Thursday, June 30, 2011

Kindergarten Graduation

It's been over a month but better late than never, right?

Kindergartners are about the cutest things in the world, don't you think?  I read every week with these sweet kids and loved hearing the funny things they'd choose to share with me and getting a glimpse into how they see the world while we read books about dogs and logs and that sort of thing together.  

Can you see Oliver and Silas on the front row behind the principal?  The kids sang the cutest song about moving on to first grade to the tune of "New York New York."  The video I took didn't turn out great and I keep thinking I'll have Ollie and Si sing it for me for a new video - someday!

All the kids were so very serious about getting their diplomas from their beloved teacher, Miss Bier.

OK, yes, I'm their mom, but seriously, aren't they about as cute as they come?  I have to say I teared up a bit (and caught a glint of tear in Jared's eye as well) as we watched our babies graduate from Kindergarten.  Wasn't it just yesterday that they were snuggled together in their shared crib as newborns - or dumping out 25 pounds of pinto beans in the pantry and smearing Vaseline all over the new carpet and crib bedding in their room as 1-year olds?

Miss Bier was such wonderful teacher.  They'll miss her so much.

Here are the kids in front of their school.  See the coats?  Yep, it was cold right up until the last day of school.

I'm glad I did all that begging to get them into this good charter school where the kids have had great teachers, a pretty decent art and music program, some Spanish instruction (I miss the immersion program in St George but at least at this school they get 1/2 hour a day of Spanish).  Soon they'll build a new building to replace this rather dipapitated old building (that actually reminds me so much of the elementary school where I went - same era, same coat hooks, same bathroom tile, same linoleum, same walls of windows in the classrooms that they don't do in new schools - it makes me sad to see new schools with so little natural light...).  The K-4 kids go to this building and then the 5-6 kids have their own campus (with lockers and switching for different classes like junior high - Ashton LOVED that).

We took Ollie and Si out for ice cream and they got two big scoops of any flavor they want.  It's amazing how exciting going for ice cream can be when you've got stingy (or poor) parents who only take you out for ice cream once in a blue moon.

Oliver really liked his ice cream.  Can you tell?

And Silas was pretty darn happy too.

Oh, how I love my little boys!  They delight me daily with their insights on the world around them, their usually sweet interactions with each other, their wonderful imaginations, their cute husky voices, their near-constant hugs and "I love you's."  Jared and I were so very scared when we found out that we were having twins on top of the three preschoolers we already had.  But God knew exactly what He was doing.  We needed these boys.  They bring so much joy and fun to every member of our family and to all their teachers and relatives and friends.   

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

This Week

First of all, thanks SO much to all of you who took the time to comment or email with such kind words about what this blog means to you after my post on unkind anonymous comments a couple posts ago.  Some of the really kind words came in the form of KIND anonymous comments - which I do get quite a lot.  So I guess I'd better keep allowing anonymous comments.  But maybe some of the "grumpies" out there will think twice before posting something not-so-nice after the post I wrote and after all your very kind comments on that post.

I've got about six posts half-written and can't seem to find the time to finish and post them.  Too often, I put off blogging about the present because I feel like I should finish the past first - but I don't have time to finish the past at present - so then I end up putting it all off....

So I'll start with the present (which isn't that exciting but should be remembered somewhat).  And until I get around to finishing the more exciting posts that are 1/2 written, feel free to check out my new sidebar on the right where there are tons of great posts about mothering discoveries and ideas that have really helped my life and might help yours as well.

This week has been about:
  • projects. tying up quite a few Power of Moms projects so I can put a lot of stuff on the shelf during our travels and family time in July
  • scouts.  helping my scout group pass off their cooking merit badge (can't say I'd like to do that one again - flour and grubby hands everywhere, farting noises from boys trying to figure out what funny is, off-topic comments in the midst of most of my attempts to explain things - pretty much totally exhausting for me and totally fun for the boys!)
  • deal.  helping Ashton finish his summer deal (helping him get his last piano song learned took me back to not-so-fond memories of my mom sitting by me on the piano bench trying to coax me through parts of songs that just seemed WAY too hard - but he got the last song learned!)
  • family.  We loved spending time with my brother Noah and family and my sister Charity who were in town (always SO fun to see them)
  • attending my new Learning Circle last night - my friend Emily has put together such a wonderful group of women and we've had two really rich and wonderful meetings so far.  I'm so grateful for the Learning Circles I've been part of - a social and learning opportunity I really need and really savor each month.
  • laundry, sorting and packing.  getting me and the kids packed and ready for a month of travel and family reunions (check out my "Car Trips 101" post in the right sidebar if you want to know what I've figured out about making road trips work after all these years)
  • cleaning.  This house gets SO dusty when the windows are open a lot like they have been and when I've been too busy to keep up.  It finally got really annoying so I've been attacking the dust this week.
  • water.  The kids have loved just playing with water guns and running in the sprinklers with neighbors and going to the nearby swimming pool and just enjoying the hot weather that makes water so welcome.
  • getting Jared and Ashton ready to head off to DC (Jared's sister who lives in DC is hosting all the kids in the family who are close to 12 years old for some exciting stuff and Jared gets to go as a chaperone). 
  • lots of bike rides with the kids - we've been doing mountain bike rides 3-4 times a week so far this summer (thus the new blog header photo) and the kids are getting SO good on their bikes over some pretty rough terrain (me, not so much - but I try!).
  • cooking.  the kids each got to choose and cook the dinner one night in the past couple weeks (with me as their assistant).  The twins were especially delighted about learning to chop things up and we tried some new recipes and it really worked out great.  It's fun to see the kids beam with pride when everyone at the dinner table says "thanks for this nice dinner, Eliza (or whoever made it)"  Kids can do a lot more than we sometimes think they can do.
  • running.  I used to be a pretty good runner.  I'd run 3-5 miles several times a week up and down the Potomac River in DC and then the Charles River in Cambridge, MA.  I had knee problems for a while and 5 preschoolers weren't that condusive to running anyway, so the eliptical machine combined with exercise videos have been my main forms of exercise for years.  But I decided I wanted to be a runner again and this decision coincided with the announcement that one of Jared's nieces was putting together a relay team for this 24-hour 100 mile race at the end of August.  I tentatively joined the team.  So I've gone running 3 times this week and while I have a hard time not thinking "I hate this" super often during my runs, it feels good to work towards something and I think this'll be good for me (if I can keep my knee in order).  
So that's the latest with us!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Around the Neighborhood

I've fallen in love with this neighborhood.

I love that it's eclectic.  I love that it's real.  I love that there's so much to do and see within walking or biking distance.

I love that there's so much diversity in people and architecture.  As we walk or bike around the neighborhood, we see all sorts of stuff:
  • a beautifully restored Victorian next to a forlorn house of faded glory divided into several apartments
  • a multi-generational family sitting out on their porch with great Spanish music blaring and wonderful smells coming from their kitchen while a young couple paints the house they are renovating next door
  • a lovely New England-style Baptist church across the street from a simple store-front style Pentacostal church
  • a pretty young mom gently urging her toddler along on his tricycle while a frazzled mom across the street yells some choice words at her own nonchalant toddler who's trying to get the gate in the rusty chain-link fence open
  • a fancy brand-new Spanish market offering everything from fresh pigs' feet to fresh cactus down the street from a shabby market with bars on the windows that sells a very random assortment of products
  • a guy covered from head to toe with tatoos complimenting the twins' great scootering skills as we pass each other on the sidewalk
  • the old Weber College main building with its stately pillars next to an empty lot that's usually occupied by a "free spay and neuter" van with pictures of cats and dogs all over it
  • a cute yuppie-style family with a stroller and a couple kids on bikes heading into the library where a man and woman with all manner of bags strapped to their bikes and grungy clothes hang out on the front steps
  • a family with five ragamuffin kids in cut-off shorts and old t-shirts on hand-me-down bikes heading off on an exciting mountain bike ride on the trails that start a mile or so up the hill, or skateboarding/scootering to the library down the block for story time, or wandering up to the new Spanish market to pick up some milk and pick some wildflowers in the empty lot on the way home, or walking a few blocks downtown to get 50 cent samples of delicious bread at Great Harvest or go to a minor league baseball game or watch a free concert at the amphitheater.  Oh wait, that's us.
Here's a collage of the houses we see when we walk around the block.

And here's a collage of the churches within two blocks of our house (if we go out 3 blocks, there are way more).

I love diversity.  I love the conversation-starters afforded by a simple walk around the block.  I love the chance to show our kids a good slice of the world right in our neighborhood.  I always dreamed of showing my kids the world, but for now, it's nice to have bits of the world come to us.

P.S.  Today's the last day to vote in the Power of Moms "Best Blog for Deliberate Mothers" Contest.  Please take a moment to check out the great finalist blogs and vote for your three favorites!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Summer Deals

On last night's Entitlement Webinar with my parents (which went great, by the way), there were a lot of questions about motivating kids to do productive stuff during the summer and keeping kids from feeling they're entitled to too much leisure when school's out.  Growing up, my parents did a great job helping us to come up with goals that we'd work on each summer and we'd make a "deal" regarding how much they'd pay us for successfully completing our goals.  This was a great way for us to use our extra time in the summer to earn money when we weren't yet old enough for "real" jobs and when we needed to be motivated to be actively involved in worthwhile pursuits rather than expecting to be entertained.

Anyway, people had a lot of questions about how many goals kids should set and what types of goals might work, so I promised to post one concrete example - my son Ashton's "Summer Deal" that he's working on to earn money to go with his cousins to DC and spend the 4th of July with his aunt there.

So below you'll find Ashton's "Summer Deal" (with Ashton's permission - in fact he copy and pasted it into my blog for me).  You'll see we had him come up with goals in several categories and that there's daily or nearly-daily component that goes with most goals and an end-result goal that goes with most required repeated actions.  We did have to trade this "deal" back and forth a few times - telling him to up the ante a little so we could make a deal both parties felt was great.

After doing these goals for the full month of June, he'll have earned $100 towards his plane ticket and with that plus the money he's been saving all year and some money we said we'd kick in, he'll be all set for a great trip with his cousins.  And he'll really appreciate it because he really worked for it.

We have offered him the courtesy of a reminder to do his stuff quite a bit, but mostly he's been very self-motivated since this is his deal that he made up and since it'll take him a long way towards something he really wants to do.  He has a spreadsheet where he checks off each thing he did each day before going to bed at night.  Ashton's 11 years old - in case you're wondering.

For our younger kids, they've also made summer goals and deals but theirs simpler.  For great examples of other kids' summer goals, check out my sister Shawni's recent blog post about summer goals HERE.

ASHTON'S SUMMER DEAL


Mental
  • Reading (30 minutes/day 7 days/week. Read 6 books, 3 being award winners)
  • Math (20 minutes/day, problem solving, 5 days a week. Learn 4 new math concepts) http://bit.ly/mHcazx http://bit.ly/muKmnf
  • Writing (blog post 2 days/week and work on book 3 days and work on journal 2 days/week)

Spiritual
  • Scriptures (at least 10 verses/day, 5 days/week) http://bit.ly/lsqKy6
  • Prayer (5 times a day)
  • Memorization (at least one Article of Faith or scripture/week)

Physical
Play basketball (3 days a week, 15 minutes a day. By the end, be able to make 15/20 baskets)
Run or bike for 30 minutes, 2 times/week.

Skills & Talents
  • Play guitar for 20 minutes each day, 3 times per week. Be able to play two new songs by the end of June.
  • Piano - same as above
Helping others
  • Babysit for neighbors at least 2 times for free
  • Help Oliver and Silas learn something twice a week (Reading, math, technology, etc.)
  • Secret service, 2/week (make bed, clean room, give gift, etc.)

I can have one pass per week per category - that means I can forget some things once in a while and still make my deal.

Unkind Anonymous Comments

To those few people out there who have left less-than-kind anonymous comments on my blog from time to time, I ask, what is your point?  You know that I will delete them before many people will see them so obviously what you write is meant just for me.  So if you'd like to offer constructive criticism in a kind way, please go ahead and do so but just email me directly at saren(at)powerofmoms(dot)com.

I've talked to other bloggers and apparently this anonymous-unkind-comment thing is all too common. I don't get it. We all see things on blogs sometimes that may not resonate with us and may not be that helpful to us and may even offend or bother us, but can't we be nicer with our criticism or simply leave it alone?  Why be mean to bloggers who are obviously trying to help through their blogs?  And if we are ashamed to put our name to what we've written, shouldn't we realize maybe we shouldn't be posting it at all?

If you don't appreciate what is offered on my blog or at Power of Moms, you are most welcome to NOT visit these sites.
  • If the "silver lining" attitude I muster up when things are hard in my life is bothersome to you, that's too bad.  It's very therapeutic to me to work through my hard stuff by writing and find the positive - and I've had many emails from people saying those posts really helped them.  
  • If my sharing of happiness and successes feels like bragging, I'm sorry.  I need to record the good stuff because,  believe me, there's plenty of really really hard stuff that I don't share on this blog because it's either too personal or involves other people whose confidentiality I respect.  It really helps me to counteract the hard stuff with the celebration of the positive so I can keep my head up. 
  • If you don't want to hear about free webinars or books by my parents or offer great resources and ideas to help your family offered by Power of Moms, skip over posts that address those things or don't come to my blog.  I'm going to keep sharing resources that I've seen make a big difference in my life and in the lives of countless other families.  
This is my personal and family journal and I've made it public because it seems to be helpful and interesting to a lot of other people.  But mostly, I write this blog because I need the therapy it provides me and because I want to remember for myself and for my posterity what mothering is like for me, what I'm learning, and what experiences we're having as a family.  I want my daughter and future daughters-in-law to be able to read about the things I've figured out through trial and error and maybe it will be enriching to their lives as mothers one day.

If you find what I write to be useful in your own life as a mother and want to add your voice to meaningful conversations about what works and what matters through your comments, that is wonderful and I'm so glad to have you here.  But throwing out biting anonymous comments is just not cool.  So please stop.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Beauty of Being Monetarily Challenged and Pretty Darn Busy

So we don't have a lot of money right now.  I mean we're wildly wealthy compared to the majority of the world's people who go to bed hungry every night.  We just have to be quite careful with our money these days and sometimes that gets a little old.

But I have to say one very nice thing about being quite limited financially right now is that it's a lot easier to protect our kids from entitlement.  When they want something their friends have that we don't perceive as a need, it's great to be able to honestly tell the kids that we simply can't afford the unnecessary extras that they want and that can clutter up our house and suck up our kids' time.

When we've had a good income, it's been a lot harder to say no to our kids' wants.  It can be hard to explain why, when ever other kid in the world seems to have a certain thing and when I seem to have the money to buy things I want and need, they shouldn't have the thing their heart desires as well.  

So while I do hope that we'll have more wiggle room financially at some point, I'm grateful for this chance for everyone in our family to learn more about needs and wants.  And although it may be hard to keep our fulfilled wants in check when there's money available, we're determined to help our kids understand that even when you have plenty of money, there are always plenty of real needs in the larger world that can and should be met before we delve into our wants.  There are so many people who need basic food and clothing and I'd like for us to give of our excess towards those who really need it before using excess to fuel our own wants.  I want our kids to understand that no matter how much money we have, it's best to limit our wants and make careful choices about what we bring into our homes and into our lives.

Another thing that's hard but that's helping keep my kids from entitlement is the fact that I've got so much on my plate.  I'm really working to cut back my work hours because the precarious balance I've always had between family and "other" has become extra-stressful lately and I truly want to be more present with my kids more often.  But thanks to the projects I always have going on with Power of Moms and church and our community as well as the very fact that we have 5 kids, each of my kids has been protected from "center of the universe syndrome" - something that affects kids who have parents or nannies that dote on them a bit too much.  My children have needed to help look after each other and help clean the house and help with projects I'm involved with pretty much all their lives. They don't feel entitled to my undivided attention all the time.  So when they get it (through regular mommy dates and tuck in time and other stuff like that), it feels really special.  And they seem to thrive on being useful as they help each other and help me.  Feeling useful is a basic human need, I believe.

Anyway, entitlement has been on my mind since my parents have just finished writing an exciting book called "The Entitlement Trap" and April and I are hosting them in a webinar this Tuesday June 21st.  If you want to hear them discuss the research they've done on the huge issue of entitlement in our society, find out about the great practical solutions presented in their book, and submit your own questions for them to answer during the webinar, click HERE.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Power of Kids

April (my Power of Moms Partner) was here with her four kids for the past 24 hours.  April and I had some good talks and knocked out a bunch of work together and that felt great. But maybe my favorite part of our time together was seeing our kids work together on their little blog, The Power of Kids. They have so many great ideas on how kids can "help make their families strong and awesome."

I loved this video they put together at the train museum this morning.  They came up with everything themselves and Ashton did all the editing by himself.  They wanted to figure out a fun way to celebrate that they've got a new member of their Power of Moms Team - April's son Ethan just turned 8 and the kids have decided that once you're 8, you can be an official contributor.  So this little video is to welcome Ethan to the group.



These kids love comments on their blog and totally welcome guest posts from other kids!  If your kids have ideas or posts to contribute, send them to powerofkidslp@gmail.com.  I may be a bit biased, but I think The Power of Kids is pretty darn wonderful and I bet your kids would like it a lot.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Daily Must-Dos

Sometimes mothering feels really complicated and sometimes we can feel pretty "stuck."  But really, if we think about it for a few minutes, most of us can probably come up with a pretty short list of fairly simple actions that, when done regularly, keep our heads above the water, help us feel a sense of accomplishment, and make us feel pretty good about our lives.

I liked this list that my new friend Courtney Kendrick came up with HERE (she came to our Power of Moms Retreat last weekend and did some great readings of some of her excellent writing).  Courtney's post inspired me to come up with my own list of "must-do's" for a day that feels pretty good (and these aren't in order of importance - they're just in the order they occurred to me right now):
  1. Pray right when I wake up
  2. Read at least a few verses of scriptures sometime during the day
  3. Spend time outside - even a few minutes works wonders for me
  4. Get one load of laundry done (can skip a day or two but then it gets pretty scary)
  5. Plan dinner right after breakfast (throw something in the crock pot or get something out to thaw...)
  6. Spend some quality one-on-one time with at least one child (this time can be spent scrubbing a floor or making dinner together or when I linger at one kid's bed after tucking-in time)
  7. Write a quick email or make a call to someone who's been on my mind (a sibling, a friend, a co-worker - takes like 2 minutes and always makes me feel so good)
  8. Spend 5-15 minutes cleaning something that's been bugging me (beyond the regular doing dishes, wiping countertops, sweeping the floor that's mostly divided up between the kids - this 15 minutes has to do with dusting an area I've noticed is bad or wiping down the stair walls that have gotten grimy, that sort of thing)
  9. Get some exercise. Vacuuming or walking to the library counts.  Something is better than nothing.  I need to do some serious cardio at least 3 times a week, but the other days, I still need at least a little something to keep those endorphins going and keep my energy up.
  10. Read something enjoyable and thought-provoking (a blog post by a friend or sister, an essay on Power of Moms, a chapter of a book I'm reading, a chapter in a book I'm reading with one of my kids - now that they're reading books that are actually interesting to me)
  11. Do something nice for my husband - just for him.
  12. Plan ONE thing I'll accomplish the next day in each of three categories - for myself, for my family, for Power of Moms - before going to sleep.
I haven't been getting to a lot of the above stuff that well lately so I've been feeling pretty frazzled.  I'm going to do better.

Twelve things.  I can do 12 things.  Or maybe 10 out of the 12 is more realistic!

What would go on your list of daily "must-dos"?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Mother's Day Photos and Thoughts

I love being a mom.

There are lots of minutes in motherhood that I don't love.  But there are many more minutes that are priceless.

Every Mother's Day, I make a point of having Jared take photos of me and the kids.  I don't have many photos with my mom and I wish I had more.  And in our family, I'm usually the one behind the camera.  I want my kids to remember how I looked and how I looked at them and how they looked at me.

