Wednesday, August 26, 2009

a big day

Christian came in our room at around 4 a.m. asking for his school clothes. Then, as Bev and Andrew were getting ready to leave, he put his backpack on. All morning he kept asking if it was noon yet. At eleven, he wanted to practice walking to the bus stop--over and over again. We took some pictures.
I know he will do great. He is so incredibly independent. He loves learning and he loves new things. He loves being big and he is ready for this.

He waited at the stop with his friend Tommy and when the bus finally came he jumped right on and didn't look back. I drove to the school to watch him get off and line up. As they walked in the building, his teacher told the kids to say "bye" to the parents. He put up the peace sign, looked at me and said, "peace out mom."

So then, Jessi and I went home and read a story and took a short nap. I am going to enjoy the one-on-one time with her.

I walked to the bus stop to watch them get off. I told them to walk normal while I took pictures. Two didn't have a hard time doing it. The oldest, however, couldn't do it normally. I had to post them in a series. Click on it to see how interesting his technique is.

After he got off the bus, I asked him how his first day was. He said that there was a bad thing about it. He said they didn't get recess. I asked if they played on the playground. He said that they did but that they didn't get the "food recess." The poor guy was sitting there all afternoon just waiting to be taken to the lunchroom.

Mike called and told me that when the kids got home I was supposed to make myself scarce. I went shopping and came home to a surprise.

They decorated the house with balloons, got me a chocolate chip cookie cake and flowers. Bev made me a windchime out of beads and a pop-up card. Andrew made me a card and gave me some lego guys. My day started with breakfast in bed and some gifts--a gift card for a pedicure and a computer thingy that I needed.

Last week we had a party with Mike's family. Thanks to his parents and grandparents I am now the proud owner of some bulbs (to be planted in the front yard) and some comfy pj's (I'm such a fan of comfort attire.) Everyone spoiled me!

Then we went to one of my oldest favorite restaurants--Tres Hombres.

I also got a new lens cover (seen in the picture) because my other one is somewhere in a river in Yellowstone.

I am not really big on having a big deal made of my birthday, but Mike always has the kids help him with something special for me.

In my now advancing years, I look at birthdays with some perspective. First, if I live to 72 my life is half over. (I have to stop and think about how old I am--I still feel like I am twenty-something.) Hopefully I live well past 72, but anyhow, it motivates me to try and make the next 36 even better than the last 36. I am a very blessed person. I have such great kids. I have such a great partner/dad for my kids/lovie-bear in Mike. I have a great, supportive family--my own and Mike's (that are my own too.) I have wonderful friends. We have our health. We have the things we need. I am able to stay home with my rascals.

I am a very lucky girl, cough, woman.

Monday, August 24, 2009

one more day...

My "baby boy" just came downstairs, barely awake, singing, "One more day, one more day, one more day till kindergarten." He has been counting down the days for the last 2 weeks. I am coping--really excited for him and this new experience--I only show him that I am thrilled for him. But I am going to miss him terribly. I am sitting here wondering where the heck the last five years have gone.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

where the buffalo roam

Our trip to Yellowstone was great. The last time we were there was nine years ago. The whole time there I kept wondering why it has taken us so long to come back. It is one of the most beautiful places. The song running through my mind (and there is often a song stuck in my head) was Home on the Range. We saw several buffalo--one in the middle of the road held us up for well over an hour while the ranger got it off where he wanted it.
Five families went together, and man did we have fun. This is the entourage. Our kids are really getting used to road trips--they did great with all of the driving.

We stayed in Island Park at a fabulous house. There was a lot of game-playing, light saber-fighting, pool-playing and s'more-making.

We arrived early and couldn't check-in to the house so we headed down to the lake. I went back to the car to get my camera and when I returned several kids had jumped in. Bev, Kasidee and Abbey jumping in together.

Kiki is a beast in water.

I didn't post a picture here, but a few kids decided to strip down to their undies and jump in, so the rest of the boys joined in. This was a pre-undressing shot.

I love these girls. Brittany, Suzie and Camille, and Teena (not pictured) are my pals. It was good times with good friends.
In Yellowstone we went to the Boiling River. I kept wishing I had brought my suit so I could get in. It is where a hot spring meets a river. I think this was the kid's favorite thing we did on the trip.

The kids loved hiking and exploring nature.

Jessi with Livvy.

Bev, Sophie and Rylee.

There was a lot of climbing and finding sticks and rocks.

It started to rain as we left the park on our last day.

Yellowstone has some of the prettiest scenery I have ever seen.

Old Faithful.

Eleven of the seventeen kids on the trip.

It will not be another nine years until we return.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

back to reality

After a very full summer, we are now getting back into the swing of things. Monday, these two started school. Andrew is now in fourth grade and Bev is in third. She got sick the last day in Yellowstone, so she wasn't feeling it the first day.
Andrew got this backpack for kindergarten. He wants to use it for all of elementary school. I had a little zipper repair, but it is still in good shape.
Here he is wearing it for his first day of kindergarten in 2005.

Bev on her first day of kindergarten.
We had a great summer, but all good things must come to an end. I really like having them home with me--having fun together, sleeping in. But I know that they must go out into the world and learn stuff. They are both excited about school and anxious to learn.
Already after only two days Christian really misses Bev. She is always playing school with the babies and entertaining them and doing projects with them. They are both a little lost without her.
I'm a little lost without them too.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Great Minds Think Alike

We had a great trip to Yellowstone/Island Park. We did Yellowstone on Friday and Saturday. On our way in Saturday, the lady at the gas station told us that The Man and his family were going to be there too. We didn't see them, which was probably a good thing--apparently they get a private viewing of things, which means it's shut down for everyone else.
Vacation details to be continued...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

perspective (and other things I learned last night)

Something bad and sad happened last night. Due to something I did (or did not do) I lost a lot of my pictures from my computer. I lost six weeks worth--except for what I put on my blog, sent to people, sent to Costco or put on Picasa. Basically I lost Fish Lake, Yuba and random July pictures. I still have the thumbnails of them--my next project is to find out how to copy the thumbnails and be able to use them. Maybe I will make a very miniature scrapbook of these events--one that you have to use a magnifying glass to see.

