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Visiting The Republic of Georgia

March 16-20th: The Republic of Georgia is a country that some people would not think of as a holiday travel destination. It was certainly not on my radar until I had the privilege of hosting some groups of beautiful dancers from that country. Their visit peaked my interest and I considered the possibility of visiting this unknown place. It seemed like traveling there would be an unfulfilled dream and the likelihood of it happening would be remote at best. But in the course of a few months the impossible became possible and plans were being made to see the land that intrigued me and visit the people that had captured my heart.

There are a few people missing from these pictures that I was not able to see while in Georgia but before I continue here are the young men and women and their dance teachers that took us around on our journey… (click on the picture to see the whole thing).

Onise, Tato, Tengo and Vako (top left to right then bottom left to right):

I hope you can remember their names… George, George (little George), George (Napo), George (#2)… πŸ˜³πŸ˜‰

Sallo, Lile, Ani, Sallo, Mari… And then 3 of the 5 girls… absolutely beautiful young women!

Alex and Gagi (brothers), David, the wonderful teachers (Irma and Paata)… the wonderful man on the left of me drove us around everywhere.

Erekle (Erik) and Giga (and erik’s girlfriend)… these 2 young men stayed with us a few years ago:

Ok… now we can go on… πŸ˜‰

My husband Corom and I grew to love the 25 members of the dance team (on 2 separate occasions with 2 separate dance groups). When I had a chance to visit them in their own land, I accepted the opportunity and made arrangements with one of the dance team members. My aunt and I took an inexpensive if not very inconvenient red-eye flight to Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia. It was a lot to ask of a dear dance team member to meet us at 5:30 in the morning. He and others graciously offered regardless of the time of arrival. The most overwhelming and heartwarming sight was to see 13 of the dancers waiting and holding up an “I love you Jena” sign as we got off the plane.

Those darling young people and a few dads had traveled two hours in the middle of the night to be there for us! That was just the beginning of their efforts to show love and affection for us.

The 1st half of the day we spent our time in their capital, Tbilisi. We walked around at the early morning hours before the city became alive. It was beautiful! The Georgians took us on a tram ride that was an extremely steep incline up a mountain (it freaked me out but so fun). There were lots of pictures taken, lots of sightseeing and lots of laughs… mainly because I’m so funny! πŸ˜‚

And then we ate (this was our 1st eating experience here and definitely not the last… oh how the Georgians can eat and it was all great food)!

After the tour of Tbilisi, my Aunt and I, headed to one of the villages with the young man we were staying with (Onise). They took us in as if we were family. Throughout the next few days, we had many of the dancers in and out of the house all hours of the day and night. It was great!

We walked around onise’s village/neighborhood with the other boys before the “dinner party”… all the while, scouting out places to run. πŸ˜‰

It was fun to dive right into their culture and traditions with making food/treats, chores, laundry, dancing, eating and being with the ones you love. Onise’s mom showed us where/how they make bread and the way they BBQ. The bread dough goes into that cement kiln. The food/bread was wonderful!

I had the opportunity to milk a cow, Ride on a donkey trailer, pet the pigs they raise to eat, visited the pastures they bring their cows to, and ate LOTS more food…

Paata, the dance instructor, rented a bus for a couple of days and took us around to beautiful destinations. We explored the villages there, played in parks and had a great time at their restaurants (dancing and eating of course πŸ˜‰). Their churches here are amazing!

We visited the Greek Orthodox Church on Sunday (the LDS/Mormon church was too far for us to travel), and we were able to visit the school there in Onise’s village…

The picture above with Vako and Onise planting the flowers… Irma (Onise’s mom) picked those in the mountain and the boys planted it the garden at their house and named it after my Aunt Georgia and I. 😘

We had the opportunity to attend their dance studio and watch one of their practices. Beauty beyond words! I can not even express the hard work and dedication that went into their practice. (Not that great of pictures because I had to screenshot the video)…

We went to Alex and Gagi’s father’s winery. It was fascinating to see how it all works!

