Tuesday, December 31, 2013

6 days, 4 parties, 1 exhausted gal

I hosted 4 Christmas parties in 6 days.  What was I thinking?

Not that I did all the work - far from it.  But still.

On Tuesday night (the 17th) I hosted our annual chocolate party.  I invite our neighbors over for my homemade chocolates.  Thursday morning I was in charge of a breakfast for 170 teachers/staff at Riverton High.  Thursday I hosted my annual friends' Christmas party.  Sunday I had 26 adult family members over for dinner (potluck) for our annual Searle family get-together.

Just a bit crazy.  Especially when you add in that I taught seminary on Monday, subbed on Wedsnesday, and talked in Sacrament Meeting on Sunday.

It was all so much fun and I was so glad when it all was over.  (at least until next Christmas)

Friday, December 27, 2013

athlete of the month

I have been so slothful about blogging! November was crazy busy - I subbed almost every school day and I got so far behind that December turned crazy too!

McKayla was named Riverton High' athlete of the month for November.  This came with awesome prizes - 2 movie tickets, a gift card to Chipotle, a Lagoon ticket, etc

Cool beans!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Catching Fire

McKayla and I had tickets to the opening of "Hunger Games:  Catching Fire" last night.  We loved it!  Often I am disappointed with the movie after reading the book but that wasn't true in this case.  Also, I was surprised that I liked this movie better than the first because I preferred the first book.  The emotion was incredibly strong in this movie and the love triangle was portrayed better in the movie than in the book.  Overall, I give it 5 stars or two thumbs up or whatever rating system you prefer.  I can't wait to see it again!

On a related note, how come we were at the opening showing at 8 pm on Nov. 21st for a movie that opened on Nov. 22nd?  What happened to midnight premieres?  We ran into one of McKayla's friends in the theater and he said it's a result of the theater shooting in Colorado.  Whatever the reason, you won't find me complaining.  I much prefer being home in my bed at 11 pm after having seen a great movie than preparing to go out to one at that time!  I am definitely not a late-night person!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

week in review

Summary of the past week:

  • I taught 3 days
  • the girls worked for ala Board a ton!
  • Shanley completed her training at PacSun
  • I did a bunch of Christmas shopping at the Family Christmas Gift Show
  • We had the missionaries for dinner
  • McKayla and Shanley went to "Hello Dolly!" at RHS
  • Kevin, Alec, and I went to "Brigadoon" at HCT
  • McKayla got awards at the XC team banquet

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


We are NOT a shoe-wearing family for the most part.  Sure, Alec and Kevin almost always have shoes on but the rest of us kick them off the moment we walk in the door.  I have a huge basket right by the front door just for this purpose.

However, socks are a completely different matter.  I prefer completely barefoot.  I have tried to teach my children that if they remove their shoes, they should also remove their socks.   It hasn't worked.  They tend to leave their socks on (even outside) thus wearing huge holes in them.  The other option is that they do take them off wherever they happen to be.  So, I find socks by the front door, under the couch, on a barstool, on or under the kitchen table, by the back door, by the computer desk, by the garage door, in front of the TV, in the cars, and in the yard.

I wonder if the lack of socks lying around is something I will miss when they have all moved out?

Friday, November 8, 2013


This was Chandler's last year of trick-or-treating (I am one of those "mean moms" who won't let my kids go once they are officially teens).  He was very excited.  In fact, I tried taking him to Disneyland but he turned it down to go trick-or-treating. 


So, one would assume Chandler wanted to make the most of his Halloween experience.  You know, amass a huge quantity of candy.

Instead, after trick-or-treating, Chandler and his two friends dumped out all their candy and Chandler proceeded to trade away a huge portion of his candy just to get Reese's peanut butter cups.  Those are the best so that is understandable.  However, Chandler did NOT keep a single Reese's but gave them all to Alec (who LOVES Reese's).

Chandler has always been that kind of kid - he is supremely generous and I am so proud of him for it!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

teaching with the Spirit

I have  subbed for the full-time seminary teachers in the Salt Lake Valley for years.  I honestly love it but at times it gets stressful!

Imagine getting a call at 7 am asking you to teach a 86-minute class (3 times) beginning at 7:30 am.  Imagine further that some students are only there because their parents are forcing them and they resent it.  Now imagine that it is a generation used to fast-paced, non-stop entertainment (think iPods, smartphones, games, etc).  Further imagine that your lesson only works if you have the Spirit with you meaning you better be living righteously, not be having any contention in your family, having good feelings towards those drivers who cut you off while you were trying to make it there by 7:30.

