Liza with Cinderella and the Prince
Barb and Joel (Jared's brother) and girls were here for their annual Tuachan trip this weekend - we went with them to see Cinderella at the beautiful outdoor amphiteater at Tuachan, went to the temple with them while their girls graciously watched our kids, did some historical sites and had a great BBQ and swim party. It's so nice to have these older cousins around to entertain these kids of ours! Good people - great weekend.
But on a positive note, they are talking a ton and have the cutest little deep voices. It's even cute to hear them indignantly telling each other off - "No, No Si Si, dats MEAN!" Other things they say a lot: "Oh, dang it!" (pretty funny coming from them with their best mad faces on), "Oh yeah! Oh yeah! cheese sandwiches!" (Si says "oh yeah!" whenever he's excited about anything which is pretty often), "Why?" (Si says this every time I tell him "no" about something), "In the car in the car in the car - yeah!" (they love going anywhere), and "Oh, gross, dat's grossy!" (whenever the other guy is getting his dirty diaper changed). And one of the things they say the most often: "No - I do it by SELF!" They have to do everything themselves these days - from dressing themselves (lots of backwards and inside out wild combinations of clothes), to buckling their carseats (takes so long to get everyone in the car this way!) to washing their hands and putting away their dishes after a meal (they're not so great at this but they sure try!). Oliver is especially into being independent and gives me a total dirty look and pouts for quite a while when I do something for him that he wanted to do.
They're really into reading books with me and I can still just barely fit them both on my lap. They insist on each having a leg to sit on and there's nothing like having a lap overflowing with the sweetest little boys in the world - their fuzzy blond heads against my cheeks, their chubby fingers pointing out things they like in the book, their cute little excited voices exclaiming over favorite parts. Isaac, Ashton and Eliza are also really cute about reading to them and I love seeing my big guys and little guys enjoying each other so much. The big kids get SO excited about everything the little guys learn to do and tell me about all the funny things they hear them say. And the twins still can't get enough of all the excavators, "scoopies"(backhoes) and tractors they see when we're driving around. They jubliantly yell out "scoopie!" until I've not only acknowledged what they've seen but also shown an acceptable level of heartfelt enthusiasm about it. Oh, I love these wild boys of mine!
Jared and I had SUCH a nice weekend away for our anniversary last weekend. I think it's been like 3 years since we've been away for more than a really quick overnight and we found it to be such a wonderful thing to spend two full days and nights off on our own. We went to Park City while my parents graciously watched the kids (the kids had SO much fun with them). We went on lots of beautiful hikes, ate delicious food, did the Alpine slide, rode the chair lifts, looked at beautiful art, did a little shopping at the outlets, and stayed at a nice place for super cheap thanks to spending a couple hours listening to a time share presentation (those guys are pretty persuasive - but we held our ground somehow). I can't even say how nice it was NOT to be woken up by little guys calling "Mommy, MOMMY!!!" or singing Bob the Builder and NOT to have to clean up mess after mess all day and NOT to have to share every bite of food I take with the twins and NOT to have to deal with kids' squabbles. And I can't begin to say how happy I was to be able to focus on Jared for a while and have some conversations interrupted only by trucking issues (rather than by trucking issues AND kids' issues). Poor Jared did need to deal with a lot of things that came up while we were gone - there are definite pros and cons to running a business - but it was still a really wonderful weekend and I really really really needed that.
The weather was PERFECT - brilliant blue skies and sun that actually felt good with the temperature at a mere 73 degrees. A couple favorite moments - happening upon a delicious free dinner served at a gallery full of amazing art with all the artists present, looking for a different restaurant and somehow finding ourselves eating a wonderful lunch at Stein Erikson Lodge where we spent our wedding night, running into dear friends and relatives we used to spend Christmas with in the Bay Area (Al and Connie Loosli) as we hiked up a trail they were coming down... Definitely a weekend of relaxation and serendipity.
Me and Jared hiking at Deer Valley - yeah, great self-taken photo looking into the sun but it's the best we've got of the two of us. That's Jordanelle Reservoir in the background.
Other random family news and happenings:
I've got a room parent training at the school tomorrow that I'm in charge of and the parent volunteer program's going along pretty well - as far as I can tell any way. Next month we're doing prizes for the classes with the most volunteer hours so we'll see how much we're really getting.
