Sunday, October 23, 2011

Huntsville Half Marathon

Warning... This post was done by Scott, Amme's Husband.
I'm sure that none of you are still checking this blog, but I decided that I spend too long staring into space on Sunday instead of doing something like I should be doing so I might as well put some pictures on the blog.
As the title says, Amme and I ran a half marathon on Saturday. Yes we did this because we wanted to and no we will not do another one until we forget that it hurts to walk up or down stairs, or do anything else with our legs for that matter. I'm sure that will take at least a couple of weeks.
Our sore muscles are mostly due the fact that the race I registered us for is north of Houston in an area of gently rolling hills. They be laughed at by those in Utah, but the rise and fall of a couple hundred feet every few miles was quite different than what we are used too. In fact in order to try and prepare ourselves for running hills we had to run up and down an overpass near our home because there are no "hills" in Houston.
Many thanks to Laurie (Amme's sister) and Blake for coming to cheers us on and take these pictures.
Here is Amme coming down one of the smaller hills along the course.
Here is Carly playing on some kind of parking lot gate. Spencer told me that climbing this was the highlight of his day.
Of course no morning would be complete without a daily dose of Captain Crunch, Spencer's favorite cereal.
Amme's friend Rachel, crosses the finish line.
I really didn't post this to tout my accomplishments but Amme will be mad at me if I don't mention that I finished 12th overall and 2nd in my age bracket with a time of 1:35:03.
This post would not be complete without an invitation to y'all to come and run a race with us. Below are a couple of videos that are sure to convince you join us or confirm that we are completely mad because we think that this is fun.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

This elf has been busy!

Okay, I realize it has been a month or so since I began this new project and I have been promising some of you for quite some time now that I would put pictures up "soon." Just remember, I was making 3 so it took a while. And, then, when I got the first 2 off I needed to take a breather (to catch up on my disaster of a house) and begin Christmas shopping for my other children.

What in the world is she talking about you might ask? Let me back up a little. About 9 months ago my good friend Wendy introduced me to my favorite new website. If you haven't heard about Ana White yet, well---now you have. She is this AMAZING lady in Alaska who builds furniture and puts her plans and very detailed instructions online for FREE! She makes it so simple and makes having nice furniture a possibility on a budget. So, I have been following her website daily (yes, she puts something new up almost every day) for several months and have wanted to build several things, mostly the Farmhuse Bed . If you have ever been in my bedroom you know the furniture in it. A mattress on a a metal frame; an old antique dresser and a walmart dresser. Very mismatched and while I am grateful I have them all, they aren't very pretty and don't help me feel like my house is a beautiful home. So, Scott and I had been looking at pictures of beds online and wondered if we could make one ourselves and then learned about Ana's website. We found the Farmhouse bed and fell in love. Not only with the look but also the $. Yep, I only put one $ because we will be able to build a whole bedroom full of furniture for a small fraction of the cost to buy it. But, I have just sat and drooled for months and doubted myself, and doubted myself, and doubted myself. Because even though I might have a little more building experience than some, I was still nervous.

Then, Ana put up what I call the "perfect" beginner plan. It is a farmhouse bed-----for a doll. What a perfect thing to practice on for the real thing because it doesn't have to "be" perfect, a perfect thing for Carlyn for Christmas, and it was perfect for my budget. And then, I got thinking about my sister in law and her family who we still didn't have a gift for. And I knew that her two girls ages 3 and 4 1/2 would love these too. So, I raced off to Home Depot and bought my furring strips (remember it is a doll bed and doesn't have to be perfect) and other needed supplies. I got enough wood to make 4 beds, screws and wood glue. All of that cost me about $32. $7.35 per bed isn't bad at all! And, in keeping with the whole idea of being inexpensive I went to the local recycling center for my paint. I don't know if they do this in your area but people drop off their old unwanted paint. The recycle center then mixes it all in 5 gallon buckets and end up with an ugly brown color. But, they have so much they don't have it all mixed so I was able to dig through and find a nice creamy color. I couldn't have picked a better color. It was exactly what I had imagined to go on them. And guess what, it was Behr paint and the gallon bucket was almost full! How's that for saving $25?!??!!

Ana says you can build this in an hour. Well, maybe she can but I am definitely slower. It probably took me about 3 hours to build the first one and a little less to do the others. I was using only one drill and don't have a countersink bit. So, that meant predrilling, then changing bits to countersink, then changing bits again to put in the screws. I honestly think just doing all that took an hour per bed. But I had so much fun. After I made the first one I was on such a high the rest of the day.

