Monday, June 25, 2012

Kartchner Caverns

My in-laws were here for a week and so we did a whole hecka-lotta things, most of which I failed to get pictures of because I was chasing after one kid or another. One thing that we did and that I did take at least some pictures of is head down to Kartchner Caverns.
The caves are "alive" so you are not allowed to touch anything.  Or take pictures.  Or touch the curbs on the side of the walkway, or let your clothes touch the curbs.  Or talk or complain that you hate the caves while the fussy tour guide is talking (Ethan, I'm looking at you).

Photo appropriated from Arizona State Parks
This is what the formations look like.  It's very pretty, and also impressive how much work two U of A grad students did to keep this thing a secret while trying to get it turned into a state park before it fell victim to vandals and thieves.  The tour was fun for the kids, but a little over their heads what with the guide going on and on about how carbon dioxide dissolved the limestone to form the cave, and the barometric pressure of the cave, and the minerals contained in the various colors of the rock, etc.  I would give a green light to those 5 and over.  What I really wanted to do (Ethan as well) was to climb off the path and wander around, but I think what with the no touching policy, I would have been arrested.

Budding cavers inside the visitor's center

Ethan mostly just wanted to play with the lockers and cried when I dragged him away

After this, I took the two littler kids home for naps while Mark and Darlene took Lillian down to Tombstone.  I was skeptical that they would last very long as it was already pushing 100 at 11:30, but they didn't come back until 6 or so.  I presume they saw gunfights, wandered around Boot Hill, and saw the courthouse.  I know there was sarsaparilla involved (which who knew was spelled like that?) but I didn't see any pictures, so these reports cannot be independently verified.

Thanks for coming Darlene and Mark, and thanks for doing all the dishes while you were here.  Seriously, that was amazing.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Unsinkable Molly ... uh... spider

A few days ago, I put the kids in the bath.  They all three fit, sort of.  There's the usual elbowing and Lillian always wants to lay down forcing the other two to curl up in the corners, but it's fine mostly.  Tyler came up and said he'd wash them, so I went out to fold laundry.  I could hear the usual arguing over toys and space, then they started screaming... like... scared for your life screaming.  I ran back in expecting blood, but instead saw Tyler trying scoop this guy out of the tub.

"MOM," Nora screamed.  "It crawled out of this toy and then it crawled on my leg!"

After we took the picture, Tyler turned on the faucet and washed it down the drain.  Five minutes later, it crawled back out.  Ewww.

Just in case this was some sort of mutant undrownable spider, Tyler squished it with a shoe.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Trip to Utah

In March, we spent a week in Utah visiting my sister.  First stop, a trip to the fire station to see Uncle Brian at work.

My brother-in-law is pretty much the manliest man I know.  If you got up the courage to, say, go sky diving and you told him about it, he would probably tell you about when he used to parachute into the forest fires carrying a chainsaw.  And it would be true.  Now repeat that with every situation in your life you ever thought was exciting or a little bit dangerous.

But Brian tells you about it in a way that makes you believe you can be that awesome too, instead of thinking how lame it is that you didn't think to bring a chainsaw.

Driving the fire truck

We all tried on the coat.  My sister mentioned that she thought the coat was a little bit... well, it had a little bit of an odor.  Just so you know, firemen don't wash their coats.  Ever.  Well, I can't speak for all firemen, but the ones at this particular station in South Salt Lake do not.

Lillian and Jack

We got really lucky weather-wise.  The day after we arrived, there was a huge storm.  My sister lives on top of a mountain, so we got a lot of snow.  The next few days were really nice and so we had one snow day, one nice day to play in the snow, then all the snow melted and we could go outside with just jeans and short sleeves.

Tyler and Jack built a snow tunnel in one of the drifts.  I don't know if they made it all the way through before it collapsed, but it kept them busy for a long time.

We hung out at Thanksgiving Point for a bit.

Then comes the core reason we went up there, we went snowboarding at Brighton.

