Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Every Cloud has a Silver Lining-well sometimes it's hail



Here we are before the ride still warm and dry
After the fact we had a chance to warm up and eat before this photo

 

A few years ago my friend wanted me to do a bike ride that she was helping to organize.  Based on Little Red it was the Goldilocks women's only bike ride.  I rode with my friend Teri.  I had never done anything like that and had so much fun.  The next year I registered but Teri couldn't do it and I couldn't get another friend to join.  So I rode alone.  I still had fun but it's better with friends.

I think I skipped two years but wanted to do it again this year.  I posted it on FB asking if anyone wanted to create a team.  I didn't get the minimum to make a team but two really dear friends signed up to do it with me.  My friend Doreen is in killer shape and my friend Julie has some health issues that make it hard to do some physical activity but biking she can do.

We only had one day where we could all go out together.  My front tire was going flat and Julie had a hard time with the hills ( she was using Doreen's daughter's bike). I kept reminding them that it was a ride not a race and if it took us 5 hours to do twenty miles the 80 and 100 mile people would still be out there.

Julie's husband decided to get her a bike for Mother's Day.  So she had a brand new road bike for the ride.  We started the morning with me picking them up at Doreen's. She made us breakfast and coffee.  Doreen is a locovore and I have never had bacon like that before.  So good!

We loaded up the prison van. (Don't tell my husband I called it that again.  He hates when I say that but it looks like a prison van). Doreen was in the back and the bikes were in the middle.  I don't know why Brian has the middle seat out but it worked for us.  Until Doreen tried to get out to get gum for Julie and fell bruising her butt before we even started.

We got to the ride location and picked up our packets.  There were booths to check out and we got pictures taken.  Then it was starting time for our wave.  We rode off and at some point they got ahead of me.  I couldn't keep up.  But no worries I enjoy riding alone.  We met up at he first ready stop and Doreen was  freezing and worried about rain.  Julie said she just wanted more food ( this group knows how to stock a rest stop).  We got on our bikes and headed off again. They got ahead and I found them at a corner waiting.  Doreen wanted to take a short cut in.  I didn't.  I said I would do what they wanted but I did want to continue.  I noted that the clouds were easing and that I thought the rain was over for now.  We decided to go on but Doreen said she was going to ride fast to finish.  She was off. Little did we know we still had the hardest 7 miles ahead of us.

Doreen was gone and Julie and I stuck together for a bit but then she got ahead.  It did clear up and almost warmed up.  I was blissfully thinking about Doreen warming up when a huge wind came up and with it came hail!  I was being pelted.  But I found it really fun for some sadistic reason.  Here I was legs burning from this gradual uphill climb, all my skin was bright red from the cold and I was being assaulted by cold hard ice pebbles.  I believe that is what endorphins are for; I found it fun.  And I was worried about Doreen.  I finally hit the turn off and it was downhill to the next rest stop.  I rode in and one of the papa bears took my bike to check air and park it.  I found Julie but she said Doreen wasn't there.  We ate again and were told two plus miles to the finish. Woo hoo!  I got my bike and that's when it hit me that I was on a mountain bike and they both had street bikes.  Duh! No wonder I couldn't keep up.  I said something to the papa bear and he said that my bike weighs ten pounds more and the wide tires slow you down.  I felt so much better about being so slow.

We headed off again and had some great downhill.  Most of the people in our wave must have taken the short cut back because we were no longer in a pack of riders.  I realized that I hadn't put my gloves on and couldn't get Julie's attention so I stopped and lost track of her and the other gal with us.     At one corner the mama bear holding the sign had it pointing the wrong way so instead of turning I went straight.  I thought we were going in on the Main Street so I rode along for about a mile and then realized there were no signs or people.  Ugh I was going the wrong way.  Luckily I know my way around that part of the valley.  I made my way back but went about 3 miles longer and had to climb the worst hill of the day (put your head down, gears both on 1 and just repeat spin it spin it spin it and you get to the top). I found Julie but Doreen was missing.

Julie thanked me for pushing them to do the full thing and not cut off.  She was so excited about her accomplishment.  I told her I was glad too but hoped Doreen didn't want to kill me.

We got our lunch and found a seat then tried texting her again.  Finally I saw her.  She too had missed the tun off but not knowing her way around she went 13 miles extra before finding her way back.  She got her lunch and joined us. She told me that she was really glad she didn't quit and that she needs me in her life to remind her of the silver lining.  I said "even when it hails?"  Apparently she missed the hail.  She was enough ahead of us that somehow she avoided it.  It had cleared up and although not warm it was sunny.