If you can imagine all that, you can probably imagine how enticing subbing for regular school sounded.  Full-day pay is higher.  You just show up (no preparation).  You follow the teacher's lesson plan which is sometimes a video.  If you're like me and only do high school, you take roll, tell the students what to do and then read a book while they do it. Frequently it is classes the students have actually chosen to take AND, you never have to feel the pressure of helping your students have a spiritual experience.

So, I have gotten lazy.  For a little over a year now - I have mainly subbed in regular education (okay, I did do a long-term math sub job which upped the stress level since I was basically a regular teacher).  They keep me SO busy that I rarely am available to sub for seminary teachers.

I had almost forgotten how much I enjoyed it!

Luckily, I have had the opportunity to remember.  A teacher asked me to cover FOUR days for him.   Advance notice so I actually had a couple hours to prepare each lesson.   Enough days to get to know the students a bit.  Super lovable classes.  Spiritual experiences.  Students testifying and sharing heart-warming experiences.  A few days in Heaven. 

Now, it's back to several days teaching animal science and math. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

McKayla is 18!

Hard to believe that my first daughter is now legally an adult!

Friday, November 1st was the end of the quarter so there was no school but she still had to be at the school by 7 am for cross-country practice.  She chose sticky buns as her birthday breakfast. 

After cross-country she and Brandon went to the temple.  Alec, Shanley, and Chandler also went. 

McKayla had selected BLTs for her birthday lunch and they were waiting when they got home from the temple.  Then,  she opened presents and then McKayla and Brandon made Andes Mint Cookies before heading back to the school for another cross-country practice.

Brandon then had to go to play practice (he's in our stake play) and Kevin and I were at Chandler's soccer game while Shanley and Alec were at the Riverton football game.  However, Halie joined McKayla.  They braided beads and feathers into their hair.

When we all got home, we enjoyed McKayla's chosen birthday dinner of pulled pork sandwiches followed by Andes Mint cookies and chocolate mint ice cream.  McKayla and Halie watched a movie and more of McKayla's friends dropped by.

I think she had a great day!

This past year has been exciting for her!  Her running career has really taken off and she's had tons of interest from college coaches.  She has medaled in just about every race she has run.  She has started her CNA coursework and clinicals and has really enjoyed that.  She fulfilled her dream of going to Paris.  She has a great boyfriend, Brandon, whom we all adore!  Hopefully, her 19th year of life will be just as wonderful!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Halloween Fun

For the week of Halloween, I gussied up the children's lunches with special Halloween treats. One day it was rice krispie ghosts (dipped in white chocolate) on a stick. One day it was "Boo Mix" and another day it was "Bugs and Kisses".
The kids had two requirements for Halloween: carving pumpkins and dipping apples. So one Monday night we carved pumpkins. I took a page from Pinterest and spray painted mine in a mosaic pattern instead of carving. I like how it turned out.
The kids ended up doing pumpkins in YM/YW as well. This is the one Chandler did although I waited too long to take a picture and it shriveled. It has not been cold enough here to keep the pumpkins from rotting. I didn't even take pictures of the other pumpkins.
Another Monday we dipped caramel apples. Alec chose not to dip apples but to sing us Christmas carols as we dipped. Pretty entertaining

more Special Olympics

I finally downloaded the pics from my camera. While not as good as the one from KSL, I still enjoy these photos of Alec. He is very proud of his uniform. Actually, in general, Alec is very much into appropriate sports clothing. He wears Riverton clothing t Riverton games. He has a Utah Glory shirt he wears to Chandler's soccer games. When watching BYU games, he wears BYU clothing. Same for REAL soccer and Utah Jazz basketball. Sometimes it requires several clothing changes in a day to make sure he is wearing the right clothing at all times. It is one of his fun quirks! I love it!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Special Olympics

Alec played basketball in Special Olympics with a team from his school. They are the South Valley Bombers. He played two games on Friday and two on Saturday. They only won one but Alec had a great time! He scored in every game, had some rebounds, and even had some steals. Special Olympics basketball is a riot! Players get called for "too much traveling" (ya gotta dribble once in a while), roll the ball between other players legs, console the opposing team when they miss a shot, etc.

