Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Miracle of the Running Shoes

Now that Greta is almost a year old, it is time for me to start thinking about getting this body of mine back into shape.  Five years ago it was Operation: Get in Shape Girl.  This time around it is Operation:  The Final Countdown.
I don't know that I'll get quite as dedicated as I did after George.  I don't foresee a marathon in my near or far future, but I do hope to begin more vigorous exercise that includes some running.

Okay, what I would call running others might call jogging or even trotting.  Semantics.

My last pair of good running shoes were purchased before I was pregnant with Peter.  He's almost three, so I clearly needed a new pair of good shoes.  I am a believer in high quality running shoes. Things start hurting when shoes wear out.

But it is summer and there are always additional expenses in summer-- camps and family trips and car repairs, etc.   Money gets a little tighter.  But I really can't start exercising without proper footwear.  I researched how much the shoes I like would be at the store.  Blah.  How much would an older model on Amazon be?  Blah.  I'd been keeping an eye out for a few weeks during my regular thrift store visits.

In the scriptures we learn we should ask our Father in Heaven for the things we stand in need of.  Well, I figured I needed running shoes.  I was sure exercising was a good thing for me to do.  So on Thursday night I prayed for size 10 Mizuno Wave Runner shoes.  I wasn't specific on the color, although I'd seen some online that I really liked. I said, "I know someone in the world has these shoes and doesn't need them anymore.  If you could just direct me where to find these shoes, I would be very grateful."
The next day--- THE VERY NEXT DAY---I went to Savers, my thrift store of choice, to look for some short sleeve shirts for the summer.  I went over to look at the shoes.  Like I said, I had already been looking, without success for several weeks and I hadn't see anything of remote interest.  I didn't think buying used running shoes was necessarily a good idea anyway.  Not in a snobby, "...ooh, gross, I wouldn't wear used shoes kind of way", but because worn out running shoes won't do you much good.
Amazingly I found two pairs of size 10 Saucony running shoes.  They weren't the most amazing things I'd ever put on my feet, but they did fit and they were in like-new condition.  Wow!  They weren't my blessed Mizuno shoes that I love, but they would work, I'd avoid injury, and they would definitely work until such time I could get my hands on the ones I really wanted.
"Thank you, Heavenly Father, for answering my prayer."
I was about the leave the shoes aisle when I looked down on the bottom row and saw some black and torquoise shoes with a logo that was near and dear to my heart... ... ... could it be?
Size 10 Mizuno Wave Rider shoes for $7.99.
They cannot have been worn more than a handful of times.  The exact size, model, even color I would have bought.
The tread on the soles is almost pristine.
I took them for a test walk/run/jog/trot the very next morning and they were like heaven-- clouds on my feet!

A couple months back I came across this scripture that really struck me.  I've thought a lot about this scripture since I read it.
3 Nephi 18:20  "And Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is right, believing that ye shall receive, behold it shall be given unto you."

To me, this meant go ahead and ask for the things you think are good and right.  Believe (have faith) that if, indeed, it is the right thing for you at the time, he will bless you with the things you ask for.  The confusing part is that what seems right to us, may or may not be what He knows is best for us at that time.  But our job is to ASK and believe!  If we don't get what we think we need, we can be calm and have faith that it isn't in God's plan at the time.
I am a believer in the power of prayer, but I can't say that I've ever noticed so quick and exact an answer to my prayer.  I know my finding these shoes isn't a big deal to anyone but me.  I don't think it was a big deal to the person who donated them to Savers.  But it was a big deal to me.  I am so grateful for this miracle in my life right now.

The nice young lady checking me out casually scanned the price tag and put them in a bag.  I couldn't help myself--- I wanted to shout my miracle to the world.  In my evangelical excitement I told her, "I prayed for those shoes last night and here they are!"
She seemed to be a member of the LDS church as well and she responded, "Well, if Heavenly Father went to all that work to get you those shoes, you better make sure you use them!"
Now, that is motivation!

