Saturday, October 12, 2013

Lots of Love

I'll start this post off with a before picture of Gretchen.
Gretchen decided it was time to cut her hair. She's been growing it for a couple years and has been waiting to get 10-12 inches she could donate to Locks of Love. Monday was the day.

How is that for cute hair on a cute girl? One of the amazing things about her hair is it's thickness. If I could put my hair, Sam's Syd's, and Julia's hair all in the same ponytail it would still not be as thick as Gretchen's. I'm not sure how Brian's compares, it's thick but I didn't know him when it was ponytail length. I'm guessing she got the thick hair gene from him.

Brian and I split up with the girls this morning. He took Samantha and Sydney to their mountain bike race at Snowbasin Ski Resort, while I took Gretchen and Julia to their cross country meet at Eastmont Middle School. It was a pretty exciting morning. Our school district has an intramural cross country meet with 8 middle schools. Each school can send their top 3 boys and top 3 girls from each grade. I'm not sure how far they run, I was told a few different distances so I'll say they run between 1.5 to 1.75 miles. There is a pretty steep hill on the course and lots of room to cheer on the runners. The girls ran first. Gretchen sprinted to be in front at the first of the race and then stayed there the whole time. Julia started at the back of the pack and worked her way up to the middle. Gretchen came in first! I don't know what place Julia came in. I won't find that out until the middle school administration emails me the results sometime next week. I was really impressed with how Gretchen ran. I would love to look like that when I run. She makes it seem effortless and maybe for her it is.
 100 yards in to the race.
 100 yards in.
 Close to the finish. The red shirt is the girl that came in second.
Sprinting to the finish. 
 Finishing strong.

Sam & Syd had a hard ride. Steep hill with lots of rocks. They both gave it their best.
 Lining up for the start. Sam & Syd are in different divisions so they start at different times.
Line up.

The mountain bike team has been loads of fun for the girls. It's been great for Brian too - he rides with them when he can.

I needed to include a picture of Brian since the title of this post is Lots of Love. This one was taken in Goblin Valley in August.

Usually my mom comes to the girls' athletic activities but today she is out of town. She is on a trip to Branson, MO with 2 of her siblings and their spouses. My brother (that lives in Arkansas) and his family drove up to visit with them. They are having a blast. I'm especially glad that Brad is with her today because it's a hard day for her (and the rest of us). It's been 4 years now since I've been able to laugh with and hug my dad. I miss him.
When the girls were little and we would go over to my dad and mom's house, my dad would announce loudly, "The terrorists are here!" He loved having them come over but it was hard for him to have all that childish energy running all over his house. My girls are a little in between their cousins agewise. They have older cousins and younger cousins but none that lived close by their same ages (except for my sister's youngest who is Sam's age). In the 4 years since dad's passing we have added 6 more little ones to the family. They join 2 young ones that were already here. Recently I was talking to some of my siblings wondering what dad would have said about all these little kids running around his house. If my 4 were the terrorists what would all these kids be? One of my brothers quickly responded, "The Taliban." It's good to know that my dad's sense of humor lives on in his sons.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

It's pretty grape!

It's almost time to clean out the garden. My shelves are stocked with some pretty spectacular produce. Remember I said I might make some grape juice? Well, I did. Brian and I picked 5 five gallon buckets full of super yummy grapes. I then spent more hours than I want to count making grape juice. I'm not really a fan of grape juice. My mom and dad used to make tons of it & they (along with everyone else) loved it but not so much for me. Apparently our grapes are a different variety than the concord grapes that are commonly used for grape juice. They are red reliant. Red reliants are sweet and their juice is pinkish. My mom let me use her steamer/juicer contraption, which was awesome, and making grape juice was easy! I've found that I like hot grape juice. The girls like it cold with ice. I can picture myself heating up a cup of hot juice in the middle of winter and being quite happy.
Brian grew up with his mom making "champagne". He loves it and wanted some of that so he bought some large bottles and we are trying it out. My mom suggested we use some of that delicious juice to make some delicious grape jelly. So we gave that a try too. I wonder what will happen next year when we have even more grapes.

I just have to send a little shout out to my mom. I never ever thought I would spend my time doing some of the homemaking things she did when I was growing up. She worked so hard and accomplished so much. I know things are different these days and women are encouraged to do more than stay home, raise kids and keep house, but I feel unbelievably blessed to be able to do just that. I know I am so fortunate to be able to spend the majority of my time with Brian and our girls. I had no idea when we had children that I would love this kind of life as much as I do. It's been especially nice to be able to call my mom whenever I want and ask her how she did "it" - whatever the "it" is at any moment in time. Thanks mom!