Monday, June 29, 2009
Thursday, June 25, 2009
So, we sent Sarah on an airplane all by herself. I kept saying to her, "Are you SURE you aren't just a LITTLE BIT nervous??" Because I was nervous. She did great. Made it there in one piece. The only other time she has been on an airplane was when she was 3, so she doesn't remember much. I told her not to worry about any loud noises or plane jiggling. It's normal. If everyone around her was ok with a little shaking, she should be too. But, if everyone else started freaking out, then she should too. She laughed.
I miss that girl. She is such a good kid. As a baby and toddler and young child, she was very difficult. She could tantrum with the best of them. Old home movies and stories from her aunts and uncles can confirm this fact. The 5 year gap between Sarah and Kate was calculated, oh so calculated. The 6 year gap between Kate and Abby, however, was not.
Just in the last year, it's like magic! Sarah has grown up a ton. Not just physically (my parents keep saying, "Woah, Sarah has grown up! She looks like a teenager." An 11 year old teenager), but emotionally and spiritually and all that stuff. She's going to be my next beehive in December. I feel old. We've become great friends, and I'm realizing that this is a really fun part of parenting that I was never told about. Not to mention that fact that she does chores and jobs for me. I'm liking this arrangement. Naturally, I'm missing her. But she is in heaven with all her cousins (0k, that sounds like they are all dead). We moved here when she was 6, and she has missed every moment of Utah and my family. She can't wait to grow up and move back. I don't think she's going to want to come home.
Monday, June 22, 2009
Last day of school at EZ Orchards. Every year on the last day, I take the kids to have awesome, fresh strawberry shortcake, with real, biscuit shortcake. Well, I have shortcake. Kate has a boring vanilla cone, and Sarah had a strawberry smoothie.
Everything is better with binoculars.
On our hike, we saw a cabin. Kate said, "Wow Dad! Look at that cabinet!" Correction. We need to get out more.
Why is Neal standing on the other side of the guard-rail?! My baby is on his back! Take your OWN risks, Neal! Leave the kid out of it!
Proof that the Abster is a born hiker.
I downloaded some pics from my camera. A couple of weeks ago, we went hiking at Silver Falls State Park. It was great fun! Back in the olden days, Neal and I used to hike at least 3 times per week. We would get home from work/school, strap Sarah into the old baby backpack, and hike. Neal was a mountain goat in his previous life. We miss those old times. In Oregon, the hikes aren't out our back door. With our move (5 years ago!!), we have lost our hiking souls. Well, this summer, we have committed to buy back those souls. We're excited about our next hike on the coast.
We had a great Father's Day. Actually, Neal kept calling it "Father's Day Weekend." No extra church meetings! I made Neal lots of food. Keeps the man happy. Wings, nachos, bbq pulled pork sandwiches with cole-slaw topping, and some Pepsi. Kate insisted on making him a heart shaped chocolate chip cookie with frosting and sprinkles. I think I ate most of it. Sorry Neal.
I pretty much have the best husband. He's a good dad, too. How many other husband's wear ear-protection to mow the lawn? I would have taken a picture, but Neal wouldn't have been happy. He was out of his little foam ear plugs. So, he gets out his big, huge, mega ear protection for shooting. Those look AWESOME perched atop his bald head. If anyone wants a laugh, drive by our house every Saturday morning at about 9am. He won't disappoint.
No, really, all kidding aside. . . . Neal is the best. He's kind, loving, funny, smart, hard-working, considerate (so much so, that he makes me look bad), and a bag of chips. My girls are lucky to have him for a dad.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
The Swing Bike. . . we had one. It was Orange. It was hard to ride. My mom crashed in front of our house one time. I'm sure she was really embarrassed. First, for being a grown woman on such a goofy looking bike, second, for trying to ride the bike while engaged in "Full Swing Mode." Dangerous. I think every 2-wheeled rider in my family crashed on that thing. Including my Dad. It wasn't long before we weren't allowed to engage the swing mode. Off limits!
