Tuesday, December 29, 2009

December Pics

December has been busy busy busy! Two Swedish pancake breakfasts at our house, Lucia Day, school programs, Kate's recital, family parties, cookies, gingerbread houses, and of course, Christmas itself...

Here is the photographic evidence of a mostly happy and certainly full month.

Next stop: New Year's Eve...

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Ben's Photo Shoot

Today we attempted to take pictures of the kids in their Christmas get-ups.

All I need to say is "Two Year Old" and you can guess how our photo shoot went.

But if you'd like to see for yourselves, here's the photographic evidence. In exact order.

Ben, in living color:

(The two items he's enthralled with in the pictures are a Playmobil sword that he likes to sleep with and one of the Swedish stars from the tree. Just in case you wondered.)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Not Really So Hard

So, yes, parenting is hard. There are days that I fail miserably and complain and think, "Why me? Why is this so frustrating? Why do I feel like such a failure?"

And then I read this article about Stephanie Nielson and I am inspired again: to try again, to pick myself up again, to work a little harder, to be a little better. Because despite struggles she couldn't even imagine, despite the unimaginable pain she would have to endure, she decided to stick around and parent the children she loved. She decided that life and mothering were worth it.

I can surely enjoy MY cushy journey just a bit more.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

If I'd Known

If I'd known parenting would be this hard, I'm pretty sure I'd still have jumped on the boat.

Pretty sure.

Yeah, I'm sure.

I think.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

My Shoreline Trail

When I am among the trees,
Especially the willows and the honey locust,
Equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
They give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.

I am so distant from the hope of myself,
In which I have goodness, and discernment,
And never hurry through the world
But walk slowly, and often.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves
And call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
Into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
With light, and to shine."

Mary Oliver

I just found this poem. Well, I guess it found me. "To go easy, to be filled with light, and to shine." Why is it so so hard "to go easy?" Why are so many many of my days filled with small and large struggles? How do I find the grace to go easy?

Moving here was hard for me. IS hard for me. My birthday was a couple of weeks after the move and it was a bad day. Just plain bad. I was a basket case for oh, so many reasons. And in the middle of my wallowing, this thought came to me: "Get thee up to the mountain." I had been wanting to find the North Salt Lake portion of the Bonneville Shoreline Trail since the move and had even driven around looking for the trailhead, but had had no luck. And somehow, on my birthday, I knew I was supposed to find that trail. But I couldn't get space in my day to get there. I couldn't find space in my head to get there.

But the next day, there it was again: "Get thee up to the mountain." The day was, if possible, even worse. My head was spinning with frustration and a little bit of rage. Two of my kids were still sick at home for the second week straight. And I was going to have my nephews and nieces to stay the night, and my brother Chad was coming to hang out, and I didn't know how to get out of my bad state. So I decided that I'd listen to the prompting and do my best to force enjoyment of the gorgeous fall day we had. Also, two two-year-olds do better outdoors than cooped up indoors. So I looked online for directions to the trail and off we went.

And when we had walked less than a quarter mile on the trail, all of the crap rolling around in my head just disappeared. No lie. It just left. And I found myself laughing and looking forward to life for the first time since the move. I started seeing years ahead of my family with the trail for company, with walks and hikes and snowshoeing and photography and memories. It was like hope had been restored, and I knew that I'd been given grace. Pure grace.

The little boys threw rocks and played with mud. Chad, Kate, and Josh walked on into the yellowing grass. And then President Uchtdorf walked by and commented on what a beautiful day it was. (Josh was excited to discover when we returned to the trailhead that President Uchtdorf drives an Audi.) And we were all happy.

I returned the next morning for a long run. I decided to trail run the hills, and they were STEEP. But as I hit the last crest, the MOMENT I hit the last crest, the sun rose over the peak and shone directly on me. It was another moment of pure grace, and the spirit told me that God is mindful of me, that he loves me and wants me to be happy, and that I will be happy on the trail.

And I have been. It saves me, and near daily. It has become a holy place for me. While I'm there, I'm reminded that “It’s simple,...and (I) too have come Into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled with light, and to shine."

If only I could carry that knowledge with me during the rest of my day. I'm working on it...

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Another Public Service Announcement

I know you like feeling good about yourselves, and I consider it my public duty to help you in this quest. I guarantee you didn't do anything as stupid as I did today:

I backed into my garage door for not the first, and not the second, but the THIRD time (in two months) today.

David wasn't too thrilled with me (but handled it gracefully). I wasn't too thrilled with myself.

There. Don't you feel great?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Ten More Things That Make Me Terribly Happy

1. When Ben wakes up in the morning, throws his arms around me and says, "I LOVE you, Mom."
2. Listening to Kate read out loud with INFLECTION.
3. Dancing with Sophie. Or, really, watching Sophie dance.
4. Laughing with Josh. And watching him drink eggnog. That kid seriously has a problem with eggnog.
5. SYTYCD. I know. It's a little embarrassing. Also, Sue Sylvester.
6. Dawn rising over the mountains during an early morning run, especially a run I didn't especially want to get up for. The dawn makes it worth it. Usually. OK, always.
7. David's happiness.
8. Christmas traditions.
9. The chukars that have been living in our neighborhood. I didn't know what they were. Then I thought they were wild turkeys. Then my hunter neighbor told me they were chukars and that they are delicious under glass. I told him I preferred them in my backyard, and he laughed and promised not to shoot any of the neighborhood chukars. I'm very glad. (They might also be rock partridges, but chukar is a funnier word.)
10. My huge extended family. Both sides. Hooray for big loud generally happy families.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Things I May Have Done in the Last Week or So

Celebrated Sophie's Book Two completion with a recital. The Bertolas, Youngbergs, Ash, and her dear teacher Kathy Langr joined us. I was so proud of her. Polishing for a recital is hard hard work.

