Days 2015

Days 2015

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Making Lemonade

Our church schedule recently switched to afternoons, and while languishing (ha! you just got  glimpse of the real me.  I couldn't remember if it was "lying" or "laying", so I took the easy way out...) in bed last Sunday morning, Boston came in and announced that he was going to make pancakes, a first for him.  Great, I said, and rolled over.  He comes back after a few minutes, kind of talking fast and excited.  He had been reading the cook book.

"Mom, do we have any buttermilk?"

"mm hmm.  bottom shelf of the door.  big white carton."

"'Cause if we don't, I know what to do!  You just take two cups of lemon juice, and a little bit of milk, and add that instead.  I can't find the buttermilk."  He ran back out.

I rolled back over, opened my eyes, and made darn sure that he found the buttermilk.

We had another happy morning on Friday.  Mark's coworkers have gotten him to do this diet that they've been on, an he's been pretty happy with it.  He says it's been easy and he is now down to his wedding weight, having lost about 30 lbs since September.  It has been gradual but noticeable the whole time, or so I thought.

The kids, though, have not been paying much attention.  I guess because they usually see their Dad in his suitcoat on Sunday or in his baggy yardwork/football watching sweats.  Anyway, he bought some new jeans and came out wearing them on Friday morning.  (Mark calls them his midlife crisis jeans--he'll be turning 40 this spring.)  He looked great and no, I did not think it was appropriate to take a picture.

"Whoa, Dad!" says Cooper, eyes big.  "How did you get taller?"

Mark's luck continued to hold.   He had a cavity free checkup that morning, a life-insurance exam that gave him his best stats ever, and that night we went out to Ruby River steakhouse to celebrate his best-ever week at work (10 closings, 5 in one day) and his meeting his diet goal.  The waitress even complimented him on his jacket.  (Or so he thought, as he sheepishly confessed the next day.  She had been talking to me.)

Ruby River is not cheap, and we haven't been there for quite some time.  I remember going there with mom and dad to celebrate our BYU graduation, and going there with our friends the Rowleys when both my friend and I were 8 or so months pregnant with Boston and her son Easton.  That was a fun one.  We both were like, bring on the beef! and we could barely squeeze into the booth.  We miraculously ate more than the guys but I do remember taking multiple trips to the bathroom and laughing as we had to try to squeeze BACK into the booth, again.

To preface what happens next, let me just bring up a little trend I may have mentioned before.  Everywhere we go, usually when we are on a date, people come out of the woodwork that know Mark.  "Mark Day, Mark Day!  Hey, it's Mark!  Mark Day, wuzzup?  Hey Mark! Long time no see, man," etc.  I should have been warned when the one guy he knew in all of Canada, an old mission companion, spotted us as we were taking wedding pictures on the grounds of the Cardston Alberta Temple.  (Mark is also one of those annoying people who always win things at raffles and drawings.  I get him back when we go to church in smalltown Montana and everyone knows our business.  Ha.)  Well, it happened again, this time it was a co-worker from years ago.

When the ticket came (and Mark had ordered the prime rib) our bill had already been taken care of.  Thanks Albert!

Mark is on such a roll that this morning I informed him that he is even breaking into my subconscious.  Luke, at 6:45, had just woken me from a vivid dream where I had been examining the contents of my locker on the first day of high school.  I had been bewildered by a note on the inside of my locker door that just read, "Mark, XOXOX".  When I woke up I realized it was in my husband's handwriting.  Awwww, sweet!  Especially since (you see, our life is not completely perfect) I had been mad at him all afternoon yesterday for not patching a crucial bike tire.  He wanted to update the 72 hr emergency kits instead.  The nerve.

He is not the only hero around here, however.  When we carved pumpkins this year, we asked Luke what his jack o' lantern should be named.

