Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Running through life...

Do you ever feel like your running through life...last week seems like it happened a month ago but you can't believe that next week the month is already over?? Everyday is a marathon and we just take what comes and keep going...


On Wednesday Taylor had a league meet that is a race with the surrounding high schools. The day before or the day of every race the boys wear their shorts to school. Even though Taylor wears spandex under his daisy dukes he admits it's pretty comical looking. His science class had to do presentations and it was a race day and he was wearing his mini shorts hoping with all hope she wouldn't have time to do his presentation that day. Well just his luck he got called up to the front at the end of class. There were snickers coming from one section of the class when he started...so he stopped mid presentation and pointed to his legs and said

"Yes, they're spandex."

The teacher said "He had to wear them for cross country, get over it!" The snickering stopped but Taylor said his shorts probably made his presentation more interesting, everyone paid attention to him ;) 

 I was very happy this race was local so I could go. King was hosting it so we got even help out. I volunteered to help collect tags at the finish line, which was pretty sweaty work (a lot of the tags were pretty drippy, blah)...but I was able to sneak away to get some pictures (of course).

Here's the JV girls getting ready to race.

Here's the boys JV starting their race. The boys tend to order themselves in order of who they think will finish first. Because Taylor is a freshman he gets pushed to the back...probably loses him a second or two. I told him it doesn't matter where you start, just where you finish.

I got to cheer Taylor on as he ran.

Luckily they came by twice because I missed him the first time. When the crowd ran by I was looking hard for him and they kept coming...and coming and no Taylor. It was getting later and later and stragglers were coming and I was feeling bad that Taylor was doing so badly...then I got worried that he had hurt himself as only a few runners were left to come by. I was standing next to Simone Bradford and her daughters who were standing there to cheer him on and they didn't see him either. All the sudden the youngest girl said "I saw Taylor! I already called to him a long time ago" whew, what a relief but funny that she was the only one who could pick him out :)

Yeah Taylor coming into the finish!!!!

Taylor ran it in about 17 minutes which is a couple minutes better than his normal time...then they re-measured the course and realized it wasn't a full 3 miles (all the runners were saying they didn't think it was long enough). He ran hard and did great. He's one of the faster freshmen boys.
We're so proud of him for always trying hard and trying to push himself a little more all the time! He's even learning to appreciate running jsut for running's sake.

Right after the race we ran home to eat dinner and I took Jacob to soccer while Jeff took Taylor to the Stake Court of honor. Jacob and Ashley and I showed up about an hour after it started and we still hadn't missed the Woodcrest ward's presentation. My last minute slide show medley of the different scout groups super-activities was shown. We were glad we didn't miss it...but after how long everyone else's presentations took...everyone was so DONE I think I could've cut it down even more even though I only did 2 minutes for each group.

This was a looong night, I got the younger two home almost at 9:45 and then Taylor had a paper due and homework so he was up until 12:30 and then up again in the morning at 4:00am.

While Taylor was sitting at the computer he discovered Ashley's silly bands which are now the hottest thing at school. He even swiped a couple to wear to school the next day. (I guess both boys and girls wear them) Ashley thought this was hilarious.

I had read about silly bands on the east coast blogs I follow...through the novelty...the popularity and then the banning of them from the schools months ago and I had yet to see them.

So now they're hear...already in the course of maybe 3 weeks they've gone through all the stages and now they are banned from Ashley's classroom and she can't wear them to school anymore. (I guess they were too distracting and the kids would play with them too much)

On Thursday night it was back to school night for Taylor. 3 schools and this is my 3rd back to school night.

This time I had to go to all of Taylor's classes in order and hear presentations from his teacher. He gave me his schedule and I loved his "0 period" which for him is seminary. :)  I'm so glad that he actually enjoys seminary, he never complains about having to go and I think he likes that spiritual boost and the time he gets to spend with his Mormon friends in the morning.

