Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Steve Harvey Road Trip - part one

Seriously, still reeling from this entire experience.  Really.

I'm having such a hard time even starting to put it in words, though if you talk to me face to face I'll likely go on for an hour!

I guess I should start at the beginning...

As I mentioned, we were contacted by a producer for The Steve Harvey Show back in the summer.  Gotta be honest, I kind of figured it wouldn't actually turn in to anything because I was contacted by a handful of people after I did the Hapari thing and it never went anywhere.
We were asked if we might be interested in being a part of an awesome segment that Mr Harvey does called Family Bucket List, where he sends families out on these super fun activities to allow them the opportunity to spend time together since that is often a challenge for many families.

But we told them we were interested, filled out their questionnaire about our family and some of our "bucket list" items, and kept in contact.  After verifying our availability for some dates in August, we did a Skype interview with them and they told us they would be in touch.  We sat all the kids down and made sure they weren't getting their hopes up and planning on it going through, just in case, but Aaron and I did chat about how fun it would be if it did work out.
After a couple of weeks we heard back, and they told us they were going a different direction for the dates they had checked with us.  It happens.  But we were surprised when they asked if we would be willing to be a part of something they wanted to orchestrate for our family a little later in the year.  Sure!
We had no idea just what they were orchestrating...

After some back and forth over the next couple of months, they asked if we would be willing to be left in the dark about things, if we (Aaron and I) would be willing to have it be a surprise not only for our kids but for us as well.  Sure!  Surprises are fun!
Wow, one heck of a surprised was established!

We did a little arranging to be available for some dates on our end, they did one heck of a lot of arranging for the Ultimate Family Bucket List experience on their end.

All we knew was that we would be traveling (they had us make sure we had ID for travel for everyone), and that at 8:00am on October 26th we would get further information. That was it. I was totally enjoying the surprise factor, especially as the date grew nearer and the anticipation heightened.  Aaron was a little more on the going crazy side.  He loves surprises, when he doesn't know they are coming.  Sitting and wondering on things when someone says "I have a surprise for you!" drives him nuts! Not going to lie, I kind of enjoyed watching that play out.  Any good wife would, right?

I did ask for info on packing, since with 12 people-especially little ones-it's kind of a huge undertaking, and I was doing nearly all of the prep on my own since Aaron works out of town. We were told that since it is Fall and weather can change, be prepared for warmer weather, or cooler weather.  And that we would have the opportunity to do laundry, so pack as lightly as we could and not worry about trying to cover 12 full days with our packing.

So there we sat, bags packed, blinds closed, all ready to go on the morning of October 26th, at 7:55am.  Just waiting, waiting for....something.

As I sat on the couch I saw something moving across our front yard through the closed blinds.

That's when the doorbell rang...

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tuesday is the day, and Dad's View take two...and three...

Part one of our Steve Harvey adventure will be airing today!
I know I said Monday, but the airing schedule got changed.
And then I can start telling you all about it!

In other news, while you're waiting on pins and needles to tune in (that's at least two of you, including my mom), have a peek at Dad's View episode 2.  The one where mom is gone.

If you need to kill five more minutes, here is episode 3.
(I know, I know.  I'm so behind.)

His attempted interpretation of Emily cracks me up. Spending all day with her I can totally understand her, his frequent traveling denies him that opportunity.  He'll get there.  Eventually.

He cut the part where I asked if the kids liked dinner.  And the part where I was relieved that only a couple of them liked it because I thought it was gross...along with the part where he agreed with me.
Also, I swear Malia gets dressed in more than a giant T-shirt occasionally. And we give the boys hair cuts.  
But yes, it's pretty much just loud here a lot of the time.

Monday, November 10, 2014

An Epic Family Adventure

We have just returned from 12 days out of town.
Twelve epic days.

I know the word epic is overused, but it applies here.

A few months ago we were contacted by The Steve Harvey Show.  A simple email turned into an amazing opportunity for our family!

The kicker-
We can't say much of anything publicly until it airs!
And it's SO HARD not to share things about everything that we were so blessed to experience!

Aaron and I were able to post a couple of little things on Instagram, but still have to stay very vague per our agreement with the amazing producers we worked with.  If you happen to follow Steve Harvey TV on Facebook or might find little snippets of hints there...

What I can tell you is that I am blown away by the amazing people that work for Mr. Harvey.  Every person we had the pleasure of meeting and working with was just wonderful!  I truly cannot say enough good about all of them.  We spent time with some truly awesome people who will forever hold a place in our hearts!
Then there is Mr. Harvey himself.  The guy is just as funny in person as he is in all of the clips from his show and from Family Feud.  Above that he is an incredibly kind, and generous person who does so much good. It really was such a treat to meet him!

