Thursday, April 21, 2011

Moms on the Run!

Last Saturday I ran my first ever half-marathon! It has been a goal of mine for several years, so I am glad I finally got to do it! Several of my friends also ran in the marathon. The race course was at the Hyatt Lost Pines resort, which is about an hour from where we live, so the night before several of us drove down and stayed in a hotel overnight. It was so much fun just driving down, eating dinner and hanging out with my friends KID-FREE!

Paige, Janet, Rachelle, Angelica, Joy and Lyndsee---our big night out at Chili's (which was the best that Bastrop had to offer)

Pre-race group shot. My friend, Janet, originally decided to sign up for the race and then talked the rest of us into more and more people joined us, we decided to get matching shirts and officially call ourselves the "Moms on the Run"

And we're off... Coincidentally, my friend Kristen Duke also ran the race. (Kristen is the amazing photographer that has taken so many pictures of my family) She ran with a camera (of course!) so I snagged this picture from her blog.

When we signed up for the race, the Zooma website described it as "challenging", but we really had NO IDEA what we were getting ourselves into. The course was VERY hilly. This is the elevation map taken from GPS watch during the race! (ignore the initial drop at the very beginning--the satellite hadn't found us yet!)

The race was hard, but it felt AMAZING to finish! My final time was 2 hours 7 minutes, (about 9:44 min/mile) which was better than I was hoping for. I came in 479th of 1390 runners. I absolutely gave it my all---by the time I finished, I didn't think I could take another step!

Post-Race: Moms on the Run! Paige, Joy, Cheryl, Janet, Rachelle, Angelica, Lyndsee and Lorraine (looking at this picture makes me realize how SHORT I am!)

I have actually signed up for another half-marathon in Utah in June. I will be running with my Dad and sister, Tiare, and I am really looking forward to it!!


Monday, April 11, 2011

April Fool's Day!

After my failure at being the green-pancake-making-mom on St. Patrick's Day, I knew I had to make it up to my family on the next superfluous holiday, which just happened to be April Fool's Day. I've always loved a good practical joke, so I always look forward to April 1st. I often do the lunch box switch-a-roo on my kids, where I take something from their lunch, carefully open it, replace the contents with something else and then glue the package back together. They have come to expect that little surprise, so I knew I had to step it up to the next level. This year I decided to do an entire April Fools Dinner. Coincidentally, we signed up to feed the missionaries on April 1st, which just gave me a few more victims for my devious plan.

Thanks to Kristen Duke who posted this link on Facebook, I came up with a great dinner plan. The April Fools Menu included spaghetti with meatballs, cupcakes, bundt cake and red punch to drink....or at least that is what everyone thought they were getting...
"Spaghetti and Meatballs"

The "spaghetti" was actually tinted frosting piped through a plastic bag and made to look like noodles. The "meatballs" were actually cake balls, and the sauce was strawberry jam. Kaiya was pretty concerned when I brought this out. Even after I told her it was cake, she asked if she could take the noodles off before eating the cake.


If dinner is actually dessert, it follows that dessert should actually be dinner. These cupcakes were actually mini-meatloaves, baked in cupcake liners and topped with mashed potatoes which had been piped through a plastic bag to look like frosting. The "sprinkles" were chopped red peppers. I really got everyone good on this one. Even the missionaries were surprised to bite into them and find that there was no cake or frosting involved in these cupcakes! (Riley loved them though, and asked me to make them for dinner again just like that. He said he doesn't normally like meatloaf, but having them topped with the potatoes made it super-yum.)

"Bundt Cake"

This bundt cake is actually a pizza roll. The bread base is filled with pepperoni and meat sauce and the "frosting" is melted mozzarella cheese.

"Red Punch"

To wash it all down, I served red punch...not really! I made Jello in cups with straws to make it appear like a drink. Rustin was especially confused by this one---he kept getting so frustrated that he couldn't get anything to come up his straw.



Clockwise: Jayson, Kaydence, Ryder, Kyndall, Rustin, Kassidy,the missionaries, Kaiya and Riley (after everyone figured out they were being duped, I did pull out a salad to go with the cupcakes and whipped cream for the Jello)

Riley, Rachelle & Kaiya---I love Kaiya's can tell that she isn't quite sure what to make of it!

If you are interested, you can find the complete recipes from my dinner HERE.


Monday, April 4, 2011

Spring Break--Part 3, the Finale!

If you missed them, check out Part 1 and Part 2 of our Spring Break Adventure.

Thursday was St. Patrick's Day, so of course I woke up early to prepare a fabulous green breakfast for the family and prepare lots of fun Irish games for the day...NOT REALLY--actually I completely forgot about the holiday until my mom reminded me (which Riley and Kaiya were only too happy about, since it meant that they got to pinch me). My mom made Riley some green eggs for a snack and that was about as festive as we got (sorry kids, I'll make it up to you on April Fool's day---promise!)