Here's a brief history if Swingbike's rise and fall. . . thanks google.
The Swing Bike is so unique that it was patented!
Invented by Ralph Belden of Cascade Locks, Oregon, USA sometime in the 1960s, the Swing Bike was granted a U.S. Patent in 1974 and, after further development and prototyping, went into production in Taiwan and was distributed "world wide" in late 1975. Initially owned and distributed by the E.B.M. Corporation of Santa Barbara, California, USA, the publicly traded company was soon to be moved to Logan, Utah, USA. The Swing Bike Company was headed by Patrick Hoggan (my uncle's brother), but most people remember the tie in with another family from Utah, the Osmonds. Advertised on the Donny and Marie Osmond TV Show, the Swing Bike became linked both in live action, radio and in print with the youngest Osmond entertainer, Jimmy Osmond. As the brochure stated, "With SWING BIKE, you can invent wacky maneuvers which leave everyone else bug-eyed in amazement!" The bike sold $98.50 in 1975, $119.00 in 1976, and was back down to $99.00 in 1978. The production colors were Yellow, Blue, Orange, and Green. The Swing Bike company would distribute instructions for how to run a Swing Bike Rodeo with competitions including slalom, obstacle course, pylons, curb ride, and, of course, the wheelie. This fun would continue until around 1978 or 1979. I don't know if the demise was coincidental with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) weighing in on bicycles in 1978 or too many kids' mothers left "bug-eyed in amazement", but the company gave up on the bikes and tried to move (unfortunately not along with their shareholders) into other products before folding (their trademark expired in 1983).
I think we got our bike around 1983 - when the company went bye bye. As an attorney's wife, I find it amazing that the bike came with instructions on how to kill yourself.
Monday, June 15, 2009
First, do I want to ride uphill or downhill on my way home? The 2 gas stations were the same distance from my house, but one was uphill and one was down. Second, how much money do I have? If it's under a dollar, I could get way more for my money at the Sev, because they had an assortment of candies for 5 cents each. Like Bazooka gum, suckers, Reeses pb cups (the small ones), fun size snickers - you know, stuff like that. Third, how hot is it outside? The walk to the Sev was in the sun for the whole way. Whereas the walk to Holiday was mostly shady and bordered by a ditch, which we all know, makes the temperature a bit cooler. And the walk would be a bit less boring as we raced popsicle sticks down the ditch. Oh, the decisions of a kid with a little money burning a hole in her pocket.
I remember one time when I had a few dollars and wanted a slurpee (that meant I had to go the the 7-11, naturally). Angie wanted one too. She didn't have any money and knew that I did. So, she was really nice and said I could ride her 10-speed if I would buy her a slurpee too. Of course I obliged because for some reason, I always did what my big sister said. My tire was flat, and knowing I could ride her bike made the 1 mile trek to the 7-11 seem a whole lot easier. Well, I was by myself, and when I walked out of the store with a giant size slurpee in each hand, I realized I had a dilemma. How do I ride my bike home? Good thing I was an expert at riding with no hands, because that's what I had to do. I rode with no hands the whole way home, except when I turned the corner to my street. I touched my wrists gingerly to the handle bars to make the turn. Are you impressed? You should be. It's amazing I didn't totally biff it all in the name of a slurpee.
I hope my kids make some sweet memories of summer at the gas station with a little money in their pocket's going jing-a-ling-a-ling.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
"Dude, get me outta this thing. It's makin' me crazy!"
"Hey, maybe if I just chew the bars off. . . ."
"Come on - just a few more bites. . . . just BE the beaver."
"Nope. Not workin'. But hey, my teeth are nice and sharp now! The better to bite your ear, Kate! Watch out!"
"Woah! Look at my new trick! I can pull myself to the standing position. I'm WAY better than Sarah and Kate. They didn't do this till they were almost in kindergarten (practically)."
