Friday Favorites

My Friday favorites are a few days late, but here they are anyway. In light of the holidays and all the tempting treats that abound, and my sweet daughter's very astute observations, my favorites this week are things that I love that help combat all those calories!

1. The Food You Crave: Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life by Ellie Krieger - I saw this cookbook at Costco earlier in the year and was interested by it, so I checked it out of the library, tried a few recipes then went back to Costco and bought it. I had never heard of her but Ellie Krieger hosts a show, "Healthy Appetite", on the Food Network. Her recipes are old favorites, redone in a more healthy way. She uses good, fresh ingredients and her recipes are fairly simple and fast. Also, the nutritional info is calculated out for each recipe. We have not tried a recipe yet that my family did not enjoy. Some of the favorites at my house have been the Steak Tacos with Cucumber-Avocado Salsa and the Turkey Meatloaf (I know you're thinking - meat loaf, gross - but it was really good and I do not like meatloaf!).

2. My ipod shuffle - A few months back Finn broke my nano. So, not having a new nano in my budget, I decided to get the cheapest ipod I could and ponied up $50 for a shuffle. I just simply cannot survive with some good workout tunes. Can I just say I could kiss the little rugrat for destroying my nano! I LOVE my shuffle. I love that it has a little clip so I can clip it anywhere I want, pants, jacket, shirt, front, back or side. It is so tiny and convenient I completely forget I have it. And since I really only listen to it when I workout I don't miss the display one little bit. I have it loaded up with about 100 good workout songs and occasionally if I hit I song I am not feeling, I just skip it. Love, love, love it!

3. My playlist - I have already mentioned it, but I love and need music when I work out. I think it helps for two reasons. Number one: It gets me out of my head. I try and drown out myself trying to tell me that it's hard, or it hurts, or I'm tired. I feel like if I can drown out those thoughts that it allows my mind to wander or focus on something more positive. Second - a good external beat keeps me moving and helps me keep my pace. Studies have been done that prove that an external beat can help you work up to 20 percent harder.

So, here are a few of my favorite songs that get me/keep me moving right now: Just keep in mind that these aren't songs I would listen to in my car or because I like the song (trust me, I have one and only one song by Avril Lavigne) they are songs that just have the right tempo or bass or beat that keep me moving:

Hands Open - Snow Patrol
Girlfriend - Avril Lavigne
The Way I Are - Timbaland
Around the World/Harder Better Faster Stronger - Daft Punk
Seven Army Nation - The White Stripes
Beautiful - Goldfrapp
Pain - Jimmy Eat World
SexyBack - Justin Timberlake
Just Dance - Lady Gaga and Colby O'Donis
Cha Cha Slide - Mr. C
Don't Stop the Music - Rihanna

I also love anything by the Clash and the Ramones. So, I would love to hear what your favorites are - I'm always looking for something new!


Kids Say the Cutest Things....

...and sometimes it would be great if they couldn't talk, at all!

For example, the other day I was sitting on the ground in my room doing my hair and make-up in front of the mirror. I had on jeans and a snug-fitting layering shirt that I was going to wear under a sweater. I hadn't put my sweater on yet b/c I get too hot drying my hair with 3 layers on.

So, anyway Ella was sitting beside talking to me about some of her cousins that are going to have a new baby in their family. Then she says "I think we're going to have a baby soon!"

Me: "Really, why do you say that?"
Ella: "Because your tummy is getting big and I think there is a baby in there."

OK, for the record - nope - no baby in there. Apparently just too many mashed potatoes, gravy and rolls. Honestly, the funny thing is that I was just saying to Jeramy the day before that I was feeling extra "squishy" and felt like I needed to reign things in a bit. He, being the sweet and smart husband he is, denied any existence of any "more of me" and was able to, temporarily, allay my fears. So, for Ella to make that comment the next day just fueled my anxiety about the situation.

