Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving Feast

Due to Thanksgiving Hockey Tournaments, we were usually somewhere in Colorado for Thanksgiving and, thus, usually celebrated in a hotel restaurant or Denny's. It wasn't until I married Mike and we began hosting that I fell in love with the holiday. Don't get me wrong, Halloween will ALWAYS have my heart!

Melody scouring the ads in the paper before we head out.
I think I love Thanksgiving most when I am hosting. My normal obsession with a clean kitchen goes out the window for 24 hours while we prepare a fabulous feast. I adore setting the table where friends and family will gather. We are always open to new guests and most often end up with an eclectic group of people. 
Ev and Mike guarding Mel's FAB rolls.
 Once again this year some of Melody's co-workers from India joined us. It is always fascinating to hear them discuss their culture and the diversity that exists between regions. I had always thought there were only a couple of different religions etc. throughout the Nation, but it turns out there are SEVERAL!!!
Ian is a great sport!!!
We were also able to have Ian, Melody's brother, for dinner because he is living in Utah and attending BYU. He brought his roommate, Matthew, and Matthew's sister, Megan. The kids were THRILLED to have so many people to climb on, perform to, and play with. 
We didn't take many pics for some reason. The table looked really pretty....maybe I will capture it next time.
Later that night we had to go to the annual BLACK FRIDAY craziness!!! This year's crew included myself, Charity, Melody and Megan. We hit Fashion Place Mall, Toy's R Us, Target........we were pooped but came home with some STEALS!!! I can't wait to do it all over again! 

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Gutting of the Gourds.

This will be trouble one day, but look how cute these boys are. 
 Having Tracy in Kindergarten has proved to be a great resource for him to make new friends. Through him and his little buddies, Mike and I have also made some awesome friends. Some of our FAV's are the Martinez's. We have enjoyed several dinner nights, birthday parties, snowboarding adventures, and other fun times with them. One of the chilliest nights we have spent together was when we decided to carve pumpkins.
Men at Work
 It was supposed to be a family affair but I think Mike and Larry did most, if not ALL, of the work. They are the most artistic anyway.
Go Utes!
The finished products. OOoooooOOOOOOOooooooooo!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