We ended the day by meeting up to see my friends in Spamalot.  Truly one of the best days of my life.  But today my crotch is sore.  The drawback of long bike rides.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Teeth Jobs and Brussels Sprouts

Last night as I was trying to get Keegan to bed he yelled "mom do we have any Brussels Sprouts left from dinner?"  I told him no and he replied, "I wish you would cook some more for a snack."  That is my dear, lovable, difficult Keegan.  Other things he has asked for right before bed include "I need lettuce and an apple so I can go to sleep"  "could we get more Dragon fruit for my snack tomorrow" and after theater yesterday he refused the licorice Ms. Nancy brought because "I am not putting that trash in my body.  My body is a temple.  We need to go home and get some healthy food."

Now before you start thinking he is a boring health food nut at age 9, he consumes plenty of junk food.  But I love that he loves fruits and vegetables so much.  I still wonder how much of it is because I did a modified Baby Led Weaning with him as he transitioned into solid foods.  Who knows.  My oldest grew into a better eater and I'm hoping my 18 year old will do the same.

The last few weeks have been "teeth week" around here.  Back when we were first married we had a dentist.  He was the guy my mother in law recommended.  We went to him for a few years until he took out Brian's Wisdom Teeth.  I believe he was a butcher not a dentist.  We were talking about him the other day and Brian said "did I ever tell you I think he was having an affair with the receptionist?"  "When I went back to get my teeth out, they both came out of this closet near where I was waiting.  They both looked startled that I was already in the chair and then I noticed her skirt was tucked up in her nylons in the back.  Kind of like she hurried to get them on."  He also said the guy smelled like alcohol......... It was two weeks of constant narcotics for him to heal from that surgery.  Wisdom Teeth; not hear surgery.

So we switched dentists.  We were with Dr. S for 16 years and felt like he was a good, honest dentist.  He made a few homophobic comments over the years which I didn't like but otherwise he was fine.  Until.......  A few years back suddenly all of us needed night guards.  I started to get suspicious and annoyed because they are expensive and not covered by insurance.  None of us wear them and they cost about 1000 out of pocket.  He never seemed to notice we weren't using them.  Then we were double insured so his biller told me not to pay anything until she got it figured out how much was covered and how much we would owe.  One day I walked in and she said very loudly in front of everyone in the waiting area "We need to get you guys on some sort of payment plan because you owe Dr. S a lot of money."  I was embarrassed and just told her I would start paying on it.  Then Dr. S got this new ultrasonic cavity finder AKA money maker.  And we started having a lot of cavities.  At his second to last appointment Keegan had 9 cavities and he filled them all in one day.  I should have questioned it.  At Keegan's last appointment, Dr. S was going to fill 4 cavities but Keegan wouldn't open his mouth for the shot.  I tried to calm him.  The hygienist tried to distract him but nothing worked.  Finally Dr. S threw down the syringe and said rudely, "I can't work on your kid he needs to go to a pediatric dentist."  Then he stormed out of the room.  I took Keegan to the pediatric dentist and oddly, he had NO CAVITIES and hasn't had one since.

So that is the long story behind why we all went over a year without a check up.  I had heard a lot of good things about another dentist in our area and so we started to see him but sadly, I had waited a bit too long for Daniel........ No cavities but four impacted wisdom teeth.  They should have been taken out about a year earlier.  The timing was good though because I was able to get him in for surgery over Spring Break (yes, I am that mean) so he didn't miss school.  He did great and was even able to work his shift 3 days after surgery.  He did take a narcotic induced nap during Easter Mass.

What I learned from D getting his teeth out was that I am a terrible mom.  I turns out that the fact that I never buy instant mashed potatoes, jello and pudding is basically a travesty.  I have been denying my husband and kids access to these beloved treats for all these years.  I'm hoping the novelty wore off.

Jobs!  YEAH!  Brian got a new job.  It only took 8 weeks and he has started back to work after being laid off.  And just in time because what I owed the IRS was the rest of my savings.  It was going to get tight around here.  I'm just breathing a sigh of relief.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

8:30 Tip Off on a School Night

A dear friend of our family has season tickets to the Utah Jazz.  She is the ultimate fan and its darling.  The problem with season tickets is that there are a LOT of games.  In the past she used to give my dad the tickets she couldn't use because she had a conflict that night.  He in turn would give them to my brothers in law since he couldn't walk up the stairs or sit in those seats for so long. 

