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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Family Photos

Thanks to my great friend Antonia for taking our family on.  I warned her we would be the WORST photo family EVER!!!!  We were.  Jackson wouldn't smile or cooperate most of the time.  Jared was over stimulated.  Jordan never smiles in pictures regardless.  James just wanted it to be over.  Sean was yelling at kids.  I was praying Antonia would be able to get some usable shots.  I love the candids.  I love that we survived.  I love that Antonia stuck it out with us.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Stop the World.....I Wanna Get Off For Just a Little While

So I mentioned life is busy and it is, but after today I am not going to complain about it anymore.  Trust me.  Friends have heard enough.  I am busy.  I am tired.  I don't know if I am coming or going.  I am a mess.

I started out the school year with a morning contract and now I have one for the afternoon too.  I'm taking a course through the college.  I have swimming lessons for the boys.  They have cubs, scouts, and youth activities.  There's piano lessons and extra curricular band rehearsals.  I am teaching singing lessons.  I'm still picking up a shift here and there at the bank.  I am preparing two Christmas programs for church.  Next week is our church lady craft night.  We are cutting wood and getting other supplies ready.  If there are other things, I don't remember because I am not looking at my calendar.

Life is busy.  I know that there are moms out there who do more than this, but this blog is about me.  I'm looking forward to getting used to this rhythm.  Sooner would be better.

My question:  Why is it that I keep hearing myself volunteering for more?????  There's part of me saying, "Sure!  I can do that.  No problem."  And there's another part of me saying, "@*#?%!! (no four symbol dialog here folks), shut up!!"

I am going to try and squeeze in some fun this week.  I made that promise to myself.

Got a nice treat from Antonia tonight.  Roger's Chocolates.  My most favorite.  One of the reasons I miss Victoria.  At least I can get it in Banff from time to time.  Thank you so much!!  And your photogs are great.  Looking forward to posting them.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Dear Shelli

I don't blog for months and now I can't stop. Shelli, this is for you.

Shelli, since we left you we have NOT carved pumpkins. What started out as such a fun tradition with our families is now dead in the water for us. We miss you and we miss our activities. We miss Darren and your babies.

Maybe someday we will start up again, but for now we are Jack-O-Lantern-less and have been for three Halloweens now.

Just so you know, it was Sean's idea in the first place. You know what that means.

We hope to see you soon. Love you to bits!!!!!!

Putting It All Together.....Craft Style

Tonight we put our little pumpkin project together. Excessive with the flowers? Maybe, but after much deliberation, Jordan and Jackson decided that this was the best way to go.....ALL OUT....and that's how I tend to be anyway.

Michaels sells these kinds of arrangements for around $250-$300 full price and I've always been tempted to buy one. This one has WAY more on it so I don't know what it would sell for at the store. I know I spent so much less and it was fun to make it and make it the way I wanted.

How to store it??????? Better put that on my list.

Now if someone bought me the scroll saw on sale at Canadian Tire this week, I would make a little sign to put on the front. We shall see.

Goes by the front door in the morning.

More and More Crafting Kind of Stuff

I'm really busy nowadays.  I will blog the details later, but I am just busy and if it ain't on the calendar then it ain't happenin'.  That's just how life is right now. 

Anyone who knows me knows I love being creative or at least pretending to be.  I love to make things.  I love to decorate.  Pre-marriage, I sewed up a storm.  I always had at least 5 projects on the go.  It relaxes me and takes off some of the pressure that we all feel from time to time. 

Lately I've found that I crave that peace again.  It seems like it's been a while since I allowed myself a little time to do those things I love.  Part of it was because I needed to, but I gladly volunteered when I got the chance.

Michaels was clearing out their fall stems for 90% off.  Come on.  Who can resist that.  So I bought a whole bunch and I added them to the whole bunch I have purchased at said discount over the last couple of years. 

This is what I've done so far and it's not done yet.  So stay tuned..........

