Monday, July 23, 2007

It's Over!

Saturday night at 1:00 a.m. I finished, 24 hours after starting. I loved it. All my questions were answered and I cried because it was over. I agree with everyone else who has said they feel like they're saying good-bye to a good friend. But I kind of always feel like that when I finish a good book. So maybe what I really felt was sad that after 10 years of always having another Harry Potter book to look forward to; of always finding other Harry Potter fans in diverse places and of varying ages; of having so many questions, riddles, theories to discuss with friends and strangers; of learning new facts and information from web searches and visits to JK Rowling's website; of 6 years of one of my children wanting to be Harry Potter, Hermione or Ron for Halloween and countless afternoons that the costumes were dragged out for dress-ups; that it's all over. The movies will still be there but the questions have been answered--so much of the fun is gone. They can still dress up for Halloween as Harry Potter--but will they?

I read a fan's comment today that now the books are over, she looks forward to when she grows up and has kids of her own to share them with. Me too. Wait... I am grown up and already have kids of my own. Well, we've got two Harry Potter costumes (from the year Courtney and Marty were Ron and Hermoine). I think I'll set one aside for my grandchildren.

Photos of Kids at Midnight

Here we are at Barnes & Noble -- the once-in-a-lifetime event of waiting for the LAST Harry Potter. I second-guessed myself all day as to wondering if it was really worth it to stay up until midnight in a crowded bookstore to get Harry Potter instead of just running down in the morning. To add to the insanity, of course I'd also agreed to take my 6- and 10-year-old (Marty can barely stay up untiil 9:00, let alone Midnight)!!

But as the time approached I was so excited! I'm glad I didn't miss it. Because the real point was not the little games or prizes but not having to wait one more second to read Harry's final adventure! So, it was well worth it.

We were accompanied by best friends -- Kathy, Jeff, Adam and Ethan. Kathy had an amazing Harry Potter party last year at Halloween and is planning the next. In addition she was the instigator of our fun Harry Potter book club (Yes, for adult women) which was a huge hit last year as we re-read all the books. Each meeting we looked forward to yummy lunches (Harry Potter themed, of course) and always a quiz about that book.

Courtney and Lexie weren't really in the Harry Potter partying mood. Surprisingly, because Courtney never goes to bed before midnight and was the child who we started out reading Harry Potter to when she was in 1st grade. She lost interest at the 5th book when I decided it was too long to read out loud and she was old enough to read it herself.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Harry Potter Day

I'm on auto-pilot. Didn't go to bed until 3 am -- didn't want to wait until morning to get started. Up at 7:30 when Nick came and got me. Been reading ever since. Did stop to make breakfast for the kids. Figured if I got everyone (mainly thinking about Nick and Chris) a decent breakfast they'd be happier and more satisfied, therefore I'd get more productive reading time.

I'm enjoying the last book so far. Conflicted about wanting to know what happens and enjoy the story and knowing that the faster I read the faster it will be over forever. So sad!

Friday, July 20, 2007

The New Backyard

Here are photos of how our new backyard turned out! We are so excited about having so much grass! And a rectangle trampoline!! So fun!! I tried to play Around The World with Courtney and Dan and was very disappointed to find out I married someone who didn't know how to play Around The World! I didn't think to ask that when we were dating! And he wasn't a very good sport about trying to learn. But don't worry...he'll learn.

I taught Courtney to do a backflip and tried to teach Christopher but he didn't want to learn yet. Marty broke his toe so he wasn't able to jump, sadly. I can still do a backflip, but I can't do a backflip/twist. I'll have to keep practicing. That and start doing my Kegel's.

Well, tonight's the big night!! Harry Potter! We'll be heading to Barnes & Noble at 10:00 for the party. I waited in line for an hour this morning to get a good wristband number--which I did--to be the first in line after midnight to purchase the book. Christopher went to bed at 7:00 on his own accord so he could wake up at 10:00 to party. I'm not sure if I'll start tonight when I get home and read all night, or wait until the morning. I'm hoping the kids do a good job of fending for themselves tomorrow so I can have a vacation day (reading Harry Potter day). I'm not very good about jugging mom responsibilities when I'm in the middle of a good book!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

This One's For You, Phyllis:

Real Simple readers offer their most effective keep-cool tips...
How Do You Beat the Summer Heat?
I get the hell out of Texas!
Mary Hallman
Austin, Texas

Summer Fun

It's been a fun week of playing in the pool, enjoying our new backyard and just staying cool!

I got a big kick out of Betsy's photo of her daughter fast asleep in a chair and two days later found Nicholas the same way. We've been having lots of LATE summer nights!

Sunday, July 15, 2007


A big pat on the back to myself for completing the Echo Tri yesterday! What a RUSH! 1/2 mile swim, 13 mile bike and 3.3 mile run. Dan was so awesome to get up with me at 5 am so he could drive me to Echo Lake and cheer me on. Having him with me was a HUGE support!

The Echo crew was awesome, getting 1,000 people organized, registered, marked and ready to go on time. We had incremental starts that went very smoothly and I was getting pretty excited waiting my turn. I was excited for my first real open-water swim. I am a pretty confident swimmer but knew swimming in the lake would be more of a challenge. The water was the perfect temperature!

