Stuck in a Rut

Well my dear blogging friends, I have a confession to make: I dread making lunch each day.  I really don't mind cooking, but for some reason lunch is my achilles heal.    I feel like we are eating the same things all the time. We eat leftovers when we have them, quesadillas, grilled cheese, tortellini, macaroni and cheese, and sometimes sandwiches.  If I am organized enough to think about lunch at breakfast time, I might make chili, homemade soup, or tacos.  The mornings generally fly by as we are doing school and household chores, then lunch is here and I start to panic because I have no clue what to serve my kids. I am tired of what we have been eating -  I need some help to shake up our lunchtime routine - any easy, kid friendly suggestions?


I am hoping

that these shoes can carry me 26.2 miles.  Yes, you read that correctly, 26.2 miles
I will be running in my first marathon on June 1st in San Diego.  

I will be participating in the marathon with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Participating in a marathon with LLS has been on my heart for a few years.  I decided this was the year since my kids are a bit older so getting out to train will be a little easier, I will turn *gulp* 35 this summer and I wanted to do something big in recognition, and I am hoping this will help me lose the last of the baby weight.

Last spring, we learned our neighbor Jack had leukemia.  Due to the research through LLS, Jack is in remission and taking a daily medication.  He did not have to have a bone marrow transplant, chemotherapy, or radiation.  A few years ago, the only treatment for Jack would have been a bone marrow transplant.  

I am running in honor of Jack.  I am hoping to raise $5000 for LLS.  If you would like to donate to LLS and my efforts, there is a link on my sidebar.  

Over the next four months, I will be training and logging a lot of miles.  I am hoping my shoes will carry me changed, uninjured, and renewed across the finish line.


Puppy Love

Mauryn made a new friend, a cockapoo named Zachy.  Here is where Mauryn spent her awake time on Sunday afternoon: 

Hamming it up when she realized the camera was out! 



She throws her head back, the tears are streaming down her face, her back arches, she tries to get out of my grip, the crying and screaming pierce my ears - my baby is in a full fledged tantrum.  She wants her independence and her freedom, yet she
 doesn't have the words to tell me her wants and needs.  The tantrums surprise me.  She has been such an
 easy going and gentle baby.  Now she is becoming an unpredictable toddler.   She is petite in stature but strong in her will.  It is an adventure watching her personality unfold.  She doesn't seem to have a middle ground - there is one extreme or another.  I can honestly do without the tantrums (couldn't we all). It is part of this stage that I don't want to remember, I don't want to embrace.  

I see the sweet and gentle side of my baby.  It melts my heart.  It makes me forget the tantrum that may have been just moments before. I see her wave hello and blow kisses to the grandmas at church who love babies, I see her lay her head on the shoulder of our elderly neighbor who misses holding and loving on babies, I see her laugh and play with her siblings, I see her face light up when I come in the room, I see her race for the door when she hears the garage door open and she knows her daddy is home.  I love those mo
ments.  I treasure watching her trying to take her first steps, say her first words, imitate her siblings in play - it is an amazing gift to be able to experience these moments.  I know I can't have the excitement and joys without the feelings of frustration and helplessness as she throws her tantrums.   This stage will pass in a blink.  I am watching eyes wide open. I don't want to miss a thing.


Is it okay to cry

at your daughter's gymnastics meet because you are so proud of her and her teammates?

I hope so, because I did!  Morgan had her second gymnastics meet of the season today and improved immensely since the last meet.  It was so fun to see her perform and do so well.  After the meet they had an awards ceremony.  Awards were given for the top three teams and the all around competition.  Morgan placed 4th out of 18 for her age group! When I caught Lance's eye and saw that he was getting choked up it brought more tears to my eyes. (I haven't seen my husband get emotional very many times in our 11 year marriage ). Then our gym took 1st place overall at this level.  As we were walking to the car, Morgan was just bouncing with excitement but not over her personal accomplishment but over the fact that their team took first place.  Lance and I just looked at each other and smiled. Again tears and a heart filled with joy that at this moment when the focus could have been on herself and her accomplishments, she was focused on the accomplishments of her team.  
Morgan receiving her 4th place trophy
I love this picture - just look at the excitement on their faces as they race up to get their first place trophy!

Morgan and her first place Level 4 gymnastics team


Happiness Is .....

 I am following Sarah's lead this morning! Here are the first (very random) thoughts that came to my mind that brought some happiness today:

- a family breakfast this morning
- vacuumed floors and a clean kitchen
- my kids laughing and playing together
- Schwan's French Vanilla ice cream (only available at the holidays) and crushed oreos - YUM!
- a complete workout this morning with no interruptions -just me, the elliptical, and the TiVo
- stay at home days - in pj's or comfy clothes and no place to go :o)
- snuggling in with the kids for bedtime stories
- quiet time with a good book
- a nap
- a weekend away with my family 
- a fountain soda
- watching my kids learn something new
- my baby taking her first steps
- being with friends who make me laugh
- an ever growing  list of books to read for 2008  thanks to my fellow bloggers and readers
- the new friends I have made through blogging 


A Room With

a doorbell! Yep, our hotel room in Sun Valley had a doorbell. 

