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Monday, August 29, 2011

Dad's Camp Out!

Dallas took the kids on a camp out all by himself last weekend. He did the same thing last year with Will, and the kid has been talking about it ever since. It was supposed to be *boys only* but Will wanted to bring his baby sister. She's so cute that her Daddy couldn't say no (of course).

Off they went and left me to an evening for myself! I was happy placing many water bottles and shot blocks along my 22 mile running course for Saturday, and then I met my friend Lindsey Harvey to see The Help. Alone time is a wonderful thing.
Dallas braved the wild and fed the kids hot dogs- with no condiments (I'm so sorry I forgot them!!!!)- grapes, what Annie called "Pretty Suns" (Capri Suns), and Cheetos. After a few hours of exploring and playing with dirt and fire, they were ready to go to sleep in the cab of the truck.
...or something like that. There was no sleep going on. There was lots of giggling, singing, yelling random phrases, and pestering of the other sibling. So Dallas gave up and drove home at about midnight.
Which means, of course, that THIS finally happened- a sleepy Annie Kate.
I believe next year it will be *boys only* all over again.

Saturday, August 27, 2011


"He didn't run from something or to something, not for anyone or in spite of anyone; he ran because it was what his body wished to do... All he felt was peace."
-Laura Hillenbrand about Louis Zamperini

23 miles!!!!!!!!

This was the best run of my entire life. This was my final long training run before my marathon, and you know what? It took all I had NOT to run 26.2 miles on Saturday. Simply awesome. My body felt strong and I didn't even notice any real aches or pains. It wasn't until I took my shoes off that I realized I had a small problem:
Bloody toes. It ended up being bloody toe- singular. My nail was long on one of my toes and sliced my other toe open. It was really small and I know it won't bother me.

Don't you think it's amazing what our bodies are capable of doing? All this time I have imagined hitting the 20 mile mark and just having my body fall apart on me. I've envisioned myself limping across the finish line and collapsing with shin splints, throbbing IT Bands, and blisters on the bottoms of my feet. After this last week's run, I know that isn't going to happen.

I was so afraid to run this for some reason. I was up at 4AM and praying in my bed. Pleading- please let us be safe... please let our bodies to be strong and do this thing we are asking them to do... please help us to feel peace.

We have a wise and loving Heavenly Father that created our bodies to do extraordinary things. Whether it be surviving years at the hand of physical and mental abuse in a POW camp like Louis Zamperini, breaking a 4 minute mile like Roger Bannister, or willing our legs to carry us for hundreds of miles like Scott Jurek, we can do very hard, and incredible things if we have the courage, and the motivation, to do so.

My prayers were answered. It went so quickly, and I felt so good; I couldn't even comprehend that I had actually run 23 miles- it honestly felt more like 10. I couldn't feel more grateful, more humbled, and more loved by my Father in Heaven. He cares so much about me, and He cares about what I feel is important. Know something else? I know He feels the same way about YOU.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

I'm lucky.

My family. I sure love them. They are so cute! Not only are they cute, but they are very funny. And, for the record, funny > cute.

We made a big purchase for our anniversary- a Canon Rebel T3. I would be lying if I didn't say I was completely overwhelmed with it. What is aperture? And F-stop? Lucky for me, I know exactly what "auto" means. Hopefully I will be able to figure it out in the near future and grace the blog with some of my artistic abilities. If not, it will make a really awesome point and shoot camera with no shutter delay!!!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

8 Years

Not talkin' 'bout a year, no not three or four,
I don't want that kind of forever in my life anymore.
Forever always seems to be around when it begins,
but forever never seems to be around when it ends.
So give me your forever.
Please, your forever.
Not a day less will do from you.

People spend so much time every single day,
runnin' 'round all over town givin' their forever away.
But no not me, I won't let my forever roam,
and now I hope I can find my forever a home.
So give me your forever.
Please your forever.
Not a day less will do from you.

Like a handless clock with numbers an infinite of time,
no not the forever found only in the mind.
Forever always seems to be around when things begin,
but forever never seems to be around when things end.
So give me your forever.
Please, your forever.
Not a day less will do from you.

-Ben Harper, Forever

Saturday, August 20, 2011

So long, sweet summer!

Slowly but surely, Dashboard Confessional, Norah Jones, John Mayer and Mat Kearney have been frequently played on my iPod. This can only mean one thing- crisp fall leaves and school books are on the horizon.

