Sunday, November 21, 2010

Just Keep Running...

Running is hard and it takes your body to its limit. Running is therapeutic as it literally erases your worries away. Running is great exercise to lose those extra pounds. Running is setting goals. Running is a social activity, it is time with my husband, family and friends. And I love it.
I never thought of myself as a runner. I ran my fastest mile in 9th grade at 7:24. I came in second place in my class (dance company-full of girls) and felt like I was going to throw up after. I hated it. When I started hitting the gym in high school, I was there to workout, yes, but it was much more of a social event than anything. "Let's go hangout at the Sports Mall!" I would huff and puff as I ran on the treadmill for about 10 a 10 minute/mile pace. Pathetic, I know. Then I got married and really got excited about exercising. Tucker started training for a marathon, but I was more of a 3 miles in 33 minutes kind of person. That was my limit and there was no way I could last another second. I stuck to my kickboxing and that kept me busy for years.
After I had Karoline, I knew I needed something different to get me motivated to lose all of the baby weight. I decided to train for a half marathon. Crazy for someone like me, but I felt it was just what I needed and I had an incredible husband that was 100% supportive. I don't mean he was simply encouraging me, he literally trained with me the entire time and then ran with me the entire time. Sweetest husband ever.
Our training was actually a lot of fun. Granted, I had dozens of runs on the treadmill (not so fun), but once or twice a week Tucker and I would run together, usually while pushing the strollers. It was great family time, being outside at the lake, talking, and sometimes stopping to watch the ducks. As it got cooler we had to bundle them up, but the kids loved it still, especially when they were awarded a treat to take with them. It can be tricky to manage 4 runs a week with 3 kids, but we did it and I am so glad we did. Our parents helped out too, which we are so grateful for. Thank you! Tucker and I had a favorite route for our long runs and that was running from his parent's house up Bengal Blvd, south on Wasatch, up to the base of Little Cottonwood Canyon, and back. It was on that run that I realized I really could finish a half and that was an awesome feeling.
Here are my girls ready to go in their pajamas and hats:
Our first race was the SoJo Half Marathon. It started in Copperfield and ended near our gym, Lifetime Fitness, in South Jordan. It was the perfect day (September 25th) and a great course. Nothing could get in my way of running with a great time of 2 hours and 20 minutes. I had my sister's iPod full of great music, the best running buddy, my husband, comic relief, Richard and Cody, and the added bonus of my sweet Dad who decided to run the race with no training. He is crazy, yes. I was feeling nervous, but anxious to get going as soon as the gun fired.
At the starting line:
The whole group including Cody, Tucker, me, my Dad and Richard:
We headed out and I was going faster than normal. Maybe a bit too fast considering my shins flared up after only a mile or so of running. This was going to be a problem and my goal of 2:20 was in jeopardy. I decided to try running on my toes which seemed to keep the shins on fire feeling away. It worked and by mile 5, the pain was completely gone. Smile on my face. I was even more happy to know that we ran that 5 miles in 45 minutes, much faster than my normal 10 minute mile pace.
Tucker and I at mile 3ish:
From then on, I was feeling great. The miles were flying by and we were keeping a great pace. That ended at mile 11. Wow, it got tough. The course was almost all downhill or flat until you hit the Jordan River Parkway and you start running upstream. I know it seems flat, but after you have run downhill or flat for 11 miles, the slightest incline feels like a hill. I definitely felt the need to walk, but fortunately I am competitive enough to keep going. You see, there were these two girls in bright orange shirts that I followed the entire time and I couldn't let them beat me that bad!
Here is Tucker and I in those last few miles, and you can tell we are pushing it!
I couldn't believe it-we made it! Hooray! And we ran those 13.1 miles in 2 hours. That's 20 minutes less than my goal time. We found out that the course was actually 13.5 miles which would put me in under 2 hours and I was ecstatic about that!
My baby girl that doesn't mind the sweat or smell:
Our group at the finish line:
My mom and Cheri brought the kids to meet us and I can't tell you how excited I was to see them. We all celebrated by heading to Kneaders for their Chunky Cinnamon French Toast. To. Die. For. You can only eat one slice, but it is absolutely heaven sent, especially when you don't have to feel guilty for eating it!
I was thinking I was done, but Tucker talked me into running one other race before the end of the season. The Halloween Half looked like a lot of fun and I was game...I had to be considering he had already signed me up. So glad he did. The race starts up Provo Canyon near Aspen Grove. It was freezing and so luckily they held us up in a heated tent. It was so fun to watch the costume contest rather than sit there worrying about the race. Tucker and I came with Cody and a friend Hailey, but we met up with a bunch of girls from my ward as well. It felt so nice to know you were in this with so many others!
Tucker and I getting warm and ready:
The race started and then immediately stopped. Seriously. There was such a bottleneck of runners that I was forced to stop and wait for a good 20-30 seconds. Stop my time please! Oh well. You start down a steep hill for the first 5 miles and then run along the Provo River. There is not another race as beautiful as this one! The trees and colors were stunning and there were several times that I wished I had my camera. Tucker ran this one on his own so I was glad I had something nice to look at running alone!
OK, so you are never really alone-check out this old guy cruising next to me in a full suit and wig!
It may have been due to my slack in training, my increased pace, or probably both, but this was the toughest thing I have put my body through. You feel insane fatigue and some serious pain in those last few miles. You start to wonder if you will throw up over everyone at the finish line. But then you find someone you want to beat and you just go! I had a group of 3 guys pass me at the last mile stretch and I thought to myself, "No way are they going to pass me this late in the game!" I busted pass them and finished at my best time of 1:52...or 1:51 if you use my stop watch time! That was truly the greatest feeling! I definitely didn't look great after shedding my ear warmer-the hair was not at its finest-but who cared, I was done!