Made quite possibly the worst dinner I have ever cooked (a terrible soup. Terrible. So so terrible.) We had to leave it out on the deck once we realized its terribleness. And no, there was no recipe that you need to avoid. I was trying to create my own little special recipe. David hates it when I do that. Now I know why.

Cooked two turkeys. One was cooked from its pristine frozen state. Did you know you could do that? Now you do. Here's the recipe. Remarkably, it wasn't too bad, either. The other turkey was brined a la Alton Brown. Oh oh my. Seriously. It was divine. And I substituted half the ingredients and only brined it for half the time...maybe it was only half as good as it might have been.

Had Thanksgiving here. I love my double ovens. I also love my family. Kurt, Ash, and Holden, Mike, Debi, Lyndsey and Marissa, Rachelle, Bill, Alysha, Mom and Sondra...great group. Great food. I love Thanksgiving. I love it! We were supposed to go to Spokane, but Mom's health made a last minute change necessary. We missed Paul and Cindee bunches, but I was glad to not have to make the drive with Crazy-Ben-Who-Hates-Traveling-in-the-Car.

Hit Black Friday sales with David. Meh. (That's Chad's word, but I had to steal it for shopping on Black Friday.)

Decided going out to dinner with the children is not a treat. We may not feed them outside of the house again until they have all graduated from high school. Or maybe college.

Kept Thanksgiving dishes unwashed on the counter until Saturday night. I know! Don't you feel better about yourself?

Lost two more toenails. Two more are threatening. I tell them they'd better not secede from the union because I need to keep more than half of my toenails. It's the principle of the thing.

Consoled Kate after David failed to pull out her first tooth. She was dreadfully, terribly sad. After appropriate snuggle time, I sent her downstairs to brush her teeth...et voila! The tooth fell out!!!! Screams of happiness. All was well. Sophie left a four page note under Kate's pillow scolding the tooth fairy for not giving Sophie her request months ago (she asked for one of the tooth fairy's dresses and a bag full of the tooth fairy's money. The tooth fairy said she'd see what she could do. That was the last we'd heard from the tooth fairy. Scoundrel.) The next morning there was money under both girls' pillows. Way to go, tooth fairy. You have redeemed yourself. Slightly.

Hit 900 miles...only 100 to go before January the first! (Well, only 95.6 after this morning's run.)

And the most amazing thing of all...

Finished and passed out all of my neighbor gifts. Last night. Amazing. I did cookies and an advent candle with scriptures to read each day from now until Dec. 24. Can't believe it. Most years I make neighbor gifts, pass out some of them, and forget the rest until they've gone bad. I will say, the cookies weren't great, and the scripture list was less than spectacularly formatted. I might be just a tad embarrassed about my non-elegant presentation. However, Malisa told me to look at the bright side. I've set the bar low and that will make other people feel good about themselves and THEIR lovely neighbor gifts. Score. I'm all about serving others in that kind of way.

And here are some more pictures of the day. I'm missed a few (a lot of) days. I just sometimes forget. No surprise there...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Just Plain Crazy

I'm pretty burned out on the running thing. Getting this thousand mile thing finished just may kill me. And once I hit that 1000th mile, I may never want to run again.

So why did I just sign up Team Youngberg for the Southern California Ragnar? And why am I so excited about it?

Yes. Just plain crazy.

But honestly...running from Santa Barbara to Dana Point with my siblings and their spouses? It's going to be awesome. Or at least it will be memorable. Hopefully, it will be both.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Some Great Healthy Eating Tips for the Holidays

Since Thanksgiving is at my house as of yesterday (and yes, I am actually excited), I don't have time to think original thoughts. So I'm stealing from others. Enjoy this. I'm all about the healthy eating, you know.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Two months (less two days) ago I ran a marathon. Today I received a lovely post-marathon gift.

I lost my first toenail.

In case you were wondering (or worrying), my toenail (or lack thereof) will not be my picture of the day. You can thank me for that however you like. Cookies are always accepted.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Generic Post Title

For your viewing pleasure...

More pictures of the day! Yes! I know you're thrilled!

Monday, Nov. 2
Finally! With couches for the great room and chairs for the dining room, we decided we didn't want to wait another day to see our long-lost friends, so we had dinner with the Grandview bunch. We had a wonderful night with some of the most wonderful people on earth.

Wednesday, Nov. 4
My current favorite bread: Light Oatmeal Bread. Oh so yummy. (Katrina, I'll post the recipe soon.)

Thursday, Nov. 5
I can't get enough of the sunsets here. (Notice that! Something so so postive! Aren't you proud of me?) I wish my pictures did them justice. The striking shades of pink in this one were awe-inspiring.

Friday, Nov. 6
Christina came up with Ez and Evy to take a walk on the trail. The boys enjoyed throwing rocks and I enjoyed a wonderful long conversation with my dear sister. (OK, I guess technically she's my sister-in-law, but we've been sisters for most of our adult lives, so I think she qualifies as near-blood.) I so often come away from a conversation with her determined to improve in some area in my life, but in a positive, affirming way. I have been very blessed in the in-law department. I'm glad my brothers have such great taste.

Saturday, Nov. 7
Kate had her first Concerto Federation at the U. She played well. She was nervous, and prayed a number of times in the days leading up to the performance that she would play well. I love her sweet faith. I also loved listening to her chatter in the car on the way there and back and watching her with her daddy. I can't stand how quickly she's growing up.

Sunday, Nov. 8
Ben loves syrup. And sugar.

