Days 2017

Days 2017

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Pedro & Napoleon, Farewell!

How's this for spoiled rotten? I have two dishwashers. Really. Just like some people have double ovens. They weren't much different in cost than cabinets, and we had lots of space, so Mark convinced me to do it when our house was being built. I thought it was a dumb idea at the time, but he insisted. When we first moved in Leslie wasn't sure which one was dirty and which one clean, and didn't understand North and East, so we named one Pedro and one Napoleon.
What will I do without you, my swishy-washy friends?? Live like the rest of the world in their one-dishwasher ignorance?? That's what happens when you move out of a house that you designed exactly to your liking. Tis better to have loved and lost. Four and a half years of soft living is pretty good.
Our house is finally almost sold.
The buyers are nice, with a big family to fill up our big house (that makes me feel good.)
Mark is taking a new job at Wells Fargo after Christmas and will be working a ways north from here.
We think we have a dandy new place lined up.
Get this--my other major spoilage from my home is that I have a room-sized pantry with a dedicated space for our Deep Freeze (with an original painting of some cows, also some brand burns from Mark's Great Grandpas' hanging over it, in homage to beef. PS. Dad, where the heck is my heart-S-quartercircle to hang on the other side? The city boy son-in-law is showing you up! If you don't find your branding iron I'm going to have to hang up a Schwann's ice cream lid instead, ha ha.) Anyway, I was really, really sad that I would no longer have easy access to the deep freeze. Then when we were looking for houses this week, I walked into the mudroom off of this kitchen and saw another door. I opened it up, and gasped audibly. This little house had a HUGE pantry, shelves floor to ceiling on two walls, and a blank, shining wall at the back that was just singing to me for a deep freeze to keep it company. I think it was a little private Christmas gift to me.
I hope we get it. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

the Menace Gene

We had a Dennis the Menace moment today. Not so unusual, except that I'm remembering to write it down since Dad was just teasing me that Boston must have gotten the Dennis the Menace gene from him and from his Dad, who he claims was worse. True, Grandpa Happy Jack was pretty bad--gotta love the story about locking his big sister up and telling her future husband when he drove up that she had gone to the State Fair Rodeo with another guy. I couldn't even think of a single naughty story about my Dad. I might have to call Aunt "Cow" Patti. Oh wait, I guess he did come up with that name for her...
So, our visit from Dennis today happened while I was baking some Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread. MMM. I was anticipating the warm, wafting, cinnamon/vanilla/pumpkin scent, but I kept getting a whiff of something else. Familiar and flowery and pretty strong, and I couldn't quite place it. I've found that the surest, quickest way to solve a mystery at my house is to hunt down the boys. The smell got stronger as I approached the master bathroom. Lo and behold, all three littl'uns were in there. In Boston's hand was a spray bottle filled to the brim with water. This was actually a pleasant surprise because I had asked Mark to have the boys get me a spray bottle for Christmas to water down their alfalfa hair on Sunday mornings. The unpleasant part of the surprise was the bottle he had so cleverly filled up with water used to be filled up with Victoria's Secret Body Spray, "Pretty in Pink". Apparently he emptied it out on himself and the other two kids, and all over the bathroom. They REEK. Luckily(?), I didn't really like that kind very much, preferring "Enchanted Apple". (Of course, if he had gone for the "Enchanted Apple" instead, the smell wouldn't have clashed so bad with the pumpkin bread. Oh well.)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Say Uncle

We had a fun, relaxed Thanksgiving. I didn't realize how relaxed it was until I went to visit one of my friends the day before. She had found out last minute that she was going to be hosting, and her kids were bustling around, doing jobs to get the house ready. She is one of the sweetest, most soft-spoken mamas I know, and it's a good thing because she has lots of kids. That's why I had to bust out laughing when I received a little glimpsed into her holiday frazzlement. One of her sons, about Boston's age, was buzzing around us for attention as we chatted. She finally put her hand on her shoulder, to still him and to get his attention. "What did I ask you to do?" she said. He thought for a split second....."Ta shut up?"
We escaped the hustle bustle by eating at Mark's folks, where my only offerings were the green beans, the marshmallowed yams, and a pecan pie that one of Mark's business contacts gave us. I think we started cooking 20 minutes before we left the house. It was great!!! Then, when it was approaching nap-time we drove over to Park City where several of my aunts and uncles had rented a big condo for the weekend. It was fun to see so many of my cousins that I haven't seen for years because they always visit Montana at a different time than we do. They are almost all teenagers now! So weird because I was the little kid when their parents were teenagers, and now my kids are the little ones. It makes me dizzy. The youngest one I haven't seen since she was a toddler. She's almost six now, and I had a little talk with her, trying to explain that we both had the same grandparents. I told her I was the oldest grandkid, and she was the youngest, so that makes us the best! She seemed to like that idea. We have a 26 year gap.
I didn't realize how much influence some of the older cousins, or maybe my bachelor brother, or maybe one of my uncles having a little fun, had on Boston until today, though. Mark was in his office working and Boston wandered in, asking if he could play with him. Mark's answer was no, and Boston tried to come up with an appropriate response of disappointment. "Awww. I never get any hot chicks!"

