Monday, December 22, 2008

Action figures update . . .

Yesterday, I found out that Trevor still likes to play with my "action figures." This is what I found. I'm so glad that he hasn't "grown out" of this phase in his life. It's so sweet. (Plus, I started collecting nativity sets a few years ago, and these are the two sets I bought this year. One is from my trip to Alaska--hence the north pole/eskimo motif. The other just reminded me of Trevor. I love how the animals are all grouped around the baby Jesus. Just so cute! . . sigh . . .)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Not what you would call tall

The other day Tanner was telling Trevor about all his favorite teachers. He then commented that his teacher from second grade was really tall--"Even taller than dad."

Trevor questioned him, "Taller than DAD?!" (As if that wasn't possible. Isn't it cute when a child looks up to his dad and thinks he is like superman and that nothing can beat him?)

Tanner confirmed with emphasis, "Yes! Dad is NOT what you would call tall."

Trevor thought about that for a minute and then said, "Dad IS tall! He's really smart too. He even knows 2 + 2!!!"

But after we all had a good laugh about that, I have to say that Jerel may not be physically tall, but he is tall in character and that's all I could ask for in a husband and father to my children.

p.s. All this talk about "being tall" promted us to measure everybody and update our "tall wall." It's always a lot of fun to see how much everybody has grown.

I'm back

I know I made a goal a while back to blog more often, and then I sort of got really really busy and fell off the blogging wagon. And then Jerel told me today that lately my blog was wonderful and awesome--actually he said it was boring and he might have even uttered the word "lame." So to prove him wrong--I promptly sat down right then and there to blog. Well, now that the bulk of my "busyness" is over--I'm back. Plus, I invited all of my Christmas card readers to visit my blog and if it truly is "lame" when they come to visit for the first time--they won't come back. And that would make me sad. So I'm back to the blogging world. Hope you all enjoy.

Friday, December 12, 2008

I love my action figures

This month Trevor came up to me with a worried look on his face. "Mom," he said, "are you going to get out your action figures this year?"

"What action figures?" I asked him.

"You know--the ones you always get out." he explained.
I must have still looked confused because he then went on to say, "You know--Jesus, Joseph--THOSE guys!"

Oh, of course--my action figures. "Oh, yes," I told him. "I always put out the nativity scenes." He was very relieved after that. I guess since I was behind on getting my Christmas decorations out, that he figured I wouldn't be getting out my "action figures." I told him that the most important decorations of all at Christmas time are my "action figures."
(I have a few nativity sets, but this is the one my mom gave me. The building on the right is the inn and the inn keeper looking very solemn as he says "no room")

This was started as a short little blurb, but this now reminds me of when Trevor was younger. He used to rearrange the nativity scenes all day long. Sometimes everyone would be gathered in the stable all around the baby Jesus, other times the baby Jesus would be all by himself (and even outside the stable at times), one time the wise men were fighting the shepherds, and sometimes they were all laying down sleeping (Trevor said they had a war and were dead--I prefer to say they were tired and sleeping.) My favorite was when Trevor would put all the animals--and only the animals--all crowded around the baby Jesus. It seemed so sweet to me. "Everyone loves Jesus" you know.

p.s. While I was trying to find a picture of Trevor playing with the nativity scenes, I stumbled across this picture from a few years ago. Every year Jerel's parents send an advent calendar for the boys to share. You know the kind--you open a little window every day and there's a little piece of chocolate inside. Well, this is the year that Trevor ate all of the candy at one time on like the 3rd day. Look how sad his face was when he realized how disappointed his brothers were going to be. I couldn't resist posting this picture because he still looks so cute!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Summer Vacation - Chase at EFY (June 15-21)

Chase is going to tell about Especially For Youth (EFY) session that he attended this past summer: On Sunday (June 15th) after church, I went to Nick's house and we met up with Nathan and Hunter. We all drove up to Nick's cabin in Flagstaff and stayed the night. On Monday morning we woke up, got ready, and drove the little ways to Northern Arizona University (NAU) where EFY was held. Nathan was my roommate so we got checked in and got our dorm keys to where we were staying for the whole week. We got set in our room and then we had to go meet our counselor and the other boys in our company. My counselor's name was Ryan and he was the coolest guy ever! My other counselor was Ashley.

Once we met with the guys in our company it was time to meet the ladies. Oh man were they cute!! We did all these greeting games to learn about each other. We went to an assembly after to learn all the rules and what is expected of us. Then our company had family home evening. We played games and then our counselors talked to us about different things. We then went back to our dorms for personal study and then went to bed.

