Monday, July 30, 2012

And the winner of the kid toss is.......

Michael loves to play with the kids. Perhaps one of their favorite things to do is get thrown in the air. He is a picture of Annabelle and Jillian at about the same age being thrown in the air. So who is higher and the winner of the kid toss?


While the kids and I were gone, we decided to get the upstairs carpets cleaned. There were in desperate need of a good cleaning. Michael spent hours and hours moving every single thing from every upstairs room, save for the bunk beds. He even took our bed apart, moved it into the kitchen, and slept in the guest room for a couple of nights. He sent me these pictures in an email titled, "Exhausted". 

A couple days later, he spent hours and hours putting everything back in its proper place. Then, just a few hours after that, he flew to Denver for a few days before meeting up with us in WY. Thanks, Michael.

My first 10k!

The summer after Jillian was born, I decided that I wanted to start running to help get back into shape and lose all the baby fat. I have never been a serious runner before and so it was a rough start, but by the end of the summer, I really enjoyed running and was in the best shape of my life. But I never signed up to do any races. This summer, I’ve gotten back into running and wanted to enter some 5k and 10k races. I was planning on running my first 5k on the 4th of July, but it got canceled. Then, I planned on running a race in Sheridan the week we were there visiting Michael’s parents, but it turns out the race was actually the week before we would be there.

But I did finally get to run one. I ran my first 10k last Saturday! It was really fun. I enjoyed the course and the feeling I got as I crossed the finish line. I felt like I made good time (though I’m going to try and improve my time for the next one at the end of August) and even placed 3rd in my age group.



Michael, being the wonderful, supportive husband that he is, wanted to be supportive so he got all the kids up early and drove the 25 minutes to the neighboring town where the race was held. Unfortunately due to preparation for a parade that was happening later that day, he hit some unexpected traffic in town and didn’t make it time to see me cross the finish line. Annabelle was so upset that she didn’t get to cheer for me that she started bawling. She definitely inherited that ability to cry at everything from me. I love that she wanted to be there for me at the end and of course I almost started to cry. But after eating a donut and drinking some chocolate milk that was available for the runners, she felt better.

I am so grateful I am healthy and able to exercise. Running has really become a major part of my life. Not only does it help me get rid of the baby fat and keep me in shape, but it also gives me a chance to push myself to do something that I’ve never really done before. I can see the physical effects of it, but I also feel mentally recharged when I get back from a run. Perhaps after I get a few 10ks under my belt this summer, I can set my goals even higher and try for a race that’s a little longer. We’ll see.

My friend down the street ran the 10k too. It was her first one as well and she also placed 3rd in her age group.You go, Mary!

Wyoming trip

We just back from spending over a week with my in-laws and it was one fun, busy vacation. To keep from making one of the longest blog entries ever, I’ll break up the trip and write several separate entries describing our great vacation. So make sure you keep reading after this entry.

Let me begin by saying that I’m one of those lucky people who got the best in-laws you could ask for. Michael had to go to Denver for work that week and so I was there with his parents for a week by myself. Not everyone would be able to do that and say that had an absolutely wonderful time. But they are such kind, selfless people that I always feel totally at ease there. I really do love to be with them.

As I mentioned, Michael had to go to Denver later that week so I made the 7 hour drive alone with 3 kids. Thankfully, I met my in-laws in Billings, MT and my mother-in-law drove with me the last 2 hours. The drive started out well. I was able to get everyone dressed and fed well before the time we wanted to leave. But while we were getting ready, Michael was attempting to move the captain seats around in the van per my request. It turned out to be much trickier than expected and there was about a 20 minute period where we weren’t sure that we would be able to leave anytime that morning because the seats were totally messed up. Fortunately, Michael figured things out and we pulled out of the driveway only 7 minutes after my desired departure time. As Michael was saying goodbye to the girls, Annabelle started bawling. Michael was giving her a hug and she wouldn’t let go of him. When we asked her what was wrong, she said she was going to miss him too much. It was such a tender moment that I myself got choked up and tried unsuccessfully to hold back the tears. I’m so glad that Michael is such an important part of Annabelle’s life now. There was a time when she didn’t want anyone around but me. She is definitely over that, thank goodness.