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

some little turkeys

Happy November already?!
First take a look at my Turkey quilt top I just finished, and then let's reminisce about October.
Brooke and Jared got to come and stay the night on their way home to Montana. I kidnapped Brooke after our double date to Cafe Rio and took her to play volleyball with some other gals from my stake. I have been going for a couple of months and it was fun to waltz in with my nearly 6 foot sister. I had never seen her play in high school and it was fun to get to scrimmage. She's much better than I am, thank goodness. The best part of the night, however, was when one of the ladies (a good actress or genuinely curious) asked us if we were sisters and wondered who was older. I am by nine years.
Here is a shot of how I found Brooke and Macy the next morning--sitting in a pile of doll clothes where Brooke was happily changing all the clothes.
Halloween was fun. We carved pumpkins and trick-or-treated. It rained a little but the kids didn't care, and Macy loved wearing her princess dress and getting the candy. Duke came down to go to a Halloween party or something and we threw together this great Beach Boys costume for him. Bet the ladies loved it!

I love the shot of the kids playing Ring Around the Rosy-- all of them are singing.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Mark informed me that last night Boston's bedtime prayer was worth sharing. "Thankful for Dad, Mom, Leslie, Me, Cooper, Macy. 'Specially me 'cause I'm the special one." He is our extra sparkle. And I'm guessing ALL of us are going to need some special blessings to survive him!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

In the Tops of the Mountains

We couldn't resist a little Moses shot here. This is a crazy place for a big beautiful field, near where we got engaged. It really is way, way at the top of the mountains, near the summit. It would be a fabulous place for a pageant or something. It's popular for snowmobiling in the winter.This was the back of the Fishlake Natl. forest, heading toward Junction. The leaves here look like the yellow brick road or something, because they follow the road the whole way down. (Because of the stream the road is built next to...)

Me trying to be fearless at Bryce Canyon.

For UEA break Mark surprised me and got permission for our family to go stay at his Uncle's cabin in the Fishlake Natl. Forest outside of Beaver. We haven't been there for nearly 12 years--it was where we were staying with Mark's cousins on New Year's Eve '98 when he popped the question under a pine tree, after snowmobiling to Big Flat. (Ah, now I'm getting excited for Christmas music season--strictly after Thanksgiving in this house--just so I can listen to Harry Connick, Jr. sing about "What are you doin' New Year's Eve?"...THE most romantic song I can even think of; I'm so biased! I get a lump in my throat every time I hear it.) We tried to track down the exact tree, but were a little unsure because of the years and the lack of snow not covering up the shrubbery, etc. Here is a picture with me in front of the best candidate. We are pretty sure we at least got within 100 feet of the magic spot, so that was cool to show the kids.
The weather was beautiful and so were the leaves, and we all had fun except for Macy at about midnight each night, when she woke up and screamed for an hour because, I don't know, that seems to be a habit with her whenever we go somewhere. At least we weren't in a hotel. Scream baby scream.
We weren't all that far from Bryce canyon, so we also spent some time there. I was a little nervous at the lack of guardrails at some of the sites, but it was pretty. The kids enjoyed pretending to be mountain lions on the rocks. I know, weird, but it's a family tradition. My brothers are still the most convincing.
We went to the first Halloween party of the season last night. I'll wait until after the big day and then post some fun costume pictures.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Yesterday we went grocery shopping at WalMart because we needed to finish up buying our "winter" clothes. (New socks for just about everyone. Including Boston, who already had new socks but thinks they are too small because they are low cut.) While winterizing, I bought Cooper a second pair of shoes because his hand-me-down Crocs from Boston are always lost. Coop was pretty excited to get new shoes. When Mark got home from work, Cooper told him that his new shoes were really cool. "They can squash ANY kind of bug!"

