Days 2013

Days 2013

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Meet Your Match

The New Year always brings some sentimental feelings because Mark proposed on New Year's Eve 1998.  This year on New Year's Day we were reminiscing in front of the kids and asked each of them how they plan to find a mate.  Their answers were pretty entertaining.  Enjoy.

Boston:  Well, you just pick the prettiest one, I guess.  Then you have to go on some dates to get to know each other,  And you probably have to (leaning in to whisper to Mark) kiss 'em a couple times.  Then you get married.

I wasn't letting him off that easy so I asked him, what happens if there are a lot of pretty girls.  Then how do you pick?  What do the girls do?

Boston:  The girls sort of...walk around. 

I asked him again, so how do you pick from the girls walking around?

Boston:  I'll pick the one that looks like she's been walking around a long time!

(I hope that doesn't translate to, "she's been around the block a few times"!)

Macy was bouncing on the couch with excitement and started to interrupt.

Macy:  I have a REALLY good plan.  When it's time to get married I'll write the names of the boys on a paper.  Then I'll cut the paper into boxes--not cut the names.  Then I'll put them in a cup and mix them up and pick one!  (This from my child who is all about paper projects, writing things and cutting them out.  Makes perfect sense.) 

Mark then asked her how she would decide who to write down.

Macy:  Well...some of the boys have to be ones I already know, that are older than me.  The other names can be new ones that I meet.

We then indulged in teasing her about what neighbor boys she might have in mind for her Win Lose or Draw.

It was then Cooper's turn.  Cooper is smooth.  First he responded with an obnoxious pick up line from our favorite comedy show from BYU, Studio C.  "Hey baby, you ticklish?"  We didn't laugh so he rethought things. 

Cooper:  How 'bout this.  I'll get a big jar of peanut butter.  (He stands up and acts out the whole process with a lineup of invisible maidens.)  I'll open it up.  Then I'll walk past until someone comes up and says, "Oooh, can I have some?"  That's the one I'll marry.  (Cooper loves peanut butter and recently told us that the first thing he is going to do when he gets his own house and graduates from college is to buy himself a big jar of peanut butter just for him so he can double dip.  He regularly asks for "peanut butter on a 'poon" for a snack.)

We asked  him what happens if a whole bunch of girls like the peanut butter, then how will he decide.

Cooper (once again acting it out):  I'll get the girls in a line and do this trick.  (He links his two pointers and thumbs together in a chain and then "breaks" them apart for each girl).  I'll ask, "is this magic?" "No."  "Is this magic?" "No."  "Is this magic?" "Yes.  How'd you do that?"  "Ok, let's get married." 

Mark started teasing him that he must want his wife to be blonde, then.  (Cooper does have a sweet spot for our bishop's little blonde daughter, but I don't think even she would fall for the magic trick.)

Leslie was enjoying listening to this conversation but didn't want to contribute much.  We did get out of her that her husband has to be taller than her, older than her, and have a good testimony of the gospel.  Way to be vague, sweetheart.  Although I must say my list was pretty similar at that age and I got it right on all three counts.

I don't think we asked Luke for his plans, but I'll pretend he just yelled, "Mommy!" and came and give me a hug, excluding all other possible outcomes.

Just wanted to jot these down for future reference:)

Friday, January 2, 2015

Christmas Letter 2014

Just thought I'd include our Christmas letter in here before time got away from me.  Happy New Year!

Dear friends,                                                                                                                                                          

My challenge to you this Christmas season is to think more deeply about why the Lord has put certain people in your life (because He does, you know).  What can you learn from them?  Can you possibly help them in some way?  I’m serious about this challenge.  Make a list.  Think about it on walks, in the shower, driving to work, doing the dishes.  Discuss it with your family. It will immediately increase your “Christmas Spirit” (translation:  love for God and those around you.)  
Here is a rough attempt from me to get you started.

Leslie (age 13):  Leslie is walking proof that dreams do come true.  She is such a good girl, hard working, unselfish, trustworthy.  I think she came to our family to be an example to my other kids, to be my friend, to help shoulder the load of a large family (without complaining), and also to “let us off easy” so that we could expend some of that parental angst on our other children.  I love having a teenager and also enjoy watching her life expand.