I stumbled across campus trying to find all the classes (his campus is huge and somewhat confusing!) Luckily there were some ROTC people that were around to help direct us. But by the end it was dark and all of us parents are walking up and down stairs all over trying not to bump into each other staring down at these schedules. I only messed up once and ended up in the wrong period of his English class.

Instead of hearing about Honor's intro to Lit I heard about remedial English for juniors that have no interest in college. I'm glad I went though just for the fact that I got to observe the teacher. I ended up having to agree with Taylor, this teacher was a bit of an odd duck.

Friday night Jeff and I thought we didn't have anything going on so we were starting to figure out what to do when Taylor said "There is stake volleyball tonight and then we want to get together at Becca's after".

OK if the boys go to the stake center that means Jeff has to be there (he's Taylor's leader) so he was out for the night but we decided to host Taylor's friends here to watch a movie after. He's been invited to so many people's houses but since we haven't ever found a night that we were free we haven't been able to return the favor yet.

So Jeff took the boys to volleyball and I worked on caramel popcorn and brownies for the kids when they came back to watch Prince of Persia (great action movie). Since it was last minute the only people that could come were Becca, Madeline and Elise.

Ashley got comfortable on Becca..

And everyone else got comfortable all over the room. Jacob was very happy to be a part of it and said it was fun even though all they did was eat tons of snacks and watch a movie (I think he liked being with the older kids). They left by 11:00 and Taylor and I were out the door for Cross country by 6:15 the next morning.

Taylor's teacher's quorum was wake boarding in the morning but Taylor didn't want to miss practice so being the good mom I took him to practice and then brought him out to the lake to meet up with his group.

He decided to run with the group 2 runners (the group that the coach said he wasn't ready for) and ran 10 miles!!! In one hour and 13 minutes!!! I guess he kept up with the guys and didn't have a problem with it. He ran fast than this threshold time for all 10 miles. Crazy.

The only problem was he was so tired out he couldn't get up on the wake board. So he hung out in the boat trying not to fall asleep.  

From dropping off Taylor I ran to the grocery store  to rush through shopping and then picked up Jacob and Ashley to take Jacob out to the soccer fields to get team pictures.

All day Jeff was in referee class. It was a hard core allllll day class from 8 to 5 with no break for lunch (they brought in pizza) He called me for 2 minutes twice for a potty break. Luckily he passed the test in the end so now he can be an official line judge during Jacob's games and has the power to call offsides. This year they required that a certain number of parents become referees Jeff was nice enough to volunteer.

The bad thing he said is that he won't be able to yell from the sidelines anymore...I'm thinking this is a good thing :)    though I know it will be sad that he can't yell encouragement to Jacob while he's in uniform. I guess I'll have to get louder.

On Saturday I finally got a shower and got to sit down and eat at about 2:00 after the non-stop running around.

At 4:45 I left to go to the Relief Society General broadcast and annual dinner. Jeff still wasn't home from his class yet!! He ended up having quite a long day!

At the Stake center they had a cupcake challenge for the dessert. They had the cutest cupcakes!! 

It made me remember why I love Relief Society!! I had fond memories come over me of all the activities and times I had attended fun, spiritual and uplifting events right there at that building. Made me grateful to be part of the church!

Look at all these beautiful women!

Better than the cupcakes was the talks especially the prophets talk.

He started out telling a story basically about not worrying so much about the neighbors dirty laundry being hung out to dry until we look at the cleanliness of our window we are looking out of. It was all on not judging and being charitable.

What stood out to me was not only not judging on the outward appearance of a person but on not judging what they do, or don't do, or your perception of their errors, failings and things that irritate you.

My thought was bbasically we are all imperfect so we are ALL looking at somebody else's laundry through dirty windows.

He said that being judgemental and critical is the Opposite of Charity.

You can't pick apart someone else for what they say, do, look like, act like or don't act like and see them as Christ sees them. It isn't possible.