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A lot of Booze

As I was hanging up the Halloween decor last week, Boston got all excited. "Mom! Porter and Logan have a lot of booze at their house." I had to think about that one for a second. He's starting to read pretty well... B O O ' S.
I've had a wonderful fall thus far. A couple of weeks ago some of my best friends (we missed you, Erica! We ate extra cheesecake for you.) got together for our annual birthday lunch out since three of us have fall birthdays. It was an extra nice birthday treat for me since the Cheesecake Factory left wax paper all over my last Louisiana Chicken (I was already mostly full anyway...) and I got my meal AND my cheesecake for free. Sa-Weet. Too bad I left the leftover cheesecake in Michelle's car. Dangit. I pretty much just had the day off from being a Mom because I had song practice with the Primary Children's chorus that morning, then lunch, then we went to a ritzy quilt show in some gated community in Murray, then to LDS Women's Conference. My favorite part is when I am seated in that enormous, enormous beautiful conference center (like a half-moon stadium), people watching and chatting with my neighbors, and in walks the prophet, Pres. Monson, to his seat. The ENTIRE place stands up in a whoosh and becomes instantly pin-dropping quiet. Enormity of moment in an enormous place. I feel revitalized in my important roles of wife and mother.
Throughout that next week I happily pounced on the mailbox everyday, because my insightful in-laws gave me an gift card for my birthday, and if you buy more than 25$, you get free shipping. So I sort of went to town. Here is what I now have my own copy of:
I Capture the Castle, by Dodie Smith
All God's Critters got a Place in the Choir, also Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History, both by Pulitzer Prize Winning LDS professor, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. She writes essays about womanhood and history. Two things I like reading about!
The Ghost of Hannah Mendes by Naomi Ragen. I've only wanted that one for about 5 years.
Marie-Louise's HeyDay--a much loved, out of print book from my childhood. It's even more hilarious to read as a mom. It's about a mongoose who has to babysit five naughty possums. I think I always liked it growing up because the naughtiest one is named Jake. (We had five kids including the naughtiest one named Jake.)
Olive Oil Desserts by Micki Sannar. I went to one of her presentations and was very impressed. Here's to healthier cooking (doubly healthy because you ADD olive oil benefits and take away the bad stuff from the other butters and oils.) I've already had some fun trying out some of her stuff, including pie crust for my favorite spinach pie, my homemade granola using her substitutions, and banana bread as we speak. It smells great. Of course, it's probably not that healthy anymore because I had to jazz it up a little with coconut and Macadamian nuts. Oh well. Coconut has lots of fiber:)
Speaking of cooking, Mom wants me to post a couple of recipes on here. She and Dad came down this weekend to play with us and for Dad to attend his 35 year mission reunion. He's a Montana boy who served right here in Utah. I think he thinks it was worth braving the traffic. I don't think he came home from the party until nearly midnight. The two of them are so good to play with and spoil my kids (and me). They spent a lot of time on the bikes. They even babysat so Mark and I could attend the Saturday afternoon session of General Conference. As usual, I am pretty lax about taking any pictures, so, sorry. Maybe Mom took some.

Beef Barley Soup
Put in the crockpot:
1-2 lbs browned stew meat
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp of pepper, oregano, and basil
1 bay leaf
1 pkg Onion Soup mix (sometimes I subst. 2-3 TBS of au jus mix.)
6 cups hot water
1 8oz can tomato sauce
1 T soy sauce
1 cup celery chopped
1 cup carrots chopped
1 chopped onion
1 can stewed tomatoes or diced tomatoes
Let this stew for an afternoon and then add 1 cup of pearled barley about an hour before serving.
If you are really ambitious you can also add 1/2 cup of rinsed lentils at the same time--very tasty.

Islands' Pineapple Soft Tacos
1 pkg tortillas
2-3 chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces and browned on a griddle
Add to a saucepan and simmer:
approx. 1 cup crushed pineapple or pineapple tidbits with juice
1/2 to 1 can of diced tomatoes, drained
enough Mr. Yoshida's Original Sauce (kind of a teriyaki sauce) to cover it all

Spoon chicken and sauce onto a tortilla.
Serve with snipped cilantro, chopped green onions, and maybe lettuce if you like that kind of fluff.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Skinny jeans mutiny and the Big 32