Really, the whole thing is pretty funny. I can't blame her for her calling it like she sees it. Plus, she really, really wants a baby sister so who can blame her for seeing my mid-section overhang as a sign of hope?

Time to hit the gym......


Friday Favorites

Here are some of the winners this week:

1. Nike Running Pants - So, on Wednesday this week I realized I did not own one pair of long workout pants - only capris. I figured I would do myself a favor and buy some 30 degree weather appropriate pants for my Thanksgiving run. To be honest this concerned me a little because I have been looking for "pants" forever. They are either too long, too tapered making my legs look like ice cream cones, too tight, etc. I just haven't been able to find the right ones. Well, Wednesday I finally found them!!! They are the Nike Lightweight Open Hem Women's Running Pants. They are fantastic!!! They are really lightweight feeling but lined in a soft, thin fleece and super warm. They are so comfortable and for those of us non-leggy gals, they aren't 6 inches too long. I also love that they have a little pocket (waterproofed) in the back. Love, love, love them. With that said, of course they are kind of spendy - but right now through December 1st, nike.com is 30% off $125 order. So, find a friend who needs a pair, or order two or make sure Santa gets them for you. Love them!

2. Flameless wax candles - I bought some of these at Costco a while back. They are battery-powered wax candles that have no flame but a small bulb that even flickers like a real flame. I thought with little kids they would be a good option and I thought they would be good to have on hand in our "emergency" items in the event of power outage, etc. I figured they would last longer than a wax candle (assuming we have the right batteries :))

So, yesterday for Thanksgiving I pulled these out and used them on our table, and around my house. Love them! No wax drips on my carpet or table cloth, no worries about my house burning down or someone's hair catching fire while kids were bouncing off the walls amidst all the candles, and they still look great and brand new after using them for hours and hours. Love this purchase and plan to get more in the future.

3. Nick Vujicic - Yesterday my father-in-law sent us an e-mail about this incredibly inspirational man. Born without arms or legs this 25-year-old Australian has done more in his life than most could ever dream. He surfs, he golfs, he can type, eat - he can do anything. All of those accomplishements are truly impressive. However, the thing that I found the most inspiring was his attitude and his joy for life. He does not see obstacles as problems, but as opportunities to grow and reach out to others. He has such passion for life and genuine love for others. Instead of feeling discouraged by his circumstances, he chooses to uplift and motivate other. How many of you feel you could rise to his level under those circumstances? I really don't know that I could...

I watched a few videos on YouTube and the more I watched and learned, the more amazed and inspired I was. Especially in light of Thanksgiving, it really helped to put things in perspective for me and served as a reminder of how many things I have to be thankful for - things that I usually take for granted or overlook.

Once in while I come across someone's story that really sticks with me and has a profound impact on me (ie Dick Hoyt - google him if you don't know his story, just make sure to have some Kleenex handy...) and I really believe that Nick will be on that list. Hopefully I will become a better person in some small way from his extraordinary life and example.

Check him out on YouTube or lifewithoutlimbs.org or attitudeisaltitude.com.

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone had an enjoyable and delicious Thanksgiving! We had a really nice day.

My day started off with a chilly (30 degrees at warmest), early morning (7:30) run. A few people I know organized a Thanksgiving 5k/10k run on some of the nearby trails. There were about 12-15 people that showed up for a super low-key - (ie, free!) - run. The run was either up a hill or down a hill - not much flat ground for the entire 10kms, so it ended up being a really good workout. A little pre-meal calorie burn - but sadly, only a fraction of the calories I would end up consuming, but, hey, it was something!

A few of us after finishing our run.

Typically, I am such a slave to my ipod when I workout - I need my music!!! - but for whatever reason I didn't even turn it on. I ended up running a good portion of the "race" by myself and just really enjoyed the peacefulness and serenity of my surroundings. We were running on some of the "backcountry" trails of Highlands Ranch and there was often not a single person, vehicle, or animal (luckily!) in sight. I really enjoyed being alone with my thoughts and having some time to reflect on the many, many things I have been blessed with. What an enjoyable morning being out in the cool, crisp air enjoying beautiful Colorado, having time to ponder the things that matter most to me. I couldn't think of a more wonderful way to spend Thanksgiving morning - OK, a hot breakfast in bed followed by a massage would win, hands down.