Tengo, Onise and his dad (Tato met up later) drove us the 2 hours back to Tbilisi the night before our flight. We were able to stop off at a few other destinations to enjoy more beauties of Georgia. There is one thing to say about the Georgian men… they are always helping you with your bags/backpacks, always made sure Aunt Georgia was ok with the hikes/walks, helping every step of the way. Extremely polite and concerned over our needs.

We had the privilege of going out to dinner with 2 others from the group a few years ago on the last night we were here. We had a very pleasant night eating and visiting with Erekle and Giga (and Erekle’s girlfriend). Great young men!

Our time has come to an end here in Georgia. πŸ˜” I was extremely sad and hope to bring Corom (and the girls if possible) back for another visit. These sweet young men helped us back to the airport and we were soon on our back to Greece.

As beautiful and interesting and unique as the landscape of Georgia is, it cannot match the beauty of its people! There generosity of spirit, their hospitality and their exuberant personalities can not be compared to anyone else. Their circumstances are humble but they are willing to do anything to please you. There love and acceptance was overwhelming and we fell in love immediately!

Now for my running!!! I don’t know why I decided to book a trip right in the middle of my training! 😳 This 1st week in another country that is 10 hours ahead did not help. I did get out 5 days this week, ran 1 speed workout and a 11 1/2 mile run as my long run. Georgia was a beautiful place to run in. (I did run 2 days in Greece… Greece was hard to run in because it is so busy with cars.)

Corom and the kids at home are having fun andsurviving! Corom did go on a hiking trip weekend with his friends while the girls hung out with G-goat (grandma). They had a fun St. Patrick’s day. The rest of the week… survivor mode. πŸ˜‰

Some pictures of different foods we ate and of more beautiful sites…

The Norm

I have not blogged for a few months but it’s just been everyday things. So this post will be more of the catch up and made up of mostly pictures. I do love my family! Always a good time with the kids. (Well when they are not fighting… πŸ˜‰.)

Today, (March 12th), I surprised the girls and checked them out of school. We went to see the movie, Peter Rabbit, and then went out to lunch. It was really nice to go out with them. I need to do things like this more often.

My running: I signed up for Grandma’s marathon in Duluth, Minnesota. The race is in June. I just started a running plan 3 weeks ago. I get so excited until I do my speed workouts, oh, and my long runs. And the sad part is… this is the beginning of my training plan, so it’s the easiest part. πŸ˜‰ I have not raced for over 2 years and didn’t run for about 4 months during the 2 years (due to an injury). So the speed is so hard but I find it coming along. I’ve been trying to do more cross training and weights (because I seriously lack in that category).

I’ve done spin classes, the elliptical, barre classes, strength training, and I had my very 1st ice bath on Saturday, March 10th. It was surprisingly freezing πŸ˜‰ but nice (except for the feet)! They burned!!

We have had a nice winter so far… the weather has been great (snowing at times but the temperature has been very pleasant)…

Indoor and outdoor track (we just started the outdoor season about a week ago) is going well. The girls and corom came up to our weekend Simplot track meet in Idaho….

The girls are always entertaining themselves and enjoying life….

Valentines: A breakfast and school parties… the girls did make corom and I breakfast and put on a fashion show for us (a different day).

Basketball: The girls enjoyed basketball… it was a fun to watch them learn and the chaos on the court. πŸ˜‰

Work: I have taken the girls one at a time to work at the Clarion with me. It has been so fun to have them there with me.

My youngest had to be put out for a couple of root canals… that was so dang expensive but had to be done. It was so eerie watching her fall asleep. The 1st couple of pictures she was fighting against falling asleep. When she finally did (about 45-60 seconds after the shot), her eyes stayed open. 😳

Being the genius Corom is… my 2nd child wanted to put a pretend earring in the top of her ear, so corom helped her clamp it down. Well it was a little to tight. It was a good 20-25 min trying to get that little metal thing off her ear and it was painful!! The bottom 2 pictures, a group of high school kids borrowed our big van for a dance… we wanted to scare them by placing a life size Santa in the van. During the dance we snuck it in. Yes it did scare them. 😊

Cute, random pictures:

December & Bringing in the New Year

Today is New Years! I started off with a 6 mile run at a 7:15 pace. I am so out of shape but I feel it slowly coming back. As I mentioned before, I am able to run every other day. It’s been so great!

