Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas

Lego Nativity, compliments of Sterling. Shepherds and drummer boy on left, Wisemen and camel on right. 

Close-up of baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph. :)

I've been AWOL this month. No excuse, really. December hasn't felt nearly as frantic as it often does. We had 6 concerts or recitals in 9 days a couple of weeks ago, but even then, what a great way to spend our December evenings! 

Our Christmas morning was full of fun and laughter. Our afternoon will be filled with games and food. We get to talk to Sam here in the next hour or so - definitely the thing I'm looking forward to the most!

We've been so blessed! Life is good. 

Merry Christmas. 


Edit: Sam is doing so well! We miss him, but wouldn't want him to be anywhere else. It was great to talk with him. :)

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Spirit of Christmas

What a beautiful video. It brought tears to my eyes (and down my cheeks). This is what I believe.




#sharethegift

Monday, December 1, 2014

Share the Gift


I'm so grateful for this beautiful video to help me Share the Gift of our Savior this Christmas. It's the perfect way to start off this crazy, commercial fiasco we call December and help bring the focus back where it belongs. This is the message Sam is sharing -- the one worth devoting two years of his life for.

Christ is the Gift. Knowing that puts everything else in its proper perspective.

#sharethegift

Thursday, November 27, 2014

A Last Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

Savannah's Senior Picture
I just realized that this is probably our last Thanksgiving with Savannah for a very long time. She's hoping to be at BYU next fall. Living so far away, we'll be lucky to have her home for Christmas, but Thanksgiving isn't likely. She's planning to be on a mission by Thanksgiving the following year and then it's more college to follow.

Fortunately, college and missions are both things to be thankful for so we'll choose gratitude for the good things she's planning for her future and try not to dwell on how much we'll miss her.

And we'll just enjoy having her here this year. Life is good!


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Pinterest Partial Fail

Savannah is on a health kick. She found a super easy and delicious healthy dinner on Pinterest that she was excited to make for us. Quinoa, sweet potatoes, onion, garlic - we had all the ingredients on hand and Savannah got to work. It wasn't as "super easy" as the recipe boasted, but Savannah persevered.

The top picture below is what it was supposed to look like. The bottom picture is what we ended up with.


Despite Savannah's crestfallen looks and her declarations of, "No one is ever going to want to marry me," it wasn't a total loss. The end result tasted fine, and most of the kids cleaned their plate. (Anything is edible with enough ketchup...)

Thanks for dinner, Savannah! It tasted great. We'll work on presentation. :)

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Africa?


At first glance, doesn't this look like Africa? It does to me. I looked out my car window and did a double take. I could see a few cars driving down the road way off in the background, but they could have just as easily been gazelles or giraffes running across the savannah. This picture was actually taken as we were leaving the airport in Champaign, Illinois earlier today - a far cry from Africa, to be sure. 

It just so happens that I have an "Africa Fund" where I've been saving my pennies and dollars for about 2 years now. I'll get there someday. In the meantime, it was fun to get a little glimpse of what it might be like. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Glorious

David Archuleta sings a song called "Glorious" in the movie, Meet the Mormons. They ran a little contest of sorts, inviting people to submit their own cover of the song for possible inclusion in a supercut video. Savannah submitted a video and, while she wasn't selected as one of the few for the supercut, I think her version is especially beautiful and I wanted to share. :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Studio C - One of the Greats


This video from the most recent Studio C episode went from a little over 500,000 views around 5:30 this evening to over 900,000 only four hours later. Crazy! 

I seriously haven't heard Jeff laugh this hard in a long time. I think I laugh more at Jeff laughing than I do at the video - I guess people getting hit in the face just isn't my thing, but I once had a friend who would die of laughter whenever she saw someone fall down, so I get it. Anyway, a lot of people think this is quite brilliant so I thought I'd post it here for your viewing pleasure. 

Studio C is in its fifth season and I must admit it's a good one. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Another Teenager

I have a theory. I've decided that terrible toddlers grow up to be delightful teenagers and vice versa. So far my theory is holding true.

Meet Sterling, the terriblest toddler.


Yes, those are scissors in his hand...oh dear! It's a good thing he's cute. There were days, many days, when I didn't know if we'd survive Sterling's busy-ness. He was never malicious, but he had more energy than my oldest three put together. We literally had an alarm on our front door so we'd know when he escaped!

Fast forward a few years. 