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Oh, The Things You Can Do When You Are a Cute Puppy

Really.  Where else would you expect Gracie to sit?  Really.

Crafting......Jackson Style

Jackson found a picture of a lego Jack-O-Lantern in a recent Toys R Us flyer.  So he made his own. 

More Crafting Kinda Stuff

For the last couple of weeks I could not upload pictures for my blog and it was driving me crazy!!!!!  Now I am frantically trying to catch up on some of the things I wants to blog and nowadays I am so busy that I need to get it done before I forget all together.

So I posted my "Believe" blocks that are for an upcoming church craft night.  I also etched some glass plates that we are going to do.......perhaps in red if we find any glass plates in that color.

And a big shout out to "J.K." for the vinyl lettering for the "Believe" blocks and for these stencils.  I wanted a vinyl cutter years ago and never bought one.  Think of all the damage I could have done!!!!  So coveting her gear now!!!

Just Mom, Dad, and Jackson

I'm trying to do some catch up blogging.  A few weeks ago Sean and I took Jackson to the Calgary Zoo.  Last year when I took Jared and Jackson, the dinosaur park was closed.  They were adding animatronics to the park and so I decided that now, a year later, we should go back before the exhibits ends at the end of the month.  Jared had no interest in going so off the three of us went.  We gave Jackson a camera to use for the day and here are some of his 150 odd pictures.  He was quite the photographer that day.

Jared and the Birds of Prey

Jared loves birds......eagles to be exact. He's had a bit of an obsession about them for a couple of years. This past summer Sean and I took him out to Coaldale to the Birds of Prey Centre. He really enjoyed it and I know we will be back again.

The birds are recues and some are released back when ready and others stay if they would not do well out in the "wild" again. It was a nice morning with a nice child. I had a smile on my face the whole time!!!

Friday, October 8, 2010


I've been working on some variations of the same craft project we will be doing at a Relief Society activity night in a few weeks.  I can't decide which one I want to display in my house. 

I can never make just one of something.  I love doing this kind of stuff.  Wish I had more time fore it.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Mother of Reinvention

Some months ago, a friend's  comment on a particular blog sparked some reflection for me. I no longer have "babies" in the house if you use the term in its intended meaning. I am in the next phase. I no longer have a belly that expands to gargantuan circumferences. Indeed my preggo clothes are long gone. Baby equipment is no where to be found.

 Being a mother changes you. Physically, I could use a little less of the stretched out skin on my mid section. And I miss the perkiness.....you all know where, ladies. I want the perk back. I miss my rest. I wish Sean and I had more intimate moments. I wish my clothes were cleaner. At times I forget what I used to talk about other than my children. I really miss the perkiness.

I had a hard time becoming a mom....not physically, but psychologically. Postpartum depression, little assistance, and isolation were very much a part of the first few months of my experience. I went from being a self confident, strong young woman with a career, and breadwinner to a ball of tears lying fetal in the baby's room. I did not know who I was. It took some time, and it was a process, but I was able to slowly reinvent myself and become this new person. A MOM.

Babies continued to come and with each one I found there was again an opportunity for reinvention. These kids aren't clones. You can't be the same mom for them all as they need different things from you. So as I get to know them I find that again I am reinventing pieces of myself to serve their needs.

When my youngest started school, I nervously anticipated the changes that would come to me. With no one at home during the day, I wondered what that would mean for me. At first I didn't know what I would do with myself. What did I want to do? Was it okay to have this time for myself? Who was I if I didn't have short people running though my house at all hours? Was this empty nest syndrome part 1? Indeed the thought of having another baby invaded my thoughts. If I had a baby, I could delay reinventing myself again.

It was during this time of reflection and the resulting decision that there would definitely be no more babies that I realized that reinvention is good and that we should not mourn our past life, past body, past energy or anything else we may miss. It was during this time I was reminded in a kind and gentle, quiet way that I was still in essence the same as I had always been. I was a daughter of Heavenly Father. He loved me. To my core, He knew me.