Boston (age 9):  Ah Boston.  Boston, with his postponed arrival to our family (Leslie was 4 ½ when he was born) definitely taught us that our “story” for how life should go, and when, is not God’s Story.  God’s story is always better.  Sometimes I laugh because I think maybe I needed that extra time to prepare for this strongest-willed child.  Boston and I hold hands through all the tough stuff parenthood brings.  I learn the most from being his mom.  The hardest work also brings the greatest rewards, so I guess it would be truthful to say that Boston regularly makes me the happiest, and I feel like he has grown up a lot this year.  Boston also provides most of the affection for the entire family and especially loves the baby.  Boston and Cooper have also helped me realize why I needed to grow up with two little brothers, who have similar personalities to my boys, especially Jake with Boston.   Thanks Mom and Dad, for showing me how it’s done.

Cooper (age 7):  Cooper helps me to get in touch with my emotions.  All of them.  He is my most tender (asked me this morning if he could bring a treat to his Speech teacher because her husband died).  He is my most hilarious.  He has the strongest sense of injustice and also great courage.  I think one of my proudest moments the whole year was watching him the second day of swimming lessons as he, absolutely terrified the day before, walked to the pool with his chest out, trusting that God would help him.  This year Cooper also created emotions I didn’t know I had as I watched him tear it up on the baseball field.  I used to hate sports.  What was I thinking?  Enter—Intensity!

Macy (age 5):  Macy proves to me that children are born to certain parents for certain reasons.  I get her, but can also see so much of Mark’s social side shining through.  She also proves that children come with their own ready-made personalities.  She has a large one and it has been fun and challenging and rewarding to help her channel some of that intelligence and passion (we call it extra vinegar) for life.  Macy also treasures the girly side of things, which is so fun for me and provides huge balance to our rowdy household. 

Luke (age 2):  We have already learned so, so much from the medical difficulties and mortal questions surrounding Luke’s birth, (I seriously think about those lessons every day and thank the Lord for the lessons and also for the happy outcome), that now we just get to enjoy him--and enjoy him we do.  I honestly think that little ones are so necessary to have around because they just bring such a deep love and instant happiness into the home, scribbled walls and all, and it affects every member of the household.  Luke I’m sure you have much more to teach us.

Mark (don’t think he wants his age posted):  It’s hard to narrow this down for a spouse because they affect so much of who you are, but I think that this year at least, Mark has helped me focus on trying to figure out what the Lord wants for our family, and then to go ahead and do it AND be happy with it.  As the song goes, “Lead kindly light…one step enough for me.”  He changed companies twice this year, one time a week before we were about to purchase a home, and finally we feel really good about where he is working and where we are.  Mark also echoes my challenge—he spends a lot of his time ministering to members of our church and I know that he has expressed several times this year that he knows that certain people have come into his life for special reasons.

I hope you know that you are on our list of “certain people”.  We think of you fondly and consider the ways you have enriched our lives.  We are thankful to have the family and friends that we do and are especially thankful for Him this Christmas season.


Jackie, Mark, Leslie, Boston, Cooper, Macy, Luke Day

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Luke 2

Luke examines the snow outside on Christmas morning (notice, it's still dark).
Having Luke, age 2, around this holiday season made for a fun and, shall we say, energetic Christmas.  He actually did really good staying out of the Christmas tree and only partially unwrapped one gift before Christmas.  He has also loved (some) of the Christmas carols, particularly Jingle Bells and Angels We have Heard on High.  (If we elected to sing a different Christmas song at bedtime, he would yell at us and tells us no, although finally by Christmas he was warming up to a few others.) 
Cooper and Luke with the hymn books.
Macy is front and center with white sleeves.
The Gloria chorus of that last song has been belted out by his little two-year-old voice many a time over the last few weeks, on broken record mode.  Particularly in public, like in the long line at the WalMart checkout.  When the clerk complimented him on his singing, THAT's when he got shy, burying his face in my coat.  Jingle Bells was also pretty fun, since he doesn't really get any of the words, just the melody and some of the vowel sounds in the right places.  He was cracking us up on Christmas day, singing in the car on the way to Mark's brother's house, because he would just fill in the lyrics with whatever vocabulary words were part of his stream-of-consciousness as he watched out the window.  "Cars" and "outside" and "snow" popped up amidst the "Bee-Bo Bell", as did "cake" (he must have noticed the chocolate cake perched precariously on my lap.)  Luke also loved watching the kids' Christmas Singalong at the school and enjoyed applauding for everyone.

 How else did this walking two-year-old tornado contribute to the festivities?  Well, a favorite moment of mine happened a few days before Christmas break when I was innocently holding him on my lap during a show and he decided to rear back his enormous melon of a head.  I thought he had split my cheek open but turns out it just left me a dandy fine shiner for Christmas.  I had fun teasing Mark that everyone was going to think he was a brute (he says I just talk back too much.)
Jackie's shiner w/o makeup, about a week later.
Luke and the rest of my kids were extremely excited for our Haynes cousins to come visit us from Montana (usually we only see them at my parents' house) and to have a sleepover.  The weather was drizzly so we took a short field trip to the church gym and rode scooters around and played with balls.  The boys have particularly loved a wiggle scooter given to us by our wonderful neighbors and were excited to share it with everyone.  (I've been letting them ride it around on our shotgun stretch between the front and back door in the house.)
Rachel and Addaboo take a turn.

