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!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Surprise Trip to SF!

I have the greatest husband ever!  Last weekend, he surprised me with a weekend vacation in San Francisco for just the two of us!  It was the best!  As it worked out, he had to be in Oakland during the beginning of the week for work.  He was supposed to fly home on Wednesday night, tell me about the trip on Thursday morning, and fly back out to San Francisco with me Thursday evening.  That was the plan.  But you know, things rarely go as planned!  His flight home to Denver on Wednesday night was cancelled due to hail and tornados that were especially bad out by the airport.  So he called me Wednesday night and told me about the trip, and we decided he should just stay put and I would meet him there the next day.  
I was so surprised, though!  Adam had arranged everything--flights, hotel, rental car, dinner reservations, without me knowing a thing!  He planned to leave our kids with my Uncle Kirk and Aunt Kendra in Broomfield.  Only three times in (almost) nine years of marriage have we left the kids for an extended period.  So I was a little concerned about that, especially for Annie, my little shadow.  But I was beyond excited, too!
My flight ended up getting delayed by more than two hours.  I was SO nervous it would be cancelled like Adam's had been the night before!  But finally, at almost midnight, I was airborne!
Adam had scheduled an Alcatraz tour on Friday morning.  I woke up to a slew of wonderful happy birthday texts, reminding me that it was in fact my birthday, and I was 30 years old.  It was a wonderful way to turn 30!
Alcatraz was so interesting!  Neither Adam nor I had been there before.  We took a tour in which we learned about all the escape attempts that had happened on the island.  Then we took an audio tour of the actual prison.  I really felt like I learned so much!
On the ferry heading to Alcatraz
"The Rock"
The Common Showers
Alcatraz Jail Cell 
Inmate #578 :-)
In "The Hole" (Solitary Confinement)
On "The Rock," with San Francisco in the background
After we were done on Alcatraz and were back in San Francisco, we headed to pier 39.  We had a yummy lunch of clam chowder in sourdough bread bowls, and browsed around the pier for a while.  Then, since we had been up until 3AM traveling, we headed back to our hotel and took a nice, long nap.
We set our alarms so we wouldn't miss our dinner reservation--a birthday dinner to remember!  We went to Scoma's on Fisherman's Wharf, and it was some of the best sea food I have ever had in my life!  The restaurant was right on the water.  It was both beautiful and delicious!  This was seriously such a foodie trip--most of the highlights can be measured in food!
Scoma's Fish Receiving--just across a little alley from the restaurant.  Now that's fresh fish!
On the Wharf

We walked around Fisherman's Wharf and did a little more window shopping, and then we decided to catch a trolley to Union Square.  As we were waiting for the trolley, we caught the most glorious sunset over the Golden Gate Bridge.
While we were on the trolley, our driver had me come stand up in front and the whole carload of people sang "Happy Birthday" to me.  They were terrible.  And it was awesome.  
Once at Union Square, Adam indulged me by shopping with me at H&M, where I chose out a couple things.  Then we went to the Cheesecake Factory for some Oreo Overload cheesecake.  I'm telling you, this trip was all about the food!
Union Square
On the way back from Union Square, we stood on the outside of the trolley!  It was a bit nerve-wracking to be standing on a tiny platform with my heels hanging off while traffic drove by right next to me, but it was SO FUN!
Selfie on the Trolley!
We got off at Lombard Street, just so we could see it.  It was seriously one of my very best birthdays, ever!
Lombard Street

The next morning, we rented bikes and cycled across the Golden Gate Bridge.  As wonderful as all the food was, this was the real highlight of the trip for me.  Adam said it was like a "bucket list" item that he never even knew he had until after he had crossed it off the list!  That pretty much sums it up!  It was AMAZING!
I was really that excited!
It was amazing!
On the other side! 
So Iconic!
We biked into Sausalito--an adorable little town on the North side of the bridge.  We had lunch at a great restaurant right on the water--more way yummy food!
We walked around Sausalito, and then caught a ferry from there back into San Francisco.  I will note that I was ALL for cycling back over the bridge, but Adam vetoed that idea.

Once we had showered and relaxed at the hotel a bit, we walked back down to Fisherman's Wharf.  We ate more clam chowder in sourdough bowls at Boudins--oh so good.  We bought some souveniers to take home to the kids, and then walked around Ghirardelli Square.

No trip to SF would be complete without a stop at the Ghirardelli soda fountain!  Yep--more food!  Adam and I each ordered our own sundaes, but neither of us could even come close to finishing them.  But seriously, it was one of the best things that I have ever put into my mouth!

On Sunday morning we attended church in a little tiny ward that was right inside the city.  It was awesome, and also made us feel very blessed to be in the ward we are!  We flew home Sunday afternoon.
I probably gained 20 lbs. in three days, but I don't regret a single moment of that trip!  It was the perfect way to spend the weekend--with the person I like best, having fun and making memories together.