Thursday, September 29, 2011

JPL at the PlayMill

As you all remember from previous posts, Glen grew up going to the cabin in Island Park every summer.  Most of their time was spent fishing, looking for bears, playing chess, and wondering who dealt the smelt,  but, despite all of that in-cabin excitement,  eventually they'd always trek into West Yellowstone to the Playmill Theater to catch a show. 

Since as a family, we also love the theater, so we are always sure to continue this tradition whenever we're nearby.  This summer they were showing, "High School Musical" and "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat".  Since buying tickets for the entire family for both shows was cheaper than one of our tickets to Wicked at the Kennedy Center, we opted to see both shows. 

Here are my kids going in for a quick grandma/grandpa snuggle before the show. 
Once inside, the fun starts quickly.  Mostly staffed by BYU-Idaho students, the cute (and very young) actors do a pre-show show, which includes loads of goofy skits and selling food.   
During the pre-show show, the actors and actresses came out and each took a turn doing a little song/dance/skit number.  We were enjoying ourselves well enough, when this guy comes out to sing. 
He introduces himself as "Jon Peter Lewis from Hollywood, California". 

Now it's been a few years since Glen and I have followed an American Idol season very closely, but we remember JPL (as Simon liked to call him) very well!  Apparently he needed a little break from Hollywood life, so he came back to the little Playmill where he used to perform in college.  His song was pretty much awesome and a few steps up from the other performances there.  We were totally star-struck! 
And so was Cami....

So we obligingly bought her his latest CD, which he happily autographed for her. 
And I'd like to say that this exciting little gem will officially wrap up the end of our vacation posts, but that's just wishful thinking on your part. 


Wednesday, September 28, 2011


  • kids got woke up early by a loud thunderstorm. 
  • i kept a child home from school to finish their book report, which is due tomorrow. 
  • i had to miss my morning walk to help said child with their book report. 
  • i ate 1/2 bowl of chocolate frosting which had hardened into a delicious fudge.
  • i promised the child lunch at a restaurant after the visual part of book report was done. 
  • i got yelled and screamed at about said book report for at least 2-3 hours. 
  • we eventually ate lunch at mcdonalds as per child's request. 
  • i made taco soup in the crockpot.
  • the sun peeked out of the clouds for the first time in days. 
  • i forcefully saved the entire book report from being ripped into shreds when an upper case "L" was written instead of a lower case "l". 
  • in a show of solidarity against extreme perfectionism, i decide that i'm not using any more capital letters the rest of the day. 
  • i took ellie to the neurologist for her check-up and we wait the longest we've ever had to wait there (with the 1/2 hour drive each way, the whole ordeal is almost 2 hours). 
  • we came home and i ate a coconut popsicle. 
  • child sits down to finish book report and kicks over dining room chairs and throws pencils all over the floor in frustration. 
  • glen calls and says he's working late. 
  • it takes 30+ minutes to pick up cami from cross country. 
  • i have a melt-down at dinner and put myself in a time-out to eat in the bedroom with the door locked. 
  • i didn't like the crockpot taco soup.
  • sister comes over with some red mango pomegranate frozen yogurt for me.  thanks annalisa! 
  • a friend comes to pick up cami for YW at someone's house.  thanks christine!
  • sister takes spence and adam to scouts at the church. 
  • really hoping that blogging about this day will help me to laugh at it all....someday. 
  • wondering what i'm going to do now that the chocolate supply is running low. 

and right after posting this originally,  the power popped off and has been off for almost 2 hours now.  on the bright side, we have lots of flashlights and batteries in the house after all of our hurricane scares this fall.  and we live right by a starbucks with free internet. 

oh and adam gives just as good death stares by flashlight as he does in daylight.   


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Dummy's Guide to Camping

1.  Thoughtfully and lovingly prepare high quality food to eat by the fire.  Or by the ignition at least.  

2. Arrive to campsite as late as possible.  It'll make your campsite choice much easier. Do you want to roll uphill or downhill?    Additionally, people tend not to bother you with conversation and pounding in stakes when you set up your tent in the dark. 

