Friday, August 31, 2012

Sporty Spice

Abe and I went on a date this evening to Kohl's.  Armed with my 20% off coupon I had several items I was looking for.  All of a sudden Clark has outgrown just about every article of clothing he owns.  How did I miss that happening?
Abe and I were also in need of a few new things.  But as I've said before, I hate shopping.  I lack vision.

 I get very easily overwhelmed in big clothing departments, trying to pick out the clothes that are right for me.  It is paralyzing to me to have so many things to look at and try to find the needles in the haystacks.  I know I don't have a very well defined sense of style so that makes it even worse.  I am swayed by the trends, but I'm afraid it's always a year or two later than everyone else.  When I go shopping I usually end up wandering the aisles in despair and just want to go home and get in my jammies. 

I know I'd be an idiot to pay full price for anything at Kohls. They want me to think I'm getting a killer deal because it's 50% off!  Wow!!!  Except that if a shirt is originally marked at $38.00 and it's 50% off, then the shirt is still going to cost me $19.00.  That's not actually that great of a deal.  And just about EVERYTHING is on sale.  So besides being overstimulated by all the colors, shapes, and fabrics, my brain gets exhausted from all the math!!  I homeschool my children-- I get sick of doing math!  JUST PUT THE PRICE YOU WANT ON THE TAG!!!

Another style issue I've encountered is my insistence on wearing my tennis shoes every day.  Oh, sure, I'll put on my black sandals for fancy occasions, but since Cannon's pregnancy, I mostly stick with my tennis shoes.  I'm on my feet all day and I need to feel comfortable.  So even if I buy more stylish shirts and pants, I'm not going to give up my tennis shoes.  The contrast between my clothes and shoes makes me look even more clueless than I actually am.

As I aimlessly rummaged through the clearance racks this evening, trying to find shirts that spoke to me, I piled lots of "possibilities" in the cart.  Bless Abe's heart, he tried to help, but it wasn't going well.  I headed to the dressing room and even Abe, who usually says everything looks great on me, admitted that nothing was that great.  One shirt he said looked like it was covered in bird seed.  Another looked like lizard skin.  Dang, the night was going to be a bust.

But rather than making a beeline for my jammies at home, I was relieved to discover the plain, solid colored t-shirt rack. 
Did I sell myself short by purchasing 7 different colored t-shirts?
But they were cute (relatively) and I felt comfortable in them.  I felt like me.  Dare I say I felt sporty?  Yes, I did.  I felt sporty.  I still have no idea what my clothing style is or should be.  But for the next few months it will be sporty.  And these shirts won't clash at all with my old running shoes.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

For My Daughters and Daughters-in-Law

Dear Daughters and Daughters-in-law,

I pray that someday you will have a quiverful of clever, creative, energetic children.  They will be your life's work and will teach you and bless your lives in so many ways.  At times you won't quite know what to do with them.  You might think of me, your mother and mother-in-law and wonder how I did things in raising my children.  If I am wise like my own dear mother-in-law, I will offer you no advice whatsoever.  I will conveniently forget all my child raising years and tell you you are doing a wonderful job.  I'll let you pray about it and support you in however you decide to do things.  But I won't tell you what to do.

If I'm wise.  It's going to be hard for me to be that wise, but I'll try.

But if you really want to know what it was like around here when my kids were young, you can read this post and get a pretty good idea of the tone of the house-- the good and the rest.  Then you can see what I did wrong and "never do that with your kids", and hopefully a few things I did right.

Snapshots of the day:

-- Two days ago my friend gave us 3 boxes of Captain Crunch cereal she had stored in her basement that she bought on sale and were about to expire.  They are gone.  Mmmm, candy for breakfast!  We don't have a lot of sugar cereals but when they make their way into the house everybody wants in on the action.

