My Family is Funny

We currently have a ban on fingernail polish in our house. So Rachel made this video for me. Who knew that painted nails could result in an increase in vegetable consumption?!?

I find myself laughing at things the kids say on a daily basis. Lucy mostly just finds ways to incorporate lines from Napoleon Dynamite and Nacho Libre into her daily life:

Derrick: So what do you think of Gcobisa?
Lucy: I'm just gettin' kinda T.O.'d because, I mean, she hasn't even sent me a full body shot yet.

She also says a lot of really strange things, like "Mom, I wish oranges were purple, but still tasted like oranges."

I'm not generally into sharing toothbrushes, but one night I was exhausted and didn't have the energy to walk downstairs to find mine, so I just used Lucy's. (Sometimes I multitask, but then my toothbrush ends up in strange places around the house. And Lucy's was the obvious choice because she doesn't brush very well, so her toothbrushes always look new.)

Me: Hey Lucy, I used your toothbrush last night.
Lucy: WHAT?!? That's gross, Mom! I can't believe you used my toothbrush!
Rachel: Well, you used her stomach!

Rachel was talking to Lucy when she accidentally let out a loud toot. Rachel turned her head back, pointed at her bum, and said (to her bum), "Shhh! Be quiet. I'm trying to talk here!"

We drove through some hail on the freeway and Kaleigh asked, "Why is the rain SO ANGRY?"

This was Adam's polite and matter-of-fact way of telling me he doesn't like what I made for dinner, "Mom, I think you accidentally used the wrong ingredients."

Adam might be a hypochondriac.

"Mom, I'm either having a stomachache or a heart attack. I don't know which one yet."

"Mom, I have two problems with my body. One of them is the rug burns on my legs. And the other is all of these slivers in my hands."

"Mom, I need a bandaid. Or maybe a cast."

He's still charming. . . 

Me: Adam, you're my favorite little boy in the whole world.
Adam: I kinda figured that out. Yesterday.

And clever. . .

Adam (flipping a coin): I'm heads, you're houses!
Me: What?

Hmmmm, that does make more sense.

Adam was playing Angry Birds and yelled, "Have you heard, piggies? You're obsolete!" And then he paused. . . "Hang on, wait. Mom, what does obsolete even mean?"

Steve makes me laugh. (Even without the mustache.) He does lots of silly things, like buy 2 gallons of milk for a pancake breakfast for 200 people.

Some of the things he says are funny too. Not haha funny, like with the kids. He's funny because he is being so serious.

"I really just wish they would make an iPhone that doesn't break."

"Don't you get sick of getting the kids ready for school every morning? I mean. . . doesn't it feel like they've gone to enough school for the year?!?" (Funnier because Steve is on the school board.)

(After waking up from a five-hour nap), "Wow. I didn't think that was physically possible." (Not a regular occurrence; he hadn't gotten much sleep the two nights before.)


That Time I Ran 20 Miles in the Ogden Marathon

I started leading up to this post a long time ago, but never finished. Here's the story: 

Sonora Grill has been an official sponsor of the Ogden Marathon for the past several years. As a sponsor, we are given some entries to the Ogden Marathon. We usually share them with employees, friends, and customers. But then last year, I decided I wanted to be a runner. My first race didn't work out so well. But since Ogden hosts one of the most beautiful marathon races in the country, I figured I should get a team together to run the relay. 

Somehow, I fooled these folks into running with me: Leslie Ballard, Lindsey Fox, my brother, Paul, and Angela Ballard. 

We called ourselves Team Ballard, but we probably could have been called The Invalids. Leslie was just two years out from chemotherapy, I was less than a year out from my third MALS surgery, and there were some days that Angela could barely walk. (Those Ballard boys didn't do a very good job of picking healthy wives.) 

Anyhow, I really don't know how I got Angela to say yes. But once Angela was in, Leslie was easy. Leslie just couldn't believe that I talked Angela into running a race. I think the conversation went something like this. . . 

Me: Hey Leslie, will you run the marathon relay with me and Angela?
Leslie: Angela who?
Me: Angela Ballard. 
Leslie: (laughing)
Me: I'm serious. 
Leslie: Yah. If you can talk Angela into running a race, then I'm in too. 
Me: She's already in. 
Leslie: That's funny. 
Me: No, I'm serious. She said yes. 
Leslie: WHAT?!?

It was a good thing that we got Leslie on board. Because then the two of us had to re-convince Angela that she could do it on a bi-weekly basis. (She was dealing with some serious back pain. And if I would have known that she was going to end up needing disc replacement surgery later that year, I probably wouldn't have persuaded her to run a race. Good thing I didn't know.)

I used this 12-week training schedule to prepare for my 7-mile leg in the relay. Just look how many boxes are filled in. I'm pretty proud of this chart because it's, by far, the most diligent I have ever been with a personal exercise program. 

A week or two before the marathon, Dave Ballard, who was supposed to run with us, found out he had been scheduled for a job interview the morning of the race. Lucky for us, my brother, Paul, was ready to step in. He had been running a few miles a day on the treadmill in the big cement palace up in Cache County. . . wearing Crocs. He went on a six-mile run with me, and we were both feeling pretty confident about things. 

