Thursday, July 29, 2010


Our day started off early. 3 a.m. The fact that we didn't get to sleep until midnight didn't help when the alarm went off. But we jumped out of bed, shaking off the sleep and began to get ready for this newest of adventures.

We excitedly piled our stuff into the big blue van, decorated with the name of our vanmates and team name.

As we drove around picking up members of the team, you could
feel the anticipation of those of us who were first timers, and the more relaxed feelings eminating off of those who were veterans.

We left Maple Valley with the sun still down, trying to get comfortable for the long drive.

The sun had risen as we pulled into the parking lot near the starting line.

The amount of cars and people milling around surprised me, I don't know why. Somewhere in my head I was sure we were the only ones crazy enough to be doing this.

But I was one of 24 people on two different teams. Obviously crazy runs rampant in Maple Valley, so why not other parts of the state and country.

We posed as a team, and I began to feel the onset of what would afflict me the whole race. The feeling of either extreme hunger or an extreme upset stomach. It began to be hard to tell the difference between the two.

My first leg was 4.1 miles around 11:30 in the morning. The sun beat down on me, and I literally felt that my body was going to explode from the heat. At one point I ran by a sprinkler and stopped briefly to run through it, hoping it would cool down my ever reddening skin.

My teammate Brett, passing the slap bracelet. Batons are so 1980's.

The best thing about running was my van mates. They would drive ahead about a mile and a half and wait with water and cheer me on. A lot of WOOHOO-ing and clapping and screaming my name. It kept me going when I thought I might die.

We did this for every member of our van.

Elise handing water to Lisa.

Laura taking the bracelet from Lisa. (sorry this is of your backside Laura, you look great!)

Just to help you understand (cuz I didn't understand until I was actually there), we have a team of 12. The first six in van 1 run the first 6 legs, or sections of course. We started at 8:30 a.m. and got done around 2:30 which is when runners 6-12 in van 2 took over. They run from 2:30 to about 7:30. In the mean time we have gone and eaten, showered and tried to take a quick nap at the hotel.

Then it's back to running.

This is Elise, kicking rear. She's really good at that.

She passed the bracelet to Jeff who ran as the sun was setting.

My next leg was also 4.1 miles. I started around 9:10 and came into the switch point around 10. (yes, I run REALLY slow, so what)

Our van finished around midnight. Which is when van 2 started their second leg.
We did this until 2:30 the next afternoon, running a total of 187.9 miles from Blaine, Wa near the Canadian border, down to Whidbey Island. By my final leg I had slept about 5 hours in two days and ran 11.2 miles in less than 24 hours.

My legs were shot, I was tired physically and emotionally, and as I leaned against the van to stretch when I was completely done, I broke down and cried.
I can't really explain it, it just felt right to let it all go.

This was without a doubt, the hardest thing physically I have ever done. I went into it not understanding how hard it is to run that much, on no sleep, up steep hills and alongside roads with little or no shoulder.

I couldn't walk well for a day or so, and it took me that long to feel well rested again. But would I do it again? You betcha.

I am witness to the fact that you can do anything you put your mind to.

I am not an athlete. I am still struggling with the baby weight from Nora. But I am not a quitter. And my mind got me through to the end almost more than my body did.

I put our Ragnar sticker on the back of our van and just stood back and looked at it. Proud of myself, proud of Jeff and proud of the amazing people I ran with and got to know better.
(You don't really know someone until you've sat next to them all sweaty and tired)

I watched these people that I normally see at church, herding their children, teaching lessons, looking cool and lovely in their Sunday clothes, dig in and tackle something difficult, sweaty and uphill.

And it was an honor. Truly.

Monday, July 26, 2010


Little miss Nora turned 2 on Saturday and then again on Sunday. ?

Surrounded by her brothers and sisters. Her Grandparents,her great aunt and her parents.

While Jeff and I were away at Ragnar, my mom made a cake for Nora and took care of everything so that Jeff and I could come home and collapse into chairs as we sang her happy birthday.

Then on Sunday, I was recovered enough to make her another birthday cake, and we celebrated with Grandma and Grandpa Allen, complete with balloons and presents.

Her cake says Happy Day, because that's what she says. She leaves off the birth part.

And then, for your viewing pleasure, candids of Nora from throughout the year. I can't get enough of this girl.