We went to the pond today for our annual polar plunge. (

It’s amazing how much it has grown… this year was a lot warmer than the past 2. That probably helped get more people in the water. (These pictures are those that have jumped in for the polar plunge.) This was Corom’s legs from the 1st year of doing it… the ice tore his legs up! Call me a bad wife but I still find it funny…. the bottom 2 pictures are from last year with him sledding in…

. ..This year… There was no ice in the pond, very little snow on the ground and the temperature was 42 degrees. A lot more mild then the years past but still so much fun. Corom and my 2 older girls jumped in…

… me and my 2 younger ones were perfectly ok just watching. 😊

< strong>December: <<<<

I love December! I love everything about Christmas… I love how everyone gives and serves and wants to help others out. I love the peace of it all and even the gifts. πŸ˜‰ For the month of December, as a family, we do an activity every day. The girls pick a little note out of a Christmas tree calendar with a different activity on it.


1st: Christmas rings

2nd: Making hand lotion & Bath Bombs

3rd: Ward Christmas Party & Santa Clause

4th: Writing Letters to Santa

5th: Read Christmas Stories with Hot Chocolate

6th: Making Christmas Ornaments

7th: Rock Climbing

8th: Driving around Salem Pond and Seeing Christmas Lights

9th: Cutting A Christmas Tree Down

10th: Delivering the Christmas Tree to a Neighbor

11th: Polar Express Night at the Elementary School

12th: Visiting our Elderly Neighbor (Dottie)

13th: Christmas Crafts

14th: Delivering Goodies

15th: Ice Skating

16th: Christmas Party with Friends

17th: Dinner with neighbors & Decorating Cookies

18th: Sing to the elderly at the Assisted Living Home

19th: Gift to Mail Lady/Garbageman

20th: Class Parties

21st: Gingerbread Houses

22nd: Notes to Neighbors (from the girls)

23rd: Christmas Stories and Hot Chocolate

24th: Greek Dinner and our PJ gifts

25th: Christmas and our gift to our Savior

26th: Playing With New Things

27th: Bringing treats to others

28th: Ice skating and Art Museum

29th: Sledding & Christmas dinner with Corom’s family

30th: Salt Lake Temple/Lights

31st: New Years Eve: games, food, family and friends

I love my family so much through the good and the bad, the fun and not so fun. They are everything to me. Bring on another year. 😊

Where to Start

I will start off with my running (or lack thereof) and then get on to more of the funny, normal things in our life. And everything will be out of order but oh well…

“I firmly believe that the only disability in life is a bad attitude.” Scott Hamilton

“While a positive attitude doesn’t always work, a negative attitude almost always does.”

I have been so discouraged with my injury and obviously lack thereof of running! I’ve been out since June with most exercises. I have ran just a small handful of times (which I probably shouldn’t have) and only biked a few other times. But I have noticed that my attitude is everything. There is nothing I can do about my injury except to rest and let it heal. Some days are easier than others (mentally) but I am trying to stay on the positive side. Β I am slowly coming back but I still feel a pain and tightness in the back of my knee.

I’ve been to the docs for a lot of physical therapy work… Today is Monday, December 18th, and a few weeks ago I was given the ok to start running, every other day, not going over 5 miles for each run! I have been loving it. It is not much but I will take it. On the other days, I bike, do a strength training class (which I so lack in), swim (well once so far in the 2 weeks), the elliptical, etc. It feels good to be able to do stuff again but I have a ways to go. I do have the good days with the not so good, but I have no doubt I will come back.

We finally got family pictures done (after 6 almost 7 years of not taking one):

My 2nd oldest had her 10th birthday. We invited the entire 4th grade over (all the girls). We put on all the invitations for no gifts! I do not want that many gifts coming in. πŸ˜‰ Yes it is loud and crazy for an hour and a half but we didn’t want anyone to feel left out. A month after my 2nd child’s birthday was my 3rd. She turned 9. We had the 3rd grade girls come for more noise and chaos. But it was fun (with that many people, you don’t really have to plan activities because everyone just plays). They are growing up way too fast and are both turning into beautiful young ladies.…after my 3rd child’s birthday was Corom’s birthday… well today was a day of payback for people to get Corom back. Corom is always pranking people. It started off at midnight with a couple of kids coming to our house and wrapping our car with plastic wrap.

