Monday, September 29, 2014

September Life

 So much rain this summer and fall! It's been glorious for the green grass. 
It's been less fun for biking :)

 Cougar football! Those games are always the best double dates!

 Exploring up in AF canyon on a Sunday night.

 Hiking with a toddler is slow, slow business but it's very entertaining and also very dirty!

 We were looking for signs of fall and caught just the beginnings of it.

 Cute biking crew headed out on a couple longer rides to help Cares reach her 5 mile bike ride goal.

 Overnight in PC with a bunch of amazing ladies from my ward. We stayed over in The Canyons and had fun hot-tubbing, eating out, and chatting until way late at night!

More rain which this darling boy loves to play in (and make cool poses in too!)

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Farewell Young Women

After 5 year of serving in the YW organization in my ward I was released and it was such a bittersweet feeling. 5 years. That adds up to hundreds of Wednesday night activities and Sunday lessons along with tons of leadership trainings, 5 girl's camps, 3 years of presidency meetings, and 2 years of ward council and being the main lady in charge. And while I truly loved my YW callings, it had been a long time in such a demanding auxiliary, especially after another busy summer of camp and ward youth conference. I was certainly feeling pretty worn out and fresh out of new ideas. Joseph has also had a demanding stake calling the past 18 months and it was getting too taxing on the both of us in our church service. My bishopric knew things were getting crazy and they just told me to tell them when it was too much and they would replace me.

So I thought I was really, really ready to let go, but it was hard!! Not only hard to say "goodbye" to my beautiful teenagers but also hard to let it all go into someone else's hands — to give away that job of vigilantly loving and serving those amazing girls — that was really rough. I just felt like I had worked for so long and in so many ways to get to know every single girl, to find ways to connect with the less eager ones, to seek out the ones who were not really interested in church anymore but still YW I had camped and hung out with so much that it didn't really matter to me—I just wanted them to know they had a safe place and a loving friend in me. All of that was hard to pass on to other leaders who are all amazing and good women but also mostly really new in our ward and couldn't (yet) know the young women like I did. They will build their own relationships and find new ways to love and connect, I am confident in that, but my heart sure worried about it not being me who would take care of the young women in the ward. At the same time I knew it was time to let others have that awesome opportunity and to dive in and enjoy their YW callings like I did — I'm so glad I had that reoccurring thought in my head as I prayed about whether it was time to be released. It's such a pleasure to have all these energetic, hilarious, boy-crazy, smart, silly, beautiful girls to hang out with on a regular basis. I think they kept me young at heart! 

Of course I will always love the YW I got to serve and know I will feel forever connected to them, especially those who were in there with me for 5 years straight! And as I knew my release was coming up I took a few nights to write a letter to each of my YW and tell her how much I loved her, what special, incredible traits I saw in her, and which memories I will remember with her. I also tried to share parts of my testimony that I thought might help her in her life. That was incredible closure for me and helped me feel like I could share one, last part of my heart with them.

We were released over Labor weekend so about 1/3 of the YW were gone,
but still a fantastic group of girls!

And then my leaders—oh gosh that was hard too! We have had a lot of switching up in the past two years but I have really loved the ladies I've been privileged to work with and I'm so grateful for the friendships I've built and happy memories this calling has allowed me. I have spent more than half of my married life serving in YW callings and it will always be an organization I'd be thrilled to be a part of again (and again and again!)

Monday, September 15, 2014

Joseph's Marathon

 This summer Joseph was all about pushing himself physically. He thought about doing LOTOJA but wasn't sure he'd get selected in the lottery, and I wasn't sure I wanted to give him up for so many training hours with a toddler still at home. Somehow his plan turned into completing a marathon and he chose the Big Cottonwood race in September for his first one.

 The kids were so excited about making signs for their dad. I love this shot with all of them creating away (they are all little artists). And then Luke in the background playing play-doh —such a great shot of all my littles in their element.

 The race came all the way down BCC and then hooked right to head north along Wasatch Blvd. until right before 4500 south. The runners turned around there and headed back along Wasatch and then over to Fort Union and 1300 East for the finish line. We met up with my mom at the turn around spot on Wasatch to watch for Joseph (19 miles in).


 He stopped for a quick breather to say hi to us and rest for a few minutes. He looked great and I was so proud of him for finishing 19 already — sounds crazy hard to me. He did tell us he felt pretty done by then and was losing steam but he pulled it together to finish 7 more miles.

 Luke saw Joseph stretching across the way and decided he needed to do some too. 
Crocs on his feet and all — we loved it!

 For some random reason these Star Wars guys were there to cheer on racers so we got a shot with Darth Vader because hey, why not?

Here are a couple pictures from the race organizers showing Joseph running in that gorgeous canyon: 

 And this is just an awesome picture (obviously from early on when he was full of energy!)

And he finished!!
Our friend across the street was volunteering at the race and made sure she was there to give Joseph his medal and grab this picture for us. We cheered Joseph on at the finish line but it was a madhouse down there filled with hundreds of people. We saw him as he crossed but despite our yelling and cheering he didn't see us — and that race had a very long finish line zone only for runners and volunteers, sending them past lots of booths and aid and food stations before they could exit and find family. We roamed forever and finally found him sprawled on the cool grass in the shade.

 Love little Livs making sure the ice was in the right spot 
and Luke wanting to inspect Joseph's cool medal.


Cute Mary met us at the finish line with a cooler full of all that ice and my hubby was elated to have it for his joints! She had run a half marathon earlier that summer and said she had wished for ice at the end of it so she brought it for Joseph. Brilliant! My parents were also there to support and congratulate him and we were both so grateful for their efforts. 
It was a huge accomplishment for Joseph!

**In the end he rebounded really well too. He did finish the race with just one bloody nipple :( but then he napped for a few hours Saturday afternoon which helped a lot. He was sore for after and didn't enjoy going down stairs or sitting on the toilet for a few days :) He also had two toenail casualties in the following months but I don't think he's run his last marathon.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Labor Day Labor

Before picture of our sturdy but beat up table. Nevermind the spilled eggs and stains on the rug (life with 4 kids!) Our weekend was full of sanding, staining, rearranging and redoing. Luckily throwing that rug out and getting a new one were included with our plans (thank goodness for IKEA — huge selection and at the best prices).

 Sometimes the kids helped and sometimes they just wanted to watch all the action.

 Sanding and 3 coats of stain for day 1. Then we moved the table into the garage until Monday so we could add one more coat of stain and then a clear coat polyurethane finish. In the meantime we used the patio furniture for all our meals:

 While we were sanding and staining Joseph decided to refinish our front door at the same time. This is after we sanded it but hadn't put any clear coat finish on it yet. I don't have a great after picture but we didn't change any color just added richness and shine with the poly. After 10 years of weathering it really soaked up a new finish!

The completed table, back in the kitchen with a new rug. It now matches our chairs and looks so much better. The poor table had been pretty beat up from kids digging into it with utensils (anyone else have kids who dig at the table with a fork?! So lame!), drawing on it with sharpies, spilling very fine glitter and leaving steamy plates on it without a hot pad or place mat. I'm guessing it'll be due for another make-over in about 5 years again! I was super proud of my hubby for doing this on his own and saving us tons of money — very handy and a cool process to learn.