He proudly answered, "Grandpa!"
I don't know if that was a compliment or not, since this "Grandpa" has neither hair nor teeth.
Luke was Buzz Lightyear for Halloween.  He is still tickled about the whole thing; every time I play Toy Story Memory with him, he flips over the Buzz card and yells, "It's me!"  Trick or treating, however, was a bit of a bust.  He had just woken up from a late nap and was super cranky and would only go to a few houses before Mark dumped him back off here.  I did like the way he ate his candy, though.  He'd choose one, I'd open it, he'd lick it or nibble it and declare, "I don't like this one", and ask for another.  Fine with me!

We were all rays of sunshine for Halloween.
 As you can see, we were missing one of our crew.  She has a life.
Here she is at her concert earlier that week.  All the kids were supposed to wear their costumes.  I thought her hair looked so beautiful under the lights and I just kept staring at her.  Can't you see her glow?  (I know, I'm biased, that may just be the spotlight...)

She was Alice in Wonderland, which was very appropriate for her trip to...Las Vegas.  I thought the playing cards in the pocket were a nice touch.  She had her last marching band competition there, on Halloween.  That night they wore their costumes and went to the Tournament of Kings at Ex Caliber.  She thought it was fun but I guess the dancers there were embarrassing.  Fie, Vegas.
We watched the movie Inside Out with the kids this week.  If you haven't seen it, it's about the emotions as characters inside your head.  There's a Joy, an Anger, Sadness, a Fear and Disgust, etc.  We loved it, especially the message that mixed emotions are a part of life--opposition in all things, you know?  No sweet without the bitter.  No lemonade without the lemons.  I am especially happy to have a new talking point for my particular child that struggles with a severe temper.  (She is the "Darcy" of the family.)  It was so cute.  I could here her pledging to herself that Anger was not going to take over!  And then the next day she cried after losing her temper because she had done just that.  Oh, sweet Sorrow.

Sometimes it takes the really bad to stir up the good.  We were sad to watch the coverage of the attacks on Paris this week.  Mark served his mission there and it is a special place.  I hope that some good comes of it and hearts are softened there.  What surprised me is that I kept thinking about the mothers of those terrorists--and their likely lack of influence.  It is so sad that there are so many cultures that take the men-children away while they are still young and impressionable and fill them with hate, programming them to do these terrible things.  I kept imagining, what if a hostile army came to my door and conscripted my tender young sons?  What would be my desperate parting words?  What lessons have I yet to teach?  Well, gladly, that won't happen to me, but shouldn't I take the hint and teach them those life or death things right now? What would you say to your children if they had to grow up, without you, right now?

You have the Holy Ghost.  Keep your heart pure so you can listen to those feelings--they are your lifeline.
Always pray.
Look for ways to make the ones around you less lonely and afraid.  This will help you find peace and courage yourself.
Don't give place to anger, it will destroy you.
Remember the truth about who you are.
Trust God, He will make all things right.  He is the "High Priest of Good Things Yet to Come".

I think I have some more teaching to do.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015


Green eyes, blue eyes! I love this picture.  Since this shot, Macy has lost her other top front tooth as well.

Macy was supposed to do a photo book for school of a several-step process (they are talking about sequence).  She built a fort for her project.
Luke also wanted to build a fort.  He made Leslie be the foundation.
Mark's favorite time of year came around twice this year because of our move.  Cooper was pretty happy since he wasn't yet old enough for the first derby.  His fire engine came in the middle of every race, so he never lost!  Boston's car was a veteran--no need to build two cars in one year.  Since it had not placed the first time around and in the months since had been through several flying trips down the stairs and into walls, been stepped on and thrown by little brothers, it was far from being the well-balanced, streamlined machine it had once been, so I felt a little sorry for him and his chances.

Surprise!  Boston's old beat up car came in second place.  He must be good at that silver medals, having won 2nd place in the Raingutter Regata when he was a brand new cub scout.