3.  Round off the aforementioned thoughtfully prepared meal with a well-rounded mass of roasted fluffed sugar sandwiched between chocolate sugar and graham flavored sugar.  And in case you're thirsty, there's even chocolate flavored sugar water that'll make your sugar high complete! 

4.  Go to bed and annoyingly tell kids to pee in their pull-ups so you won't have to traipse them to the restroom...again. 

5.  After approximately 3.4 hours of fitful sleep, wake up and stop equally sleep-deprived people who happen to be carrying small babies and walking large dogs and demand that they hold still long enough for you to ask 42 questions and smother the dog with loves. 

6.  Eat a breakfast of champions....spam and cheese bagels cooked by the Spam King are perfect!

7.   Make sure the whole world knows what your Christmas pajamas looked like, by wearing them long into the morning hours.  Heck, why even bother changing?  I heard footy pajamas are all the rage in Vienna these days. 

8.  Practice your pyrotechnics whenever possible. 
Paper in the fire...boring.  
Plastic in the fire....slightly more entertaining.
Glow sticks in the fire....awesome!  
9.  Pack up, go home, think about the laundry you should do, then take a quick nap.   

10.  Repeat exactly as outlined, every September for 12 years or so.  


Post-Ragnar Awesomeness

When the Ragnar was over on Saturday afternoon, I was sleep deprived, hungry, sore, and addled with the beginnings of female hormones.  The whole way home I had pessimistically conjured up images of the mess that would await me when I arrived home---the messy house, the disheveled, grumpy kids, the dinner that needed to be cooked, the laundry that needed to be done, etc.  I was suddenly wishing we'd all run a little slower. 

Oh, me of little faith. 

Instead of a dirty toilets and grumpy kids, I came home to a clean room (for the first time in months) and all the Saturday chores done.  The kids were happy, well-fed, and out of their pajamas.  In other words, Glen had worked very hard to make sure that I came home and could unwind and recuperate from 3 days on the road. 

I snoozed, I showered, I changed into freshly laundered, non-sweaty clothes, I bubbly shared funny stories from the race, showing them pictures....I was feeling much better. 

Then I laughed as my girls suddenly thought that running in a Ragnar race was the coolest thing ever.  They even donned my goofy clothes and went outside to "play Ragnar" together.   I was happy to be photographer for them, but I opted not to join their team. 

Then, the day got even better...

Without me ever saying a word about dinner, Glen picked up my favorite meal from Olive Garden (Chicken Scampi) and knowing that I'd been depriving myself of dairy and junk for several days, threw in a slice of Cheesecake Factory Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cheesecake just for fun.

Since the invention of the dinner, there have only been five dinners that were rated the most enjoyed, the most pure. This one left them all behind.

After dinner, I meant to kiss my sweet husband and tell him how much his thoughtfulness and hard work had meant to me.

But I fell asleep instead, so this blogpost (and some belated kisses) will have to do.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

DC Ragnar by the Numbers

Ragnar  (RAG-nahr):  You and 11 of your closest friends running 200(ish) miles, day and night, relay-style, through some of the most scenic terrain North America could muster. Add in crazy runners, inside jokes and a mild case of sleep deprivation. The result? Some call it a slumber party without sleep, pillows or deodorant. We call it a Ragnar Relay.

My Ragnar experience by the numbers (the short version):
200 mile race--Cumberland, Maryland to DC
Team full of moms to 51 kids and counting
42 times I thought about flaking out beforehand
33 hours--it took us from beginning to end
13 miles total for me
12 "Hot Tamamas" on one team
6:00am start time
3 hours of sleep
2 vans driving us to our next legs
Runner #1--that's me! 
0.6 extra miles I ran when I got lost on a trail in the dark of the early morning
0 junk or dairy I ate in the week before the race

And here is a longer, more detailed report on my experience for those who just can't get enough Lara pictures: 
I was in van #1.  Both van #1 and #2 were decorated with the vinyl lettering just like this.  We got a lot of comments on the "51 kids and counting..." line on there.  That averages out to 4.25 kids per mom! 

