Thursday, June 24, 2010

Wasatch Back Ragnar Relay 2010

What is the Wasatch Back Ragnar Relay you ask?

It's 190 miles of beautiful scenery, 32 hours of nonstop tag team running by 12 team mates, full of priceless memories and challenges. Each team member runs 3 different legs varying in length (between 3-10 miles) and difficulty.
I ran one of the easier legs that consisted of 3 different runs of 4 miles each. My first and last run were pretty flat surfaces, but my second leg was all uphill. I had 2 runs in the late afternoon in the hot sun, and one run in the middle of the night at 4 AM. Overall it was very fun and pushed me physically more than I thought I could do (especially since prior to my second run I was dehydrated, exhausted, and throwing up). I hated every minute of the running, but once I was done I couldn't wait to do it again (something that non runners just don't understand). I had such a great time and learned so much about myself that I'm in the process of gathering a Ragnar team together to run the Las Vegas Ragnar Relay later this year.

Team No Fetus Can Beat Us
Camille Clark, Laura Gleed, Karyn Youn (driver), Bonnie Hellar, Brian Hanton (and son Cooper), Whitney Oberle, Taylor Hanton (and daughter Abby), Marci Whitehead (driver), Jennifer Whitehead, Judy Tatton, Jolene Johnson, and Jennifer Strader. (missing Shawn Ward and Lynnell Giles)

(our full team minus me because I was on my 1st run, but my van is in the background to represent me)

We had a great time decorating the vans (complete with Christmas lights)

Here I am running my 1st leg. You can't see it but my face is beet red and I'm dripping sweat because I ran 4 miles in 90+ degree heat.

Along the way I ran into one of my best friends Alysha Jenkins (she was on another team)

My first running medal!

Thank you Wasatch Back Ragnar Relay for an amazing challenge. See ya next year.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

In Memory of Ben Ballard

It has been a hard and emotional couple of days at my house. My Grandpa Ballard whom I adore and idolize just passed away today, Saturday, March 6, 2010 around 12:30 P.M.. We all knew it was coming anytime now, but for some reason when I got the actual call I took it a lot harder than I expected. I am not a pretty site right now with my puffy red eyes, runny nose, and nonstop crying. He was a very special man to me and my extended family.
Grandpa just celebrated his 96th birthday on February 13th. His health has been declining the past few years and since my grandmother passed away in September of 2008, he lost his reason to live. He missed her very much. It has been very hard to have him live so far away in Oregon where I couldn't be there for him or visit him.
Since we have always lived far away from my grandparents, it was always a very special event to visit them. Ask any of my siblings and I bet everyone of them would say their favorite memories growing up were the trips to Oregon to see Grandma and Grandpa Ballard. Their house holds many special memories, and once in a while I will smell a certain smell and it will bring me back to their house. I've never had an emotional connection to anywhere except my grandparents house (I don't even feel a connection to the house I grew up in, or the current house I live in that I have spent so much time and money fixing up). It was a really hard thing to have my grandparents moved out of their house.
Some of my best memories of Grandpa include working in his wood shop (especially the smell of the wood and tools); his organized office with all the little drawers of nuts, bolts, and nails; tasting his fresh apple juice made from apples in his garden from his apple press; trips to the Oregon coast where he and Grandma would help us write our names in the sand, find smooth rocks, and search the tide pools for sea creatures and special treasures; eating fresh clam chowder; finding garden snakes in the ivy and moss; driving the riding lawn mower/tractor; helping Grandpa in his forest or perfectly manicured garden; sitting on his lap as a young girl and watching Laurence Welk, Old Yeller, or where the Red Fern grows; eating his homemade bread; and many, many, more.
My Grandpa adored my Grandmother. They were married for almost 75 years and spent every moment together. My Grandmother always made homemade bread for Grandpa their whole marriage. Once Grandma had a stroke and couldn't really cook much anymore, Grandpa took over and made the homemade bread until they moved into the retirement center a little over 2 years ago. Their marriage and love was a great example to everyone.
I know Grandpa has been missing Grandma very much the past few years. Though his death brought an end to a great legacy and era, I know he is finally with his Sweetheart again and it is a joyous reunion!
We Miss You Grandpa. We love you.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Adult Family Dinner

On January 11, 2010 We went out for our annual Lalliss Family Adult dinner. Scott and Kelly couldn't make it and of course they were greatly missed, but everyone else was able to attend. Originally we planned to go to the Blue Iguana but the day before our dinner, the restaurant decided to have a main water line break so we ended up at La Frontera Mexican restaurant in Bountiful.

Here's pictures of the great crew:

Mom and Dad looking overly thrilled with all the kids and noise
Mike and Michelle
Rick and Kim
Jannette and Martin
Monique and Paul
Brian and Suz
Eric and Jill
Kenn and I didn't actually get a picture together, but here is one of him with Paul
And as for me, I would say I was the only normal one of the bunch, but I actually showed up to the family dinner looking like a polygamist.
(the story behind my outfit is I was cleaning out my parents basement and came up on this wonderful quilted dress that my mom made and use to wear in the late 60's, early 70's. It fit me perfect so Eric dared/bet me to wear it out in public. What better way to pay honor to my mother's fine work of art than by wearing it to the family dinner. Since it is such a conservative dress, I went with the polygamist wife theme. I was definitely the talk of the party and now I am $10 richer for doing it).