The only way we can see someone through a clean window for who they really are, see their potential and appreciate them is to see them as Christ sees them. We can only do this by having the spirit with us and by looking past what we THINK is dirty laundry.

So basically we can't be Christlike if we are being critical, judgmental or looking down on anyone.

Good food for thought.

I was glad for the spiritual boost because when I got home I learned that Jeff had spent all evening at the new house we are trying to buy dealing with the fact that it was broken into and stripped of probably at least 10,000 worth of appliances, fixtures, even custom built in cabinetry.  Only the Lord knows if our "dream house" is becoming too much of a money pit for us and we'll have to end up walking away. I am grateful for a faithful husband that reminded me we just have to turn it over to the Lord's hands and if it's meant to be it will work out. His calm faith in knowing the Lord knows us and our situation and that he will help guide us to know what to do when the time comes has helped calm me down and stop being worried about it.

So if it happens it happens great, if not we'll just move on.

I am very grateful that this years council trip is coming up. I feel like I've barely seen Jeff lately and we are going just the two of us to Florida for his New York Life meetings and we're leaving the kids here so they don't miss school.

Daren and Tiffany are playing parents for the week so we had them over to go over some of the ropes (life sure looks complicated when you have to write it down).

The kids are just thrilled that they are going to have a week with a baby to play with!!

Monday, September 20, 2010

This weekend Jeff and I attended Lindsey Shepherd's wedding.

Her present was from her registry at Bed Bath and Beyond. They even wrapped it for you! When I realized that the colors matched her wedding I used her invitation to make her card.

Pretty much the whole gift table matched! :)

Jeff thought the store knew her colors and wrapped the presents to match but I told him the store only had one color of wrapping and it just happed to be the right color.

Here is Lindsey and her Dad walkind down the aisle.

We got to meet the guy that has been making her happy for the last 3 years and celebrate her special day with her family.

We had fun hanging out with the Williamson family at our table...both young and old...and we got to meet Doug's brother and his wife. After Jeff being Jeff during the ceremony Doug's brother said "I want to sit at your table because it'll be the fun table." (ha ha)


This week I was also pleasantly suprised with some post birthday celebrating. First Shawna B invited me to lunch. We hung out at Chipotle's catching up and enjoying some great food while Landon fed the birds  his chips. Thanks Shawna!

Mary Ann was hoping to join up but got held up by Mr. Repair guy but she dropped off  this...

On the front it says Mom and on the back it says...

Chef, coach, gardener, counselor, decorator, driver, nurse, teacher, cheerleader, friend.  I love it! (Reminds me of my blog description).

I also got a drop off from Amy Stubbs while I was at soccer practice with Jacob! Jeff was trying to have them join us for my birthday dinner but their anniversary won out ;)

Funny story...Amy texted me at back to school night and told me that she had put a plate of stuff on a table in the front yard to keep it away from dogs. I texted Taylor (who was home) and asked him to get it from the front yard. When he located it he texted me "what do you want me to do with it?" I told him to bring it in the house.

So he brought it in the house...patio table and all.

Jeff and Ashley and Jacob got back from soccer before me and were waiting impatiently for me to get home so they could try a brownie. They didn't want to eat any before I got home since it was supposed to be for me. Taylor announced that they were really good as I was passing them out (he already had helped himself).

This Saturday the house seemed empty for most of the day. Ashley was off for the day at Knotts Berry Farm for her friend's birthday and Taylor was at a Cross Country race in San Diego.

They invited Ashley before they knew she already had a pass to Knotts, including free parking.
Lila's mom was happy ;) and Ashley had a great time.

It was weird for Jeff and I to go to Jacob's soccer game by ourselves! It's going to be lonely when the kids are gone some day! The good thing is Jacob got some one on one time with us and it was fun to focus just on him.

Despite frustrating reffereeing Jacob's team won 4 to 3!

