Monday, August 31, 2015

Tahoe - my new happy place

What a trip! We've returned home, and it was amazing. Short and sweet.  My first time away overnight from all 4 children... I've been so ANXIOUS about this for months! But I'm a million percent glad we did it. Loved every moment. Tahoe is an incredible place and Brian has a super fun team to spend a weekend partying with.

Tahoe morning run adventure

Best way to start off a Saturday!

Stretching across state lines

More beach pictures

This place is known as the "Alpine Caribbean." 


Easy to tell WHY!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

I'd like a manipedi with my flouride treatment please....

Apparently Tahoe dentists offer simultaneous spa treatments...so I could get a scalp massage and root canal at the same time! Brilliant.





(we saw this on our walk home from church. Yes we attend church services while on vacation... it's awesome. Such a breath of fresh air to attend a new ward and soak in that home-away-from-home feeling!)

Because nothing is as exciting as free printing...

We had several hours to kill between hotel checkout time and our airport shuttle departure.  I didn't want to keep wandering around the city because that just tempted me to wander myself back into Sno, the amazing froyo/cookie shop. And we'd already been there like 3 times in one weekend. That's just embarrassing.  SO - what else to do? Well, hang out in the Business Center of course!  Pragmatic me decided to get to work on a few things that required printing/faxing - some banking stuff, YW stuff,  our refinance (3.5% booyah!), blahblahblah.  Might as well get it done on the hotel's dime!

And Brian was quite content surfing through this favorite sites - ESPN, KSL  (yes, he still follows Utah news outlets).

Seriously though... kid-free productive time makes me happy.

Kayaking!!

This was a huge highlight of the trip for me!!
The day was SUPER windy and the rental place highly discouraged us from even attempting because the waves were wild. 
But I insisted and they said, "ok, your funeral!" and gave us the you're crazy look.
It was so fun! Brian said it was like riding a bucking horse! 
Totally worth the $35 for an hour of fun  (and entertainment - for our party on the beach. They got a kick out of watching us paddle around).

Sno

If you ever find yourself in South Lake Tahoe area... you must stop at Sno, the local froyo place. They have the most delicious cookies ever!! And you get a FREE one if you checkin there on Yelp!

Beach Bocce with the Medline wives

These girls were a lot of fun!

Bottoms up!

At the Riva Grill - a fancy schmancy restaurant where we had the "official" Medline celebratory dinner.  Unlimited drinks for all!
Quite entertaining to see these business professionals relax get a little tipsy. Or a LOT tipsy in a few cases... which was highly entertaining. Or disturbing. I was embarrassed for some of them. Do they know how ridiculous they look and act when they're drunk?!!
But I won't be quick to shame the drunken gluttons....because we weren't exactly being responsible either.
I don't even know how many calories were in all those virgin pina coladas and strawberry margaritas we partook of.
I don't want to think about it. Especially since it probably wasn't even close to the damage done by the AMAZING desserts they brought out... which was after the fabulous entrees....  Yeah, I'm going to have to do a major penance detox next week.  Oh well.

This photo, featuring Brian's happy shiny face, is of the group gift we made for Sean (the Division Manager, Brian's boss and the orchestrator of this party weekend). It's amazing - a flat metal picture. I can't do it justice with that lame description, but it was very very cool.   Hopefully this amazing team - the Pacific Northwest Divison of Medline Post Acute Sales - can earn the "Division of the Year" award again in the future so this party can have an encore!!
   

Windy Lake Tahoe cruise

Unlimited appetizers, drinks, lively company to converse with, stunning views of Emerald Bay, glimpsing some castle-mansions ..... what an evening!

























I love my Medline Man!

Transportation

Despite the look on Brian's face... he's having a really great time, promise. And despite the terribleness of this picture.... the scenery was GORGEOUS, promise!

Beautiful bridges, tunnels, and the grandest lake I've ever laid eyes on. Makes Priest Lake look like a dirty pond.

Sunday Tahoe beach walk

We got a ride TO church, but decided to walk home.
And I'm so glad we did! Or we would've missed out on experiencing the stretch of gorgeous beachfront off of Ski Marina.
Wow, so pretty.
We picked up little clamshells to bring home to the kids, and sparkly rocks (Bennett's favorite).