Later in the day my sister Kim and her family came over for dinner. We had a nice meal and visit, the kids all were completely crazy wild and it was a little chaotic at times but I was happy to see my kids having so much fun with their cousins. Due to previously mentioned chaos, sadly, I didn't even get a picture of everyone :(

Overall, it was a wonderful day and involved so many of my favorite things - friends, family, the beautiful outdoors, a good workout, a great meal and a diet coke. Truly, my cup runneth over!


Friday Favorites

Some of my favorites from the week:

1. Twilight! I'm surprised that blogger didn't crash today since I can only imagine how many "Twilight" posts have been added in the last 24 hours.

I just got back from the movie. I have to say that am the most selfless wife ever and passed up the chance to see it last night with my friends, so I could see it with Jeramy. He read all the books and really wanted to see the movie with me. So I waited all day, avoided calls from anyone who had seen it last night because I didn't want to know a thing about it - I love to go to a movie with no preconceived notions. So, if you are like me and have not yet seen the movie - don't read the next paragraph.

I must admit I have been a bit nervous to see the movie. I didn't know how they were going to translate the book - mainly Edward and Bella's relationship - into a movie. But I have to say, the movie really exceeded my expectations. The number one thing I was hoping for was believeable chemistry between Edward and Bella. I thought Kristin Stewart and Robert Pattinson had GREAT chemistry!!! Overall, I thought the casting was great. It took most of the movie for me to decide how I felt about R-Patt as Edward but by the end I was convinced. I thought Kristen Stewart was great. She played Bella a little more "flat" - not necessarily in a bad way - and serious than I had imagined Bella from the books. Regardless, that girl is a fantastic actress!

So, the bottom line is that I really enjoyed it and I am so happy that I waited and went with Jeramy (who also really liked it!)

2. Protein drink mix-ins - I saw these at Costco and bought them. I have carb-loving kiddos and sometimes I have a hard time getting them to eat enough protein. I had heard of these and decided to try them. Each packet is mixed into 16.9 oz H20 and has 25 calories, 5 grams protein, 5 grams of fiber and no sugar. The pack I got has 3 flavors - pink lemonade, mandarin orange and cherry pomegranate. I don't really let my kids have sugary drinks much, so they think they are living the sweet life and are drinking Kool-Aid daily and I know they are getting some protein and fiber that I don't have to beg, threaten or bribe them to ingest. Besides Diet Coke, I really only like water (and, of course, hot chocolate with a big dollop of whipped cream!) but I thought they were pretty good!

3. Vicks VapoRub - Finn has had a really bad cough and has not been sleeping well at all - which means Jeramy, nor I have been sleeping well. I was mentioning this to a friend and she suggested that before bedtime I should rub a thick layer of Vicks on his feet then put socks on. I have heard this before but thought it sounded a little hokey. Let me tell you, IT WORKS EVERY TIME! I have no idea why - I tried to google it and can't find a good logical or medical explanation. If anyone knows why it works, let me know. All I know is that $5 is a small price to pay for a good night's sleep for everyone!


My Mom Laughs A Lot

Today at church we had our Primary program. Ella was one of the kids to give a talk. She was the youngest and the only one unable to read, so I thought I would have her try and memorize it. She memorized the whole thing and did amazing! 276 words, 7 small paragraphs! I was so proud of her - she worked so incredibly hard on it.