Monday, Nov. 9
Ben went to Malisa's daughter Sarah's princess party for her 3rd birthday. I thought he'd want nothing to do with his "prince hat." I was very wrong. He wore it for two days straight until it was sadly crushed by a cello in the van. Happy birthday, Sarah!

Tuesday, Nov. 10
David bought a blue shag rug for the great room. It's fun and funky and very soft. Once Ben discovered the softness factor, he started stripping his clothes off (except his diaper, thank goodness) to roll around on the rug. On this night he said, "Mommy, lay here. It's very comfy." What else could I do? I laid down next to him and read him books. He's so squeezable. (Also, he's sick AGAIN today.)

I know I'm still not caught up, but that's OK. You can just have all that happy anticipation waiting and wondering! So exciting!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


It's Veteran's Day and I am feeling so grateful. I'm beyond thankful for those who have served our country (past and present) to allow me to have the freedom to disagree with those in power, to voice my opinions strongly, and to allow all Americans (even those who disagree with me) to have those same freedoms. For all of the problems we're fighting in our country, the basic premise of government of the people, by the people, and for the people is miraculous and powerful and wonderful.

This is my brother Chad. (Ummm, Chad? You were a baby in this picture. Wow.) Before Chad left for Iraq a few years ago, Josh was in love with GI Joes and all things Army. When Chad left for Iraq, Josh's little heart was torn up. He wanted to love his GI Joes, but he somehow understood the reality of war in a way that I thought he was too young for. He cried and prayed and worried about Chad. We all did. He came back to us, and words can't express our gratitude for his safe return, but there have been so many who haven't come home, who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms.

America is flawed. Its people are flawed. But the basic premise of liberty and justice for all is not.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Feeling Grateful

It's come back! I'm feeling grateful again! Isn't that lovely?

I'm not sure what's been going on in my head over the last month and a half, only that it hasn't been pretty. It wasn't flowers and sunshine in there, friends. It was more like when you leave chili in the fridge and it gets pushed to the back and you forget it's there and a month later you find it and see that it's growing. Yeah, my thoughts have been like that. Festering. Not lovely. (Actually, month-old broccoli is worse than month-old chili.) (And yes, I have recently cleaned out my fridge. How did you guess?)

So my fridge and my brain are newly cleaned, and it feels good.

Here's the key. (Spiritual stuff alert. Click away if you hate spiritual stuff.)

Saturday I had to run 10 miles. I'm still determined to run my 1000 miles in 2009, but my determination has slipped Big Time. It's just so much harder to run without my running partners. It's so much harder to get up when I don't really like running uphill for the first mile. It's so much harder to run with a brain full of rotting chili. So thank goodness I've had the goal, even if I've been cursing myself for making that goal back in the rosy beginning of the year.

I didn't want to run. I couldn't find all my gear. It was very late in the day and I hate running late in the day. I was mean to one of my children for losing something I needed for the run. Something was blocking me, trying to keep me from that run.

But I did it anyway. I drove down to the Legacy Parkway Trail because I figured I needed the easiest possible route since my brain was in such bad shape (not to mention my sluggish body. Yikes. I have NOT recovered from the marathon.) I listened to music for a while, and then I turned on a talk by Camille Fronk Olson (Spiritual Strength in Challenging Times.) (Yes. I am a nerd who sometimes listens to church talks while I run. Now you know. My cover is blown.)

Long story short...there was something in there that I needed desperately to hear. It taught me a truth about myself and about my relationship to God that I'd forgotten, or perhaps that had never sunk in. The truth? I am an unprofitable servant. That's the human state. Somehow, I'd started feeling that if I worked harder, did more, acted better, was less of a consumer, got out of debt, had more self-control, didn't yell, ate perfectly, lost those last 5 (OK, 10) pounds, got enough sleep, were less selfish, you NAME it, that I would be who I am supposed to be, that I would be good enough. But since somehow I could never get there, I really wasn't good enough.

But there's the kicker...No matter how much I tried or how hard I worked, I'd still be an unprofitable servant. That sounds negative, but it's not. It's so freeing. What it means is that all of us are not good enough on our own, but through the grace of Christ, we are made good enough to do what He needs us to do.

I know. Elementary Christianity. But STILL...I'd yet again missed the practical application somehow. The practical application is that I turn my heart to God and let Him know I'm willing to do what he asks of me (even if it includes moving to a new place and being happy once there), and then trust Him. Find joy in the process. Forget myself and my weaknesses in doing His business.

It's a much happier way to live. I am reminded daily that He is in charge, and that He can help me overcome my weaknesses, when and if he wants me to. Do I wish I were perfect? Oh my, yes. I'm tired of fighting some of these same battles year after year after year.

But I can still be an instrument in His hands, imperfect as I am.

I'll try to remember that more resonantly this week.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A Happy List

So I stole this idea from Rockstar Diaries.

It's like my gratitude posts, but different. No pressure, just the joy of finding

10 things that make me terribly happy

(Forgive me. Unlike Taza, I will not use italics and different sized fonts. I am no longer 23 (as much as I think I should be), so I will act my advanced age and be very proper in my typography.)

1. The trail. Bonneville Shoreline, to be exact (the picture is me on said trail.)
2. Baking in my new convection oven. Hello, delicious cookies
3. David and his mad decorating skills
4. Fresh oatmeal bread with butter
5. My sweet JP Pramberger. Don't know JP? You will. I'll be talking about him later
6. Nephi's Psalm (need a cheat sheet? 2 Nephi 4:16-35)
7. Sunsets
8. Children playing hide and seek on steroids (see yesterday's post)
9. Spontaneous kitchen dance parties
10. Have I mentioned the trail?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The New Hood

Thanks to a lovely (unseasonably lovely) November day, I decided to make David proud (well, really, shock him to the core) by cleaning out the car, so I pulled it out to the driveway and went to work. At one point I looked around and counted 17 kids on the lawns to either side of my house. That didn't include the three that were playing inside my house.