Made me wish our trip lasted a few more days!!
   

Checking in....and checking out!

Guess what is amazingly  easier without kids ....




(correct answer: everything, basically. But notably, in this case - FLYING!)

"Just one more deal before this flight takes off...."

I think he drove the flight attendants nuts. Dude doesn't like turning off his tools.

Yellow pine cone...!

I have no explanation for this. 
I just know that if you're out running and you happen to find a jumungous pine cone painted bright yellow on a golf course... it must be documented in all it's grandeur. 
So beautiful.
Wish I could've taken it home.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Tahoe shopping

We didn't do a whole lot of shopping, per se, but we spent a little bit of time wandering through the main drag.

I found a sock store that was literally just a gazillion different fun crazy socks.

Brian found a jerky store that was full of a huge variety of gourmet dried dead animals.

Guess which place we purchased thank-you gifts for my parents from....

Good morning giant pine cone

Bigger than my HEAD. 
Crazy steroid pine cones....
Worth pausing on my Saturday morning 10 miler to snap some silly photos of!

Hiding in Tahoe rocks....

Brian and I paused so many times on our morning run to snap photos that I'm not even sure I can count the mileage as a real workout.
But we definitely had fun documenting this part of the Tahoe adventure!

Greetings

This was really sweet to find in our hotel room upon arrival. Treats and a welcome note  (with our drink being nonalcoholic - how considerate of them :)

Brian's boss and his wife are awesome.
This whole trip, I could tell their focus was on making sure the 16 reps and their guests had an awesome time.
I'm so glad Brian works for a generous company with great leaders at the helm!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Sweetest artist

This is Brianna's drawing of Sammy leaving Sacred Heart Hospital (finally! After 2 months there!) and moving in to her NEW home at Life. I didn't even ask or talk to Brianna about doing this... she just randomly sat down and made it! Love! Might see if they'll let me frame it and display it in Sammy's cute home :)

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Owie

Poor baby banged her chin, causing her to bite her inside cheek - HARD - and we had a major bloody mess!  It's clearing up fast, thank goodness. But man... this toddler is racking enough injuries that someone is going to call the authorities on me.

5K in Medical Lake

In all the years I've lived here... I don't think I've ever been out to Medical Lake. It's about 40 minutes from us. Cute little town! Fun waterfront/beach area with a trail around the whole lake. Which conveniently totals about 3.1 miles!
So the Osteoporosis Foundation (or something like that) held a fundraiser race. Not super competitive, so I got to be the weiner. Hooray.
Actually I'm quite pleased with my time - 19:10, I think.
Getting closer to my sub-6-min-pace goal! And got an excellent free chair massage, osteoporosis screening (bone density is great, whew), and a free physical therapy screening where I learned that my Achilles pain is somehow caused by a back issue I wasn't aware I have.
Hmmm.... could just be a ploy of theirs to get me into their PT office and pay up!

On the way home we hit a few yard sales and scored some sweet deals off the fine citizens of Medical Lake.
  Best way ever to spend a Saturday morning!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Aquatic center - free smokey day

I'm so glad my friend/VT Suzanne invited us to go to the Aquatic Center today! And I'm even more glad that somehow the rest of Colbert/North Spokane was too scared of the smoke to come enjoy free admission day! It smells like a campfire everywhere here.  We had such a fun time anyway.
I brought Nathan, Devin, and Bethany with me, plus my 4 of course. So even though Suzanne has 11 (yes ELEVEN) children total, I actually outnumbered her today in little swimmers :)
Charity and her friend Grace - the Fullmer's daughter, adopted from China. Wearing almost matching suits!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The YELLOW family pictures

We survived another round of family pictures! I feel like I deserve an award for this. It's really really hard to just have everyone HAPPY at the same moment - like, no tears, no meltdowns - but happy, AND in clean clothes AND smiling in the general direction we tell them to?! Herculean task. But we did it! Decently, anyway. There's not one "PERFECT" photo, but these are all good *enough*.
Which is YOUR favorite?! I would appreciate input from the 20-or-so people who read this (I know you're out there! I see stats!!)