Luke's Baptism

On January 2, 2010 Luke Wesley Johnson was baptized by his father Howard Kenneth Johnson as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saint. The baptism was held at the Bountiful Tabernacle. Afterward we held a party at our house for all the family, friends, and neighbors.
I was able to get a few pictures of Luke and Kenn just prior to the baptism, but none in front of the baptismal font, and none with the family all together (we were a little frazzled trying to organize yet another party during the holidays, and the kids were off in all different directions).
We had a great time, and I am very proud of Luke's decision to become a member of our Church!

Shootin Fun

This past week for my 33rd birthday, Kenn, Eric, Bruce, and I went shooting. Since it was my first time ever shooting a real gun (not a paintball gun, or a BB gun), I needed to document the whole thing. Unfortunately I accidentally erased the first pictures of me shooting, but you can imagine how awesome they were.

Here's me, Kenn, and Eric (the picture of Bruce was among those that were erased)

This is my first target (using a .22 pistol 15 ft away)-
not too shabby for my first time.

Kenn and I had a shoot off- 10 shots, 25 ft away.
I'm on the left, Kenn is on the right.

This was my favorite target practice of the day- Kenn's groundhog.
First he make the groundhog quit smoking, then he decided to ruin the poor thing's weekend.
So much fun!!! Can't wait to go again!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas to All and to All a Good Night.

This evening we spend our first Christmas Eve in our new home. We had our traditional breakfast for dinner (waffles, fruit and whip cream, bacon, OJ, and cinnamon rolls), read the Christmas story in Luke Ch. 2 (after some discussion with the kids about why we need to remember Christ rather than focus on Santa and presents), and then said prayers and put the kids off to bed.

Here's the milk, cookies, carrots, and notes for Santa
(I especially like the touch of leaving a knife for Santa to cut the carrots into smaller pieces for the reindeer).

This was Jake and Luke's note to Santa:
In case you can't read it, it says:
Dear Santa,
Please enjoy our milk and cookies. The carrots are for the raindeer (reindeer). Use the knife to cut them. Bewar (beware) of our dog Tazer, the one in the ref suit, so send your best prep and landing teams.
Thank you,
The Johnsons

While it is fun to think about the Santa and presents, we as a family have agreed to try to scale back a little on all the commercialism. It is still quite a work in progress, but I feel we are moving in the right direction to make Christmas more special, more religious. We even discussed trying to do more service for our family and especially for others. Here's hoping it works.
I have been so blessed this past year with a secure job, a nice home, good health, and a great family. While it is so easy to get caught up in all the commotion and commercialism of Christmas, I hope we all remember what we are really celebrating. I am especially grateful this holiday season to remember my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ- his birth, his examples of service throughout his life, his death, and his resurrection. May we all have a Merry "Christ"mas. God bless you.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sweet Dreams......

Molly's last picture as a 3 year old

Molly, you are going to sleep as 3 year old toddler, but will wake up a 4 year old ready for preschool. You accomplished a lot this past year including potty training, learning to dress yourself, gaining independence, writing your name, learning your colors, the alphabet and so much more. You are a social butterfly who is kind to everyone and have a great love for learning. You love to say your prayers, read scriptures, and go to Primary.
We are very proud of you and love you more than we could ever imagine. Thank you for completing our family. We look forward to celebrating another big milestone in your life with your 4th birthday tomorrow. Sweet dreams........


While vacationing in Island Park, we spent one of the days in Yellowstone. Miriam's husband couldn't join us on the trip, and Alysha's husband had to go back to work so Kenn was the only man while we visited the national park. Our group included Kenn, myself, Miriam, Alysha, and 9 children (Alexa, Jacob, Luke, Molly, Eli, Leia, Ezra, Carly, and Cassidy). Luckily we were missing 6 of Alysha's other children, otherwise things might have gotten even more out of hand.
Since Kenn was the only guy with 3 women and multiple children traveling in a 15 passenger van, we had many strange looks and people staring.
Here's some of the kids in what we named "The Polygamist Van"
We stopped at Firehole Canyon and let the kids play in the water
Here is Molly and I shortly before she fell into a deep part of the river and almost drowned
This is shortly after I jumped into the river fully clothed to pull Molly out of the river
More photos of the kids swimming
Of course what would a vacation be if I didn't post the token picture of some fat man in a Speedo swimming by us.
More pictures of Yellowstone
We are enjoying ice cream while waiting for Old Faithful to erupt.
Finally Old Faithful erupting
Miriam and Alysha- my sister wives during the trip
Miriam and her kids- Eli, Leia, and Ezra
Alysha with Carly and Cassidy
Our family at Old Faithful, Yellowstone Park
Kenn, Jolene, Alexa, Jacob, Luke, and Molly