Now, they aren't perfect, but I learned so much working on these. They are so cute and I hope all 3 of the girls (Carlyn and my two nieces) will enjoy them.

I didn't assemble these ones for my nieces because my brother in law was going to take them home with him on the airplane in his suitcase. Can you say "saved money on shipping?" Ignore the yellow ribbon it was merely to designate which bed pieces went together. Let's just say these are super custom (to be read "I don't measure perfectly). I also made mattresses out of one of those blue foam camping pads from walmart. They are only about $5 and there was enough pad for 5 beds. My friend Wendy (who used the last amount of my wood and made the 4th bed for her daughter) and I also made sheets and quilts. The fabric quarters at JoAnns are just the right size for the top. Then we just used $broadcloath$ in a matching color for everything else. I then used a decortive stitch around the edges and tied them with embroidery floss.
This one is Carlyn's. I don't know if you can tell but I didn't want to go super little girly girl on any of these. I went for for the "rustic, old bed with character at Grandma's house" look.

And just to give you an idea of the size of this. This is no wimpy doll bed. That is your regular 24 oz size bottle of ketchup. It is a really good size. Ana designed it for American girl dolls. But, thankfully I don't think Carlyn knows what they are and she asked for a Cabbage Patch doll. I will say it one more time "Cha-ching!"
So anyway, I hope you will check out Ana's website
because it is truly awesome. Thanks so much Ana! Keep it up.
.................Now if I could just decide what I want to make next.................
Okay, It has been brought to my attention that most of my links do not work. I think I have the very first one in this post working. Sorry, I don't know what I did wrong. But, it is late and I need to go to bed.
Okay, new day! All of the links should be right. Thanks to Con for bringing that to my attention.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

What makes me happy?

This week has been a good week and I have been so blessed. I couldn't help but be happy.

**It started out Monday with the start of a new hobby and I was able to work on the current project for several hours. More details soon.

**The kids and I went on an excursion to a small aquarium and a picnic. We had a good time and got to be with friends. The best part? It was FREE!

**We spent Thanksgiving with our best friends (if you can't have family who better to have?).

**My husband did the shopping on Black Friday while I stayed in bed AND he got everything he went for!

And the real reason I am so happy............................................................... because over the past few days I have gotten to do something I was beginning to think was a lost cause here in Texas. I canned applesauce! YUM! Store bought applesauce is sick. This is what applesauce should taste like! And even better? They are Utah apples of my favorite variety. Kudos to my awesome produce contact. I am very happy. 82 quarts HAPPY!

***And it also makes me happy when my kids help. Check out Spencer's face!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I have been in here.............

..........for two weeks. If you had ever told me I would spend large amounts of time in my hall coat closet and enjoy it I would have said you were absolutely crazy. But, I have had a lot of fun the last two weeks in this closet and also learned alot that I am really excited about.

About 3 weeks ago I was blog surfing and checked on an old friend through another friend's blog. If the name Cami G. from Greenfield means anything to you then check out her blog for my inspiration. If it doesn't, it doesn't matter other than that I give Cami credit for this inspiring idea. Because of the layout of our house we don't have an option for a "mud room" or anything. I have struggled to find the right, clean, organized system for jackets, shoes, backpacks, etc. I have tried several different things to no avail. I believe I have found the answer.

The Coat Closet Before
The coat closet After
Something Cami said on her blog really hit me. "Schools have hooks for a reason." It is so true! Can you imagine 20 little children trying to hang up their coats on hangers every day? And besides, I will let you in on a little secret.........I am more likely to use a hook too. So often I hang my jacket on the end of the banister because it is "easier" than taking two more step to pick up a hanger and hang it up. Now you know how lazy I really am! Cami removed her shelf. But, I need that shelf and want another one above it because the ceiling goes on forever (another project for another day).

And, yes I realize I don't have upper hooks. The ones I bought are too tall. But, I have had lots of you waiting to see this so I am putting it up now. I am so excited to be done and get all the jackets off the floor. I think I am also going to get an over the door shoe organizer.

Things I learned on this project: ***how to properly countersink a screw
** use a table saw (still scares me to death though--think what it looks like when your child puts something in the oven for the first time in their life and that is about what it looks like to watch me use the table saw)
*** I measured and purchased everything for the project without help from Scott
*** learned how to properly use wood filler--you can definitely tell where I used it first and thought it was good enough, then later where I really learned. I bet you can't guess how many pieces of wood actually make up the support board under the shelf at the back of the closet!