Tuesday and Wednesday mornings were the same. We woke up, ate breakfast, and then went to our classes. I'm going to share some of the things that were taught to me. One class was about how to communicate with heaven. How can I get heaven to talk to me more often? JSH 1:8-20. How can I tell that heaven is really talking to me? D&C 6:15 D&C 6:23 D&C 8:2 D&C8:3-4 D&C9:8-9.

Miracles are manifestations of spiritual power. How can I better live my life so the Lord can work miracles through me? 1)We need to pray for guidance. D&C 19:38. 2) WE need to take action. Our BEST effort is all the Lord needs to create a miracle. There is no need to worry about anything, because the Lord will ALWAYS do his part no matter what :-) I loved that part!

INTEGRITY. What is it? Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one else is watching you. Stand up for what is right, even if you are standing alone. The teacher told us this phrase and I didn't understand it at first, but once I thought about it made sense. That's how a lot of things are up at EFY. The quote is, "The followers are few, when righteousness is taboo." The teacher kept telling us that if we have the spirit with us it will make choosing the right so much easier. Then to close up his class he said, " It's a covenant to stay true to what we know."

Right before EFY, I wasn't getting along with my parents very well and I never understood why they did the things they do, but then a teacher told us these scriptures. Mosiah 4: 14-15. Then it just kind of clicked. They only punish me and take privilages away so that I will learn to walk uprightly before God and to turn away from evil things. I thank my parents for that.

I made a mission statement in one class. It is: I will be where I should, when I should, with the right people.

There was so much more that I learned but it would take about a Tuesday and a Wednesday to share all of it. Tuesday night there was the first dance and it was fun! I got to dance with a lot of cute girls. Wednesday night was probably the funnest night ever though. It was Game night! Our company competed against other companies in games and a banner/cheer-off. Our banner got third place! We kicked butt and took names at the games.

Thursday was probably the most spiritual day of my life. We had to wear our Sunday best all day. That alone, seeing all these youth choosing to wear their Sunday best, brought the spirit in over me. The young men and young women broke up for the first part of the day. My favorite part, besides the testimony meeting of our company, was when all the young men were in the ballroom for the priesthood session. We started out by singing Called to Serve. Our session director then asked, "Do you feel that?" I know that I did. The spirit was overwhelming! He then proceeded to talk to us about how we have so much power in this room. All the young men in that room held the priesthood and it hit me. We have the power of God. Jesus Christ created the world and all that inhabits it with the power of God. I have the power to act as a tool in the Lord's hands to work miracles and do his will. Then the director talked to us about how we are the chosen generation. We were saved on purpose to prepare the world for Christ's second coming. We were the strongest, most valiant spirits in the pre-mortal life. I hear that so much and it blows me away. It also encourages me though. The Lord has that much faith in me, and the youth of the church. Every time I think about this the spirit comes to me and it testifies to me that this is true.

Friday we did a service project where you and a partner made one of those little baby hats on the circle looms. I'm so glad that Alison was my partner. Not only was she really fast at the hats and knew what she was doing, but she was also pretty dang cute. That always helps :-) We had the banquet that night and the final dance at the end of the night. It was such a fun night!

Saturday we woke up and got all packed up. We went and said our final good-byes to our company and then left. I am so glad that I had the oppurtunity to go to EFY. It has strengthend my testimony and got me in perfect tune with the spirit.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Words of Wisdom

"Never lose sight of the goodness of our cause. Difficulties are not insurmountable. Perseverance and spirit have done wonders in all ages." -George Washington

The Secular Church

Neal A. Maxwell shares a POWERFUL message about ALL religions and the aspiring state religion: The Secular Church.

Friday, November 21, 2008

I love the 80's

Am I the only one that loved the 80's episode on The Biggest Loser? I loved it--actually, I just love the 80's!! And call me crazy, but I loved the big hair. Seriously, I did. BUT my favorite thing about watching that episode was when Jerel said, "See that's why I'm not sure I should wear my headband when I run. Now I look like I never left the 80's. I look like them. I look old." Don't you think he looks like Bob in his 80's get-up?! LOL

Cute quip

I made cookies and when I tried to give Trevor TWO, he said, "UUHH, I only wanted ONE!" (Imagine him using a Napoleon Dynamite voice.) So funny. Go figure. Does this kid eat anything?

Trevor's class went to a performance of the "Snow Queen." We all thought it was going to be a play. It was a ballet. Trevor and his friend's take on the whole thing, "That was a chic play."

Friday, November 14, 2008

Summer Vacations - Havasupai

Our family was able to take several vacations over the summer and we have neglected to record these events and all the fun we had. So I'll start getting caught up by documenting one of the first adventures which was the Varsity & Venture Scouts/Teachers & Priests Quorum trip to Havasupai from June 9-13.

