Days 2013

Days 2013

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Boys and Chocolate

Boston had a good birthday.  I told him he could have a *small* friends party. (I'm thinking 2-4 friends.) Sigh.  He is our unstoppable force.  I think we ended up with 10.  I think the last one or two he just kind of informed me about.  Luckily, it's not that I don't like having kids over, (in fact, I quite like all of his friends--I even used to be a primary teacher at church to most of them) it's that I always feel so weird about my kids raking in the presents that other people had to buy.  I wish people would listen when I insist that no presents are necessary, but after 13 years of parenthood and birthday parties, I realize that's like trying to stop the tide.  (I guess I'm just cheap myself and don't want other people to have to hassle with it, either.)  I tried to keep this party super low key, just my style.  (In other words, no party favors, no invitations, minor decorations, no trying to be like Pinterest, etc.) After all, he IS a nine year old boy and only cares about two things at this point--Food and Fun, which in this case, the Fun translated to Football.  I didn't have to do anything about that part except remind them to shut the door to keep the flies out of the house and examine a turned ankle that wasn't even from the football, but from hopping over the fence.  (Sorry, Eatons.  Next time we'll take better care of your boy.)  They had a blast and it was super cute to watch all these boys playing their hearts out under our trees in the September evening glow.

The food, now, that is a language I can speak.  In our family, the birthday is a big day and you get to pick the meals.  Boston, no dummy, wanted crepes for breakfast (Crepes rhymes with steps in our family, Mark being a Frenchie and all.  His crepe pans are his babies.)  I love this option because I make the batter the night before and then Mark does all the cooking.  Although I have learned to flip them myself by now.  Best served with a thick slathering of Nutella and whipped cream.

For dinner he wanted spaghetti.  He's a pasta man, through and through.  Easy, peasy, and even the baby likes it.

The thing he'd been talking about for months, though, is that he wanted to do the chocolate fountain.  It was
a big hit.  I laid out trays of strawberries, marshmallows, pretzels, and Boston's special request, cubed Angel food cake.  Oh, and previous to the laying out of the goodies and the flowing of the chocolate, we were really fancy and put old newspapers down on our outside junker table.  Mark started up the fountain and all the grownups (Mark's folks came for dinner) just kind of backed off with a wave and a Bon appetit.  We went inside and left the wolves to the prey while we watched through the window.  Ten pairs of eyes just kind of lit up with disbelief.  My favorite part was coming back out about ten minutes later and snapping pictures of the happy chocolate faces.  (I also put out a pack of baby wipes and pointed out the garbage can.)  That night I really was so happy and grateful to have two rowdy sons at this joyful, messy, sweat and mud and laughter stage.  So beautiful and innocent and fun.  I just wanted to eat them all up.  They'll be teenagers soon enough.

 What else have my rowdy boys been up to?  Well, one Sunday morning we woke up to a downed sapling across our patio.  It was still partly attached the the main tree, and the boys spent a very long time being lumberjacks, trying to chop down the rest of it.  I wouldn't let them use knives or the saw, but after Boston came in begging for plastic knives (?!) I suggest a hoe and brought the baby in for safekeeping.  They were pretty proud of themselves when they finally got the job done, and I had a very restful Sunday morning.  (We have church starting at 1:30 in the afternoon because there are four full congregations that share our local church building.)

 A couple of weekends ago our family went to the Ogden Temple open house.  It was a somewhat rare opportunity to tour the temple with our children because after dedication kids aren't allowed until they turn 12, and even then they don't have access to the full building because it is a sacred space.  Both the boys had stayed up too late the night before, talking and laughing after lights out, and both woke up cranky.  They were pretty ornery the entire time, did not want to go at all, complaining, dragging their bootied feet noisily, etc., and although Luke was plenty happy to be there, he was very very loud about it.  Lots of WOOOWWW! at every chandelier and painting.  (It was supposed to be a no-talking until afterwards tour.) I think I was sweating with the strain of it all by the time we came out and had a serious debate with myself whether or not I should "let 'em have it" as soon as we got in the car or if I should just let it go so as not to sully their memory of the day.  I decided to let it go.  (Leslie and Macy thought it was lovely.)  It just goes to show that no one should give our family any kind of halo.  We definitely have our bad days.  I just hope that at least as they look back on it, they will remember that it was important to their mom and dad that they visited the temple, and that maybe they might want to come back someday!  A for effort, right?

