Days 2015

Days 2015

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.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Just me and my Guy

September is definitely my favorite month of the year.  Gorgeous weather, birthdays, and school starts again!  I am soaking up the slower-paced days with just me and my little guy here at home.  So fun.  All summer we play hard, but with all these kids, odds are that at least one of us is fighting or mad or crying and upset, or not doing their jobs, etc., plus, this summer was kind of long and hard for everyone with all the work of the move, and then not having a lawn and not knowing many kids to play with.  So, everyone was excited for school to start and have somewhat of a return to normalcy.  (And my house is finally clean.)

Luke gets promoted!  With the kids gone, we are also starting (sigh) potty-training.
I have made it a point to put "Play with Luke" on my mental to-do list so I don't just get too wrapped up in all these projects I have been putting off.  And there is a lot of playing with Luke because his 2-3 hour naps are becoming a thing of the past.  (Rotten timing, I know.) Lucky for me he is a great little sidekick, pretty happy and good-natured, and does really well helping me around the house and running errands or shopping.  He does miss the kids.  The first day they were gone after he had been playing for a while he walked up to me and tried to explain something he had just realized.  With his palms out, he shook his head morosely, "Boddy gone.  Coor-per gone.  Macy--gone."  I added to his lament with a, "Leslie--gone.  Daddy--gone.  Just Mommy and Luke!  Let's read a story."

He does well playing by himself and has a good imagination.  I cracked up the other day when he came to me with this abstract creation, all excited, and said, "Look Mom!  A Princess!"  I guess his standards are pretty low.
My standard for princess is pretty high.  Here's one I know.  This picture is from Leslie's first time playing in the pep band and doing their Tarzan themed half-time show.  She was pretty excited to see some of her best friends from Lehi show up at the game to support her.  She has been practicing full time in August (8 hour days, much of it out in a 100 degree parking lot) and now part time after school three days a week, but she is loving it (and has never been so tan).  Marching band counts as a varsity sport, and now I know why.  She is loving it and wants to do it again next year.  We laughed when some of her new precision/balance skills showed up at the daddy daughter party last week when they had to do a marshmallow balanced on a spoon in their mouth race.  She didn't drop it once and even said that all that practice totally helped.  Skills, I tell you!

And now it's time for catch-up of some of our summer adventures.  After moving in (even with all the unpacking) we tried to take lots of breaks and explore our new area, also enjoying our closer proximity to 7 Peaks waterslides and BYU.  And, of course, (you know me) lots of trips to our new library. 
Trying out a new splash park.

 We did manage to break away for a little over a week in July and take off for the great white North to visit two of Mark's sisters in Idaho and Washington, and my family in Montana.
First we stopped off at Jake and Rachel's new house in Frenchtown.  They have a gorgeous location way up on the hillside, and Mark was whistling "If You could Hie to Kolob" under his breath as we wound and wound up the road.  Really beautiful, and I was way impressed at how much unpacking Rachel had done with a few weeks less than I had just had.  Luke and Jett enjoying their watermelon out on the deck.  Decks and kids eating messing foods:  it just makes sense.

Cooper manning one of Aunt Sharon's kayaks on Bottleneck Bay of Lake Pondereille.
Luke and Mark

The kids trying out the paddleboat.
When we got to Montana my sisters had borrowed a couple of horses from our neighbors.  (My folks no longer have horses, just 4-wheelers.)  It was fun for my kids to get to try them out.

Jake takes Cooper for a walk.

I went for a ride, too, with my much-more-cowgirl sister Brooke.  (My parents were even like, "she did what?")  I figured I'd be safe with Brooke since she used to be in charge of taking city kids riding on mountain trails at a dude ranch when she was a teenager.  I was pretty sore, later, and may or may not have been hollering like a ninny for Brooke to slow down when my fat horse started to trot my brains out. 
Luke didn't want to ride the horses but he was okay with feeding the cows.

Luke was in squirt gun heaven for most of the trip.
Mom and Dad took us 4-wheeling in the mountains one day, even though they had already gone with Darcy's family a few days earlier.

My favorite part was building this fairy house and trail with Bridger, Addy and Macy. 

My second favorite part was watching Brigham kick it all to bits later, (causing much weeping and wailing from Macy) and then as he tripped on Macy on the backswing, holler with much indignation, "Hey, Macy! You made me fall!"
Mom and the boys had quite the adventure riding in a cloudburst.
My Mom was a trooper to sleep out in the tent with these hooligans the whole time we were there.  And there was even a Mama Grizzly and her cubs in the neighborhood.