We left Mesa on Monday evening (June 9th) and drove most of the night. We arrived at Hualapai Hilltop an hour or so before sunrise and just slept in our vehicles until it started to get light. Hualapai Hilltop is a cliff-side parking lot at the dead end of Arizona Highway 18. By way of some history, the Havasupai Indians were farming the moist valleys of the desert tributaries to the Colorado River four centuries before contact by Spanish explorers. In the 1880s, miners and ranchers invaded their homeland and forced them onto a 500-acre reservation. Finally in 1975, Congress enlarged their reservation to 38,000 acres. Today about 450 Havasupai live in Supai.

We enjoyed a quick breakfast of muffins and drinks and then began the 10 mile hike to the campground. Actually, the hike to Supai Village is about 8 miles and then an additional 2 miles to the campground. The town center consists of a modern school, cafe, small store, a two-story motel and the Havasupai Tourist Enterprise building where hikers register for the campground. Despite its remoteness, Supai resembles many small Arizona communities, except children play and dogs sleep in the "street" without fear of cars.

The trail continued past scattered frame houses with corrals and horses and continues another half mile to the first waterfall. Navajo Falls, named after a famous Havasupai chief who negotiated the first treaty with the Army, tumbles 75 feet. However, the waterfall cannot be fully seen from the main trail. We visited these falls several times during the next few days as it had one of the best "jumping-off" spots.

A half-mile farther, we could hear the roar of Havasu Falls as it echoed through the canyon. The stream plunges through a notch in the wall and descends 100 feet through mist and spray into an aquamarine pool. This was by far the most impressive part of the trip. We had just hiked for several hours through desert conditions and all of the sudden we are experiencing a tropical scene including one of the most beautiful waterfalls I've ever seen. I would spend a fair amout of time over the next week soaking in the pool and relaxing while feeling the cool mist from the falls.

We dropped our packs for a few moments and took in the whole experience. We snapped a few pictures and I'm glad we did for reasons that will soon be obvious. We continued on the trail to the campground looking for others in our group who had gone ahead of us. We found them on the other side of the creek. I crossed the waist-high creek careful not to fall or let my pack become wet. Upon emerging on the other side, Josh Boatwright asked if my camera was waterproof. I quickly realized that I had left my camera in a pocket on my pants which was completely submerged when I crossed the creek. Needless to say, no more pictures for the remainder of the week. I knew that Camille would not be too happy since the camera is really hers (since she takes 100 photos to every 1 that I take). We had just got the camera back from being repaired (I broke it that time too) so I had all week to think of a good way to break the news.

We made camp while waiting for the pack horses and mules to show up which they did later in the afternoon. Daniel Palmer and James Smith had done an excellent job of preparing for this trip and came well supplied with food, treats, drinks, tarps for sleeping on, mule tape, and anything else you could possibly need. We were missing a connecting piece for our stove but we made due by borrowing from other campers. Water was easy to come by in the campground as there is a spring that comes out of the wall of the canyon from a pipe stuck in the wall. The only drawback is that all the other campers utilize the same water source which meant the line for water could sometimes be fairly long.

We spent the next several days swimming, hiking, exploring, reading, sleeping, throwing the football and frisbee, and generally just relaxing and enjoying being together as a group. Each evening we would gather as a group and we would listen and participate in a fireside. What a great experience to be learning the simple truths regarding our Heavenly Father all the while surrounded by a virtual Eden! It really made me grateful for the opportunity to come on this trip with my son.

One day several of us continued through the campgrounds to visit Mooney Falls. At 196 feet, it exceeds Niagara Falls in height. The trail to the pool leads through two slanting tunnels blasted through the travertine cliff. You had to grasp a not-so-reassuring chain and descend slippery steps cut in the narrow ledge. I later learned that the falls are named after an early explorer who fell to his death trying to reach the base. Who's idea was this anyhow? However, the falls were very impressive and we found a rope swing at the south end of the pool which made for some fun entertainment.

On Friday, we packed up and headed out and not a moment too soon. As the weekend approached, more and more campers began to file into the campground and our personal space quickly disappeared. The hike out was rumored to be extremely difficult but it wasn't too bad at all. Most of the hike is a gradual incline and only the last mile, which consists of several large switchbacks out of the canyon, proved to difficult. Everyone made it out okay (even those that chose to use the helicopter route). The outing was a great success and a good time was had by all who attended.

A related note of interest: on the 18th August 2008 the Redlands dam on Havasu Creek burst after days of very heavy rain. The potential threat to human life by the floodwaters caused the local authorities to evacuate the village and US rescue crews airlifted some 450 stranded people to safety. In addition, reports indicate that there may have been serious damage to some of the falls themselves, particularly Navajo falls. Supai and the campground are closed to visitors until spring. Here's a photo of Havasu Falls following the flood. This isn't the first time a flood has washed through this area but it can take many years before it resembles the beautiful oasis that we experienced.

