Sunday, April 27, 2008

Radio Parade?

No, no, no - RODEO Parade. The kids could not say the word Rodeo. So they told everyone we were going to the Radio Parade instead.

We Durans are parade people. We love parades. We live for parades. We THRIVE on parades! The Wards, on the other hand, are not parade people. So, Jeremy had to work on Saturday morning and I got to take the kids to the parade! Woo hoo!

Dad always gets us a great parking spot and we always come running in at the last minute - late as usual.

Jordan was our Rock Star as he yelled to all the people passing out the free stuff. We love the free stuff! We came home with a bag full of candy, stickers, flags, pencils, magnets, crayons and tons of coupons. Notice he's holding the free GEEK SQUAD t-shirt. Awesome.

Here's Jackson enjoying some of those free handouts. Could there be a happier kid? 2 suckers instead of just one!

Here were some of our favorites...

The clowns really were funny this year. They had the whole crowd laughing at their antics. The bands and flag girls were great - all decked out in denim and cowboy hats. (Yay, Kaleigh! Goooooo Reyburn!) We had a fun morning of people watching, yummy snacks and had a nice visit with my Mom, Uncle Jordan, Dad and Mom's friend Anne. Good times, good times.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Lizzie's photography debut

Lizzie thought the new flowers I planted along the front of our house were so pretty. She loves anything beautiful - she is a girly girl after all! She picked up the camera the morning after I'd planted this new border and went outside to snap a few pics. The last one - the light pink one - is my favorite. She focused in really good so the image is nice and sharp. These pictures turned out pretty good for her first try. Robb, what do you think?

My first Tag

MAREE NICKEL I do read your blog!

This is what you do:
1. Pick up the nearest book (at least 123 pages).
2. Turn to page 123.
3. Find the 5th sentence
4. Post the 5th sentence on your blog.

Ok. So the nearest book did have a pg. 123, but it did not have a 5th sentence. I'll just post the last line:

"and ordinances of the Gos-pel."

Any guesses what book that came from??

Now I tag Caralee and Kelly Laing.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Death by Triathlon

So two weeks ago Matt says to me, "Hey, they moved the Millerton Lake Triathlon back to Saturday this year, do you want to do it with me?" Never being one to overestimate my ability, (ya right) I responded, "Umm OK". Thus began a rigorous two week training schedule for Matt and I of early mornings at his school's pool and riding the bike on the trainer in an attempt to not embarrass ourselves too much come the big day of the event. Both of us have done this triathlon before, but it has been five years since I last did one. In fact, I really haven't swam (besides in the backyard) or rode a bike much since the the last time I did one. Fortunately, this was a "sprint" distance triathlon, which is around a 400 yard swim, 12 mile bike and 3 mile run.

I have had some interesting experiences previously at this traithlon. The first time I ever participated in the event was around 6-7 years ago. I was then teaching and a colleague of mine asked me, because he knew I swam in high school, if I wanted to be on a team with him and another fellow teacher for the Millerton Lake Triathlon with me completing the swim portion. I trained (somewhat) and the day of the event I showed up thinking I was ready to go. I had learned during training that I needed to add a little protection under my arms, or they would get chaffed during long swims (I was a good 20-30 pounds heavier then), and as I was about to swim a mile, I lathered up my armpits and adjacent regions with a big ol' gobs of Vaseline. As I was walking down the boat ramp to the water preparing to swim, I noticed that I was the only person without a full body wet suit, and, as I was wearing one of my old speedos, (that's right I kept em), that made me feel a little awkward. Picture the scene, there I was, standing in the water waist deep, big hairy gut hanging over my speedo and armpits glistening with the morning sunrise causing fellow racers to shield their eyes from the bright glare off of the Vaseline...

I have since recovered from the mental scars of that humbling experience. Because I am lighter and in somewhat better shape, this years triathlon went much better. The cool weather lately made us fear stepping into that cold water at 7:45 in the morning, but Matt and I were surprised at how good it felt. There was a decent size crowd this year causing for some serious congestion at the start of the race.
Swimming with over one hundred people all going in the same direction in a confined space causes for some good punches and kicks to the face at the start of the race until the crowd begins to thin out.
Matt was tempted to resort to some of our old water polo moves of pull, punch and swim that we once perfected to make some space but decided against it.