Actually, there was a bright spot.  We must be doing something right in the way we've been trying to teach our kids about family history.  They were all excited to be in Ogden, where my Grandpa Happy Jack Drake Haynes was born, and where "Grandpa Drake the Sheriff" did his tough guy stuff back in the early 1900s.  (Cooper's middle name is Drake.)  It would have been a better tour going through with you, Grandpa.  Wish you could have made it.

Sometimes us parents are the rowdy ones (albeit rarely).  We had a fun date with our dear friends the Denisons, having dinner and then hiking (scrambling) the Red Rock on South Mountain.  I was not at my best when the vertigo kicked in, I'm such a wuss about heights, but Jay and Elsje were total mountain goats.  Thanks to Mark for getting me down safely.  I felt like a teenager, albeit the responsible one who keeps insisting that this isn't really actually a trail that we are on.

The scary part was all the slippery shale--no footing.  I think the backs of my legs started trembling and my hands sweating about this point.

The view, though, was spectacular.  And I could turn my back on it as long as I was sitting down somewhere secure.

It is the Draper Temple in the background here.  We could have seen four temples from where we were except for the glare.

Elsje wanted to peek down at the rock climbers.  I refused to do so.

This was so I could impress our boys with what we had done.

Don't think I've posted a messy face lately.  Boston ran out of time to finish his blueberry smoothie before the bus came, so...

Friday, August 29, 2014

Macy J, Kintygardner.

Now that I'm on my 4th Kindergartener, I've got a few things figured out. 
Pink Blank may or may not have attempted to stowaway.

Macy's first day of kindergarten.

Macy and Luke are ready to wait for the bus.

1.  ALWAYS wear big dark sunglasses to the bus stop on the first day of school for when your "umbilical cord starts hurting" as my husband so delicately put it.  Oh, I sobbed and sobbed.
Walking to the bus stop

2.  Step up your game when school starts.  I've been up earlier, gotten hair pretties organized on the bathroom wall and in the drawer, and had meals a little more on time and a more substantial breakfast for those who won't be getting a morning snack.  This morning, however, Macy had to roust me (I was cuddling Luke).  She had been up already with Mark.  He had given her rice krispies for breakfast, with sprinkles, but now the sprinkles were all gone, she wanted some more but there were too many things with red lids in the spice cupboard, and "hurry up because my cereal is getting RUSTY!"  (Soggy.)

3.  Definitely pay close attention to what your kindergarteners say because they are smart and getting smarter all the time.  Last weekend we had my cousin Katy and her husband Chris over for the first time since their wedding in April.  Macy was concerned that they didn't have any babies yet even though Mark assured her that these things take time.  Well, she still pestered Katy and Chris about it anyway.

"You know, when you have a baby, you won't even have to buy him anything because you can just use our stuff!  We've got lots of baby stuff."

Katy, who has long been acquainted with the talkative natures of my daughters, asked her what you do with babies.  Macy decided it was time to teach Katy and Chris a thing or two.

"I know all the things you have to do to take care of babies.  You feed them TWO bottles, and when they get older they can have baby food, but not hard things that they might choke on.  When the baby comes, you have to get this...crate (she wasn't sure of the word--after a bit we decided she was talking about a carrier car seat) to put the baby in and carry it around in.  And they have to sit backwards in the car so they don't get hurt, and you have to buckle them in so they don't fall out.  Babies need to have ONE nap a day.  (I gently corrected her and said that when babies are really little they might need two or three naps.)  Well, they can have ONE nap, but if they're REALLY buggin' ya, you can give'em two.  Sometimes, they have stinky diapers!!!  (Waiting for the shock to sink in--it didn't quite get the reaction she was hoping for.)  And if they're REALLY stinky, then you have ta WASH yer HANDS!!!!!"

