Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Mastering of the English Language

There is a point in all human development when we find the perfect word or phrase that so perfectly describes a moment we are experiencing that it is worth the preservation of said moment in blog land:

Example #1:

(Setting: 6 year old daughter, a week after starting first grade, i.e. all day school (insert angelic hallelujah chorus as all of you look at mother of this child with envy she very much deserves) Now, back to the child upon which this example is based)

Child: "I hate first grade."
Mom: "No you don't, you love it." (how could she not love it when I absolutely adore it?)
Child: (shaking head emphatically) "No, I hate it. It's a piece of poo."

Example #2:

(Setting: same 6 year old daughter, a month after starting first grade)

Child: "I hate homework. Can I throw it away?"

And then there are times when the words just come out wrong:

Example #1:

(Setting: Kilpack family is trying to leave a party held at a park for a friend who is leaving on a mission. Kilpack-boy-child is hanging on a fence despite still being in his sunday clothes. Parents have tried unseccessfully to lure him to the car, but since he has recently devoured several pounds of desserts, we have very little to bargain with. Mother Kilpack (that's me) is making polite goodbyes while Father Kilpack (that's my dearly beloved) is trying not to spank kilpack-boy-child in public.)

Lee: "Let's go now." (insert menacing dip in voice frequency on the last word, clear signal that dad is on the brink.)
Boy-child: "Just a sec."
Lee: "No more secs!" (said in loud clear tones. You might need to say this one out loud in order to experience the true beauty of the moment and understand the hush that fell over the crowd.)

I hope you have all enjoyed this particular lesson on how to, and how not to, use the words we have been given. Choose wisely.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Backpackers Are We

So I mentioned after labor day that Lee and I were going to try an overnight backpacking trip. For whatever reason I imagined this would take place next summer--there are times I forget the details that go along with the man I married. He has an ingrained sense of adventure in many things--be it business, ambition, or recreation. He found out I was thinking next summer while all along he was thinking this month. And so the planning began.

I found a woman's backpack in the classifieds for $40--a little googling told me that would save me about $160 if I were buying the same pack retail. Sold.

A friend--and avid recreation affectionado--had a bunch of other equipment she said we could borrow, including sleeping bags where you slide the sleeping pad into a sleeve underneath the bag--i.e. no sliding off the pad. Brilliant.

We spent another $60 on little backpacking gadgets like pans, flashlight-compass, small hatchet, freezedried dinner, a visor, etc.

Lee's cousin, the fabulous Janae, agreed to watch the kids and so around noon on Friday we headed for the hills--well mountains, actually, above Ogden. I don't really know what they are called, Ogden mountains or something super creative like that? We took Tex, our blue healer, to protect us from bears and mountain lions we knew wanted to eat us for dinner.

We started on what is called Indian Trail, supposedly named because the indians would use it to cross into Ogden Canyon when water levels of the Ogden river were too high. This trail runs along the north side of the mountains and I was a little annoyed that here we are with big ol packs on our backs and we're looking into people's backyards for the first half a mile. But then it turned and offered some great views of Ogden valley, such as this one:

I ain't gunna lie to you, it was hard. We were really worried about water, since we went through three 16 oz bottles just on the walk up. I'd thought there was a stream alongside the trail, but there wasn't, so we had to share some with Tex. But, aside from a serious challenge for my glutes, I kept up with Ironman (i.e. husband who often said "Oh, do you need to rest?") About three miles up there is a split in the trail. The signs were confusing and we THOUGHT we took the trail that would take us into Coldwater Canyon, where we wanted to camp, but we actually took the trail that took us toward the Odgen Canyon trailhead. We ran into another hiker that educated us on where we really were--did I mention I managed to lose the trail map? I is a good outdoors woman, lemme tell ya! By the time we met up with this guy we were almost out of the canyon--you could hear horns honking and big trucks making the turn. Hmmm. Not quite the adventuring seclusion we were looking for. We also found a spring, so we could refil our waterbottles for Tex. Then we determined what to do next--hike back up to the fork, or hike half a mile up and make camp. We hiked half a mile and made camp:

We even built our own fire ring, my girl scout leaders would be so proud.