Happy Birthday baby! Yes, she'll always be my baby. It can't be helped.
And now for the winner.........(I had Charlie press Generate on Random.Org so that it would be totally official and unbiased and there would be a witness, I'm nothing if not fair:)

Number 16!!! Aunt Cathy, who said:
"If I had a gift certificate, I would give it to one of the guys across the street from the Home Depot that stand there ALL day waiting for someone to hire them so they have feed their families."

Congratulations Aunt Cathy, this will go to good use in your hands.

Thank you everyone for doing this, it was fun!

Friday, July 23, 2010

A Giveway...just because

This is not my 800th post.

I did not come into any money.

I am not sponsored.

I am not well known, or even sort of known ,really, in the blogosphere.

But I feel happy.

And Jeff and I are running in Ragnar today. Which is something to celebrate.

So in honor of not being some of those things, but being other things, I am having my first ever giveaway.

Yes, a giveaway.

It started because I am painting the boys' room. I am using Martha Stewart paint. And as I sat painting the walls a very dark chocolate color (you wait til you see it, it's awesome!),

I thought, "Martha Stewart paint is the best ever. Even this dark chocolate color and I only need one coat. I wish everyone knew about it, I wish I could give it away so people could try it. Hey, why don't I give it away?"

So while I can't give you a gallon of Martha Steward paint (do you have any idea what the shipping would be?) I can give you a gift card to Home Depot.

Now, while I would like you to use it for Martha Stewart paint, you don't have to. You can use it for any ol' thing you want.

So, here are the rules:

Just tell me what you would do with a $25 gift card to Home Depot.

One entry per person.

Giveaway will close at midnight on Sunday.

Now, please, please enter. Even if you know me personally, you still qualify for this cuz I'm going to use to generate a winner. See? No bias. Just pure luck.

Let us celebrate some happiness through paint.

I will announce the winner on Monday at noon.

Good luck!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Make A Little Birdhouse in Your Soul

My very talented Uncle Gerry built and painted a birdhouse for myself, my brother and sister.

My parents went to visit him in Canada (that is where my dad is from) and they back a birdhouse for each of us.

"Not to put too fine a point on it, say I'm the only bee in your bonnet
Make a little birdhouse in your soul. "

Oh, I will.

This soul is officially open for happiness and bluebirds.

Thank you Uncle Gerry.

Monday, July 19, 2010


On Saturday we took off to Ocean Shores with Maile and her kids. The weather was not super awesome, but that did not deter the kids from getting soaked in the waves.

Of course, being unprepared for soaked children was not a plus. Thinking that it was too cold to actually go in the water, we were not prepared with changes of clothing except for the littlest ones. I mean, it was only 60 degrees outside, who wants to get wet in weather like that?

Well, all of my kids and my husband want to get wet in weather like that. Luckily, I brought lots of sweatshirts since I planned for cold weather.

So with some borrowing from the cousins, and with extra sweatshirts, everyone survived. It was surprisingly warm closer to the dunes once everyone was dry.

We also attempted a box oven to make pizzas in. It was not a success since our "oven" caught on fire. But rather than worry about it, we just called and ordered a pizza. Civilization is nice like that.
But we did have success with a lovely fire on the beach where we topped brownies with toasted marshmellows.

It was super fun hanging out with my sister and her kids. And the drive to Ocean Shores reminded me of being a kid again.
Not because Maile and I fought or anything.
But because in my slightly narcissistic way, I was trying to get a picture of myself, and in Maile's younger sister way, she tried, and succeeded, in photo bombing me.

I will laugh at this picture for the rest of my life.
Ok, things I learned: 1.Don't take a picture of yourself with your little sister sitting behind you.
2. Always, always bring extra changes of clothes when you are far from home. I don't care if you're just taking a tour or visiting a museum. Kids always have a way of needing extra clothes. You'd think I would know that by now.
3.Test your box oven before you rely on it as your only source of dinner.
4.Bring money in case your box oven self destructs.
5.Always bring bathing suits to the beach, even in cold weather. Kids just gravitate toward the water. They might be cold, but at least their clothes stay dry.
6. Do not stay up until 1 a.m. the night before a long car trip. Even Red Bull won't help you then.
7. Do not get mad at your kids for getting all wet at the beach. It took me about 15 minutes of fuming to figure this out. They were a little uncomfortable in their sweatshirt-only attire, but I'd rather have that then memories of a crabby mom at the ocean.
and finally.....
8. Repeat this activity often.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Yesterday was my 14th wedding anniversary.