Out and About

Saturday morning Elinor had a swim meet.  It is such a treat to go to a child's event without everybody in tow.  I just took the smallest and tallest of my girls.  Not that we don't love to all go places together, but we do make rather a scene when we're all out and about.  
It was exciting to see Elinor come in first place in the 50 freestyle and 50 breaststroke.  
Elinor is in the lane closest to the bottom.
I love the summer outdoor swim meets!  So much nicer than the super humid, super crowded indoor meets the rest of the year.  And this meet in West Jordan was pretty small and they really moved it along quickly.  Almost too quickly, Elinor had very little time to recover in between races.  
There's really no "good" time for church with a baby.  Greta is usually in need of a nap during church and Abe is often out with her during Primary time when I'm doing singing time.  I like to see the results of his little Greta photo shoots.  Greta continues to delight us all.  She only fusses if she is tired or hungry.  That is more than I can say for myself.
Our Wolf Den in Cub Scouts took a little hike along the canal behind our neighborhood this week.  It occurs to me that perhaps we should have taken the No Trespassing sign more seriously.  
Whatever.  The canal road seemed at least a couple of steps closer to nature than our paved neighborhood roads.
Our den isn't really this big, but between siblings and sons of leaders, we make a good size crew.
Clark and Thyrgie (that's Jakob's nickname) and Cannon and Evan went lizard hunting/hiking last week.  Their spoils?  Two snakes and 8 lizards.  Not bad for a morning's work.  These lizards may or not be sold on the black lizard market.  I know nothing of such things.  If anyone asks me anything I will say, "Oh, I didn't know there was a market for black lizards!"
Thursday afternoon I took George down to Thanksgiving Point when I took Cannon to ballet.  Once again, one-on-one time is a delicacy in our family.   
During the first week of Cannon's ballet workshop he asked if we could have signed up for a three week workshop, because some of the kids were doing three weeks.  I said no, and assured him that this was only a two week workshop.  He asked if I was sure.
Of course I'm sure!  I take scheduling my calendar very seriously! 
At the end of the two weeks he said, "Mom, I am sure this is a three week workshop.  I asked the teachers".  
Hmm, I'd better check and make sure.  Sure enough, he has a THIRD week of ballet this week.  How did I miss that?  Two and half hours of ballet/contemporary, four days a week for three weeks!  Good thing he really likes it!  It does concern me that I missed something that big.
We took a picture of his turned out, pointed toes.  Too bad the only thing that is actually in focus in the picture is my messy family room floor.  
In other exciting news--- week of potty training has gone as least as well as could have been reasonably hoped for.  Tinkles are going well.  Poopies?  Not so much.  Tomorrow is another day.
Peter's love of the color green is increasing.  Now he prefers only green clothing, green cups, green straws, green plates, and green shoes.  He corrected the 7-11 clerk when she complimented his bright blue eyes.  "No!  Me have geen eyes!"

Twenty Years of Wedded Bliss

Yesterday, June 24th, was Abe and mine's 20th wedding anniversary!  Say WHAT?
TWENTY YEARS!  That means I've been married longer than I was single.  Yes, it's true.  I was a teen bride... by two weeks anyway.
We went on my dream date for the evening-- the Utah Symphony playing the music of La La Land live while the movie played on a huge screen.  You must know I ADORE this movie and have decided I can't be friends with anyone who doesn't like it.
Kidding.  We can be friends... we just can't go see movies together.
A couple of months back I saw an add in the paper for this event and was very interested.  But then I saw that it was ON our actual anniversary-- June 24th!  And I knew it was kismet.  We were meant to celebrate our anniversary this way!
It was an outdoor amphitheater and the weather couldn't have been lovelier.  My date couldn't have been handsomer or more enjoyable.
We dined like royalty at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, which we had never been to before.  And we wouldn't have gone for such splendor, in spite of the special occasion, except that Abe got some gift cards from work shortly after Greta was born.  Back then I couldn't leave Greta for that long, so we just saved them for our anniversary.
We don't frequent fancy restaurants very often because, 1. We have 8 children to feed and clothe 2. We have pretty boring food tastes so fine dining is sometimes lost on us and 3. Our fancy restaurant manners leave something to be desired.
Nevertheless, the meal was perfection.  We ended up getting three desserts, which were our favorite parts.  While three desserts may sound extravagant, as you can see in the picture, fancy restaurants take portion control very seriously.
And as a side note, Abe ordered a side of steamed broccoli that, no joke, was the best broccoli I've ever eaten.  And for $9 it should have been the best broccoli in the world.  I mean, it wasn't better than the desserts, let's not tell fibs, but it was really good.
Was it a good omen that one of our seats was 24 on the 24th of June?
Yes, I think it was.
What can I say about Abe, about our marriage on this, our 20th anniversary?
I love him more than I did when we got married.  We were young and pretty clueless about a lot of things.  We've learned a lot and are still learning.  I am grateful for the life that we have built together. It took about 20 years of working together to get all of our children here.  It will now take about 20 years for them to all grow up and leave the nest.  I can't say I am very anxious for that to happen, but I am so grateful to have an eternal partner who shares the load, makes me smile everyday, and loves me just as I am.  He loves the Lord, he loves me and our children and he gives his all to bless our lives.  That is as good as it gets.  Thank you, Abraham.  I love you.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Bob Ross and the Foxes