My cousin, Julie, came to town, and we went to the marathon expo together. She had been busy with work and hadn't had time to train for the race. She intended to switch her full marathon entry for a half marathon. Except that she hadn't bothered to open any of the emails saying that the last date for race transfers had already past. Period. She wasn't super excited to think that she was running 26 miles, instead of the 13 miles she had planned on. In fact, I'm pretty sure she told me that she was going to die. At least seventeen times. 

Race day came, and I was really nervous about my stomach. Especially because we had to wake up so darn early in the morning. (The bus left at 5:00 am!) Why do races have to be so early?!?  

We rode the bus up Ogden Canyon to the start of the marathon and huddled around fire barrels to stay warm. Julie was thinking she would just run the first half of the marathon and somehow convinced me that I could run 13 miles with her. I was feeling good, and my stomach was feeling good, so even though I had never run more than 6 miles in my life, I thought I could maybe do it.  

And then the race started. I tried to keep up with Julie, but her pace was faster than mine, so after a few miles, I told her to go ahead without me. And then she decided she was going to push it and go for the full marathon. And somehow she convinced me that I could possibly do the same. 

The shuffle feature on my phone wasn't working, so I listened to the same song over and over again. But I finally finished my 7-mile leg and passed off to Paul, who quickly ran the second leg. I was still feeling good about things and decided I would run the third leg with Angela. So I caught a ride from some girls, who dropped me off at the next leg. Paul eagerly kept running with us.  

It turns out that running a marathon is nothing like training for a marathon. There were hundreds and thousands of people along the course holding signs, cheering, and ringing cowbells. There were water and food stations every two miles with volunteers dressed in crazy costumes. There was so much excitement on that course that you couldn't help but want to keep running. And did I mention that it's beautiful?

This is Paul and me, somewhere on the third leg of the relay (between mile 13 and mile 18). 

It was really hard to get a picture of Angela because she was running so fast: 

Okay, there was actually a little bit of walking that took place. And that was just fine with me. 

At the transfer station for the fourth leg of the relay, we found Addy. So I took this picture of Angela and her two younger sisters: 

I kept going and ran the fourth leg with Lindsey. Because I could. I was kinda shocked. And so was my friend, Sherry, when she texted me to ask how I did, and I told her I was still running. 

I really wanted to run with Leslie. But by the time I got to the fifth leg of the relay, I was about to die. But it wasn't like I was going to stop three miles from the finish line. So I told Leslie to go ahead at her own pace and I would run behind her. A little slower. There are so many spectators cheering on the runners that it's actually hard to stop and walk. It's not like I knew more than a handful of them, but their cheering was so sincere and I didn't feel like I could let them down. There were quite a few race photographers too. And those cameras are pretty good motivation to keep you running. 

Julie, the lady who said there was no way she could run the full marathon, crossed the finish line with a time of 4:17, which was actually faster than the year before. 

Paul crossed the finish line in just under five hours: 

Leslie was about five minutes behind him: 

And then I was a minute behind her. Steve only caught a picture of me from the back because I was running so fast. That's a joke. I could barely move my legs. 

I posed for a picture with my two favorite cheerleaders. They were so proud of me and my surprisingly long run. 

Paul was all about the food. He said he had a really hard time running past all of those aid stations because he wanted to stop and eat. And that the next time he ran a marathon, he was bringing a backpack. 

We didn't have a whole lot of time to recover before Rachel and Lucy ran the KidsK race: 

Their cousins arrived just in time: 

Here's Rachel: 

Jake and Gracie: 

And possibly the most animated runner, Lucy: 

I also caught this emotional shot of Kym Buttschardt, watching those kids and the last marathon runners crossing the finish line: 

Kym is Ogden's number one cheerleader and has played a big role in the success of the GOAL Foundation and the Ogden Marathon. (Incidentally, she is also one Steve's biggest cheerleaders. She is just a fantastic lady.)

Here's another picture of me and Paul. I ended up running 20 miles, and he ran 19. 

Lindsey and Angela: 

Rachel and Lucy are pretty sure that one of the best parts about the marathon is the soda at the finish line: 

I could barely walk for the next few days and ended up with a stress fracture in my toe, but it was completely worth it. I honestly didn't think it was possible for me to run 20 miles. I didn't think I had the physical strength, and I certainly didn't think my stomach could handle that sort of thing. 

But I trained. Even when I was sick with a horrible sinus cold. Even when I had an upset stomach. Even though I had to do almost all of it on a treadmill. Even though I certainly didn't always have the time. And even though I didn't always want to. And then once I was running the race, I felt compelled to keep going. To show my kids that I was healthy. To show my husband that I was "back". And to show myself that I could be a runner. And maybe most importantly, to remind myself that I can do hard things. 

I'm so grateful to have had this experience with the Ogden Marathon. And I can't wait to participate again this year. . . in just three weeks!


Becoming a Lady

Two weeks ago, I had a night out with the ladies at the Annual Junior League Fundraiser. And now that I have some experience being a lady, I fit right in. 

