Alright - I'm finally getting around to posting the Halloween pictures from our ward Trunk-or-Treat party. I am a huge fan of Trunk-or-Treating...what a great idea to have all of the candy in one, consolidated place!
Carson was the most adorable little skunk you have ever seen in your life...
And McKenzie was a beautiful fairy.
By the end of the night, Carson was practically asleep. But, with all that candy in her system, Kenzie was, well......NOT so asleep.
~ "Mom, I think I'm getting wrinkles," I said. "Wow," she replied, "Nothing makes you feel old like hearing your daughter say she's getting wrinkles." ---------------
My friend came walking down our stairs, holding her sleeping child, and she paused to look at my bridal picture. "I love that picture," she whispered, "I can't believe how much younger you look! Isn't it sad what kids do to you?"
Ummmm, yes. Let me get this straight - you think I look bad enough that I should be sad about it? ---------------
Well, it's true folks - I'm getting older. The lines around my smile don't seem to go away anymore...even when I'm NOT smiling. My freckles are darker than they used to be - and somehow not so cute. My forehead has permanent lines, and I fear the bags under my eyes are here to stay.
I always knew that I was going to get old and wrinkled - and this never bothered me before. But I think I neglected the fact that I'm getting older every day. That 25 would look different than 20 - even though those 5 years haven't seemed like very long. So I'm coming to grips with the fact that I'm just going to get wrinklier. :)
This wrinkle-thought has started me thinking on beauty and how we are completely dependent on what our own society says is beautiful. When I became a MaryKay consultant (which didn't last long!) I went to a couple of training meetings early on. I remember my director saying, "Selling cosmetics is a smart business to be involved in because there will always be a demand. Even during times of depression - ladies will be discouraged that they can't afford a new outfit...so they'll buy a tube of lipstick instead." Yes, in America lipstick is beautiful. Wrinkles are not.
At the ward Trunk-or-Treat party last Saturday night, I overheard a 'Napolean Dynamite' father ask his 'princess' daughter, "Are you sure you want to wear those shoes outside?" I glanced down and saw that each foot had four toes shoved into a tiny high-heeled princess shoe...the fifth toe wouldn't fit, so it was hanging out the side on it's own. Her back heel was hanging an inch or so off the back of the shoe, but she shuffled a few more steps (with her back hunched over to absorb some of the pain) and said, "YES, Dad. I want to wear these shoes!" I giggled a little bit and the father looked up at me, shaking his head, and said, "The price you women pay for beauty..."
But again, the interesting thing to me is that the price I might pay for beauty isn't necessarily the price someone else might pay, and it might seem down right ridiculous to someone from another culture. My parents visited the Hill Tribes in Thailand and sent these pictures to me. Beauty, to these Thai women, is having a long neck. From an early age, girls wear these gold necklaces around their necks - adding one each year - to give them beauty. They often have cuts and sores on their shoulders and chins from rubbing against the necklaces; and if they take the necklaces off as an adult, they aren't able to hold their own heads up because of poor muscle tone. This seems ridiculous to me. But I wonder what they would say to some of our ideas of beauty. "They cut extra skin off their FACES??" "They RIP the hair off their bodies with wax?? Wait...the hair off of WHERE??"
So, I'm going to make my own society that says: aging is beautiful. My wrinkles show experience, laughter, and wisdom. My bagged eyes show 'motherhood' and, with that, the selfless service involved. My dark freckles show beach trips, camping trips, and other sunny vacations. I don't look like I did when I was twenty because I'm not twenty.
~ With deep remorse, I must remove the University of Utah from our 'Potential Homes' list. It seems that they don't want another white, Mormon male gracing their campus.
On a happier note, Brian is enjoying the interviews he's done so far. He has another one scheduled for next week, and then many more in November and December. We're starting to feel more confident that he will, indeed, match somewhere...though the possibility of NOT matching is still a small concern. Wish us luck for these next two months! ~
~ North Carolina's State Fair is SO MUCH FUN! They have rickety rides, delicious candy apples, and enough deep fried food to make you sick for weeks. (The deep fried food has always been my favorite part of the fair!) This year we took our kids along and, I must admit, seeing their excited faces was more fun than eating all the deep fried snickers and funnel cakes in the world!