They played some version of hide and seek on steroids until dusk hit.

They were happy.

And that made me happy.

Maybe we're going to make it.

(Kate did cry heartbreakingly at bedtime, worrying about having to move to a new Primary class at church on Sunday. She was put in the wrong age group accidentally, and is devastated about changing again. David said he'd go with her. I think I need to find a playdate for her with someone in her class to make the transition easier.)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Build a Bridge and Get Over It

I cried my river, and I'm working on the bridge to get across that salty mess. It's coming along nicely, thank you very much.

I am really blessed in the friendship department, and I appreciate you all so very much. I've been pushing myself too hard too fast for too long and then two things combined to knock me over, and so while I blame much of my exhaustion and emotion on the move, there were other things that pushed me over the edge.


I'm going to be OK. I'm actually excited for a new beginning. I'm going to be happy about my new life. I may want to whine here and there, and I reserve that right. I am really un-thrilled about having to drive to two different schools, and I hate how far away everything is, and how lame is it that North Salt Lake does not yet have a RECYCLING PROGRAM? There. I whined. But on to the good. My kids enjoy the other kids on the street. Josh likes his junior high better than his old one. My piano? It's so so good. I love my convection oven a super lot. David decorated our bedroom like you wouldn't believe unless I posted a picture. Maybe I'll post a picture tomorrow. And there's more good. There's sure to be more and more and more good, if I look for it.

So here are my catch up pictures of the day. You wouldn't even know I'd had a breakdown if I hadn't gone all public with it. Maybe I should have gone to bed instead of telling the world how miserable I was.

Friday, Oct 23. My piano moved in to my living room. Sigh. It's lovely.
Sat., Oct. 24. I got to see three college friends for a late lunch. My friend Heather was in town presenting at the Music Teacher's Convention, so she stayed with Laurisa, and Cody & I joined them for lunch. I miss the practice room days. Everything was simpler then...
Sun., Oct. 25. I made a nice dinner and set a lovely table and a Viking in pajamas with a hammer came to visit.
Mon., Oct. 26. My sweet Kate was thrilled about her pumpkin. I was thrilled that it was such a gorgeous day. I was not thrilled that I still had two sick kids at home.
Tues., Oct. 27. Remember how lovely and fall-like the last picture was? Welcome winter. Yikes.
Wed., Oct. 28. We carved the pumpkins! It was a glorious night of pumpkin guts and drills.
Thurs., Oct. 29. Breakdown. No pictures.

Fri., Oct. 30. Kate's first concerto recital. She rocked the house! She was fantastic. She played Haydn's Little Concerto Mvt. 2 and was charming and sweet in her ruby slippers swinging back and forth under the bench. I got to accompany her. She was proud. Sophie took video.
Sat., Oct 31. HALLOWEEN! I completed the Dorothy costume at 4:00. JOSH finished the Superman costume for me. He was so amazing. Josh is a stick figure, if you can't figure it out. It looked very cool in the dark.
Sun., Nov. 1. Dinner at Malisa and Daniel's, complete with delicious pork and potatoes and moving around a piano.
As you can see, life is moving on. We're finding our new normal. All will be well. And if it's not, at least I've got great friends to keep me centered.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

a little death

That's my picture of the day from the 22nd.

I'm still taking pictures.

But I'm having a hard time being grateful. I try, and I could write a cute little something every day, like the sunsets, the piano, the drawers that have nothing in them in the kitchen. But I don't feel like forcing the smile anymore. I recognize the spoiled-brattiness of it all, but somehow that doesn't make it any easier to find the joy.

Here's what I know.

We were supposed to move to this house. It was designed in the heavens. Why? I don't know. I sincerely, truly, honestly don't know.

But I know God is a loving Father. I know this. I have experienced washes of this love, time after time after time. I absolutely trust Him.

Except when I don't.

Everything still feels broken. Leaving my perfect piece of paradise shattered me more than I knew it would. And I knew it would. I knew there would be a mourning process, that losing everything so beloved and familiar would be like a little death. And yet somehow I thought I'd be strong through it all, that I'd be very very sad, but that I'd be strong.

Instead I am petty. I am angry. I am lost. I am worried. I am tired. I am so very very bone tired.

I thought I knew about endurance. I thought I knew about hanging on to the end. This is much harder. Now I know one of the reasons I was inspired to run that race was to understand that some things are hard for a long long long time. Sometimes the end is way farther away than you want it to be, than you need it to be. And somehow, somewhere the strength comes and you make it just that next step. Just that next block. Just that next mile.

The hard thing is that I see no finish line here. There's only the hope that taking on each hour will bring me closer to whatever joy there will be. And the hope that whatever strength I have is enough. I don't think it's enough. Not right now, anyway.

I keep running (when I can actually get out of bed) to the Shoreline Trail. When I'm on the trail, I feel the hand of God. I remember His work in my life.

And on the Trail, I can believe there will be joy again.

I think I believe it.

I'll work on believing it.

But forgive me if it takes a while to write my gratitude posts. They make me want to puke right now.

If you say it's always darkest before the dawn, I'll smack you.) (Or make you read more of my whining.) (And don't worry. I know it really IS darkest before the dawn.) (And I have already taken responsibility for being a brat, so you don't need to point that out, either. I have been very blessed, and I will be sure to be grateful for all of these blessings at the appropriate time.) (And you could say that moving to a new house doesn't really qualify as a real trial. I will agree with you, and point out that I DO know what real trials are like. This doesn't make me feel better, however.)