This is the (adorable) face of one fantastic teenage boy. Yep, still cute! But now he's focused and driven. Sterling excels in school, he's a great friend, an amazing violinist and he has the craziest imagination! He even has perfect pitch. Oh, and he's super funny! He has the best sense of humor. Sterling is kind and he loves to please. He is very conscientious and has a strong sense of what is right. What more could you ask for? :) Sterling is the whole package. 

I'm so glad we survived Sterling and that he is starting out his teenage years as such a remarkable young man. 

Happy 13th Birthday, Sterling. I hope this is your best year so far!

Love,
Mom
xo



Friday, November 7, 2014

Big Hero 6

Imagesource


We're not big moviegoers. We're usually content to wait for the DVD and then watch from the comfort of our living room.

But once in a while, we just can't wait. And once in a great while we can't even wait past opening night. (And when I say "we," I mean Soren. Soren has been anticipating the opening of Big Hero 6 since he saw the first trailer months ago.)

What we loved and learned:

  • You'll never think of fist bumps the same again. (ba-da-la-da-la)
  • Being a smart nerd is very cool. 
  • The trailers didn't give away too much. Plenty of surprises!
  • It didn't condone violence (though there are a few scary violent parts.)
  • Friends look out for each other.
  • Bad things happen when anger takes over.
  • Baymax is so lovable. 
  • Family is important.

Imagesource

    Five stars from us! 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Change


We've had one of the longest, most beautiful transformations to Fall. The trees changed color so gradually this year and it seem the leaves stayed on much longer than usual. Even just running errands or dropping the kids at school has been an opportunity to view the brilliant and changing display.

Fortunately, the leaves are not the only things changing around here.  


Illinois has been in trouble for a while. Wherever you happen to live, you've probably heard the dire reports about Illinois and the huge mess we're in. You probably know that our governors have a track record of going to prison after their tenure in office, but by then the damage has been done and we are left to deal with it.

I'm not a fan of Chicago. Simply looking at area, Illinois is overwhelmingly rural and conservative. Then there is Chicago. Sadly, Chicago ends up making all the big decisions and having the final say in elections simply because they are so big. Fortunately, this time they just weren't big enough. Or maybe it's just that Chicago is fed up with the way things have been going and they are ready for change, too.

I am hopeful that Illinois can change. The election of a new governor yesterday is a huge step in the right direction. The race was a nasty-name-calling-finger-pointing ordeal, but it's over.  I'll admit, I feel a little bit sorry for Bruce Rauner. I have a feeling that things might need to get worse before they can get better in order to clean up this mess, but I'm optimistic that things can improve. I look forward to many positive changes just ahead!

Friday, October 31, 2014

The Piano Guys

It's Halloween and October is coming to a close. It's been a great month with a lot of great memories, but I don't want the month to slip away without posting about one of our favorite evenings.

Way back last May, I bought my birthday present -- tickets for our family to see The Piano Guys on October 18 in St. Louis. Sadly, the date meant Sam wouldn't be joining us. (I was pretty sad about that, as was he, because he's one of their biggest fans!) I tucked the tickets away for 5 months and opened them on my birthday, October 8th. The kids were so excited!!

The two and a half hour drive was no match for our excitement to see our favorite group. The marquis outside of The Fox Theatre announced that the show was sold out!



They weren't kidding. Every seat in the house was filled.


You can tell by the above picture that we didn't have the best seats in the house. In fact, we may have had the worst seats in the house.... We were on the back two rows of the highest balcony. But, like I told the kids, we could either be in the same room as The Piano Guys, or we could be at home. We all agreed that it was much better to be in the same room, even if that meant the nose-bleed section! :) Fortunately, our seats were fine and the show was amazing. Some highlights of the evening included singing along to Love Story Meets Viva La Vida (we were singing along starting about the 3:40 mark), and I was thrilled when they played one of my favorites, Bourne Vivaldi.


I could go on and on about all the songs they played. The show was amazing from start to finish. Jon Schmidt and Steven Sharp Nelson are so funny together. They had us laughing throughout with their banter back and forth. Their music was flawless and the audience was completely engaged. We gave them a well-deserved standing ovation at the end, so they came back and played another song. Then we gave another ovation and didn't stop clapping until they came back on stage again. That's when they brought on the other two guys on their team (Paul Anderson and Al Van der Beek) and they played the crowd favorite, What Makes You Beautiful. Oh, it was so cool!!!