Over the last couple of years I have been through that reinvention process again. When Jared was diagnosed (finally) with Autism Spectrum Disorder, there was a refining process that took place for me. With all that I am to all my boys, I think a new door within me opened and I am now also a powerful advocate in matters that I don't fully understand. I have also come to accept the fact that there is a chance that I may never be fully released from that call. Only time will tell.

I am not the same girl I was before I got married. I feel I am a much deeper person now. There are more layers to me now. But my core is the same. I know whose I am. I know that I matter. I know He knows my potential. And this has brought me more peace than anything else.

And I know it's not over. There is more reinventing to do. There are more layers to add. My goal is to make sure those layers are good; that as I change, those changes will be positive.

Overall I don't miss my younger self. I am embarking on my 5th decade on this earth. I look forward to getting to know the person I will be in 10 years from now. I hope she is as wonderful as the many women I know whom I try to emulate.

If some perkiness could return though......I wouldn't mind that either!!!  I do miss the perkiness.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Running Review

I turned 40 this year. 4.0. I'm totally okay with it. No really. I'm cool.

I decided to accomplish something I have never been able to stick with and that was running. My goal? Half marathon. 40 and my sensibilities are failing me. The last time I blogged about running it was Moonlight Madness. I've run a few time since then. Here's the review.

Ladies Fest - Girls only!!!! No boys allowed???? Well, not unless you are serving water, serenading me, or feeding me chocolate. June was Ladies Fest, and 8k run down into the river bottom and back up. The back up was a treat, let me tell you. Wanna run a hill? I got just the perfect one for you, baby.

And that wasn't even the half of it. No, I did not run up the whole thing (I walked some), though it would have been cool. Maybe next year. Maybe I will actually do some hill training before the next one. Must put that on my to do list.
It's amazing how a post run picture can add twenty pounds to my frame and ONLY my frame. The other lovely ladies are part of my running posse. Amy, I know you will read this and we missed you!!!!

Raymond - The Raymond 10k came along next and all I can say is, "YUCK" and I didn't come last. It was hot and windy and dusty with only one water station by the cemetery where I would have been happy to die. Scott kept me company on this one - bless him.

A Stirling 5k was in there somewhere, but I don't remember when. I think some time in July. No pics of that one. I didn't come in last again and actually I was pretty happy with my time.

Melissa's Road Race in Banff - The big one. 22k. Girls' weekend getaway. How much trouble could a girl get into???? Not much when your body hurts and you are getting sick. I was good, Sean, I really was!!!!!
This is my leg all taped up for the run. I don't know what exactly is wrong with me......hamstring (yes), IT whatchamacallit, bursitis.....whatever. I hurt, but I can still move. I did some physio before this run. I wanted to make sure I didn't end up in the hospital. Thanks to Antonia for taping me up!!
Pre-run. We got our shirts before the race. It was a blustery day. It was especially blustery when running up a hill and yes, that wind was blowing right at us. I felt pretty good for the first 17k and then started to poop out. The last hills and the wind were killer. The more I pushed into the wind, the more my hamstring cussed me out. I ended up walking up the last few hills until the turnaround and I could run with the wind behind me. The important thing is that I finished!!!! 22k!!! NEVER have I run that far.

It was a great weekend full of Lululemon, chocolate, hot springs, food, and cold medication. As you can see from our post-race picture we survived our runs and still have smiles on our faces (and dirt between our teeth). We missed some of our posse....Amy and Karri, you know who you are....so there's always next year for a bigger girls' getaway.

I registered for a half in Victoria, but I am skipping it. I have some healing to do now, but wait until next year. Yes, I am doing this again. Don't tell me I'm crazy. I already know.

Old news.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Our Summer

Today I am blogging about our summer - or lack thereof.  Our weather mostly sucked lemons this year.  I had plans.  Boy, did I have plans.