When I jumped in the water I was surprised when my hearted started pounding so hard I couldn't swim efficiently. I couldn't hold my breath long enough to take three strokes and found that when I did turn my head to breathe I swallowed a lot of water!! Pretty soon I was dog-paddling and I had barely started the race!! Aaah!! It felt like I would never make it to the first buoy (out of three!) The rational side of me was trying to talk me through... I'm not scared of the water, I'm a strong swimmer, I should be just fine! But I couldn't get control of my rapid, panicked breathing. I realized it would take me an eternity to get through the swim if I had to dog-paddle the whole time!! I flipped over and started the back stroke. Finally I could breathe! I flipped over and tried to swim again and realized that while back stroking I'd basically swam perpendicular to the group and now needed to swim back to get in the right direction again! Again I was breathing too rapidly to efficiently swim. Ellen Degeneres as Dory in "Finding Nemo" sing-songed into my head... "Just Keep Swimming, Just Keep Swimming."

I recognized the heart-pounding, rapid breathing, panic symptoms from what I had felt many a time last year as PTA President --anxiety. I was rational enough to know that I'm a strong person and I shouldn't be feeling this way, but unfortunately I was completely unable to control the anxiety. I had to start thinking through my options. 1) Quit. -- I knew I didn't want to quit. Last year I made it through tough times and I knew I could make it through this time. Quitting was not an option. 2) Figure out what was freaking me out. When I could see the buoy in front of me and see where I was going, I felt calmer. 3) I needed to get control of my breathing. I resigned myself to backstroking until I was calm.

By the time I got to the first buoy, I felt better. I rounded the buoy and was able to swim on my front, but I never was able to hold my breath long enough to swim three strokes before breathing. I tried using faith... "I know the buoy is in front of me. I don't have to see it to know it's there. I can swim towards it because I know it's in front of me." "Nope, not working. I've got to see that orange buoy. Where's that buoy?!" So I suffered through with a combo of breathe side, breathe other side, look up front to find the buoy. Breathe side, breathe other side, where's the dang buoy?!!!! I've got to get myself out of this freakin' lake!!!!

And suddenly I was at the end, I could stand and walk and I was done. Dan was there along with good friends from our ward, all cheering for me and making me feel like a million bucks!

I walked to the transition sight (yes, next time I'll try to run to the transistion area), and danced around trying to get my wetsuit off. I finally got my arms out and speedily dried off my feet, put on my socks and biking shoes and then realized I hadn't pulled my wetsuit off my legs!!! Fortunately it was a shorty so the leg holes were wide enough to get over my shoes. I put on chapstick (actually my favorite lip moisturizer, Burt's Bees), sunglasses and helmet and grabbed my bike and again... walked... down the long bike aisle and back through the other aisle until we were able to mount and ride.

The ride was awesome. The hills were all gradual and easy. It felt great to be able to breathe again! I even passed a few folks racing on mountain bikes (sorry guys--been there, done that--not easy to go fast on those big tires). I didn't really want to drink any water--too many bad memories of inhaling all that lake water.

After the ride (45 min. -- way faster than I expected!) I got ready to run. This was what I was most afraid of since I started the Spring only being able to run 6 min., walk 2 min., run 6, walk 2, etc. The previous Wednesday was the first time I'd gone a full 3.3 miles! So I started nice and slow knowing I just wanted to finish without walking.

The best part of the whole race was everyone on the sidelines cheering you on! Dan, The Cliffords and complete strangers all excited for you, all wanting you to do your best. It reminded me so much of life that I became emotional. Because sometimes we forget that there are people cheering for you in life. We can't always hear them. They don't always know we're doing something hard. But if they did, they would be standing by our side offering water, smiling, shouting encouragement and giving you high 5's as you passed.

When I hit Mile 1 I couldn't believe it had already been a mile. That was a good sign. We turned around half-way and I knew I was feeling good enough to make it the rest of the way back. As I neared the finish, there were the Cliffords again shouting at the top of their lungs, "You're almost there!! Dan's at the end!!" I crossed the finish line where they announced my name on the loudspeaker for all to hear that I had finished the Echo Tri! At the front of the crowd there was my husband cheering the loudest! And I felt so great! I had made it! To me, this was just like arriving in heaven.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Photos 3

Photos 2

Photos from Yellowstone

Summer's Here!

It seems like summer's just started -- it's hard to believe its already July! Is it really possible that in only 6 short weeks I'll actually be looking forward to having a school-time schedule? Right now we're enjoying any unstructured time we have!!

We just returned from a family road trip to Yellowstone. It was fascinating! We spent two of our five days camping which was actually one of the best parts of the trip! Dan's a great cook and very confident in setting up camp so we were able to really enjoy ourselves.

We saw a bear, hundreds of bison and lots of elk. We took great hikes to waterfalls and a suspension bridge! Old Faithful was exciting as well as the anticipation that Yellowstone's biggest geyser, Steamboat, was due to erupt at any moment. It sputtered and spouted a good 50 feet and it was torture dragging ourselves away knowing if we stay for a FEW MORE minutes maybe then we'll get to see. (It erupts about every two years and is about a month overdue!) Finally we saw (and smelt) all the hotpots we could ever hope to see in a lifetime.

Now we're home and enjoying cousins visiting and the neighborhood pool opening.