With the first of the episodes that involve our family airing next Monday, details aren't too far off.
Check out to find out when it airs in your neck of the woods, then tune in Nov 17th and 21st for all the fun! I'm so anxious to see the finished product!
(and I hope I don't look like too much of a goof on air....)

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Dad's View

Over the years we've had a number of people say "I wish I could just peek into your house and see what goes on during your day." The proverbial fly on the wall to our typical chaos.

There have also been plenty of times that Aaron and I look at each other in the middle of dinner, amazed at the randomness of conversation, or the ridiculousness of something happening at the table, and wondered why we weren't filming it. Because some of it has definitely been worth preserving.

For years Aaron has suggested we set up a camera so that we can sit back and laugh at it later. If you're a parent you know there are plenty of things that aren't so hilarious when they are happening, but with a little bit of time and a perspective shift become pretty funny.

Thus we give you, Dad's view. You always hear from me, so now here are a few minutes of a peek into an evening in our family from Aaron's view. A little taste of the random weirdness that happens here.

A few thoughts; Yes, the musical chairs bit was real. If you ever have kids fighting over who is sitting where at dinner, I highly suggest it to diffuse things a little. And yes, the table is a little cozy right now, we're working on a fix that doesn't include buying new furniture. We finally figured out what we want to do, now it's just a matter of getting it done! The kids are super excited about the prospect of not sitting at corners.  Also, I swear I do actually wear makeup, real clothes, and do my hair. At least occasionally.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The big Wednesday news

Last October I ran the St George Marathon for the second time. (and never blogged about it. whoops.)
It was the perfect day to run a marathon.
Unlike the first time I ran St George when it was pretty darn warm, last year it was freezing at the start. Literally. It was right about 30 degrees.  Sitting in sweats and wrapped up in a foil blanket next to a fire and snuggled up next to Aaron, I was still cold!

Though all that time sitting there waiting for the start was pretty uncomfortable, it made for nice cool weather for the next few hours, and an amazing race.
A race that landed me a new marathon PR by over 20 minutes, and a Boston Qualifying time of 3:38:47. I just squeaked under the cutoff of 3:40 for my age group. But considering that a couple of years ago I truly never thought I would ever run that fast, it was pretty dang thrilling! Qualifying for Boston was really never on my radar until a matter of weeks before St George last year, and even then it wasn't something I was willing to really seriously consider.
Like not seriously considering it until near the end of the race when I realized that it could actually happen if I could just hold on to what I had going.

Last week I was able to apply for the Boston Marathon with all of the rest of the people who qualified by less than five minutes. I've been waiting for a week and a half to hear if I made it in, knowing nothing more than the fact that more people applied than there were available spots, and that last year if you didn't qualify by more than 1 minute and 38 seconds faster than your age group's qualifying cutoff, you didn't make it in.

Knowing that it would be announced today, and knowing that my friend Heidi qualified by over a minute more than I did, I was periodically checking the entrants list at the BAA website to see if *her* name was there. Because if she didn't make it after qualifying with 2+ minutes to spare, I definitely hadn't made it.
And then this afternoon, I found her name.
And braved searching for my own.

And I found it.

I'm in!

This lovely little email dropped into my inbox a short time later.

I'm going to Boston!!!
By 11 seconds, I'm going to Boston.
They had about 2000 more people apply this year than they had spaces available, so those who qualified by over 1 minute and 2 seconds made the cutoff for available spaces.  I qualified by 1 minute and 13 seconds.  ELEVEN seconds cleared me.  Count out 11 seconds.  Over the course of a 3 1/2+ hour run, 11 seconds is a blip. 11 seconds is just a few steps of walking at an aid station. A bathroom stop would have been well over 11 seconds.  Stretching my calf for just a tiny bit longer around mile 18 would have stolen 11 seconds.  Letting my mental monkeys get the best of me in the last mile instead of pushing till the end would have killed those 11 seconds.

I'm excited.
I'm excited to do some base building over the next couple of months.  I'm excited to pick through training plans again and choose one to use for this next 26.2 experience.  I'm excited to sneak away for a few days with Aaron for this little adventure! I'm excited to (hopefully) meet up with a few online running friends who are also going to be there. I'm excited to experience first hand this epic race that I've watched from home for the past couple of years and cross that famous finish line!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

And then six months went by....