Corom was freaking out because all he heard was the dogs barking (and it was the people are near our house bark). Corom put the dogs in the garage so the neighbors wouldn’t get annoyed. Then about 10 min later we saw a cop drive around the school (next to our house). After the cop left he saw 2 cars pull into the school parking lot, get out with something in their hands and run towards our house. (By this time it was about 12:30 a.m.) Corom lost sight of the boys and began running from room to room looking through the blinds. A few min later he let the dogs back out. He had me call the police, once the dogs were barking again. The 2 kids took off because of our dogs as corom is giving me a complete description of the cars and where they are going; which I would quickly relay that to the police. We went out front to see exactly which direction the cars went when corom noticed his truck was wrapped. We told the police to call it off and it was just a funny prank. I felt so dumb telling the police that… they got a kick out of it.

We then woke up to our porch full of stuffed animals and a happy birthday sign… <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
n church, our neighbor took a picture of our good friend, Mike, wrapping our big sprinter van in streamers, plastic wrap, foil and Oreos… It made me laugh! Even better that we caught him. I told corom he had it coming to him with all the things he does to others. His birthday was fun spending time with both our families! My oldest made his birthday cake… she made a pig. I thought it was pretty clever. We took our girls to Moab and did some river rafting. One of the coaches I coach with (Alex Crystal) is a river guide in the summer and took us out. It was a blast!!! My girls loved it. We did some pretty amazing hikes as well. Halloween is always a great time! Trick or treating, Halloween runs, parties….… my parents were able to come for a visit. It was a great week hanging out with them, my sister and her family and my brother and his family. The weather was great all week. The boys and kids took the boat out for tubing and water skiing a couple of times, we played games, did crafts, swam and just hung out. we did do the whole Black Friday thing… holy mad house! Corom was followed by the Walmart cops and then asked to search his jacket and bags as he was waiting in the line to leave. We were not with him, otherwise, there would have been a ton of pictures. πŸ˜‰ It was hilarious because he always gets pulled over, stopped, etc… so this wasn’t a shocker. ..but he does look a little crazy 😜 ! And the stuff in his bag was a little too funny. I had the opportunity to help cater a Republican Party event for the man running for president in Mali. It was a great experience and I was able to meet some pretty amazing people. A few of the “Railroad Underground” people were there and have done some wonderful things. With school now going, we have kept our days full. I have been subbing at the elementary school where my girls go and at the High School where I coach at… Our cross country season has been going strong. We have had great times, not so great, sorrow and team unity this year more so than any other. Lots of service and friendships with this group. They ran really well at region and then once again at State. Then it was off to our California trip. Disneyland, the beach, then the Footlocker race.

We keep busy on the weekends with Jamie (our guy from England) trying to stay out of trouble… Anywhere from big wheeling down steep mountains to rope Β swinging into the ponds. We had a hard time Once Jamie had to leave. He has been a part of our family for about 7 months and fit right in. We can’t wait until he comes out next summer!

The girls played city soccer and little kids city cross country was going on … and yes, Corom and I coach all 4 of our girls soccer team; and I coach the cross country team. Corom also became the Jr. High cross country coach. It has been busy but we are loving it… and it’s fun having the girls enjoy it with us. Once soccer ended, we put the girls in city basketball. I love that the city has all these sports throughout the year. It’s cheap and convenient for us.