Macy was way excited to have a girl cousin to play with.

Bridger and Cooper thought this was a pretty cool pose and commanded me to take a picture.
Christmas Eve was particularly choice.  Crucial to success was to not have my expectations too high, and to be flexible.  We tried going to a movie that afternoon--but Luke refused to take a nap before or during, so Mark had to take him out about 1/3 of the way through.  Good thing it was free on our passes.  Next on the agenda was our dinner of "favorite things".  Everyone gets to pick a favorite food (we encourage a take-out item, but ice cream made the list a few times also) and then Mark drives around and gathers it up with the kids while I get the house and table ready to go.  This year we had Pizza Hut pizza (two kinds), sticky rice with peanut sauce from the Thai House, ice cream, Arctic Circle Yukon Gold french fries, ice cream, and orange chicken from Panda Express.  (If our budget was bigger we would have gone bigger, but everyone was happy with this and it made for some leftovers for Christmas lunch.)  Boston pushed for Subway but that is kind of hard to eat family style.  Luke is extremely picky right now but pizza is probably his favorite food, so this made for a nice, quiet dinner.  Other than the fact that he got done before everyone else, got down, and promptly threw a football onto the table.  Good thing I had left the candlesticks off.

Next up was games.  First the kids wanted to play spoons since they finally all kind of get how the game works.  Macy lost all rounds but one because she's pretty slow but she still enjoyed it.  Luke loved it a little too much; he sat on my lap and screamed when I tried to pass my cards down to Leslie.  We had to make her a separate draw pile.  Then I decided it was the year to teach the kids how to play one of my favorites, Taboo.  Macy reads so well I figured we could just pass the ones that the kids didn't know and it would go great, boys against girls.  Well, I forgot one very crucial part of the Taboo game--there is a really awesome buzzer.  Luke took one look at that thing and it was pretty much game over.  He wanted it, wanted no one else to have it, and wanted to continually hold the button down.  We had to box everything back up after about five minutes, amidst much weeping and wailing.  (Luke's.  I was keeping it pretty chill.)  Charades went pretty well, other than Mark being a party poooper and refusing to act out "flower girl".  Our last game was a big success; we played Mexican Jumping beans.  It's kind of like limbo, but instead of going under a stick, you have to hop over it.  We stack a broomstick on cans of beans and make everyone try to jump as the stack gets higher and higher.  (We allowed a couple of run-up steps on the last few rounds.) I lost big time, only clearing 3 cans before knocking the stick off.  Macy and the boys did surprisingly well.  Leslie and Mark did really well, with Mark the grand champion at 8 cans high, pretty impressive hops there Mark--must be all that volleyball on Saturday mornings with the fellas. Luke mostly kept out of the way and watched with me from the stairwell.  The kids were SO excited and cheering and screaming for their Dad. Boston took a video and Mark thinks it's funny to see that he was so excited he forgot he was filming it.

Last up was opening the Christmas jammies from my mom and reading the Christmas story from Luke 2.  (The kids had already acted out a nativity scene with their cousins a few days earlier, so we skipped that part.)  This could have gone better--Luke mostly ran around during scripture study (like he does every night) and distracted all of the kids (like he does every night.)  Need to work on this I guess.

Christmas Day dawned early--a heavy snowfall brought 5 AM snowplows past our windows and woke up half the kids.  They got back to sleep (but I didn't).  No presents before 7, so at seven we came downstairs to open the haul.  Fun stuff.
I thought Macy looked super cute in her new striped jammies and her striped tiger hat from Aunt Darcy that she has been wearing almost every night since Thanksgiving.

Luke didn't want to wait for breakfast and requested apples.  Not one, but two.  Well, they ARE red and green...

Loved the touch of sass in getting your husband coal for Christmas.

Cooper requested pretty much everything football related.  And some KitKats.

Cooper has loved playing this football with Mark.  It has the plays on it.

Unfortunately, Luke thinks the football is his.  I actually bought a smaller one for Cooper also to give Luke, but Luke knows which one is the good one.