So, before I tell you about my birthday, I wanted to share my fashion ineptitude with the world. First of all, I like the basic idea of the skinny jean, but I have a problem with accessorizing. I love socks! Big, fat cushy ones to wear around the house (since that's where I am 85% of the time, anyway) and EXTREMELY dislike the current fashion of wearing flip flops or ballet shoes with everything, because the socks become ridiculous. I find myself peeling off my socks every time I'm out the door to go to the store or something. What am I supposed to do once it gets colder? I thought about getting a pair of boots for my birthday, but the riding type boots are all so high and expensive, and I can't just step into them while holding a squirming toddler, and the dumb looking moon boots are just, well, dumb looking moon boots. Any tips?
Back to the skinny jean. When I finished nursing Macy I was down to my wedding weight and decided to celebrate by buying two pairs of skinny jeans. They were even comfy and I was feeling pretty good about life. A few months went by. I had a birthday. I did laundry. Pair number one of the skinny jeans popped the button and now I can't get it to stay on. It's likely to fly across the room while I'm picking up legos. I tried wearing them with just the zipper and that lasted until I tried going out in public and the zipper tried to run away, and hide somewhere down in my blasted sockless shoes. Good thing I had a long shirt!
This morning I attempted to put on pair number two, fresh out of the dryer. (What was I thinking?). Some teeth popped off the zipper and now it's completely inoperable.
It's a sign.
Mark got a birthday card when he turned 30 that had a Far Side type cartoon on it with a man shopping in the jeans department, surrounded by policemen. "Step away from the trendy jeans and back into the relaxed fit!" I should have copied it and sent it to myself.
I did have a really good birthday, though. Mark asked me if I felt old and I told him no because I feel like I'm at the point in life where I always pictured myself at this age, anyway. We had a fun family adventure driving and hiking on the Mt. Nebo Loop, and the maple trees were turning red, so everything was gorgeous. Here are some cute pictures of my little hikers and the Grotto Waterfall where we went. The other landscape shot is an overlook that looks clear down onto Utah lake and across. We're way up high. Then Mark watched the football game, I watched a movie while Macy slept, and then he took me out to dinner and the play, The Mousetrap, by Agatha Christie, that I've always wanted to see.
Some other happy announcements.
Boston had a birthday, got a bigger bike, and announced to me the next day that he could ride it without training wheels....and he could! I was shocked. It took Leslie YEARS to learn to ride a bike.
He was super excited about my birthday and had all kinds of homemade gifts and pictures for me. My favorite is pictured here- a Rock Museum.
My best gift to myself was finally getting Cooper potty trained. I'm still ecstatic about that one.
I also just finished canning 27 quarts of Lemon Elberta Peaches. Yummy.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Muddy Buddies

Today was Bostons' first day of preschool. Then, after celebrating with French Fries from Arctic Circle (they make the best...), I put Macy down for a nap while the boys went out to play in the backyard. After she was asleep, I checked on them. They were getting into minor trouble by taking the lids off the flooded sprinkler control boxes at the bottom of the deck stairs and "fishing" in them with some weed stems. Both had their socks and shoes off and their shorts a little bit wet. No biggie--they were having a blast with each other--every Mom's dream. I thought I would have a nice little surprise for them when they came in and changed their clothes, so I made them some Muddy Buddy chex mix. When it was done, I went outside to check on them.
They had a little surprise for me.
Both of them were buck naked.
If they had been muddy, maybe that would have been less shocking to all the people driving past and all the neighbors who can see into our backyard.
Those muddy buddies were yummy. I had some while the boys got dressed.
They are still downstairs, fully clothed, cleaning up all the toys in the basement before they can have any.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Prairie Paisley and other Summer Sundries

This summer has been a good one for finishing projects. (Other than potty training, which drags on and on...After a couple weeks off (things were getting a little too frustrating), today we said a final goodbye to pullups and declared it underwear day. Three accidents to two voluntary trips. And that's progress.) Our air conditioner on the main floor has been out all summer, so I've spent a lot of time in the basement. I'm not very good at playing with my kids for very long, but I like to be available, so I read or sew or referee, and they play. When we decided at the beginning of this year that we would try to sell our house, I didn't want to go into a frenzy of cleaning and organizing since the time frame wasn't very urgent, but I did want to finish some projects that I'd had stuffed into a closet. Now the house has three offers on it, we still don't know the time frame, and I've made some very satisfying creations.
The Rosy Windmills quilt I started when I was going through my years of infertility and decided that, doggonit, I was just going to make myself a quilt if I coulnd't make one for a baby. Mid project, I found out I was pregnant, and then that I was having a boy, so that one was put on hold for a long time. Then I got kind of sick of it and made something else for Macy (plus, she needed one with blue in it because her bedroom is blue), but now that it's done (except the binding to be stitched) I love it. I think whichever child finally gets it (do I have any nieces on the way?) should be named Rosie!
The Prairie Paisley quilt top just got ironed up today. I did this quilt as a quilt block exchange with my Loch Lomond Quilt guild. We each did 12 stars that were the same and then exchanged them two years ago. The only stipulation was that it was a 12 inch star and that we used the fabric line called "Prairie Paisley". My star is the top left blue one--not my fav. I did a courthouse steps border around it to make it big enough for a queen bed. Next summer I think we'll use it as a bedspread. My grandma LaVonne would have loved it--she liked flags/Americana.
Other projects I've worked on this summer include teaching my kids how to work and do regular chores--see Macy playing dress up with Leslie in the bathroom they just cleaned? Macy must not have caught the gist of it, though, because here is a few days later when she and Cooper decided to trash a different bathroom.
As for my ongoing project--EATING--I have had a favorite summer recipe that I keep wanting to eat by the bucketful. (Last summer's favorite was homemade bruschetta with my own tomatoes and basil and loads of garlic) My cousin-in-law Shelley made this for the Memorial Day reunion and I've kind of reverse engineered it until I think I've got a pretty good copy. I don't know what she calls it, but I'm going for Cucumber Cottage Cheese dip. It's very easy and you can just stir it up with a spoon. (This one would have been good last summer when we picked well over 100 cukes!)