I know it's just another variation of the same picture, but I can't help myself.  Greta literally clings to Clark when he is near.  She hugs him and snuggles her face into his shoulder.  She was sad when he had to leave for work this morning.
She so markedly prefers him to everyone else.  I mean, he's great... but why does she love him so?  He's not actually around that often.  They are so cute to watch together.
I took Peter and Greta down to Thanksgiving Point to pick Cannon up from Ballet. While we waited I took Peter for a pony ride. It was 100 degrees outside.   And today was the first day of potty training.  So, yeah... I'm as crazy as they come.
But look at his little face.  He was happy.  Not much I won't do to make Peter happy.
Then he observed ants in his underwear this evening.  Good times.
This is just as he found two dead little millipedes.  He said, "Dang it! Dead!"
A family popsicle party in the parents room while watching Bob Ross' Joy of Painting.  It's summer.  Some families like to camp.  Some families like to go boating.  We like to eat popsicles and watch Bob Ross.
Sadly, none of us paint.  At all.  But I think Abe harbors secret dreams.  I recently heard of someone hosting a Bob Ross painting party.  I may have to follow suit for Abe's next birthday.
We also do family gymnastics.  Abe fancies himself quite the acrobat and demonstrated one of his feats for Cannon.  Truthfully, for someone of his age and physical condition, he is remarkably flexible.
The view from the back.  I just begged him to please not injure himself.

This is shocking to me!  How can this be?  Elinor has now far surpassed me in height.  We figure she is now about 5'11".  I think it's so awesome I can hardly stand it!  She is still doing a local swim team, but next year she plans to swim with the high school swim team.  Gotta put all that height to good use!
What would you think if you came upon this scene on your kitchen table?
To me it just meant that George had been there.  Although, I do admit these creations stumped me.  What had he been trying to create?  The ones without the plastic sliverware resembled jet packs he'd made in the past.  But no, I was later informed they were all boats.
I must take a moment to celebrate that Faith is consistently landing her standing back tuck in her tumbling class!  She really has worked tirelessly to build up the strength to land this difficult trick.  She even landed it out in the backyard today to show her dad what she could do.

And while I'm gushing over my children... Bethany is a little workhorse this week.  She's not big into having her picture taken these days.
Here's one of her from Memorial Day.  Anyway, she is working super full-time at three different jobs this week.  She is teaching a couple of beginning violin students.  She is still at Papa Murphy's almost every afternoon/evening.  And she is taking a swim instructor course from 9-2 six days this week.  Eventually, she will quit Papa Murphy's and just teach violin and swim lessons.  I am so proud of her and yet I feel kind of sorry for her too.  She's already pretty exhausted.  There are lots of things I admire and appreciate about both Clark and Bethany, but one of them is they are hard workers and responsible.
And yet they know how to have fun as well.  Last week we hosted a "graduation" party for Clark.  He just wanted to have a bunch of friends over for games and karaoke.
Girl cousins singing a little Justin Beiber.
We borrowed my sister's karaoke machine and we learned that Foxes like microphones and exhibition.  Is anyone surprised?
...Set down the microphone and walk away...
I don't know that I relate particularly well with teenagers... I fear I'm rather an old fogey in a young(ish) body, but I sure do enjoy them and their energy and senses of humor.  I appreciate that the teenagers' friends are always good to have the younger kids hanging out and participating.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Summer Keeps Us Hopping

Faith is doing a summer track and field program and here she is doing the long jump.  Awesome picture credit goes to Abe.  He always takes far better pictures than I take-- for which I am grateful.
Pretty good form!  Faith never seems to run out of energy.  If you zoom in on her you can see her fierce determination.  One of my favorite of Faith's characteristics.  She's a gem.
Faith scored a Slurpee twice this week.  Once with Abe after her track meet and once with me after she successfully landed her standing back tuck at gymnastics.
Faith with a neighborhood friend who is also running this summer.
FACT:  I am a worrywart and it makes me nervous to have the children sleeping outside on the trampoline without the protection of a room over their heads.  
FORTUNATE FACT:  Abe is more reasonable than me and he lets them despite my irrational worries.  He understands, better than I do, that children must have sleep outs during the summer.
Elinor and her friend Bekah are doing Mind Riot at the Leonardo over the next three days.  They hop on TRAX in the morning and spend the day learning and collaborating.  Today was the first day and they loved it.
Bekah came and hung out at our house into the evening while her family was at a track meet.  They were social entrepreneurs by day and master bakers by night.  They were making various cakes in mugs.  
Elinor was particularly pleased with their meringue.  
There has been a lot of driving around this week.  A LOT.  I forget how busy summer is with everyone's different schedules and activities.  All good things we really enjoy-- just very full.
Peter's not much for taking naps in his bed these days, so a peaceful nap in the car is a treasured thing.
These sleeping pictures were all taken at the same time.  George was with Abe and the littles were with me. 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Dangerous Levels of CUTENESS

Greta discovered the joy that is The OREO.
It blew her mind.
I know just how she feels.

As if that wasn't enough cuteness... our kitty is so cute.
Mikki is pretty popular.
Mikki can be a little fiesty.  I guess she'll fit right in at our house.
Peter has a lot of love to give the kitty.  The kitty was looking for an escape.
Favorite picture of the week.