--George subsists on chow mein noodles, roasted peanuts, frozen peas, and dry frosted mini wheats.  He's a heavy drinker, asking for bottles way too often.  Yes, he's 2 and he still drinks out of a bottle.  I don't believe in bottle-rot-teeth.

--My whole family might suffer death by chicken and rice.  When I run low on dinner ideas I resort to variations on a theme of chicken and rice.
I'm sick to death of chicken and rice.

--Clark was asked to be the pianist at the Stake Youth Standards Night last night.  He did a great job with his songs, but he was pretty nervous to be playing "on a larger stage".  I told him not to worry because if there was a need to worry, I would worry way before he needed to.  I'd let him know if he needed to worry.

--Bethany is eleven.  Clark explained to her that the reason she was being grouchy was because she was eleven and she was right in between being a kid and a teenager.  He reassured her that when she came all the way into teenage-hood it would be better.

--Last year I swore off soccer.  I don't like soccer and I've never been good at it.  My kids aren't good at soccer either.  There, I said it.
Guess who we just signed up for soccer again?  Cannon, Faith and Elinor.  I have no idea how we're going to fit 3 soccer schedules into our family schedule.  Abe and I's plan is to "make it work".
That's my plan a lot.  Make it work.  That's a pretty good plan.  At least it's an optimistic plan.

--I spent several hours today finishing a book for my neighborhood book club this evening.  It was North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell.  I did not love it, but I did love the chocolate cake we had for refreshments.  There is a severe price to be paid for spending several hours of the day reading a book.  The price will be paid tomorrow morning as I try to catch up on dishes, laundry, cleaning, checking school work, and vacuuming peanuts and chow mein noodles.

--The kids and I also finished the last couple of chapters of To Kill a Mockingbird.  So great and the older kids were enthralled.  I LOVE reading books together.  Last night and this morning, as I plowed my way through North and South, the kids grabbed their books and joined me for a read-a-thon.  Clark read Hunger Games, Bethany read Percy Jackson's Lightning Thief, Elinor read The Tale of Despereaux, and Faith did puzzles.  She's not so comfortable reading on her own, but she is making great progress.

--I need more sleep.  I'm happiest on 9 hours a night, but I'm regularly going on 7 hours a night.  Not enough.  But there are so many good, needful things to do.  Many good things which are best done while little ones sleep.  That's how I know I'm not depressed.  When I've been depressed I don't really want to do anything.  When I'm happy there aren't enough hours in the day to do all the things I'd like.
So I'm happy I'm happy, but I'd really like some more sleep.

--Elinor hurt her leg somehow today.  I don't know how serious she's wounded, but she did resort to army crawling around the house to relieve any pressure on her leg.  Clark took it upon himself to convince the family that she was overreacting.  This, of course, induced copious tears from a senstive nine-year-old.   She called every friend she has in the neighborhood and no one could play today.  Not her best day. 

--Bethany had a violin lesson today and then plead her case to be excused from practicing because she had a hard lesson.
No.  You still have to practice.
Tears from the eleven year old- "Mom, All I do is eat, sleep, drink and poop violin!"
Ouch!  That must be painful.

-- Cannon is about to give up napping.  Big sigh.  But I love to put him to bed for naps and at night because we do crazy kisses and crazy hugs.  I kiss him like crazy all over his cheeks and he squeals in delight and I can't get enough.  He's not really going to turn 5 next year is he? 

Now look, I've done it again!  It's past 11 o'clock and I'm only going to get 7 hours of sleep!  Someday if when you're exhausted from chronic lack of proper sleep and not enough hours to do all you need to do, you might call me in tears to ask advice on something with your children  I probably won't remember anything I wrote tonight.  But if you read this you'll know that at one time I knew exactly how you feel.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Temple Open House