St. George Marathon

The best darn cheering section a girl could ask for.
I have about a million things about which to BLOG, but I want to write about this experience before it is too far out of my head. This WHOLE experience has been quite the adventure and the people with whom I have shared it  have told me to write it down before I forget. Here goes.....
I have always loved running and completing a marathon has always been on my bucket list. I registered for one back in 2000 but during training I learned my mom was dying and I chose spending time with her over running two hours a day. NO REGRETS! Well, marriage, school, pregnancy, babies and just LIFE happened and I never got back to training. This year I decided it was MY TIME! I knew I didn't really have the time to train but I was determined to make it happen.
After entering the St. George Marathon lottery I learned I got in back in APRIL. It was an exciting day! Even better was that I wrangled one of my besties, well I call her my breastie, to run it with me. We don't live close so we didn't get to train together but we supported each other via text through hard runs, blisters, shin splints, perverted passers by, and other things which are NEVER TO BE SPOKEN OF. LOL Training while working, being wife, raising young children........was a challenge! I had many early mornings and several late nights. Mike was SUPPORTIVE throughout my endeavor. He and the kids would drop me off somewhere 10 to 20 miles away and wave goodbye as I began my run back home.
Training was going GREAT until three weeks pre-race day. I was on my 20 mile run and injured my inner thighs. Basically, I had slowly been tearing the ligaments off of my pubic bone, the surrounding muscles were trying to compensate creating tendonitis, and bottom line I COULDN'T WALK, LET ALONE RUN!!! I was devastated and, well pissed!!! I had been training all summer and now I was in no position to run. Not to sound haughty but I believe I am a TOUGH person. I have survived many things while in excruciating pain.Well, no matter how how much my brain wanted to push through the pain, my legs said, "NO!" When I would put weight on them they would buckle and collapse.
While I was busy getting heat stroke Summer got into the baby powder.....the WHOLE bottle!!!
Now, I will get back to my legs, but here is the second part of my story. I have always believed in GOD, but I have never had a CONCRETE testimony of the LDS church. I have always thought it sounded nice and was a good environment in which to raise kids, but this past year I seriously considered leaving. I know, SHOCKER to many of you. I wasn't anti-mormon and nobody had offended me, I just didn't KNOW if I could go through the motions anymore. In April I read the BOM in less than a month and thought it was an incredible experience.......but I still wasn't sure.
Back to my legs. I never stopped praying to God. I just always felt selfish praying for myself. I got over it and prayed, PLEADING that somehow I would be able to run. I even humbled myself enough to get a priesthood blessing. I wasn't sure it would work but I was willing to test my faith in ANYTHING that could help me fulfill a dream. A week later my breastie, Charity, told me her friend had a friend who could probably help me.
His name is Tom Fletcher and he is a Chiropractor by trade. I had never been to a chiro nor did I really think he could fix me, but again I was willing to try ANYTHING!!! I first went to his office two weeks pre-race. Turns out he is not any old chiro. He is certified with Ironman and has worked with Olympic athletes! He was confident he could help me get not only to the race but across the finish line. He is trained in a technique called Active Release Technique. It hurt like hell, and I was covered in bruises but IT WORKED!!! After working with him three times I was ready for the race.
I had gotten three opinions from three different docs as to whether doing the race would cause permanent damage and 2 out of three said, "As long as you take it slow!" The 1 was a total douche so I didn't really value his opinion anyway. I promised to take it slow, keep my muscles warm and take in a lot of electrolytes during the race. 
Mike and I packed up the kids, my running gear and our swimsuits and headed to St. George. Friday, Charity and I checked out the Marathon Expo, got our race bibs, attended a first timers seminar, ran into old friends, current friends, and the kids made signs to hold up for us as we crossed the finish line. I was beginning to think the blessing might have worked after all.
Saturday was RACE DAY!!! I woke up at 4:00, got dressed, taped my toes, put my KT tape on my knees and thighs, tri-glided my entire body, and laced up my kicks. Chard and I then headed off to the buses. It was quite the PARTAAY for 5 am. After we reached the top of the 26.2 mile drive UP the party continued: campfires, music, hugs, was so exciting! I had always heard it was freezing at the top so I was ready with my beanie, gloves and Savers sweats. Unfortunately, I didn't need them. I say "unfortunately" because it was a bad omen that it was already 60+ degrees. By the time the race started at 7:00 we had already stripped down to our tank tops and shorts.
The first eleven miles were easy breezy. NOTE: Whoever thinks the St. G marathon is all down hill has never RUN the St. G marathon! We took in all the excitement, my legs felt great and then.......MY LEGS STARTED BUCKLING!!!! I began to stress and by mile 13 I was in excruciating pain!!! I was half way to achieving this goal and I could barely move. When these muscles tighten my stride is basically cut in half. I could probably have walked faster than I could run at this point. SERIOUSLY! :( I prayed in my head that I would be able to make it and just kept going albeit slowly.
Well, God gave me something to take my mind off the pain and it was in the form of INSANE HEAT!!! The sun came up as we were passing the Veyo volcano and it was brutal! I know at some point it reached 93 degrees and if you factor in the black pavement I am sure it was 100 plus for us crazy runners! I began noticing people laying on the side of the road, getting taken away in ambulances with IV's, collapsing into volunteers' arms and getting into the shuttles. Now, these were not just newbees and old people. These were race veterans and serious athletes! It was HOT people!!! Between the heat and the pain I think I dissociated from life for a couple of hours. I was physically and mentally exhausted but quitting is not in my lexicon so I kept going.
Chard and I stayed together for most of the race, and even when we split up we always caught back up to each other. By mile 20 we were dead. Let's just say you do things during those last 6 miles you normally wouldn't do: you get over the fact there is no TP in the porta-John, you don't flinch at what you HOPE is a smooshed Power Bar on the road, you are so desperate for hydration you aren't above grabbing a water bottle off the freaking ground and you ignore the fact there is a layer of salt on your body and your skin is probably frying.
Teresa drove all the way down to watch me cross the finish line.
I made it!!!
By this time Chard and I had become buddies with this Asian guy from Cali. We were all tired and dead from the heat so we just kept each other going and joked about how miserable we were but how awesome we were for not getting into the now crowded shuttles. At mile 23 we were in the city and my legs were on fire. I could literally FEEL the ligaments ripping off the bone and my tendons were so tight I thought about cutting them to relieve the pressure. (I was not thinking clearly. lol) I wanted to stay with my buddies but I knew if I didn't get to the finish line soon I wasn't going to make it. I feel soooooo guilty because I knew Chard was struggling and yet I totally ditched her. :( I had hoped we would cross together and do some awesome toe touch or something. When I saw those silver balloons I was so happy, but when I saw my cute family and one of my other besties, Teresa, I was ELATED!!! I had made it and although I was disappointed in my time I had run my first marathon! I got my medal, gave some sweaty hugs and waited anxiously for Chard. She crossed soon after (after PUKING the last few miles!!! Again I feel like such a tool for leaving her.)

Breasties Forever!!!
The whole experience was such a trip! I have since learned that slmost 2000 people didn't even finish!!!! It was the hottest race St. G has had. Most people I know who were trying for PB times didn't come close. One in particular passed out at 20 miles! When people found out it was our first marathon they told us we had the worst possible conditions a first timer could have.