So when we got home from church I thought I would have her make an iMovie (one of her favorite things to do) of her giving her talk, so we would have it recorded. Of course she spent forever goofing around, hamming it up, introducing herself and in the process she introduced me and said "i laugh a lot!" I LOVED that! That is probably the nicest compliment she could ever pay me. Definitely in my top 5 compliments ever received. I took the exerpt of the clip because it makes me smile (and her "movie" ended up being 10, very dramatic, minutes long)


Friday Favorites

This week I was thinking about some of my favorite things from the week and thought I would add a weekly post to my blog - "Friday Faves." I thought this would be a fun way to document some of my favorite things - anything from household products, movies, books, good bargains, to just favorite activities from the week. Feel free to share yours in the comments. I'm always looking to add to my "i love...." list!

OK, these are a few of my favorite things from this week:

1. Home Run Inn Pizza - A few weeks back we made a rare Saturday trip to the grocery store around lunch time. They were giving out "examples", as Ella calls them, so we tried this pizza. Yummy! By far the best frozen pizza I've had and even rivals some restaurants. Good to keep on hand for emergency meals, or when it's up to Jeramy to get dinner for the kids, which is redundant to add since that is what basically constitutes an emergency meal :) Me and the kids tried the cheese and Jeramy went for the meat lovers. I would still rather eat at Big Bills but these are nice to have on hand. Cheap, easy, obviously no nutritional value, whatsoever but yummy!

2. Kit Kittredge: An American Girl - We watched this last weekend for our "Friday Family Fun" night. Adorable! So sweet and has a fantastic cast. It takes place in the 30's so, in spite of our country's current economic situation it may hit a little too close to home for the overly anxious, but our whole family loved it. And just because it is from American Girl, it's not "girly" at all - even the boys would enjoy it.

3. Scotchguard - So earlier this year I ripped off the very practical black vinyl that I had covered my dining room chairs with a few years ago and covered them with this fabric:

Crazy thing to do with little kids, I know! But I got the fabric cheap and bought enough to cover all my chairs 3 times over, figuring that would get me through a few years. When I was done I scotchguarded them thinking it couldn't hurt. That stuff is amazing!!! The first time I saw spilt, and dried, chocolate milk on my chairs it took me a second to start breathing again. Based on trying to get that out of my kids clothes, I felt my chairs were a lost cause and was about ready to bust out some of my extra fabric and get to work. However, with merely a damp cloth it wiped right off with no trace of anything. This week we've (when I say we've, I mean Finn) had blackberry and ketchup mishaps neither which has been a problem at all. That little can was the best $5 I've ever spent!

4. My new training partner - Saturday afternoon I decided to go for a run and was looking forward to putting on my ipod and having a little time to myself. I got caught sneaking out the door by Ella, who then begged to come with me. After her persuasive argument, she wore me down and I agreed to let her come, albeit not too cheerfully. Funny how that ended up being one of the most fun, memorable hours of my week. She rode her little bike and talked nonstop and even though we went slower than I wanted and had to stop a few times, I think I had a smile on my face the whole time. What a little trooper - we went 5 miles and conquered a few pretty big hills. My favorite, of the many, many, comments:

Ella: "Mom, aren't you so glad I came because then you wouldn't have anyone to talk to and that wouldn't have been fun at all. It's so much more fun to workout with someone. If I hadn't come you would have had to try and make a friend on the trail so you would have had someone to talk to. It's so great that we're working out, training together......"



We had a really fun Halloween this year. I think the star of the night was the weather. I do not ever remember a Halloween with such beautiful weather. It just made the whole day so fun and pleasant. The kids didn't even have to wear a jacket over their costumes. It was so nice!!!

Ella was a "Kimono Princess", although she told
everyone that she was a "Komodo Princess"
(like the dragon) and Finn was a Ninja.

We went to some friends house for the evening and had a great time enjoying some good food, great company and the kids had fun trick-or-treating together.

Gearing up for candy!