Wednesday, August 19, 2015

pool party

Nothing's better than new friends....especially when they happen to have gorgeous backyard pools :)

SWIFTS! At Hot Summer Nights 5K #3

I'm super excited about my new running team!
 
   
I'm officially a "Spokane Swift." The pink jersey is so fun! It's like instant bffs everywhere I look at races! Well, there's not THIS many of them at EVERY race, but I'm just pumped to be part of a team and have the motivation to get better and experience new running adventures. We have workouts once/week on the track, and Saturday long runs. And race discounts! Tonight was SOOOOOO awesome - we got a free race entries, and I'm thrilled with my time - 18:55 for about 3 miles. Last week was 19:40, and the previous week was 19:14, same course, but cooler weather tonight. That made a big difference. Oh, and I prepared better for the race. Finished as 3rd female, 1st in age group.  Brianna, Courtney and Bennett ran the race too!! Brianna finished in about 35 minutes, which I was quite shocked by. She did amazing! Her cousin Nathan ran with her (but she beat him in the last 100 meters :)   Courtney ran with her cousin Annalee (so sweet) and Bennett ran with his uncle Steve!  (who got tired with how slow Bennett was and put him on his back for the last half of the race :)   I won some cool prizes in the awards and raffle, as did a few of the kids. Super cute seeing their excitement when their names were drawn. It was just SUCH a fantastic evening. Loved it all so much.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

While he's still our little boy...

Bennett has been really snuggly lately. Always wanting to be cuddled, hugged, kissed..... He's fall asleep in our arms every night like this if he had his way.
Whenever I'm tempted to be a bit annoyed by it, I try to remember - he's not always going to be this way.  He's going to be a big kid, then a tween, teen, adult/man/husband/father.... and there will be no more sweet 5 year old kisses and snuggles from my Benneyboy. And I might find myself really really missing it.
SO - trying to enjoy every minute!
I heard a saying the other day, "Your son is your son until he takes a wife. But your daughter is yours for your whole life."   There's probably truth to that... just from my observations of the son/mother relationships I see around me...  So it's a darn good thing I've got more daughters than sons!  :)

Monday, August 17, 2015

Best tv show eva, brah

I've blogged about a lot of things in the past 8 years of regular posts.... But I don't think I've ever talked about any particular TV shows.  We don't really watch much.
There's nothing that's ever really grabbed my attention.
UNTIL NOW.
BECAUSE I'M IN LOVE WITH HAWAII-FIVE-O.
Seriously. I could watch episode after episode.
But I have a rule: I can only watch it while exercising.
So I take Brian's ipad out to the treadmill early in the morning, or after the kids go to bed, and it's my "escape" time. I do some serious sweating while watching Steve McGarrett and Danno and Chin and Kono and Lori chase the bad guys. My treadmill inclines to a max of 12...someday we'll get a new one (still using the one I won from NordicTrack at a SLC race 10 yrs ago) that inclines higher. Uphill speed walking is awesome. But only while watching shows that always begin with gorgeous scenes from Oahu.
Some plots are a little predictable.... some just blow my mind.   It's like the perfect balance of heart racing action scenes, drama, humor, and intensity.
So I guess this would be the cure for someone who didn't like exercising... get a TV you love and only let yourself watch it while hiking uphill on a treadmill!

Our 5 year old twins....

Every time I have to tell people my children's ages, I get a little caught off guard hearing myself say, "Courtney and Bennett are our 5 year old twins." REALLY?! My baby twins are 5?! So crazy.