So, my baby is pretty much amazing. I'm starting to remember how incredibly fun it is to have a little one around. Here are a few things she is most excellent at --
- can pull herself up to various objects. She earned her first "owie" on Sunday - a nice scratch under her eye from hitting her head against the entertainment center.
- can crawl super warp-speed fast! Amazing, considering she's a slow Peton.
- is a good eater.
- claps every time you say, "Yeah for Abigail!"
- waves at everyone, all the time, at any place.
- just started throwing her first tantrums last week. Oh, the joy.
- can scream just as loud, high pitched, and crazy annoying as her sisters did when they were young. Wait, they still do. What's up with that? Must be a girl thing.
- loves her daddy, but really loves her mom too. I think I'm the fave. I love being the best.
- smells just like her dad, and that's awesome! I love the smell of Neal in the morning.
- takes the morning train. She works from 9 to 5 and THEN, she takes ANOTHER home again, to find me waiting for her.
Isn't she amazing?
Oh, and the other 2 kids aren't bad either. I guess I'd better throw in the token children, lest they think I only care for the babe.
Monday, June 8, 2009
Sarah had her "end of the year band concert." As always, she did a great job. This years concert was unique. The middle school invited all alumni or parents who play an instrument to join in the song, "Louie Louie." I asked Sarah if she would mind her old mother playing along. She assured me that it wouldn't embarrass her TOO bad. And, I assured her that yes, I know what song she is talking about. "Mom, you need music" Sarah said.
"No, I don't" I said.
"But Mom, how are you supposed to know what to play if you don't have music? Have you even HEARD of the song Louie Louie?" asked Sarah.
"Trust me, I know this song. We played it like a billion times in high school pep band and even in jr. high marching band for the 4th of July Granger/West Valley Parade."
"But Mom, do you remember how it goes?"
"Sarah, I play the drums. Most of us are stupid and just follow along. I'll do fine." I said. I don't think she was fully conviced until she saw for herself.
So, I (actually, Neal) got the drums out of the attic, dusted them off, and tried my hands (and feet) at the old instrument. It was pretty fun. Some of my fondest memories are of jr. high and high school band.
After the concert, as I was getting ready to take down my drum set, the middle school chief drummer was trying to challenge me to a drum-duel. Let me explain some of the lesser-known facts among the percussion underground. There is a percussion hierarchy in every school band. There's the kid who plays the best and always gets to play the drum set, then there are all the rest. . . you know, the bass drum players, cymbal crashers, triangle players, cow-bell ringers, clave players, finger cymbal experts. . . the wannabees. Anyway, the chief guy was pounding away at his set that was across the gym. I got taunts from some of the other kids, "you play too, and see who's best!!" Well, the kid was pretty good. Especially for a 7th grader. But, I am better, and didn't want to make him feel embarrassed. You know, being clobbered by a housewife. That could end his career.
Thursday, June 4, 2009
As you may know, I live in the hood of Salem. Not the hood-hood, but still pretty much hood. The traffic court I had to go to was pretty close to my house, wedged right between the Taco Bell and the 7-11 right off of Lancaster (the 3500 South of Salem, for all of you West Valleyans). When I walked in, the courtroom was already full of various people. I took the last seat left, right in the front row, next to an old man with long, greasy, yellow-gray hair and beard who smelled of old coffee and cheap cigarettes (probably Ligget's - the stinkiest of them all). He had long fingernails - seriously long - like a lady. Anyway, he had the most ingenious idea. You know when you get holes in your jeans? Well, those holes make a perfect place to clip your cell-phone. I'll have to remember that little tip for future use.
Anyway, I was one of the last to be called, so I was fortunate enough to hear what everyone was accused of. Fun! I have a suspicion that many of those people had been in court before. There was the old lady who had to be at least 90, could barely walk, see, or hear, and was accused of going 65 in a 45. I thought old people drove too slow! I need to get behind THAT lady sometime.
