Wednesday, September 17, 2014

crickets, sand, and raspberries

Its mid September and I am trying not to mourn. 
The weather here has been incredible and Autumn really is so beautiful in this high mountain valley I live in, but still, I mourn the loss of summer.

Its been a good one.
One of the things I will miss tremendously is crickets.
I love love love to hear the crickets sing me to sleep with my window open at night. 
That's just one of those simple summer pleasures for me.
I am going to keep that window open for as long as possible!

But fall means I am actually baking and cooking again.
In the summer I have the hardest time cooking.  It just seems way too hot and its the last thing I want to do when there are so many more fun things going on outside.
I was feeling fallish and I made some pumpkin cookies today from a recipe from a blog I read
So good, so easy.
1 spice cake mix, 1 15 oz can of pumpkin, and a half a bag of semi sweet chocolate chips.
Mix it all up, bake at 350 degrees for 16 to 18 minutes.  DONE!
Thank you KERIN!
Another great thing about fall is the sandbox.

For some strange reason, the sandbox is a hot spot in the spring and the fall.
But not in the summer.
My kids hardly touch the sandbox in July and August.
I can't get them out of it in the spring and the fall.

My floor is constantly gritty from their sandy little bodies returning to eat dinner that I ACTUALLY cooked after they have spent time in the sandbox making mermaids out of themselves for hours before we eat. I actually made them strip down in the garage last night before they came in.
There was a nice pile of sand on the concrete.

So, here is to more scouring baths and an enjoyable fall.
I am trying to not miss summer, but still, oh how I miss it already!
One funny thing today:
Emmitt and I were picking our raspberries and putting them in a colander.  He is my fruit bat and eats more fruit than all my kids combined.  He loves it.
After he picked a rather nice juicy red handful he said "I just love the dark red raspberries.  They are like flavor bombs in my mouth." 
I love him.


Friday, September 12, 2014

A bit of an update:
I checked out a much desired book at the library on Monday.
It is my carrot for finishing up a few quilting projects.
When I finish three certain quilts (the tops), I get to start my book. 
It sits on my bookcase and taunts me and helps me get busy!
I have wanted to read this book for about 4 months now, but reading in the summer is too crazy for me so, I took one quilt top and back to the quilter two days ago.

 I finished this one two days ago.
It is a family friendship block quilt for my mom.
Some of her sister in laws, some of her nieces, some great nieces, and her daughters made her purple and green blocks for this quilt.  I am putting it together for her.
It will go to the quilter next week after I find some backing fabric that is GROOVY like my mom!

And today I am putting the LAST border on this baby!
When it is sewn on and ironed, I get to READ!
As for the rest of the household:
Kelsey is busy rocking 7th grade and her 5 honors courses and homework.
She is also busy watching crafting videos on YouTube!

Kendal started gymnastics this week and is LOVING it.  It is good for her to love something and enjoy it so much!  She stays busy with her 3rd grade math homework as well.

Emmitt thinks he is in heaven in Kindergarten.
With his new peers, he has learned ALL about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and that is his newest CRAZE!

And Kenna, sweet Kenna.
She sings. A lot.
She has also been sporting some cute little DORA undies as well and doing really great at it!
Her latest line that I hear 48 times a day is
"Mom, watch this" then does the silliest things.
I love it.

And what about Matt you ask?
No picture of that fella.  He is too busy taking care of everyone's dogs, cats, cows, horses, and getting the hay hauled.
Wait, he did come to the park the other night for a bit and practiced batting with Emmitt.
He is a busy man and we are grateful for him.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Apple pie filling

There is an incredible woman who lives in Pullman, Washington named Diane Wilson.
When I was a 25 year old wife of a busy vet school student a long long ways from home,
she was my mother figure.

