Saturday, November 30, 2013

November 2013 on FB

Nov. 1: When I was in the 3rd grade, I wanted to be an astronaut more than anything in the world. But a couple years later, I had a major fear of falling in space and never being recovered, and my career aspirations completely changed. Seeing "Gravity" last night in the theater completely made me experience that fear all over again!!!! It took me forever to fall asleep because I couldn't stop thinking about it!

Nov. 2: For the last 2 years, my music classes have done "Braindance" every week. My goal has been to touch my right elbow to my left knee ever since I began it. Finally on Thursday of this week, that wish came true! I don't know if it's because of the pajama pants I wore to school for Halloween that allowed for my body's flexibility or because I've lost 14 pounds in 2 months so my body can move better, but either way, it made me SOOO happy!

Nov. 2: went on a date with my mom to the temple this afternoon. It was so peaceful and lovely! then saw "Captain Phillips" in the theater tonight on a date with my dad. It was a stellar movie; What an amazing performance by Tom Hanks!

Nov. 5: sometimes when I wake up in the morning, I cheerfully say to myself "Good morning giant realistic flying tiger!" because it makes me happy to say something so silly aloud. But then I tell myself how dumb it is that I even know that quote from a kids' tv show that's SO not even worth naming. Please tell me someone else out there knows what I'm even referencing...I should belong to some kind of support group for this!

Nov. 6: I suddenly realized today that Ammon is taller than me. WHAT?! When did that happen? I thought he must've grown several inches overnight, but Josh said he first noticed it in some pictures we took a few weeks ago...I can't believe he's already at the stage of towering over me! Can you see the evidence in this photo?!

Nov. 9: relaxing in style with Josh for his birthday retreat at Fairmont Hot Springs Resort!

Nov. 10: don't you just hate when you get cankers on the tip of your tongue?!! I've got two and I keep trying to bite them off--which is simultaneously painful and comforting.

Nov. 11: Micah informed me tonight that my favorite football team was playing. I simply replied "hmm". I don't like watching football, BUT I do like the Buccaneers because of their colors and that they have a pirate ship in their stadium. I'm impressed that my young boy even knows which team is my favorite, since I hardly even ever watch the sport!

Nov. 12: Do you ever feel like life is just another day?

Nov. 13: Loving my late-night savory snack tonight: homemade salami made by Josh with meat from the deer that Ammon shot this fall.

Nov. 14: took Micah on a date tonight to see the new "Thor". LOVED it!!! Thanks Kerry for introducing me to the world of Marvel Studio movies! And thank you Heather for letting me know there was TWO previews at the end!!! I loved the 2nd one; it was worth waiting through all the credits for!

Nov. 16: It's get better!

Nov. 17: I just learned a new term this week: "business in front and party in the back". I seriously had never heard that before. Also, do you know what Kenny G, Michael Bolton, and Lionel Richie have in common?!

Nov. 18: I dreamed last night that my house was flooding from the ceiling due to an upstairs bathroom. It scared me, and when I woke up, I couldn't stop thinking about. We don't have an upstairs, so it couldn't materialize in real life. Then I remember watching a TV show last night where Garth Brooks was talking about his first night singing as a regular in Las Vegas, and he woke up to a house flooding from the ceiling. Today I'm thankful that I'm not Garth Brooks.

Nov. 20: I love to laugh...hahahaha...long and loud and clear!!!

Nov. 22: I called my old college SUU today to order a transcript to send to the university I'm currently applying to, and they said they couldn't send it until I paid $4 for a housing fee from 15 years ago. So, of course I said I'd pay it! But then they didn't know where to apply the payment because my old housing complex has since been torn down and rebuilt. So, after deliberating with another department, they refunded the fee and now my transcript is on its way! Hooray! The first step of the application process to go back to school is now complete!

Nov. 26: I've been thinking a lot the last few days about how much my life has improved in the last year. During Thanksgiving of 2012 I was recovering from a knee surgery, my 1st surgery of 3 in the past year. I feel good and am so grateful to be alive, to have a functioning body, and to feel healthy again!

Nov. 27: I woke up early on a day I could sleep in just to go to Zumba class. I MUST be crazy or something!!! I looked like a clown with my afro morning hair and bright pink pajama pants compared to everyone else with their hair in ponies and black pants! Thanks for going with me Krissy! And thanks for playing my favorite song at the end, Lexi! It made it all worth it for me!

Nov. 27: Playing the board game Clue with grownups is so much more intense than playing it with kids!!! I'm liking it!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Carving & Painting

We had two Family Home Evenings in October centered around pumpkins. On Monday the 21st we carved pumpkins, and on Monday the 28th we painted pumpkins. Now that the boys are older, both activities were fairly painless and very enjoyable!!
Other than cutting out the handles on pumpkins, the boys did every part of the carving themselves. They cleaned them out, drew on the patterns, and carved them! This was a first for Josh and I: not having to help them draw or carve. We were so proud of them!
All the boys gathered around the table to begin the process.