Words of Wisdom

"When one door of happiness closes, another opens;
but often we look so long at the closed door
that we do not see the one which has opened for us."
Helen Keller

Friday, November 7, 2008

Words of Wisdom

"What sunshine is to flowers,
smiles are to humanity.
These are but trifles, to be sure;
but scattered along life's pathway,
the good they do is inconceivable."

Joseph Addison

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Cute quips

Jerel and I were talking about some great things I learned in my institute class. Chase asked, "What's institute? Is it like Seminary for OLD people?"

My first response was, "No!"

And then I thought about my class and corrected myself, "Well, yes." We all had a good laugh over that one.

We all know how Trevor HATES to eat, especially dinner. Well, the other night I made another great dinner. It even had fruits AND vegetables--very well balanced. So Trevor announced VERY loudly, "I hate dinner!"

Jerel asked, "Why?"

Trevor explained, "It's BORING!"

Well, there you go. That's a new one. So does that mean that I now have to provide proper dining entertainment? lol

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

It'll be OK!

I have been very, very afraid the last few weeks. I have been afraid of the economy; I have been afraid of government changes and leadership. I am mostly afraid of how our country is starting to define marriage. Arizona, is trying to amend their constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman. It is Prop 102. It is like California's Prop 8. Many say that Prop 102 will easily pass. I am not so sure. It was on the ballot a few years back to change the constitution, and it did not pass. So I'm a little "cup is half empty" on the whole thing. The sad thing is that I have seen so much hatred amongst people in this election. There has been so much anger.

Two Sundays ago, as we were driving through the neighborhood, we noticed many yards where someone had come by and stolen the "Yes for Prop 102" signs. Almost home, we dropped off Jordan and another young man so they could collect fast offerings. As we were parked in the driveway, a man (I would say he was in his early 20's) walked by and without even skipping a beat, took the Prop 102 sign. I was shocked! I mentioned it to Jerel and we both got out of the car. We both called to the man to return the sign. He yelled back with much anger, "Why can't you just let people be? What does it matter to you if people want to get married?" Jerel called after him, "We all have our own opinions--that is why people vote." I again repeated, "You walked on private property to take that sign and it needs to be returned." He then started swearing and saying many derogatory things about Joseph Smith. So much anger and hatred, and he was ready to lash out at anything and anybody. I take it as a compliment that a complete stranger, who had only seen our family for a second or two, knew we were members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Why he had to throw that into his anger towards Prop 102, I don't know. But I do hope we were good examples of the Lord's church--if only for a second or two. We tried to not show the same anger that this man had. We just encouraged him to vote.

Just an example of why I really was afraid and very concerned about how these changes would affect my life--my kids' lives. I was afraid of how this would affect my church. But then . . . I had stake conference.

Stake conference was a broadcast from Salt Lake City and for the whole state of Arizona, I believe. I was comforted in the Saturday night session as I heard from my stake presidency. They spoke about how fear is the opposite of faith--the absence of faith. I remember one of them saying, "It'll be okay" about three or four times in a row. It really brought peace to my mind. The next day during the broadcast, President Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, spoke. He spoke specifically to the state of Arizona and told us that times were changing, and they would change "drastically." Those were his words exactly. But he then went on to say that we are to teach our children to NOT be afraid or be fearful. He warned us that we "need to learn how to listen to the Spirit" and to "gather as families and do the things we are taught." We are to "be steady" and "be inspired." My favorite was when he told us we could all still live happy lives. How my faith had been wavering. But I heard a prophet of God tell me that if I rely on the Lord and the gospel that I will still have peace and happiness. The votes may not go the way I want them to and the world may not be like I want it, but I can be happy and at peace. It will be okay!

Friday, October 31, 2008

I should have stopped, but "NO" I had to . . .

Tanner cracked me up today after school. We all know that we eat WAY too much junk on Halloween, but have you ever seen a kid experience that? Or better yet, heard a kid ADMIT it? Tanner came home from his class Halloween party and was feeling a little, shall we say, "full." He kind of groaned and said, "I ate SO much today, that I'm not going to be able to eat for a while. I should have stopped eating, but 'NO' I had to eat that one last cookie." We are in BIG trouble if he feels like that already. He hasn't even left to go trick-or-treating yet. lol

Can I have some church bread?

A few days ago, Trevor came running in after school and said, "MOM! Can I have some church bread!?!?" (If you can't tell, he was extremely excited about it.) I was kind of confused at first and asked "What bread?" He then repeated with even more excitement and emphasis, "CHURCH bread!" I then thought, "Of course, CHURCH bread, yeah, that clears everything up." :) As Trevor ran to get the bread, I realized what he meant.