I am likely to regret posting this in the morning, as I do most things I do after 1:00 am.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Day 11

Monday, Oct. 19
Kate was still home sick. She found an old lettering book from my scrapbooking days and decided to surprise me with a (belated) birthday card.
"Happy Birthday
It has famliy in it so wach for famliy."
"Happy Birthday
You are tuneing 28. I love you. You are the Best mom ever. I Love your food And Dresrtes. Their very good. I now how to right all are famliy's name's. here it go's David Kerri Josh Sophia Kathryn Ben. I Love my Famliy. And I'm sorry thet I Did not eat that much at Brekcfist.
I (heart) my Famliy

I mean, honestly. How can you not love a girl like that? And also, how can I not love that I'm "tuneing 28"?

Wednesday, Oct. 21
More sickness. Really. Ben got sick late Monday night, so yesterday Kate and Ben were sick (although Kate was acting much better. I mainly kept her home because I really think she may have had a flu of a porcine nature, and I thought the school would appreciate her being home until all symptoms were gone.) Today Kate was better, but Ben's worse. And Josh came home feeling yucky and now has the fever to go along with the yuckiness. Poor guy. (Poor me.) (No, I really mean poor guy. I'm doing OK.)

So today I'm grateful for medicine. My picture of the day just captures a few of the over-the-counter remedies that are getting us through the swine flu (or other virus of like nature.)

Also, I was gifted some of the most amazing cookies today (thanks, Bishop Anderson!) for my birthday. Oh man. I didn't know about Cutler's Cookies. And now I might wish I still didn't know about Cutler's Cookies, because my lack of much running means I'm getting flabbier than I would like. But the chocolate marshmallow and the chocolate mint cookies? They might be worth getting flabby for. Or not. I can't decide.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Just Wondering

Do the rest of you feel your brain turning slowly slowly slowly excruciatingly painfully uncontrollably to mush by 3:00 pm?

Or is that just me?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Day 10

Saturday, Oct. 18
Josh has been playing soccer in Bountiful since May. We thought it would help make the transition to Davis County a little easier for him in case the move happened. Saturday was the last game of the fall season, which will be a relief in some ways, but sad in others. Four days of soccer a week is a bit much, especially when some weeks included two games in North Ogden, about 55 minutes away, but Josh is always happy to play soccer, and he'll miss it until indoor begins in February. We haven't all made it to all of Josh's games, but Saturday we all went, and brought Will, Abby, and Ezra with us. They stayed with us Friday and most of Saturday while Eric and Christina (and Evy!) were in Seattle. I liked this picture of David and Ben and the way it captures their sweet relationship.

Sunday, Oct. 19
My parents came back to town, just for one night. After church today, I begged everyone to go back to the Bonneville Shoreline Trail for a walk. I ran there yesterday, so that makes three days in a row for me. I think it's my new happy place, and I have needed one desperately. Gorgeous, peaceful, wonderful. We were the only ones on the trail except for a little snake.

Also, I bought a piano on Saturday. (YES!!!! It's very exciting!!!! Details later...)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Day 9

Friday, Oct. 16

It's been an embarrassment of riches on the family side of life in the last week. We've had so much time with so many people we love in the Youngberg family with the Utah Youngbergs and visits from Mom and Dad, Steven, and now Chad. Chad decided to come up to Utah to meet baby Holden for the first time and to check out our new house. Chad is very loved at the GreenHouse, thanks to his patience, his willingness to play game after game after game with a six-year-old, and his good humor, among so many other fantastic qualities.

After a fun time throwing paper airplanes down to the basement and off of the deck, we decided to take a walk on the Bonneville Shoreline Trail. I'll post about that later, but it was ridiculously beautiful.

So today I'm grateful for my brother Chad and the happiness he brings into the lives of all of us.

Also, I made some fantastic brownies.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Day 8

Wednesday, Oct. 14
We got booed, but in a much grander fashion than we have ever been booed before. This Halloween cone-of-delights is cool way beyond the photocopied picture we used to use back on Grandview. Sorry Grandview peeps. I didn't know that my white copy paper was so lacking until now.
(Don't know about boo-ing? Just a fun neighborhood tradition around Halloween where you get treats, a poem, and a ghost of some sort dropped off at your door in classic ding-dong-ditch style. Once you get booed, you have to stick the appropriate ghost picture on your front window to alert the neighborhood that you are popular, and then you choose a couple of neighbors to boo, thus ensuring that every neighbor gets a chance.)

Thursday, Oct. 15
It's my birthday. I'm 38. Yes, I am, and there's nothing I can do about it.
Yesterday I picked up David for more hours of piano shopping fun. He got in the car, looked at me funny, (I thought he was going to say how cute I was. I honestly did.) and said, "I've never seen that wrinkle there!" Nice.
Piano shopping on my birthday was the best part of the day. Also, Krisa brought me balloons. I loved Krisa's balloons, her visit, and her earlier phone therapy session. Friends are amazing. So I think that I'll give thanks for my friends today. This picture is of me opening my presents (my real present is a piano, but David did get me a sweatshirt and some treats. I was not expecting anything. Ben did not want to take a picture.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Giving Thanks, Day 7, and the First Pictures of the Day

Today I'm grateful that Christina has started me on my picture of the day extravaganza. I've loved her project. She has a simple photo album with sleeves for pictures and for journaling, and takes a picture of whatever she feels like each day. It's so fun to glance through her album and see life in all its variety. She gave me such a thoughtful birthday/moving gift last week to help me on the way to make my own. And perfect timing, too, since I've been wallowing in the negative. It's been good to have a companion to my giving thanks series. This is life, too, in all its messiness, and I've been needing to find things to celebrate. Or commemorate, anyway.

Here are the first pictures of the day, starting with last Monday. I missed a few days. Too bad, so sad.