Cleaning the insides out.
Ammon tracing on his pattern & Josh free-handing his.
 Kanyon didn't like any of the patterns in the carving books we had, so he also decided to draw his own, just like Josh did. He made a witch's castle. Josh and I were both so impressed with his independence and creativity!

Jonah and Micah both picked out patterns and traced them onto their pumpkins, then used the little cutter tools to carve them. Those tools have been so handy! Last year was the first year we purchased a tool carving kit, and it is sooo worth it! It is so much easier than carving pumpkins with steak knives!

 Here's our final products: Jonah--mask, Kanyon--witch's castle, Micah--dracula's castle, Ammon--ghosts, Josh--pac-man, Me--moon & stars.
 I had a hard time deciding on what to carve. I finally decided on a moon & stars, but wasn't sure how to implement it. I saw an image of one online, and I tried to duplicate it, but the moon's proportions were too round, and it didn't turn out like I envisioned! When I was done, the boys all asked me "what is that?" They figured it out only after I put a candle inside, and turned the lights off!

 Josh carved a smaller spotted pumpkin, and he decided to go with pac-man to make it look like it was eating the natural orange spot on the side. He was very creative! It was his easiest pumpkin-carving yet!
Ammon had planned on carving the large pumpkin he entered in the fair this year. We stored it in our home for nearly 2 months, but the week before we had planned on carving the pumpkins, his pumpkin rotted. So he picked a smaller pumpkin with a flat side to carve instead. The ghost pattern fit perfectly onto the flat spot. It was a cute pumpkin!

Jonah and his masked pumpkin. We all liked his pumpkin face! He did a great job!

Micah with his Dracula's Castle. It had some very fine details in the pattern, and Micah was very patient with cutting out all the little windows and doors. It looked awesome!

Kanyon and his creation of the Witch's Castle, complete with clouds at the top! We were so proud of his craftsmanship! It was the first time he's ever done it all by himself start-to-finish!

The next week we painted smaller pumpkins. Josh was busy making salami in the kitchen, and didn't want to paint. So Ammon followed his lead and said he'd rather watch football (and play with his iPod) than paint pumpkins with us, too. He's such a teenager sometimes!

So the 3 younger boys and I each picked 2 little pumpkins and set out all the supplies on the kitchen table and got to work. We painted for a couple of hours!

My two: a jack-o-lantern face, and a spotted pumpkin.

Kanyon mixed several colors together--using his hand!

He had an all black one with a pink face, and an all pink one. See the plate where he mixed colors? There was still plenty of paint left over after he was done painting!

Micah had an all-black one and a clown face one.

Jonah had a BSU one and a vampire face.

After the pumpkins dried, the boys had me help them do touch-ups, and these were the final products:
Top Row: Kanyon's black pumpkin with a pink silly sponge-bob face. Middle Row: Kanyon's pink apple and Jonah's vampire. Bottom Row: My polka-dot, Micah's Patriotic (he peeled off the clown face he originally painted and we started over), My jack-o-lantern, Jonah's BSU, and Micah's Black pumpkin with Orange stem. I thought they turned out pretty darn cute!

The boys all took mini pumpkins to school to donate to their whole classes, too. Jonah and Micah painted their pumpkins with their class at school, and Kanyon's class used stickers to decorate theirs.

The twins said they were thankful that they had practice painting the small pumpkins at home to better help them decide what to paint on their school pumpkins. Painting turned out to be a lot more time-consuming than carving, which is odd considering how much smaller these pumpkins were compared to the larger ones we carved! I'm so grateful we spent fun time as a family decorating the pumpkins that we worked on growing all summer together!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

May the FOURTH be with you, c-THREE-po runner!

That's the heading I thought of for a shirt to give Ammon for his outstanding 2013 Cross Country season. I envisioned that on the front of the shirt under the headline there would be c3po's golden robot head on a running boy's body, and then on the backside of the shirt would be a list of the names of all the XC meets he went to and all his 3rd & 4th placements in them. Unfortunately, I never had the T-shirt made, but Ammon's accomplishments in the 2013 XC will still be remembered--just on this blog instead of on his chest & back!
This was Ammon's 2nd year running Cross Country, and his last year running with the middle school (since he's an 8th grader). We were constantly amazed at how well he ran the races; he came home with a placement a/o medal from ALL of them!!
In order to have a team score, there must be a minimum of 5 runners. Last year there wasn't enough middle school boys to make a team, but this year there were! It was great for him to have full team to run with, and he and McClay (who also ran last year) ran a lot together and challenged each other throughout the season. McClay got 2nd place in a majority of the races, and Ammon was always right behind him with a 3rd or 4th finish.
Connor, McClay, John, Garrett, & Ammon
Here's a list of the Cross Country meets, and his placements and times in them:
Aug 30 - Saucony Sugar Scramble in Shelley 
(3000 meters) - 4th place 12:01
Sept 6 - Wood River meet in Sun Valley
(2500 meters) - 4th place 10:02
Sept 20 - Rigby meet in Rigby
(3000 meters) - 4th place 12:41
Sept 28 - Mountain West Classic in Missoula
(2000 meters) - 7th place 7:32
Oct 5 - Mile High Classic in Challis
(2500 meters) - 3rd place 9:29
Oct 11 - Madison Invitation in Rexburg
(3200 meters)- 3rd place 11:55
Oct 16 - Salmon Invitational in Salmon
(3200 meters) - 3rd place  
His first race was in Shelley, at the Journey's End golf course, and it was a course we'd never been to before. Josh drove the XC bus for it, so I drove the 3 younger boys down to attend it, and Ed, Kathy, & Malachi came, too. We got there about 20 minutes before his race began, and I took this cute little snapshot of his team walking towards the starting line.
There were a LOT of runners at this meet: in his race alone there were 170 middle school boys!