Melissa and Doug brand Chopper toy.  BEST TOY EVER.  All these wooden vegetables and bread are cut into sections and then velcroed together, and the toddler chops them apart on a cutting board with a little dull wooden knife.  Super entertaining and fun for the other kids to stick the stuff back together.  After Luke opened this he just wanted to play and didn't want to open up any other presents.  Grandpa Day was a good sport to do it with him for a long time.

Some fancy stuff for my girly girl.  We decided to get her these after we found out that she'd been doing puppy dog eyes to the teenage neighbor girls with a "I never get my nails painted".

The boys were really cute with their new stacks of football and baseball cards.  This is what they both asked for, also blank pocket pages, (they both have a collection in a binder because they get one of Mark's old baseball cards every time they practice the piano) and they were so psyched, talking about the players all morning.  Mark was cracking up because, as he said, the level of expertise about the player and the level of excitement over "who" they got didn't match up very well.  They kept being stoked about these no-name guys, it was really funny.  I love Cooper's face in these pictures.

This Grandma knows her girl.  (Fancy Nancy).

Although the boys got Mario Cart from Santa, I caught the girls playing it together after their rooms were clean.
Mark had a cool surprise gift.  A few weeks before Christmas I got a random email from someone from Oak City, Utah, (where Mark's grandparents are buried) saying that he found a tape of Mark's grandpa Newel singing among his mother's effects.  Grandpa Newel was (in)famous for his fun folksongs with guitar and would do evenings of entertainment for ward dinners, etc.  We have heard some recordings of some of the songs, but didn't have any of them ourselves.  Anyway, this distant relative digitized every track on the tape for me and also sent us the original, so Christmas morning after the presents Mark and I curled up on the couch with our breakfast and listened to his Grandpa sing.  We laughed pretty hard and also laughed a bit in shock at the generation gap (some of the songs were very NOT politically correct--generations older than Newel even, and I probably won't let my kids listen to a select few.)  We laughed the hardest at one song I had heard a few times that has a verse about a fellow that realized his pants had split "I was losin' my desire to dance", because Mark split his good suit pants just a couple of weeks ago and I almost spoiled the surprise quoting that particular line at him.  Here's the link for you to enjoy the split pants song.  Listen for my favorite verse about the peacock, also.

The next few pictures are from the second week of Christmas break.  I took the kids sledding at a local amphitheater park that we have been to a few times.  It was really fun even though the snow wasn't that deep, and the hill was just the right grade for Luke to still hike up it himself, pretty impressive for a two-year-old.  Last year he cried when we even set him on the sled but this year he had no problem going down on the saucer on my lap.  It helped that the snow wasn't blowing up into our faces.
Luke, Macy and Cooper on the slopes.

Luke hiking up the hill by himself.

Monday, December 8, 2014

What Makes a Man go North in Winter?

A few days before Thanksgiving we took an unexpected trip to Montana for my Grandpa's funeral.  He was my namesake and of course I will miss him (I've been super lucky to have been raised close to all of my grandparents and have always considered them some of my best friends), but when the funeral is of someone who has lived a full life, it is also accompanied by a lot of good things--lots of memories, lots of family.

Macy is the Queen of the Van.  Look at these two good boys, not even squirming.  This was not a posed picture, she was really doing that.
At least there was a lot more room to spread out at Grandma's house, and lots of toys and cousins.  Macy really had a blast now that some of her younger cousins are getting old enough to play with her. 

And You...must be Jett.  Let's be buddies.

Aren't they cute in their "Baby Papa pants"?

Confronted with planning two funerals (she is a brand new Relief Society president) and a ton of unexpected company, my mom had a genius idea to turn the heated garage into the Bat Cave--a tumbling football wrestling den by day and a cousin bedroom by night.  It was too fun to sleep in sometimes but oh so nice to have a rowdy room when the house was full.
Boston asked me recently if he was ever going to get to have a sleepover.  I reminded him that he just did.  Oh yeah, he said with a smile.
Luke provided plenty of entertainment for everyone.  Thanks to Uncle Gib for playing football in the house with my boys.
This picture has nothing to do with the trip, but it was on my camera and too funny not to share.  Look closely.  Do you see a face?  Now, which kid do you guess that is?  Let me give you a hint.  As he would say, "Does this LOOK like anyone else's nose?"  Yep, Cooper.  That dang microfibre couch has to get scrubbed about once a month because it shows every little spot of water, and Luke is a big drooler.  Leslie did a great job scrubbing it Saturday...and Luke proceeded to scribble all over every cushion with a pen.  Sigh.  Anyone want a couch?

This was a "good activuddy".  (Pardon my Bryan Regan quoting.)  Dad was all set up with the clays for skeet shooting.  Leslie got to do the "pull".  My sister Darcy, in the pink hat, flew in from Portland and my brother Duke in the blue hat drove up from Wyoming.