Lance had a seminar for work on Friday in Sun Valley.  The company putting on the seminar invited families to join in on the weekend and put us up at the Sun Valley Inn.  Our room was incredible - as big as the main level of our first house about 1000 sq feet.  When I walked in I was in shock.  Our room had 3 bedrooms, 2 full baths, a kitchen, a dining room, and a living area.  It was a blessing to have this much space with the kids and privacy for bedtime and nap time.  Here are a few pictures of our room:

Here are some photos of the weekend in Sun Valley (sorry there are quite a few): 
Mauryn was so tired by lunch on Saturday she fell asleep on Morgan and then slept for 5 hours! That was one monster nap!
Landon attempting to snowshoe right outside our room. 

Landon and Morgan on the sleigh snow sculpture.
The view from the pool! Notice the steam - the pool was outside!  There were walls surrounding the pool but there was no roof. The water was heated to 100-102 degrees. It was amazing - the kids loved it.  
Morgan and Landon taking a swim
The view of some of the shops in the Sun Valley village. On the property there is a deli, many restaurants, a book store, gift shops, a chocolate foundry, two ice skating rinks (one inside and one outside)the lodge, and the inn as well as some condos.
There were many ice and snow sculptures around the property.

For some reason the only thing on Landon's agenda was to go bowling!  There is a bowling alley in the basement of the lodge. So, Landon got in his first bowling experience.

Check out those sweet bowling shoes - Landon wanted to know why he couldn't take them home.

We are so thankful for the opportunity to stay in Sun Valley at the inn for the weekend. It was just beautiful - lots of snow on the ground, sunshine, and mild temperatures. Lance was able to ski at Sun Valley and loved it (the best place he has EVER skied).  The kids and I were able to just lay low and enjoy some quiet afternoons.  It was a much needed reprieve from the day to day routines.

Reading Challenge 2008

Jennifer tagged me for a book meme.  As I was reading her meme and some others, I began to realize how limited I have been in my reading.  I have read few, if any classics.  I have read few books listed on book club selection lists.  I love to read, but I have a narrow field of books I have read.  I tend to lean toward the same authors, the same type of genre - in general I do not challenge myself. If a book doesn't grab me, I won't stick with it.  I know I am missing out on some great works of literature by not being persistent.   

Morgan is an avid reader. She reminds me of myself at her age. She will finish a book in one sitting. She will read for hours on end in her room.  She seems to always have a book with her.  I am thrilled she has such a love for books and reading. I also see her tending to read the same authors, the same types of books and being hesitant to challenge herself in reading something out of her comfort zone.  (Her mother has been a poor role model!)

We are studying the Revolutionary War in school right now. I found a great set of books put out by Scholastic.  The books are written in different historical time periods (each time period has a set of 3 books) from the perspective of a young girl writing a diary. When I first showed the books to Morgan she was less than thrilled with the idea of reading these books.  I told her she had to read one of the Revolutionary War books before she could read one book of her choice (Hmm, maybe I need to take a bit of my own advice).  There was a bit of grumbling but as she got into the book, she loved it.  It was very exciting for her to make the connections to what we are studying in school.  There have been lots of Aha moments - so cool!

So, I am going to do the book meme, but later. I am putting it on hold while I broaden my reading horizons.  Jennifer, I hope you don't mind!  What I need, my fellow bloggers and readers, is suggestions (any must reads for an avid reader) for my personal reading challenge for 2008.  I will keep a list on my sidebar of the books that have been suggested and mark them off as I read them. To hold myself accountable, I will do a monthly update on my progress.

I am looking forward to seeing your suggestions and beginning my reading challenge!  



My boy has been doing some thinking lately.  Here is what has been on my sweet boys mind:

Landon: Mom, what are the shepherds names?
Me: I don't know their names
Landon: Yes, you do
Me: No, honey I don't know their names. The bible just says the shepherds.
Landon: I know who knows the shepherds names
Me: Who?
Landon: Mary and Joseph
Me (smiling): Yes, I am sure they did
Landon:  Mom, what the names of the guys who nailed Jesus to the cross?
Me: I don't know their names
Landon (quite emphatically): I NEED to know their names
Me: Honey, I just don't know
Landon (with a strange look on his face and his deep voice): It wasn't Mary and Joseph was it?
Me: Oh no!  They loved Jesus very much, just like daddy and I love you very much. 
Landon (with relief): Oh okay, but I still want to know the names of the guys who nailed him on the cross.