And, we only took one picture.  That's me in the purple jacket right in the middle.  I spent a long time trying to figure out how to maximize our snowboard experience.  I thought it would be fun if we went with Allison and Brian, and Allison and I could fall down a lot together, and Tyler and Brian could ski down the back side of the mountain, like in Aspen Extreme.  But, Allison couldn't find anyone to watch that whole gaggle of kids all day long.  So then we thought about going on separate days, but Tyler in another "aw,-that's-why-I-married-you," moment said he would rather spend time with me falling down and crying because I'm scared and tired and hurting than skiing black diamonds with Brian.

I liked snowboarding for approximately 2 hours.  Our teacher was named Sugar and he was great.  Under his tutelage, I could turn heel-side to toe-side and back without falling over.  I could make it down the bunny hill and stop at the bottom without falling down.  He felt confident that we could make it down an easy run without him, and cut us loose.  False.  I could not make it down without the afore-mentioned crying, falling down, hurting myself, almost running into trees, etc.  I attempted the run twice thinking that now that I knew where I was going, it might be easier.  False.  I called my sister Amy from the car while Tyler did a few more runs and told her that I was just plain done.

We hung out with our friend Rachel who used to live right around the corner, but then moved away, ruining my life.  Not really, but I miss her.

Allison has two dogs and a backyard that backs up into this hill.  We spent some quality time throwing the tennis ball for them.

On the way home, we stopped at the Glen Canyon Dam.  We did not take a dam tour, just some dam pictures.

We did other fun things like visit Tyler brother and his wife.  Why am I bad at documenting our family vacations?  I didn't get any pictures of me and Allison, or of my other nephews.  Or of the childrens' museum.  Oh, we went to Gilgal too... wait, I think I took pictures there.

There it is.  Because no trip to Utah is complete without seeing Joseph Smith's head on a sphinx.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

May 10: First attempt at 9 miles.  1:54:11.  Only made it home because Tyler was going to be late for work.  Tired.  So tired.  Walked long stretches after I hit the 7.5-mile mark. Relied on water fountains dotting the route.

May 26: Second attempt.  2:04:09.  Brought my own water but run was slightly worse.  Wall came at 7 miles.  By the time I got home, I was limping slightly and had taken off my shoes, thinking it would make my feet hurt less.

June 7: Third attempt. 2:08:43.  So much better.  I didn't watch my calories yesterday and ate pasta for dinner last night.  I brought water, shot blocks and grapes.  Only walked up one hill, a little bit half-way through as I was fishing the shot blocks out of my backpack, and once when Tyler called to ask where I had hidden the HSA card that I told him I would give him before I left but didn't.  I had to take a bathroom break around 7 miles, but the park is right on my route.  My feet didn't hurt, my legs were fine.  I reminded myself to pick up my feet to increase my speed, but it seems it didn't work.

Why am I getting slower?

Wednesday, June 06, 2012


I was on the phone with my mom when I heard the two syllable call, "MO-OM!"

"Ethan's painting hisself with the markers!"

Sure enough.  Don't worry, he managed to plaster himself to the wall as he was running away from me and all his fresh ink transferred.  So, now I have a little purple-orangey smudge on my wall that I haven't quite gotten around to cleaning off properly.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

50 Cents a Cap

Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina is one of my kids' favorite books.  Somehow, we don't own it, so we've gotten it from the library a bunch of times and I've read it out loud so often, I have the whole thing memorized.

So, you can imagine the delight of my children when my friend Candie sent us 20 (roughly) little boy-sized hats with matching outfits.  I'm not sure what kind of storage system she has at her house that allows her to have all those hats and the outfits readily accessible, but we're going to take a lesson from the peddler and store them like this:

He'll just have to keep himself very straight, so as not to upset his caps.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Water fun when it's only 90

My sister-in-law and her family came to visit us when Nora was a baby.  It was April and it was fairly warm, like in the upper 80s and 90s.  We took them to the pool.  Now, I never go to the pool in the "off season" mostly because during the summer months, we spend so much time, so, so much time at the pool, I get really sick of it and have to take a 7-month break.  However, what we discovered on that sunny day in April was that for Southern Arizona, it was too cold to swim.

It wasn't that we were being wimps either.  Well, maybe we were.  But I really think the low humidity makes the water evaporate off your skin faster, sucking heat off your body and if it's not 105 degrees, it gets really cold.