I have told the kids that there will be absolutely no excuse now for not hanging up their jackets and backpacks and there will be severe consequences. But, I haven't thought of a consequence.
Any ideas?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Getting Skunked and Other Adventures

A couple of weeks ago Scott came home from his early morning ride and walked into the kitchen and asked, "Do I stink?" At first I wondered if my amazing husband was having self asteem issues. Then I wondered if perhaps he didn't want to take a shower before work and wanted me to tell him if he could get away without one. Well, those thougths lasted for about five seconds until I caught a whiff of his choice of cologne for the day.......Ode to the Skunk! He rides early while it is still dark (yes, he wears reflective clothing and has a small light) and he said that he was just zooming along and then before there was anything he could do about it--BUMP, BUMP!

He ran over that poor skunk with both tires! And of course the little guy had to give Scott a going away present. He showered with tomato sauce (I guess I need to have a supply of tomato juice!) baking soda and lots of soap. He washed and soaked and washed and soaked and washed and soaked his clothes and had to toss his water bottle. He has scrubbed and scrubbed his bike but you can still smell the present that little stinker (no pun intended) left him. So, I guess now he has something to say at those funny getting to know you games. I mean, how many people do you know that have run over a skunk on their bicycle!!

A post just wouldn't be complete without something from the garden. These are called Asian Yard Long beans. Look at those puppies. All you need is 1 per serving.
The last weekend of October proved to be fun filled and super busy. It's a good thing we went to the trunk or treat on Wed. because there wouldn't have been time the rest of the weekend.
We started Saturday with the annual fun run that our Stake puts on. There was a kids 1K and an adult 5K. Not to brag or anything, but we kind of swept the competition away. Taylor got 2nd place overall. Carter took 1st place in his age group (6-8 boys) and Carlyn took first place in her age group (3-5 girls). Here they are prerace with our good friends, the "D" children.

Once again, my husband decided to be a speed demon. He kept up an astonishing pace and finished the race in 21:10. Good enough for 3rd place! And for those who are wondering yes, I ran it, but I am slow so I didn't win anything. But we all had a great time and enjoyed the beautiful fall morning.

Then, later that afternoon we went to the "Ballunar Festival" held at NASA. It is a hot air balloon show that also celebrates any kind of flight. Ever since we spent a summer in Albuquerque and heard about the Hot Air Balloon Show they have there every year, we have wanted to go to one. So, when we heard about Ballunar we knew we had to go. It isn't nearly as large as Albuquerque but is was still cool. The festival is also an open house of sorts and you can tour some of the NASA buildings, and stuff as well. They had this little photo op. set up for all the kids.



We got there just in time to watch the model airplane show. The kids really thought this one was really cool and how it could fly straight up. We also saw about 40 skydivers land on the field right in front of us, ultralights flying, paragliders, hanggliders and even a flying model lawnmower!

The wind was too bad for the balloon launch at 5:30 so we walked back to the car and ate our picnic dinner. We then hustled back over to watch the "moon glow". This is just when all the balloons stay tied down to the ground but since it is dark it is really cool. The announcer also tells the operators to do different things with their fire. So, to have 40 of them do it at the same time was really cool. We left our camera in the car when we ate our dinner so we didn't get any pictures...............except this one. The secretary at Scott's work is married to the pilot (the guy with is hand up on the controlls behind Carter) of one of the balloons. So we found his balloon and figured we could talk to her for a minute. We got a little more than that! She invited us to come on the other side of the rope and then her husband invited the kids to get in the basket. It was really cool. But, Carly and Spencer were a little nervous. Spencer is still talking about it a week later by pointing to his eyes and saying "ouch" As for me--I fell in love. I have always wanted to go up in one and to watch them at night was beautiful.
The next day was Sunday. About a year ago there was another Stake formed in our area, but they don't have their own Stake building yet so they needed our church building for their Stake Conference. So, that made us have to go to Sacrament meeting from 8 AM to 8:50 AM. And then we had to leave the building so the other Stake could come for their meeting. So, what do you do when you are done with church for the day by 9 in the morning?!?! We came home and had a lovely brunch of fresh, hot, cinnamon rolls and cheesy eggs, and chocolate milk. Then, we went up to the Houston Temple. We decided that since our children had never seen the Houston Temple it would be a great day to make the 1 hour each way trek.
The kids had a great time exploring the temple grounds. Fountains, leaves, rocks, bugs, and they all took their turn taking pictures. We spent about an hour there and most of the 70 pictures that were taken were done by them.
Here they are checking out a black beetle swimming in the fountain.