Here are all the rest of our pictures throughout the past few months…

Red Ribbon week (I was in charge of at the elementary school):

5 mile hike round trip to the hot springs with the Harris’s… Playing, redoing our basement, etc…

The Week Before School Starts & Jamie’s Back

We have had one busy summer:

  1. Jamie from England (soccer coach) lived with us for 3 months (leading into summer).
  2. We took off for 2 1/2 weeks to travel the U.S. in our Sprinter van.
  3. We came home to 2 Brazilians living in our home. Soccer coaches.
  4. Corom and I went on trek, my oldest had her 5th grade Shadow Mountain campout, Corom went on scout camp, he also went to Catalina, California for a spear fishing trip. I had cross country camp with the high school kids.
  5. I found out I pulled a muscle behind my knee with arthritis forming in my legs. 😦
  6. We had 4 boys from China here for almost 2 weeks.
  7. 4 boys from the Country of Georgia stayed with us for 8 days.
  8. We went to Leo carillo, Malibu California for 5 days for our annual beach camping trip.
  9. Jamie from England came back to our house for the next 3 months!
  10. Oh and our basement flooded 3 times total in a 5 month period.

​Our week back from beach camping and our England son has returned (Jamie has missed us so much):

Salem Days 5k: I have not ran since June and I actually stopped biking, etc. just to let my knee heal. I can’t say I have not ran because I have probably gone out about 3 times in the past 2 1/2 months for various reasons. Anyway… I decided to run the Salem Days 5k with my kids. Once we started, I only lasted about .6 miles before I told the girls I was going to run ahead and come back and get them when I finished. I absolutely miss racing and quickly realized how out of shape I am and how much my knee is driving me crazy!! I just want to heal up and race again. I can run through the arthritis pain but can’t start the training with how tight my knee is. Anyway… I pulled off a time of 20 minutes something (a 6:50 pace) but as I said before… so out of shape! My girls ran excellent. My oldest took 1st in her age group, 2nd took 2nd in hers, 3rd took 1st and 4th took 2nd. It was fun to see them come in.Β The rest of Salem days was a blast. Breakfast, kid’s parade (the night before), the community parade, BBQ, fairgrounds and activities… bike riding,Β the pageant (a little play), then the firework show. I so love this community.Β This picture I took from someone else in our community… it shows the beauty of our pond and the firework show.

Over the weekend I helped Sundance resort (Woody) put on a 7 mile trail race. It was absolutely beautiful and the course was awesome! I ran the course the night before with Corom and Jamie to make sure all the signs were in place. I took a pretty good fall on the way down but didn’t get too scratched up. My knee was so tight for majority of the run, 😞 But it felt so good to get out and run.Β 

The next morning, we all got up early and headed up for the trail race. Corom and Mike were the sweepers (they were the last ones… making sure everyone was cleared off the mountain). I took the girls up to about mile 4 and waited for Corom and Mike to show up. We all ran the last 3 miles together.

Right after the trail race, we went to Park City to the Olympic Park for some fun. The guys (Corom, Jamie and Mike) are the ones that went down the slides while Amy, the girls and I watched. We were very entertained! We could not stop laughing with Corom’s and Jamie’s 1st jump!



Sometime during the week we went to the Hot Springs with Jamie and Greg (both from England here as soccer coaches). I was able to soak in the hot springs for a good hour with my knee taking in all the minerals. I heard that would help so I wanted to give it a try. The boys had a brilliant idea to pull the van up as close as they could to the spring hole and jump in. I have to admit… it was entertaining. Corom jumped in right away…

…and it took Jamie a little while to do it. πŸ˜‰ Sorry Jamie.

​We had a few extra neighbor kids come with us… my girls loved it. We had a good time.

We took Jamie and the girls to the High School’s 1st football game of the season… Jamie’s 1st time sitting down and watching American football.

I took the girls to the fairgrounds and my oldest got roped into helping with the face painting booth.

The day before school started, we were able to see the Eclipse. We went to my sister’s house and met up with my younger brother and his family and my oldest brother and some of his family. We spent the time on the lake and in the hot springs pool. My oldest brother (and family) are visiting from California. They are sending their daughter off to college (she got into a University up here). πŸ™‚

Cross Country this summer has been great. We have had many activities other than running! Many mornings, we had breakfast ready for the kids as they came in. We played games, BBQ’d, etc. Good group of kids and so ready to race.

It’s been a busy week/summer and I am ready for school to start.

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