Yesterday was our first day of school and I am happy to report that it went very smoothly.   But we don't want to rush into things too fast, so we started today off with an early morning field trip to the Brigham City Temple open house.
The temple was so beautiful that it was well worth the hour and a half drive each way.  We parked a little ways away and rode a charter bus to the temple.  George loved the bus rides!  In fact, throughout the open house tour he was quite vocal in his desire to get back on the bus.
It was a long day between our outing, school work, piano lessons, tae kwon do, football, friends playing, and meal preparation.  We're all tuckered out, so I was so thankful Bethany offered to paint my nails for me.  I think red toenail polish has magical powers.
I guess Bethany is on a mission to help us all look our best.  On Sunday she curled Faith's hair for her.  I am so grateful. 
We were all celebrating this evening when Faith got her back-handspring!!! She's been working on it for a while and she did it with Abe helping her this evening.  Hooray!!  Next up is her round-off back-handspring.
Cannon is a very social creature and would happily play all day every day with friends.  And fortunately he has several little friends in the neighborhood who rotate around to each other's houses to play.  I don't think any of my other little people played with friends so much when they were so young but he seems to thrive off it.  
As long as we only see these faces when they are playing tough guys.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Missing You

I am missing my blog. 

I haven't been writing as much because life has been busy-- that's my excuse.  But it makes me sad because I truly enjoy writing this blog.  It helps me process my life and my brain gets feeling rather muddled when I'm not writing frequently.  

Perhaps it seems that I am posting a lot of pictures of myself running.

That is true.  I am.  But I am running a lot and Abe likes to take pictures of me running, so there you have it.  
This was this past Saturday as the girls ran the last little bit of an 18 mile training run with me.  EIGHTEEN MILES!!! Can you believe it?  It is still shocking to me.  After the disastrous half marathon the previous Saturday I was very nervous for this run.  Actually, of all the training runs I've had to do this is the one I feared the most.  I'll do a 20 in a couple of weeks, but that doesn't scare me as much as this one did.  But miraculously, this was not so bad.  I mean, I was tired but not dead-tired.  I hurt, but not any acute alarming pain.  This gave me hope that a marathon was possible when last weekend I felt utter and complete dread.
And then look what my little Faith drew for me.  I tell you, she is an angel, an absolute angel
And then as if to prove to myself that I still had something left in the tank we decided to take the kids to the zoo.
 I've been meaning to buy a membership all summer.  In fact that was my plan for fun this summer-- buy a zoo membership and go a lot.  That's it.  That was the whole plan and I never did it.  Hmmm, maybe we should have had more fun this summer.
 I guess I just needed Abe there to finally do it.  It was hot, but WOW!!-the Hogle Zoo has come a long way.  In the past when family came from out of town they would ask about the zoo and I'd tell them, "Don't waste your time."  It is so much improved.  And I guess the word is out because it was also way more crowded than I have ever seen it before.  We homeschoolers should know better than to go to the zoo on Saturday.  You go during the week when all the kiddos are in school.
We loved the sea lions.  If I could pick an animal to be I think I'd like to be a sea lion.  Or maybe a sea otter.  They are cute.
Do you notice that Clark is missing?  He spent the day at a friend's house and told us we could do any family activity without him except go to Lagoon.
As it turns out he meant to put the zoo on that list as well.  He was bummed and it does seem very wrong to take the family to the zoo without Clark.  Good thing we have a membership now.  Anyone want to go to the zoo with us?
The days activities weren't over yet-- Saturday night we had our family book club in the park.  By this point I was feeling pretty wiped out, but it was relaxing to sit and talk with friends.  The chasing George around the park was not so relaxing but there were lots of helpers to keep tabs on him.
Bethany brought Zeus the bunny to the park to play and nibble on grass.  I was impressed that they didn't lose him, but he was on his leash.  The kids ran around non-stop playing games.
I did not join in any running games.
If you look really close you can see three figures standing on the rocks.  It's Clark and two friends.
There's a little closer up.
And there be the victorious hikers.  And I didn't even get too nervous while they were gone-- even though there were signs saying mountain lions had been reported in the area.  But even as I write this I'm thinking that maybe I should have been more nervous.  Oh well, all was well.
I suppose Abe did go on a Lagoon ride of sorts that evening.  David Flynn (in the Hawaiian shirt) recently got himself an impressive new car and took the menfolk for a joy ride at the end of book club. 
When questioned by the kids afterwards about the car and the ride Abe said he really liked our minivan because it could seat our whole family.  Really, what else could he say? 
I don't know if it can get much better than this.
Or this.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Catch the Vision - Encampment