Then there was the lady who had her license revoked because she had her billionth ticket in a short period of time and was driving around too fast with her baby not buckled. Her excuses didn't sit well with Judge Summers.
Best of all, during the hearings, there was an altercation in the back of the court. This lady starts talking on her cell phone. A man nicely reminds her there is no talking in the courtroom. She got really mad and started arguing and being very difficult. They took the matter outside to the lobby, and the clerk had to call the cops and the lady was arrested!! You'd think people would be on their best behavior when they're in a courtroom and in trouble to begin with.
Well, my turn came, and I was ready with my argument and I had the ORS traffic code all printed up. According to the actual law, I didn't do anything wrong. But, I must be a bad arguer, because the judge told me I still did something wrong, and I still had to pay. But at least he gave me a 50% discount. So, instead of paying $242, I only have to pay $121 to the County of Marion. I'm ok with that. It was almost worth the show!
Monday, June 1, 2009
The ocean is somewhere behind us, I promise. There was a little fog.
Here we are at "Oh-dark-thirty" in the morning. L to R Deena, Linae, Ann, Mike and Amy Jo (lovers - ok, husband and wife really, but probably lovers too), and myself. Ann is 8 months post-partum, Linae is 9 month post-partum, I am 10 months post-partum, and Amy Jo is 7 months post-partum WITH TWINS! Yeah, she and her husband ran the marathon, and have 4 kids under 4. Wow, those reflective specks on our clothes really do reflect!
So, here goes the narrative of the 2009 Newport Oregon Marathon. . . . . I apologize in advance if there is mildly offensive language or random ramblings. But OH MY OH MY THE ANGELS UP ABOVE!!!!! It was hard. So very, very hard.
This is my third marathon. Number one was The Top of Utah Marathon in September of 2000. Pretty good experience. Hard and lonely (I trained and ran by myself). Number two was just two years ago at the 2007 Newport Oregon Marathon. I ran with Amy Jo, and I don't remember so much pain and anguish. Heck, Neal and the girls and I even camped out the night before. But on Saturday, I think I was knocking in death's door. Ok, maybe not that dramatic, but I was knocking on the door of "I just might puke and fall over."
It all began on Friday as we packed-up for a weekend at the coast. We left a couple of hours later than expected on account of a detailed question from Number 2 about the birds and the bees. Drop everything, 'splain some stuff, realize you have now entered a new phase in parenting, and continue on. That was a funny experience. Good bye to the cloak of innocence. Enough said for now.
So, we all (the marathoners) rented a beach house in Depoe Bay. It was great. The kids played and "swam" in the hot tub, while the adults chatted. In the adult conversation, I actually learned that there are people who really think they are vampires. They don't suck blood, but they thrive off sucking the life-energy out of those around them. More on that to come.
Race day arrived. It was a bit chilly and there was a nice cold, wet fog at the start. After waiting in the mile-long line just to go pee into a port-o-pottie (you'd think we were waiting in line for Neil Diamond tickets. That was THE place to be), we lined up for the race. And. . . . we were off.
Ann and Linae are fast, so they were all "smell ya later!" and then they were gone in a puff of smoke. Deena and I clicked off in the middle, and Mike and Amy Jo were a tad bit behind us.
Mile 1 . . . ok. Newport is a nice place.
Mile 2. . . smile. Pretty fun.
Mile 3. . . hmmm, I don't remember it being this hilly at the beginning.
Mile 4. . .Oh, I love running here along the main drag and the wooden board walk. It's pretty! And that bridge! We were escaping the low clouds from the coast and the sun was starting to shine on the fishing boats. Mental 'camera click.' It was beautiful, and I said to Deena, "How lucky are we to be able to train out in the country-side of the Willamette Valley, then come over here and run a marathon." Landscape luck.
Mile 5. . . I think my pace is just a few seconds faster than normal. That's ok.