Monday, Oct. 5
First day at the new schools. Perfect looks on both of my sweet girls' faces.

Thurs, Oct. 8
I got bangs. And I look old. The bangs I like. The looking old I don't.

Friday, Oct. 9
The beginning of putting together IKEA furniture. Ben loved helping David. LOVED helping. I'm not so sure it was really helping, but he sure had a blast.

Saturday, Oct. 10
Ummm...Yeah. That's all I have to say. Oh, except that moving is really hard. And really messy. For a really long time.

Sunday, Oct. 11
My brother Steven came to visit on his way home from his spring and summer dog mushing in Alaska. Steven is hysterical. I love his wolf/dreamcatcher sweater. It was a gift from a dog-loving tourist.

Monday, Oct. 12
Mom and Dad came overnight before a trip and we had our first family party in the new house. We all ended up in the kitchen. And we all fit! Amazing.

Tuesday, Oct. 13
The view from the balcony at night.

It's so good that I have these little distractions. Otherwise, this post would have been about my run this morning (passed 3 people walking their dogs and a couple running. No one said hi back to me. BUT, the dawn was gorgeous over the fall colored mountains), the way I backed into the garage door while I was rushing out to take late Sophie to school (I wish I could blame the slow garage door, rather than my obvious oblivion), how I got to pay $62.10 to have someone fix said garage door, how I wasn't able to accomplish much of anything around the house despite valiant efforts (my valiant efforts seem to be fruitless), and how Kate threw up all over the car, garage floor, hall, and bathroom after dinner. It's been a fun day.

Also, I have really nice parents.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Giving Thanks, Day 6

I am grateful for my large, loud Youngberg family. I love laughing with them. They are funny and such good company.

We got together tonight to celebrate my birthday because Mom and Dad are in town. It was amazing to see everyone gathered in my kitchen and realize that this is what we wanted to have in our home...a gathering place. It's still far far far from being finished, but we had so much fun tonight.

And I still love Steven's stories about sneaking out of the house dressed as a ninja, stalking the wilds of Yorba Linda. Steven is awesome.

Also, I'm starting a picture of the day project, thanks to Christina. I'll be trying to post these as well as keeping them in an album.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Giving Thanks, Day 5

Today I am grateful for the gift of the Sabbath.

Yeah, growing up, Sundays were boring. More rules, less things that we could do, three hours of church... Every kids' dream, right?

But now, I am truly truly thankful to have a day of rest. Sundays didn't feel so restful when I was in the Primary, granted. Meetings don't add to the restfulness of a day. But after a month of non-stop long, hard physical work, I am relieved when Saturday night comes and I know the next day will be about my relationship with God, my family, my church congregation. Honestly, I have rarely been this tired for this many weeks in a row, and Sundays really allow me to have a little time to recuperate before the next six days come to trash me.

Today we had my brother Steven over to hear about his latest summer in Alaska as a dog musher. He stopped in Utah on his way from Alaska to So Cal. The kids did hours of art projects, I made cinnamon rolls. We laughed, we stepped over boxes (AARGH! The boxes!!!), and we enjoyed our time together.

Tomorrow it all begins again. School. Practicing. Lessons. Unpacking. Cleaning. Organizing. Sigh. I wish it were Sunday all over again.

Also, I MUST RUN!!!!! If I'm going to meet that crazy 1000 mile goal, I've got to get out of bed and run.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Giving Thanks, Day 4

I am grateful for the knowledge that one day I will not have boxes all over my house.

One day.

Maybe not one day soon, but one day...

Also, I ate Cocoa Pebbles and strawberries tonight.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Giving Thanks, Day 3

Today I'm grateful that I get to shop for a new piano. Seriously. It's really cool. And it's all thanks to David and his decision that 18 years has been long enough to wait for a grand. Sweet sweet David. (So I'm really grateful for David.)

But there are a lot of pianos out there...

It's taking more time than I thought it would. I really hope I find one that I fall in love with. It would be fun to be infatuated again.

Also, 3 trips to IKEA in 2 days is a lot.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Giving Thanks, Day 2

Today I'm grateful that tomorrow is another day.

Also, I got bangs.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Giving Thanks, Early Version

I've been a big fat whiner for too long. I had my knock-upside-the-head on the phone with my mom and sister yesterday. I had been complaining about everything to them on Monday, including the sighting of a deer in our backyard. They were laughing at me because instead of saying how cool it was that there was actually a DEER in my BACKYARD, I was saying, "So now I have to worry about deer eating my garden."

So now I'm worried about possible deer eating a possible garden some time in my future? I think this is ironic, since I've only had one successful garden in my fourteen years of home ownership. Who's to say that I'd actually pull off a garden next year anyway? Complaining about possible problems in my future is NOT where I want my mind to be.

On my run today (I HATE RUNNING HERE. There. I said it. I HATE RUNNING HERE. I have to run ONE MILE STRAIGHT UPHILL before I get to a better path, and even that road is hilly) I saw two deer munching on some homeowner's flowerbeds (SEE? The deer are going to eat my garden!) and stopped. We stared each other down as I moved past them, and I thought, "Oh my heavens, I get to see deer on my morning runs! This is cool." And I realized that my trademark optimism needs some help, because that was just about the first time I was really excited about my neighborhood, and that I've been miring down in some deep gloom.

Yes, November is a month away, but I'm bringing back my giving thanks series. It's not as bad as Christmas carols in September. Giving thanks is never really out of style, right?

Today I'm grateful that my mom and Bri could laugh at me and let me see my whining through their eyes. It wasn't a pretty picture, but it was worth seeing.