In his team's only win, Alec made the winning basket in overtime! There was a fun shot of him celebrating their win with his coach on ksl.com http://www.ksl.com/?sid=27310782&nid=1164

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Regional XC Championships

Last night was the Regional Championships and McKayla took 2nd! She ran the 3-mile course in 17:34 which is a PR for her! She was pretty happy! I was extremely proud! It earned her a medal and a spot on the First Team All-Region Team. That time places her 116th in the nation which is amazing since most of those with faster times are running at lower altitudes (like sea level) and that makes a huge difference. Since she is a senior, she was also honored with Academic All-Region status. The coach from UVU came and talked to her and told her he came specifically to watch her run. That was pretty cool! Next week it's the State Championships where she is expected to place anywhere from 4th to 7th.
They took a team photo which Alec insisted on being in the middle of. I tried to get him out but the team insisted he stay. He really does think he is part of Riverton's teams and I love, love, love that the students are so accepting of him. He loves to cheer for them, high-five them, and even hug them! The team had dinner at our home the night before the competition and Alec was in the thick of things then too.

I honestly think cross-country runners are some of the best teens on the earth! They are just GOOD kids. I want all of my kids to run XC just so they can associate with people of this caliber. They are great! Brakston's best friends came from his XC team (not his soccer team). Anyways, I love these guys!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Chandler's Dash After Dark

Every year Riverton City holds a "Dash After Dark". This year Chandler thought it would be fun to run it! Unfortunately, I read the 5 and assumed 5K when it was actually a 5-mile course. Oops! Chandler has only run 5 miles once before in his life and that was running with me at my incredibly slow pace - not really a challenge. In addition, he hasn't been doing any running at all that doesn't involve a soccer field. So, he was a bit nervous. However, Chandler is also extremely competitive so he kept pushing even though he said he was dying the final mile.


He finished in 38:42.00 which gave him 1st place in his 12-14 age group (he's 12) and 3rd place overall. There were only about 40 runners so not ton of competition but I was still proud of him! He averaged 7:44 per mile.

He got a medal for being 1st in his age division.

He got this trophy for being 3rd overall. He LOVES the trophy and now wants a shelf in his room so he can display it.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Whitney's Mission

My cousin's, Jeannine's, daughter Whitney left on a mission to the Arizona Mesa Spanish-speaking mission. She entered the MTC last week. A couple weeks ago we were able to attend her "farewell" in Preston, Idaho. She will be an awesome missionary! She is the most outgoing, friendly, lovable girl ever!

Alec and the gorgeous Whitney!

Monday, October 14, 2013


McKayla went to Homecoming with Brandon Walker. He asked her back in August with a poster that said something like "Hey Honey (insert honey bear), I don't think "OLIVE" (insert can of olives) if you don't go to Homecoming with me. She answered with "Hey Sweethart (insert bag of Sweettarts) I'd be de'lighted' (insert flashlight) to go to Homecoming with you!"

They had a great group but a very busy one! They couldn't fit in a daytime activity because many of them took the ACT that morning. In addition, six of them are cross-country runners and had to do a long run after the ACT. Four of them are student body officers and had to help set-up and take-down the dance decorations. That just didn't leave any time for more than dinner at Olive Garden and the dance.

I loved McKayla's dress! We rented it.
I loved their group! They are some of the best kids I know! Back row L to R: Brandon and McKayla, Halie Wooley and Tanner Welton, Josh Figgins and Kimber Young, Brady Earley, Kenzi Cook and Clay Lambourne, Cami Clark Middle row: Jordan Wooley and Megan Shaw, Erin Oldroyd and Ben Jessee Front row: Sarah Dickey and Michael Bluth

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Powder Puff Football

Homecoming week was super fun and crazy busy! Besides the kids normal practices, Chandler had 2 soccer games, Alec had 3 Special Olympics basketball games, and the girls had 7 Powder Puff football games! McKayla was on the "Navy Blue" team and Shanley was on the "Yellow". Their first game was against each other and Shanley's team came out victorious. In fact, Shanley's team won all of their games, made it to the finals and won that too!
The finals is especially fun to play in! McKayla's team made it last year. It is played on the football field under the lights. After the game is the "Burning of the Wolf". Here is Shanley holding her team's Champions Trophy!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