If you look closely you can actually SEE the layer of salt.
Now, do I think there was divine intervention? Um......DEFINITELY! I should not have been able to run, make it through the pain, and survive the heat on my own. Also, one of the nights I spent with my mom in the hospital before she died, I told her to meet me at the finish line when I finally ran a marathon. Did she? Again...DEFINITELY! Not only that, but I felt her with me throughout the race. I even wore a pink ribbon tatoo in her honor.
You may be wondering if this experience has scarred me from the marathon realm but actually the opposite is true. I am running the Ogden marathon next May and hope to get in the St. George Marathon for next October too. I figure it can't get any worse, right? ;)
Physical PROOF of where Tracy gets his crazy.
 I am still working on my testimony but I can tell you it has grown exponentially throughout this experience. And there hasn't been a day I haven't thanked God for His help and for helping me complete something I have wanted for so very long. I may need Physical Therapy for a few months, I am missing three toe nails, and I still have a crazy sunglass tan line, but this smile isn't going anywhere. :D
Mike loved capturing my pain. Walking to the pool the next day was like running another race! OWEY!!!

WARNING!!! DO NOT SCROLL DOWN IF YOU ARE SQUEAMISH!!!!!! It is a good thing pointe shoes ruined my feet years ago so I have never had pretty feet. Now they are just EXTRA ugly.

Anyone up for giving me a pedi?

I don't know but I've been told....Everett is four years old!

 I, I mean Everett, has been looking forward to an ARMY party all year long. ;) We are very patriotic around these parts so it was great to have an extra day to pay tribute to our troops and our blessed nation.
 Private First Class Bollinger reporting for duty.
 The ARMY rations given to all recruits.
 We wrote letters to the troops to thank them for their service.
I didn't do Drill Team for nothing people. I used my "skills" to teach the recruits a few drills and we had an official drill down. 
 Patriotic cupcakes and a Camo cake that looked a lot better in my head. Oh well, Ev loved it!
 I had to post this pic because I think it is so darn hilarious! I wonder what she is thinking?
Happy Birthday lil soldier! Your smile brightens my day, your voice is the most adorable sound in the world, your sense of humor is infectious and your heart is unconditional. We love you Ev and all that you bring into this world. Don't you ever change!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Labor Day Camping

Ev means business.
We decided that since we were already going to be up in Heber for the Swiss Cheese Days festivities that we should stay a couple of nights camping in the beautiful mountains.
Sometimes I think the twins and Summy could be triplets. 
 Our friends, the Sullivans, and their adorable 4 girls joined us. Piper joined us too because he has been a little depressed since Phoenix ran away.
We spent most of our time playing around our campsite and the Sullivan's trailor. The weather was pretty decent and the kids all had a blast! As for the adults, we kept ourselves busy with Darin's "GRUESOME" jokes. ;)
Before we went home on Saturday, we stopped my the park to play....and get SOAKED!!!! The kids were filthy but they were having such a fun time we didn't stop them. 

Swiss Cheese Days

Every September,  in the hearth of Midway, people gather from the far reaches of the state of Utah to celebrate Swiss Days.....

......Well Swiss Days is for suckas! Swiss CHEESE Days is where it's at! Our imaginative pal Ben created this new holiday as a means to eat cheese, gather, eat cheese, listen to music, eat cheese, play games and eat cheese.   

Ben put a lot of work into this event and it showed! For the first game all participants were to throw a piece of Swiss cheese into the middle of the Swiss flag. Next up was the "Is it Velveeta?" game. We were blindfolded and given a cracker with either Velveeta or spray cheese. I think Ben was the only one who got it wrong. LOL It was an awesome night and we appreciate all the work put into it. Can't wait for next year's festivities!!! 
Sehen Sie sp├Ąter!
It was the perfect opportunity for Summer to wear her little Swiss dress from Grandma and Grandpa. 

Monday, August 23, 2010

Back to School Fools

School Days, School Days, Back to School Again......

This year Tracy started Kindergarten and boy was he ready! When his ADORABLE teacher, Mrs. Aune, tested him at the beginning of the year he let his "Traciness" shine through. She asked if he knew his letters and numbers and he raised his arms up gangsta style and replied, "BRING IT ON!" LOL He is such a character. We are lucky to have all day KG at our school. 

I am too cool to smile.
I'm gonna rock this place!
CUTEST teacher EVER!!!
I am working in the third grade again this year. Tracy's class is down the next hall so we run into each other a lot. I still adore my job and my students. Those of you on FB know some of the hilarious things that come out of their mouths. Once I am caught up I will post some of them. 