The run up the ramp after the swim is perhaps the worst part of the whole ordeal. You come up out of the water already winded and then you have to run a couple hundred yards uphill over corrugated cement.
Once on the bike, I began to feel just how out of shape I currently am

and how much I need to ride a bike more as people that I passed during the swim began to return the favor.
While on the bike, there were a few thoughts that kept running through my mind. I thought that I would list a few of them for you:

1. I can't believe I paid for this!
2. What was I thinking?
3. I am a big fat hairy guerrilla-monkey.
4. I can't believe I just got passed by a 65 year old granny.

The hardest part of the bike ride was mile-plus ride up heartbreak hill. Even more difficult it dealing with the thought that once I go down this hill I have to turn around and do it again. Thankfully, the run was not as bad. I finished with a time of 1:17, a little slower then the last one I did.
A little slower then last time, but considering how long we prepared for it, I was happy. Jennifer, who was a good sport of waking herself and the kids up early to be there, was very happy to give me a at the finish line sweaty kiss.

Here's Matt at the finish line
Post race, Matt and I enjoyed sharing the experience with each other and others and talking about how good the next one is going to be

as well as having some fun with the kids.

Hopefully we'll be a little more prepared for the next one. Man I'm gonna feel it tomorrow...

Friday, April 18, 2008

Sweet Potato Casserole

This recipe is the Ruth's Chris Sweet Potato Casserole we had in NY. It was AWESOME! The one Kristen made for Thanksgiving tasted exactly the same as the one in the restaurant. We love it so much around here that I made it for dinner the other night and took pictures while I prepared so I could share it's secrets with you! Here we go!


For the crust:
1 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. flour
1 c. chopped pecans
1/3 stick butter, melted

For the casserole:
3 sweet potatoes (they're called yams at our grocery store - they're those big orange potato things that Marcos loves to shoot out of his potato launcher)
1 c. sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs, well beaten
1 stick butter, softened


1. Peel and rinse potatoes.

2. Chop potatoes into 1-2 inch pieces. (Logan came in while I was chopping and said, "Wow mommy, those are the biggest carrots I've ever seen!" Ha! Carrots!)

3. Cover with hot water in a shallow/wide pot and bring to a rolling boil. Boil for 5-8 minutes or until a fork slides through potato easily.

4. While potatoes are boiling mix topping ingredients in a separate bowl and set aside until just before you bake.

5. Drain potatoes in a colander and let cool for 15 minutes or until they are no longer steaming hot.

6. Transfer potatoes back into your large pot and mash with a potato masher until there are no large lumps.

7. Transfer potatoes to mixer (you can mix by hand or with a hand mixer) and add the rest of the casserole ingredients. Mix till well blended.

8. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sprinkle topping evenly over casserole. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes or until heated through.

9. Serve and enjoy!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Jackson's Bday continued...

Here are some pics of the rest of his celebrations last week:

Jackson's bday dinner (hot dogs - his favorite!) We had a few extra bodies that night so we decided to make it a par-tay! It's always a party with the cousins...

A birthday brownie...

The big gift was something he picked out himself. We were at WalMart one day and he rode that thing through the whole store. Wasn't he surprised when mommy plopped it on the counter and purchased it! I love it when they are old enough to tell me what they like...

A little after-dinner teeter-totter action (we call it the toe cruncher)...

Sunday was the BIG FAMILY PARTY. The Durans, Wards and Givens families all got together to celebrate Jackson's and Maddy's Birthdays. Let me count... there were about 45 people here!
Thomas and Amy

Marcos and Melody

Uncle Samuel with Trevor and Zachary

Gramma Darlin'

Daddy and Logan puttin' on a silly face...

A birthday cupcake...

PRESENTS!!! Jackson got everything his little heart desires - trucks, trucks, and trucks. (Mommy got some of her desires too - some totally cute new summer clothes!)

Notice the fancy wrapping paper behind us. That's my mom's trademark (Grandma Elizabeth). She always wraps our bday presents in leftover Christmas wrap. I'm proud to say that I carry on that tradition - although our kids haven't noticed the difference yet.

The bubble machine was a hit with all the kiddies!
The best gift of the night - a plunger! Anyone want a giant tummy hickey???

So the annual physical is not really a celebration per sey, but check out his numbers! He's in the 50th percentile for height and weight. That's way up from the 10th percentile he was in the entire 1st year of his life. Way to grow Jackson!