Mile 6. . . Wow, we've been running for an hour already.
Mile 7. . .pee-pee break.
Mile 8. . . Smile! Time for our picture! I need to run like I'm tough. Unfortunately, one of our shots caught me at a moment when inertia and gravity collide and my bosom was drooping to the earth. Swing low, sweet chariot. It makes me laugh. Deena bought that photo. I bought this one. I think Deena became a victim of inertia and gravity in this photo.
Mile 9. . . I'm still here
Mile 10. . . Hmmmm. I am a little too tired for mile 10. Some worry started creeping in.
Mile 11. . . Bam! Damn, that wall hurt! I started to really worry. The "Wall" at only mile 11? In my first marathon, it hit at 18. Two years ago, it was mile 23. But mile 11?!
Mile 12. . . Deena and I had promised ourselves we would keep each other running. No matter what. Her game face had showed up for the race. I was depending on it. At one point, she started pushing me from behind. I don't know what I would have done without her. Probably sat on the side of the road and cried.
Mile 13. . . blur. . . with some fragmented thoughts that made absolutely no sense. This continues for the rest of the day.
Mile 14. . . blur interspersed with pain and worry - and those little unicorns just out of reach. You know, the tiny ones who eat crab and fly around Newport? They were trotting all around me, whispering insults and telling my I looked like a birthing-hipped mom trying to prove something to nobody. They hurt my feelings. Deena couldn't see them, so I guess that means I'm more "in-tune" than she is. It's one of my spiritual gifts.
Mile 15. . ."Deena - sorry, but you're going to have to go on without me. I'm slowing you down." We split-up. I was starting to feel like a vampire, sucking the life out of her, because she was giving me energy and hope to go on, but I didn't want to drag her down with me. So long Deena! Congratulations, and I hope to see you at the finish, or at least at my funeral.
Mile 16. . . I walked and struggled to dig up any kind of energy or strength from my heart. But my heart was beating too fast for any kind of hope. I was down low at this point. I still had 10 miles to go, and it might as well have been 100. It was all the same. . . SUCKY!
Mile 17. . . YES! Fresh life to suck! Amy Jo and Mike had joined me with bells on! (Whatever that means) Well, they weren't bells, but they WERE singing a great Journey song in their beautiful voices. Don't Stop Believing is still in my head. It's my theme-song for this marathon. Side-note: Amy Jo is a professional singer, so the song was enjoyable to listen to. She's got quite the resume, her high-point being Christine in The Phantom of the Opera. The REAL Phantom. For reals. I can brag about having her as my friend. She's probably blushing right now. Here's a picture of "Team Love" as they crossed the finish line. I shed a tear. It's an awesome pic.
Mile 18. . . some good conversation, but I'm still dying.
Mile 19. . . the batteries are still running low, but I've got to keep going.
Mile 20. . . YES! We're in the 20's!! But there are still 6 miles left, which means at least an hour more. Hello depression.
Mile 21. . . I must apologize to Mike for sharing a little too much information about myself. I'm feeling like the morning after a drunken spree when I realize "I said WHAT? Oh man." (Having never been drunk myself, I'm just speaking from hearsay). I don't know if Mike will ever look me in the eye again. But I plead necessity. I had to say something to keep the crazies at bay.
Mile 22. . . I call Neal and tell him to come get me. I was only kidding, kind of. But I needed to let him know we were getting closer.
Mile 23. . . I stopped talking and had to focus on not crying. It makes my throat close. Then, I can't breathe. Try that when you can't breathe to begin with. It's called "suffocation."
Mile 24. . . Still trying not to cry.
Mile 25. . . I had a thought. I am a product of pioneer ancestors. And those children SANG as they walked, and walked, and walked, and walked and walked and walked. What's my problem? Oh, who am I kidding. This really sucks. And they had no choice. They HAD to walk. And they were walking, not running. And they were children. They have lots more energy than adults.