The boys watch the shooting and wait for their turn.  Thanks for the fire, Jared.

My sister-in-law Natalie had some happy news for us.  She and Duke will be welcoming a baby this summer.  As my Dad said when they announced it, well, Circle of Life.  This picture is a bit humorous because you can see a vehicle on the horizon.  We had to tell everyone not to shoot.  When there is so little traffic on the dirt road, it wasn't really part of the plan...
Love this picture, Natalie.  We could probably think of a few good captions for what you might be telling your hubby, as a lady in first trimester with a deadly weapon. 

Leslie and Duke

I thought he had hit the clay pigeon and was cheering for him, but I guess it was actually my cousin Eric, behind him here.

Hold on tight, Boston!

I think he liked it but wasn't fond of the kick.  I like this picture of my Dad in the background, too.
Cooper also had a turn.  He's so skinny I'm glad he had the padding of this coat for his shoulder.

Hey, Hey, we're the Monkees!  Jaxon, Boston, Cooper and Bridger, cleaning up some post funeral goodies.

I must be winning.  This is a double game of our family's favorite Shanghai Rummy with my Aunties and cousins.  I did manage to beat Darcy handily one night and dutifully stuck the scoresheet on the fridge for the week.  Ha.

And don't forget the Cheetos!  (We always played cards on Sunday afternoons at my Grandpa and Grandma's house with a big bag of Cheetos on the table.  Orange cards are a sign of love.)

These three haven't been together since they were little tots.  Sierra, Leslie, and Sahara are second cousins, all in braces.
 The day before Thanksgiving there was a beautiful snowfall.  I had planned to finally get our family pictures done that day there on the farm with so many beautiful backdrops.  Unfortunately, Macy woke up in the night throwing up (germs from the funeral, perhaps?) and spent the rest of the day wiped out, quarantined in my room.  Fortunately for me, my sister Darcy the nurse was the one in the room next to Macy's who heard the commotion and cleaned up the mess and loaded the washer and shoved Macy into my room before I was even awake.  Above and beyond, sis.  Luckily Darcy managed to not get sick--if she throws up she's not allowed to go to work for a week.  The rest of us were not so lucky.  Luke ended up spewing (I think for the first time) on Grandma's rug that night and so we decided to high tail it home before anyone else (mostly Mark or me) got sick for the nine hour drive.  Also because, how better to quarantine a 2-year old than in a carseat?  We left Thanksgiving morning with some tears from our kids, some pie, and my mom was left with a zillion pound turkey to cook.  We did make it home without incident but had three more sick the next two days.  Yuck.  The funniest part was that Mark wanted to make this special turkey dinner because he had been to this cooking presentation with some clients.  Wanting to try it, had agreed to do most of the cooking for our "make-up" Thanksgiving.  Well, he did do some of the prep work the night before but didn't make it into the next day, so guess who did all the cooking.  At least I could eat it, haha.  He only could handle a few bites.  I think we had four of the seven at the table and the other three were set up on the couches with sheets and sick trays.  Definitely a weird Thanksgiving.  Good thing we had already feasted plenty before we left Montana.
Luke loved playing in the snow.  Last year we took him out but it didn't really register, and he was super afraid of being pulled in a sled.  This year it's a whole new world.

Discovering tracks.

The snow was so fluffy we had fun playing "Smash it down."

Oops, sorry this is sideways.  Mom came up with the caption for this picture.  She calls it "the Redneck Sled."  Luke loved it and it was nice to have an alternative to the real sled being pulled by the 4-wheelers.

Leslie getting a ride.

Luke and his Grandma Haynes

Wouldn't be a trip to Montana without the kitties.  Thank goodness for surrogate pets.
Grandpa Happy Jack and baby Jackie
I particularly enjoyed talking with my family about Grandpa because he was pretty one-of-a-kind and a loose cannon to boot, so the stories were plentiful and fun.  For example, when I was a student at BYU and nearly engaged to Mark, Mark suggested that he make a visit to meet my family in Montana over Christmas.  I was less than eager because I knew it would not go over well that I had a serious boyfriend, etc., but agreed.  Oh, Grandpa had fun with that notion-- in the weeks leading up to Mark's visit, I'm sure he teased my Dad plenty about how he should greet the not-so-welcome suitor.  He even wrote a cowboy poem to commemorate the event, It was called "The Sodbuster's Daughter".  (My Dad being a farmer.)  We still quote the best line in that poem, "What makes a man go North in Winter?"  Well Grandpa, we came North for you.