Abe here.  Late Saturday, August 4th, Clark and I returned from a massive LDS Scout Encampment near Spokane, Washington.  My father, Jim Fox, was the General Chairman of the entire week-long event and had been planning this 18 stake, Aaronic Priesthood "Jamboree" for 2 and a 1/2 years.  It was a COMPLETE success on every level.  My dad was inspired to give the encampment the title "Catch the Vision".  Much more than a large scouting event, this encampment was a grand gathering of the priesthood - learning from and serving one another, growing towards God and catching the vision of who we are and what we can become.  Here are some pictures from this once in a lifetime event.
Fox men from left to right: Jesse, Baden Stuart, Abe, Adam & Clark.
There were TONS of awesome activities - providing for a very, VERY exciting week.
My nephew Adam, who was Clark's tent-mate for the week, enjoys a dip.
My youngest brother Baden makes a daring leap on the C.O.P.E course (Challenging Outdoor Personal Experience).
It was the ULTIMATE Father and Son's camp-out!
Grandpa Fox (my dad) with his three priesthood-holding grandsons (Ford, Clark & Adam).
Shooting - Lots of shooting guns!!
Hatchet Throwing!!
Cousins enjoying the water.
Adam and Clark with the Young Men's General President, David L. Beck.
Clark having a blast on the zip-line.
Clark and I going for a new record at the log cutting activity.
My dad on the big screen just before the closing ceremonies.
4 of the 7 Fox Brothers.

Congratulations James Russell Fox on an incredibly, fantastic event that will never be forgotten by those who were there, and more importantly helped thousands of young men "Catch the Vision" of what the Lord expects of them.  Thanks Dad!!

Here is a link to a 4-page article about the encampamnet in the LDS Church News:

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Nightmare up Hobblecreek Canyon

What is love?

Love is Abe getting up with me at 3:45 AM to see me off on race day.
On Saturday I ran the Hobblecreek Half Marathon with my good friend, Kim and her husband, who is now also our bishop.  It was an early morning and I had high hopes for the day.
The course was breathtakingly beautiful, but it was not a good race for me and I felt very disappointed at the end.  I have done this distance several times and felt very prepared, but I was afflicted with a viciously upset stomach for 8 of the 13 miles and the pounding of the downhill made matters even worse.  It was rather a nightmare to tell you the truth.  My time was slightly better than my first half marathon but no where near what it could have been without all the bathroom breaks and necessary gentler running to prevent a truly heinous incident.  I never thought I'd be someone who could dodge off behind some bushes to take care of business but nature called pretty loudly and I had to answer.
So there it is.  No doubt, way more information than you wanted.
Let's see-- what good can be said about the experience?
I got a nice shirt out of it.  I learned that I must take the immodium the night before the race.  I don't like running downhill and am glad the marathon (next month) is a fairly flat course.  I learned to always pack some toilet paper in my running pack.  A few days ago my left knee was giving me trouble but it felt great for the whole race.  A messed up knee is harder to fix than an upset tummy.
And I did finish and was so happy so see my family and hear Abe and the kids cheering for me.  That was actually very good.