Cucumber Cottage Cheese Dip
3 big scoops Cottage Cheese
1 small scoop mayo
1 grated cucumber, no need to peel
2 chopped green onions
a generous sprinkling of garlic salt
Stir and eat with Triscuits (if you prefer the salty) or Wheat Thins (if you prefer a bit sweeter). I like the Triscuits.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Bocky Baby

Macy has reached one of my favorite baby stages--the pick up a few new words every day stage. A couple days ago we had beef and broccoli for dinner. She LOVES broccoli and would eat it like candy. When I asked her if she wanted more broccoli, she'd nod her head emphatically and mimic me, "Bocky!" I think she only says two other food words: cracker and cake. Who would have guessed "broccoli" would be number three? As I cleaned up the kitchen that night she was wandering around, digging in the drawers and cupboards as usual, but repeating over and over to herself, Brocky. Bocky Brocky? Bocky. She can also say everyone's name (with "Sissy" or "SisSis" for Leslie) except for Cooper. We try to get her to say that one and she looks at us like, Yeah right! She has taken to calling for Leslie whenever I do. I'll holler up the stairs, "Leeeeslieeee.... come set the taaaable!" and Macy will go to the bottom of the stairs, crane her neck and start yelling, "Siiiisssyyy! Siiisssy!" until Leslie comes down. Last night the kids were playing dodgeball with Mark while I finished up dessert, and Macy decided to join in. Mark made me come down and watch her run from one wall to the other, giggling all the way while Mark pegged her and the other kids with their toy basketball. She runs like such a girl, and is so little still that she has to watch the floor while she runs to keep herself from tripping.
Leslie starts school tomorrow. She's always excited, and that's easy to relate to. I think September is my favorite month because that was when school started--so much anticipation! And I LOVE the gorgeous fall weather we'll be in soon, although not quite soon enough. The first time I came down to BYU, as a high school senior, I was visiting for a few days as part of their recruitment program or something, and it was mid-September. I packed all these sweatshirts and long pants, etc. Duh! Why didn't anyone warn me. I about died of heat the whole time. Back home the seasons change just in time for the school year, so it makes school shopping very purposeful. I tried taking Leslie school shopping last weekend and it's always such a downer for me because her outfit for the first day of school will usually be shorts and sandals--summer clothes--so we really don't even need to buy anything. (I do anyway just to make myself feel like we're doing something spiffy for the first day of school.) This year she even argued with me that she didn't need anything and I still made her buy a new shirt. She's kind of at the age where she is becoming fashion conscious enough (or at least have enough individual preference) that she knows what she doesn't like, but her tastes aren't quite developed to the point where she knows what she does like.
Our conversation in TARGET went something like this.
Me: Looks like there's a lot of stuff here. Anything stand out to you?
Leslie: Mmummm. Shrugg. Big eyes.
Me: Come on. What do you like? What do you picture yourself wearing the first day of school?
Leslie (slightly louder, and shrugging again): I don't know!
Me: Sigh. Well, these are kind of cute...
Leslie: Too boyish.
Me: How 'bout these cute sweaters?
Leslie: It's way to hot to try those on, and they'd probably be itchy.
Me: Do you like any of these shirts? They're on sale...
Leslie: Maybe. But I don't like Hannah Montana or stuff like that on a shirt.
Me: What about a plain one. Purple?
Leslie: I kind of already have alot of purple stuff.
Me (gesturing to the most darling little plaid shirts. NOT on sale): Maybe something like this? With jeans it would be SO cute.
Leslie, making a face: Uggggh. Sigh. Maybe one of those shirts when we first came in. On sale.
And then of course, the one she sort of concedes to liking is not available in her size. And the leggings are way too big around, so we go for the second favorite shirt, no pants.
Maybe tonight I'll pick her up some new hair accessories. Brushing there's a whole 'nother battle. At least I gave her a trim to start the year off and she is starting to request a bottle of conditioner in her shower.
What is teenagerhood going to be like?