14 amazing, experienced filled, joyful, sorrowful, happy, sad, baby/toddler/big kid filled years.

Some years we get away for the weekend or least dinner and a movie. But this year, due to time and money constraints, we were able to have lunch together and then in the evening we got to go to a parent's meeting for Cub Scout Day Camp.

Exciting, I know.

On the way home from the meeting, we spotted a Goodwill. We kind of love Goodwill, and a new Goodwill that we've never been to before is even more fun.

And it ended up being the jackpot. Earlier in the day I had given Jeff a new Buck knife since his old pocket knife has mysteriously disappeared, and wanting to reciprocate my gift giving, he came and found me in the home goods section with an excited "Amy, you have to come see this bike!"

I had no preconceived notions about how exciting a bike at Goodwill could be. But boy, was I surprised when I saw this beauty!

The basket is my personal addition, but otherwise this 1973 Huffy Tourister is in almost mint condition. As is evidenced from this print ad. Apparently Huffy is geared for my pleasure. Really?
I mean, really?! That was their ad campaign? Cracks me up.

We took it home, pumped up the tires and adjusted a few things, and I was off!

I haven't owned a bike since 1994, so I was a little nervous at first, but then my body remembered how to ride and there was no stopping me after that.

I rode around with Charlie and Julia until it got too dark and too late to be making noise in the neighborhood. But I felt about 12 years old again. Happy, carefree, the wind in my hair and reminiscing about the bike shows Maile and Keno and I used to put on for our parents.

Now Kate and Julia and I can ride in vintage style, since Kate has a Ross Barracuda G.T. from the 1960's with original everything, and Julia has an sweet reproduction bike complete with banana seat.

Our goal in life is to have everyone be able to recognize us from a mile away.
Ok, not really, but why have new stuff when old stuff is so cool?
Anyway, a big thanks to my dear Jeffy for knowing me so well, and spotting something I would love AND buying it for me on our anniversary.
I love you. I knew it the moment I saw you. And I will always love you.
You lucky man, you.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Saying Goodbye

Saturday night, our family said goodbye to a member of the family.

Our minivan.

Let me start by telling you that Jeff and I were never excited about being minivan owners.

Unlike many parents, we waited until I was pregnant with our 4th child before we finally went out and bought a minivan. Because we HAD to. I hated the idea of a minivan, I didn't want one and I kind of went to the dealership kicking and screaming on the inside.

But we grew to like the minivan. Not love, but like for sure.

And let me tell you, that car took us everywhere. I mean obviously, it drove us everywhere, but the places we went? Most minivans don't see that kind of variety in their everyday use.

We bought the van in Rhode Island and from there it took us on trips to New York, Pennsylvania, Massachussetts and of course, Narragansett Beach-probably the best beach ever.

But more than those road trips we took while living on the east coast, it drove us cross country when we left RI to go to MBA school in Utah. Then it took us to Wisconsin for our internship with Land's End.

And best of all, it brought our last 3 children home from the hospital.

All in all, that little van visited 24 states with us, took us over 120,000 miles, and represents a lot of great memories.

But like many things, it was time to move on. We bought the big 12 passenger two years ago when Nora was born, and we decided to finally sell the minivan.

We sold it to a nice guy who has three kids and hopefully it will help them reach fun and happy destinations.

But as we drove away from the Carl's Jr. parking lot, I cried. I hadn't expected that. But when I thought of all the memories with that car, and realized it still probably had remnants of Narragansett beach sand, I just lost it.

I'm still a little emotional thinking about it. But we're making memories with our "new" van, and finding happiness as a family within it's big blue frame.

So farewell little grey minivan. Good luck in your new life.

Friday, July 9, 2010

It could be a Producer day every day

My kitchen this morning at 10 am

So the Producer and his Project Manager from HomeMade Simple came by today to talk to us, meet us, answer questions and get a look at the house before filming in August.

I was pretty focused on making sure things were tidy and neat by the time they arrived at 10 o'clock this morning.

In order for this to happen I did the following:

I woke up at 7:30, I showered and got ready.

I had all the kids up at 8, dressed or showered and eating breakfast by 9.

From 9 - 10 I cleaned up the kitchen, vacuumed, washed the floor and went around tidying other rooms and getting things neat.

So by 10 A.M. my house was clean, my kids were dressed and fed and we were all ready for the day.