People sometimes ask me if in the chaos of daily living I ever reach a breaking point.  Sure.  I definitely have triggers.  Wednesday alone often does it for me. 

Apparently my blogging breaking point was being pregnant with my tenth child and having a husband that traveled 100% of the time for work.  Going through a transition of learning to do everything by myself between Sunday afternoon around 3:00 until Thursday night around 11:00 was slightly challenging!  Solo parenting is no joke.  With the pregnancy exhaustion on top of that, I was in survival mode much more frequently than I would have liked. When Friday and Saturday rolled around every minute was consumed with trying to spend time with Aaron and chipping away at the big to-do list of things that I couldn't do without him. 
This left little to no time for dumping my thoughts and experiences here.  

Thank goodness for Instagram!  At least I have a photo journal and little pieces of thoughts and stories that I could jot down in a minutes or so. 

I miss blogging.  I keep thinking "I'll get to that this week!", and have even left a browser window open on the computer with this blog up and waiting for me to jump back in, all to no avail.  Life just keeps happening. 

Then this weekend a couple of my kids started talking about something I had completely forgotten.  A day when they got in the powdered sugar and strung it all over the house and then tried to tell me they hadn't been in the powdered sugar.  We all had a good laugh while I dug through the deep recesses of my brain trying to remember the incident.  I had completely forgotten about it.  Then as they kept talking I remembered that I had blogged it way back when.  

That's when I realized that I REALLY need to be blogging. Because this mommy brain just isn't what it used to be, and there are a number of things I am sure will be lost in the oblivion if they aren't jotted down here. That makes me sad.  I have written down random things in notebooks and on a list in my phone, but usually that is a quick little snippet to remind me of what I need to write down, and, well...yeah.  Let's just say that there are about ten snippets that were written down as blog titles and saved as drafts with the intention that I would come here and tell the whole story, and looking at them now I have no clue what I was talking about. And the notebooks? I may or may not ever see them again.  At least the little things I have on my phone might stick around long enough for me to do something with them! 

Now life has settled into another new routine, Aaron's job has changed to significantly less travel (yahoo!!), and I have found my motivation, it's time to dust off the old Zoo here and pick back up. Lots of missing pieces to fill in (um, the baby is almost three months old?!?), and lots of adventures coming up I have no doubt.  So many fun and exciting pieces of life to share, and many mundane and senseless things as well I am sure.  Because that's how we roll. 

Welcome back to the crazy! 

Monday, March 31, 2014

The nesting projects begin

I'm sure it's been covered before, but I don't nest like a normal person.  Normal pregnant people clean and organize and things like that.  I do things like build patios, stock up on running shoes and repaint most of my house.  At least we've come to know that this is normal for me.

I've been itching to hit a few house projects for a couple of months, but with the crazy of life and adjusting to Aaron's travel, it just keeps getting put off.  Enter a rapidly approaching third trimester (27wks today! yay!), and "let's get this done!" has kicked into high gear.

First up, the main bathroom.

Oh, this poor bathroom.

It's seen a couple of changes over the 8 1/2yrs we've spent here, like painting the vanity, and little things like changing the shower curtain.  But it had been beige in there for way too long.

I found a rug I loved a couple of months ago, so I bought it with changing the bathroom in mind.  Slowly stocking up on the things I would be using to change it up in there got me to the point where it was go time.

And so two weeks ago I went for it.

Bye bye beige!

It always takes me longer than I anticipate to finish these projects, but this time, it was done in just over 24 hours.  Ten people using one bathroom is some serious motivation!

Painting, replacing hardware, repainting the way more deep scrubbing than I expected.  It was harder for me to deep clean the shower and tub than to run 9 miles the weekend before.  Not sure what that says about me.  Or about the bathroom.  I'm just going to ignore that and move forward.

Went a step further than I anticipated and the light fixture as well.  Good choice, long overdue.  Super happy with how it turned out, loving the change!

And yes, I restricted my children from using it the day I finished so that Aaron could actually see it done, and still super CLEAN, when he got home.

Especially loving the hooks behind the door for towels, for some reason my picture of that won't load.  huh. I'm having all sorts of blog upload success lately.  Anyway, similar to this:

We have tried a number of different hooks in the bathroom and in bedrooms to keep kids' towels from piling up all over the place.  The 3M hooks that work great in our master bathroom keep getting broken in the main bathroom.  I hate the over the door hanger things.  This has been fabulous!  Granted it's been a whopping week and a half, but it is super sturdy and provides more places to hang than any other alternatives we've tried.  Not to mention it looks a little nicer!

Big project number one crossed off the list, and now, on to the next one!