Thursday, October 27, 2011

Wonder Twins!

Wonder Twin powers, Activate!

I am seriously shocked at how few people know who the Wonder Twins are!
I wasn't even allowed to watch TV and I knew who they were!
I'm sad the Halloween party is over. I like dressing up. 
And I don't think I'm going to be able to convince Dan to dress up again on Halloween.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Scripture of the Day

 I knew I had to be to Diane's Book of Mormon class today. Because I've been too distracted to ponder and search the scriptures on my own. Going through the routine of reading, but unable to truly ponder and find answers (are there answers in the scriptures for how to feel about the school principal throwing you under the bus and how to heal your heart, mind and spirit from untrue and unkind gossip and to help you decide if you should send your child to private school or not?) 

So I went to class to have someone do the thinking for me today. And I got what I was looking for:

Helaman 5:12 "And now, my sons, Remember, Remember" (always makes me think of cute Monet reciting from memory with her "aw's" instead of "r's..."Wemember, wemember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall."

I've felt like I've been looking into the gulf of misery a bit lately and desperately trying to hang on and not go over the edge.

Then we followed up with this scripture in D&C 121:7 & 9 (Another favorite and I so loved hearing it today: My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; Thy friends do stand by thee and they shall hail thee again with warm hearts and friendly hands.

I am so grateful for the scriptures. And for tender mercies--for the times that Heavenly Father finds us when we're not so sure how to find him.

Friday, October 07, 2011

The Weather Turns Chilly

Beautiful fall colors one day and snow the next. 
My bike ride today:

Mighty as Hercules we Take our Stand! Hail Olympus! 
Froze our hiney's off at the Homecoming football game tonight! 
All in the name of having been sucked in to being 
President-Elect of the Olympus Development Foundation. 
It's actually a cool foundation that does great things for the school and my friend assured me it wasn't as time-intensive as Elementary School PTA President. 
Anyone want to buy a brick with your name to be added to the Legacy wall?
If you're alumni, you know you want one!

Monday, October 03, 2011

Grandeur Peak--Hi's and Low's

Today I hiked Grandeur Peak. 
It was shorter than Mt. Oly. I was in the mood for easier 
so I was glad to reach the top in less than 2 hours. 
The views on the way up were stunning. 
The colors right now are amazing!

This has actually been a sucky week and I was hoping the beauty and hike would clear my mind. They didn't. Instead all the alone time just gave me more time to stew. 
But I did meet a guy on the way down who has been out of work for a year and is getting a divorce. So that sucks even worse than 1st grade being a disaster. 
So I guess it did help me put things in perspective.

What also doesn't help a sucky week get better is raiding the cupboards 
for chocolate chips and finding some.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The End of September

Bike Ride up Emigration Canyon Sept. 23
Courtney chases ball!
Chubs was a good hamster...  Chris will miss him.
Hike up Mt. Oly, Sept. 27

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Little Bit of September

Courtney and Friends are super creative and so fun!

Brothers play games together when screens get turned off for a week.

Hosting the Soccer Pasta Party

Nick lost another tooth!
Luke came with us to the BYU/U of U game.

Blue came with me on my Mt. Oly hike.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Happy Birthday To Me!

For my birthday, Dan and I hiked to the top of Mt. Olympus! 
Yea! We made it!
Great day!

Monday, September 05, 2011

Permission to Purge

Our recycling can is full to the brim with papers. Papers that were until yesterday filed in the file cabinets. And cupboards. And drawers. In our office. When I couldn't fit one thin piece of paper that I was hurriedly trying to file on Friday, I made time to purge.

I'm pretty good at not saving everything. But I do save lots of things. At least for a few years until it's not so sentimental anymore. Got rid of science reports and triplicate baby announcements. Threw away some drawings and some art projects--especially the ones bedazzled with bumpy beads that took up space.

Almost threw away a math paper of Chris' and then, wondering why I saved a 2nd grade math sheet anyway, I read the teacher's note at the top. After the space for "Name" my then second-grader had written: "bil." And his teacher's note was, "Good work!  But next time please put your real name at the top of your work!" Ha, ha! I remember that phase.  But it back in the keeper file.

And finally after filling 2 garbage bags with papers, I set in on the blank paper cupboards. And gave myself permission to finally throw away all the scratch paper I had accumulated when I was PTA President... 5 years ago... "The back of all these parent surveys is blank. I can't just throw them away! We'll use them for scratch paper! Look at all the Christmas Choir flyers. What a waste to just throw them away. I'll save them and use them for scratch paper!" Through that line of thinking I'd been storing reams of "scratch paper." So I gave myself permission to not feel responsible for the waste taking place and the trees that were sacrificed and tossed them into the recycling bin. 
And now everything is so clean!