On Sunday, Chase was assigned to bring the bread for the sacrament. Usually I use a loaf of the wheat bread that I have here at home. But all my bread had been in the freezer for a while and sometimes it doesn't thaw out as fresh as you would like. So Jerel and I stopped at the store to pick up a loaf on Saturday night. I just randomly picked a loaf of white bread which happened to be Wonder bread. So there you go--church bread is white bread full of lots of sugar and preservatives. So I replied, "Sure." Trevor was pretty excited and ready to go, but then Tanner was afraid to eat it. He explained that some kids at school told him that you can get cancer from eating white bread. Are you serious? I quickly cleared that up and explained that we eat white bread often, it's not going to give us cancer, whole grain bread is healthier for us, blah, blah, blah . . . Trevor and Tanner finished off the loaf in literally a few minutes. Apparently white bread is quite the novelty in our house. Who knew! Just think, all I have to do is give Trevor a loaf of Wonder bread for Christmas and I'm all good. Sounds Wonder-ful to me!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Reflections of Christ

A beautiful slideshow presentation of Mark Mabry's photographs (Reflections of Christ). Music is from the Reflections of Christ CD. These images were part of an exhibit that was on display at the Arizona Temple Visitors Center, and is now on display at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building on Temple Square until Nov. 8, 2008.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

FHE fun

For FHE last night, we all hurried home from school/work/football practice, ate dinner and headed to a mostly empty movie theater to view the latest edition of High School Musical. Our family has enjoyed the first two installments of this Disney production (although Jordan claims to have not seen the 2nd one) and we hoped that this episode would be just as entertaining. Being the cheapskate that I am, I had the kids all load their pockets full of candy from home (I tried to get Camille to take a whole bag in her purse but she thought the bag was too big). The movie always seems better if you know you didn't mortgage the house to pay for refreshments. So how was it? The consensus was that although it was entertaining, fun and whimsical, it came in last place of the 3 (or if you're optimist, it got the bronze medal). The music was good (not great) but it was lively to the point that Trevor was literally dancing in the aisle as we were leaving.

On a side note, why is it that young boys find so much humor in the bathroom? We could have saved some money by skipping the movie and just having the boys visit the restroom a couple times. There always seems to be someone or something in the bathroom that causes hysterical laughter and general giddiness. Oh, to be young again!!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

St. George Marathon - The Race

I woke up at 3 am and got prepared to go. The marathon is a point-to-point race so the race starts 26 miles outside of St. George. All racers are required to ride a bus to the start with the first buses leaving at 4 am. The race organizers offer some nice early bird prizes to encourage participants to come early. Camille drove me to Worthen Park again where I boarded one of the first buses. I dressed warmly because the temperature can be a bit chilly while you are waiting for the race to begin. I brought 4 granola bars, 2 bananas, 2 bottles of water, and one bottle of Propel. I got to the start, grabbed a pair of the free gloves they had available for the first 1,000 runners and found a place to sit down next to a fence. I spent the next 2 hours resting, eating my food, and visiting with the other runners seated close by. After about 30 minutes, it started to sprinkle. The forecast called for rain later in the afternoon so this was a bit of a surprise. The race organizers had large trash bags to use for rain ponchos and I was glad to have a little bit of protection from the moisture.

At 6:15, I laced up my shoes, attached my running chip, and headed for a porta-potty. There were dozens of them but every line was already at least 10 deep. After using the facilities, I headed to the start line to drop off my extra clothes in a bag provided by the race. Then I situated myself in the front half of the pack of runners (approximately 6,500 total runners) and waited for the gun. I never heard the gun but the pack eventually started to move and we were off. It was still dark so I had difficulty seeing the actual start pad to know when to start my Garmin. The first couple miles were very crowded but the pace was close to where I wanted to be. Runners began to spread out after that and I was able to settle into a good pace in spite of the rain which varied from sprinkling to pouring. In addition, we were running into a strong headwind for a good portion of the race.

I paced a bit faster over the first 7 miles but the course was mainly downhill and I felt like I was not pushing things so I just went with it. We encountered Veyo Hill at about the 8 1/2 mile mark and I took it very easy going up it so as to not burn myself out. Miles 10-12 were a steady uphill climb but I still felt good upon reaching the halfway mark and I was a good 2 minutes ahead of my expected pace. It was about this time that I started to feel my left knee. I have had problems with this knee over the years but it usually bothers me when I play softball or basketball. I wasn't too worried but I did wonder how it would effect me down the way.