Aliyah... Pretty

Can you even believe how delicious this little thing is??
My niece, Aliyah (not the rabbit) who lives in Washington state.  She is Matt and Misty's daughter and my family is so taken with her.
Notice how my girls aren't looking at the camera-- rather they're looking at Aliyah.  They're obsessed with her.  She might be the smartest little girl I've ever seen.
And such a little sweetie giving kisses to everyone.  We enjoyed them so much for the very brief time we had with them that they have inspired a Christmas trip to visit them this year.
George is about 6 months older than Aliyah and he was rather jealous, but I'm teaching him to say "pretty" when we say "Aliyah".

Well I guess that is enough bragging on other people's children.  Back to my own:)
Faith is a now a solid bike rider and has earned the right to go with Abe on a bike ride to the library and Petersons-- the local grocery store.  Faith was so happy to bring along her good friend, Katelyn.
They feasted on Mike and Ikes and rootbeer and they returned home with no mishaps.  They didn't have bike locks for when they went into the store but Abe assured them the bikes would be safe since they parked them right in front of the security cameras.  Thank goodness!
Isn't this dress fabulous!!!
Too bad it isn't mine.
Our Naomi from London is staying with us and let me wear her dress to church.  I was twice accused of being unpatriotic, but I said I was simply showing my enthusiasm for the Olympics and all things English.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Utah Reunion 2012

Here is a picture of much, but no where near all, of the Fox family as we gathered for a family reunion this past week and weekend.

It was exciting!  It's always exciting when the Fox family gathers.  It's exciting and it's loud.  Abe grew up in Spokane where four of the nine siblings and their families live.  Abe's parents have a marvelous house that is a kid's paradise and is perfect for big family gatherings so that is where we usually have the reunions. This year we had a Utah reunion and without a central location that could comfortably handle a group this size it was a challenge for Abe who planned and organized the 5 day affair.
The whole event had an "organized chaos" theme.  We're several days out from the reunion and to be honest with you my mind is still reeling a bit from the whole event.  As it turns out I'm a little more of a control freak than I thought I was.  I don't go with the flow as well as I would have hoped.  So since I haven't quite processed the whole reunion yet, I will put up pictures in no particular order with just a bit of commentary.
Bethany and Julia--cousins born one day apart.
The discovery of a new cousin for me.  Melissa also happens to be my sister-in-law, but we're 3rd cousins as well descended through the artist, C.C.A. Christensen.
George and Cannon with cousin Will playing in the sand volley ball court at the park during the first gathering of the reunion.
Some of the teen and preteen gang bowling at the Wilkinson Center at BYU.
Bethany, Elinor, and cousin Talitha on a golf cart tour of BYU.  Yikes-- it made me feel quite old to see how much has changed on campus since Abe and I were there.  Even still, I quite enjoyed the tour.
Lunch at the Cougareat before bowling.
Faith vs. Jessica going head to head in a round of the Rock, Paper, Scissors Tournament.
Elinor's paper covered Caitlyn's rock.
Geez, some people take games too seriously.  Get a grip, Lady!
Lindsey won the whole thing.  The competition was fierce, but she was the best!

Alison and Elinor sleeping in a tent in the backyard.  Including our family of 8 we had 16 people staying at our house over the course of the reunion.  That's a few too many to house comfortably inside the house, so we resorted to tent city in the backyard.
Except that the last night there was rain in the forecast so the girls bedded down on the living room floor.
Celebrating cousin Megan's 16th birthday at Classic Fun Center with roller skating, bounce houses, and laser tag.  Crazy, but fun.  
The youth went to the Oquirrh Mountain temple Saturday morning.  Bethany, Julia, and Talitha weren't 12 yet , but they sat in the waiting room for the group to finish up at the temple and joined them for a testimony meeting afterwards.

The family at a church house for breakfast and a great game of Fox Jeopardy.  The night before was the family talent show.  
My favorite picture of my little charmer-- eating his 5th cup of ice cream.
Lunch at the Lion House in Salt Lake.

We did a lot during this reunion and it was wonderful to see so much family, but I am very happy to be with just my people this week.  This size of crowd is a little easier to manage:)