 All of that story has nothing to do with these pictures, taken by Tyler while I was working a few days back.

Just some little blondies playing in the backyard, trying to stay cool.  Story of my life.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

I hate my computer, but I like to run

Almost 2 years old
It wasn't until after I uploaded this picture that I realized that I'm signed in as Tyler.  I don't want to have to sign out and sign back in as me and then re-upload the picture because my computer is SO slow.  No joke, it took me a solid hour to turn on the computer, download the pictures from the camera, delete a bizarro program that must have downloaded itself the last time I updated some software, and then upload this picture.  We have an iPad, which I use for reading blogs and futzing on facebook, but it's not so great for blogging.  Our desktop is the one Tyler bought for school when he got home from his mission... like 8 years ago.  I'm fairly sure that it is no older than the computers we use at the hospital, yet somehow those are so much faster.  Maybe I need to run one of those "make my computer faster" programs that I see advertised on TV.  Or ask someone who knows more about computers than me to do it.

I need to be better at blogging because, oddly enough, my life isn't documenting itself.

Here is a list of blog posts I want to write:

  1. The spider in the tub
  2. Ethan playing with markers
  3. The awesome summertime workbooks I made for the kids and how they make me feel like a supermom
  4. Nora using the camera
  5. Mountain biking
  6. Trip to Utah
  7. The 20 hats my friend sent us
  8. Nora dresses herself, and it shows.
This post will be about running, from now on.

I swam a lot in my formative years.  I wasn't fast.  I kind of hated it.  But, I kind of loved it at the same time. Once I had Lillian, I switched to running, because you can't tow a baby behind you in the pool.  I ran with varying degrees of consistency between pregnancies until January of this year.  In December, I was watching TV and saw one thousand commercials for weight loss programs.  A common comment from the users of these products was that they are in better shape now than they were when they were in their 20's.  I'm getting ready to be done with my 20's, and I don't feel like I've been in very good shape during this decade between birthing 3 babies and eating a lot of cookies and brownies to cope with birthing 3 babies.  If everything is downhill from here, I wanted to start up a little higher on the fitness grading scale.  On a whim, I chose to train for a half-marathon.

I got a book called Marathon and Half-Marathon: A Beginners Guide from the library and started following the training schedule.

Around the end of March, I read:
and number 1- word vomited all over any one who would listen about it because I thought it was SO interesting, and number 2- changed my running gait which was slow and painful and hard on my muscles, but in a hurt-so-good kind of way.

I also started being frustrated that I wasn't getting any smaller.  It's fine that the scale wasn't budging because maybe I was building muscle, but I had been running 3 times a week for 3 solid months, and my clothes fit exactly the same.  And I gained a pound which was maddening because, as my sister said, "Look, I know lots more fun ways to gain weight that require a lot less work."  So, I started cutting calories.

About 4 weeks ago, I was scheduled to run 9 miles.  I had run 8 miles before and thought it would be the same deal, just one more mile.  No go.  Literally.  I ran about 7.5 and then my feet quit.  It was the weirdest thing to me: I wasn't exhausted, I was mentally fine, my lungs were working, my heart wasn't tired, my body didn't hurt.  My feet just had no more go in them.  I forced myself home because Tyler was going to be late for work.

I decided to repeat the last 2 weeks of my training schedule- maybe I had gone up in miles too fast, and what with changing running style half-way through...

Same deal- my legs quit at about 7.5 miles or about 1.5 hours of running.  I couldn't consult my training book because I had to take it back to the library a long time ago, so I asked people I know who run.  (Keep in mind that I used to swim for 2 hours ALL THE TIME with no problems.)

Here's a sample conversation:
Runner: OK, what do you eat before you run?  Me: Oatmeal, or a Cliff bar.  Runner: What do you eat during your run? Me: ummmm... air?

Things I didn't know about running long distances that I've learned in the past week or so:
  1. You cannot eat only 1200 calories the day before a long run and expect to finish.
  2. You should eat something every hour during running.
  3. You should bring water with you when you run and not just drink from the water fountains dotting your route.
I haven't attempted another long run since I've gained all this new knowledge, but I'll let you know if it works.
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