Optimistic Kerri may return. We'll see. But I'm still mad at that future deer eating my future green beans.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The SECOND First Day of School

We had a second first day of school yesterday. I let the kids have last week off since it was UEA and there was no school Thursday and Friday anyway. This was a good decision, as on Monday of last week, I couldn't find my own head, let alone clothes, backpacks, shoes, and lunchboxes.

So sending my children to new schools...not my favorite. This was the first day of school with the most anxiety I have ever experienced, except when I myself started junior high. I made myself gulp back the tears after I left Josh at the front desk of the junior high after we registered him, looking brave but a little daunted. I've been trying not to let myself get emotional right now. There's just too much to be emotional about. So after I dropped off the girls for their first morning (LATE. LATE!!!! The junior high registration took TOO MUCH TIME and so they were LATE!!!! Those poor girls), I shoved the emotions down further and tried to power through the day.

This didn't work so well. 4:00 found me in my closet (Yes! My new closet has enough room to be a good hiding place! Exciting!) sobbing on the phone to David after the kids came home stressed and frustrated.

I guess it's better to deal with the emotions in the moment.


The orchestra program in the junior high is amazing. Josh is in the advanced orchestra and he said there were hundreds of kids. That may be a (slight) exaggeration, but still! Considering the devastation that was the music program at his last junior high, this is great news.

Kate's teacher was darling and one of the girls she has met on the street is in her class. Blessing. Kate was very very nervous, so this helped enormously. She also made a new friend, and her teacher is great at communicating with me.

Sophie met two girls that she liked pretty well and she saw the boys across the street who have been so friendly to us.

So hooray. I think I'll stick with the positives for today. I could throw out some negatives, but as you know, I'm enjoying bottling up my emotions to deal with later.

In the closet.

About 4:00.

Friday, October 2, 2009

It's Official. I'm a Davis County Girl.

I can't believe I just typed that. It's freaking me out.

(And yes, I know that at 37, I don't really fit into the "girl" category.)

We moved last Friday. I don't recommend moving a family of six less than a week after running a marathon. I do, however, recommend having friends and family like mine, because MAN, they have been REMARKABLE. I have dozens of thank you notes to write. Those of you who deserve one? Let me just remind you that while I'm full of good intentions, it takes me a really long time to act on them, so plan to see one in the next month or so. (Or it could mean you'll get one next year, or it could even mean that I'll find the heartfelt thank-you note I wrote you complete with stamp UNMAILED in another year after that. Yes. It's happened often.)

My friends painted my house, packed my junk, brought me dinners, watched my kids, listened to me cry, told me I could do it, packed up their cars with my stuff, cleaned my house, and loved me even as I prepared to leave them and our little corner of paradise. If I ever find friends half as wonderful in this neighborhood I'll count myself lucky. I wish I could write enough to do their acts justice. I can't. I can only say thank you. You are dear and kind and good.

I like the house. This is good news. I miss my old neighborhood. This is to be expected. I'm trying hard to reserve judgment on my NEW neighborhood until much more time has passed, because of course right now nothing will match up with what I've left.

There are many children on the street, and they've welcomed my kids with open arms. I had five neighborhood kids in the basement and backyard this afternoon. That's good. There will be more good, I'm sure. I'll wait to see what it is.

So anyway, I'm back-ish. And now, for more boxes. And laundry. And organizing.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Top of Utah, or Yes, Indeed, I Ran a Marathon

Who would have believed it? Certainly not me. I remember some very specific discussions about how running a marathon was NOT on my to-do list. Lots of half marathons? Sure. But a full marathon? 26.2 miles? Come on. Why would I ever want to do something so physically exhausting? And isn't it bad for your body? And surely it would never be right to take so much time away from my family to train.

So how did I find myself on a school bus leaving Logan at 5:20 on Saturday morning with four friends to meet our marathoning destinies?

Well, it just so happens that I made this little goal at the beginning of the year to run 1000 miles in 2009. This is not really that many miles. It's only 20 miles a week, which is 20 miles a week more than I ran 4 years ago, but still. I've been staying pretty close to my weekly mileage goal, especially with training for the Salt Lake Half and then the Wasatch Back. But what next? Liz decided it was Top of Utah. She tried to talk me into it. I thought about it. I kicked it around. I decided against it. And once I decided against it, I changed my mind.


1. I was already high in my mileage for long runs to train for Ragnar.
2. Training for a marathon would assure that I met my 1000 mile goal.
3. I would have been jealous of Liz and Bliss training together while I did measly 6 mile Saturday runs.
4. I needed something to get my mind off of the moving thing.
3. God told me to.

Yeah, He really did, but that's a post for another time.

Here are things I learned while training:

1. I'm slower than Liz and Bliss.
2. I really like meeting new people while running with them. They become close friends in the space of one 16 miler.
3. No subject is off-limits as running talk. And running talk turns way too often to poop. (That's for you, L.)
4. You can get used to getting up at 6 to run, even on weekdays.
5. I am more capable of doing hard things than I ever thought I was.
6. Immodium is my best non-human running friend. 2 chewable tablets (yuck) 2 hours before each long run with 1/2 a banana, 1/4 of a bagel, and a big glass of water: totally works. I just put it all on my nightstand, set my alarm for 4:00, woke up and ate while David groaned "What are you DOING?" and cheered for victory at the end of all my long runs. I know. Way more than you wanted to know. But it's a public service announcement for all of you aspiring marathoners. You'll thank me.
7. Yes on Bodyglide. Yes on sunscreen. Yes on Sports Beans. And by the end, even yes on Gus (plural of Gu, not Gus the mule.)
8. You know how you would think you'd lose weight when you're running almost 40 miles a week? Yeah. You'd be wrong. Liz lost weight. I gained what she lost. It's very sick and wrong. It's a cosmic joke. And yet there it is. I'm warning you. (Interestingly, although it bothered me that I gained weight, I was so proud of what my body was accomplishing every week that I cared less than I would have expected.)
9. You will be struck with some non-imaginary ailment in the week or two before the race. Liz warned us. We did not believe her. But every one of us had some terrible, tragic pain to deal with that looked like it might end our race dreams. I had the WORST BACK PAIN of my life in the week before the race. I was referred to a physical therapist by an ultra-runner friend and he worked a miracle. On Tuesday, I really thought I wouldn't be able to run, and by Saturday morning (after doing the stretches he recommended) I had NO back pain. None. Hooray for Troy Marsh.