I've received quite a few questions and fielded a number of comments about my references to becoming a lady. Let me explain. . . 

I grew up as a tomboy. I shared clothes with my brother clear through high school, without ever realizing that was a problem. When I got married, I got rid of most of my boys clothes. (Remember when Steve gave me a pair of Carhartts as a wedding gift?) Before you judge, I just want you to know that it's not always fun being tall. 

It's not just that I'm tall, but I have an unusually long torso, so it can be difficult to find clothes that fit me well. For a long time, I thought it was just too hard to dress stylishly. 

And then there's the part when I spent the first five years of my marriage pregnant and sick and the next five years undergoing a long series of surgeries. Fashion wasn't really my priority. And can you believe that my favorite sister tried to nominate me for What Not to Wear on the basis that I almost always wore black, brown, or grey?

Although I am technically a stay-at-home mom (more accurately, a drive-around-town-mom), I am also a member of a number of organizations and boards (PTA, Junior League Board of Directors, etc.) and go to quite a few meetings and other functions.

I was started to feel under-dressed. Because eighty percent of the time I was wearing my standard "mom uniform", consisting of jeans, my used-to-be-favorite-until-they-changed-the-cut Old Navy tee, and a hooded jacket. (It doesn't help that Steve almost always wears suit pants and a dress shirt.)

Well, a couple of years ago, my style-conscious daughters started classifying how I was dressed. There were three categories:

Babysitter: hair in ponytail, includes hoodies, sneakers, means I haven't tried hard enough.
Bank Teller: dressed up like the ladies who work at the bank, means I look nice.
Salt Lake Mom: dressed in stylish clothes, without necessarily being as formal as the "Bank Teller" look.

These became regular household terms in our home. But then there was one day when Rachel told me she just wanted me to look like a lady. So, a few months before I turned 30, I announced that it was time: I was ready to become a lady.

I enlisted the help of some friends and my family.

-We went through my closet and got rid of all of those clothes that I had no business wearing. Like the brown corduroy pants that can be seen in this post.

-I took some hair lessons from Amanda.

-Angela painted my fingernails and my toenails. Bright red. (Apparently, she failed to coach me on how to hold my fingers to take a proper, lady-like photo of them.)

-Heidi gave me a certificate for a make up application lesson from Alex Crabtree.

-Angela went shopping with me at Ume on 25th Street and helped me pick out some new clothes. Of course, I was drawn to everything that was brown or grey, so she finally told me that if I thought I liked it, that probably meant I shouldn't be buying it.

On January, 28, 2012, I turned 30 and became a lady.

A few weeks after my birthday, I attended the 2012 Junior League Annual Fundraiser. If there was ever such a thing as a test of being a lady, this was mine.

I went to Endless Indulgence on 25th Street and picked out a red dress to wear to the 1960's cocktail-themed fundraiser. And bought my very first pair of bona fide high heeled shoes: 

Amanda worked her magic on my hair, and I even wore my pearls!

And then I finally made my debut as a lady. Steve was too busy on his phone to notice: 

Just kidding. But by the time he got off the phone, I forgot to smile: 

Over the last year, I've done a pretty good job keeping up with my new fashion rules. But every once in a while, Rachel and Lucy have to keep me in line, "Mom, I thought you were a lady now?

For this year's fundraiser, I knew the drill. Buy an expensive dress, buy high heels, and talk Amanda into doing my hair. She's pretty amazing.

Two weeks ago, I went to the Annual Junior League Fundraiser:

With this guy: 

Have I ever mentioned how glad I am that Steve finally conceded and cut his hair?

Steve was more of just an escort. He took me to Union Station, made an appearance, and then left me with these ladies while he went to the Priesthood Session of General Conference.

We were feeling all sorts of famous. And I was feeling all sorts of tall. They always have me stand on low ground to even things out. A little.

Next year, I will take posture lessons from Janelle: 

I went ahead and took a picture of my friends without me. You know. . . so I would actually like it. Ha. 

Their pose is almost identical to this picture, taken inside Union Station later in the evening:

Junior League members were invited to wear red, but Steve couldn't see any point in buying another red dress. . . Plus, I'm supposed to save my new black gown to wear to his funeral.

Here are some other pictures from the night: 

I'm trying to recall the exact dialogue that took place during this series of photos. I think Janelle insisted that I be in a picture, so we tried to pose for one. And then Sherry said something like, "We need to get closer so we look like friends." And added, "Or are you afraid that I'm going to bite your ear off like in New York?"

Here's a closer look at the hand motion that somehow goes along with "bite your ear off": 

And then Heidi commented that she always feels strange standing next to me in pictures because she is so much shorter than me that her face is aligned with my chest. And she doesn't want to look like she's biting anything in that region. (She's not actually that short.) But do you see why I have a hard time standing up straight for pictures?!?

I think this is my favorite picture of the night. Because it sure looks like they are having fun. . . 

. . . even if our sleeved dresses and the lack of alcohol in our cups made us stand out a little. Or maybe a lot?

I have some good friends. And some good news. . . The fundraiser won't be on General Conference weekend next year, so get ready for a night out with our husbands.