Here are the girls in van #1 after decorating the car.  At this point none of us had run yet and we were NERVOUS. 

Our car decorations were mild compared to some of the vans we saw.  This one was one of our favorites: 

When we weren't running, we all wore matching Hot Tamama shirts and striped knee high socks. 

From the hours of 6:00pm - 7:30am all runners (even those not currently running) were required to wear their reflective vests, headlamps, and tail lights.   All three of my legs were between those hours, so I wore the whole get-up every time.  The vest was itchy and big and  the headlamp kept slipping on my sweaty forehead, but since two of my runs were on busy roads with narrow shoulders, I was happy to be a glowing light on the side of the road and not some sad looking roadkill.  (I'm the second from the right in this photo)

With heavy fog and clouds like this looming overhead for much of the race, we were seriously worried about getting dumped with rain.  Happily though,  other than a few of us running in a drizzle, the heavy downpours completely missed us.  And I'll take our 70 degree, cloudy/drizzly day any time over the 100 degree Ragnar some of my teammates ran last year. 

The race began in Cumberland, Maryland...a little town tucked away in the Appalachian Mountains.  The scenery was breathtaking, but being in the mountains meant that we had to run up and down those same beautiful mountains.   My legs weren't too horrible, but a few of my teammates had runs with elevation gains of 600-1200 feet, which made me tired just thinking about.  Here's a glimpse of the terrain that we were running in at the beginning of our race....
One of the hardest parts about the way the race is designed is that immediately after running your leg of the race and handing off the baton (which was really a slap bracelet), that instead of leisurely cooling down and "walking it off", you had to jump back in the car and make sure the next runner got to their leg on time.  We spent a lot of time here in my friend, Kim's van, and I daresay that by the end of it we were all a little loopy on snack foods, sleep deprivation, and runner's high.  There may or may not have been some potty humor, the occasional good-natured swearing, and lots and lots of laughter along the way.  

After running straight for 33 hours through the gorgeous mountains, cute little Civil War era towns, right by the DC temple,  and into the bustling city, the last runner finally sprinted across the finish line at the National Harbor of DC.  For as much fun as we had, we were completely  thrilled to finally be done with the race....

and more than happy to claim our awesome looking medals (which can double as beer openers in case you're wondering)...

At the finish line we snapped a few more pictures (like this one with my good friend Andrea)...

And this goofy looking group self-portrait....

And found one of our favorite team names of the race....Green Legs and Van. 

Then we rushed home to our awesome families who held down the fort while we were away for three days. Once home, it was a toss-up as to which would come first....shower or nap?  

(you can see which one won at our house)

All in all, I'd have to say that the race went swimmingly well ( or should I say runningly?). 

The weather was great, the company fun, we remained injury free, and best of all...
we did it!

We ran 200 miles over hill and vale, through country, town, and big city and did it with smiles on our faces (at least most of the time anyway. )


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Battletime Strategy

1.  Asking nicely
2.  Lovingly sitting down with him at the table so as to be totally available to help
3.  Lightheartedly asking
3. Strongly encouraging
4.  Gently cajoling
5.  Canceling play dates
6.  Bribery with sugary snacks

7.  Telling him in a loud voice (aka yelling) that it's important for him to finish before bedtime
8.  Weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth
9.  Throwing in the towel and encouraging him not to do it

10.  Earplugs

Heaven help me....
the homework battle has begun and it's not looking good for the grown ups in this house.    

Does anyone else find it ironic that some kids spend far more time and energy in their homework resistance efforts than in the time and effort it actually takes them to finish the homework? 

Then again, I've been told that I am a pretty gifted housework avoider myself.   