McKenzie was in heaven with all of these rides! Top Left: Swings! - I always loved the swings at amusement parks - it was so fun to see McKenzie enjoying them! Top Right: Roller coaster! This shot was taken in motion - you should click on the picture to see it full-sized...her face is priceless! Bottom Left: This fun little car rode around a track and whipped them around the corners. Cameron and McKenzie screamed and laughed the whole time! Bottom Right: The train. This was the cool-down. Nothing very spectacular about this - unless you count the worker who looked as though he was trudging through molasses the whole time. (Look alive, man!)
One of the best things about being in North Carolina is autumn. Unlike Utah, where every tree is planted and every patch of green has been bought, North Carolina is consistently being threatened to be taken over by our chlorophyll-containing companions. I see landscapers cutting branches away from wires, pulling new little trees from the ground, and picking up acorns to discourage any unwanted growth. The highways and freeways are flanked by tall trees, and many roads are completely tunneled over by thick, beautiful branches.
This makes autumn incredible. I was driving down the highway last week searching for turning leaves, and as I came around a little bend in the road, I saw one brilliantly orange tree standing among great, giant evergreens. It was quite alone in it's flamboyance, and I thought to myself, "I feel like that tree." Not that I'm flamboyant in the least - but I do feel 'different' sometimes. And, it's not always a good different either. I often say things that are dumb, naive, or not very well thought out - and those things tend to put me in an uncomfortable spotlight. And at those times, I wish my orange leaves looked a little more green.
But that little orange tree was never meant to be an evergreen. And it displayed it's orange leaves with confidence - and because of that, it was breathtaking. I hope that someday I will be able to display my orange leaves with confidence; to be who I am without apologies; to not be ashamed to ask questions about simple things I don't understand; to never pretend to be someone I'm not; to think before I speak...and if I don't, to apologize quickly and admit that I wasn't thinking; to understand that my differences will not be appreciated by everyone, and to be okay with that.
And ultimately, to someday realize that I am as spectacular as that little, orange tree... ~
~ On our drive home from the beach, McKenzie needed to make a pit stop in the middle of nowhere. Translation: we're peeing in the trees!
After Brian had taken her, he opened her door to put a laughing McKenzie back into her car seat. "McKenzie, it's not funny," Brian said as he buckled her in, "You peed all over my foot." McKenzie didn't stop laughing and said very matter-of-factly, "Dad, it is funny...It's really funny." ~
~ I could never spend too much time at the beach - provided with enough sunscreen, that is.
We sadly managed to escape without a single family picture - whoops! But we DO have individual pictures - so that'll have to do:
This might be one of my favorite pictures of Brian! It's completely candid...but looks so posed!
The kids were in love with Popsicles the whole time we were there. (Who isn't in love with Popsicles?)
The high winds made the waves SO fun for the kids to play in! There was a thick layer of foam left on the sand each time a wave would drag back into the ocean - McKenzie loved to stomp on all the bubbles!
I have decided that sand is a messy boy's dream.
McKenzie wrote her name in the sand - all by herself!
- This is what the ocean was supposed to look like on Saturday morning -
But, unfortunately, the ocean was NOT like this the morning of the triathlon. It wasn't much better than the pictures I shared in the previous post. The coast guard seemed to share my concerns and, much to my dismay, canceled the swim just one hour before the race began.
My dream of being a triathlete must be satisfied by being a duathlete for now!
The swim would have been my strongest event, followed by the bike, and then - trailing dead last and far behind - the dreaded run. The scheduled order of the triathlon events followed this path, and I was pleased with that. I knew it would be easier to 'keep up' than to 'catch up'. Consequently, it felt like the rug had been pulled out from under me when they announced that the swim was canceled...and then my stomach was stomped on when they added that the run would be first. Just like that, my previous determination to 'keep up' in the run was forced to change into 'catch up' with the bike.
Well, I ended up coming in 10th out of 23 for my age group...and I ran the 5K and biked the 12 miles faster than I ever had before. I guess that's not horrible for someone who couldn't even run a mile 5 months ago! And, the most important thing, I did it! I did it as completely as I was allowed. Oh yeah - and I didn't vomit. :)
For my more skeptical friends - here's the proof!
Coming back from the run...does my face show any signs of 'fun' in the first picture? Nope...I don't see it either. In fact, I wasn't having any fun - PAIN would be the correct word here!
Leaving and coming back from the bike. Thankfully, I remembered my lightning bolt helmet (the first picture is so blurry because I'm moving at lightning bolt speed)! I did start to have fun about 4 miles into the bike ride after I'd recovered from the run a bit. I caught myself smiling a couple of times. :)
The athletes and our support group - WE DID IT!!!!
Triathlon Slideshow - click on the speaker in the bottom left corner to be serenaded while you watch!