Luke works up a sweat with some balloons.

I may have turned a little pink at that, but not as pink as Katy and Chris were about to.  We watched Luke
run around like a crazy man batting a balloon with another balloon.  He did this for about 15 minutes, when I finally realized he had been having so much fun he was totally sweaty and needed another bath.  Macy was trying to think of some games we could play, I guess, because when she looked at Luke, she remembered a fun round of Duck, Duck, Goose we had played a few months earlier, when Luke inadvertently drooled on everyone as Mark carried him around the circle. 

"Hey guys!  Have you ever played 'Slobber, Slobber, Goose?'"

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Clap Along...

Luke finally noticed the peace and quiet today right before lunch.  (Both of the boys and Leslie had their first day of school today.)  He tugged on me a bit and did a little dance while singing his new favorite word.  "Happy!"  I knew just what he meant.  He wasn't happy that the kids were gone, he just missed the loud music that plays ALL DAY LONG, particularly the Happy song.  So, I dished up lunch for him and for Macy and turned on the tunes of my own accord.  "Clap along...if you feel that happiness is the truth!"

We had a good last week of summer vacation.  I had grand plans to entertain them, but they really just wanted to play with each other and had a great time--lots of games, projects, etc.  It's a good thing, too, because the weather wasn't particularly cooperative for field trips anyway, and the one time I took them to Trafalga for mini-golf it was closed.  Lucky for us we'd had some great field trips the week before to downtown SLC and to also to our local water park (but I don't generally bring a camera to the pool, so...)
Both the boys wanted their picture taken with the Golden Eagle at the very beautiful Tracy Aviary.

Leslie has a thing for flamingos ever since she was one for Halloween.  It's the long legs, I think.

The kids in front of the Conference Center on Temple Square.  Luke is getting heavy.

Boston had fun toy fishing at the Book of Mormon Celabracion' for children exhibit.
Cooper and Luke had fun driving this jeep together.

Luke's first ever bite of cheeseburger.  I usually haven't given my little ones this age cheeseburgers because they'll just chuck it, but after he went down on those Sausage Muffins you made for the kids, Mom, it was worth a try.
And....guess who loves cheeseburgers!  He actually did eat about half of it.  And this smile he now does on demand; we call it his "Cheesy Face".
Luke and Cooper on Mars at the Clark Planetarium.

The moon-walk. 

The moon-walk came right before Luke's moon-trip and moon-goose egg on his big heavy noggin.  Darn gravity!  At least I remembered to put him in long pants or he would have also had skinned knees.
Boston on the moon.
We hiked through a downpour to get into the Planetarium, and when we came out the kids were spellbound by the flooding gutters.  This has been the wettest August I can ever remember.

Cooper and Macy take advantage of the puddles in the pea rows.

I was such a bad mom.  I let them play in the mud (okay) but then Mark and I left on a date and made Leslie clean them up.  Hope Mark paid her a tip!  Of course, maybe she enjoyed being sanctioned to hose down her brothers?
This must have been right before they painted the mud mural on the fence.  Even after all the buckets of  rain we've received, it is somehow still there.
Macy, Boston and Luke found a new, baby-worthy use for our Kubb game.  Luke got to knock them down with his stick.
Last weekend we did finally manage to squeeze in a family campout before school started, since we hadn't done that yet this year.  I did lots of research, looking around on the various websites about where to go.  I know that I hate camping with other people within earshot, but I also want to be able to find someplace fun, accessible, and child friendly.  We also wanted to be able to swing by Manti to show the kids the temple grounds because Mark's Grandpa Newel was a sealer (performed marriages) there for 16 years and lived across the street.  Anyway, I finally decided on the Huntington Canyon area and printed off a map that showed lots of possible campsites and fun hiking trail possibilities.