We had Mountain High brand Chicken a la King for dinner--quite good. Reminded me of cup o' noodles, but tasted different and although I don't like chicken, I apparently DO like freeze dried chicken after I've hiked four and a half miles (oh, we took the wrong trail for awhile before realizing that there had been no mention of scaling cliffs with 60 lb packs on our backs) We enjoyed the fire, scared some scouts out of their minds when they came down from a night hike and we let Tex go up and greet them--good times, good times--and then we went to bed only to realize we had put the tent at quite an angle. So much so that I spent most of the night trying to 'hold' a position that would keep me from sliding to the bottom. Tex hated being left outside--but there was no way he was coming in AND we might have only been a mile from the canyon road but we still had lions and tigers and bears in mind. He was our insurance policy, but kept us up since he didn't seem to sleep a wink. And then, it started to rain--of course!

So I guess it's not our kids that are cursed, it's us. Luckily, there was a really good rain fly on the tent. We pulled in our gear, Tex finally settled down under it and I tried to shut off my worrier, which only made me more worried because what if I neglected to think of one horrible thing that could befall us! I thought I would sleep like a rock because I was so tired--well, I didn't. I might have gotten a couple hours, but mostly I tried to find positions, lamented not bringing a pillow, and told tex to stop scratching at the tent.

The next morning, we got up and changed scrambled eggs for breakfast to granola bars. We were down to our 50 ounce camelbak for water and so were very conservative. My legs were killing me, while Iron man wasn't even sore. We had to hike back up to the fork in the trail, and then it was easy breezy since most of it was downhill from there.

By noon we were back in the truck and on our way to 7-11 for a Coke Slurpee. Here's our stats:

Hike in: 4 hours (with 30 minutes of that being the wrong trail)
Hike out: 2 and a half hours.

Tex was great, the food was pretty good, and the solitude of just the two of us was wonderful. Today, I am soooooo sore. My shoulders, back, bum, and legs are all incredibly stiff and sore, but I'm taking it as a challenge rather than an injury. We're hoping to do a two night hike in October somewhere down south and I'm deterimined to be in better shape that time--even though I'm quite proud of myself since I totally overpacked and had never done anything like this before. Also, I recently heard about camping with hammocks and I'm intriqued, if anyone knows anything about that, I'd love to hear your opinions. The cost of a hammock is close to the cost of a tent, so it's not cheap, but it's off the ground and a lot lighter. We also need to invest in a good water purification thingy, since the stress of thinking we would run out of water was a huge concern. I'd appreciate any advice :-)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Got Curves? Opinion Poll for Curves Gym

So I've been doing Jazzercise--well, I guess I WAS doing Jazzercise, but then Summer came (oh, four months ago) and whereas it had been convenient to go before, it no longer was. I really didn't have any right being in that class anyway, as it required a certain amount of coordination that I seriously lack. Still, I had enjoyed it and I'm not certain I won't go back one day, but for right now it just isn't working into my schedule so I quit. That's what I do, I quit.

But so I need to start something up again. I have a good freind that loved curves, she's a tiny little thing and found the workout to be great and wonderful and she loved it. She also helped me haul shelves into my car last summer and for being such a tiny thing, she's dang strong. Serious pointage for Curves.

I have another freind who didn't like curves. She's very athletic--biking, running, swimming--all kinds of serious sportage goin on with her. She tried Curves and found it monotonous and annoying and not all that effective for her.

I'm intrigued by the idea. I toured our local curves a couple weeks ago to see how it was set up and it's basically about 15 'stations' made up of tension based work out machines (no adjustable weights) set up in a circle. In between each station is a 2 foot square impact pad. There's music playing and ever 30 seconds it tells you to 'switch stations' so you might be at an arm machine then switch to run in place on the impact pad, then rotate again. You're supposed to do this rotation twice in a 30 minute period of time. Being as I'm driving kids hither and yon nearly every day of the week, I think I can easily do this at least three times a week, probably more often in the course of my usual errands without having to make a special trip. That sounds very very good to me. But not if it isn't a good work out. I'm in fairly good shape, I just want to tone up and get some strength training. I realize I could go to a regular gym, but I also like the idea of someone telling me what to do since yoga videos at home usually end with me sitting on the couch watching them, and when I've gone to the gym in the past I use one or two machines I can figure out, and ignore all others.