We've been fans of The Piano Guys from the start. What a treat it was to see them in concert. Hopefully someday we can do it again!
Some happy faces just waiting for the show to start

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Keeping Others Warm

When Jeff and I were cleaning out the upstairs during our remodeling project a couple of months ago, we realized we had way more blankets than we will ever be able to use. Jeff knows someone who works at the local women's shelter so he asked her if they might have a need for blankets. She said that, in fact, they happen to be low on blankets right now and could really use more. Jeff asked her how many they need -- and would it be okay if we asked around at church to possibly gather more than we had on hand? She said they would use whatever we could give.

A little over two weeks later, after an overwhelming response from our church friends, we made a donation of almost 50 blankets.


It warmed me right up! :)

Monday, October 27, 2014

Costumes in a Pinch

Last minute costumes are the best! I love what my kids come up with on the spot. It's not like Halloween sneaks up on me, but it's not my favorite holiday so I just kind of ignore it until I can't ignore it any longer. Sterling plays violin in the University Orchestra and they all dress up for the Halloween concert. Soren and Sterling also sang in the concert with their school choirs. And Sadie dressed up so she could be part of the costume parade. Take a look at what we were able to pull together within a couple of hours of the show --

Oh my, this is the cutest Grandma ever!

Her big bottom (pillow) cracks me up!

Soren is the scientist whose experiment literally blew up in his face!

Sterling is a Jedi. Surprise, surprise. :) He did a great job pulling this costume together by himself.


Trick-or-Treat!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Utah Stuff

I just realized I never finished posting about our girls' trip to Utah. It would have helped if I took more pictures, but we were too busy shopping and hanging out with family to worry much about the camera!

On our way out, the girls and I dressed pretty casual for our long day of travel. I laughed when my brother, Rob, picked us up and the airport and he and I were wearing the same shirt. Definitely related with our weird sense of humor. :)


Probably the most frustrating part of our trip was the BYU game. We were supposed to win! BYU was favored and we started off with a bang, but then our Heisman-worthy quarterback, Taysom Hill, received season ending injuries. The game was pretty pathetic after that. Sadie fell asleep on my lap somewhere near the end of the 2nd quarter and slept until we left during the 4th. I would have preferred to sleep through that game, too, but it was fun to be there in a sold out stadium and cheer for my team. Go Cougars! Maybe next season...

I wish I'd thought to get a picture of a quick pre-game reunion under the stadium with a friend from our Columbus, Ohio days. So great to see my friend, Jennifer. A lot has happened in the 14+ years since we both left Columbus, but she and I can always pick up where we left off. :)

The girls and I were pretty excited before the game started. (We didn't look so happy at the end.)


Arguably, one of the best parts of our trip was meeting baby Lane. My younger sister, Amy, had her fourth child and first boy just a couple of weeks before our trip. The girls were so excited to meet and hold their newest cousin. Usually new babies in the family are months old before we ever get to meet them so it was a treat to cuddle newborn Lane.




Isn't he the cutest? We couldn't get enough.

I wish I had pictures of the family gathering on Saturday night. The girls had so much fun with their cousins. It was fun to catch up with my siblings and their families. I wish you could have been there to see Savannah at the piano playing every song in the "Frozen" songbook with 6-year old Makenna sitting next to her on the bench singing her little heart out.

Here's a video of them together. The picture quality is the pits, but the sound makes it worth watching. :)


I wish I had pictures of Savannah saying goodbye to her cousin, Jake, knowing that she might not see him again for 3 1/2 years. Actually, that picture might break your heart so maybe it's a good thing I didn't take one. Jake left this week to serve a mission in Puerto Rico for the next two years. It's possible Savannah could be on a mission herself by the time he gets home.

We made some great memories!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Love Notes

Sometimes Jeff leaves notes for me on my laptop.

"If I had a nickel for every girl as good looking as you, I'd have 5 cents."

I know, it made me smile, too. :)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

General Conference In Person

I mentioned in my last post that the girls and I attended General Conference on Saturday, October 4. I'm so glad we went! We loved being there.

Below is a view of the Salt Lake Temple peeking through the trees as seen from our walk to the Conference Center.


Here is Savannah outside the Conference Center. I think she's super cute and already looks the part of a Sister Missionary!
I'm kicking myself for not getting pictures of Sadie or the rest of our group. We went with my brother, Rob and his adorable girlfriend, Jenny. We met up with one of my missionary companions, Karen Betten (a.k.a. Larsen) and another sister from my mission, Delisa. We laughed a lot and had a great time catching up! Savannah also met up with a friend. Our plan was to get pictures outside after the session ended, but somehow those plans fizzled and died. Rats.

