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Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Finer Things Club

Kalie Rae, Erin, yours truly, Whit
One year ago, September, I had a brilliant upon brilliant idea- a "time out" of sorts for me as a mother.  My idea was a mix of lots of things I wanted more of in my life: more time with my friends, more yummy food, ideas for recipes, a book club, a way to keep in touch.  From these little seedlings sprouted The Finer Things Club.  The title is not unique (it's taken from an episode of The Office), but the club in itself has become a treasure to the four of us.

Day in and day out we work hard as mothers worrying about our little ones; we spend days cleaning, cooking, running errands, teaching, wiping tears and kissing owies.  This club is how we take the time to worry about ourselves.  After every monthly meeting we walk away feeling rejuvenated and recharged- ready to tackle the toddler world all over again.

Kalie wrote about it on her blog, and I couldn't say it better myself- so I won't even try!  Here's what she wrote:

"I think every girl needs a Finer Things Club. After a year of much success, tear-inducing laughter, thought-provoking conversation, and waist-widening desserts, here are our essential ingredients, what you'll need to start a Finer Things Club of your own.

1.  Food. You must have food. The hostess for the month plans an entree + theme and assigns sides and desserts. Then we eat until our pants feel really, really tight. Fortunately, we are all pretty great cooks. But if you're not, spring for dinner out instead. You won't have to do dishes afterward, anyway!
2.  A Blog. You need a way to keep in touch, and forgetting to hit "Reply All" will have you tearing your hair out in no time. Start a blog! We post recipes for the dishes we bring to each meeting, questions about the read of the month (see #3), or any old thing we feel like (read: Handsome Men's Club). A Google group would also work.
3.  An Excuse.  Technically, our club is a book club, but really the book is just an excuse to get together.  We have read some really amazing books ... and also some terrible ones.  But if you're not into it, call it GNO or Playgroup or Canasta.
4.  Women.  Our latest read affirmed what we already knew: being around women boosts happiness!  So corral some of your favorite people and invite them.  We decided to limit our club to the four of us, not to be exclusive (okay, maybe) but because we were a group of friends who shared a very specific background. Four was the right number for us.
5.  Babysitters.  It just doesn't work with kids.  We tried.  And failed.

My most important advice?  If you are thinking, "I wish someone would invite me to a group like this," I am telling you right now:  everyone is waiting for someone to invite them to join a group like this. Be the fire starter and put it together.  It doesn't take a lot of work because everyone will pitch in.  And you will be so happy that you did."

Start your club!  We have one year under our belts without missing a single month, and we look forward to many, many years to come.  (Please don't ever move, friends!!!!!)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Fall in love with my Valley.

Fall is in full swing which means I love where I live even more than I usually do- and that's saying something.   The sunset picture I took last Thursday, and these others I took this morning.

Stunning, yes?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Big 5

Will is 5.


I told him to stop growing up, but he replied, "I can't because I just keep having birthdays!"

Will is an excellent big brother, a good listener (especially if your name isn't "Mom"), a talented little artist, a budding fisherman, and a sweetheart if you catch him in the right mood.  I don't remember life without him anymore and I'm so glad.  I'm certain our lives were very bland in the Before-Will days.

Annie helped make the cake and/or eat the batter.
 When I was a kid we got to go to Arctic Circle with my Mom for lunch on our birthdays.  We never went out to eat, so this was a BIG DEAL.  It is a tradition I wanted to carry on with my own children.  When they are in school they will get a one-on-one lunch with Mom, but until then they have to share the privilege with their other sibling.  This year we invited Will's best friend, Grace, and Miles and Alli who were in town visiting Grandma Kaiserman.  We all had as much fun as it's possible to have at McDonald's.
Miles Robinson, Grace Perkins, Will, Alli Robinson and Annie at McDonald's for lunch.