I found out that the pictures were missing at midnight last night. You see, I had been having this feeling that I needed to backup my photos and send some to Picasa to share with people. The last time I burned to DVD was about 3 months ago. The problem is that I had been putting off the feeling for about a week. So last night I went to do it, and they were gone.

I tried to find them somewhere in the vast computer universe. Then at about 1 I went up and told Mike I was sick to my stomach and I couldn't go to sleep and how could I be so stupid and what am I going to do and no, just go back to bed. Cause then he was up trying to find them. Then at 3 we both went to bed. I cleaned the kitchen while he worked on the computer.

Ya'll know that I am not the damsel-in-distress type. But in that moment I really wanted my Prince Charming to save me and find the pictures. He couldn't. Then I felt bad for him because I think he wanted to save me too.

As I lay there in bed I slowly snapped out of it and got some perspective. I can't even write what thoughts I had--I suppose I am a bit superstitious. Anyway, I thought of all the bad things that could happen to me or the ones I love. None of those things happened.

I also learned a few things. I will share them, you know, in the spirit of don't make the same mistakes I did.

The first thing I remembered was to not freak out over the small stuff. There are so many big things--I will not get caught up worrying about the little ones.

I learned that when I get that feeling--you know the one. The little prompting to do something. Well, I am going to try and listen next time.

I learned that I must become more familiar with my computer and that I must backup my pictures more often.

I learned that pictures are great (I still love and will continue to take lots of pictures) but that it is the experience that really mattered. The memories of the things we did are the most valuable.

I learned that things seem so much worse in the middle of the night. I think God created us to need sleep so that we can start fresh everyday.

I learned that even though he got mad at me and even though he couldn't make it all better, in the end Mike was there to listen and hold me until I went to sleep. (tender, huh?)

We are heading out on one last vacation before the kids start school, so I have an afternoon of errands--Costco, Target and Harmons--the usual. I am not going to look at my computer files anymore for now. I am going to focus on making some great memories in Yellowstone. Then when I get home I will focus on not losing the pictures of those memories.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Double-Digit Birthday

Andrew has been announcing the countdown to his 10th birthday. He often reminded us that he would no longer be in single-digit years. As always, his birthday started with breakfast in bed.
Then we hit the pool.
We had to leave early because Bev had a major allergic reaction to something. Her eye was so swollen she could barely see through it. (This is after Benadryl.)
When Dad got home from work, he opened his gifts. He is still a Legomaniac.
When choosing the dinner destination, he took a few things into account. The most important requirement was that they bring you dessert and sing to you. He chose Macaroni Grill. I am just glad that he will now choose an actual restaurant. For several years it was McDonalds or Wendy's.

He was excited to have Uncle Sean join us too.
His birthday was a good one. He is the kind of kid that wants it to be magical. He is always so excited about it--with that comes a little pressure for me to make it fabulous. It's interesting, but the things he most looks forward to are the traditions--breakfast in bed, dinner where he chooses, family parties, his birthday interview.
I still can't believe it has been ten years since his appearance into our lives. He is growing up too fast.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

ten- (sniff, sniff) year-old pictures

I have recently been trying to get pictures of each child. I have so much to learn about taking good pictures, but I will not--do you hear me--will not ever go to Kiddie Kandids again. It's actually been several years since I have put myself through that torture. Anyhoo, last night was Andrew's last night as a nine-year-old. We got home and the light outside was great, so I grabbed him and we went in the field and took some pictures. Getting him to smile for a picture--a smile that doesn't look constipated or painful--is difficult. When trying to take a group picture with him in it I often end up getting so frustrated I yell something like, "Just smile for the picture, or so help me..." I know that my yelling at him to smile doesn't inspire a smile. I know it, but oh, man it's tough. I am so happy I got some good ones of him. I kept telling him that someday he would thank me for taking so many pictures of him. He replied that in fact, "no" he would not appreciate it. He did it for me, and I am so glad he did. I just love this kid.

These are on our grass in the backyard.

Sunday, August 2, 2009


We just can't seem to stay home much. Friday, Mike and I looked at each other and realized that we had nothing to do on Saturday. What to do, what to do? Well, we had to plan something of course. So, Mike decided that since it had been 2 years since we last hiked to the Timpanogos Caves, we should do it again. He got on the phone with Sean and they decided to come with.
I had forgotten my nerves with the little children and the cliffs.
I did great for the first half. Then it got hard. Everyone else in the group is all athletic and well, I'm not, so Jess and I took our own sweet time. Mike saw us from above, so I did a fake pass-out. I scared a lady behind us though--I had to reassure her that I was just posing for a picture. She acted like that was a stupid thing to do.
Mike took the kids in the caves and Sean waited for Jess and me to make it to the top. Poor little Jessie. I was reminding her that we brought her on this same hike 2 weeks after coming home from Africa. I told her that I carried her in a backpack the whole way and that now she is a big girl and can walk it. She kept mentioning that she wanted the backpack again. She mentioned that she has little legs. A few minutes later she mentioned that she has little feet. Then she mentioned that she has little hands. (She was sure persistent on the her being little thing.)Between the two of us we made several stops. All of the kids walked the whole way. Andrew was sick, but did the hike anyway.

On the way down.
It was fun, but I think I'm good for another few years.