(Jeff's going to referee class next week, I'm curious to see how he'll like it.)

Later that afternoon we found out how Taylor's race went this week.

I was curious because last week he was pretty bummed about not having the "right shoes" and felt like it affected his time. I think the race also gave him an idea about the real competition that was out there.

He has really stepped it up at practice this week trying to push himself more. Part of the reason he's pushing hard is because the coach hasn't moved him up with the rest of the freshmen boys to the faster running group. Because of it he's training with a slower group of runners (pretty much all girls) and he feels the work outs aren't challenging him enough. He approached the coach about moving him up but he said he'd have to be more consistant. On their slow days he was running with his friends to chat (girls) and asumed those days didn't matter. Well now he realized they did so he determined to work hard to prove himself.

I designated the only day that we didn't have anything going on in the evening and we went out and bought Taylor his racing flats. He was so excited about them he wanted me to take him out to try them out after practice (even though he had just ran 5 1/2 miles)

He had beat his personal best time for the mile at practice and wanted to see if he could beat it again. He didn't but he was still happy with the shoes.

We were pleasantly suprised that Taylor won a medal in his race!

He raced against about 200 other boys and you have to be in the top 60 to medal. He was 59 but he was happy because there were two of his teammates that were 61 and 62.

His time was about the same as the week before but the course was full of hills so everyone else's time had gone down. Way to go Taylor!

Saturday night Jeff and I saw Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor dreamcoat at RCC. They always do a great job. If your into musical theater it's a great place to go!

This week Taylor tried giving me a heart attack when he sent me this picture from his phone telling me one of his friends had pierced his ear during lunch with a pin.

I asked him if he was kidding and he said...

...but don't worry they sterilized it with someone's lighter.

About a week before Jeff had been telling the kids a story about him piercing his ear when he was a teenager for fun. He said he pierced it but then took it out later that day because it hurt and his ear was red. The kids were in shock! I couldn't believe Taylor would do the same thing!

When I got home I realized he didn't. It was some rhinestones that fell off of one of the girl's pants.

This week I've been cleaning out closets and cupboards to try and do some cleaning. I worked at DI and it's gotten me in the mood to go through our "stuff" and de-clutter.

When Jeff's electric razor starts getting dull he always gets frustrated at how much the blades cost. They are usually a similar price as a new razor (especially if your getting it at Khols for 30% off), so he'll get a new one and put the old one under the sink thinking it's still good and maybe he'll get blades for it later.

This is what I found when I cleaned out the sink...

Ashley and I laughed when we counted 8 electric razors!!

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Every year Cee cee Gardner orders peaches, plums and pears. It's a wonderful thing she does and I know it's tons of work! Every year I usually order peaches and can them. Last year they came in while we were on vacation so by the time I got them they were rotting.

This year Mary Ann and I decided to share a lug and just have them to eat. We weren't planning on canning them and we were just going to sit back as the rest of the ward frantically tried to process the fruit they ordered.

 When the lug came we realized how many peaches 1/2 a lug was!

I had a table full of peaches.The first day I ate one and it wasn't ripe enough. I waited 2 or 3 days and the next was 1/2 over ripe. I quickly put them in the fridge and tried to offer them to my family. They really don't eat many peaches so I realized I had to do something quick.

So I broke down decided to make peach jam. 

So for my future reference (and for anyone else that would like to know) here is the steps I took.

I washed the jars in hot soapy water and made sure they were dry before using them.

Then I dipped the peaches in boiling water for about 30 seconds and then put them in a sink of cold water to peal the skins off easily.

After I pealed them I put them in the other sink filled with cold water, where they waited until I was ready to slice them.

I sliced them and tried to cut most of the red stuff out (the stuff surrounding the pit).

After they were all sliced up I put them in the blender and chopped them up using pulse (not puree so there would be some small chunks in the jam).