And I was getting so liberated, I also threw away the stacks of The Friend magazine I'd accumulated and never thrown away because sometimes when you're doing sharing time you really need a certain picture and if you have dozens of past issues, you can usually find it!!  But I'm not the Primary President anymore and probably won't be for a very long time and The Friend keeps coming, month after month! And someday someone will categorize all those pictures and maybe we'll have a "Picture Search" on and we'll be able to find just the right picture online. So for now...goodbye!  Aaaaahhhh.

Also this weekend, Chris went Paintballing for the first time and had a blast. They were a little nervous about how much it would hurt, but they prepared with sweatshirts and long pants and are dying to go back!

Courtney got asked to Homecoming.

Marty and Courtney went boating. The whole family had a picnic in Sugarhouse Park. Dan and Angela went to Crazy, Stupid, Love with friends. My family came over for a Sunday BBQ and to celebrate Michael's birthday. Christopher bore his testimony and said, 
"I want to bear my testimony. I know this Church is true. 
I know the prophet is called of God and I know St. John still walks the earth." 
(Primary lesson was on John's choice to remain on the earth. So glad he was listening!) 
Got ski passes at Sniagrab so everybody is ready for ski season!

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Free Time on Mt. Olympus

Yesterday while I was out for my walk/jog, I found myself looking up at Mt. Olympus and thinking I'd like to climb it. And then I realized, why not?
I sent out a last-minute e-mail to friends, but nobody was available with such little advance notice.

I decided I might prefer to do it alone anyway so I could go as far or as short as I wanted.  I was a teeny bit nervous I might meet a murderer at the top who might push me off a cliff, but Dan assured me the trail was well-travelled and I'd be perfectly safe. Didn't think about snakes until Nicholas told me to take a picture if I saw one.

This morning I was so excited I woke up before my alarm went off. It's so fun to have something new to do! After I got the kids off to school I set out.

My goal was to hike for 2 hours and I made it for 2:20 before my legs were DYING and my achilles tendon was getting sore and I was afraid I'd stress it too much and compromise my future exercise plans.  The first hour was great but challenging. The second hour was very difficult and I had to stand and rest every minute of steep hiking. It is super steep!!!  

One of the best parts of the day were the people I met. It's kind of cool to think we all decided to hike Mt. Olympus today--it's kind of bonding.

One lady was about 60 and her age showed. I was so impressed she was hiking because it wasn't easy.

An Asian woman was doing Tai Chi near a tree overlooking the valley.

Two young guys came jogging down past me.

One man with hiking poles passed me on the way up and it looked like he was wearing ankle weights! I couldn't believe that someone would need the added challenge!  Then he passed me coming down as I was still going up. We chatted a minute and I asked him about his "ankle weights." He said they were actually special fabric protecting his ankles from snakes because he'd seen so many this year! (Great!)

A girl about my age hiked past as I was having lunch. I was a bit disappointed because I would have liked to talk and walk together.  She never passed me again so she must have made it to the top!

The next man was coming down as I was resting on the way up. He commented that the weather was nicer today than yesterday when he hiked up! He said he hikes Mt. Oly 50 - 70 times a year and it takes him about an hour and half. But he runs up. (He was wearing every day Adidas tennis shoes with no socks!) He stopped and chatted and told me he'd hiked Atacacuengo (best guess) in Argentina and made it to the top which is pretty rare.  We chatted for quite a while and he told me all about the second time he tried the hike in Argentina with a friend and the friend got sick so they couldn't make it.

Finally, I met Otis as I was resting on the way down. Otis walked to Mt. Olympus from West Valley. He's racing the Wasatch 100 next week so he's trying to put in a lot of miles but not have it be too rigorous. He'd started early in the morning and was planning on walking until 10:00 p.m.  It was his 18th 100 and he's done 50 - 60 marathons. Said he screwed up his life when he was younger and doesn't have a wife or kids so runs instead.

Like I said, very interesting people! (Mom, you would have loved it!)

I felt great coming down and can't wait to try it again!
You know it's going to eat at me until I get to the top!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Happy Birthday, Aunt Marge!

Aunt Marge is my mom's sister and lived with our family every summer and spent every Christmas with us for as long as I can remember.