Once we got off, things went downhill. Only 45 minutes into the trip, Jillian started complaining that her stomach hurt and only a few minutes later, she threw up everything she ate for breakfast. I had just entered the mountains and there was no good place to place over. So I had to keep driving as Jillian sat there in her vomit, bawling and freaking out, and Annabelle holding her nose and trying to not to look at Jillian, which would have surely caused her to throw up as well. Annabelle has quite a history of getting car sick (once when I was driving to Utah by myself, she threw up 7 times and the usual 3 ½ hour drive ended up taking 8 hours), but as she’s gotten older, it hasn’t been a problem anymore. I guess now we have to worry about Jillian. After a few minutes, I came upon a turnout and we stopped to get her cleaned up. Thankfully, it didn’t get on the actual seat of the van, just all over Jillian and her car seat. I cleaned up as best I could with the cleaning supplies I always have in the car and we continued on. She didn’t throw up the rest of the trip which was a miracle because the weather was causing some serious problems. For most of the way to Billings, there was a downpour. It was absolutely terrifying when we were driving through West Yellowstone and the mountains. The rain was coming down so hard that I couldn’t see more than a few feet in front of me. I felt us sliding and we almost hydroplaned a number of times. I was gripping the wheel so tightly my knuckles were numb. Sarah was fast asleep and Annabelle and Jillian were watching a movie. Annabelle could tell that things were bad and so she was really good about keeping Jillian interested in the movie and they didn’t distract me much. That was the scariest time I’ve ever had driving. Once we got to Billings, the rest of the way was clear skies and we made it safely to Sheridan, WY.

Adventure Camp

Michael’s mom works at the YMCA and every summer, they put on week long camps for kids. Annabelle is old enough now for Adventure Camp and we signed her up to attend. Every morning, we packed her a lunch and swimming suit and she off to camp. She loved it! When she got home after lunch, she would tell me about all the fun things they did. They went swimming, played in some fountains, had races, did crafts, played games, built things, went on hikes. The list goes on and on. She said her favorite part was going on a hunt. She couldn’t remember what they were hunting, but it was really fun.

She’s such a social person, I had no doubt she would make friends right away and that was indeed the case. On the first day, she became best friends with one particular girl and I was told they were inseparable the whole week. When the kids were going home on the first day, the girl asked Cynthia (Michael’s mom who was picking Annabelle up) if Annabelle could come over to her house and play. When Cynthia said probably not, the girl was so upset, she started crying. Cynthia talked a little bit to this girl’s grandpa when he came to pick her up and we learned that the girl’s mother is a well known pediatrician in town. Yikes, a doctor’s daughter and lawyer’s daughter, two professions that are well known for their dislike of each other. But as the song from the musical Oklahoma goes, “Oh, the doctor and the lawyer should be friends”. (Well, it actually refers to farmers and cowboys being friends, but you get the picture.

Here’s a video of Annabelle singing the Y Camp song.

Water slide

Perhaps one of the highlights of the trip was after Michael joined us, he and I took Annabelle and Jillian to the outdoor swimming pool. It has a really nice kiddy pool and a big, fast, tall slide. Michael took turns going down with both girls and Annabelle even went down by herself. Michael would wait at the bottom and pull Annabelle out of the water once she slid down. I can’t believe how brave both of my girls are. Jillian wanted to do it over and over again. She even went under the water a few times and just wanted to do it “one more time” as she would say over and over again. Annabelle went down so many times by herself that it got to the point where the lifeguard knew her by name and knew that she needed to wait until Michael was ready to catcher her at the bottom of the slide. As soon as Annabelle hit the water and went under, Michael would reach for her and pull her out. A lot of times, Annabelle was under the water for quite a long time due to the force of the water pulling her down. Michael would be unable to feel her under the water right away and just start grasping around. Once he felt any part of her, grab it and yank her up. He pulled her up by her arms, legs, neck, even once I think he pulled up by her hair. But through it all, Annabelle loved it and wanted to do it over and over. Michael probably took both girls down the slide over 30 times. He would like flat on his back with the girls lying on top of him the whole way down to reach maximum speed and then at the last second in the last bend of the slide, he’d sit up, use his elbows to slow down, and hold the kids up out of the water as he went under. By the time we were ready to leave, his elbows were extremely sore and throbbing. Even now more than a week later, his elbows still hurt.