Ella and Sierra making some
dramatic poses for the camera. On
our way out the door, Ella decided she
needed a fan and so quickly fashioned
one out of pink paper. It's all about the

As much fun as the kids had, it paled in comparison to the fun the dads (the big kids :) had! They had a ball terrorizing and scaring the pants off all the trick-or-treaters! It was so funny. Our friend Justin absolutely loves to scare the teenagers on Halloween. So he pulled out all these masks and costumes and Justin, Jeramy, Sverre and Niles sat on the porch for hours, scaring the trick-or-treaters. They were pretty frightening! They put the candy bucket on the porch in between them all, dumped straw all over themselves and pretended they were dummies. They would sit really still and kids would come up and see them and couldn't tell if they were real or not. They tried to behave for the little kids, but they still made a few cry and, understandably, had a few irrate parents - one mom's comment "NOT funny!" another jumped in front of her kid and started yelling "ENOUGH, that's enough!" But they didn't hold back at all for the teenagers. They were grabbing ankles, growling, sitting perfectly still then just slightly moving a hand here or there, jumping out. Without question, the dads had the most fun of the evening!

The "big kids" in all their glory. Top L to R:
Sverre, Justin, Niles and 2nd row L is Jeramy.
They were SCARY!


Musings of a Slacker

So once again, it's been weeks since my last post. Just face it -I have -I am a bad blogger! I'm sure I have tons of excuses for slacking on my blog but we'll just skip all that.

So here's what we've been up to over the past 3 weeks:

  • Ironman Challenge - I finished! I took me 11 days and I loved doing it. I love having a purpose to my workouts. I don't hope to see a stationary bike again for a while. I was only able to do one outside ride, so the other 89 miles were done at the gym. BORING!!! But the one outside ride was my favorite workout for the challenge. My friends Marilee, Jenni, and I did a 25-mile ride one Saturday morning and it was fantastic. I LOVE fall, it's my favorite season, so be outside in that crisp morning air and bike in beautiful Colorado with great company, well it just doesn't get any better than that!
Jenni, Marilee and me overlooking Chatfield at the top of our bike ride.

  • New Challenge - I was pretty sad when my Ironman Challenge was over. It just really helped motivate me and bring purpose to my workouts. So, I decided I needed a new challenge - just nothing involving the bike because I still can't bear to get on a stationary bike. My trainer, Kim, suggested doing something with stairs so here's the new challenge. Two weeks to run 26.2 miles, swim 3 (212 pool lengths) and step 26.2 miles on the Stairmaster Stepmill. For those of you not familiar with the stairmill, it's basically a modern torture device. It is tough! And my rule is NO HANDS! Monday I did a little over 5 miles in just under an hour. It didn't seem so bad. By Wednesday, my legs were just so tired that it was really miserable. I keep getting slower so it's going to be rough!
  • Europe - Jeramy is gone again. Don't worry, no more big, whiny posts with me spilling my sob-story all over my blog. He's been gone nearly 2 weeks and gets home TODAY!!! He's been in the Netherlands and London. First he was in The Hague speaking at a conference, then on to Amsterdam then London. I've missed him like crazy but this trip, for whatever reason, we were able to manage without any major meltdowns - me or Ella :) A large part of it is I just tried to stay really busy.
  • Church calling - A few months back I got called to be the Stake Primary Secretary. So last night we had our first Stake Primary Leadership Meeting. I've been really busy the past 3-4 weeks making 170 invitations, doing a newsletter, tracking people down and taking their picture for the newsletter, Stake rosters, etc. Anyway, our meeting went great and now I'm done that for another 6 months. Yeah!
  • Curtains - I'm in the process of making new curtains for my house. I previously had a chocolate brown twill but I decided they were just too dark and gloomy and they made me kind of sad. It took me forever to figure out what to replace them with but I finally decided to use a fabric I already had. So, then after deciding what fabric to use I had to figure out how to make them. I decided I wanted rings, because in front of my sliding glass door, I needed to be able to slide the curtains out of the way easily. However, I did not want to use ring clips. Even though I have them on a few windows in my house, I just decided I wanted to try something new and I didn't want to be able to see the clips from the front. So after messing around with them, researching online, going to every fabric and craft store in town to find drapery hooks, I FINALLY found the right drapery hooks and just got them in the mail last week. So, next week it's all about the curtains!
My curtain fabric.