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Eureka! She floats!

We had a fun week last week with my parents and brother Jake's family in Montana. The weather was unusually cooperative and we had not one, but two perfect days on Eureka lake, and a day 4 wheeling in the mountains to boot. The boys played together really well and it was a nice break for all of us. As usual, I didn't manage to take my own photos, this time because the camera got packed but its battery was still at home charging. The good news is that my very with-it Sis-in-law Rachel took some shots for me. The bad news is that I am actually in several of them for a change.
As you can see, I am not very athletic but I can water ski (one thing I think I have over on my husband, who is pretty much gifted at every sport.) I knew I was going to be sore the next day, but I had to show myself that I could still do it after four kids. And then I wasn't even that sore after all. And Rachel probably thinks I'm such a wussy girl because I ski like one of those pontoon airplanes ( and she can do stunts on her wakeboard all day long) but hey, I got up. Jake was driving the boat and loudly sang about the old gray mare (that I mentioned a couple of posts ago) the entire time I was trying to get my skis on. I think he knew if I laughed too hard I wouldn't be able to do it. Oh wait, that was after I skied around the lake and then tried tubing and was too wiped out to climb back onto the tube after I bit it. Plus I was laughing too hard to heave-ho my lower half out of the water. Oh well, it was fun, and everyone else had a good time, hopefully not just because they were laughing at me.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Hooray for Babies!

My big sister instincts are kicking into high gear (they've been simmering for a few weeks now) and I feel some pulpit pounding coming on--I just can't stop myself. I would apologize, but that's just not how it works around here!

Several years ago I was serving in the Young Women's Organization with one of my neighbors. Her husband was in the military and deployed or gone for short periods of time quite often. She had four children. Some of them had medical problems. Some of them had developmental problems. But all in all, they were a happy family with problems just like anyone else. One evening, on the way home from Girl's Camp, my friend shared a little secret with the rest of us. She was almost six months pregnant. And they had not told anyone!!! When we gasped in astonishment that she could keep it secret for that long, she said they hadn't told anyone because they were worried what people would think, especially her family, and that they would be upset with her because they didn't think she should have anymore children because her life was hard enough as it was. She and her husband (and God) had other ideas.
She told us that she had gone to our bishop in tears, wondering if they had made the right choice and what she should say to her family. He told her that she had nothing to be ashamed of, that many good people today are willfully not fully keeping their covenants or not understanding them by not obeying the law to "multiply and replenish the earth", a law that is still in full force, and that she should have full confidence that she was in the right, and that the Lord would help her and bless her family for their faithfulness.
Her story really shook me up, especially in that stage of life where I was dealing with the opposite struggle. If there is any kind of lesson Mark and I learned from our years of hoping for a baby, it was that "family planning" is really an illusion that makes us mere mortals think we have a little bit of control of how we want things to be. Babies come when they are supposed to come. I couldn't imagine not sharing that kind of happy news with my family, and I hope that I would always show love and support to others.
I remembered this instance again a couple years ago when Mark and I attended a fabulous Worldwide Leadership Training Meeting through our church, titled "Building Up a Righteous Posterity." We were deeply impressed and inspired, and I would encourage anyone to read through it. February 2008 Worldwide Leadership Training Meeting: Building Up a Righteous Posterity Here is the part that I loved the most. It would have helped my friend feel so much better, I think. This is what was said, in a "conversation" between Pres. Julie Beck of the Relief Society and Elder Oaks and Holland, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

Sister Beck
There’s also the ward family. As
we’ve mentioned, in every ward you’re
going to have a spectrum of experience
and challenges. Some of those
women will be able to have children;
some will be married; some will be
widowed; some won’t. In reality there
are a few women who will be able to
have children and have a lot of them.
In that ward family we should rally
around and support those who invite
children into their family. It’s a challenge
to have a large family. I would
certainly hope that no member of the
Church would approach another sister
in the ward and say, “You’re crazy for
having another child,” but rather celebrate
her ability and her desire to have
them and say, “I’m supporting you. Let
me do all I can to encourage and help
you in that.”