Once we barely (and I mean barely) squeezed into the van, with kids holding sleeping bags on laps, etc, and had reached the general vicinity, I started watching the road for the signs corresponding to the campsites on my map.  Closed.  Closed.  Closed.  (Don't know why--maybe there had been some flooding in the spring that ruined some areas?)  The kids were getting hungry.  Finally, we came upon a group site that was a little ways from the road with a nice pullout to park our van.  Also closed.  But with the van not easily seen from the road...and with all that space to play...and guarantee of no other campers...and the beautiful stream and cliffs.  Well, the gate wasn't even locked.  And as I told Mark several times, loudly, we are allowed to primitive camp anywhere on the public lands we dang well please.  (He kept mentioning the "federales").  We only used the firepit, so what was the harm?

It turned out pretty nice and Luke especially really loved throwing rocks into the creek.  Everyone slept pretty well, even Leslie, who had a pretty good-sized boulder under her sleeping bag.  The next morning, several of the kids woke up soaking wet from our tent dripping with condensation.  It hadn't rained, but I guess it was just really humid.  (Darcy, how the heck do you camp in Oregon?)  They were pretty ornery and in no mood to hike, etc., so we just packed up in a hurry and left after feeding them donuts and yogurt out of the van.
Luke saw this picture and shouted, "Hot Dogs!"  The creek is between us and the cliffs, there was quite a bit more depth to this picture than it shows here.
Luke LOVED pitching rocks into the creek...but he didn't want to find and pick them up himself.  Good thing he's spoiled.
Our van is parked between this big rock and the highway.
"Sleeping Beauty might be a stretch, mom.  How 'bout Sleeping Sister?"  Luke slept great and didn't make a peep all night.

We did decide to loop around and come home through a different canyon so that we could explore more of the state and also be able to come home through Manti.  Once again, my map was able to provide us with some adventure.  We came through Ferron Canyon, which was beautiful and rugged.  The dirt road was surprisingly well kept even though I cowered a bit up one very steep and narrow switchback.  Having survived that, when the road started to get a little bumpy, we decided to take what looked like a major road, hopefully paved, as a shortcut to Manti.  I think it was called Skyline Drive.  Well, we definitely found the sign, even the road number, but it looked a bit questionable.  Mark, feeling intrepid, decided to go for it, hoping that it would get better after a little ways.  Well, it didn't.  Super narrow dirt road with the edges crumbling off down the steep dropoffs of switchbacks.  Lots of potholes, etc.  Then, we came around a switchback and were suddenly driving the very top ridge of the mountain with BOTH edges of the road crumbling off into nothingness.  Cooper started howling.  (He was voicing our common emotion.)  We drove a few more yards and then gasped as we saw a four-wheeler up ahead of us, zooming around the edge of an even higher cliff, on a very rough road that looked about four feet wide.  Our road.  My arm shot out to grab Mark and I declared a very definite NO.  Skyline Drive indeed--didn't realize it was a literal term.  I think someone forgot to put that it was only for four-wheelers, not Dodge Yaks.  I got out and luckily, where we stopped there was a gradual slope on one side where we could have a few extra feet to turn around with me directing the back of the van.  I've never high-centered on the very top of a mountain before and don't intend to.  Ever.  I really should have taken a picture when that four-wheeler illuminated our precarious situation, but I was too terrified to think about preserving the moment for posterity at the time.
This was a ways after we turned around.  I wish I would have taken a picture of where the road got so narrow on the Skyline.

Some of the view on our way back down, looking east toward Ferron.  There were several lakes and I don't remember which one this was. 
We went the regular way instead and even made it to Manti by lunch.  The brakes didn't smell very good but other than that, the Yak will live to see another day.
All the kids loved trying to run up the hill.  We're surprised that Luke didn't topple end over end with that big noggin of his.  It's much steeper than it looks in this picture.  This is also the site of the annual Manti pageant, but we haven't been adventurous enough to bring our children to that, yet.
Cooper is chillin' at our picnic.
I like this picture because Luke and Leslie here are showing us some proportion.  The temple is MASSIVE.