Alli and Grandma Kaiserman
Will wanted a "fisherman cake".  I did my best people!  With no plan googled and only a vague memory of a fish cake I had when I was little to go on, I think it turned out okay.  Will thought it was the best cake he'd ever seen, so that's all that matters.   I used blue jello to make the lake and placed Swedish fish underneath so you could see the fish swimming.  When Will saw the fisherman he said, "Hey, it looks just like me... except it has brown skin and marshmallow hands."

The handsome boy received a Ninjago Lego set from each grandma and his parents for his birthday.  He is a self proclaimed "Lego Boy."
 Happy Birthday to our favorite Silly Willy.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Sweet Baby, John

John Clark Robinson was born on September 15, 2011 at 2:03 PM.  He weighed 6 lbs, is 19 inches long, and HE IS INCREDIBLY CUTE!  I wish Jenn and her family lived closer so I could steal him for awhile.  (You know, until he cries.  Then I can politely hand him back and walk away because HE'S NOT MINE.)

Congratulations Jenn and Brad on baby #4!

Monday, September 19, 2011

2011 Top of Utah Marathon

Brace yourselves- I don't want to forget anything so this post is pretty detailed.
Hey look!  I'm running a marathon!!!

Where do I even begin?  I'm flooded with emotion as I think about my marathon on Saturday.  It was grueling at times (although, not nearly as much as I thought it would be), exciting, joyful, and ultimately very fulfilling.  I am once again at a loss of words to accurately describe the event!

In the early morning hours before the race I was awake in my bed listening to the rain splatter against the windows.  I just kept thinking 8:15, 8:15, 8:15 over and over and over again in my head. I wasn't certain how my body would feel and I was hoping that by keeping it easy I would feel good by the end.

FINALLY it was 4 AM. Mindy and I got up to shower before the race.  I thought my nerves were under control until I put on my mascara- my hand was shaking like a leaf!  I had plenty of time to stretch a little, dress, and eat a bowl of oatmeal before heading out the door.

Mindy and I met up with Darcy at the start.  We just started walking towards the bus and before I knew it we were boarding!  The ride up was pretty peaceful.  After getting to the shuttles my nerves calmed down and I just kept thinking about how great my 23 mile run felt and I was excited to get the race started so I could have that feeling again.

We got to the start and got in the long line to use the port-a-potty.  Was it just me and my bursting bladder, or did anyone else feel like the line was soooo loooong?!  When I was in the potty the rain came- but never fear, I was prepared!  I pulled my poncho out of my pocket to open it.  I thought, 'I should close the lid so my poncho doesn't fall in there.' But, you guessed it, I didn't, and you guessed it again, I tore open the wrapper and my poncho flew right into the toilet!!!  So much for that idea.

At the start- huddling together to stay warm.
By the time we finished at the port-a-potties it was time to get to the start.  We took off our warm clothes, dropped our bags in the school bus windows, and lined up next to the 3:40 pacer.  We tried to stretch, but there wasn't room- and then it started pouring!!!  We ran into the heat tent to keep our clothes relatively dry, and when we were in there that is when we heard the start gun for the hand cyclists.  Rain or not, we had to get ready!  We lined back up by the 3:40 pacers and next thing I knew the gun was off and we were trotting along!

Darcy and I stayed by each other for the first 6 miles of the race.  The pacers ended up getting a little ahead of us because we had a hard time making it through the crowd, but our pace was well below a 3:40 marathon so I wasn't worried.  Those first 6 miles flew by!  My body was feeling great for the most part, and I just focused on light and easy steps.  I could feel every one's prayers during this time.  I felt so blessed by my Father in Heaven to be able to be running.

It was so easy to pace myself when I knew I just had to stick with the people with the yellow balloons.  It was awesome to have a visual of my goal staring me in the face.  After mile 6 Darcy and I started to settle into our own pace and I pulled a little bit ahead of her.  I wished I could run with her for the whole race, but I knew that a marathon was a solo event (running together is what a Ragnar is for!).