We would stand by the windows literally with ants in our pants until she finally drove up in her gold Buick Skylark (that she still has, by the way)! She always arrived bearing bags and bags of gifts and we couldn't wait to see what was inside! I swear I remember when the logos on the bags changed from KMart to a new, never-before-known in Utah company, Target. Wonder if I'm remembering right.
Everyone on Christmas: My Mom, Aunt Marge, Rachel and us in the front.

I got off the phone with her tonight and told Nicholas I had been talking to Aunt Marge to wish her a happy birthday. He sighed and said, "I LOVE Aunt Marge.  She always brings us the best things. Silly String was my favorite."

She can't pass up anything that looks like the kids will love it at the $1 store and then says, "You can enjoy it while it lasts and when it breaks, throw it away. It was only $1!"
Marge playing laser tag at Mile's birthday party.
More of my favorite memories include:
*Sitting on the front porch watching a thunderstorm. "Isn't it exciting?!" she'd ask. Helping us to not be afraid of thunder and lightning.
*Memorizing "Czechoslovakia" by jumping on the tramp to each letter.
*Memorizing the States and Capitals and all the Presidents of the US with the picture book she had.
*She found the solution to the Rubik's Cube and got it for me so I could finally master it.
*She and my mom made matching pink gingham with eyelet quilts for mine and Michelle's bed. I still have mine and it's my favorite snuggle blanket still!
*She made us Holly Hobby sleeping bags. We loved them! After we opened them she said we had another surprise and we searched all over the bag until we finally found our initials embroidered on a corner.
*When I was pregnant with Courtney I received a HUGE box with four blankets and countless receiving blankets, burp cloths and a beautiful crotched white blanket for Courtney. Also sent was a video of her and the blankets showing she'd made them.  Later when Marty was born, I gave one of the blankets to him. Then when Christopher and Nicholas were born, I picked out the fabric and Marge sewed them (she tried to teach me, but sewing isn't my forte) and we all tied them together.
*Marge gave me the money to buy my first computer at college.  What a lifesaver it was to have my own workstation at home and not spend those hours in the computer library!
*She's a master at helping kids learn and memorize. Her claim to fame is her Times Tables technique and second is teaching us and all her thousands of students to say the Alphabet backwards.
*She had the yummiest vitamins and protein shakes whenever she came to visit! I'm sure she wondered where they were all disappearing too -- I'd always sneak and grab a handful.
*Marge notices details and helped us to notice them too. I still love to have her sit at my kitchen table and help the kids--especially the little ones who need extra attention--see things that I don't take the time to point out or even notice.
*Marge can sew anything and fix everything. She's always got a creative solution.
*When we were kids she got a video camera. It was on film reels back then and we'd love to watch the videos she took of us goofing off. And then watch them all Backwards!
*The best part of preparing for Christmas was each getting a turn to go into Marge's room amongst bags and wrapping paper and hidden things under blankets and get to help wrap for the other kids. It was always exciting to keep the surprise that was hidden for everyone else and so thrilling to have Marge call out, "No! Don't come in! We haven't got everything hidden yet!  Okay, now you can come in!"
*Marge was with us in the hospital room when Nicholas was born. She had been getting ready to drive me to the doctor that morning for an appointment, but I ended up being in labor. So Dan drove and Marge followed behind in her car so she could go home to tell the kids when they came home from school. She made a sign for them to see: "Nicholas is Here!" with all the details, of course.

Love you, Aunt Marge!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Well, I Guess Since the Kids are Gone All Day I'll Find Some Time to Post

What a whirlwind summer! We were sorry to see it end. I loved every minute of every travel we went on and every minute we spent with our kids. Now it feels like opposite-land. The kids are gone all day and I've got lots of alone time. ...And to be honest, it didn't take me too long to get used to it!

My goal this year is to exercise. Being able to breathe has made it so much more enjoyable and I feel like the real me is back. I do love to run and I do love to ride my bike. I'd just stopped loving it when I had to stop and cough every few minutes to get a good breath and I was wheezing and huffing and puffing all along the way. 

So far the most entertaining thing that's happened since school's started is running into the Weiner Mobile at Target. Now that's gonna put a smile on your face!

Monday, August 22, 2011

First Day 2011

Wow! It came faster and earlier than ever this year! 
So exciting for Nick to be in all day school! He's excited about eating lunch at school and 3 recesses!

Christopher has two great teachers this year and is going to be challenged a lot but also having a lot of fun while learning.  This is the teacher everyone talks about for years to come!

Marty is ready to go back, to see his friends and get back in a routine. He's also excited about his English class taught by our neighbor. She's super creative, challenging and fun.