Elder Oaks
I’m glad you mentioned that,
because we do get reports that some
Latter-day Saints criticize other Latterday
Saints for having children. I remember
early in our marriage when
my wife June was pregnant with our
fifth child, a very active sister in our
ward said to her, “What are you trying
to do, populate the world all by
yourself?” And I was proud of June
when she came right back with a
response: “I can’t think of anyone
better to do it.”
Elder Holland
And we all acknowledge—Sister
Tanner touched on it—that there are
issues of health, there are issues that
are not materialistic. We’re not talking
about money or political correctness
or deference to society, we’re talking
about legitimate gospel-oriented
things that we watch and measure.
That is all the more reason not to
judge. We teach, we encourage, we
rally, we cheer; within the context of
the gospel we encourage people to
seek that destiny that is theirs

Today I was reading 2 Cor. 1 and it reminded me that one thing we should be glad about in our tribulations is that we can help others get through theirs with the lessons we will learn. I remember that one thing I didn't like when we were having our infertility issues was when I would do something nice/cool/interesting/fun, such as make a fancy dessert for a family get- together, and I would hear comments like "I remember when I had time to do things like that!" or, "Oh sure, YOU can do that. YOU don't have any kids." I know people mean well, and are trying to make a personal connection, but I always felt like my actions were belittled, that I was only able to be nice/cool/interesting/fun because of my situation, and not just because of who I am and what I like to do, regardless. (And I was right--now I have four kids and I still read fat novels, make fancy desserts, go on dates with my husband, research genealogy, and have time to write long diatribes like this on my blog...)

And now in the opposite challenge, with four kids, three who are quite close together in age, I must admit that I have very much grown to dislike the phrase, "You've got your hands full." It always carries such a reek of disapproval, or at it's best is only focusing on the negative. How about, "You are doing such an awesome job!" or "Look how strong you are!" or even Sister Hinckley's favorite, for when I'm having a bad day, "Well, this family's got a lot of faith...we'll pray you through it."

I've said enough, and I meant what I said.
Hooray for babies!!!

Friday, July 16, 2010

She Ain't What She Used to Be

Is there anything more horrific than shopping for new swimwear after having four children? (I know, I know, try it after having five.)

My poor old suit has seen better days, and although it still fits (I am proud to say) it was getting worn quite thin and developing holes. So, after repeating to myself a few times "Swimwear is ALWAYS way more expensive than it should be. Swimwear is ALWAYS way more expensive than it should be" to prepare myself for sticker shock, I bit the bullet, loaded up the kids, and headed to the specialty shops where they reportedly sell modest clothing and swimwear. I had never even been in either shop. Come to think of it, I haven't tried shopping for clothes with my children for years, not since Boston was a baby and crawled out of the dressing room under the door while I was still indecent and I had to throw my clothes back on and sprint down the hall and into Kohl's and search for a baby under the racks.
I didn't last long in the first shop after I realized that they only sold two piece suits that were actually three pieces THAT YOU HAD to PURCHASE SEPARATELY. What a racket!! I told Mark it would be the equivalent of a man purchasing swimming trunks and the liner briefs separately, therefore paying double.

I had better luck at the second shop where there were only two pieces to buy. Even that proved to be challenging, though, because there must have been a lot of women with lower halves like mine (because they were all sold out except in the most freakish of colors), and not hardly any with upper halves (because none of those fit). I'm used to this dilemma--somehow the fashion industry doesn't cater to me--being more of an Audrey Hepburn/Keira Knightley type than a Marilyn Monroe/Heidi Klum. There were a few that I thought would work, in an extremely unattractive yellow and green pattern. They were the only matched set my size in the whole store. (No wonder I have shopping nightmares where there is no chocolate on the whole candy aisle, only DOTS and Lemonheads.)

At this point Leslie was wringing her hands and reminding me that it was almost time to take them to swimming lessons, so I wheeled my bus-like double stroller into the fortunately vacant row of dressing rooms. After some maneuvering I parked it in the large, handicapped room, directed Boston and Leslie inside with the other two, gave some instructions that amounted to "Sit! Stay!", had them lock the door, and rushed myself into the much smaller, much more private, adjoining room. Otherwise known as the Chamber of Humiliation.