During mile 7 the clouds broke!  It started pouring rain, and then it started hailing.  Hail!  Really?  I wanted to yell out 'This is so awesome!' but I'm pretty sure everyone else would think I was nuts.  Maybe I was.  All I know is nothing could break my stride. I also noticed that between miles 7 and 8 there was a discrepancy between my Garmin and their mile markers.  Somehow it was off by three tenths of a mile within those 2 miles- before that they were all pretty much right on.  I started asking some other runners, and they noticed that they were off, too. 
I was so excited by the time I hit halfway because I knew that I was feeling good and that I probably wouldn't have any problems with my IT Band.  The canyon was the perfect downhill grade.  It wasn't so downhill that my legs felt beat up at all- it was just nice and slight so that I didn't feel like I had to work so hard.  I was right with the pacers at this point and was itching to move past them, but I didn't!  So proud of myself for not pushing too hard too soon in the game.

Mile 17 and pumped up!!!

Miles 14-20 were my favorite of the race.  I felt so great and having the family and friend support was fantastic.  The biggest problem were my tight and painful calves, and the blisters on my heels.  I tried to stop at miles 17 and 19 for band aids at the aid station, but they didn't have any!!!  My friends Kalie, Erin and Whitney surprised me by coming up to cheer for me and they gave me the biggest boost!  I wasn't expecting them and I got very emotional when I saw them.  My husband, kids, and brother in law Beau were also there at miles 17 and 19- I was super excited and still feeling great.  When I saw my friends is when I finally let myself pass the pacers.
Mile 18- Can you tell I'm emotional
Mile 19- I think I have the same face every time I see my family :)
I stopped to have my calves sprayed with icy hot at mile 23.  They were so painful at this point.  I noticed my bloody ankles from my blisters, but I was so grateful that I couldn't really feel them.  I guess the pain from my calves was bad enough that it blocked the rest of the pain out from other places.  I suppose that is a good thing?!

Then the goin' got tough.  I felt great until mile 23 and then after that I just kept trucking along.  I still had a big smile on my face, but I was definitely feeling it.  I pushed through and I was proud of myself.  Typically at the end of a race I get passed a lot because I gas out too soon- this time I was the one doing some passing!  I never got passed until about the last mile of the race.  I knew I had paced myself perfectly when I was in the last 3 miles.

Seeing my friends and family at the finish was surreal.  As I crossed the finish I saw on the big clock that I was coming in under Boston Qualifying time by a hair- 3:39 and some change for seconds.  I. DID. IT.  It all sunk in and then I couldn't stop crying.

I pushed through hail, rain, bleeding blisters for 10 miles, tight painful calves, an injury before race day, and I was able to pull a Boston Qualifying marathon!!!!!!!!!!!!

I owe it all to an incredible Physical Therapist, great advice from Rachelle after learning so much from mistakes she made during her first marathon, and those awesome pacers and sticking to my plan.

My official time ended up being 3:39:07 for the 26.56 miles that I clocked on my Garmin.  Know what makes me even happier though?  I looked at my time on my Garmin when I hit 26.2 miles, and my time was 3:36:39.  I was 10th in my age division!  My average pace was 8:15/mile- just like I had been envisioning.
Possibly one of my favorite pictures of all time.  Dallas is my number one fan and I know I couldn't do any of this without his support.

Darcy had quite a few troubles- a bruised and very painful foot, soaking clothes that chafed her to hamburger, and a cold.  She pushed through and finished in 4 hours exactly.
Darcy at the finish- smiling in spite of everything!

Mindy- the crazy girl hat decided to sign up to run a marathon only 5 weeks before the race- finished with a time of 4:17.  For a girl that had NO DESIRE to ever run a marathon, she rocked it!!!!  She says she will never do one again.  We'll see...  :)
Mindy is amazing!  I love this girl.

Marathoners!!!  Mindy, Me and Darcy
The texts and messages from people all day were so awesome.  Thank you to everyone for your support and excitement.  I'm so blessed to have such wonderful friends and family!