She is EVERYTHING I ever want to be when I grow up.
Smart, funny, spiritual, compassionate, giving, physically active, amazing gardener, amazing cook, well read, thoughtful, and just a great woman.
Since I met her, I have always thought I wanted to be like her.
She shared this delicious recipe with me, ITS SO SO GOOD!
I am sharing it with you. 
I think I will be making some this week.
You should as well.
Just remember to adjust the cooking time. 
Pullman's elevation is around 2500 feet, so you need to add 10 minutes boiling time if you are from 3000 to 6000 feet, and 15 minutes if you are between 6000 and 8000 feet.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

my crafty sister

I won this super fun work of crafty art over the weekend.
My sister made it, and I was lucky enough to win it.
I love it!
We have a craft raffle at our family reunion to generate money for the reunion the following year.
Its a great idea, especially when I get something this cool.
Its my grandparents' wedding photo, a photo of my handsome grandpa, and a picture of the house they built and lived in for most the 59 years they were married.
I made a few little girl dresses for the craft raffle.
I just bought a shirt and a onesie and added a skirt to them. 
Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy.
I have the most helpful and cute models!

 I totally made out wonderfully.
Plus is was a fantastic weekend with my great siblings, parents, cousins, aunts, and uncles.
It looks great if I do say so myself!
Thanks Tori!

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

apples planted by George

I grew up in a pretty small town in a pretty remote part of Utah. When my great grandpa George Alvin Chappell lived there at the turn of the century, it was even more remote.  The largest town is 60 miles away to the west.  There isn't much to the north, south, or east for about 100 miles.
One day, a loooooooong time ago, a fellow came to town peddling apple tree seedlings.  Two families bought them in town.  The George Alvin Chappell family and the Eric Torgerson family.
George planted them in a pasture close to where the irrigation ditch cut through the pasture.
His son Glen eventually purchased that pasture, and then his son Marion eventually bought that pasture.
Marion remembers sitting in those apples trees with a salt shaker enjoying those apples.  So does his daughter, Rachel. ME.  But I vividly remember hearing the one and only Johnny Appleseed was the one that came peddling apple tree seedlings!
My dad is always full of stories!

On Labor Day, my sweet kids, my dad, and I picked a few buckets of those apples planted by George Alvin Chappell more than a hundred years ago.
Today, Emmitt and I made applesauce with those apples.

It was a great morning together with my boy.
It was fun for him to see the process of how applesauce is made. 
It was fun to have his help.  He loved peeling the apples and he loved mooshing the apples through the old fashioned food processor.  But most of all, he loved eating the warm, delicious applesauce.
He kept telling me to add more sugar and cinnamon, silly boy.


It was a good day. A busy day.
I also got a good hold of this monstrosity of a shrub and took some pruners to it.
Vanhoutte Spirea is also called BRIDALWREATH because when it flowers, the white flowers flow downwards like a waterfall and I guess that looks like a bridal wreath. 
It is an old variety of shrub.  It was popular in the Midwest. 
I can just imagine a Nebraska farmhouse a hundred years ago with this shrub in the yard.
Native Americans used it to treat venereal diseases and a tea of spirea helped with abdominal pain.  I would imagine some young brides had a handful of it for their mid-summer weddings as well.

I guess I've had a bit of a nostalgic day.
I think I better go sew for a bit this evening and enjoy my nostalgia.
Anyway, my shrub looks much better than this now, and I found the long lost strawberry patch under all those branches I trimmed away.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

a time to sew

It rained for a week a few weeks ago here.
It was glorious.  I love it when Heaven waters my yard and garden.
The rainy weather made me want to sew, something I don't get to do very much in the summer.
So I dug out some blocks I made in a block of the month from 2010 and bought some sashing fabric.

It took me a few days, but I finished this quilt top.  The colors really are THAT ugly, but it was what was included in the block of the month packets.
So now, off to the quilter for this one.

The girls started school today. 
Yes, I cried.  I need a diversion!
Its raining today, so I should sew!
 But I do I need to decide which unfinished quilt project to work on.
I have at least 30.  No kidding.
Here are a few I am considering: 

This one is ALMOST finished, one more border I think!

This one is a long way from finished, but really needs to get done.

This one will take a lot of brain power to figure out what I REALLY want to do with all these stars made as friendship blocks by my friends.

And this one is just blocks laid out on the floor, they aren't sewn together.
Plus, I have a sweet reader who really wants to see this one completed.
I think this one may win the contest!

So now that I have dried up from my girls growing up and being gone,
cleaned the bathrooms, and figured out dinner,
its time to sew.