Though they COULD start Kindergarten next month, we are choosing to let them be the OLDEST in their class, not the youngest.  I have very strong feelings on this topic (which - unbeknownst to me before being put in this position, MANY people also have strong opinions on!)
I feel like we're giving them such an advantage - not just academically, but in athletics, social situations, and even spiritually.  They'll be able to handle peer pressure issues better with that extra maturity, which will hopefully help them make righteous choices. 
School readiness is about SO much more than academics. The twins would be totally ready academically. But there's a bigger picture here. Much bigger.
I think a lot of parents fear their children will have the stigma attached to "being held back."  As if others will think their children is academically behind because they're the oldest in the class.  Fortunately... I truly don't give a darn what anyone else thinks :)
*I* am also an August birthday, and I was NOT the oldest in my class - I was the youngest, sometimes by over a year! I did fine academically of course, but I think if I was a bit older than my peers I would've handled the "drama" better. All that he-said-she-said junk that kids get so caught up in. It really affected me - I was super self conscious and how I looked and what I said/did, etc.  I know ALL kids are to some extent. But I want my kids to at least have a better chance at rising above it :)
The downside - I'll be paying for a year of preschool. Bleck. $300/mo!  But we homeschooled preschool this year, so I'll just focus on how much I saved by doing that :)
They'll be the first to drive during their Sophomore year, and won't graduate high school as 17 year olds. Too young! 

So - Kindergarten, September 2016 - looking forward to it!

Lily the M&M


Too early to prep the Halloween costumes?!


I've decided that the difference between playdates with cousins vs/ friends is LENGTH.
 Lily hung out with us for about 5 hours today.
Friend playdates would never go that long.
I'm not complaining at all - we love having lots of little cousins over.
 Just making observations as we continue to "settle in" to life here :)
  

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Making use of my nephew

Gotta shove those recyclables down to fit...
Thanks Dev!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Got this text from B:

"I am finding ways to amuse myself while I sit in traffic." 

Love this

 

We bring the party to sam...

Discovery Park with the McIntyres

 
Had so much fun today meeting up with my good friend Maren and her kids!  She moved out to Rockford (wherever THAT is.....) so we don't see them as much.  But they're worth making the effort to schedule playdates with! Especially if it's at Discovery Park in the Valley. Seriously amazing - best park+splash pad ever. So many unique, creative play structures.  I'll have to get more photos next time.

I love Maren because she's so down to earth and REAL. We just chat away about everything. And it's equal listening - she's genuinely interested in what I'm up to, and vice versa. That's rare to find.
A lot of people I spend time with are my friends more because of circumstance than actually clicking.
Does that make sense? 
Like.... we're friends because our kids are the same age, or we're in the same ward/neighborhood. 
But if that weren't the case.... they're not the type of person I would gravitate towards. 
I love being around people who are upbeat, optimistic, honest, intelligent, ambitious, and sincere.   I really believe in surrounding yourself with people that help you want to be better.

I also believe this is my favorite photo of Charity I've ever seen.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Cousin luv

Nathan is helping Courtney with her summer study:-) 
So sweet!
Nathan is a super bright kid, and eager to help others in their quests for enlightenment.
 
Both Courtney and Bennett have no finished their Summer Study workbooks, and earned a date out with Nonny! Brianna is working hard to get hers done as well so she doesn't miss the fun.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Hot Summer Nights 5K Racing Series #2.







I bombed.
So terrible.
A full 40 seconds slower than last week.
I can only blame the 96 degree weather for a little of that. The rest is purely my fault. 

Glad I've got next week to redeem myself....one more shot to get that sub-19 I've been chasing after.

But I'm glad Brian and Devin got to join! Brian had just zoomed in and barely made it on time after a Yakima day trip. Devin (age 12) finished in 53 minutes and was thrilled. And even won one of the raffle prizes at the end.... some Powerbars, plus a free entry to next week's final race in the series :)

Monday, August 10, 2015

BlackBerry and peach picking!

These helpers had a fun time up on the farm!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Sunshade birthday gift!

My parents are so smart - they gifted me with something that will benefit them as well :)    When we have them over for dinner in the evenings, it's often kindof toasty on our back patio. So Dad bought and installed a beautiful sun shade for us!

Happy birthday William!

August is a crazy month for birthdays in our clan... Lily, the twins, cousin William, me, Jenny, Deborah... So we just leave the decorations up for awhile :)
Here's a cute a pic I found off Dad's phone to celebrate William's big day!
He and Charity LOVED these scooters.
It will be so fun to see them again next Summer and watch how he and Charity hit it off as cousin buddies again.