To sign up is $150 (ouch!) but you can get a half price discount if you sign up on your first visit. I didn't sign up during my first visit, but I don't think if I asked for it they would deny me--especiailly when I say there is no way in Heck I'm paying $150 to sign up. Then it's $34/month if you sign up for a year or $44/month if you pay month to month. Some of you won't beleive this about me, but I'm very cheap when it comes to certain things. That's a lot of money--one pair of shoes for a kid each month, which is about how many pairs of shoes I buy a year. So the big question is . . . is it worth a new pair of shoes for my children? (Not that I won't buy them shoes, but you get the idea)

I searched blogland for reviews but it's hard to do a google search for the word "curves"--I don't reccommend it. "curves gym" brought up some, but not a ton and the reviews were mixed. Now, I'm not looking to blame anyone if I choose to do it and end up hating it, but if you've had experience with Curves I'd appreciate it.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

It's Opening Night!

It's official--Her Good Name is in stores and ready to go! It actually came out earlier than I expected, which is nice in that it cuts down on my heartburn caused by wondering if it's going to show up in time for my Opening night--what? You don't know what an Opening Night is? Well, let me learn ya sometin:

Four books ago (how cool is it to say that!) I had my first Opening Night where I basically hosted a party to announce the release of my newest book. I'd heard of people doing things like that in their homes for friends and family, and Harry Potter parties were selling a bazzillion copies on their opening night, but I knew mine would be nothing like either of those. Instead, I sent out postcards (i.e. invitations) announcing my book and the date and time of my first signing for that book. I gathered items to give away in a drawing and baked to my little hearts content. It was hands down the best signing I'd ever had. I sold about 40 books, I got to chat with friends and family that came, I went to dinner with several out-of-towners that came up to celebrate with me. It was awesome.

I did it with the next two books as well and now it's time to have a party for Her Good Name. I sent out postcards a couple weeks ago, I've updated my website and I should have sent the info to my e-mail list weeks ago--but I didn't. So I'll be doing that shortly, but I thought I'd make a mention of it here as well--just in case you're in northern Utah and haven't heard about it. So, here's the specs:

When: Tomorrow night, Thursday September 11 5:30-7:00
Where: Reflections of Utah Bookstore, 47 S. Main Brigham City

There will be door prizes for the first 75 attendees (The Mint candy cups), refreshments (crab ragoon puffs, cookies, fresh fruit, veggie tray, fancy drink) and a Grand prize drawing (Reflections of Utah gift certificate, Idle Isle chocolates, The Mint candy, Vouchers for free entrance to the Utah Chocolate Show, and a few do-dads) for those that buy a copy that night, and there will be a discount on books sold that night. If you are on my snail mail list you would have recieved a postcard that entitles you to an even better discount.

For those of you out of town and interested in buying a copy of Her Good Name, please contact me. Deseret Book has updated their website and Her Good Name and Sheep's Clothing got lost in the shuffle--which makes it nearly impossible to find online. But if I can help you out, I'd love to do so.

Off we go . . .

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

My Camping Curse

When my hubby and I were first married we told everyone we loved to camp. We had both camped at teenagers (not together, okay, well, once together--maybe twice) and considered ourselves GOOD campers. I would like it on record, however, that the first fire ever lit when we were together was started by moi, when he went through half a dozen matches trying. I'm a girl scout you know.