Monday, August 18, 2014

my four blessings

Being a mom to these four little gifts from God is pretty incredible.
Its crazy how I used to think I knew them better than they even knew themselves.  Then they grew some more, and it seems I knew them less.
Then they go to school and it seems I know them even less because of all the outside influences they experience.
But I know them.  And they know I know them better than anyone else on the planet.
And that's enough for me.
They know I care more about them than anyone else on the planet as well, and that's the incredible part about being a mom.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

One year Anniversary

Today, August 12th, is a big day for me.  Its my anniversary! 
My one year Crossfit Vapor anniversary.
One year ago today I went to my first class at Vapor; it was a foundations class that taught the basics of crossfit.
August 12th 2013, on my way to my first Crossfit Vapor workout.
 Two months earlier, I got off the couch (thats a figure of speech, we all know moms don't have time to sit on the couch!) and joined my neighbors, the Joneses, for a garage style crossfit workout.  
I was super nervous because I was going from doing practically nothing cardio-wise, to working out with my super fit fun neighbors.  For part of the warm up we were supposed to run 800 meters.  I couldn't do it without stopping and walking.  There were lots of things I couldn't do.
But we had a fun group of 6 or 7 neighborhood moms last summer working out in the garage and we were all the encouragement we needed.

The awesome garage.
 I was in rough shape. 
I couldn't do 10 sit ups without peeing my pants, no joke.
I couldn't do a box jump, so I did  7 or 8" 'curb jumps.'
I couldn't do a legit burpee.
50 single jump ropes were all I could breath through.
I found out I ate a lot of GARBAGE!
I got so much better that summer just working out in the garage with my girlfriends.  It was my favorite part of the day.  I even cleaned up my eating a bit (cleaning up to me then was less bread and more eggs) and I lost 19 pounds in 2 months. 
I bought my first pair of size 7 pants since my Freshman year of high school.  (9th grade was a really long time ago!)
I would have been happy as punch doing my garage modified style of crossfit forever.  Lots of cardio, some strength work, and a little bit of weights. 
Then my other neighbors, the Scotts, opened Crossfit Vapor, the only real crossfit gym in town.
McCall and Jaren Scott, owners and coaches at Crossfit Vapor
 I look back now and laugh at a conversation I had with McCall Scott in May of 2013.  I remember talking to McCall that summer even before I started working out in the garage and before they opened their gym.  It went sorta like this:
McCall: I love working out, I love lifting heavy, I wish Heber City had an awesome Crossfit gym.
Me:  I hate working out.  I hate sweating.  I would just rather not really eat than worry about exercising.
McCall: Oh, not me.  I love food.  I love to eat.  I workout so I CAN eat.
Me: (only consuming 1100 calories a day at the time) Really?  It works like that?
Yeah.  I had things backwards.  I was truly counting every calorie and not going over 1100 of those babies while nursing a baby full time and not doing an ounce of exercise beyond normally Rachel-mom life. Backwards living.
 So, my new life at Crossfit Vapor began 1 year ago.
We moved weight.  A lot of it.
When we worked out in the garage, the Joneses said that what we were doing wasn't true crossfit because we weren't lifting very much.  His garage wasn't equipped for all of us to lift.
I learned what true, real, crossfit was.  And I wasn't sure I totally liked it.
Even when I started at Vapor, I still kept going to the garage gym for a few weeks with my neighborhood gals because I just loved it so much.  But that didn't last long.  With the crossfit workout I was getting in the mornings, and the cardio garage workouts in the evenings, I was just crushed tired. Dog tired.
So Crossfit Vapor became my thing.
The second workout at Vapor I did was FILTHY FIFTY (50 reps of 10 different activities).  I threw up doing the 50 wallballs and didn't finish the workout.  But I kept going back, 4 times a week.  And strange things happened.  I got better and stronger. And some muscles.


In September I did my first rope climb in a workout.
I did a one rep max on my power clean at 105 pounds.
I did FRAN (21, 15, 9 reps of 65 pound thrusters and pullups) in 7:27 with a band to help me do pullups because I couldn't do a pullup.
And I still peed doing sit ups and box jumps.

In October I got a 95 pound snatch one rep max.
I did a 205 pound deadlift.
And I got my pullups!

In November I rocked 10 rope climbs in a workout.
I got a 125 pound power clean max.
I learned how important core strength is in many movements, like the overhead squat. 
And I learned that I needed a whole lot more core strength!