Will always thinks I win because I walk away with a medal :)
Erin, Kalie, Me and Whit- these are the best friends a girl could ever have.

Friday, September 16, 2011


"Racing teaches us to challenge ourselves.  It teaches us to push beyond where we thought we could go.  It helps us to find out what we are made of.  This is what we do.  This is what it's all about."
-PattiSue Plumer, U.S. Olympian

The jitters have been eating me alive over the last week.  Dreams are filled with a marathon that never ends, a marathon that I just decided not to do, and a marathon running up a mountain.  Needless to say, my sleep isn't very restful when it's filled with running marathons.  Thanks to Cory for sending me this incredible article about the jitters.  It gave me confidence and hope- both of which I have been lacking over the last week and a half.

I'm running a marathon tomorrow.

It's finally sinking in, and I can honestly say that I am SO EXCITED for this experience!  Right now I feel kind of like I did before I had my first baby;  I don't know what to expect.  I know the process is going to be hard.  I know I'm going to feel pain.  But I also know that it will be one of the most rewarding experiences I've ever had.
Happy:  Finish a marathon.
Excited:  Run a marathon in under 4 hours.
Ecstatic:  Run a marathon in under 3:40- my current Boston Qualifying time (for one more day!)

I wouldn't be me if I didn't have a plan about how I was going to do this.  

I'm going to arrive at the start line and find the 3:40 pacer.  I think this is the best option for me.  I need to try not to go crazy during the first part of the race (which is always extremely hard for me anyway, let alone when I'm running down hill) so sticking with a pace group at about an 8:23 pace should hold me back and keep me comfortable.  Running with a pace group means I'll have people to hold me accountable to it.

All bets are off at mile 18.  If I feel good- it's balls to the walls, my friends.  Time to blow that marathon out of the water.

However, if I'm feeling pain from my IT Band, I'm stopping.  I've promised Dallas that I'll do this.  One race isn't worth ruining the rest of the year for.

There you have it.
I have such a great support system of friends and family that have been wishing me luck (and praying for me!!) and I'm so grateful.
These little gestures and kind words have not been lost on me.  Thank you for the note, Kalie- this was one of the kindest things anyone has ever said to me. 

Time to BELIEVE in myself.  Here goes everything.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I spy with my little eye...

...something that is yellow. It can also be red, orange, or brown.
It smells of spice, pumpkin, cool evenings, fun had, and lessons learned.
It feels like a quiet nap, a new book, and a fresh start.
I saw fall today.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Back to School

Dallas and Will weren't the only ones that started back to school this fall- I did, too! Though, not in the way you might expect. I am an Assistant Teacher at Hands On Preschool- the very preschool Will is attending. Yesterday was our first day and we had a ball.
Annie had a play date with her friend Tobin Thomas while Will and I went to school. She was such a trooper! Before I dropped her off she said, "I'm not going to cry Mom. I'll have fun with Tobin and Audra." She's such a big girl! I've never had to leave a child to work, and yesterday was kind of hard for me. I was grateful to be with Will, but I missed my sweet Annie. It will be good for both of us to have our own activities.
Will has become very opinionated about how he looks and what he wears of late. He insisted, much to my dismay, on buying a Lightning McQueen shirt for school, and he wouldn't go to school unless his hair was in a mohawk. I'm learning to let go. He's big enough that he should be able to make some of those little decisions for himself. I remember when I was in kindergarten and my Mom wanted me to wear a puffy sleeved shirt. I hated it. And I never wore it unless she made me. I'm going to do my best not to do that to my kids ;).

Our schedules are now, officially, in full swing!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Photo Shoot!

I've been itching to take some cute portraits of my kids ever since we purchased our new camera. Our first little photo shoot turned out well! Now if only the leaves would start changing so I could go up and catch some fall shots.
Shanna and Thomas

Sunday, September 4, 2011


We love Star Valley, Wyoming for a million reasons. Here are just a few of them: