Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sitting Here in my Workout Clothes...

I'm sitting here in my work out clothes. I've been in them since first thing this morning when I thought I'd head right down to the clubhouse and work out as soon as I got the kids off to school. But somehow after replying to a few emails and getting some phone calls, I ended up having to rush down to the club house to meet up with friends for our weekly swim morning and I figured I'd just stay down there after they left and work out then.

But a couple hours later when the swimming was done, some people were having a meeting in the clubhouse so I couldn't really work out in there right then. So I headed home and decided to work out at home. But then I saw another couple emails I that seemed somewhat urgent. Then the big kids got home from school and brought 3 friends with them. I thought 4 boys made a lot of noise and ruckus but now there are 7 boys in the house and I see that 4 boys really don't make much noise at all. So here I am at 4:30pm, still in my workout clothes and feeling quite unaccomplished. I guess it's good I didn't work out so I didn't have to wash my hair yet - I just got it cut yesterday and I'll never be able to style it as well as the hairdresser did - wish I had somewhere fancy to go with this nice new hair. But I bet the girls and leaders will appreciate it tonight at Young Women's. I've got a LOT less hair on my head now and so far it feels great.

So that's my day. Some days are just like this. But as my work-out sessions during the day get increasingly hard to cram into everything that just keeps on happening, I've come to terms with the fact that I need to get up early to exercise. I did it for quite a while last year and it was painful every time when that alarm went off but once I dragged myself out of bed and got going, it always felt great to get my workout in first thing. OK - I'm ready - there's no other way - I can do this! I'm going running early tomorrow morning. I will, I will, I will!

Then I'll wash my hair and see if I can figure out how to do this seriously minimized head of hair of mine without professional help. Just thinking of how much faster and easier it will be to wash and brush out my hair now makes me feel so good. For years now I've dreaded the long painful brushing out of my hair after showering - finally that's one "dread" put behind me!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Some Day I'm Going to Miss This

After a whole summer of trying (often very unsuccessfully) to make shopping with 5 kids a somewhat pleasant "field trip," it got pretty old. Yesterday, I dropped off all 5 kids at school and preschool and headed to the grocery store and Costco all by myself. It was heavenly. There were no kids to almost get lost or almost tip over the cart due to their unquenchable desire to stand on the side. There was no begging and pleading, no crying or whining. There were no squabbles between kids to referee and no distractions to keep my brain in a fuzz. I enjoyed doing some price comparisons on various foods, planned side dishes in my head while selecting the nicest seasonal veggies, and contemplated the pros and cons of different types of shampoo. I got everything on my list and even had the presence of mind to remember a few things that didn't make it on the list. I felt for the moms I saw towing their rowdy little kids through the store and smiled sympathetically at the mom with the yowling baby.

Then as I waited to pick up photos at Costco, a mom behind me in line was biding her time by playing with her two little boys (a baby about 9 months old and a little guy who looked about 2) who were seated side by side in the shopping cart (how I've loved those Costco carts where you can buckle in two kids!). Again and again, she'd say to the baby "I bet you can't give me a kiss!" and lean her face close to the baby and he'd grab her face and give her a big slobbery kiss and the toddler would laugh his head off when she'd say "Oh, you got me again!" It made me miss my babies. And it made me feel so very grateful I get to be a mom.

As I continued my shopping, it hit me that someday I won't just be seeing a mom with a baby and feeling a little nostalgia that my kids have grown past the baby stage now. Someday, I'll be a mom of grown up kids who are off on their own, living their own lives - and when I see these moms with little kids, I'll think back nostalgically on this whole phase of my life. Aloneness in the grocery store will become a norm at that point. Fielding 5 comments and requests at once will be a thing of the past. And I'll look at those moms towing their kids along in a whole different way - I'll think about how lucky they are to have those cute little kids and I'll miss my own. I'll probably get the urge to stop those hassled moms and tell them to love this small window in their lives when they are so needed and so wanted by such lovely little people. I'll want to tell them that time goes by quickly and that the melt downs and crying really only lasts a few minutes at a time (even though it can seem like an eternity when you're in the middle of it). I bet I'll want to tell them that they'll even miss the hard stuff because without that, you don't appreciate the good as much.

So I'd better listen to my future self and cherish this phase of my life a lot more. As I was shopping and people watching and thinking of this stuff, a song came to mind that my sister-in-law Kristi shared with us this summer - "You're Gonna Miss This" by Trace Adkins. I'm generally not very interested in country music - but Kristi said "I challenge you not to cry when you listen to the words of this song" - and I have to say I didn't quite meet the challenge. Someday we're all going to miss a lot of things that seem pretty commonplace and even rather bad right now. If you feel like it, listen to the Trace Adkin's song and these other two songs I like below - and think about your own life and what you're going to miss someday. Then try to enjoy the present just a little more!

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Friday, August 14, 2009

Star of the Month and Baptism Boy - Isaac

OK, it's been a while since I spotlighted Ashton but now is the perfect time to spotlight sweet Isaac who turned 8 this summer and got baptized in Bear Lake. How did he get so big so fast?

The night before each kid's birthday, I tell them all about their original birthday and let their siblings listen in as I show them pictures and tell them all the details I can remember. They eat it right up - who doesn't like an adventure with YOU as the star of the story? It's so fun to relive those beautiful days and tell the story with all the excitement and suspense I can muster up.

Isaac was the most exciting, most amazing and in many ways, best delivery. It started to dawn on me that I was in labor when I sat down in the midwife's waiting room for my regular check-up and those Braxton-Hicks were starting to feel more like the real thing. The midwife took a quick look and confirmed my suspicions - I was already at a 6 - and sent me across the street to the hospital - she said she'd be right behind me. I frantically tried to call Jared who was in some "clean room" checking out the computer chip-making machines he sold for work and had no cell phone reception - argh!!!! They were so SLOW getting me admitted while the pains were quite suddenly quite serious. I finally reached Jared and he rushed over. I asked about an epidural and a call was put in to the anesthesiologist - but things were happening fast and the midwife told me she'd talk me through everything and it would be fine one way or another. Isaac was born about 1/2 hour after I got to the hospital - and about 15 minutes after Jared arrived. The labor was super painful but the midwife talked me through the pain and when that little boy popped out, I've never felt such an amazing natural high. Something about really feeling that intense pain seems to heighten the joy just a bit.

Isaac came out perfect - calm, sweet, and beautiful. He was as dark as Ashton was light and I felt I'd got my wish -I'd hoped that with two boys so close together in age they'd be really different so there'd be less competition - and I sure got what I wanted - these boys are so different from each other in wonderful ways!

Ashton took to Isaac immediately. One of my all-time favorite moments was when Ashton first saw his little brother and there was this beautiful look on his face that seemed to say "There you are! I've been so excited to get you down to this earth to be with me!" Ashton reached out his chubby little arms and pulled Isaac in tight and instinctively started rocking that little baby back and forth. Isaac and Ashton have heard this story plenty of times - they get to hear it whenever they aren't getting along - I'm always reminding them that they were best friends even before they came to earth - so they'd better act like it!
Isaac was the best little baby - the best nurser, the smiliest, cutest little guy, never a moment's trouble - other than the massive amounts of spit-up and drool he constantly put out!
Check out that drool - and those eyelashes!

What was true in the delivery room continues to be true. Isaac is as sweet and loving as a child can be - plus he's proven to be a super hard worker, a great athlete, and an all-around great kid. I loved seeing him with all his little cousins this summer - he loves little kids (especially babies) so much and he's so good with them. He and Grace totally took care of little 1-year-old Lyla for a day and had so much fun with her. Lucy (who seems quite discerning in who she likes to have around) and Elsie (who used to yell out for Isaac in church when she lived by us) couldn't get enough of this Isaac. He treats everyone - especially little babies - with such interests and respect that they can't help but like him. And enthusiasm - Isaac is always up for anything from hard work projects to fun hikes to challenging bike rides to anything else. Isaac is always fun to have around. He loves good food - states that guacamole, baby octopus and sushi are his favorite things - along with cookies and candy and anything sweet - he has a serious sweet tooth. He's very thankful and very friendly - two really great and somewhat rare qualities in kids. These traits make him quickly liked by adults and kids alike. Oh how we love our Isaac!

Isaac's "second birth" - his baptism this summer - was much like that first birth in many ways. It was unique (he was baptized in Bear Lake), it was Spirit-drenched, it was beautiful, and it left me with a natural high. But it was sure a lot less painful and crazy! There's nothing like seeing your child go into the waters of baptism with their worthy father and come out literally glowing with joy. Isaac was so excited to get baptized and took his preparation for his baptism very seriously. He really understands many important concepts of the gospel and has an earnest desire to be good and to make others happy.

Being somewhat in the middle of our family, Isaac sometimes doesn't seem to get enough special attention so it was extra nice that his baptism could be so extra special. It worked out perfectly that he could get baptized with his best friend and cousin Grace in Bear Lake with every one of his Eyre relatives and many of his Loosli relatives as well (more than would have been able to attend if we'd held the baptism in St George so it worked out pretty well for everyone). Plus it was pretty cool that Isaac got to wear the baptism outfit that my grandma made for my father - and it was fun to see that it fit him exactly - fun to picture my dad with the very same build and height as Isaac at 8 years old.

Isaac with Jared's brothers Aaron and Brian and their families
With Grandma Loosli
With Grandma Great - my dad's mom who made that little baptism outfit for my dad

We had a lovely little program with freshly returned missionary Charity giving a talk on baptism and a bunch of the grandkids sang a song.

Then we went down to the beach. It was quite early in the morning so we were able to avoid all the commotion of boats and jetskis and four-wheelers on the 24th of July weekend. It was quiet and beautiful on so many levels.

Gracie went first.
Then Isaac.
Nice to have a strong dad who can carry you when your wet pants are so hard to walk in!

Then we all headed up to my parents' house on the hill for Isaac's confirmation and a big brunch. Gracie's Pothier grandma gave a beautiful talk on the Holy Ghost and then Grace and Isaac received the gift of the Holy Ghost from their fathers with their uncles standing in the priesthood circle. I loved seeing Isaac surrounded by all these wonderful men who love him and who he looks up to so much - what a beautiful sight! I love how the priesthood works and how it provides such meaningful ways for the male members of a child's family to be such an integral part of that child's rites of passage.
These kids will be getting baptized in a couple years - they were paying close attention
- so great to have older cousins and siblings who are good examples

Isaac and Gracie - Best cousins who now share a very special baptism day
With Ana whose birthday didn't quite come in time to get baptized with these two -
she'll follow them in a couple weeks.
Here are the same three kids when Ana was 2 days old (on the right).
Where did the time go?

What a day! What a wonderful son we have in Isaac. I'm so grateful for this excellent boy of mine!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

First Day of School!

Here are the kids heading off to school this morning! One of the casualties of all our travels this summer is that I can't seem to find the charger for my camera battery. Until it shows up, I've got the camera in my phone which isn't great - sorry about the quality of this photo. But I'm grateful I could get what I got! Isaac was way excited but he looks a little weird here. I cut everyone's hair day before yesterday - despite the boys' protests. I just don't know how to make long shaggy hair look presentable - even if it is sort of the style.

You know, I was a little sad to see the kids heading back into school - I've enjoyed having them around so much all summer, the big kids have been so good about entertaining the little kids, and it's been so nice to be unhampered by any particular schedule. But this morning, after I saw the big kids off and read stories with the twins (uninterrupted by three other kids' needs) and now, as the twins play happily together in the other room and I sit here catching up on piles of stuff, I'm realizing how nice it is to have school start up. I love having the opportunity to really focus on my little guys for part of the day and the big kids were so excited to get back in school. Summer was long enough. We're ready. This is good.

Last night I helped with the PTA open house at the school - I need to learn Spanish! I helped at the membership table and so many of the parents who wanted to join PTA only spook Spanish. Many of them had kids with them who could translate for them - it's interesting watching a little role reversal go on as parents listen intently to their kids' translations. After a couple years of busy and frustrating times sticking with the PTA as it limped along with way too few people willing do to much, it looks like we've got a great group this year and there's a lot of new energy at the school with the name change going through - we're now Dixie Sun Elementary, not Dixie Downs - and there's definitely a "sunnier" feeling going on!

The kids all have great teachers this year - many I know from past years which makes things easier in many ways. And the twins can't wait to get back to their beloved little preschool next week. The teacher there has adopted the Joy School curriculum for this year and she's so excited about it. This is going to be a great year for everyone!

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Bear Lake and Beyond

We're home! Home is a good place. The kids were so excited to sleep in their own comfy beds after a solid month of floor-sleeping and having our own bathrooms feels like quite a luxury. After being with an average of 18 kids and about as many adults pretty much every day throughout July, our "little" family of 7 seems so manageable and quiet. Even though we got home last Sunday, we've had guests and events like crazy until yesterday when we got a chance to be all on our own for the day. It felt good. But we do miss all those wonderful friends and relatives!

Our time at Bear Lake this year was jam-packed with people and events and good talks and beautiful scenery and fun. My only complaint would be that somehow, in the flurry of guests and activities (including trips to Logan, to SLC, to Wyoming to do a pioneer trek, etc.), it felt like there was too little time this year to really enjoy stretches of days on the beach with kids happily paying while I talk with the women I know and love best about all sorts of meaningful stuff. There really ended up being zero days when it was just me and my sisters and sisters-in-law with our kids at the Lake - so my plans for doing podcasts with them for Power of Moms and getting their opinions on a variety of subjects never quite materialized. But there were lots of great talks and late night games and good laughs and I cherished all the time I did get with so many combinations of family members and friends.

Here are some snapshots (many courtesy of Shawni and Saydi who are amazing photographers) and highlights of the Bear Lake phase of our summer - Bear Lake was our base but we went all over the place from there (For the Ashton, ID stuff at the beginning of the month, click here):

GREAT PEOPLE - in droves: We had friends and friends of friends and more relatives showing up daily at the Lake - great to catch up with some of my dad's brothers' kids and families, most of the extended Clayton family, various close family friends who feel like family (Amy, Maureen, Laurel, Jen Jacob...), Josh's girlfriend and her family. For the first time in many years, we were able to attend the Jacobson and Clark reunions since they were both at Bear Lake - we had day-long reunions with both sides of my mom's family - meeting and re-meeting wonderful 2nd and 3rd cousins, lots of laughs with my mom's sister's kids who we don't get to see enough.

EYRE COUSINS: Never a dull moment with 18 cousins to play with every day! The kids all got along so well and enjoyed each other so much. The big ones were so helpful with the little ones and everyone just seemed to genuinely LIKE each other so much. Certainly, there's a lot of noise and plenty of crying and issues to deal with when so many little kids are around - but generally, it was great to see such strong bonds developing between all these cute kids.

SAND AND WATER: The beach, the beach, the beach - the kids never grew tired of digging holes in the sand and playing in the warm shallow water and riding the "GT3" multi-person tube and riding in the boat and pretending to drive the tractor that launches the boat. Sand and water are a recipe for neverending fun for kids and for pleasant relaxing times for moms. The changing colors of the lake, the feel of sand underfoot, the sound of lapping water and children laughing - it doesn't get much better than that...

FOOD: Thanks in large part to my sister Saydi's fearless gourmet plans and everyone else's willingness to pitch in and make it happen, we had wonderful food every day at Bear Lake - from homemade pizzas to delicious falafel. Good stuff and good times preparing it together. Always an adventure preparing food for 30-50 people - especially when the nearest grocery store is not very near and you have to get creative with what you have!

BEAUTY: Amazing sunsets, beautiful green reeds against the blue of the lake, shimmering ripples in the late afternoon, ever-changing beauty. For some truly gorgeous photography of Bear Lake, check out my sister Saydi's blog entry here.

GRANDMA GREAT: Saydi and I took out kids to Logan to spend a night with Grandma Great - so wonderful to see the family history she's almost finished with, hear great stories, visit the old Joy School she ran for so many years and remember all that we've learned from this great family matriarch while the kids played with all the old wooden puzzles Grandma made for her own kids so long ago.

PIONEER TREK: Jared and I were asked to be a "Ma and Pa" for a fake family of 8 teenagers from our ward as part of our stake Pioneer Trek in the middle of the month (separate post on this - but here's one photo!)

Liza and Claire at Grammie Camp

A bicycle built for 6!

GRAMMIE CAMP: Every year, all the kids over 5 get to participate in a wonderful overnight camp with my mom where they learn stories about their ancestors and go on great field trips. This year the group was big enough that it had to be broken into two groups - the 5-6 year olds and the 8 and ups. They had so much fun riding a crazy-seater bike they rented, getting special treats, going to a really fun melodrama at the Pickleville Playhouse and just soaking in some excellent time with my amazing mom.

GRANDFATHER: The kids can't get enough of this grandfather of theirs. They loved feeding the horses with him and participating in all their "group" activities (he has all the kids divided into groups by age and has special activities they get to do at each age). Ashton got to go with Max and Elle (Group 1) on the big motor home trip that Grandfather promised to all the grandkids when the oldest one in their group is 12 years old. They had crazy adventures in Jackson Hole and Yellowstone and came back loving their amazing grandparents more than ever. Isaac, Gracie and Ana (Group 2) received their "Broaden and Contribute" money from Grandfather this summer - a big chunk of money they get to use to broaden their minds and contribute to worthy causes. He had some great talks with them about all this. Eliza, Hazel, Cam and Claire (group 3) got to make their "treasure chests" this year and enjoyed hours of hammering and gluing and painting while they made a special place to keep their special things and learned from their Grandfather. What can I say - my parents are truly amazing!

CHARITY'S HOMECOMING: My youngest sister Charity got home from her mission to England on July 24th and it was so great to have EVERYONE in my family together for a whole day or so at Bear Lake and then a day in SLC for her outstanding homecoming talk in church and open house at my parents' house. She was an amazing missionary and the transition to "regular" life was a bit rough but we've all reveling in having our little sister/favorite aunt back! So many old friends and relatives came to the homecoming and it was a great reunion of both our full immediate family and many of the people who've always been part of our lives.

ISAAC's BIRTHDAY: Isaac had a great birthday with all his cousins (Ana, Cam and Elsie showed up from New Zealand just in time for cake!) and most of his aunts and uncles - we took him to the other side of the lake for burgers and raspberry shakes, played lots of games, he got cute homemade cards from many cousins, some fun little toys, his own scriptures and journal and was treated to all his favorite meals.

ISAAC'S BAPTISM: Isaac and his cousin Grace got baptized in Bear Lake the day after Charity got home. He was so excited to have all the Eyres and quite a few of the Looslis there for that special event. It was a truly beautiful day in every way. I'll write a whole post about it.

Here are the kids on the moon - at the SL Planetarium

FUN IN SLC: We had a wonderful day attending the Oquirrah Mountain Temple open house with some of my family (beautiful, beautiful temple - one of my very favorites - so fun to share my love for the temple with the kids through this visit) and then I had my great kids all to myself all afternoon at the SLC children's museum and planetarium. It was one of those days where serendipity abounds and we so enjoyed being together - just the 6 of us. I really played with the kids at the museum and totally focused on them and we learned all about the constellations and listened to a wonderful guitarist while we enjoyed a great dinner on a beautiful evening. Every mom needs a day like this once in a while to thoroughly remind her how fun it is to be a mom.

MY BIRTHDAY: Jared and I did the 54 mile bike ride around Bear Lake again for my birthday and enjoyed serious beauty and serious exercise while Noah and Kristi were kind enough to watch the kids for us and show them a great time. Perfect day. Just to be clear, there are NOT 4 candles on my cake because I turned 40 - I'm way younger than that. Mom could only find 4 candles so there you have it.

BYU IDAHO EDUCATION WEEK: I spent a couple days in Rexburg attending Education Week wtih my friend April Perry who was presenting. The two of us came up with some exciting new ideas for more options for moms at Education week and it looks like the administration will be moving forward with our ideas and that she and I will likely be spending time at BYU I Education Week again next year. Jared and the kids had a wonderful time enjoying some smaller-group time with Jared's mom and LOVED visiting Bear World (see above).

If you're still reading, congratuations! I tried just offer a tiny snippet of the top things about our month of travel and adventures - but even just covering a smattering of what we had going on adds up to a long post!


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