This summer has been chuck full of family, friends, and spending all of our gas money (and regular money). We can feel that the summertime hourglass is running short and we're doing our best to sponge up all of the fun family time that we can. The last few days we've been:
Eating our weight in smores.
Swimming with the Hansen cousins.
Avoiding getting shot by water rockets.
Laughing until we cry during Nunsense where my good friend Andra Thorne blew the crowd away!
Spending time with some of our very best friends.
Racing go-karts. (I was lapped by Dallas 3 times in 15 minutes).
Enjoying our new Walmart! IN HEBER CITY!!! I thought this day would never come. Heber is now, officially, the best place to live.
Running. Lots and lots and lots of running. My marathon is in less than a month, I've already completed one 20 mile run, and I'm feeling the urge to just get this race over with.
Dallas starts school and I begin babysitting McKenzie and Morgan again on Monday. Will and I start preschool (Will, learning, and me, teaching) just after Labor Day. It's back to the grind! We are looking forward to schedules, freshly sharpened pencils, cool evenings, changing leaves, Shakespeare, a new season of Modern Family and Grey's Anatomy, and being home in the evenings.

So long, sweet summer!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

He makes me feel good.

Last week I ran around like a chicken with its head cut off (and, trust me, I know exactly what that looks like from personal experience!) looking for this:

I've been taking Nature's Cure off and on since I was a senior in high school. It's the only thing that helps keep me from looking like an hormonal teenager. I dragged the kids from store to store on an *almost* fruitless search. I learned that the stores were no longer going to be carrying this product because- GASP!- it is being discontinued. NOOOOOO!!!!!!

What's a girl to do?

Why, turn to her son, of course.

"Mom, I think you look better with zits." -Will

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Amylee Nicoll, Mrs., M.O.M.

Is it selfish to say that I think my friend Kalie wrote this post on her blog just so that I could read it? She always writes about motherhood so eloquently.

I've been feeling so "ho hum" lately. I'm feeling really sad for myself that I have never been able to finish my education- and feel like I never will. I just feel so... stuck? I'm not sure if that's the right word.

Lots of choices have led me to where I am in my life. I'm grateful for my husband, my family and where we live and everything. Don't get me wrong. I am very blessed, and I can honestly say that I am happy. And I guess it's not bad that I still want MORE. We are supposed to progress.

I don't even know what I'm saying here. It's after midnight and Dallas is away for work and I'm rambling on a blog post.

I guess I'm just sad.

I write this, and at the same time, I can't even say how wonderful my kids were today. Annie cried so hard she threw up, and Will crashed on his scooter and got some serious road rash, but through it all, I was a good Mom today. I love them so much that right now I can't imagine spending a moment away from them. I kept them up late tonight just so I could be with them for a little longer.

I'm happy to be a Mom. It is what I have wanted to be since I was a little girl. Even if I had a degree, I would choose to stay home with my children anyway. So why do I fuss over it?

I'm sure one day I'll have a degree. Today just isn't that day. So, chin up, Amy. After all, today I experienced all of the joy I need in this life. (And it didn't come rolled up with a ribbon around it.)

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Chicken Slaughtering Festival

***WARNING: This post contains graphic images.***

This past weekend was the first (and possibly last) Nicoll Family Chicken Slaughtering Festival.

Trust me, it was as delightful as it sounds.

All in all, there were 10 of us that tackled 50 chickens. We each had a job.

Here, you see the "meat birds". We've been talking about these bad boys for a couple of months now. Will knew that 10 of them were ours, but he was confused because he could never pick out which ones. God bless him.
We had lovely catchers. They calmed the chickens. They sang them songs on the way to meet their maker. We thought it best that they have sweet faces to look into for those final moments. Heaven forbid they end their lives with visions of Dallas, Seth or Beau. No one would want that. The catchers were Kallie, Sierra, Abby and Kristie.

Dallas and Seth played the part of executioners. We put the chickens upside down in these cones with their head sticking out the bottom. From there Dallas or Seth would slit their throats, and they would bleed out into a barrel filled with sawdust. It was brutal. Dallas thought it was cool. I just couldn't take pictures of what we affectionately called "The Killing Cones."

After what we were assured was a Painless death, they were handed to Beau- our plunger and plucker- he held the birds upside down in 150 degree water for 30 seconds before throwing them into the plucking machine.
After that, they showed up at Mark's and my table- the gutters. That's right! PW ain't got nothin' on me. I'm not afraid to get a little dirty if I have to.

Towards the end Mark and I provided Seth and Dallas with a little gutting tutorial. They were a little too excited.
After the birds were cleaned out, they went to Phyllis- the old pro. She cleaned 'em up and put them in the barrel full of cold circulating water.
The chickens stayed in the barrel for four hours while we all got cleaned up and took a nap. The chicken "harvesting" took only 3 hours- from about 6:30 until 9:30 AM. At 2:00 PM Mark, Phyllis, Kristie, Sierra, Seth and I gathered around cutting boards and separated the pieces and put them into bags for the freezer. This process took another 3 hours.

Believe me when I say that I didn't care to see another chicken for the rest of the day.

In all honesty, the whole process wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be. Plus, it was good for us! I can now say that I can take a chicken from pecking the ground, to the dinner table, all by myself!

How's that for bragging rights?