Here's our view from inside the Conference Center as we waited for the General Authorities to take their seats and for the meeting to start.


As I've listened to the other sessions of this Conference, I've been so impressed by the timeliness of the messages. One of my favorites, Approaching the Throne of God with Confidence, by Elder Jörg Klebingat, is below. (To read it, click here.)



Elder Klebingat's message reminded me of a meeting I attended as a missionary in Scotland. Elder Kenneth Johnson, who was a member of the Seventy at the time, spoke to us. He said that number one on his list of virtues was to be able to stand with confidence in the presence of God. At any given moment, we should be able to ask ourselves, "Right now, could I stand with confidence in the presence of God?" If the answer is no, we need to repent and make the necessary changes.  I feel that Elder Klebingat went a step further and really narrowed down what keeps us from feeling that confidence and what we can do to feel it again. Good stuff!


Friday, October 10, 2014

General Conference: Missionary Medley

I've been trying to catch up on General Conference this week. The girls and I attended the first session on Saturday morning and it was awesome! We loved being in the Conference Center and hearing our prophet and other leaders speak. There were some amazing talks that really touched me and inspired me to be better. (One of my favorites from that session is found here.)

Today I listened to some of the Priesthood Session from Saturday evening. Again, some really great words of counsel. Each talk was specifically addressing the Priesthood holders in the church, but most of it can easily be applied to all members of the church. I know it gave me much food for thought.

One of my favorite parts of the Priesthood Session was a medley of missionary songs sung by a missionary choir. I love the arrangement, and I love seeing all those missionaries!



Wasn't that awesome? I love it! I can't wait to listen to the rest of Conference. :)

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Counting My Blessings

The girls and I had a great weekend! We traveled to Utah and loved every minute of it. (Well, except for the disappointing BYU game...but it was fun to just be there!) I'll post more about our trip later, but for now I just want to say how grateful I am that we made it home okay because we almost didn't...


On our way to the airport Sunday afternoon, we were in a car accident. We were going through an intersection on a green light and we plowed right into a truck that ran the red light.

It was terrifying! The scariest part for me was the thought I had after I realized I was going to be okay. 

My girls are in the backseat.

I turned around afraid to see what I would find. But in an instant, we were all asking each other, "Are you okay? I'm okay. Are you okay?" Then we all opened our doors (a miracle in itself that our doors could open on their own) and got out of the car. 

We're sore. We have some pretty impressive bruises. It hurts to breathe deeply, laugh, sneeze, or, heaven forbid, cough. (Ouch!!) We missed our flight. My brother's car is totaled. And somehow none of that stuff seems to matter much.

Since the accident, I've been a little nicer, less concerned with stuff, more grateful for the people in my life, and just overall aware of my many blessings. It may take a little while to work out all the aches and pains, but I'm okay. My brother is okay. My girls are okay. 

We're counting our blessings!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Before and After: The Boys' Room

I finished up the boys' room redecorating project at least 2 weeks ago, and I'm finally sitting down to show you. I love how it turned out - super simple, bright and calm. That was my goal from the start: Calm. I wanted a room they could walk into and feel at ease; one where they could relax and feel at peace at the end of the day.

Now when I show you the before pictures, don't judge. It was particularly messy on the day I took these before pictures because I knew I was going to be tearing the room apart so I hadn't been on the boys to keep it clean. Don't get me wrong, it was usually busy and dark and cramped which is why we wanted to give it a makeover, but it wasn't usually this messy. I mean, I usually require that their beds are made! :)

Before:

Spencer's corner.


Sterling and Soren's bunkbeds.


Sam's loft bed over the dresser (we'd already removed the mattress).

After:

We got rid of all the beds, but kept the mattresses. We bought new beds with drawers. I love the look of the beds and I love that the boys have a place to put their stuff instead of on the floor. We painted the dark blue walls a soothing gray. I made them new comforters, adding a splash of color to each to personalize them a bit. We hung a mirror, clock, and pictures on the walls. The room is much simpler and yes, it is calm! I love it. The boys love it. Success!! :)

These are the two doorways that lead into the boys room and this dresser was beneath the loft bed.


One view of Spencer's corner.