Riley with his green eggs and no ham

Thursday afternoon Dr. Candice Park (now known as Dr. Candice Wood) with her mom and her new little baby for a visit. Candice was the resident doctor who took care of me during my pregnancy and who delivered the quints. It was so fun to see her! The quints especially loved the baby :-) (notice that she and her baby are wearing green and she even brought us green cookies---there is one mom who didn't drop the ball for St. Patrick's day!)

Kassidy, Ryder, Kyndall, Kaydence and Rustin look at baby Lauren while Candice snaps a photo.

After our visit with Candice, we headed out to the farm. My cousin's husband, Steve, is a dairy farmer and owns a small dairy farm out in Florence, AZ. I am not much of an animal person, so I really respect anyone that can do that for a living---especially in the Arizona heat! Steve and Kiera were great to give us a tour of the farm and let us help feed the baby calves.

Kaydence, Kassidy, Ryder, Kyndall, Riley, Rustin and Kaiya come face-to-face with the cows.

My cousin, Kiera, and her little boy Ledger

Kaydence, Ryder, Riley, Kyndall, Kassidy, Rustin and Kaiya

Filling the bottles for the baby calves....brought back memories of the early days when I used a similar process to fill bottles for the quints :-)

Heading out to the calf stalls

My cousin says that this little cow is considered "perfect": black face, white stripe and pink nose.

This little guy was born only a few hours before we got there.

Feeding the calves (Note: this is a rare sight---my MOM is feeding the calves. If there is anyone who is less of an animal person than me, it is my mom!)

Front: Kaydence, Ryder, Kyndall, Rustin and Kassidy, Back: Riley and Kaiya, Driver way in the back: Dylan (Kiera's son and second cousin to my kiddos)

Friday was our last day in AZ and we went to "Makutu's Island", a big indoor playplace with crazy slides, tunnels, fireman poles, etc. The kids thought it was super fun, but some of the less adventurous ones wanted me to go with them on everything. That was when I realized I am not as young as I used to be :-) My cousins, BrieAnne and Kiera, met us there.

Makutu's Island: Kyndall, Kaiya, Kaydence, Ryder, Rachelle, Rustin, Kiera, Dylan, Ledger, and BrieAnne

Friday night we had dinner outside on the patio

Papa, Riley, BrieAnne, Kaiya and Mimi

The "Goodbye" picture---it is tradition at my parent's house to take a picture in this spot before leaving

Ready for the trip home.

The drive home went fairly smoothly. I came up with a new plan for rest stops and actually managed to shave 5 minutes off our stopping time!! (It's the little things that make life exciting.) At our first rest stop, the kids were happy and well-behaved. As we paraded in, I could hear comments like "Oh, how cute!" and "That is so adorable!". By the time we got to our second rest stop, the kids were tired and ready to be done with traveling---they were not happy or well-behaved. The only comments I got were "Oh, you poor thing!" and "I'll pray for you!"

All in all, the trip was a lot of work, but a lot of fun! Crazy or not, I am glad that we did it!


Friday, April 1, 2011

Spring Break--Part 2

If you missed the "Part 1" to our spring break adventure, click HERE.

One of the most anticipated activities of our spring break trip was swimming in Mimi's pool. This was the third time we have visited my parents since they moved into this house, but because of some issues with the county, the pool was not finished on our previous trips. Despite my mom's best efforts at pushing things along, the pool was finished just two days AFTER we left last summer. This time the pool was finished, but COLD! Only Riley was brave enough to go in the main pool, the rest of us wimps had fun swimming in the heated hot tub instead!

Ready to swim: Ryder, Rustin, Kaydence, Kyndall and Kassidy


Riley braving the big pool, despite the 54 degree water

Swimming in the hot tub

Tuesday was dollar day at the movie theater, so we decided to go see "Tangled". I think everyone in Mesa had the same idea---the theater was packed. With the high price of movies these days, we don't take the family very often. In fact, this was only the second time that I have taken the quints to the movie theater. (The first was last summer when we saw Toy Story 3 on our last trip to Arizona) We all loved it---definitely my favorite Disney movie. Ryder thought it was pretty cool that the main guy character's name was "Flynn RYDER"---a fact that he kept announcing to everyone around us.

After the movie we went over to a friend's house to pick citrus. My family lived in Arizona when I was in high school, and one of my favorite things about living there was the citrus. We had orange and grapefruit trees in our yard---there is nothing like fruit right off the tree! The kids had a blast! (except for Kassidy, who fell asleep in the car on the way over and slept through the whole thing...)