We were going to go hike at least four times in Waterton Park.  We went twice.
The boys were going to do summer basketball camp.  Check.
We were going to go to Calaway Park with our friends in Calgary.  Didn't happen.
James went on Trek and he and Jordan went camping with the young men from church.  Check.
Family came here so we didn't have to go anywhere!!!!!!  Check.

Let's start with Trek.......
Trek is the four day event where you take a bunch of teenagers and adult leaders and dress them up as pioneers.  You divide them up into families.  You have them put together a handcart.  You limit their food intake.  You confiscate modern day luxuries like soap and toothpaste and deodorant.  You make them pull and push a handcart as a family up and down mountains, through streams and washed out roads.  You pray that the rain will stay away.

It rained the days before Trek.  It rained the morning of Trek.  Then the rain went away.  I dropped off a skeptical boy and picked up someone who thought it was the best experience of his life.  They walked a lot.  They killed and roasted turkeys in pits.  They made new friends.  They slept under the stars.  It was often boring, but also one of the most fun things he's done.  James was even nice and helpful for the next TWO weeks.  I should send him to Trek more.

Jordan, Jared, and Jackson went to basketball camps at the university.  They all had a great time.  Jordan walked around like an 85 year old man most evenings so I knew he was working hard.  Jared had a Pronghorn player as his assistant.  Jackson did really well too.  I'm thinking league this winter.  Even with Jared it's worth a try.  He survived camp and they survived him. 

We took Diane out to Waterton when she came out to visit.  Chris, Jen, and Ethan were out too, but Ethan was not feeling to well so we just went with Diane.  We took her to Cameron Falls and walked up to the top of the falls to look around.  It was a lovely day, and she went back out later in the week with the rest of my fam.

We went again a couple of weeks later to hike Bear's Hump.  I've really wanted to get the family more physically active and I thought hiking was a great way to start.  Bear's Hump is a shorter hike, but it's straight up and rather tiring if you are not in shape or not a child.  We took the grandparents and set out for the day.  Some of us ran up the trail, and Jordan made it to the top first followed by Jared.  Jackson and I made it up 5 or 10 minutes after them.  James and Grandpa got Grandma to the top.  Yeah!!!!!  It was so windy at the top and I was so nervous that the gusts would blow Jackson over the side!!  I am sure the peaceful tranquility of the top was completely destroyed by the noise of our family.  Man, we are a loud bunch. 

I wish we could have done more.  The summer still went by quickly and we seemed to keep busy, but I hope next summer is better.  I want to get a park pass try out some of the longer hikes.  Maybe we can see a bear!!  May not.

I Have Returned

So much going on.........

Recovering hand, therapy to make it work again, running, more running, end of the school year, more running, summer, stress, visiting family, back to school, finding another job contract, running injuries, more running.

Hey, you'd take a break too.

I'm back!!

Monday, May 24, 2010


My splint is off most of the time now. I am working on regaining mobility in my hand. "The strength can come back later," says my therapist. Apparently we have years to work on strength, but the mobility is crucial now. So be it. I see her point. Still, it's frustrating to have a semi functioning hand that can't do much more than move.

On the running side, I ran 8.5k alone on Saturday. For me that was great considering I hate running alone. HATE!!!!! I'm doing a program where I run for a few minutes and walk a few until I work up to a 9 and 1 run/walk ratio. I ran a 7 and 1 on Saturday and 24 minutes longer than usual to top that off. I didn't have shin pain until Sunday morning, so I am watching that carefully.

I registered for two half marathons this fall. I think I am crazy, but one of them comes with a really cool race shirt. I registered for cheap so if I don't run it, I'll still have the cool shirt!! Hey, sometimes it's about the clothes, people.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Catch Up Time

Obviously I have not been blogging lately. The reasons are varied. I tried to stay in some kind of chronological order, but it's probably off a bit.

Regardless, this is what has been going on!!