After Pops died she asked my sister if he had ever used those tickets and she told her that he had given them to whoever could go.  So K said that we still needed to get her extra tickets.  This year on top of her tickets she had gotten promotional tickets for quite a few of the games that she gave us.  Back in January, Keegan and I had gone to a game which happened to be the one where they retired Jerry Sloan's jersey.  I loved that game because I was Jazz fan in the 90's when it was Stockton and Malone. They were both at the game along with a lot of former players.  We had a blast and Keegan found out he really liked going to basketball games.  I told him we had another set of tickets and he was so excited.

I put the date of the game on my calendar but didn't pay much attention to the time.  Then I looked the other day and gasped when I saw that tip off was at 8:30 PM.  The previous game had the same time but it was a Friday night so no biggie.  This game was on a Wednesday!  And a Wednesday after a very long day at work. And a day where Keegan had woken up at 4:30 AM with a nightmare and not gone back to sleep.

So yes, I dragged my kid out on a school night to see a basketball game.  Judge away but I would do it again. 

Walking from the parking lot to the stadium he chatted non-stop.  His eyes were glowing and he couldn't wait to get in there.  He was really hoping the Jazz would win (they lost the last game).

As promised we got him some treats- I was hoping for a beer but ran out of hands- and found our seats.  K has really nice seats for upper bowl. 

For a kid who has sensory issues, it is amazing to watch him get into all the chaos of a stadium game.  He loves when they play the defense music and show the pictures on the jumbo tron.  He watches for cues to yell louder and goes right along with it.  He is a much better date for a basketball game than his dad ever was (my husband is not into sports at all).

Originally I had thought that if the game isn't too close we might be "those people" and leave early.  At the beginning of the 4th the Jazz were up 15.  That would have been a good time to leave but we were having too much fun.  But then they lost the lead and eventually lost the game.  A friend of mine reminded me they are a young team and so that is how you can lose a 15 pt lead in 10 minutes. 

I did manage to get a beer at half time.  Draft Shock Top baby!  I let Keegan get a basketball (I'm a sucker).  As we were leaving I said "that was a good game even if they lost."  Keegan made me so proud when he said "It doesn't matter who wins as long as everyone plays fair and its a good game."  Seriously where did this kid come from?  He has grown so much the past 4 months.

So we might have gotten home at midnight and then he was so excited he had a hard time falling asleep.  I might be exhausted beyond belief today.  And I might rip someone a new one because when I am this tired I am grouchy.  But it was totally worth it.  Thanks K!




In other news:  1.Keegan has gotten above 90% on his last two spelling tests (really a big accomplishment.  I loved spelling, none of my kids do).  I told him if he did well he could have a treat.  He picked a frozen burrito.  OK then.  2. Brian doesn't have a job yet but has picked up some contract work.  I vacillate between feeling like it will all work out and having panic attacks. 3. Daniel is almost finished with high school.  He's been accepted to the U and will start in the fall- ugh two kids out of the house.


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A Little Get Away
















When I was entering the days off from school back in the fall I found that there was a rare Friday in which both the boys had the day off. I decided that instead of just just having an extra day off that we would actually do something. I decided to look at booking a hotel in St. George because its close enough (4 hours) but a lot warmer. Since Daniel had been accepted to SUU in Cedar City, I kind of made the excuse that we would use the trip as a chance to check out the campus. I really intended to have him do that but then he got accepted to the U the week before and that was his first choice. Back in January something made me think I should just get a room and pay ahead even though our plans weren't set. I'm glad I did because B got laid off in February and I would have decided to not go if the room hadn't been paid for already.


 Thursday night after Brian's phone interview and Keegan's play practice we jumped in the car for our 4 hour turned into 5 hour drive. We unfortunately hit torrential rain from Salt Lake to Beaver (yes we do indeed have a city named Beaver which is bad enough on its own but you have to go through Fillmore to get to Beaver. Fire away with the jokes we've heard them all). The rest of the drive was great. We didn't really have plans and spent Friday reading, swimming and letting Keegan watch Cartoon Network. Sometimes its really nice to just have a day with no plans. We did find out via FB that Brian's relatives were also in St. George doing the Red Rock Relay (similar to Ragnar but only 65 miles instead of 200). So we made tentative plans to meet up for dinner. Saturday we had plans to go to Zion National Park. Its about 35 miles away so an easy drive. I had wanted to get an early start but I know my crew; they don't do anything fast so getting breakfast and out the door took all morning. Additionally we ended up stopping at the pool for a quick swim before heading out.