Homework, housework. 

At least he comes by it honestly.   


Monday, September 19, 2011

A Confession to Make...

You know the story of the Princess and the Pea, where a girl tosses and turns all night because of one pea underneath her mattress? 

I always thought that that story was a little goofy,  but unbeknownst to myself,  I've accidentally discovered that the pea in the bedding method of determining royal status is as effective as any pedigree chart. 
Here's my story: 

You see, it all started off with a bag of chips. 

On Saturday, a bag of tortilla chips and a few other items were purchased at the grocery store.  Since chips in our house are a hot commodity, especially for a certain teen boy of ours,  we generally keep them hidden away in our bedroom.  That particular Saturday, we set the grocery bag on the bed and went on our merry way through the day.  Later on the chips were hidden and groceries put away. 

Fast forward to Monday afternoon and I am gathering the ingredients for dinner, but hard as I look, I just can't find one of the ingredients that I know was just bought.  After searching high and low, I suddenly have a revelation....

Check our bed, where the grocery bag had lain before putting everything away.   

So, I looked under the bed, behind the bed, and around the bed.

In desperation,  I even start stripping our very beautifully stylish bedding...

and LO and BEHOLD....

right smack underneath the very same pillow that I'd slept on the night before was the missing ingredient...

So,  to all of you who thought that my real name is Princess Lara Anne Elizabeth Mary Victoria  Georgina Kathryn Wilhelmina Marie Anastasia IV....

I hate to admit it, but I slept as soundly as a baby on my entire bag of peas.

Which meant the real princess got to come and reclaim her title from me....

But I'm okay with it now...

especially since I heard that the big, poofy princess dresses can get kind of itchy in the armpit. 
Plus I daresay she makes a much cuter princess anyway. 

Fishing: It's Like Riding a Bike

Once upon a time there was a cute little boy who loved to fish.  And not the wimpy kind of Velveeta-on-the-hook/ catch-any-fish-that-comes-along kind of fishing.  No.  Even as a little boy he did manly man fishing with grown up tied flies as the bait.  The kind of fishing that is an art form of trying to get the fly to land just perfectly on the water, so that all the fishies really think there is a fly landing gently on the water just waiting for them to eat.  After a few hours of his artful fishing was done and he had a few keeper trouts on the line, he would bring them back to the cabin for Grandma to fry up and eat for dinner.   No one, not even his own mother, could replicate the perfectly seasoned fried trout of his Grandma Loughton. 

When the boy grew up, he capitalized on his future wife's great love of the outdoors and penchant for men in tan vests, and wooed her with his he-man fishing skills every chance he got.  Of course he knew that his wooing would be in vain if he didn't let her have some of the fun herself, so being the gentleman that he was, he would let her reel in the big ones and then brag to everyone later about the big ones she almost caught. 

Later on, the starry eyed woman caught the biggest and best fish of her life when he asked her to be his fishing partner forever and ever. 

Fast forward a move that brought them a long way from the Rocky Mountain trout streams where he grew up and an unfortunate adult onset seafood allergy later, and it can be said that fishing has taken a back seat in that fish-loving boy's life.   


fishing is like riding a bike....

it never leaves you....

You put that boy back in the mountains.  Back to Macks Inn in Island Park. 

and it all comes right back to him lickety split. 

and just as thrilling as reeling in a big one of his own, he is thrilled to be passing on his love of fishing to his own children...

Hours and hours of our time in Idaho was spent fishing the crystal clear waters of Henry's Fork,

even by boat....

and when given a choice of activities for the day, invariably the kids would eagerly choose a day of fishing over anything else. 

What about me, you ask?  Do I like to fish? 

Well, I do like to document fish stories. 

You know, so the whole world can see the BIG one that we let go...

and this fierce looking fellow that almost pulled Adam into the water. 
Yep, me and my camera.  Pretty much we're  every fisherman's worst nightmare. 


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