Up at Gibson Dam
Thanks to Jake and Dad for the boating trip.  I don't think anyone is having fun here.  At all.
Work hard and play hard.  When it's washing a dump truck, you combine the two!

We might have played a little TOO hard.  One afternoon my Dad felt like we better park all the 4-wheelers.  Then he took a nap, and a few boys and Jake decided that Grandpa was "just kidding" about that and took them for another ride.  Cooper swerved to miss a rock and lost control.  We think his helmet stayed on long enough for his impact but then it came off.  Jaxon looked back and saw him on the ground.  The 4-wheeler had rolled and bent this axle pretty bad.  Cooper was really lucky to only have a headache and just be a little scraped.  He came in later that night to my room crying that he was so glad he didn't die.  Me too.  We had a few talks as a family about "Honor thy father and thy mother that thy days may be LONG upon the land," and also about heeding the promptings of the Holy Ghost and the counsel of our leaders.
We had only been home for a few days when Mom and Dad came down to Utah for my new niece Hallie's baby blessing.  We met up with them for lunch.  Here is Mom meeting Hallie for the very first time.
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After our lunch, Mom, Macy, Leslie and I took Mom to IKEA for the first time.  Leslie needed some things for her room.  Mom was pretty funny.  Dad, I promise I tried to talk her out of this kitchen, but the Grandma in her is just too powerful.  She was outta control.
That night was fun.  All the boys were gone to a Bees game with Uncle Gib and us girls just stayed home, had an easy dinner, assembled our IKEA purchases while we watched White Christmas.  Christmas in July!

The baby blessing was beautiful and later that day Jake and Rachel brought their crew over to hang out and see the new place.
Later that week we were talking about how our summer had gone, and the kids reminded us that we hadn't gone camping yet.  We both kind of groaned because we have been so busy on Saturdays trying to work on the basement, and with Leslie in marching band, so we told them it probably wouldn't happen this year.  Then, the week that school was starting, I realized there was one Monday that no one had any obligations.  (School started that Wednesday.)  So, I loaded up the stuff and took off with the kids before lunchtime.
This is a funny picture but you can't see it very good.  The place we stopped for lunch was near this ENORMOUS wasps' nest, about the size of a basketball or bigger.  It was hot and they were sleepy, so we got pretty close to take this picture.  Leslie was pretty freaked out. 
We went on a fun little hike called The Grotto that we had been on for my birthday when Macy was about Luke's age.  It was fun to go back with the bigger crew.

Luke loved getting to cross all the logs and bridges by himself (sort of by himself).
When we got to the waterfall, Cooper decided he wanted to cool off.

Even Macy washer her hair a little.
Then, after finding out our intended campground at Payson lakes would not be very fun since the lake was infested with the swimmers' itch parasite, we got extra adventurous and drove the Nebo Loop over the tops of the mountains.  Gorgeous, yes, but I'm afraid of heights and the view is basically like looking out of the window of an airplane.  And usually Mark is the one who drives the windy mountain roads, so, I was feeling pretty Mom-of-the-year.  On the way down we found a really beautiful campground.  The camp host informed us with a smile that since it was a Monday we pretty much had run of the place, which was music to my ears (I hate camping around other people, that's SO WEIRD.)  Mark joined us at about dinner time, and was impressed that we already had the tent up, the fire going, and the Dutch oven potatoes cooking.  Unfortunately we left the nice marshmallow sticks at Payson Lakes, but Boston was happy to get to use his pocketknife to cut some new ones.
Then the magical day arrived...
Leslie, 9th grade.  I was literally chasing her down the sidewalk with the camera so she quick spun around and walked backward for this picture.  (Marching band skills again!) She gets to ride the bus but it comes kind of early.
Macy, 1st, Luke, Boston 4th, Cooper 3rd.  It was kind of chilly and windy, so they look kind of funny all bundled up mid-August. (They came home with the coats in the backpacks, all pink and sweaty.)  Luke and I rode with them and then met them on the way home, and I got a flat, so they've been going on their own just fine since then.  I'm kind of liking the bike riding at this point--they come home ready for a snack and sit down to do their homework instead of being all wound up still.  Macy is sure lucky to have a couple of big brothers to escort her, (her friends get dropped off) and they've been doing a great job.