I don't want to dwell much on the visual part of those few moments (and I will give you the audio in a minute). Suffice it to say, I want to keep a good sense of humor and appreciation for the physical strain of motherhood. I love what Utah author Shannon Hale had to say on this subject. One of her characters remarks to her husband, "You broke it, you bought it, Babe!" With a sigh, I decided that the swimsuit was good enough. Did it come in gray? Mare sized?

While I was posturing in front of the unforgiving mirror like that old comic strip character "Cathy", utter chaos was brewing in the adjoining stall. At first it was a dull murmur, mostly arguing and Leslie telling someone to quit doing something. Then it escalating into some intermittent shrieks from Cooper and loud protesting from Boston. Next came the out-and-out howling from Cooper, screaming from Macy, and frustrated yelling from Leslie and Boston, followed by slamming doors, pounding feet, and more pounding on MY door. I could make out a little bit of what it was about...Cooper had climbed out of the stroller and up onto a stool in the dressing room. For whatever reason, he decided to stand up on the stool. Boston most likely was pretending to knock over the stool and trying to scare him. Leslie was probably trying to get both of them to return to the "Sit. Stay." position. Cooper realized that he didn't really want to be standing up on a stool next to hurricane Boston in an enclosed space and at the same moment realized that he didn't know how to get back down. Macy started screaming because everyone else was or maybe because she felt ripped off that she didn't get to be out of the stroller, too. Leslie tried to get Cooper down, but when she came close, he concluded that she would only knock him off or drop him, so he screamed even louder and tried to push her away. Boston escaped and ran willy-nilly through the store. Leslie followed at his heels, yelling and trying to catch him as soon as she pounded on my door and told me that Cooper was stuck on a stool. I tried to holler some instructions while frantically pulling my many wonderful, covering-up layers of clothes back on.

I rescued Cooper, chased down children, administered approximately one spankin', apologized to the store's clerk, bought an extremely ugly zuit suit for triple what it should have cost, and drove like a mad hornet (with the radio blaring over the still-screaming children) to swimming lessons, where we were still 10 minutes late.

As I came to my senses a few hours later, I realized that I shouldn't have given up that easily and that anyone who has to subject herself to humiliation at the hands of the season and the fashion industry should be at least able to blow the required amount of money on a swimming suit that she can at least feel relaxed in. I arranged to drop of the munchkins at Mark's office at the end of the day. We swapped cars. He took the kids to the happiest place on earth (outside of California, that means McDonald's) and I took myself and my credit card to the nearest department store. For the next two hours. I even picked myself up some takeout from Zupas on my triumphant way home. I couldn't help it; it was right next to the shop where I returned the original suit.

And yesterday, while I was joyfully splashing in the lazy river with my baby, another mom wearing from the crowded banks of shade umbrellas came up to me to timidly inquire where I got my suit. She really liked it.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

3rd of July

We just held our 4th annual 4th of July BBQ and potluck in our backyard...yesterday on the 3rd. I love living in Utah and don't have to sacrifice much to the sabbath. We even got to watch the huge Thanksgiving Point fireworks show. My brother Duke came with us and wished that we had a little John Phillips Sousa to play in the car on the way there, just like riding in Grandpa's motorhome. It was Cooper and Macy's first time, and everyone loved it. Macy kept saying "Wow!" and "Boom boom boom" (from Mr. Brown can Moo, Can You?) Of course after being up that late, Macy slept in today until 10 and then refused a nap and Cooper is a complete growly bear. Early to bed for them!
Last weekend Mark and Leslie and I intended to go to Mt. Timp caves. They had never been and I've been waiting for years to make the hike because every time I've wanted to go I've been pregnant or nursing and can't be halfway up a mountain. So we had my friend Jennifer come stay and away we went. Unfortunately, I had a brain lapse and forgot that I have lived in Utah for the past dozen years and not in Montana, where nobody else lives. It was so crowded that we couldn't go unless we waited 2 hours for the next available tour. Duh! It didn't even cross my mind that there might be a problem. I was so disappointed I almost cried. After I composed myself a little, we powwowed and decided to try a different hike on the back end of the canyon, called Cascade Springs. It was beautiful and easy enough that we'll be able to go back with the younger tikes. The first part of the hike was through an old forest fire burn site, but the brush has grown up tall between the blackened tree branches, so if we go back I'm going to tell the kids we are hiking in a haunted forest. Very fun.
Also here are some fun pictures of our favorite splash park. Macy was big enough to do it this year and she loved it (as you can see...).
I also like these goofy pictures of my boys in their church clothes. I was trying to take a nice shot for Father's Day or something and I found out that my boys are becoming more and more like their Grandpa Haynes. I can't get a straight smile out of them!