  • Cute kids! The past 2 weeks what I've mostly been up to is taking care of my cute munchkins. Often when Jeramy leaves, Ella can be really tough because she really misses him and tends to have a lot of melt downs. This time around she has been amazing! She has been so sweet and helpful. In her prayers the other night she prayed that she would be able to "help Mommy while daddy was gone." She has been surprising me with little helpful things around the house, making her bed without being asked, unloading the dishwasher without being asked, and has been really helpful with Finn. She is just at a really fun age, too. She's so grown up. She went to a birthday party yesterday and got there an hour late because she had music class. This morning she was telling me she didn't get any donuts and said "but I was okay with that!" And little Finn is suddenly obsessed with trains, Thomas in particular. He will get his Thomas book, go climb in the rocking chair in his room and just sit and look at the book, saying "choo choo, choo choo" over and over again for 10-15 minutes at a time. Which is amazing for him to sit in one place that long! Anyway, I've really enjoyed my kids lately. Being with them on my own for so long hasn't really seemed like such the chore or burden that it sometimes can. I truly have had fun being with them so much and feel so blessed for my little ones!
They don't look so joyful here, but I love how much spunk and energy my kids have. I love experiencing life through their bright eyes and little minds and take so much pleasure in seeing the joy that they find in so many simple, little things!


Ironman Begins

Not a real Ironman - well, actually a real Ironman just not in the traditional sense. So my community has a run series they do and in conjunction with one of the upcoming races - a 5 mile trail run - they are offering participants an extra challenge: complete an ironman - but instead of doing it in one day, you do it over a 2 week period. I thought that sounded like a challenge I was ready for. I've kind of been in a fitness slump lately and felt like it was time to re-motivate myself. This challenge couldn't have come at a better time!

The challenge begins today, and before October 11th I need to swim 2.4 miles (155 lengths of the pool), bike 112 miles and run 26.2 miles. My friend, Marilee, is doing it with me and we both did up schedules for the next two weeks. We just worked in what fits best into our schedules but some of our training we will definitely do together. I was also able to recruit a few other friends, Jenni and Emily, who also want to finish the challenge.

Today was day #1. My schedule for today was to run 3 miles and swim 40 lengths of the pool. Also, not part of the Ironman challenge, to do a lower body workout. So this morning I got up and ran about 2.5 miles, did my lower body workout, then ran home for a total of 5 miles. Then a few hours later Marilee and I hit the pool. We totally got into a rhythm and felt great so we decided to just keep swimming. I ended up finishing 100 lenghts - just over 1.5 miles. So, hooray, day #1 is over and I'm ahead of schedule. I figure I better do the most I can now - for some reason I had a lot of energy today but I'm sure after a few days of this I will be wiped out! Also, Jeramy is going to be gone for my second week, so fitting my workouts in are going to be more challenging since I won't be able to go early in the mornings.

Anyone else want to participate? It's not too late!!!



This year Ella finally started Kindergarten! I think the "finally" is from both of our perspectives :) Even though we have both been looking forward to kindergarten, school crept up on us so quickly this year! It seemed as though the summer had just started and suddenly she was off to school. The way it worked this year, it seemed as though we had 3 "first days" of school.

First Day #1 - Picture Day. This year they had registration and picture day at the end of July. In a way it seemed, to me, like the first day because when I grew up you always had pictures the first day of school. I remember it being a big deal, figuring out what to wear the first day of school, how to do your hair, etc. So, from that aspect it seemed like the first day.
We stopped for a few pictures outside the school before going in for
the "real" ones. The real picture is pretty funny! Every single one was
super posed cheese-ball smile. I figured there was no point in retakes
because they would end up looking the same.