Here are some videos of the slide. On Annabelle’s video, I accidentally covered the microphone, but she’s standing at the top of the slide and there’s one father and child that go down before she does. In the one with Jillian, she and Michael are standing at the very top of the slide at the beginning of the video.

One of the most unique things about Sheridan is that they have a wild animal reserve right in the middle of town. This reserve is home to lots of bison and elk. The swimming pool happens to run along part of the reserve and as we were leaving, we saw 3 huge bison come right up to the fence where we were standing. They were so close we could have reached out and touched them. You don’t realize how big and scary these animals are until you’re standing right next to one. It was pretty cool.

Stings, swings, slides, sand, and more

While we were in Sheridan, there was so much to do. Every morning while Annabelle was at camp, Michael’s parents were at work, and Sarah was napping, Jillian and I went outside in the backyard and I would push Jillian on the swing. She loves swings and some mornings, I did nothing but stand there and push Jillian on the swing for 30 minutes straight. There was also a lot of trampoline jumping and pole climbing. There were few moments of unpleasantness when Jillian and Cynthia both got stung by a wasp. Annabelle and Jillian were both swinging on the tire swing and apparently there was a wasp’s nest in it. They came swarming out and it was pretty amazing that Annabelle, Sarah, and I didn’t get stung as well. A few days later, Jillian got stung again, this time by a yellow jacket when she disturbed their hive. Other than that, we had so much fun. Michael’s dad taught Annabelle how to shoot a basketball. I wish I had gotten a video of it. She was really good and got the ball through the hoop most times. I also took the 2 older girls to swimming at the indoor pool at the YMCA and then after to the playland.




By the end of the day, we were all exhausted. The kids fell asleep within minutes of climbing into bed.


Family Pictures

One thing that I wanted to do while we were there was get some family pictures. We have a really nice, large family picture hanging in the living room, but it was taken when Jillian was only 5 months old. So we really were due for a new one now that Sarah’s joined the family. Out of the many pictures that Michael’s dad took, we did get a few where everyone looked halfway decent.

Monday, July 9, 2012

New Stroller

IT"S HERE! I finally got my double jogging stroller/bike trailer. It's awesome! I've already gone for a jog with the 2 little girls in the stroller and Annabelle riding her bike. I obviously ran a little slower than normal, but it was not at all as difficult as I thought running while pushing a stroller might be. I couldn't figure out how to attach it to my bike though, so I waited until Michael had time to do it. Saturday night, he worked on it (while I went on a 5.5 mile run- that's the farthest I've ever run and it felt GREAT!) and discovered that it was not compatible with my bike, but it was with his bike, thank goodness. We went for our first family bike ride that night and it was fabulous. I love spending time with my family!

Sunday, July 8, 2012


This is just a random post that includes 2 videos of my playing airplane with Annabelle and Jillian.

4th of July

Our Independence Day was great. I was going to run a 5k early in the morning, but that got canceled (I was really irritated about that). After the kids got up, I got them ready and we walked to Main Street for the parade. Michael, who had help with a community breakfast, was already there saving a spot for us. He and I took turns holding Sarah and keeping her out of the sun and standing in the street with the other two girls, helping them collect candy. I wish I gotten a picture of some of the cooler floats. It was really fun though and the weather was gorgeous. We had perfect parade weather. After getting home, eating lunch, and making Jillian take a short nap, we turned on the sprinklers and spent a few hours playing in the water. Michael then got the grill going and we had a great barbecue. Once the sun started setting, we headed out to a neighboring town to see the fireworks. Sarah slept right through them, Annabelle was mesmerized by them, and Jillian couldn't sit still long enough to enjoy much of them. Of course, it's way past her bedtime and she'd had a busy day. She was so tired. she had that desperate last minute energy you sometimes get before completely passing out with fatigue. After we walked back to the car and got everyone settled in their seats, all three kids were asleep within minutes. I really enjoyed spending the day with my family and am so grateful for this great nation we live in.

Sarah felt asleep on the walk over. Isn't it funny how babies can sleep in any position?


Annabelle was being quite creative and made her own homemade water slide.

Sarah loved being outside while her sisters played in the sprinklers.