My little fish.  He took my snorkel for the whole weekend.

 He is doing a "thumbs down" because I had taught him the diving signals we learned when we went to Cozumel.  He's not saying its bad he's saying hes going under.
 

 After we got Keegan out of the pool. And he did a quick organization of the room (he has this thing with organizing that is really funny but sometimes annoying)  We headed out to Zion. Unfortunately Daniel fell asleep in the car.  When he takes naps he wakes up grouchy with a headache.  The first bit of our adventure was wrought with teenage grumpiness to the max.  We ended up doing a hike that neither Brian nor I had done before.


 






 This is an example of what a grumpy 18 year old looks like.  Lucky for us some Tylenol fixed the headache and the hike out was much more pleasant.
 
 



The contrast from red rock to blue sky is amazing but even more so when the trees have leaves and add the contrast of the green.



 



Don't let this little guy fool you.  He scared the bajeebers out of Keegan when he ran across the path






















 I would have liked to do one more hike but the boys were done so we headed back to the motel where Keegan decided that another trip to the pool was in order.  I was thinking maybe an hour but the outdoor pool was really warm so we ended up out there for two.  Then Brian came down and told us that his cousins were back and they wanted to meet at the pizza place across the street.  We had a great time.  Too much sun, too much swimming or the Wendy's we picked up in Springville?  Who knows but Keegan woke me up at about 10:30 to tell me he felt sick.  Then proceeded to vomit all over the white duvet.  Wonderful mom moment.  Whatever it was it was quick and over.  He felt great once he evacuated his belly.  

I was bummed that we were losing an hour to daylight savings time.  But in the end it didn't matter.  They gave us a two hour late check out so we slept a bit late, got breakfast and still got in another hour and half of swimming before we had to leave.  We made the drive home much quicker since it wasn't raining.  And now two days later, we woke up to SNOW!  Its been a warmer winter so its fine.  But really I'm done with snow for this year.  












 





Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Little Things

The past few months I have seen a huge improvement with Keegan.  Sometimes you don't know how hard things are until they get better.

Because as mom's we judge each other (even though we shouldn't) many people think that what I am seeing as improvement should be considered bad behavior and poor parenting.  Lucky for them they have never had the opportunity to parent a child who has disabilities/deficits/delays whatever you want to call them.  I wish that wasn't my life but then I would be wishing away a little person who I love more than anything.

We are now to the point that a transition from an activity can be done in about 15 minutes (as long as there had been warning) and it is generally with little difficulty.  At 9 yes, a child should be able to transition and comply that has been a very hard thing for my little guy.  So hard that I used to have to give myself 1/2 hour to 45 minutes to get him to get in the car or go upstairs for bed or whatever needed to happen.  Then even with that much time it usually ended with him throwing a 2 year old fit.  I think the combo of age, maturity, behavioral therapy and a better medication for his ADHD we are getting somewhere.

Last week at the psychologist's appointment he told her he likes therapy now, he participated and we had a good time.  She told me as he was leaving that she could see improvement and that he was getting it.  This is the psychologist who I think felt like she couldn't help him.  She had called me after a very bad appointment and said that I might want to consider a different type of therapy.  I'm glad we stuck it out because I think we all learned from patience.

Yesterday the psychiatrist had him in for a med check and she too said he was soooooo much more grounded.  He thought she said he was grounded and couldn't figure out why he was in trouble.  I love this psychiatrist because she really likes to stay minimal on medications and try other things to compliment the drugs.

When we got home he decided that he was going to make dinner.  There was a slight set back when I cut the bread the wrong way and it made him very angry but he recovered fairly quickly and went back to his plan.  He made broth, salad, tea and I made banana bread.  Not exactly your most filling meal but it was great.  We wrote down the recipes for everything he made and are going to put them in a cookbook for him.

He made sure our dinner was enjoyable by setting the table using my good china and my grandma's tea cups.

He is a challenge but such a delight. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

That's Respectful, Right?

Oh my sweet Keegan.  He used to love Legos.  We would go to the store and he would ask for a new Lego; "not a spensive one"  I used to lament that the problem with Legos is that they come out with a new series constantly.  The past 5-6 months he has gotten away from the lego which makes me sad.  As much as I hate how many pieces they have and I really hate them on the floor in the dark; I love the creativity they inspire.