First Day #2 - Meet the Teacher. On the first day that all the other classes started, they had the kindies come for 1 hour in small groups. We went to the school with 4-5 other kids and met Mrs. Washington. We looked around the classroom, unpacked supplies and the kids did a small little craft. Her teacher is fabulous!
Just before heading off to the school to meet her teacher.
She LOVES her backpack (and polka-dots!)

First Day #3 - The Real Thing! So, two days after meeting the teacher it was the real deal - the bus and all! She is in afternoon kindergarten, so I drove her to school and waited while the kids lined up and then went inside. The parents - all equipped with cameras - stayed for about 5-10 minutes while the kids got settled. After the parents were dismissed, I went down to the office because I was having a little anxiety about her getting on the right bus. The morning school started I changed her bus route so she would be on the same bus with another little girl she knew from preschool. I was kind of panicked that they wouldn't get her on the right bus, but they changed all her info and assured me my daughter would return home to me. So, at 4:12, Jeramy, Finn and I were all there waiting for Ella to get off the bus. It was priceless! She could not have looked happier. All she said for about 3 days was "I can't believe I get to ride the bus." Bus aside, she is loving kindergarten, has a wonderful teacher and has already learned a lot. It's going to be a great year!

I know, another collage. I just had so many pictures I liked, I
couldn't choose. I loved the way all the bus pictures looked in sequence.
I'm so happy I was there to get pictures of her getting off the bus.
How happy does she look?



This summer, Jeramy and I were super spoiled - again- and were able to head off to Maui all by ourselves. We cashed in airmiles, Marriott points and AmEx points and spent an essentially free week in Hawaii (ok, well we ate nonstop, so that was a cost a bit of money). My amazing, very generous parents came to Colorado and watched not only our kids, but my sister's 3 kids all together. Thanks mom & dad - sorry your week was a bit less serene than ours.

Since we went to Hawaii 2 days after getting home from Aspen Grove, we didn't feel the need for tons of adventure. We go to Hawaii for the beach! So, the beach is what we did - every single day!

It was such a great week and sadly, I didn't get too many pictures. I didn't want to take my camera with us to the beach because I wanted us to be able to both go in the water together and not worry about our stuff.

We bypassed the Road to Hana this year (I was pretty adamant about that one!), I still didn't do a surfing lesson (a little scared to do it by myself) and we absolutely ate at Mama's Fish House (the picture above is on the beach in front of Mama's. I typically didn't wear jeans and heels to the beach :)) We read a lot, got massages at the spa, I snuck in a pedicure - we were basically just really lazy the whole week.

It was a super low key, relaxing week and we had tons of fun just spending time alone together!

Wow, Hawaii is magic! Is that hint of a smile on Jeramy?

Not possible - another near smiling picture???

I thought everyone would enjoy my new hair accessory I picked up while in Hawaii. I'm really into fans! I think Mama's Fish House need to give their wait staff some photo composition tips :)

In one of the squares we walked through in Lahaina, there were dozens and dozens of these white blossoms all over the ground. I scooped some up and posed for a picture to show Ella - my little lallygagger, can't walk 3 feet without stopping to pick some flower, weed or blade of grass. Plus, it's about the only picture of me on our entire trip.

A beautiful view in Lahaina

Jeramy's best Forrest Gump impression. Not bad.

The view from our hotel our last night in Maui!


Aspen Grove

One of our highlights this summer was going to Aspen Grove Family Camp in Utah. We had a family reunion this summer with Jeramy's family. His grandparents surprised us all and paid for their children, grandkids and great-grandkids to go together. There ended up being about 80 of us. It was soooo much fun!!! What a wonderful place to go for a family reunion.

They had so many fun things for everyone of every age to do. Every day we would eat breakfast at 8:00 and then at 9:15, drop our kids off at their class. They had classes for kids of every age - newborn up through young adults. Then, at 9:15 we were free to go do whatever we wanted until 12:00 when we would pick up kids and eat lunch. Then at 1:30 we took the kids back to class until 4:30. And one of the days we were there - the kids stayed at their classes from 9:30-4:30. Then we'd eat dinner and in the evenings they had movies playing in the amphitheatre, talent shows, badminton. My favorite evening activity was a stop at the Aspen Grove Store for some BYU Creamery ice cream and/or a big pink cookie.