I don't remember much from the next 7 miles except for the rain. My clothes were absolutely soaked which caused my shorts to hang a little low. While I didn't think they would fall down, it was just something else to bother and distract me. It is things like this that really wear on you when you are running long distances. When I got to mile 20, I knew that I had paced correctly and that barring some major problem, I would reach and exceed my goal of running the race in under 4 hours. However, about a mile later, I developed a severe pain in my left hip. I'm not sure where it came from but it might have been due to me favoring my left knee. In either case, it was very painful and I slowed my pace to see if it would work itself out. No luck. I just figured I would endure it the best I could and not push the pace anymore.

The last 4-5 miles were very long, slow and painful. However, it was about this time when we came into St. George and the streets were lined with well-wishers who shouted encouragement and cheered all the runners on. I was surprised to see so many people out considering the rain but it motivated me to keep running and finish. I knew that Camille would be waiting at the finish line to greet me and empathize with my injuries and that also spurred me on. I pushed through to the finish line completing the race in 3:58:24! You can click here to see the official results or here to see photos from the race. Camille came right up afterwards and congratulated me and took some pictures. I got some food and drink and enjoyed a post-race massage. My hip was so sore that I could hardly walk for a couple hours but after icing it, it felt much better.

St. George Marathon - Pre Race Activities

On Saturday, October 4th, I ran the St. George Marathon. It seems a little unreal now as I think back on the event but what a great sense of accomplishment. I trained for 22 weeks and didn't miss a single workout. Here's how the race went:

Camille and I left early Friday morning and drove to St. George, UT which is about a 6 1/2 hour drive. We arrived and went to Worthen Park (the finish line of the marathon). I had incorrectly assumed that the expo associated with the marathon would be at the park but we were told that it was being held at the Dixie Center, a few miles away. We quickly went to the Dixie Center where we were able to hear the keynote speaker, Rod Dixon. Mr. Dixon is a world class runner having won a bronze medal at the 1972 Olympics in the 1500 meters and winning the 1983 New York City Marathon in 2:08:59. He had a great deal of useful information and his comments were very motivating. Following Mr. Dixon, they held a first-timer's clinic. Again, excellent clinic with useful information concerning the race and the course.

We then went to the expo where I picked up my race packet and we visited many of the booths set up by various stores and companies. It was a smaller expo than we expected but it was well done and well attended. The race also sponsored a pasta dinner at the Dixie Center. We enjoyed salad, spaghetti, bread, and cake. They also provided some fruit and water. The dinner was well organized and the food was good.

Our good friends from our days at BYU, Conley and Kari Gali, now live in St. George and they were so gracious to let us stay with them. We went to their home and got settled into the guest room that they provided. They treated us like royalty and fed us extremely well. What good friends they are! That night the Gali's were attending the local high school football game so Camille and I watched the BYU vs Utah State football game. Afterwards, I set all my gear out for the morning and got to sleep.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Camille has a birthday!!

Today is Camille's 38th birthday. Oh wait, am I not suppose to say how old she is? At what age do women start lying about how old they are? But honestly, Camille looks so good, does it really matter how old she is? I was fortunate to catch her in a moment of weakness and she agreed to marry me (in spite of the fact that I was a "terrible dresser"). She continues to put up with me and I love her for doing so. Here are 38 things that I love about Camille (also click here to check out the blog of Camille's mom to see some great photos of Camille as a child):

1. She's a hottie!
2. Fabulous singer
3. Intelligent
4. Creative
5. Still a kid at heart
6. Romantical (her word)
7. Supportive of me in everything I do. Last Saturday, she sat in pouring rain for 4 hours at the finish line of the St. George Marathon just to see me finish.
8. Compassionate
9. Trys to understand sports
10. Great cook
11. Loves our children
12. Crys easily
13. Loves to read
14. Pays attention to the details
15. Worries about the details
16. Exercises even though she hates it
17. Loves Jesus Christ
18. Caters to our children (also known as spoiling)
19. Is the PR person in our family
20. Can prepare a FHE lesson in seconds
21. Puts up with my obsession with sports
22. Never sneezes just once (except for that one time in the temple)
23. Pretends she is not ticklish
24. Is patient with me when I break the camera (it's happened a few times)
25. Hates being dirty but goes camping with the family
26. My bestest friend
27. Loves to be spoiled
28. Embraces her role as a mother and wife
29. Magnifies her church callings
30. Volunteers her time to assist at the school
31. Loves to learn
32. Orders desserts to give to me
33. Will help anyone at a moments notice
34. Talks about herself in 3rd person
35. Is impressed by the simple things in life
36. Loves to be feminine
37. Classy dresser
38. Teaches our children both secular and religious studies