So a few short months after deciding that yes, indeed, I'd run that crazy race, Bliss, Liz & I drove up to Logan with Bliss' family. We stayed overnight with Bliss' mom and dad. Our friend Jenn joined us at the house for a big fat slumber party, and we picked up our friend Jena at her hotel dark and early the next morning.

And here's how it went:

The race started at Hardware Ranch, up Blacksmith Fork Canyon. The first 14 miles or so were downhill, but not terribly steep. The canyon was gorgeous. The leaves were just starting to turn, the weather was perfect, the river was lovely. It was a fantastic beginning. I had planned to really pace myself. I knew I'd be tempted to push the pace since it was downhill (and I love downhill), but I also knew I'd have 12 more miles to go once the downhill ended. So within the first half mile, I waved goodbye to the rest of the girls and settled in with Mr. iPod to run the duration of the race.

The first 18 miles were actually really great. My halfway mark was a minute faster than my half marathon PR. I loved seeing Liz's husband Jeff and her boys at mile 14. They gave me an emotional boost and I felt great. I stayed mostly under 9:30 for each mile, with a couple in the 9:40 range. and a few in the 9:10-15 range. Mile 18-21 were harder. I ended up passing Jena, whose knee was starting to really give out. I ran with her for a little while, but ended up pushing ahead.

I drank water at every stop, so I felt hydrated throughout. I ate a sports bean at every mile that wasn't a water stop and ended up having 3 gus (at miles 9, 19, and 22) and a few chunks of banana. (I know. You totally don't care about what I ate. Unless you're about to run your first marathon, in which case this information is ridiculously fascinating.) All was going as planned.

And then came the wall. I mean, you hear about The Wall. And then you Experience The Wall. I think it was when I got to 21 and I realized that I still had more than 5 miles to go, and that would likely be close to an hour more running based on how I was feeling. That just sounded awful. Terrible. So hard. And so it was. 22 and 23 were dreadfully hard. I just felt so so drained. I ended up walking two or three times per mile, but by 24, I realized that starting to run again after walking was harder than just continuing to run. I dropped my pace significantly, still walked through the water stops, but tried to just put one foot in front of the other.

The world shrinks at this point. The world becomes you, your pain, and your desire to end the pain. I just focused on wanting to see David, to see my kids, to see the finish line.

I know! Doesn't it sound fun?!?! It really was!!! (OK, it wasn't fun. But it was remarkable.)

And then, after thinking it would never come, there was the finish line. It was there. In front of me. Way too far away, but it was there. And I made it. I powered through and burst into tears at the end. My music was blaring so I didn't even hear my family and Liz and Jeff screaming for me. David says I just looked mad. I wasn't mad. I was just miserable.

I had really only had one main goal. I had really wanted to stay under 10 minute miles throughout. That's not impressive when you're Liz (4 hours and 6 seconds!) or Bliss (4 hours and 21 seconds!), but it felt like it would push me but be barely do-able. And when I looked at my watch when it was all over (26.44 miles, according to Mr. Garmin. Darned tangents.), it said that my overall pace was 9:59. I felt like I was handed a gift from Heavenly Father. (Again, a post for another time.)

I cried when I saw David. I cried when I realized I was moving this week and wouldn't live across the street from my Liz. And I smiled a lot. A lot.

Because you know what? I just ran a marathon.

Yup. Me. I did that.

Well, me and Liz and Bliss and Jenn and Jenna. And you know what?

It was awesome.

Final Stats: Time: 4:23:37. Place: 1010/2027 overall, 393/1009 women. Satisfied? Yes.

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Decade of Drama

Sophie made her entrance into the world at 9:17 pm on 9-17-99. She arrived 45 minutes after our arrival at the hospital. No time for drugs. No time for preparation. Just time to put on the Mozart CD, for David to grab the camera from the car, and for me to scream a bunch.

I don't know how the world turned so long without her in it.

Sophie has been begging (without cessation) for months (for years) to get her ears pierced. I've been planning to let her get her ears pierced on her tenth birthday. I wanted to surprise her by taking her out of school for lunch and a kid date and then the ear-piercing-extravaganza. Unfortunately, she pushed my buttons so badly one day ("WHY can't I have my ears pierced? WHY? Just give me three reasons!!! OK, give me three more! Those aren't good enough! Why don't you trust me?") that I spilled the beans just so she would let it rest. She was very excited. She let it rest. I wish I had told her months ago.

I stole her away from school and she chose Subway for lunch.

(I love these kids. How cute are they?)

Then it was off to Claire's. (Does anyone else think it's strange that most of us get our ears pierced at a tacky accessory store?)

She chose earrings with her birthstone (sapphire) and was very brave.

We brought brownies back to school. She chose pulled pork sandwiches for dinner and her traditional choice of cake (poppy seed bundt cake) for the cake and ice cream festivities that night.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Life would be deadly boring without my Sophie. I love her intensity, her bright mind, her lovely voice, her sweetness with Ben, her questions about life. She brightens the space she occupies. The world changed for the better a decade ago, and I've been blessed to witness it.