Saturday, July 4, 2015

Happy Fourth

July 4, 2015
Make a funny face!

And, just for fun, a little trip through the archives.  The annual photo by the flag is one tradition I have been good at observing for many years!

2014:  Annie was in an anti-photo-taking stage!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Bathroom Overhaul

Ever since moving to our new home over a year ago, my #1 pet peeve of this house has been the carpet in the bathrooms.  Who does that?!  Thankfully, the tub/toilet areas were tiled, but the vanity area in both the kids' and the master bath was carpeted, and it was nasty.  I have been dying to get rid of that ratty carpet from the moment we moved in.  Thanks to a recommendation from a friend, we were able to find some guys who laid tile for a very reasonable price.  We decided to tile all three upstairs bathrooms, including the guest bathroom that was already tiled, just so that the flooring was the same in all.  So without further ado, 

Kids Bathroom

Guest Bathroom
And going way back to the day we closed on the house:
This bathroom has changed dramatically over the last year!!

In the master, we decided to do both the flooring as well as the tub and shower surround, and the fireplace in the bedroom.  We used the same wood-plank-look tile that we put in the other two bathrooms, with a Carrara marble as the surround. 



 We used a hex-tile mosaic for the inlay pattern.  We also ditched the plastic drip-pan and used the hex tiles for the flooring.  I am a little obsessed with how it turned out!

Before (showing the carpeting meeting the tile in the toilet/shower area):

After (with the tile flowing through):

Work in Progress:
I'm calling this a work-in-progress, because my next project is to paint the mantle black to match our bedroom furniture and bathroom cabinetry.  But I love the way the new tile looks!

It's so awesome to have this project done, and even more awesome that I didn't have to do it!!

Monday, January 5, 2015

The Forgotten Year

When we were in Utah for Christmas, I got a lot of comments from our extended family about how I used to be so good at blogging, and how I've totally dropped the ball on that.  It's a completely fair criticism.  I sometimes joke that 2014 was "The Forgotten Year," since I didn't keep a good record of what happened during it.
On New Year's Night as Adam and I were lying in bed before falling asleep, Adam said, "Just think what we were doing a year ago today."  The answer was that we were getting our house ready to put on the market in the morning.  By January 3rd, we were under contract both to sell our old home and to buy our new home.  And this, in the opening days of 2014, would pretty much set the stage for our entire stressful year.  
January and February were dominated by house buying and selling.  Both the buyer of the old house and the seller of the new were out of the country, which complicated everything tremendously.  Add to that mold issues and mitigation, and a closing date that was delayed twice.  It was an emotionally draining experience!  When we were finally able to close on both houses the last week of February, it was time to start the real work.
We moved into our new home on Saturday, March 1st.  The next day, our ward boundaries were realigned, necessitating a reorganization of much of the quorums and auxillaries of the ward by the Bishopric.  March and April were Adam's busiest months as a bishop to date, as he spent countless hours meeting dozens of new families and extending callings.  In the meantime, I was doing an overhaul of the new house:  first unpacking everything and settling in, then painting walls, refinishing mantles and cabinets, patching walls, installing hardware, sewing curtains and couch pillows, and shopping for accents.   It was happy work, but it was a LOT of work, especially with Adam gone the vast majority of the time.
A surprise trip to San Francisco for my birthday in May was just what Adam and I needed after not seeing each other for two months!  It was so nice to be able to get away from the house issues and the ward issues and just spend time together away from our stresses.
Without going into tons of detail, the second half of the year was dominated by infertility challenges.  We were unprepared to deal with that trial, as all of our three children came easily and according to the timing we planned.  It has been a serious struggle that has yet to be resolved.
So here I am at the beginning of a new year, having just finished what was arguably one of the most challenging years of my life.  But even though we confronted serious difficulties, I just have to say that I am so incredibly grateful for the last year.  I have been stretched and tested and ultimately have experienced extreme personal growth.  I'm not the same woman I was a year ago, and I sincerely hope the changes that have occurred in me have been for the better.  
I face 2015 with great optimism.  While we still have unanswered questions, unmet expectations, and unfulfilled hopes, we feel like we have momentum working in our favor.  Our ward is in a good place, with our members becoming more unified and cohesive than ever before.  Our home is in order.  Though there are still plenty of projects for me to tackle, we feel settled and comfortable here now.  And we have an appointment to meet with a specialist to see if we can figure out what's wrong so we can get that last little person here that we feel we need to complete our family.  I am at peace.  I don't know what this year will bring, but I am excited to find out!  Both Adam and I feel it will be a year of great momentum and even miracles in our lives.  Oh, and hopefully I can be more engaged in blogging this year!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Halloween Festivities

Ah, Halloween.  I sincerely love October, and most of the fall and Halloween traditions that fall therein.  The one tradition I don't entirely adore is the annual family pumpkin-carving contest.  Don't get me wrong--I love being able to connect with my parents, siblings, and adorable nieces and nephews through this contest, but I really HATE carving pumpkins.  We do have a system--the kids choose designs, Adam guts, I carve, and the kids help out a little here and there.  I have to say, my carving skills this year were sub-par.  Oh, well.  