Sunday, October 5, 2008

For the love of Shannon

Jerel's sweet sister, Shannon, passed away early this morning. I don't know what to say. I have so many thoughts and feelings. I have deep sadness and miss her already, and yet I am grateful that her suffering is over. I'm glad she has found the peace that her poor body needed. The last few months have been especially hard for her. This last week, test results showed that the same fungus that caused her to lose her sinuses and eye this summer, had now gone to her lungs. She fought as long and as hard as she could, and then some. Her suffering is now over and she is now with our Lord and Savior. I have imagined her reunion with Him all morning. What a joyous reunion that must have been! I find great peace in knowing she was at peace with the Lord's will. Her testimony was amazingly strong, and she is an amazing person. She will always be alive in our hearts. If you want to see just the sweetest messages written about her, you can click on the link to her blog on my family list. Her husband, Paul, is a true saint that not only blessed her life, but our whole family's. He saved her life in more than one way. What a great man he is. I'm honored to have both of them in my life.

Shannon made me want to be a better person. I was reading Shannon's blog yesterday and was touched by her example. Someone who she visiting teaches wrote a thank you for a letter that Shannon had sent her. It was sent just a few weeks ago. Here she is feeling the worst she has ever felt--ever--and she is still doing her visiting teaching. That's the kind of person she is. I really have no excuse to not get mine done. Just one of the many lessons that I have learned from Shannon and her example.

I'm so grateful that we all saw her this weekend at Boyce's wedding. We all loved seeing her. We had such a great time. I'm glad we got to sit by each other in the temple. We are a forever family. I have a true testimony of that because the Spirit has born witness of it's truthfulness to me. The picture of Jerel with Shannon is at Boyce's wedding last week. I love how alike they look--same hair, glasses, matching clothes. He is really missing her today. He sure loves his family.

I find great comfort in the words of our prophet today. I can feel of his love for us. It reminds me of the last general conference we had in April. Six months ago, early Sunday morning, I lost my step-dad Randy. I felt great comfort in Elder Bednar’s talk that day. It feels as if the prophet and leaders are speaking directly to me. I know the Lord loves me; He loves all of us!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Sometimes it sinks in

You know how us moms always feel like we are telling our kids the same stuff over and over again? It seems like I am forever repeating instructions. In fact, while I am typing this I had to yell to Trevor who just ran out of the bathroom, "Come back here and flush the toilet please." (Funny side note that I didn't expect. When Trevor came back to flush, he said, "This is the worst day of my life." When I asked, "Why?" He responded, "Because you make me come back and do stuff." lol Oh, the drama.)

Anyways, when Tanner and Trevor came home from school today, Trevor asked if he could have a cookie. I said "sure." Apparently he asked if he could have two. I didn't hear him and didn't answer. When Trevor tried to take two, because "I didn't say no." Tanner stopped him and said, "No. Mom didn't say you could have two. If you ask her a question and she doesn't answer, it probably means she didn't hear you and you have to ask her again. It doesn't mean yes."

I overheard the last part of what Tanner said, and when I asked him to repeat himself, I was so impressed. It finally sunk in, "If Mom doesn't answer, it means she didn't hear you and you need to ask her again." What a novel idea! lol What a good big brother Tanner is to teach this valuable insight to Trevor. I think he deserves two cookies for that--don't you?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Are you serious!?

Usually I post cute things that Trevor says under the heading "Cute quips," but I'm not sure I can classify this one as "cute"--okay, it did make me laugh and I shared it with everyone as they came home. I made a great dinner tonight, one that I thought all my kids love. It has ribs, potatoes, and green beans. It's even more delicious than it sounds. It's a recipe that I got when I went to a cooking class at the local "we have every cool gadget you can think of for cooking" store. I went with my friend Stephanie and she tried the recipe first and said it was great. Stephanie is a great cook and I like to think I am too, so I tried it. The best thing about this recipe is that you can cook it in 10 minutes in the pressure cooker--I know--amazing.

Well, Thursday's are crazy days for me as I have scouts until 5:15, Jordan leaves for football at 5:30, Chase comes home from football at 5:45 and leaves for piano at 6:00, Tanner leaves for baseball at 5:50ish, and I have to drive some of those carpools. I decided to be a good mom and cook this "great" meal before I left for scouts. I came home from scouts to a delicious smell that I could smell before I even walked into the house. All the kids were very excited at what I made--because it is just so good. I'm trying to quickly make gravy so everyone can eat before they all have to leave and THEN . . .

I hear Trevor in the bathroom and he yells out "It stinks in here." I call back, "Well, you're in the bathroom, hurry and flush and come out." (Hello?!) He then yells even louder,

"No, in the kitchen!!"