With two boys who went through a Lego phase we have a lot of Legos around the house.  I've tried many way to corral them but still make them available for play.  I've always felt that they take time to create and so there should be a place where they lego in progress can be left out when play time is over.  I never wanted my kids to spend hours creating a masterpiece only to have me come in and say, "sorry you spent hours working on that but now you have to disassemble it so the room is clean." Last weekend I invested in an IKEA storage system with pull out bins.  I got ever single Lego into the bins and the only other thing I would like is to get the sorter thingy so they are in bins by size but who knows if that will happen.

When Keegan got home from school I asked him if he liked the new organizer.  He said "well, I don't really play with legos as much anymore like I used to when I was younger.  I think it looks good but I won't use it very much anymore.  But don't worry, I won't make you take it down because you worked hard putting it together and it looks nice."  Then he looked up and said "That is being respectful, right?"   Oh sweetie, yes, that was respectful to recognize that I put time effort and money into that thing.  I'm happy he is learning respect and sad he is getting big and not as interested in Legos.


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Living in Utah

As I was driving in to work I got to thinking that I've only worn a coat maybe 10 times since October.  I'm pretty sure it's been a warmer than average winter and I'm a Utah Girl which means that coats are generally reserved for days that are less than about 20 degrees.  Gloves and hats get brought out when its below 15.  If it goes above 35 short sleeves and shorts are commonly seen.  I draw the line there because these white and frequently unshaven legs don't need to be seen this time of year.

I grew up here and I planned to leave for college but it didn't work out for me.  I got accepted to a school in Oakland CA and they gave me a financial aid package.  I turned it down.  My dad was sick, my parents had no extra money, I was dating someone, it was for a music major and I wasn't 100% sure of that path, I was scared and the college was so small that it looked like Girl Scout Camp.  So I did a late admission to the University of Utah and stayed.  Do I regret it?  Most of the time no.  It would be nice to see what its like to live somewhere else but in general I like it here.  I love the dry air; humidity kills me.  I can handle heat and cold because its not intensified by humidity.  We have mountains and can be somewhere to ski in 15-20 minutes.  There is plenty to do every season.  And we have all four although I frequently hear people say that we don't really have Spring.  Its Spring enough in my humble opinion.

Growing up in Utah as a Catholic was maybe a bit of a challenge.  When I was in 1st grade my sister came home from school and said her teacher was talking about how "some people are bad and drink alcohol; like Catholics."  The very next year, my sister and brother were attending St. Vincent and I was on the waiting list to get in (I was on the list one year and then I was able to start in 3rd grade- that is pronounced terd grade BTW when you have Irish nuns for teachers).  I had a friend from my neighborhood tell me that I was a devil worshiper because I was Catholic.  Those are really the only two "damaging events" of my childhood.  We did have all the quirkiness of: coffee is evil, you may have polygamists in your class/neighborhood (we did), figuring out the difference between a ward and a stake when everyone else has parishes or synagogues.  Green jello is a food group.  Having tourists ask you if you are Mormon and then when you say no they ask if you can point out a Mormon (sure, but they don't have horns, very few are polygamists, they don't wear prairie dresses and yes, they are very nice normal people.)  I have way too many friends and family who are Mormons to make it an "us vs them" situation.  Yes I drink my wine, beer and hard alcohol.  As much as I would like to be able to get at least wine in the grocery/convenience store, I plan ahead and make sure I have a stock on hand.  I go to the liquor store about once a month and just get extra.  It's generally fine.  I just pass up the green jello.  I hate jello.  My father in law claims that he has the Jello gene.  He grew up Mormon in Central Utah so it was a staple for him.  Even though he left the church long ago he can't shake the Jello.  My husband has the gene too......  In their defense, my Irish Catholic grandmother used to make green Jello with carrots and raisins so its not just and isolated gene.  I just got lucky and it passed me up.

All in all I guess I have to say the even though it would be nice to have the experience of living elsewhere I am content with my life here in Utah.  I have friends, most of my family, and a supportive community.  Plus the scenery is amazing.

20 minute drive to the basin.  Because it is a "bowl" snow pack lasts longer and results in the most amazing wildflowers.
Greatest Snow on Earth


 It takes about three hours to get to the desert but it is well worth the drive.
The Salt Lake from the north.  Yes, it stinks from the brine shrimp and the South side doesn't have good beaches.  But if you make the trip to Antelope Island the scenery is amazing and it doesn't have the smell.


Lake Powell.  Probably my favorite place in Utah
 In contrast to the desert we have beautiful forests

Warm water lakes make for great places to hike, swim, ski and boat.