Looking toward Spencer's corner from the head of Sterling's bed. One of the boxes at the end of Spencer's bed will hopefully be sorted through and gone soon.

Sterling's bed sits where the bunkbeds were originally. The magnetic strips under the windows might be used so I left them up.

Soren's bed is where the loft bed used to be. Ignore the upside down random family in the frames...
  
That's better. The final touch was to put the boys' pictures up.

Sweet dreams!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Meet the Mormons

I'm really looking forward to this movie! Meet the Mormons hits select theaters on October 10th. While it may not come to my little corner of the world, I'll get to see it eventually and I can't wait!


Monday, September 29, 2014

Recipe: Salted Brown Butter Crispy Treats

Sorry, I have no picture. Whenever I make these, they are gone before I ever think of taking a picture. Honestly, they look just like regular Rice Krispie treats which is quite deceiving because these are oh, so much better! Not that there was anything wrong with regular Rice Krispie treats. But if you're anything like me, once you make these, you'll never go back. 

I have my sister-in-law to blame thank for introducing me to this deliciousness. With double the butter, browned and sprinkled with sea salt, these have a sort of salted caramel or toffee flavor to them. Kristin gave me the recipe and it's also available from this website.  The recipe says to use an 8" square pan, but a 9x13 works, too. They just won't be as tall. Of course, I double the recipe and spread it in a big jelly roll pan, just to make sure there's enough to go around... :) 

Salted Brown Butter Crispy Treats 
Makes 16 2-inch squares or 32 1- x 2-inch small bars

1 stick (4-ounces) butter, plus extra for the pan
1 10-ounce bag marshmallows
Heaping 1/4 tsp. coarse sea salt
6 cups Rice Krispies cereal (about half a 12-ounce box)

Butter (or coat with non-stick spray) an 8-inch square cake pan with 2-inch sides.

In a large pot, melt butter over medium-low heat. It will melt, then foam, then turn clear golden and finally start to turn brown and smell nutty. Stir frequently, scraping up any bits from the bottom as you do. Don't take your eyes off the pot as the period between the time the butter begins to take on color and the point where it burns is often less than a minute.

As soon as the butter takes on a nutty color, turn the heat off, sprinkle salt over the butter, and stir in the marshmallows. The residual heat from the melted butter should be enough to melt them, but if it is not, turn it back on low until the marshmallows are smooth. Be careful not to cook the marshmallows.

Remove the pot from the stove and stir in the cereal. Quickly spread into prepared pan. Use a piece of waxed or parchment paper sprayed with oil to press it firmly and evenly into the edges and corners. A silicon spatula works almost as well. Let cool and cut into squares.

(*Missy's note: My marshmallows come in a 10.5-ounce bag so I just use the whole thing! :)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Mayonnaise Can Be Tricky

Sadie has a pretest every Monday on the spelling words for that week, sight unseen. Here is our conversation after school yesterday as Sadie wondered about one of the words on her list.

Sadie: Mom, how do you spell mayonnaise?

Me: M-A-Y-O-N-N-A-I-S-E

Sadie: Oh yeah, I definitely spelled that wrong!

Me: How did you spell it?

Sadie: M-A-N-A-Y-S

Mom: Good try, darlin'!



(Mayonnaise can be tricky!)

Sunday, September 21, 2014

What Goes Around Comes Around

Somewhere around 9 years ago, I decided I'd had enough of this little corner of the world. I was obviously in a funk and I couldn't seem to snap out of it. All I could see were the things that bothered me about living here and I wanted to move. This went on for quite a while as little and big things continued to fuel my dissatisfaction. 

One day, as I was driving on a back road to do some shopping in the next town, I remember feeling really overwhelmed and down when I saw something on the road. I slowed down enough to see that it was a turtle. A turtle was crossing the road. This may seem unremarkable to everyone but me, but that little turtle was my turning point. Seeing that turtle made me realize how much I love living here. Suddenly, I loved that quiet little country back road I was driving on with no traffic and no stop signs or traffic lights for 10 miles. I realized how much I love this small town we call home and all the little quirky things that go along with living here. I just couldn't fathom where else I could possibly live where I'd see a turtle crossing the road and that, for whatever reason, made me so happy! I guess you could say I was saved by a turtle. 

Imagesource
Fast forward to this morning.

The kids and I were in the van on our way to church. We left a few minutes early so Savannah would have plenty of time to play prelude music before church services started. (Savannah is the organist at church.) We were on the same quiet back road heading for the next town. So what did we see on the road? 