Ty:  Lego Minifigure

McKay:  Green Lantern

Annie:  Olaf (my personal favorite!)

But aside from the carving, I really love Halloween!  The kids get so excited about it, and it's just fun to have fun with them!
McKay:  Wolverine

Ty:  The Falcon

Annie:  Minnie Mouse
 I absolutely love how Annie has her arms out in this photo because Ty did in his!

The kids have a new principal this year, and he allowed them to wear costumes to school.  That was a first for them, and it was so exciting!  After school, we went down to Main Street to participate in the trick-or-treating, games, and bounce houses there.  It was less awesome than last year, just because it was SO crowded.  It stressed me out big time to have all three kids wandering, and no daddy with me to help out!
After our traditional mummy dog dinner, we went trick-or-treating around the neighborhood.  The weather was really quite mild, which was super great not to have to freeze all night!
The loot:

And this was from our ward's Soup and Spook the following evening:  
I sure do love those littles of mine!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Weekend Project

A couple weeks ago, I ran into a friend I hadn't seen in a while.  She asked me to teach her how to frame in a bathroom mirror like I did in my guest bathroom.  I told her I hadn't framed in the existing mirror, that I had simply replaced my old mirror with a new one.  But the more I thought about it, the more convinced I became that framing in an old bathroom mirror was, in fact, a project I definitely wanted to try.  I looked up an online tutorial and decided it looked easy enough, so I gave it a go last weekend.  And I figured that as long as I was framing the mirror, I might as well re-finish the cabinetry, too.  You know how much I love honey oak!  
Adam left at 5AM on Thursday morning for a scout training, and wouldn't be returning until Saturday night, so I set a goal to complete the entire project while he was gone.  It seems I often take on fairly major projects when he is gone, and I have discovered that it is a coping mechanism for me, so that I can keep myself busy and not feel too lonely at night after the kids are in bed and I am all alone.  
So without further ado, here is my vanity.
And Adam's.  Before:

Close up of the cabinetry:

And the framed mirror:

If the cabinets look a little familiar, I re-finished them exactly the same as I did the cabinetry in our old master bathroom.  I loved the way it looked there, and decided to replicate it in our new home!

It was a pretty simple three-day project, and I am quite pleased with the end result.  Adam was happily shocked when he came home, too!  I would love to install new lighting fixtures, and I am dying to lay new tile, but that's not in our current budget!  For now, it's at least a nice upgrade to what it was before.  

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Race

Let's backtrack for a minute back to June 6th.  My first triathlon.  Truth be told, I never thought I would find myself racing in a tri.  I'm not a swimmer, and I don't cycle, so it makes sense for me to stick to running races!  Last August, one of my best friends decided it was time for me to learn how to swim.  She taught me a basic freestyle stroke with the idea that we could train together for a tri.  Unfortunately, she had some medical issues that prevented her from competing, but she was really the one who pushed me to sign up for this race.  Thanks, Alicia!

I was a nervous wreck for several days leading up to the race.  A few days before, Alicia and I went out to the reservoir so I could practice open-water swimming for the first time.  It made me MORE nervous than I was before!  The water was frigid (it had snowed significantly just three weeks before!), and I was gasping so much that I was having a hard time breathing.  I recognized that it was making my exercise-induced asthma flare up (it's always worst when it's cold), and I really started doubting if I would be able to complete the swim, which was 750M, or about a half mile.  I was terrified that I would get way out into the reservoir and then not be able to make it back.

Alicia and her husband (who was also competing) picked me up the morning of the race to drive out to the reservoir.  I was so grateful that she was there to show me the ropes and help calm me down.  She snapped a quick photo of me before the race started, too:
I have the best friends!  I borrowed the wetsuit from Sarah and Nicole lent me her awesome road bike so that I had all the equipment I needed to compete.  