Braces Update #1

Morgan had her first check up with the orthodontist since getting her braces on 8 weeks ago.  It is AMAZING how fast her teeth have moved into place.  The two teeth that were crooked are already straight. Yesterday they put chains (yes chains) on her teeth to move them together.  She will have these on for 7 weeks and then get a new wire and prepare for her retainer. Morgan was able to pick new band colors yesterday and since it is competition season for gymnastics she picked the colors of her gym - black and green - Go Danik!

It was snowing yesterday as we left for Morgan's appointment.  The older kids were getting their coats and boats on in the garage (still out there from skiing the night before) and I came out to find Landon like this:
That boy and his ski helmet!  He wanted to make sure he didn't get any snow on his head. I think he accomplished his task.  He wore that helmet to the orthodontist, taking Morgan to gymnastics, the grocery store, and playing outside in the snow.  He was quite a sight and gave many who saw him a good chuckle yesterday!


It would feel just like home except

they don't believe in SNOW PLOWS in Idaho!!!!  Seriously, I think there is one snow plow for the entire valley.  Besides the interstate, I haven't been on one plowed road today. UGH! We have at least 3 inches on the ground and it is still snowing. It is absolutely beautiful as long as you don't have to drive anywhere.  We have had more snow in the last two weeks than in the past two winters we have lived here.  I love the snow, it makes it feel like back home.  I love that there is enough snow the kids can get outside and play in it. The mountains had 9 new inches yesterday,  so Lance took Morgan and Landon up for some night skiing. It was very quiet on the mountain : not many lines + plenty of runs down the mountain = Lance and the kids having a blast!


It is time

to start school again and get back to our "normal" schedule and routine.  Between the two little ones being sick at the beginning of break and Morgan still having gymnastics practice, it didn't feel like we had much of a break.  

I did get most of my Christmas break to do list accomplished. Since I was housebound with Mauryn for most of break, I was able to get many closets cleaned out, the school room and laundry room closets cleaned and organized, and the kids' bedroom closets and bookshelves organized and even two weeks worth of school planning - yeah!  It felt so good to get that stuff done, but  I was feeling like Morgan and Landon didn't get to have much fun over their Christmas break. So, last Thursday I called to get a babysitter for Mauryn so I could take Morgan and Landon to see Mr. Magoriums Wonder Emporium. The movie was now playing at the cheap theater, which was great for the price but it is a less than desirable part of town and it is old, the seats are worn, they don't pick up the trash between the showings, the popcorn isn't as good (the important things) etc..  I was a little disappointed we would be seeing the movie there since it was Landon's first time at the movie theater.  Landon was so excited to go to the movies he didn't care where he saw the movie, he just wanted to make sure he had sfiky (ie spiky) hair!

Oh by the way, the movie was very good.  Landon got really sad at one point (I don't want to spoil the movie if you haven't seen it) but otherwise both kids really enjoyed it.


Bye Bye Breast Milk

It's gone.  The last bags of frozen breast milk have been shipped.  I shipped the first cooler with 118- 6 oz bags, about six weeks ago. I have had this second cooler in my garage and I just haven't been motivated to send the breast milk.  Shipping the milk marked the end of a season - the end of Mauryn's babyhood and most likely the end of any more babies in our home.  I wasn't ready to say good bye to that time.  Then this week as I was organizing our closets, bonus room, and bedrooms, I realized I needed to let go of the milk.  I know it seems silly but I was hanging onto that milk for purely sentimental reasons.  So good bye to the breast milk, good bye to Mauryn's babyhood - hello space in the freezer!

The 3 am Wake Up Call

Beep. Beeeep Beeeep. Beep.  Shake the cobwebs from my sleepy head.  What is making that noise.  Lance's pager.  Check my watch. It is 3 am. Lance gets up and heads out into the cold, wind, and rain to help a cow have her calf.  Thank you Lance for being dedicated to your job, for not complaining about the wake up call, and for being quiet so I could fall back asleep.  I am thankful it is Saturday so you can go back to sleep after returning home. Sleep well!


Embrace 2008

Imagine my surprise when I picked up a box of Life cereal and the word written on the back of the box was Embrace - my word for 2008!  The cereal box says Embrace life: look at life in a new way, make the most of rainy days, and reach new heights.  

Instead of setting New Year's Resolutions, goals and expectations that are set so high they usually just leave me with a sense of failure, I am going to embrace and celebrate who I am and what blessings I have in my life. Of course there are things that I want to improve in 2008, but if I am realistic in knowing who I am and what I can accomplish I won't set myself up for failure.  

I am embracing:
- my relationship with my husband
- my kids- who they are and who they are becoming
- my relationship with God
- this season of life - it goes all too fast and I don't want to look back and say if only I had....
- my 34 (almost 35) year old body
- learning to say no and not feel guilty
- who I am - what my strengths are, what my challenge areas are, improving where I can and accepting what I can't
- this journey of homeschooling 
- healthy eating habits -knowing we aren't perfect, we do the best we can and it works for our family
- more pajama days
- more days of silliness and laughter

I am looking forward to a new year and excited to see what 2008 holds.