Yes, it was a turtle! A turtle was crossing the road! We drove on for a few seconds until I started to worry. The turtle hadn't gotten very far and wasn't moving very fast. It was, after all, a turtle. There isn't a ton of traffic on this particular road, but there is enough and I wanted Mr. Turtle to make it safely to the other side. So we turned around. Sterling got out and picked up Mr. Turtle (or maybe Mrs. Turtle...) and moved him safely to the grass on the other side of the road.

It was the least we could do.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Lovely

I bought school pictures for everyone but Savannah this year. In fact, she asked me not to buy hers. She'll be getting senior pictures taken so her school picture won't show up in the yearbook. The only thing it will be on is her student ID and she never uses that so why not shake things up a little?


Wow. That is, um...well...I'm speechless. Thanks, Savannah, for the warning. We'll just keep last year's picture on the wall for now, if it's all the same to you! :)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The MTC, by Soren

In honor of Sam's two month mark as a missionary, I'm sharing this sweet paper Soren wrote about dropping him off at the Missionary Training Center. Soren was given a school assignment to share a summer experience. His teacher marked him down a bit because she felt he could have tied things together with a little more information. I can see how someone who wasn't there might be kind of confused, but I was there and I think he got it just right! I'm pretty sure it will make you smile. And maybe it will leave you feeling just a little bit melancholy, too. {We've been missing Sam a lot lately!!}



The MTC, by Soren Stowell
   We drove up, Sam got out, a guy said, "Thanks for your child!" And we left. Yep. Go in, no hugs, go out. End of story. Good bye for 2 years. Headed to Mesa, Arizona.
   Okay, maybe that wasn't exactly how it happened. We gave hugs before we left from Denny's. Once we got to the MTC, Sam got out, with all the kids staring out windows crying, sat down, buckled up, and left.
   Sometimes we get an extra spoon because we forget he's gone. It's not the same not having an older brother to go nuts around. With Sam gone, it isn't the same.
   Sam's doing great on his mission. We e-mail him every Monday. We hear great things from him. We all feel better when we know he's OK.

{In case you're wondering, the "extra spoon" story happened right after we dropped Sam off. We headed to BYU campus and got ice cream at the Creamery. I grabbed eight spoons before realizing that there were only seven of us... It made me cry.}

Great job, Soren. :) And you're right. We really do feel better when we know Sam's OK.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Seventeen Years

Savannah out shopping with her girlfriends

This time next year, when Savannah is a big college student living far, far away, things are going to be pretty dull around here. It's hard to believe Savannah is seventeen years old today, but what a fun 17 years they've been!!

Savannah is very funny and pretty crazy. She sings like an angel and plays the piano like nobody's business. She loves hanging out with her girlfriends, but she's also quite satisfied to spend a quiet night at home. She loves stargazing and watching the sunset. She is in love with country music and says that almost every song she hears describes her life perfectly. Her life's ambition is to be a cowgirl, undoubtedly married to a handsome cowboy with a houseful of kids and a barn full of horses.

Savannah is beautiful inside and out. She includes others and makes everything fun. She does well in school, but can't wait to graduate! Savannah is trying to be patient with injuries that are making her cross country experience rather frustrating at times, but wishes she'd run all four years of high school. She loves her extended family and out west is her favorite place to be.

Savannah and her BFF, Bekah

Happy Birthday, Savannah! I hope seventeen is your best year so far!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Cross Country

I'm not a runner. That's not to say I haven't tried. But once that sandpaper-up-and-down-my-windpipe feeling kicks in, I always convince myself that running is not for me.

That's why I'm so impressed that my kids have taken up running. Savannah and Spencer joined the Cross Country team for the first time this year. Sometimes they come home from practice wondering what on earth they were thinking when they signed up for this! But those days are becoming fewer now that they are getting stronger and faster and have a couple of meets under their belt.

Spencer is in the front row, second from left.

Savannah is in the back, first girl on the left

At the first meet, each of them did better than they thought they would. At the second meet only four days later, they both realized a significant improvement.

As a mom, I've decided this is the best sport. Why? My two favorite reasons are 1) everyone cheers for everyone else, even runners and parents from other schools. Their teammates are encouraging and excited for every success. And 2) the coaches are always stressing enough sleep and a balanced diet. What mom wouldn't love that? My kids are getting fit and improving their endurance. They are learning they can do hard things.

I wish I was a runner...