I explained what Origami was to Ashton the other day and within an hour or so, he was showing me all these fairly intricate origami bats and frogs he'd made using a website he found. He's also really into doing shows - he puts on a dance or drum or piano show downstairs in the theater for pretty much everyone who he can get to watch.
- Things are going pretty well with Jared's trucks and while it's hard to have him answering phone calls about random truck issues at all hours of the day and night, he's really enjoying this job and learning a lot and contributing a lot and seeing things slowly but surely turn around.
Isaac's still pretty firm in his decision not to like reading. Reading with him daily is a chore for everyone concerned. But he does have his better moments with reading and is generally getting better. Most of his friends at school are girls and he's pretty popular with them. His teachers really like him and 1st grade has been really good and fun for him so far. He's excited about math and that's fun.
- After 3 years of having 5 or 6 commercial Joy Schools, this year we've had 6 new groups - not sure why the sudden jump. We've got one in the Philippines (she's actually building a stand-alone preschool based on the Joy School curriculum and going all out) and one in the Ukraine for the children of the US embassy there. Interesting, huh? It's been pretty busy getting them all started and helping them figure out how to do everything.
Ashton's pretty bored in English and pretty annoyed at how challenged he is in Spanish - so I guess he's learning to learn in both basic and challenging classroom situations. He's starting a new club this year - he said his old SK (Spy Kids) club was named after a movie and he feels the need to be more original with a concept all his own for this new club. He's one funny kid (but he doesn't think he's one bit funny - it's all seriousness and business with this guy).
We've got some good friends who are interested in taking over answering phones for Mountain Interiors which would be GREAT - it's been sadly ignored lately and could really be more profitable if someone could actually answer the phone when people call to place an order! But even with very little effort on our part, it's still be covering its costs and making a bit of money here and there.
- We're not doing soccer this year and I feel such freedom having our Saturdays to ourselves! Isaac did ask about it one time but no one seems to notice the non-soccer status of our lives much.
- We've been on time to school a couple times. We're working on that. It doesn't seem to matter how early I start or how prepared I am with setting out clothes and all that, there's always variable I didn't plan on when there are 5 kids involved. The boys are getting better at getting themselves dressed and fed and getting their morning jobs done - marginally better anyway! The babies HAVING to do up their own carseats doesn't exactly speed things along. I mostly feel like I'm trying to herd cats around here. After leaving the house late this morning due to lost lunch boxes and shoes and general slow-moving issues, I lectured the boys all the way to school about how we HAVE to be on time - and then Aja saw Ashton and Isaac after I dropped them off (she was already at the school) buying notebooks and pencils they DON'T need at the school office - right after my lecture and firm reminder to HURRY STRAIGHT TO CLASS. What do I do with these people?! Turns out Ashton stole money from my room to buy these notebooks and also took a detour after school to buy some beef jerky at the office for some odd reason, making Aja wait for him at pick up after he's been told repeatedly to get out there and wait on the front playground for pick up RIGHT AFTER SCHOOL. So tonight we had a big talk instead of the fun game night we'd planned for FHE. I asked "Why would you do this stuff, Ashton? You're such a good boy and you know better" - he said through his tears, "Satan. He's pretty strong sometimes." Trying to come up with solutions, Ashton said he thought he needed to read the scriptures more and pray more and I thought that was a pretty good idea. Both boys agreed to really step it up and they're going to read the kid scriptures together every night during their reading time - so we'll see how it goes!
I'm working out a lot more and it feel so good. Working out always makes me feel better in every way and I've made it a higher priority. Plus I read while on the eliptical machine and I love reading so much - great to kill two birds with one stone.
- I saw a huge huge owl in the street the other night when I was coming home from a PTA meeting - it was just sitting there, about 2 ft tall and then it took off with this enormous wingspan. What a beautiful thing to see! And the twins get so excited about the bunnies we see all over in the morning and evening.
- I finally decided on a rug for downstairs under our game table and put in the order with a big order for some friends. I can't believe how long it takes me to make decisions! I stress myself out so much!
- The stars here are amazing every night. Black velvet sky, bright stars that somehow seem closer for how bright they are.
- I saw High School Musical II with my young women a while back and it was about the cheesiest thing ever (got to see it with Jared - the anti-cheese man - he'll die) but fun to watch with them and very fun to see all the scenery that's all around us here - they filmed it at the country club across the street from us. Wow, we live in a beautiful place!