In December I bought a few more pairs of fun fun jeans (my sister is going to die laughing because I just used that word) I would NEVER have bought before.  I also gained some weight, about 10 pounds since September.  But the fun clothing still fit nicely. WIERD!   I was worried.  I talked to McCall, she was not worried.  She actually smiled.
I also did 100 power cleans in a workout and learned I should really be using that hook grip they keep telling me about.

In January I turned 39 years old.
I felt better at 39 than I have in years and years.
I saw this picture of Kendal telling me what to wish for before I blew out my birthday candles and was surprised.  I had arms.  I figured out where that 10 pound weight gain might be!

In February I did FILTHY FIFTY again with these friends.
I didn't throw up and I finished it.
And it was awesomely awful.
I learned that's how most of the workouts are, but that's the way I like it!
I also finally learned that I like to lift.  I like it a lot.  It makes me feel empowered.

 Crossfit Vapor had a winter nutrition seminar and I decided in March that eating healthy really DID make me feel better and it really DID help me perform better in my workouts. 
I cleaned up my eating even more and totally stopped counting calories.  The fuel you feed your body sure does make a difference in how you feel, think, and perform.
I hit another power clean max at 155 pounds.

In April I did a 275 pound deadlift that was super exciting for me.
I did sit ups without peeing, 24" box jumps without whimpering, and burpees like a pro.

  And I participated in the Crossfit Open Games.  I participated with a quarter of a million other people around the world and it was incredible.  It helped me push harder than I normally would have and I worked harder than I thought I could work.
After one of the Crossfit Games Open workouts.
In May I worked on double under jump ropes and still had to run to the bathroom in between sets. 
I did the FRAN workout again and did it RX (as prescribed) in 6:38.  A major improvement from my FRAN time and skill level from a few months before. 
I learned that sometimes my body hurts, but that my mind is stronger.

I realized I LOVED my time at Crossfit Vapor. 
I love the fun relationships I have made there.  There is something great about doing something hard with others and getting through it.  It binds you.
I love being stronger.
I love being able to do more.
I love pushing myself.
I love back squats and front squats!

Back squats aren't awful anymore because I finally have some muscle back there for the bar to rest on. Although Matt makes fun of my football player neck and shoulders!
Sometimes I even love it when my body hurts so badly,
I wake up and know I am still alive because I can feel sore muscles.
Or sore hands, or healing rope burns, or stiff knees.
And I love sleeping like a rock.

In June I went to the Regional Crossfit Games and saw some incredible athletes compete to go to the World competition.  I was inspired, I was in awe, I was so proud to be a part of something so great, I was amazed, my heart was filled with pride and compassion for all of the athletes that competed that weekend and sometimes came up short.

 I saw and felt the vision of Crossfit.  And yes, I am a crybaby.  I cried. A few times.  When that last guy crossed the finish line and everyone in the stands was cheering and clapping for him and the athletes that had already finished, congratulated him, I cried.  When that one gal couldn't get one last rope climb in before the time clock sounded, I felt that frog in my throat and a few tears leaked out.  It was wonderful.

In July I ran my first 5K EVER and I didn't even die!  My name is on that board in 39th place.  Of course I didn't kill it, but I did it in under 29 minutes.  That was a big deal for me.
In July I also wore a swimming suit in public without being COMPLETELY MORTIFIED!
Just a little self conscious.
July was a good month, I also back squatted 195 pounds.

My one year of doing crossfit has been great.
It has made me a healthier, happier, stronger person.
Some times I rock the workout, and some days I just make it through the workout.
But I love going and I love seeing this:

And I love the feeling I feel when its over.
Stronger, faster, better, hungry.

This right here.  These scenes make me happy.  This is my happy place.
This is why I get out of bed at 5:30 in the morning. 
I love to sweat and laugh and grunt and yell with the people that come to my happy place with me.

So, here's to another year of Crossfit Vapor.
Happy Anniversary to us.


 Last week everyone set new goals to hit by January 1st.
My goals are 50 double under jump ropes and a 300 pound deadlift.
Its going to be great.  I'm going to continue to learn and improve.
And continue loving my five hours a week at Vapor.


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