BYU Autumn Classic

Saturday, September 14th was the annual BYU Autumn Classic. It's a fairly tough course on the BYU campus. This year it was muddy and slippery due to the torrential downpour the night before. McKayla's time of 18:23 was not her best time but it was good enough for 4th place and a medal!
What McKayla found most exciting is that the college women ran immediately after her race using the very same course and she would've taken 9th! She would have been a scoring runner for every college there except BYU. It was good for her to see that she can run with those college women!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


This semester McKayla is at the Jordan Applied Technology Center for half of every school day getting her CNA through Salt Lake Community College. She loves it! She currently has 105% in her medical terminology class and 101% in her nursing. She does 6 hours of clinicals every week meaning she goes to a nursing home and helps care for the patients. The first day she put on her scrubs and her ID badge to go to her clinical I couldn't believe how grown up she looked (it was a bit sad seeing my little girl all grown up). She even has her own stethoscope.
She loves the clinicals! She thinks the patients are so cute and sweet.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

State Fair

We used to take the kids to the State Fair every year. I enjoyed it! We tried to go on a night we got to attend the rodeo for free. I really enjoyed that! The kids keep getting busier so we haven't made it the last couple of years. This year we managed to find a few hours on a Saturday that we could go. The only kids available to go with us were Chandler and Alec. We couldn't stay for the rodeo because we had other places to be but we still had a good time!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

unusual sport

It is my observation that cross-country is an unusual sport. First, I can't think of any other sport where the spectators get exercise. In order to really see a cross-country meet, you usually have to run from one spot to the next. Case in point - Saturday I watched a meet that had JV frosh/soph, JV junior/senior, and varsity divisions for both boys and girls. That right there would be 6 divisions but the varsity race was a relay race so there were actually 14 races (7 boys/7 girls) that I ran back and forth on the course to watch. I had run a few miles that morning but at the meet I wondered why I had gotten up so early to run when I put in MORE miles at the meet. I don't have to watch them all but between nieces, cousin's kid, my own daughter, and RHS kids I love I really like to watch them all. So, I am not complaining, just making an observation. Second, I also can't think of any other sport where the competitors get to know each other and become friends. My kids have played soccer, basketball, and lacrosse and never gotten to know their rivals. However, in cross-country/track they get to know them, speak to them at meets, and even text each other. McKayla is friends with all of the girls in the picture below except the one in the black jacket. It doesn't matter that the other girls are from Jordan, Bingham, and Lehi. They are friends. McKayla has even double-dated with one of them a couple of times. I think that is pretty cool even if a bit unusual.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Sweet 16!


I can hardly believe you are 16! You have always been so easy-going.  As a baby, you would fall asleep wherever I laid you.  You are extremely generous and will share anything with anyone!  You make us all laugh!  You have a spunk and a spirit that make you fun to be around.  You are tall and pretty (and since you are now dating age, that is a scary for a mom).   You are a great dancer!  You finally got your learner's permit last Friday and you have LOVED driving - begging for opportunities.  It was hard for you to pass that test but I am proud that you kept trying.

You always get to pick your meals on your birthday.  Today you picked sticky buns and smoothies for breakfast.  For lunch you wanted homemade chicken nuggets so I delivered them to you, Brandon, and McKayla at lunchtime (along with strawberry milk, grapes, and cookies).  You picked strawberry crepes for dinner and you asked Brandon to come for that too.  Birthday treat was a chocolate/chocolate ice cream cake.

I delivered a balloon bouquet to your first class today.  It was sign language and Mrs. Emily Corfield was great - she stopped the class and had everyone sign the "happy birthday" song to you.  You were so embarrassed and refused to carry around your balloons all day.  You left them in her classroom and picked them up after school.  McKayla made sure your seminary class knew it was your birthday (are you wishing now that you hadn't requested having it together?).

Mostly today you've just wanted lots of driving practice. 

I love you and am so glad you're my daughter!