Courtney has got a big year as well with AP Calculus, AP Physics and AP French. She opted out of AP History and feels so much better about her schedule. She also starts out with soccer so she has to be really disciplined about doing homework when she gets home -- about 8:00 on game nights and 6:30 the other two. Long days. But fun.  And I forgot to get her picture before she walked out the door. Darn!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Shaeffer Family Reunion in Pagosa

Celebrating my father-in-law's 80th birthday, all the Shaeffers gathered for a reunion in Pagosa.  With the four kids, we've got 3 spouses and 14 kids between us. Plus one cousin's spouse.  Plus five dogs.  It all added up to a big, fun group! 

I love the drive to Colorado and one day when it's just me and Dan driving, I'm going to ask him to stop every 30 min. so I can document all the sites we look forward to seeing along the way. 

My kids were in heaven spending time with their cousins--especially since everyone played together--even the "old" cousins played fun with the youngest and it made for great memories.

Highlights were Minute-to-Win-It Games and fun prizes, Favorite Memories of Papa shared in an impromptu gathering spot in the barn since it started storming right at party time, fireworks in the yard, five dogs, marathon monopoly, campfires, delicious food, jeep riding, ATV's, BB Guns, shooting Kory's real guns, finding Marty unharmed after losing him on a hike to the falls, helping an injured woman on the hike, hiking to ice caves, fishing, reading AND relaxing.

Not highlight was when Gram tripped over the step and broke her wrist requiring surgery.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Real Life Includes InstaCare

After we got home from "Our Big Trip Back East," we got back to real life, real fast. Bekah, Jaxon and Lucy came to stay. One day Bekah went to exercise and I held down the fort. Marty and Jax were playing and suddenly Jax tipped over the back of the couch and really hurt his arm.

I held him as he cried, but even after he calmed down, any movement would start him weeping again. I'd seen this reaction in my own kids too many times to count. I knew he'd broken something. When Bekah got home we took them to Instacare. I dropped them off and came home to take care of Lucy.

Not more than 10 minutes later, Christopher came home from a birthday party at the swimming pool.
"Mom!" he called while I was sitting on the couch giving Lucy a bottle, "Isaac's mom needs to talk to you." 
"I'm feeding Lucy, can she come in here?" I called.
"No," said Christopher. "It's about something that happened at the party."
What Isaac's mom needed to tell me was that Christopher had hit his chin on the bottom of the pool, it looked pretty bad and the Lifeguard at the pool suggested we see if he needed stitches.
"No problem," said I, "I had to go to Instacare to pick up my sister in a few minutes anyway."

So pretty soon we're sitting getting Christopher stitched up (5 stitches in his chin -- gory, but easy to fix) and I get a text from Bekah, "We'll be done in about 10 minutes. Jax broke his arm (which actually turned out to be his clavicle)."

My text back, "We're around the corner... Chris is getting stitches."  
So the two little buddies got to share their injuries together -- and ice cream after as well.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Rachel's Wedding

My sweet youngest sister got married this weekend. Her husband, Jeremy, is awesome! In fact, he didn't mind hanging with the sisters when we all descended on their home 18 months ago--even getting up and making us breakfast!

Their wedding was beautiful, the two of them were gorgeous (are gorgeous), the ceremony was touching -- conducted by my other sister, Bekah -- how's that for modern?  Jeremy's little boy, Cooper, kept us smiling through tears of joy.

It was so fun to all be together and get dressed up. The cousins loved being together as well and the celebration of a family wedding was a great ending to our family trip.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Niagara Falls & Palmyra and the Sacred Grove

We got up close and personal with Niagara Falls this morning. So powerful! I'm so glad we made the extra trip to see it!
We left in the afternoon to Palmyra and stopped at The Hill Cumorah, The Smith Family Farm and The Sacred Grove. We were disappointed at first that we'd miss the Hill Cumorah Pageant, but actually without all the visitors, the Sacred Grove was very peaceful. We were able to sit and talk about it's importance on a bench in the grove. 

You can see the temple from the Smith Family Farm.

The Sacred Grove
After visiting the Church sites, we had a long drive to Newark, New Jersey where we were catching an early flight to Denver. Hard to believe the trip has come to an end.  
I never got tired of the green, rolling hills and charming farms! So different than the West!
Dan and I have loved every minute and Nicholas agreed with us that we should keep traveling!  The other kids are anxious to go home and see their friends. I remember feeling the same way on long family trips when I was a kid, so I won't take it personally.  

I'm so glad we did this trip. It was a non-stop feast of new adventures, but the best part of all was being alone together in our little family unit for 2 weeks! I love our family!