Rustin, Kyndall and Kaydence pick some oranges

Kaiya's "prize" grapefruit

The Pickin' Crew

Wednesday was Kids Day at the Rainforest Cafe---all kid's meals were $2.99. Usually when restaurants advertise "Kid's Eat Free" or similar deals, the fine print reads one free kid meal PER adult meal. With two adults and seven kids, it isn't such a great deal. At Rainforest, we could get as many kids meals as we wanted for $2.99. We took the kids to Rainforest Cafe when they were barely two-years-old and they were scared of all the animated gorillas and elephants. We have a picture of Kyndall eating with her head down on the table so she wouldn't have to look at anything. This time they loved it! In fact, at the end of the trip when we asked them what their favorite part was, this was it!

Looking at the big fish tank on the way in.

Kaiya, Riley and Papa

Kassidy, Kaydence, Ryder, Rustin and Kyndall

Mimi and Rachelle

Cute barstools! Riley, Kaiya, Kassidy, Kaydence, Kyndall, Rustin and Ryder

We tried to take a picture of all the kids in front of the elephant podium at the entrance to the restaurant. I tried to narrow it down to one to put on the blog, but Rustin was so funny in all three, that I had to put all of them. I have no idea what he is doing....maybe I should have left him there---he looks like he would fit in great with the monkeys!

Arizona has some of the most amazing sunsets! This was what the sky looked like when we came out of Rainforest Cafe.

............Stay tuned for the third, and final Spring Break post!


Spring Break--Part 1

When people find out that I have quintuplets plus two older kids, I often get comments like "I don't know how you do it...if I was in your shoes I would go CRAZY!" They say it in a way that assumes that I haven't gone crazy, which makes me want to laugh, because I think being a little crazy is one of the survival skills of having quintuplets, or even having a lot of kids. For example, Riley and Kaiya (and me) had the week of of school for spring break. Jayson is trying to save up vacation days for a family reunion this summer, so he couldn't take any time off of work. A normal, sane person would have found some fun things to do with the kids around town and called it good. Not me---my "little bit of crazy" kicked in and I thought why let seven kids and a home-bound hubby stop me from going on vacation for spring break? I carried five babies to 34 weeks gestation, I survived an entire year with five two-year-olds who had to skip their nap to attend 1 pm church, I potty-trained five kiddos all at once (ok, mostly potty-trained), I CAN DO HARD THINGS! So why not take five three-year-olds and two older kids on a 16-hour road trip by myself? In fact, why stop there, why not throw in an extra kid just to make it a REAL challenge?? Yep, it's true...having seven kids really DOES make you crazy.

We left bright and early on Friday morning (the kids missed one day of school so we could be in Arizona for the weekend). In addition to my seven kids, I also took Roger, one of Riley's friends, who wanted to hitch a ride to Arizona to visit his cousins. I made sure he knew ahead of time that he would have to work to earn his way, but I don't think he was quite prepared for how demanding the job would be!

We're off! Sleepy, but excited for the trip!

The drive there actually went pretty smoothly. Riley and Roger changed out movies and passed out snacks while I drove. We made three stops for potty and gas. This was the first road trip we have taken with the quints since they were potty trained, and I worried that it would take forever to take everyone to the bathroom at each rest stop. To help, I brought three little pottys in the car, along with some sanitizing wipes (to clean the pottys) so all the girls could go potty at the same time. It definitely helped, but it still took a minimum of 30 minutes each time we stopped.

By our last stop, the kids were going crazy being cooped up in the car, so I let them get out to eat and play in the playplace for a few minutes. We were soooo happy to get to Mimi's house!

The next day, Saturday, we must have REALLY been crazy because we decided to take seven over-tired children to Kohl's. (We had a 30% off coupon and it's hard to pass up a good deal!) The demographics of Mesa, Arizona are a lot different from the demographics in Austin, Texas. In Austin, having a big family is kind of a novelty. In Mesa, there are a lot more big families, and at this time of year there are a lot of "snowbirds" (retired couples who live in Arizona during the winter). In Austin, when we go places, we tend to stand out and people look at us with Mesa, we are just another large family and I am pretty sure (given the looks we got) that we were a big annoyance to many of the snowbirds shopping in Kohl's that day. On the upside, I did find some great deals!

Saturday night we met up with aunts, uncles and cousins that all live in the area for a picnic at the park. We went to a park in Gilbert called Freestone Park. It was awesome! It is a beautiful park (and beautiful is not a word I use often when referring to Arizona!). There was a large pond with ducks, waterfalls, playground, a train and some kiddie carnival rides. The kids loved it! It was so much fun to watch their faces on the mini-Ferris wheel--pure joy!

Watching the ducks

Ryder & Rustin

Kassidy, Kaydence & Kyndall

Riding the train

Sunday we all went to church. The quints are in the "Sunbeams" class at church. When we showed up to my mom's ward, we doubled the size of their Sunbeam class (we did call ahead to warn them).

Ready for church: Kaydence, Rustin, Kassidy, Ryder and Kyndall

To be continued...