We spent a fun evening at Heehaws (a corn maze and all kinds of fun harvest/farm activities), courtesy of Leslie's orthodontist who has a pizza night there every year.  As you can see, she is no longer needing the services of the orthodontist.  Check out that gorgeous smile!  The kids loved this huge corn trough the best, it was a foot deep or so.  They didn't want to get out but the boys were wrestling rather violently (picture whitewashing in the snow, only with hard corn,) and I had to physically drag them out.  Mom spoiled all the fun but I think we were starting to alarm some of the younger kids' mothers.  I am still finding corn around my house, falling out of jacket pockets, etc.

Leslie helps tame the beasts.

We had a fun Saturday afternoon playing with our new niece Hallie.  Cute Cute Cute.  Macy is happy to get another girl cousin.

We took a fun trip over Fall Break to Capitol Reef National Park.  This old farmhouse in Lyman, Utah is on the way, and it was a onetime hideout of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.  I had to stop. 

Here we are on a late afternoon hike to Hickman Natural Bridge.  (Our family is collecting Arch hikes.)  This was a fun one because it was just the right length and moderate ups and downs, with a lot of little "bear caves" along the cliff face for the kids to pop into.  Luke did 2/3 of the hike on his own, with Mark carrying him over the slippery parts or if he got tired.

This is Luke's standard camera face.

This is still a ways from the Bridge itself but it was a pretty good carved out area to tuck into for some shade

Boston was stomping on us while we were resting in the shade.

We made it!  The water directly underneath was dried up but there were several small pools along the way.

I had fun trying to take a wall-worthy picture.  There had been some framed at the deli we stopped at for lunch the day before and I was trying to see if I could do one like it.

Fall break was too short, but we managed this campout and to get a lot of projects done around our house.  We now have a front lawn, Mark has completely finished framing the basement, and our boys have a basketball hoop up.  Next project:  Leslie's bookshelves.

The kids pick out their pumpkins at our friend Aaron's annual pumpkin patch.
I will tackle Halloween next post.  In closing (and in celebration of Leslie's marching band season coming to a close--she'll be home twice as much now!) here is, finally, a clip of her full performance for all of my out-of-state family that I am sure is dying to see it. (It's almost 10 minutes long.)  She says she wants to to do it again next year.
It was funny to watch this with her, she was like, "Oh, I missed a step there, the horns are off there, we are kind of crooked here..."  This video was from a competition in Pleasant Grove.  She thought that the Las Vegas and BYU competition performances were better, but this is the one I've got a video of.  To keep track of her, at the beginning she is fourth from front on the left.  In the middle, when they make a heart shape around Tarzan and Jane dancing, she is the bottom tip of the heart.  She is one of only two flutes.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A Questionable Morning

I've been trying hard to be a gentler, kinder version of myself.  As in, not being a drill-sergeant parent.  This is easier said than done, so as we approach General Conference, where we get two days of counsel from the wisest, kindest men, (apostles of the Kindest Man who ever was) I decided I am going to listen for ideas on how to do this.  I especially want to be a kinder parent while at the same time teaching my children to be agents, not victims.  (Responsible.)

Anyway, yesterday having formulated my question for conference, I was at the library with the kids so Cooper could pick up a book report book.  (Who am I kidding? we are at the library every few days, book report or not.)  I came across a book by Wendy Nelson, wife of Elder Nelson, about asking great questions.  Aha!  Just what I had been thinking about:  trying to come up with a great question for conference.  So I got it and so far the book is great, but what I mostly have gotten out of it is that I need to ask questions much more often as a parent, not just tell the kids what they need to do.  Supposedly, not only will this help me be gentler and less drill-sergeant, it will ALSO help the kids to think and act for themselves. 

I decided to do a little experiment.  Since I had come to this realization this morning, when the kids were still sleeping, I decided to see if I could get them through the before-school rush-hour by ASKING questions gently and kindly, without sarcasm or anger, (and not just pointed questions like, "Will you PLEASE eat your breakfast!!") instead of TELLING as often as possible.  This took some fast-thinking, and I didn't entirely succeed in coming up with a question at every point of communication, (and some of those questions were definitely "leading the witness") but I did pretty good.

For example:
Instead of berating Macy for not being dressed yet, I asked her what she was going to wear today.