Everett began his second year of Preschool with Miss Anna and Miss Ginger. He has developed quite the singing voice and his teachers called the day of his performance very disappointed he was sick. They said he was their "star". :( He is always happy to help out and his smiling face brightens our days. It also brightens the face of his girlfriend, Jocelyn. He has come a long way with his "CK" and "T" sounds so no more asking him to say he loves KITTIES!!!!You know who you are. 

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Buh Bye Jame....Park Silly style.

Well, we said Goodbye to Dave with a party so it was only natural we go ALL OUT when it was Jami's turn to head off to Minnesota. Those of us who could make it piled into Amber's Suburban and drove up to Park City for the night.
We began our night with some delectable treats from  SWEET TOOTH FAIRY and then ate dinner at Loco Lizard. As always, we were the loudest group in the restaurant.....especially when we started taking pictures. And when we tried to pull other people INTO our pictures. LOL Fun stuff.

After our bellies were ready to burst we checked into our fancy schmancy  hotel. Jami had a connection at the Waldorf Astoria in PC so we got a really good deal for the night.

We chatted by the pool till we got too cold, then headed to a movie. Being the ONLY non chick flick fan in the group I lost out and we went to see, "Eat, Pray. Love". I think seeing it with my favorite gals made it fun. :) I am still looking for the rest of these stay tuned. ;)
NOTE TO THE PERSON WHO LEFT THE TOILET FOR ME TO UNCLOG......there will be revenge. Oh yes! There will be revenge.

Friday, July 30, 2010

A Rockstar in the making!

I think Summer started singing before she started talking. Now, EVERY song must be sung to and EVERY melody must be danced to. We love our little Diva so much we threw out all the stops for her second birthday and ROCKED OUT in her honor.
I tried to make her invitation look like a magazine cover. Mike snapped this shot in Lake Powell and it captures Summy's rock star attitude PERFECTLY!
 For her party Summy wanted pink hair and the boys wanted green. I recently put a purple stripe in my hair so I figured they could have colored hair too. We had a good time getting everyone decked out. Everett always wants to play in my makeup so I let him wear eyeliner for the party. I think he looks like a member of Green Day. Not many three-year old boys get to wear MAC graph black. Ha ha ha.

 Guests arrived and were directed to the "PINK CARPET". I know it should be red but red didn't go with the theme of the party. Yes, I AM that OCD. lol Anyway, I put up a several tabloid pics as well as advertisements with pictures of SUMMER, the celebrity. They were so much fun to make that I could have made 100 more!
Who's ready to party? I love that she is all dolled up yet playing in the dirt! Is there any question she is my daughter?
 The colors for the party were pink, black and silver so the cake had to follow suit. I must say, I finally kicked fondants butt! We have had a love/hate relationship for a couple of years but now I think we have come to a compromise: I promise not to throw it against the wall if it promises not to be too sticky or break apart when I roll it onto the cake.
The girls enjoyed playing FREEZE DANCE more than the boys. That is probably why Zoe and Oakley won. I wish we'd gotten pictures of the first game. I called it "POP THE PAPARAZZI". We blew up a bunch of balloons and drew cameras on them. Since everyone at the party was a celebrity they got to POP the PAPARAZZI. They had a blast!
 Before we cut the cake the kids all got to make their own cupcake microphones. It was MESSY but oh so FUN!
Summy wasn't all that into blowing out the candles. She just wanted to eat the cake. Everett even blew out the candles for her.
I have never seen so much PINK as when Summy opened gifts! Pink dress ups, pink backpack, pink shoes, pink boxes, pink bags, pink tissue paper, and one Buzz Light Year (Whew!)

We always have such a great turnout for our parties and it makes me grateful we have so many people who truly care about us and our little family. No wonder Summer thinks she is a Rock Star! She is always being showered with love and attention. :)
Every celebrity went home with a SWAG BAG just like they do at the Academy Awards and other celeb. shin digs. Only I doubt Angelina goes home with Pop Rocks and George Clooney only WISHES he had a guitar shaped bubble necklace. Everyone even got an autographed picture of SUMMER. I am sure they will be worth a lot of money one day. ;)
 I LOVE THIS GIRL! Even when I catch her playing with her new Princess Vanity in the middle of the night. Although she is only two she is our family glue. We are all drawn to her sweet, calm disposition. Only she could get me to wear a princess crown and pretend to be Ariel. She is everything girl, but at the same time as rough and tough as any boy. I often worry that as the third child she is missing out on attention or learning experiences. In reality, it's just the opposite!!! Her brothers have taught her far more than I. In fact just today she pointed out an octagon to Mike. We were both flabbergasted! As sweet and small as she is I see immense strength in my little Diva. I know she has a great future ahead of her and look forward to seeing her reach her full potential.
What were we laughing about Jame? It looks like it was really hilarious and I can't remember.