Mile 26 . . . I can hear the finish line and see Neal and my babies. Just .2 miles to go, and it's down-hill. I passed 3 ladies at the finish line. I think I almost knocked them over.
FINISH!! I was so glad to be done, I jumped up and hit the finish sign, then almost fell onto the lady putting the medal around my neck. I'm really sorry because I think I accidentally touched her breasts. She asked me if I was ok. I must have looked bad. I sure felt like &*%$. I didn't even check my time, or stop my watch, I was so tired. My official end-time was 5:26:58. As slow as that is, I'm very proud of myself. I averaged a 12:29 mile, which isn't bad considering the mile of walking and a couple of pit-stops. And, considering my "Hansen" ankles (worthy of a post) and general build that is NOT condusive to running. Here are our respective finish times: Linae 4:30:22, Ann 4:30:23, Deena 5:12:15, Amy Jo 5:25:41, and Mike 5:25:42.
The rest of the day is a blur of pain, body odor, a shower I think, and a nap. I started coming to myself after the hamburger, onion rings, diet coke and pizza kicked in. That was AFTER my whole digestive system, kidney's and liver decided to start working again. Then there was that dip in the hot tub. That felt good. I've never like hot tubs. It reminds me of taking a bath with company. Gross. But THIS hot tub dip felt heavenly.
We woke up Sunday morning, and packed up to make it home for 1:00 church. I had to speak in sacrament meeting. Nice. Anyway, I'm starting to recover. I'm glad I made it.
So, for those of you still with me (sorry for the book), here are a few things I've learned about marathons:
1). Normally I'm a "say no to drugs" kind of gal. But a little crack cocaine or meth might have been nice at mile 11. So, for those of you planning a marathon in the near future, you may want to consider crossing those tracks and getting to know your neighborhood dealer.
2). After the race, your kids will keep asking you for "some mints." They got the smell of bengay confused with the altoids.
3). I should have said "yes" when Ann asked me if I wanted to borrow some "Glide anti-chaffing" stick. Butt cheeks rub together many times when you run 26.2 miles.
4). During my visit to a port-o-pottie, I could tell that the previous occupant had cheerios for breakfast. Ever notice the hint of "cheerio" when you pee post-bowl?
5). Misery loves company. 800 runners showed up to join the suicide pact.
6). No matter how strong or tough I feel, there are always the old people that beat me. . . by alot.
7). I'm glad I wore my BYU hat. Mormon's are everywhere. Hiding under rocks, sneaking around the dumpsters, eavesdropping on your dinner conversations. You never know where you'll run into them. Apparently lots of Mormon's and/or BYU fans like to run marathons, and cheer for them. It was really nice to get the "Hi BYU!" encouraging cheers from time to time. Nothing like a little brother/sisterhood to help with motivation. I even gave some knowing winks, nods and chest bumps to a few "University of Utah" shirts. I was desperate.
8). Raw oysters stay in your stomach for miles and miles. The burps keep you company too. At mile 9? (I think. It's still kind of a blur), you pass an oyster farm. Then, you pass it again on the way back. The good people there give raw oyster shooters to the runners. I had 6 two years ago. Saturday, I only had 3 on the way up. I passed on more as I returned. But, I was so glad to see "Team Love" take their poison on the way down. They can now say they tried it. It's funny to see a grown man gag. I think the record holder this year downed 70 something. I'm sure her barf-puddle is still being lapped up by some sort of rodent as we speak.
9). There are benefits to having clear sports drinks at the aid stations. That way, when you think you are dumping water on yourself, and it's sports drink instead, at least your shirt isn't stained blue. Ask Deena. She thought she was throwing water in her face. I'm still laughing! That happened to me at a 10k in Provo on a hot 4th of July. I threw blue gatorade all over my front and finished the race blue, sticky, and embarrassed.
10). I've got to be honest - this marathon sucked. I don't think I will do another one. Lesson learned? Probably.