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

First Day of School

Monday (8/26) was the first day of school for all of my children. I wanted to get them started off right so I made them each a candy bar poster that read:   Hey "Sweettart", You're o-FISH-ially a SENIOR (sophomore, 7th grader, etc).  Don't "Snicker", this year will be "Mounds" of fun!  You're one smart "Cookie" and "mint" for great things!  I love you "EXTRA" much!  Have a great 1st day!  love, Mom
Favorite food:   pizza
Favorite treat:   Reese’s
Favorite subject:    choir
Favorite color:    brown
Best Friends:    Shanley
Favorite TV Show:    sports
Favorite Movie:    Star Wars
Favorite Hobby:    going to sports k
Favorite food:    chicken poppyseed pasta salad
Favorite treat:   peanut M&Ms and Tootsie rolls
Favorite subject:    medical anatomy
Favorite color:    teal
Best Friends:    Halie Woolley, Brooke Gray, Brandon Walker
Favorite TV Show:   iCarly
Favorite Movie:    Knight and Day
Favorite Hobby:    running
What I Want to Be: nurse
Favorite food:  Chinese
Favorite treat:  fig newtons
Favorite subject:  sign language
Favorite color:  aqua and lime green
Best Friend:    Brooke Ludlow
Favorite TV Show:  Pretty Little Liars and Good Luck Charlie
Favorite Movie:  Knight and Day
Favorite Hobby:  dance
What I Want to Be: nurse or dental hygienist or anything I can wear scrubs to my job
Favorite food:  chicken poppyseed pasta salad
Favorite treat:  Skittles
Favorite subject:  math
Favorite color:  green
Best Friend:   Jeffrey Stratton
Favorite TV Show:  don’t have one
Favorite Movie:  Teen Beach Movie
Favorite Hobby:  soccer
What I Want to Be: airline pilot

Sunday, August 25, 2013

First XC Meet

Thursday was McKayla's first cross-country meet of the season.  It went well.  It was a 2.9 mile race and she ran an 18:03 which put her in 9th place.  Not bad considering she was sore from Monday's workout (they aren't tapering yet).  She was a little disappointed because she wanted under 18 minutes but her time still qualified her a U.S. First Team Elite.  I think that is awesome!

She had such a bad season last year (due to low iron) that it will be nice to see what this season brings.  She is off to a good start.

Along those lines, she had a really great phone call this week.  She has been receiving calls and letters from various coaches around the country (in fact, the high school tells me they receive more letters for her than for any other athlete) but this call got her excited.

The coach from UVU (Utah Valley University) called her on Wednesday and told her she is his #1 recruit.  She told him she wants to go into nursing and he said UVU has a great nursing program but warned her it is tough to run and do all her clinicals.  He told her he'd support her even if she was only able to run 3 of the meets due to the nursing program demands.  He asked about her ACT score and told her she is only 1 point away from an academic scholarship but then told her she didn't need to worry about that because she'd be taken care of.  (Can we read into it that he intends to offer her a full-ride?)  She wants to stay in Utah so UVU would be a good choice.  The coach told her he'd be talking to her frequently.  Stay tuned....


Life has really gotten away from me lately.  Don't get me wrong -I've enjoyed every minute of the bubbling chaos of my life, but it means I haven't been great about blogging.  I think about what a great blog post this event or that one would make but time gets away from me and it doesn't happen.

We had an awesome summer!  I think it's the busiest summer we've ever had.  It went so quickly that I am REALLY not ready for it to be over.  Yet, my children return to school tomorrow.

We enjoyed our trip to upstate New York.  We enjoyed a family reunion in Island Park (hopefully I will blog more about that later).  Alec spent 2 weeks at Camp Kostopulos (one of those was spent in Yellowstone).  The girls enjoyed youth conference and girls' camp and cross-country high-altitude camp.  Chandler played in 2 soccer tournaments.  I enjoyed Education Week at BYU.  I put on a 5K race for the PTA that went well.  I also "catered" a wedding lunch with help from dear friends.

I don't look forward to my children returning to school tomorrow but next week looks much calmer.  I am hoping I can rest my weary body a bit.  I also look forward to trying to get my home back into shape.  I have cupboards just begging to be cleaned and organized.  I am sure it will be a week or two before I am needed as  a substitute so I hope I can get my home and garden under control in the meantime.

Monday, August 12, 2013


I guess that will soon be my name.  I am taking on a new role.

Brakston and Whitney are expecting a baby on February 13th.

I feel TOO young to be a grandma but it's exciting!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

things that make me happy

I had a super cool experience a couple weeks ago - it made me really happy!

Brakston and Whitney were in town and attended church with us.  Alec usually helps bless the Sacrament but didn't that day.  The ward was short on Deacons so they asked Brakston and Alec to help pass the Sacrament.  Chandler already helps pass the Sacrament every week.

It was an awesome sight seeing all three  of my boys helping to pass the Sacrament.  It was truly a bit of Heaven!