This particular triathlon was unique in that it had a wave strictly for beginners.  We were the last wave to start.  As we were down on the beach watching the other waves begin, I was able to chat to a few other women who were also first-timers.  That helped more than anything else to alleviate my fears.  ALL of us were concerned about swimming in open water, and I quickly realized that nobody would be swimming over the top of me or shoving me under the water in this group.  That was a big deal!

And in fact, the swim went really well for me, surprisingly!  I didn't have to hang onto any of the kayaks, and though I wasn't the first one out of the water, I certainly wasn't the last!  I even passed a handful of swimmers that had started in the wave ahead of me (the swim caps were color-coated by wave--that's how I knew)!  I probably swam about half of the distance freestyle, and the other half on my back.  It worked for me--I didn't drown!  :-)

My friend, Sarah, had recommended that I take my time in the transitions, so I did.  I got a drink, changed out of my wetsuit, and made sure my feet were nice and dry.  Then it was on to the bike portion of the race.

And it was my favorite part.  This past winter, I started doing a cycling class at the rec center at least once a week.  That was 100% how I trained for the bike, and it was pretty good training!  Nicole's bike was great, and the course was just beautiful.  It was lots of rolling hills, and some of them were pretty tough.  But I absolutely loved it.  My only close call came when I was flying down a hill and I saw a huge rattlesnake in the road.  It was dead, but I didn't know it as I was approaching, and I tried to swerve out of the way so I didn't run over it.  I about biffed it, but luckily I caught myself.  Disaster averted!

Adam and the kids were back at the transition area to cheer me on when I came back from the ride.  Ty had had a late baseball game the night before, so it was a slow-going morning for them.  I totally get that!  But it gave me such a boost to see all their cute faces before I started on the run!

Surprisingly, the run was the hardest part for me!  About halfway through, I got a terrible cramp in my quad and had to stop and stretch for a couple of minutes.  I was slow.  Actually, it was the slowest 5K that I have ever run!  I guess the fact that I had swam half a mile and biked 12.5 miles before explains that.  But that was the only disappointing part of the race for me.
I felt great after finishing.  After each of the half marathons I have run, I am exhausted!  I want a five hour nap, and I can hardly walk up and down the stairs for a couple days post-race.  I never felt that after the tri.  I felt like I got a great workout, but I wasn't sore in the least.  I recognize that it was only a sprint triathlon, and if I were to do a longer distance, that would probably change things!  But I do think that mixing things up with three seperate exercises, rather than just running, is a lot easier on your body.
My official results:

Finish Time:  2:01:29
Swim:  25:03
T1:  04:44
Cycle:  55:48
T2:  01:19
Run:  34:33

I didn't have a "goal time" in mind, since I had never done this before, so I was completely satisfied with my results.  Even more so when I learned that I had finished 13th out of the beginner wave of 60.  But I know where I can improve and what I will do differently in the future to beat that time!

Yes, I am planning on doing another triathlon.  Actually, Adam and I have plans to compete together in another sprint tri at the end of August.  I really loved competing in a triathlon far more than I expected to!  I think I might be hooked!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Happy Fourth!

Well, once again I have fallen behind in my documetation.  I have a triathlon, a trip to Utah, Ty and Annie's birthdays, and more home projects to catch up on.  But I'm going to start with July 4th, because if I don't it won't ever get done!
Our day began at the church for our annual Independence Day Breakfast.
2/3 Marchant kids participated in the bike parade.  McKay chose to sit it out, because McKay is just like that sometimes.  

Ty zipped around the parking lot on his scooter

And Annie scooted herself around on the plasmacar.  

After the breakfast, we attempted our annual "Kids By the Flag in the Front Yard" photo shoot.  Problem is, Annie is in a major anti-get her picture taken-stage, and was NOT having it.  Here's the progression:

 But you know, it's real life, and documents this stage accurately.  (If you want to see previous years, click here.)

After our failed photo shoot, I let Annie see the phone and take a picture of herself.  That elicited a wee grin out of her.

And then she started waving at herself and saying, "Hi, Mom!  Hi, Annie!"  She's really cute when she wants to be!
The whole crew:
July 4, 2014

I spent the better part of the afternoon hanging cabinet doors and installing new hardware on my kitchen cupboards.  Then we had the Elders and some new friends from our ward over for a barbecue and homemade cotton candy.  That's one of our favorite Fourth traditions--cotton candy.  It's always a hit.  We were able to view our first fireworks show in THREE YEARS later that night.  Because it's been so dry the last few years, Parker has had a fire/firework ban.  It was so fun to lay out on a blanket with my favorite people and watch fireworks again!  I really love the Fourth of July--it's one of my faves for sure!