Anyway, our first few years of marriage were chaotic. We did elderly care in our home AND were raising Lee's niece AND had our first child a year after the wedding. We had the 'cute apartment with just the two of us' for exactly two weeks, from that point on we were sharing habitation with one or more people that depended on us for care. We didn't get out much. When child #1 came along we snuck away with her for a weekend while our niece went to a family member's home and a friend came to our home to watch over the elderly gentleman we were taking care of. We went to Kamas in our 1974 blazer, took the back seat out to put by the fire and took naps, walks, ate PB & J, read books and went to a mud bog in town. Seeing as how the baby was 3 months old, she didn't cause much trouble and it was a great time. We spent exactly $40 to camp all weekend and it was fun. We smiled at one another and said, "yep, we're campers."

Three years later, having had no opportunity to camp during that time, we went camping again with our two daughters ages 3 1/2 and 18 months. We rented a boat--the girls cried and hated it. We made cowboy dinners, the girls cried and hated it. We slept all together in two sleeping bags zipped together--I whined, didn't sleep a bit, and hated it. The second night it rained, and rained and rained until the water was coming into the tent in rivers. We promptly loaded all the wet stuff in the car and went to a hotel. The weekend cost us somewhere around $300 and we were sick to our stomachs and miserable. We glared at one another and said, "this is all your fault."

Seven non-camping years after this episode I decided we were ready to try again. We had four kids now, ages 6 months, 4, 7, and 9. Good camping ages, right? So I spent the day getting ready and we went about 15 miles from home. We brought the four wheelers and within an hour I had crashed, sending child #2 on my lap over the handlebars, the same child had peed all over herself after failing to heed my instructions about how to pee in the woods, and the 6 month old was wailing. Husband said we should go home. I was not about to conceed defeat and told him he could go home, but I was staying. He could come get me in the morning if he was so determined. Note to men: phrases such as that are specifically engeneered for the following response "No dear, I won't leave you on the mountain alone, let's snuggle." Instead husband said, "Catch ya in the morning, I'll buy some donuts on the way up." Now, we had brought two cars so he didn't totally abandon me. The kids grumbled, the older girls insisting they sleep in the car. Whatever. So me and da'boy (4 years old) took the tent which was missing the rain fly, but it wasn't going to rain. It was July.

It rained.

Around two o'clock in the morning I'm running through the mud with the four year old, throwing him in the van and we're on our way home--leaving everything there to get rained on. The next morning, gloating husband and myself return to the mountain and rescue the muddy equipment. We looked at each other and both admit this one was squarely on my shoulders.

Another four years go by, we've managed a few Kamping Kabin experiences that weren't so bad and decide to attempt tent camping once again. So last Memorial day we set off for City of Rocks--a very cool campground in Southern Idaho. Some of my family joined us and we were exicted for the weekend. We got all set up in time for the rain the first day. The next day we had a nice morning before the rain and snow set in for nearly six hours. But it did stop. The third day we had another nice morning before the wind picked up and the clouds got darker. Husband and myself looked at each other and said "What were you thinking?"

One would think I'd learned my lesson. Nope. We decided to go camping for Labor day with Lee's brother's family. Yes, the forcast talked about rain but, really, would fate do that to us AGAIN? In the last fifteen years we've been rained out every single time we've camped as a family. Surely, this time would be different. And it was, for the first 36 hours or so. And then it started to rain. And rain. And rain. We went into town for dinner and hoped it would let up. We got back to find Lee's brother's tent leaking, one of our tents pooling water, and 30 minutes of daylight left. You've never seen camp broken that fast. Monday was spent drying everything out and spraying the tents with waterproofer. Tuesday was spent organizing camping boxes and putting away the dry stuff. Today was spent rolling up the tents and re-organizing the camping stuff. Husband and I look at each other and say . . . nothing. What can we say?

So, we're cursed, but in true Kilpack fashion we are not diswayed. We've decided it's not us, it's the kids. And so next summer we plan to take a backpacking trip, just the two of us, in hopes to prove that it has nothing to do with us. Wish us luck.

Incidently, child #2 had to fill out a 'get-to-know-me' thing for school and in her 'dislikes' the only thing she wrote was 'Camping with my family'. Talk about bad Karma.