The kids would hike, swim, do arts and crafts they even got to climb the rock wall. They all had a great time getting to play with their cousins and do so many fun activities - BUT not as much fun as the adults!!! We hiked, did paintball, ropes course, archery, air rifle, hung out at the pool without kids :), pottery (NOTE: Jeramy and I and took a class together on the pottery on the wheel and it was so not like Ghost!) They had great guest lecturers like Susan Easton Black. Some people went tubing down the river and did some biking. It was fantastic! You didn't have to worry about a thing. You knew exactly when and where you were going to eat (the food was decent) and there were so many options for activities, there wasn't enough to fit it all in. I would highly recommend it - especially if someone else pays for you!

Jeramy on the paintball course

The most memorable thing I did that week was the ropes course. I thought I'd be a bit nervous, but I was terrified! You started on the pole with notches (on the R) then had to stand on top of the beam and scoot over to the rock wall part. I don't have any pictures of me doing it - they're probably all too blurry from me shaking so badly. Also, there's no way I'd post a picture of my rear-end from that angle - it was not pretty!!! This is my brother-in-law Eric.

The view from the backside of the the rock wall. Once you got to the top, you stood atop the platform then made your way through the rope course around the trees.

My brother-in-law Eric making his way through the ropes course. I thought the pole and rock wall would be tough and wasn't at all worried about the ropes part. But for me that was the hardest part. I could not stop my legs from shaking and then it would shake the ropes and make me more stressed. It was tough but I'm so happy I did it. I had no idea I would be that scared!

Ella, with her cousin Miles, getting ready for her turn on the rock wall.
She did so great! She didn't seem scared at all - she was a lot more brave than I was!
We only left the camp once during the week - just
a quick trip down to the BYU campus. I love going back - we
have so many wonderful memories of our time there.

The last night at camp, the kids did a program. Each class did a
little cheer and then performed a song

Ella's group did "The Twist" She was twisting her little heart out
with her cousins Matea (l) and Amelia (r)

Ella with her AWESOME group leaders, Erin and Blaine.

Ice cream obsession!

One last picture before we left the camp :(

Thirty minutes into our long drive home, Finn threw up EVERYWHERE. After we got him all cleaned up and stripped down, he seemed pretty happy. Luckily, he didn't get sick anymore on the trip - he just screamed at us a lot to get him out.

Two Wheels

This summer, after weeks of trying to fit it in between our trips, Ella learned how to ride a two-wheeler. She was so proud to take those training wheels off. She still needs a lot of practice, especially with stopping, but did so well!

One of the factors that really motivated Ella to take the wheels off came from my triathlon. Ella became very interested in triathlons and when she found out there are triathlons for kids, she decided she really wanted to do one. So, she decided she had better learn to ride a bike if she's going to do a triathlon. Here in Highlands Ranch they had a kids triathlon in August for kids ages 5-9. For the 5-6 year olds they swim 25 yds (one pool length), bike 1/2 mile and run 1/4 mile. So the first part of her"training" was to get her riding a two-wheeler.

Ready to get the training wheels off. And yes, she picked a
dress to wear for the event. Super practical!

The training wheels are off!

Oh, oh.....

Down she goes!

Down again. Finn to the rescue!

Getting the hang of it!

She has really been enjoying her bike a lot! I am so grateful for all the trails we have just right here. It makes me so nervous when she wants to ride her bike up and down the street with the other neighborhood kids. So the other day I took Ella and her friend (with Finn in the Burley) over to the park -- to get them off the road and away from all the cars -- and then we rode about 3-4 miles all around the trails - even a few good sized hills! They both had so much fun and were so proud of themselves.