Now, as good as I felt about my time, this girl, a great friend from California, took 3rd place in our age division! Rhandi finished in 1:28...impossible, right?! I was so glad I caught up with her after the race:
Cody (in full beard for Halloween), Tucker, me, and another great friend from my ward, Ashley Guymon (who also beat me big time, but that's ok because she was the one to encourage me to do this whole running thing in the first place!):
That concludes our racing season and it was a great one. Until next year...

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Happy Halloween!

You can't have Halloween without carved or painted pumpkins and we did both! We had a great time with my family as we carved and let the kids paint. Capri was especially excited for her "bag dress," aka garbage bag with holes, and both of them thoroughly enjoyed the pumpkin experience.
Capri the artist:
Roman's exceptional work-check out the eyes, big nose, cheeks and smile. I know, he is a genius.And here is my masterpiece, Jack, with Capri's painted purple, then carved by daddy, pumpkin:
Halloween was a week long celebration for us, which was great as the kids got plenty of use out of their fabulous costumes. Before we get to them, however, I have to highlight some of my Halloween fun. Every year the girls in my neighborhood host a Witches Night Out. It's big. Everyone has to dress up, there are plenty of games/activities planned, and of course, tons of delicious food. The best part is definitely hanging out with this group. We had so much fun chatting and laughing!

Here is the whole group:
I love these girls! This picture portrays exactly how we spent most of the night, Cheri and I laughing uncontrollably, even for the sake of a picture (we tried taking it 3 times with serious "witchy" faces, but to no avail for Cheri and I!):
Annelise Ross, me, Cheri, Jenn Phillips, Katie Bond

Ok, now we can get to the utter cuteness that is my kids dressed up, Roman as a knight, Capri as a princess (Cinderella to be exact), and Karoline as a dragon. Don't you love the theme?!
Here they are ready for the Primary Halloween Party, which was fabulous because they got to load up on games and candy while wearing their costumes as they should be worn (without the sweaters and coats on top!):Here is my princess...literally!She even had the glass slippers:My handsome knight. Thank goodness Roman was so excited about his sword because a knight wasn't exactly what he wanted to be. Ironman will have to wait until next year when his mom isn't worried about doing a theme!Me and the cutest dragon you have ever seen! The rest of these pictures were taken the night of Halloween. Considering the night was freezing cold with rain, we decided to go trick-or-treating early so we could head home to party with the Nielsons, Curtis', and Fords.Drew, Harry, I mean Tanner, and baby Lala as an adorable kitty:
My sister was awesome enough to dress up for the kids. Here she is as a pirate with baby London as a strawberry...and a darling strawberry at that!
The boys and their babes:
Nothing could have made this night better for Roman and Capri than to have their cousins to join them. Here is Kaleb as Yoda, Roman, Spencer as John Lennon (awesome that he already knows and loves the Beatles, he must be a Curtis!), and Eli as a ninja:
Trick-or-treating in the cold rain, not my favorite part, but the kids had a great time. How is it that they could care less that it was wet and dreary out there? Thank goodness it meant we came back with just enough candy to keep smiles on their faces, but not too much to put pounds on mine! As far as the rest of the holiday, this has been my favorite year. The kids loved putting up all of Grammy's old Halloween decorations, singing songs such as "What Are You Going To Be?" and "I'm a Mean Old Witch," going to all of the parties (they had one at school too!), and of course, dressing up. Good times.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