Afterwards I put in lemon juice and followed the recipe on the pectin packet to add the sugar and pectin to the jam cooking it until it came to a rolling boil for 1 minute. (I also added a little butter to the mixture to cut down on the foam)

After it was done I ladeled it in jars to 1/8 of an inch from the lid. I had the lids in hot water to get them soft and put them on the jars as soon as they were filled.

After the peaches were done I had to boil them in my homemade water bath. Since I don't own a water bath canner and the few people that did own them were loaning them all over the ward I just put a hot pad in the bottom of my largest pot and filled the pot up enough to cover the bottles of peaches.

Once it got to a boil I only had to keep them in for 10 minutes.

I was able to make 10 jars of jam with my 1/2 a lug of peaches. The expensive part was the pectin! At close to $4.00 a packet, and using 3 packes thats $12.00 for 10 jars of peaches just for the pectin!

Maybe not cheaper than buying it in the store but I think it tastes better and I have the satisfaction of doing it myself. I have fond memories of my mom canning everything from grape juice, to tomato sauce growing up while rocking out to ABBA music. I'm ashamed to say I never tried to learn how to can until Cee cee showed me how with the peaches. All I was missing was the ABBA music.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Well this week I had a birthday. 37…

Feeling old ... but not as old as Jeff which gives me a little consolation ;)

Sadly, when you get older your birthday is just a day to everyone else, even more so when it’s sneaks up in the middle of the week. Friends are too busy to do anything other than wish you Happy Birthday on facebook or in passing…and life moves on.

Luckily I have a husband who was sensitive enough to realize the lack of anyone to celebrate with would make for a long depressing day. So he invited me last minute to his lunch appointment with his brothers so at least I wouldn’t be sitting home alone.

They were sweet enough to invite my sister-in-law who brought balloons and my only gift (Thank you Tahna my “car jewelry” is in my car right now and I think of you every time I see it).

The rest of the day went on like any other…including having to attend Relief Society Presidency training at the stake center. Again my wonderful husband tried to make the best of it…I came home at 9:00 at night to this sign on the garage door.

Jeff and the kids made a pizzooki while I was gone to share for dessert and sang to me. They all wrote me letters and gave me a birthday card. Melted my heart. (Especially Taylor’s, would make any mom of a teenager proud)

I found out later while I was gone Jeff also called my scrapbook buddies and tipped them off about my birthday too. So the next night Cindy made me a great chocolate cake. Thanks Cindy (and Jeff)
Saturday Jeff and I went out to dinner to celebrate just him and I. Jeff was willing to drive down to the Rusty Pelican in Newport even though he was tired and stressed about speaking the next morning. (He was speaking for a Jewish men’s group.) I love the seafood at the Rusty Pelican.

 Thank you honey for making my birthday! I’m so lucky to have you in more ways than one!

As for the rest of the family...

Jacob went to his first dance at his school on Friday. Taylor never wanted to go to any of his junior high dances so I wasn't sure what to do when he asked not knowing wether I should let him go. We'll it was from 2 to 4 in the afternoon so I didn't think it would be too serious.

He came home tired after dancing and running around with his buddies, but he said he had fun. Jeff had tried to tell him what to do if someone wanted to have him dance slow...but I was glad to hear that they didn't even play any slow songs. He said girls wanted him to dance in their group a couple of times but he was too shy and told them he didn't know how to dance well enough. Fine by me ;)

Jacob also had his first soccer game this Saturday...thank goodness for soccer because without it he would be here all day...

He said he did pretty good, he said the game helped him start to remember his soccer skills, but he knows he's got to get in better shape. Hmmmm I wonder why...too many video games I think.

Jeff was the only one who saw his game because the rest of us were at different places on Saturday.

I was with Ashley at a cheer parade...

We almost didn't make it in time because I slept in too long! After getting home late from scrapbooking at Cindy's and then dropping off Taylor at 5:30am I fell back asleep then woke up at the time I wanted to be in the car since Ashley's parade was in Banning.