W A I T!!! Did he just say that the kitchen stinks? My delicious smelling ribs?! He even went outside when Jerel came home from work and said, "Dad! Mom is trying to make me eat DINNER!" Oh, the horror! I wished I would have taken a picture of his face during dinner. His face varied between horror to utter sadness. To quote Chase, "He looks like you're trying to feed him poison." It was too funny to be offended, but is he SERIOUS!? This was a dang good meal. At least all the rest of the fam said so.

p.s. Tomorrow I am trying the coffee cake recipe on Laura's blog. Apparently it's absolutely addicting. If Trevor doesn't like it, well, then we know that Trevor is the problem--not the food. . . . But wait, if he DOES like the coffee cake, well, my dinner was still dang good!

They're like a bunch of mosquitos, they won't go away!

Last Sunday night, we were having a nice quiet evening while we rewatched the the first half of the BYU/UCLA game. We usually don't watch sports much on Sunday, but come on, this was too good of a game to not watch again. As we were watching, I got a phone call. This is what started while I was on the phone. K, moms out there, don't your kids usually start into something loud just as you get on the phone? (And believe me, this was loud.)

Well, Jerel was right in there with them this time. I'm not sure who started "wrestlemania" this time, but Jerel towards the end said, "Geez. They're like a bunch of mosquitos; they won't go away!" Of course I had to start videoing.

When I replayed the video to the kids, one of them commented, "Hey is this the part where we captured Dad?"

I laughed, "You guys NEVER had him."

Jerel then had to add, "Just let them have their little fantasy. I kept waiting for the real fight to start."

I love a dad that still plays with his kids. And he still beat all 4 of those guys at once. He's quite the man!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Happiness is . . .

. . . getting to lick the bowl when Mom makes a birthday cake!!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A little reward

A lot of my friends have been getting really cool pedicures lately. The place they go to can do plaids and checkerboards and tons of other cools designs. I told myself that if I lost 10 pounds I could get one. I made it right before my high school reunion. So here it is for all of you who haven't seen me lately. Isn't it so fun?! I have to admit that quite a few people at my reunion in Utah had NEVER seen a pedicure like that before and thought it was awesome. I would be proud of myself for being a trendsetter except that . . . it's Utah! (Don't mean to offend my Utah friends and fam, but you know what I mean.) LOL

Quest for Perfection!

That's Bronco's new motto for BYU's football team this year . . . and it's AWESOME! Their season so far has been so much fun, especially Saturday's game against UCLA. BYU handed UCLA it's worst loss in 79 years! I don't know which was better--that we scored 59 points or that we shut them out completely! I'm so jealous of my friends who got to go to the game. There's nothing like being there at BYU for the games!

I'm a Fully Invested fan!

(It's hard to choose one picture when they are all soo awesome.)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Class of 88 is great!

Last month I also went to my 20th high school reunion. I left Jerel at home because he really didn't want to go and it was just so much easier to leave him at home to shuttle all the kids around to all their practises. Plus, we were leaving on another vacation a few weeks after I got back anyways. He seemed happier that way, and much happier than some of the spouses that did end up coming. :)

I had so much fun. I even found some old college friends that I had lost contact with. I really can't even begin to tell you how much fun I had. The best idea was that they had our high school pictures on our name tags. It was really fun and helpful at the same time. We all spent the whole night looking at someone that looked familiar, checking their name on the name tag, and then looking at the picture. That was then followed up by "Oh, my goodness I remember you. Hey, what have you been up too?!" I flew up on Friday afternoon, went to a late lunch with my mom at an Indian restaurant, and then went to my friend Angela's house to go to the "event" with her and her husband. BTW, her house is beautiful. It was fun that Carol came with us too. Here I am at lunch with my mom and then a quick pic right before I left for the reunion on Friday night. The next one I am with Angela; if you look close you can see our "fancy picture name tags." The next one I am with Holly, Jenn, and Carol. I have to admit that after seeing everyone that night that the women aged much better than the men. Honest!

Saturday, my nice mom let me sleep in for forever--a first for me! I felt like a teenager again. My body wakes me up at 6:15 automatically every morning whether I want to or not. But this time, I layed in bed and actually went back to sleep! Then we did a little shopping, went to lunch at a Greek restaurant that I had been craving and then I left to go to the park day with the "old high schoolers" again. It was fun to see everyone's kids. Some of them looked exactly like their parents did when they were "younger." Definitely didn't need the name tags for some of those kids. I really wish my family could have been up there for that day. I had so much fun, that I lost track of time (and it didn't help that I didn't change my watch with the time difference) and almost missed my flight home. I got there with less than 15 minutes to spare. A quick trip, but so much fun! Before I left, I couldn't help taking a picture of the street that my high school is on. I always wanted to steal the sign in high school, but never did. :) Cool sign, huh!