Ammon had a good start, and was able to get ahead of the pack and keep up with the pace that McClay set in front of him. This picture was the halfway-point of the race, and my boys and I barely made it there to see him run around this loop, then we headed back to the finish line to see him cross.

He earned a 4th place finish and a big medal! It was exciting for all of us that he did so well in the first race of the season, especially since it was such a large race!

His 2nd race was in Sun Valley, and Josh again drove the XC bus. I wasn't able to go, so there are no photos of this race, but Josh took this picture with his phone of him by his team's tent after the race with his 4th place medal and texted it to me!

The next race was in Rigby, and I drove the 3 younger boys to it again since Josh took the team on the bus. Edward & Kathy came, and got there ahead of me. I'm so glad I made it for his race--I panicked when I got lost and couldn't find the Rigby reservoir, which is where the race was at. I called Josh and was so frantic. Finally, I discovered it and was so grateful that I made it in time to see him race. It was a pretty large race again; there were 151 middle school boys running.

He didn't have the best start, but he sure ran consistently, and was able to forge through the pack of boys to get ahead as they made their way around the reservoir. Here he is crossing the finish line:

Up to this point, Ammon had consistently got 4th, and McClay had repeatedly got 2nd. They were on a roll!
His next race was the largest one of the season: the Mountain West Classic in Missoula, Montana. It was a HUGE race! I wasn't able to go, but Edward and Kathy did, and Josh drove the bus for it. It was a new course for Ammon, and the shortest one of his season. He ran a very fast race, and got 7th out of 266 runners. He got the highest placement of any runner on our middle school or high school teams in that race, and his photo was featured in the local newspaper from that race, too!
The October races began with the Mile High Classic in Challis. This is one of the best spectator-friendly courses, and we love it! It is held at the Challis Hot Springs Resort, and we went down as a family the night before the race and camped there in our trailer. Edward & Kathy came down on Saturday to watch Ammon's race at 12:30. There wasn't as many teams this year as last, and there wasn't any smoke like last year, so it was looking to be a good race for the middle school boys.

 Ammon ran alongside his teammate McClay for the majority of the race, and only one other boy was ahead of them. 

This is their approach to the finish line: Ammon had only fallen a few yards behind McClay as they neared the end. 

He earned a 3rd place medal for this race. In this picture he is 2nd from the right, and McClay (to his right) received 2nd place. The first place medal went to the boy on the far left from Snake River--he was the 1st place winner in several of Ammon's middle school races.

His second-to-the-last race was in Rexburg, and I was working in the pumpkin patch and unable to attend. It was homecoming weekend, so the high schoolers didn't go to the race either, just the middle school teams ran it. Josh drove the Cross Country bus, and texted me as soon as Ammon's race was finished to say that he got 3rd place again, for which I was so happy to hear!

Ammon's final race was in Salmon, on October 16. It was at the Salmon Valley Golf Course, and I took the afternoon off of work to go see it. Edward and Kathy came once again, and Josh took us around on a golf cart to watch the races (a perk to working at the place where the race is hosted!). There were 5 teams of boys, and since Snake River wasn't in attendance, McClay and Ammon were hoping to get the 1st & 2nd place finishes in the middle school boys race.

They started out strong and it looked as if their hopes of attaining the 1st & 2nd place finishes would be realized!

The boy from Challis stayed on their heels, and these 3 boys stuck together in a pack for a lot of the race.

After they ran over the haybale obstacles and across this bridge, the Challis runner began to gain momentum...

...and this is where the Challis runner surpassed Ammon (btw, isn't Josh's golf course SOOO beautiful?!!).

Ammon was in pain, and he began to fall behind the first two runners. But he focused on finishing, and endured the pain to get another 3rd place finish!

It was a fabulous cross country season! Ammon loves racing, and has really improved this year! It is so enjoyable for Josh & I and Ed & Kathy to attend the meets and watch him race. There's just no other sport like it--we love being in the outdoor atmosphere and feeling so much positive energy from the young athletes.
Congratulations Ammon on all your running accomplishments! We are so proud of your dedication,  perseverance, and positive attitude! You were able to achieve so much this running season, and we were so glad to be witnesses to your successes!