Instead of casting alarm about how late it was getting, I asked Cooper if he thought he could get dressed and have breakfast in time to make it to school for his field trip.  (And I remained calm.)

Instead of demanding that Boston come upstairs and eat his breakfast, I sat on his bed and asked him if he was going to have one of the few remaining blueberry muffins.  (Okay, I may have exaggerated a bit about the number of remaining muffins, but it lit a fire under him alright.)

"If you can't finish your muffin, do you have room for a cheese stick?"
"Which cup is yours?"  (This actually worked.  He didn't answer but found his cup and drained it.)
"Do you know where your bike helmet is?"
"Are you going to be able to leave with the other kids?  Do you have time?"
"Do you think you could manage chewing on this at the same time as you are tying your shoes?"
"What pretty should we put in your hair today?"

I also noticed that I sort of perked up when someone asked me a question, since I had been so intentional about my words and questions.  Unfortunately, the question was, "Why do I have to eat breakfast?"  Oh well, he got an answer, and he asked for it!!

They all got out the door on time, fully clothed and fed, helmets on, and I felt like mom of the year.

This has been a fun and busy month.  We had parties and picnics, house and landscaping projects, three birthdays along with several football games (flag and watching BYU) and also Leslie's marching band performances.

Last month at the Utah County fair.  Luke loved this little choo-choo ride.  I loved the lack of crowds (and I admit, I tried the deep fried cheesecake.  eh.)

Boston turned 10.  His birthday was kind of rushed and unorganized because Mark got really sick with some kind of way high fever/flu so we couldn't do much, also because both boys had football games.  He's blowing out his candles here in his uniform, ready to go.  Although he did get a few presents, he was most excited about a robotics club course at school that we agreed to partially pay for.
I liked it when Boston had his blue shorts and Cooper his green laces and gloves so I could pick them out from the rest of the melee.  (I have very few pictures.  It was kind of pointless with so much action in such a tangle of uniforms.)  Boston played for the Cowboys and Cooper was a Pirate.  Boston preferred defense and had a lot of "pulls" (downs and sacks) also an interception or two, Cooper preferred offense and made many touchdowns, usually playing wide receiver, also had a lot of pulls. 
These two are unstoppable.  I could tell that they have both had a lot of practice, with each other and also with friends at recess.  Cooper is a football maniac as it is (practices every waking moment and I am so not kidding, refuses to discuss an alternate career path other than playing for BYU--good thing he'll be tall, etc.), so it was very fun to watch him play, and Boston (although claiming to like baseball better--I think that may have something to do with number of wins) seemed much more fluid and confident and aggressive in this sport, probably just from practice with Cooper.  

Luke playing with Boston and his friend Ben while it was their turn to be on the sidelines.  (Only 8 of 12 on the field at a time, so each player rotated out.)
Lookin' good, but I think we're going to go with golf or baseball with this one.  Mom is going to plead heart condition.  It probably won't work, I've argued with Cooper 'til I'm blue in the face that he's just going to get hurt playing football, and he tells me, "I've had so many surgeries mom!  I don't care about Pain!  Grrr!"  He told his horrified plastic surgeon (who did his nose job) the same thing.  Oh well.  Let live. 
 Speaking of, here's Cooper's latest.  Happened when Boston was procrastinating sweeping off the patio and was swinging the broomstick around in a circle instead.  Leslie and I were at the General Women's Broadcast, and when I came home to an empty house with the bathwater still in the tub and Luke's shoes in the middle of the floor, I thought something might be up...  He gets them out on Saturday.  Has it slowed down the football 24/7?  Of course not.
I like this one of Boston.  Number 2.
Boston waiting for the kick.
Boston in huddle.  His coach reminded me of cross between a pirate and Santa Claus--he had quite the laugh.  We wish they could have had more wins (and more than two plays), but I was proud of Boston's good attitude and that he played hard every game.