We raced through the badlands at 80 mph and got her dropped off with her group and I sat down at the end of the parade route with 5 minutes to spare. I got to observe lots of interesting people while I was there...I was glad I was there in broad daylight (just kidding it wasn't thaat bad).

There is Ashley in the back

Honestly the parade wasn't too exciting until the cheer girls got there (I was only thinking it but the people around me were saying it). We saw lots of cars of people waving, no music, no candy throwing and no announcing of who anyone was so when the girls got there with music and dancing the crowd loved them.

here is her participation metal

One Banning resident was clearly not impressed with their performance however. As I was walking Ashley back to the car a pretty interesting looking lady and her mom told Ashley and I in great detail how it was much harder when she was a cheerleader with Ashley's group.  Her choreography was so much harder and better. Ashley's choreography was nothing and her parades were 2 to 4 hours long and their music never stopped...and so on and so on. 

So we nodded politely and I made sure to praise Ashley once we got to the car.

Ashley has liked doing cheer but we decided this week that with our schedules all being what they are she's not going to continue. Maybe next summer she can try it again ;) Her sweet teacher wasn't going to be able to teach the next class anyway so it's the perfect time to move on.

It's been interesting getting adjusted to a school schedule again and making sure everyone gets what they need to get done, done as well as getting everyone to where they need to be. Ashley can't function without a little down time...I can often find her in the backyard doing experiments or playing with the cat.

Her favorite things to play with are recycled trash (which she pulls out by herself) and nature things she finds in the yard. She found this stick that looked like a flag to her...

I found if I let her have some unstructured nature/cat time for awhile she does better on homework later.

Taylor has had a busy week of hanging out with friends, study groups, a church dance and a Nacho Libre viewing party.

He also had his first cross country meet!!

Friday night he had a spaghetti dinner at a team mate's house to give them a good pasta meal the night before. (This was in a addition to soccer practice, Stake volleyball and my scrapbook night so Jeff and I were all over town)

He got his outfit to wear for the meets on Wednesday...along with the daisy duke shorts that Taylor dubbed the cross country speedo...so Jeff and Taylor went over to Kohls to buy some spandex to put underneath his "speedos".   :)

On Friday he wore his shorts tp go along with some boy's teamate tradition...I told him to bring an extra pair of pants just in case. I think he used them at seminary when he got laughed at...(good thing he brought them ;) but then he wore them the rest of the day.

5:30 came early on Saturday! At least I got him up and packed up his lunch since niether of us could go watch his meat (Ashley's parade and Jacob's soccer was at the same time).

His time was 19:32 for his first race which is at least 3 minutes less than his he qualified to get on cross country with.

I was excited for him but he wasn't happy with it. He was the 3rd slowest Freshman boy and bemoaned the fact that all the boys who he normally runs with blew past him.

He says the difference was their shoes. They bought these racing flats that are these running shoes without all the padding just for races. I guess they make you feel like your barefoot and weigh 6 ounces or something. When I asked him if he wanted them when they were being sold at the school he wasn't interested...until he saw what they can do for your time.

Now they are all they I hear about. I think we're going to have to go out to Redlands this week to go buy him some or I'll never hear the end of it.  :)

I'll end my post with a story that Taylor thinks is hillarious...

Yesterday Taylor answered the phone and made his voice really deep. It was Charlotte which is an older lady from church.

Taylor tried telling her that he was Jacob and continued to have a conversation with her in his deepest voice (trying not to laugh). When he handed the phone to me Charlotte commented that Jacob sure sounded like his dad.

I laughed and told her it was Taylor just messing around.

Deadly serious she said “Ohh, I thought Taylor was very honest!” She sounded very dissapointed.

I said that he liked to joke around just like his dad. She said “Oh, that’s too bad that you have two of them in your house.” (like it was the worst thing in the world).