The reason I tell you this is that I realized this morning, that this could be my day everyday if I wanted it to be.

And if I wanted to add some exercise in beforehand, I would just have to get up at 6:30. Which is really not that hard when the sun rises at 4 a.m.

So why don't I do it? Why do I oversleep, let the kids oversleep, and then run around crazy trying to fit everything in and still end up not getting it all done?

I don't know the answer, I honestly don't. But I can say, for sure, that being ready for the day at 10 a.m. was AWESOME.

So for now, I am going to try and repeat this tomorrow. And maybe after 5 days in a row I'll get a gold star or something.

So have I found the secret for morning routine success?
Cuz this all sounds so simple, but I have yet to implement it on a regular basis.

But no more! I say. No more!

I'll let you know how long my new resolve lasts.

I'm giving it 5, 6 hours tops.

(Oh, and can I brag a little? They said my kitchen looked like a kitchen from a cooking show. Flattered? Yes I was.)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

It's finally summer

As western Washingtonians, we endure a lot of rain. A. LOT.

But you sorta, kinda get used to it.

But you have your limit. As in, by the end of May, you begin to expect the rain to stop and the sun to start.

This year, however, refused to cooperate with this arrangement.

So we had rain and cool weather until July 1st.

Makes me mad, I'll tell ya.

But finally, the bless-ed event arrived. Sun!

And with it, temperatures in the 80's.

So what better to enjoy the sun, then a family car wash.

And since we have three cars, it took up the entire evening.

Oh, and we have three cars, not because we are rollin in dough, but because they are all 10 to 16 years old. And so if one breaks down, there is another to creak into it's place.
But hey, at least we have a car. Jeff served his mission in Brazil, and only wealthy people had a phone. And some people he knew had dirt floors. So a 16 year old Saturn wagon is living in the lap of luxury.
And I won't forget that anytime soon.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Office Policy

I have been seeing the same doctor since we moved to Maple Valley 2 years ago.

Due to a bunch of stuff physically I have seen my doctor alot.

And I kind of felt like her and I had developed a good patient/doctor relationship.

Well, I guess I had an appointment a week ago to follow up on some medication. I completely spaced it.

I made the appointment a month before, and I never received a reminder call about it.

This is the first time I have ever missed an appointment, ever.

So imagine my surprise when I receive a bill for $75 in the mail. What for? A missed appointment.

I called and left a message, basically asking for their mercy since I have never missed an appointment before and reminding them of how I almost always ask for a reminder call.

The front desk gal called me back, and gave me the ol' "It's our policy, sorry, we couldn't care less that you are normally always on time and never miss an appointment, and we would rather bill you $75 dollars and lose all future business with you" line.

Ok, she didnt' actually say all that, she just told me it was their office policy and would I like to reschedule my appointment?

What? No freakin way.

I'm trying to decide if I'm being silly. But honestly, my feelings are hurt. And I think it's a stupid, greedy way for Dr. to get some extra money out of her patients.

I know that people just skip out of appointments and that they have to have a policy in place for such things. But if you look at my records and see the previous 20 times (no joke) that I have NOT missed my appointment, well, I can't even say outloud what I think of them.

So I hope it was worth it to the Dr. She may be making $75 bucks off of me for a missed appointment, but she just lost a bunch of future cash-ola from THIS slightly hypochondriacal gal.

I mean, I'm a sure thing. With ankle and foot sprains and back injuries and so on, I was a gold mine. A gold mine I tell ya!

So what do you think? Am I being stupid? Or am I justifyably upset about this?

Cuz I can guarantee, I will not be going back to Dr. "I would rather bilk my patients for something stupid then to actually keep up a good relationship with them"

So now the important question, anyone know a good doctor?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

While sneaking off to the treadmill in the garage in an attempt to fit some exercise into my day, I made Mommy Mistake #421.

After making bread,I left the bag of flour out.

And what two year old can resist running their fingers through all that soft powdery goodness?

This only shows part of the loveliness she left for me to clean up. What you can't see is the pile of flour on the living room carpet and the little tiny flour footprints up and down the hallway.

To top it off, when I went to take a picture of this bonanza of bread flour, my camera battery was dead. And searching high and low produced no battery charger.

So I got my cell phone out to take a photo. Which also had a dead battery.

So this picture was taken with the phone while being tethered to the wall by the charger.

Welcome back to my life. It's crazy here.

But you probably already know that.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...