Forgot to get more pics of Cooper.  Here he is watching the kick--number 10.  Some of the kids on both teams were pretty good and will be at the same schools as my boys, so it will be fun to see if they all end up playing high school football together.  Boston and Landon can block for Cooper and Ben, etc.
Mark doesn't intentionally tease and embarrass me very often, so I had to protest by taking a picture with my phone.  I was a bit chilly during Cooper's last night game, and Mark went out to the car to move it and to see if he could find me something to wear.  He came back with one of those foil emergency blankets and proceeded to open the package and unwrap it and swaddle me in it, much to the curiousity of the crowd.  (Why is that lady dressed like a fast food hot dog?)  I kept telling him to stop and even threw Cooper's football at him, but he just laughed harder.  If you are wondering, it was sorta comfortable.  Just loud and crackly.  I think I distracted the ref.

I'm fuming on the inside.  Kate Bassett, I thought of you and Bishop Bassett's popcorn popper wife heater invention!  I really truly loved going to all of my boys' games, and although it may have had something to do with sitting down for more than five minutes without interruption, I thought it was great fun.
When Mark was so sick I took him to the doctor for the first time since we've been married.  We kept Luke happy by taking his picture.  Several times.  The little ham.

The kids have had a great time with the big piles of dirt in the empty lot next to us.  I'll be happy when the dirt is gone.
When Mark was recovered, we had crepes one Sunday.  Macy got a little frightful with the Nutella.
Although it's fuzzy, this picture makes me laugh.  Macy had gone through a bunch of boxes of Leslie's old clothes that are now her size.  Usually so fashion conscious, this was her plan of what to wear to school the next day.  (It also happened to be hat day.)  An old pilled up pajama top with the buttons not even done up straight.  Over a black tank top.
And Luke turned 3. When I asked him what kind of cake he wanted, he said, "Round."  He later told me he wanted "orange".  Well, they didn't have any orange cupcake papers, so he got footballs instead.  I remember that when I turned four I told my mom I wanted a Green Fly speck cake.  So I got one.  (Fly speck=poppy seed.)  

Luke so enjoyed the candles and the singing that he insisted, "Let's do it again!!"  So, we did.  He also insisted all week that for his birthday we were going to "the waterfall", so Mark came home early so we could hike to the Grotto waterfall again with Grandpa and Grandma Day.  The leaves were beautiful--pink and red.  (And I didn't take any pictures.  If you're curious, it's the same hike we went on in my last entry.)  It was a great birthday activity.

We were all excited for Luke to get this Big Wheel.  He has outgrown the Beep beep.  Mark says some of his earliest memories are of riding down a big hill on a Big Wheel when they still lived in Cincinnatti.  I remember my brothers being little terrors on these--and did Darcy have a purple one at some point?
He also asked if he could do some deoderant.  Usually I tell him no, but what the heck.  It was his birthday. 

I thought his new Leader of the Pack shirt was particularly appropriate.  Vroom Vroom!
We ended up changing his shirt when he choked on his picnic lunch and puked all over it while we were waiting for Leslie to get her braces off.  Of course you puke on your new birthday shirt.  Couldn't have planned it better.  He also really liked this new playdoh steamroller toy and has played with it every day since.
This Saturday was crazy with Father's and sons campout, Cooper's semifinals football game (he was late getting back, only played half the game, and they lost by one.  Drat!) I hurried a little too quick back home (got my first spding ticket here--right behind our house--so lame!) so I could chaperone Leslie's marching band competition.  Missed that bus so I drove, but it worked out well because we didn't have to stay for the whole thing.  Mostly I stood around in the hot and helped move props.  They did a great job on their performance.  Here is a short clip I took of one of the movements--I didn't know if I'd have enough memory on my phone to film the whole thing (plus I forgot until it was half over anyway...)  This is from ground level as I was crouching under the bleachers with the other parents waiting to cart away the props.  Leslie is one of two flutes--the taller one.  I tried to center the camera on her when I could pick her out.  During the last bit she is kind of behind the gong.  And yes, she does bust a few moves on this, pretty fun to watch.  Sorry you aren't getting the from the bleachers up above full view.