My Baby is Eight

From Feb. 28, 2010......
Eight a is big birthday around here. You turn eight, you get baptized - it's a big birthday. Jackson's was certainly that.

We had all grandmas and grandpas here and Uncle Scott. We partied. We opened gifts. Then we dunked the little squirt.

Now this is our fourth baptism so we are getting pretty efficient with them. Let's face it. These are eight year old kids with short attention spans. We keep it on task and to the point. We were done in about 30 minutes - maybe a couple of minutes less.

My baby is eight. Life is moving along faster and faster.

Happy Birthday, Jordan

Jordan is handsome.

Jordan is intelligent.

Jordan is kind.....most of the time.

Jordan is taller than me......like that makes a difference.

Jordan is 12.

May 1, 2010

Turning 40

It wasn't quite how I planned things......spending my 40th birthday healing from a tendon transfer. Not that I was anticipating dancing on tables or anything like that, but at least an able body was on the original agenda.

Sean took me to Calgary for a couple of days for a birthday shopping trip. A man following you around from store to store, carrying your shopping bags is a gift indeed......of the awesome kind. I don't know too many of the male species that could endure that kind of torture. Sean did.

It was nice to be away together. It's been a few years since we've been able to get away and have someone else worry about our babies.

We certainly had fun and I didn't go overboard in my shopping adventures. We met up with some friends for a birthday dinner. It was just a nice getaway and when it was time to go home, we knew it.

We returned to a great family dinner made by my mom and I think the boys were even happy to see us.

Turning 40 is good.

Hand Issues

I survived our little road trip despite my pain. The following week I saw the plastic surgeon and I was fitted for a splint. It's much prettier than the plaster boulder I hauled around the last week. I think it is on for 6-8 weeks and there's therapy as well.

Fun. Fun. Fun.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Spring Break Road Trip

April 5th - surgery
April 6th - stopped taking T3's so I wouldn't feel so groggy
April 7th - packing
April 8th - road trip

Yes, I was in pain.

Destination-Vancouver LDS Temple in Langley, BC

Hours of driving on day 1 - 12.5
Road conditions - mostly crappy

Where we lodged - with Joanne and Quinn. Totally loved seeing them. Totally want to hang out with Joanne without my kids around.

April 9th - went to the Temple Open House. We met up with our friends the Stewarts from Lethbridge and toured the temple together. It was beautiful. The workmanship was fantastic and it was nice to see things unique to BC incorporated in the decor. We ran into a few familiar faces while we were there. Lunch at Red Robin and off to Vernon to see Jeff and Tobi and family.

April 10th - Had a nice evening and morning visiting with Jeff and Tobi. We got back in the car and raced home. We arrived back in Lethbridge that evening. Gracie was happy to have us back.

It was a whirlwind trip. I loved it.


I really thought that my wrist was not healing properly and was kicking myself for getting my cast off early. About a week after Moonlight, something happened. My right thumb stopped working.

Newsflash!!!!!!! Thumbs are important.

I could not extend it. I could move it from side to side a bit, but the thumb wasn't good for anything.

So I went to Emergency in a panic and here's the lesson girls and boys.........seems that when you do activities such as, say, folding laundry and you feel a popping sensation in your hand above the wrist, it could be a warning to stop what you are doing. It may also be wise to listen to your husband when he says you can't do something and not do it. If you do, you may "Oh yes I can" yourself all the way to the Emergency.

I guess when I slipped and fell on the ice and fractured my little wrist, I most likely damaged my thumb tendon. I continued to complete tasked that aggravated that injury. Eventually I killed my tendon - totally shredding it - leaving it unrepairable. This led to a visit with a plastic surgeon.

So on April 5th I had to undergo a tendon transfer surgery. This entailed taking an extra tendon from my index finger and moving it over to my thumb. I was awake. I even watched some of it. I was fitted with a six hundred ton plaster thumb splint/cast for a week.

I am no longer pushing my limits.....well I can't at the moment anyway.