An impromptu timer family photo.

This is actually one that Carter took. I thought it turned out pretty nice!

I am so thankful for my wonderful family. We had a great weekend being together. It was just a glimpse of what eternity can be. I love each of them and am so blessed to have Scott, Taylor, Carter, Carlyn, and Spencer to be mine forever.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Just a Taste

Because I am so far behind on my blogging I am not going to try and go backward for you. Sorry! I know you are all extremely disappointed with that decision. But, there's a hymn that comes to mind that might help you feel better..........."Count your many blessings, name them one by one." So, just count your blessings that you are getting an update. The following is in no particular order and is just random, fairly recent occurances in our little family.

Taylor's first hunting trip with Dad. They went bow hunting for deer but had a hard time seeing even very much deer sign because of the super thick brush and lack of large public hunting land. Makes you a little homesick for the huge amounts of area in Utah and Idaho.
They had a good time just being together for the day though, and will probably go some more during the rifle season. Scott also said Taylor was really good rattling but they didn't quite bring one in.

Can you guess where Spencer and I spend most of our time these days?
This was right after we bought these for him and Scott had the great idea to put every pair (I think 6 or 7) on this head. Did you know a 2 years old's head is about the same as his waist? HMMM....wish my waist was only as big around as my head! Spencer is doing a fabulous job at potty training. I will spare you any more detail than that!

For our anniversary Scott and I headed to downtown Houston to see some of the sights. Here we are in a pedal boat. I had never been in one before so it was fun. We also went out for Fajitas (I can't get enough of those things lately!), went running together, an art musuem, walked around a "japanese gardern", out for a Vietneamese lunch, did some diamond shopping--you will notice I said shopping not buying. We also walked along the seawall in Galveston and on a ferry ride and saw our first dolphin in the wild. We ended our weekend with Italian food and then home to finish preparing my talk for the next day in church. We were tired from our jam packed 36 hours but it was great to be together. Thanks for the best 10 years of my life. I love you, Scott and can't imagine where I would be without you. Thanks for letting me be the girl that you love.

The first day of School 2010
Taylor 4th grade
Carter 2nd grade
Carlyn Kindergarten

No, Carlyn is not taller than Carter. She had on shoes that had a pretty high wedge heel on them.

The kids like to act out scripture stories on Sunday afternoons. Here they were depicting Christ's birth with Taylor as Joseph and Carlyn as Mary and Spencer as baby Jesus. It was so funny that he let them wrap him up in those towels. I think they used at least two. He was pretty hot when he finally got to get out. Notice they even have a star!

So, now hopefully you can feel a little more caught up on our lives. Until next time..............

Thursday, October 7, 2010

My Amazing Husband

Sorry folks I fell off the face of the blogging planet for a awhile. No promises that I am back but it is time to share with you my amazing husband.

Scott decided in December or January that he wanted to do a sprint triathlon. Being the wonderful husband that he is, he kindly waited until I had done my half marathon so that our children would only have to put up with one parent who was an insane exerciser.

Saturday August 28, 2010 dawned clear and bright, much to our relief because earlier in the week the forcast had called for rain. Some of you may think the end of August would be a great time for a triathlon. That means you haven't spent any time in Houston at the end of August. Whoever picked this time was nuts! It is still so hot and humid, even at 7 am.

Anyway, Scott left hours before sunup to get to the location of the race and get set up and have his body marked (which when Carlyn saw the big black numbers on her Dad she got pretty upset because we aren't supposed to draw on ourselves. The kids and I got there just in time to cheer on our hero of the day.

Just coming out of the water after a 500 meter swim.
Just starting out on a 22 K bike ride.

Still looking good at the start of the 5K run.

Finally, at the end of the run and the entire race he looks a little winded! After Scott had been done for a few minutes a guy came up to him and said, "Wow! You are fast. I was using you to keep pace with in the run. But, that last mile you just took off and there was no way I could keep up!" Not bad for a guy with short legs huh? Scott actually got 5th place in his age group (30-39) for the run, so he really was hauling.

WAY TO GO SCOTT! We love you and are proud of all you accomplished in the training and completion of your first Sprint Triathlon.