I know, I know. We had a rough game on Saturday, but we are still doing awesome and I am so proud to be wearing my red! We have had a great season and I think it's only going to get better as we dominate the team in blue. ;) Thank goodness my kids have realized what it means to be Ute fans and have their cheer down as they scream, "Go Utes!" while throwing their fist in the air. Hey, you have got to train them while they're young.
What really has been fun is getting together to watch the games. A few weeks ago, our great friends invited us over to watch the game on their huge movie screen. We brought the kiddos, had lots to eat, and enjoyed watching Utah win. Annelise was awesome to take some fab pictures of the kids in their Utah gear...
Karoline and Ute fan #3:
The funny thing about this picture, was that right before it was taken, Karoline had completely fallen over and Annelise has the pictures to prove it. But we got it right the next time around:The kids loved playing outside while we watched the game. They have the perfect setup living in the courtyard so the kids have plenty of room to go crazy:
They both thought they were pretty cool on the skateboards!
Danny didn't quite make the cut, but you see Capri, Sam and Roman:
Thank you Brian and Annelise-you were so great to host us all!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Gardner Village

We have started making a habit of going to Garnder Village every year before Halloween to see the witches. This year was no different and in fact, we went twice. Once with my friends and again with the family. It was so nice to have such perfect autumn weather on both occasions and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
These are the best of friends and our kids. It was kind of insane trying to get our kids to take a picture, but you get what you get and I think this is pretty darn good:
Capri, Roman, Karoline, me (with no makeup on and after running so sorry!), Mikayla, Nicole, Naomi, Erika, Carson, Jessica and Charlie. Wow, we are getting to be a big group!

The next trip included a pony ride which the kids absolutely loved. I didn't even need to hold Capri's hand this time, she was so brave! Roman kept telling me to look at all the poop (which was mostly just mud, but I am sure there was poop too) so I was glad to stand back and just take pictures of my cowboy and cowgirl:

We also did the petting zoo. Roman and Capri have always loved animals, but Capri maybe even more. However, she is getting to be a bit of a priss these days and didn't want to do much more than touch them. Here is Roman giving these big bear hugs to every goat and sheep he can see, and then Capri who is barely touching it and saying, "no mom, this is good," when asked if she would hug them. I was dying laughing because I realized she is definitely her mother's daughter, I hadn't touched a single animal and wasn't going to start!
Since Cheri has gone back to work, my mom has been taking London. She is always up for coming along, baby in tote, and I love that it gives me extra time with my niece. What's even better, is that our outings usually include Susie and Drew with her baby Isla, which means a lot of babies and a caravan of strollers. I love it!
My mom and baby London:Drew, baby Isla and Grammy:
Baby Isla giving us smiles:
And last, but definitely not least, baby Karoline (with one shoe on and pants that I made too short!):
My favorite part of our outing to Gardner Village came last, the throwing of the leaves. My kids were in heaven as they gathered up as many leaves as they could and then would throw them up in the air. They were laughing so hard and could not get enough of it! And honestly, what is better than hearing your kids laugh?

It doesn't get much better than this for fall!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Petersen Family Farms

We love our neighborhood farm (I may have mentioned this before!). Yummy produce all summer long and into fall, and then they offer the best pumpkin patch for Halloween. The kids were so excited to finally be going to pick out a pumpkin. We found some beauties and even got a tractor ride in. Great way to start the Halloween season!
Capri and her great find:

Roman was enthralled with the tractor, of course!
Our littlest pumpkin:

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Where Dreams Really Do Come True...

Disneyland was a huge success. We had such a great time and the kids couldn't have been happier. I never thought I would be the type to do Disneyland for more than a day, but I was so glad we were there for the five days. We were never in a rush, we could do our favorite rides multiple times, and it never got old-it was awesome!
There is something to be said about watching your kids so full of excitement. It makes you so happy as a parent! So take a look at our fabulous week where our dreams really did come true:
Our bags are packed...
The first night there, we spent checking out our hotel and Downtown Disney. We stayed at the Grand Californian Resort and Spa. A-MAZ-ING! The place was incredible from the mini rocking chairs in the lobby (so the kiddies can watch a movie while you are checking in), to the bunk beds in the room, to the heated pools (with slides!), and let's not forget the convenience of being in the park. You couldn't ask for more!
Downtown Disney brought good food and balloon swords and flowers. Roman and Capri were so excited about them that Tucker and I were rethinking the whole park thing, maybe we can get away with just this...ok, maybe not.
The whole family:
The famous Mickey Mouse in flowers-you just have to get your picture taken here, no matter that Roman wasn't having it!
California Adventure...we have an "R" and a "C!"

World of Color show...this is a must! I was getting a bit emotional throughout the production:
Roman loved the Monsters Inc. ride...and pretty much every ride there:
While Roman and Daddy were on the "scary" ride of Haunted Mansion, Capri insisted on staying with me and posing for the camera:
Roman wasn't too much a fan of the characters parading around, but he did love it when any of the workers had one of these, a light-up bubble gun. You can imagine how he felt when he got one for himself:
Yes, it was one of the greatest vacations ever!