This picture was planned.  Mark's family has a favorite (or should I say infamous) family picture in front of the Manti Temple in about this same spot, right across the street from his Grandpa Day's house (only his family was right on the lawn--my fault, I was avoiding the power lines).  Let's check the comparison!  (See, we even tried to make it as memorable, being in our stinky camping clothes and all, but I just don't think the fashions quite measure up!  Especially you, Mark.  Where has sense of style gone?)
Back Row:  Dwight, JoAnn, Paul.  Front Row:  Sharon, DeAnn, Kathy, Mark.
Macy wanted her own picture in front of the temple.  She thought it was beautiful.
Luke also wanted his own picture taken.  Awww.
Mark's Grandma Melva and Grandpa Newel, sometime in the 70's.
Mark's Step-Grandma Lucy and Grandpa Newel, probably in the 80's.  Melva and Lucy were sisters.  (When Macy read this caption, she got a funny look on her face and said, "That's kinda silly!"  Then she asked, "were both of your grandpas brothers?")
Tonight Cooper shared a magical moment from the first day of school.  "Dad, let me tell you a lucky story."  (Whatever that means.)  "Today when I got on the bus after school, I said, 'Hey Boston'.  He said, 'You can sit right here if you want.'  So I sat down.  Then he said, 'You don't have to sit right there, sit somewhere else.'  Okay?...So I moved to the seat behind him.  Then, when I peeked over the seat, I saw him say, 'Hi Addy.  You can sit here if you want to.'  She said okay.  Then, when I looked again, Boston had been sitting all the way by the window and Addy was just on the edge of the seat, but Boston scooted over a little!"

We laughed pretty hard and Boston caught lots of flak about being a ladies' man.  Addy was in his class last year and I'm pretty sure the feeling is mutual.  She was excited to come over once this summer on a babysitting co-op exchange and she and Boston caught grasshoppers the whole time.  We even were friends with her parents when Boss and Addy were babies--maybe it's fate!

Cooper has been pretty nervous about school.  He didn't want to go and was complaining plenty the night before the first day, mostly something about that he wouldn't get to play football all day or work on his projects (his latest craze has been writing down every BYU football anyone can name in a notebook.  That includes pestering random people that come to our house--he'll ask them if they know the names of any BYU football players.  He's only asked me about eight times and I can usually only think of Steve Young, thanks to a pretty gorgeous got-milk ad that hung in my high school locker and on my wall at BYU.  Mark made me get rid of it when we were engaged, along with my Sean Connery/James Bond calendar.)  Anyway, I was expecting that the nervousness would go away after the first day, but he came home a little disturbed.

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Apparently, the teacher, who seems very nice, etc., has a behavior chart on the wall with all the kids' names.  If they break the rules "even accidentally!" exclaimed Cooper, the clip with their names gets moved down.  If it gets moved down enough times they have to go to the principal's office!  I guess one kid had his name moved down twice because he "accidentally made a mistake" and Cooper thought that was just atrocious.  "What if I accidentally don't know a rule and then I get in big trouble???"  I think he was up in the night about it.  He was still nervous after the second day and declared that he didn't like school because of this behavior thing.  (This from my kid who is such a sweetheart and never gets in trouble, etc.  The only sense I can make of his thinking is that for him, the worst thing in the entire WORLD is to be falsely accused.  Nothing makes him more upset.)  On day three we practiced saying out loud, repeat after me, "If my clip gets moved's NO BIG DEAL!"  Finally, after four days of school, he walked through the door with a huge pink Gerber daisy and a smile.  He said that his clip got moved up to "Excellent Effort" and that any kids whose clips got moved up got to take a flower from their teacher's bouquet home to their Mom.  Nice. 
Leslie, first day of 8th Grade.
Boston, first day of 3rd grade.  He had been bugging me for 45 minutes to go out to the bus stop and was mad that it was finally time to go but I had to take a picture.  Plus it was starting to rain.
Cooper, first day of 2nd Grade.
The boys were a little bugged that we couldn't find another umbrella (Leslie had already taken the good one...but they wouldn't have wanted a purple umbrella anyway!)  It never rains the first day of school!!  This is the desert! I also found it rather ironic that this year the name of their bus is the "Umbrella Bus".
Waiting for the Umbrella Bus.