what kind of chaos and turmoil is swirling around him, or how exhausted and overwhelmed he might feel. He is an absolute rock for his kids. He is anchored and focused and loves his kids like few dads I know. They are so lucky to have him in their lives, and I'm grateful to him for the things I've learned about being a good parent just by observing him in action.

My own dad.

I'm sorry to say that I don't have any photos of him on my computer. )o:

Many of you know that neither I nor any of my siblings really had the best relationship with our dad. But there are still lots of good memories. My dad was really good at being my pal when I was little. I remember living out in the country and him taking me out on the tractor with him and always having to dump me off at the house with my mom because I would fall asleep within minutes. I remember what a great sense of humor he had, and how much he always seemed to be laughing. I remember that he was a hard worker. I remember that, at times, he could be very tenderhearted and could feel things very deeply. I remember that he was musically gifted. He died a few years ago, but regardless of whatever difficulties we may have had, I still owe at least part of who I am to his genes and his influence.

There are so many more dads I could list here, but these are the ones at the top of my list.

Thanks, you guys, for being good daddies, but most of all, good men. The world needs more of you.

Oh, and Happy Fathers' Day!

Friday, June 19, 2009

I Heart Tyler!

Ok, don't get all excited. I do NOT have a new boyfriend. (men...hmmph!) This here is my little virtual friend Tyler. (He'll balk at me calling him little, but I'll do it anyway).

I follow T's blog quite religiously. Some might say obsessively, but what do THEY know? He has lost an astounding 90 pounds in 21 weeks and has made some remarkable changes both inside and out.
Every so often, T issues himself a workout challenge of sorts. On his blog, he'll let people add to his treadmill time by posting comments or posting his blog link (on Facebook, their own blog, MySpace, whatever). If you post his link on your page, you'll add 3 minutes to his workout time. If you go to his blog and leave a comment, you'll add 30 seconds. If you do both, you'll add 3:30 to his workout time. Get it?

I want to be the reason Tyler has to stay on the treadmill for like 3 hours, so I want all my little blog stalkers to post his link on their blogs/facebook/whatever and then go leave him a comment letting him know you did, so that he will have to tack on another 3 min. 30 secs. to his workout for EACH person who does this.

His blog link is:, and it really is a great read if you've ever struggled with losing weight--whether it be 80 pounds or 8. If you don't leave the comment on his blog, your time won't get added to his workout. So that's important!

Note: The window to do this is a small one. He's taking comments until 6am tomorrow, then this workout pledge is done for now.

Make Tyler work his tushie off---literally!

Yeah, I know, I should be doing this, too. Maybe next week.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Writing Assignment 6

Two posts in one weekend? What IS going on? You'd think I had no children. Feel free to scroll down if you missed this weekend's post #1.

So, this week's (actually given 3 weeks ago...oops) assignment was mixed veggies (again, thanks A LOT, Jon. I'm practically giddy with anticipation for the next topic).

I was stumped. Beyond stumped, really. So here's what I came up with. It ended up being more of an exercise in brainstorming for ideas than a writing skills practice. Here goes nuthin:

Most of us have them, those five or six or twenty cans of mixed vegetables staring at us each and every time we open the pantry in search of an easy side dish. We buy them because they’re cheap (for a reason), knowing full well that they’ll never see the light of day once we get them home and place them on the shelf. When it’s time to make dinner, we inevitably pass over them like the poor fat kid we’d never pick for our dodge ball team in the third grade.

For those of us finally ready to free up some cupboard space and make room for edible food, the following is a list of the top ten alternative uses for those nasty little bits of jumbled up produce:

1. Who needs ipecac? Use them to induce vomiting in a child who’s ingested a toxic substance.
2. Sprinkle them evenly around the perimeter of your home and you’ve got cheap pest control.

3. Keep nothing but those mixed veggies in your kitchen and you’ll lose those extra pounds in no time, since you’ll completely lose your desire to eat.

4. Give the kids a fun craft project. Find some thread and a needle and transform those mixed gems into some lovely Christmas tree garland.

5. Dry them out and make jewelry.

6. Rice at weddings has been so overdone. Throw the veggies instead.

7. Buy a goat. They’ll eat anything.

8. Forget spanking. Consider the forced consumption of mixed veggies as an effective method of child discipline.

9. Put them in fruitcakes to give away during the holidays. Sure, it’s gross, but let’s get real. It’s fruitcake. Your friends and family will never eat it anyway.

10. Make soup for people you hate.

If none of these seem like viable options, you may need to resort to more extreme measures, such as cooking and eating your mixed veggies. But I wouldn’t recommend it.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

A Week of Firsts

Oh what a difference a week makes. Last weekend, I drove my children to Boise, Idaho to meet up with their dad so they could ride back to Washington state and spend two months with him there--a bittersweet adventure for me, to say the least. The mama bear misses her little cubs, but the den is ooooh soooo quiet. The whole exchange of children has made for an interesting week. I've done a lotta things I've never done or haven't done in so long that it FEELS like I've never done them! For example:

1. I just sat on the couch and watched a movie (OF MY CHOOSING) from start to finish, uninterrupted. I watched Australia (awesome!). As a result, I have a new obsession. He goes by the name of Hugh Jackman. Two words: Yum. eee.

2. I put some hiking miles on my Nike' Utah! I didn't go quite as far as I'd have liked, just because I was all by my lonesome and the trail got a little too wildernessy for my comfort. It's hard to tell in this pic, but I'm standing in a shallow stream. Water and trees and snow and your heart out, Arizona!

I know what you're thinking: "She kiped this pic from a postcard." Nope. Took it myself from the trail. What a view. Only in Utah, baby. Makes you wanna break into song, right? "The hills are alive..."

3. I went to Boise! Never done that before. The kids were waaay excited about getting to visit with their missionary uncle Jerry, who happens to be serving his church mission there. You look great, Jerry! We love you and miss you!

Livvi partying in the pool in Boise. Please don't ask me about the hat.

4. I took a 5 hour nap the other day, just 'cause I could. Oh yes, people. Moms with little ones...tell me how often that happens for you. I know, you're jealous. HA!

Nap photo NOT available. Sorry.

Looking forward to many more firsts in the coming weeks. The best first of all? My first time getting my children back after having been gone for two months.