I want to remember how Silas is looking up at me with his sweet adoring look in this photo and how Oliver closes his eyes like this when he goes in for a hug.  I want to remember how Ashton is gaining on me height-wise every day and how his hugs may be few and far between but they're like gold.  I want to remember Isaac's tight-around-the-waist hugs.  And I want to remember this time when they all want to be near me and all want my attention at the same time and all still think I know quite a lot.



Motherhood is hard.  The hardest work I've ever done by far.  But it's also the sweetest and most rewarding and beautiful work.  I thank God every day for these precious children he entrusted me with and for all that they teach me through the hard stuff and the good stuff.

Sometimes I get scared for all that is to come.  I hear of friends and relatives dealing with everything from a child being hit by a car to a child making serious mistakes that are hard to fix and my heart fills with empathy while my brain registers fear for the future.  I want to hold these sweet children close and teach them all I can and be there for all the things they want to tell me and show me during this precious time that I'm still close to the center of their world.

I want to take them each on mommy dates most weeks and really listen to them.  I took Oliver on a walk on Sunday and let him be the leader and show me everything he wanted to show me - he doesn't get to be the leader much and he had so much to show and tell.  I took Silas to the store yesterday - just me and him - and he picked out all the veggies and pushed the cart and ate up the whole experience.  I took Isaac running with me yesterday and found out that he's not much of a jogger but he sure is amazing at noticing the beauty of the world around us.

I want to take a break from whatever important projects I've got going on Power of Moms to watch the little plays Eliza's always putting on with the twins - they always have to wait too long for me to come watch.  I want to take the time to have Ashton show me how his MindStorm works and his latest favorite music.

I want to be there to see their eyes shine so my eyes can shine back at them.  And I've been too busy and consumed lately.

So some of my other stuff will just have to slow down a bit.  And that's OK.  The precious moments of this stage of motherhood have to be appreciated NOW, the foundation of relationships that we all need to get through this life successfully have to be built NOW.  Everything else can wait.





Sunday, June 12, 2011

Loving Church

There were definitely times when I wondered if I'd ever find church remotely enjoyable again.  For many years, church was mostly about trying to keep a bunch of very small children sort of quiet by frantically passing out toys and snacks to toddlers and preschoolers while bouncing a fussy baby on my lap.  I was lucky if I was able to catch maybe one tiny idea from the speakers while trying to quietly conduct my own three ring circus in the pew.

But now church is one of the most enjoyable parts of my week.  After 11 years of struggling and training and trying and failing, the payoff is oh-so sweet.  I love sitting with Jared's arm around me and the twins nestled on our laps for parts of the meeting.  I love having one of the kids always snuggled up against my non-Jared side.  I love playing with Eliza's curls and reaching over to give Ashton a little squeeze on the shoulder and seeing him smile at me.  I love looking over to see the kids quietly looking through the hymn book or the scriptures or reading articles in the Friend magazine (a few old copies is all we need to bring in our once-bursting church bag these days).  I love holding hands with whoever is beside me and giving that hand three squeezes - I - love - you - and then getting four squeezes back - I - love - you - too.  I love seeing the kids find the right pages in the hymn books and singing their very best on all the songs (even the twins can read all the words now and sing along pretty decently - I think following the words with their fingers in church every week from the time they were small actually really helped them learn to read). I love being able to take notes on talks and record what the spirit is telling me during the meeting (impossible for years with the squirming babies). I love whispering a favorite story about Jesus in one of the kid's ear while the sacrament is passed.  I love peeking during a prayer and seeing the sweet bowed heads and folded arms of my dear children who love Jesus.

I really wondered if the day would ever arrive where I could use "love" and "kids" and "church" in the same sentence.  We still have our hard Sunday when the twins are making loud-ish folding noises and then loud-ish swooshing noises as they fold the church programs into airplanes and wave them around in the air, occasionally letting one actually fly "by accident" or when the big kids keep poking and pinching each other or when everyone wants the same magazine at the same time.  But mostly, church is about quiet together time these days.  And on Sundays like today, I love it with all my heart.  

Thursday, June 09, 2011

The Big Lagoon Day

Eliza, Oliver and Silas are sorting socks and folding laundry and reminiscing about our big day at Lagoon (an amusement park near here) yesterday while Jared is out on a crazy mountain bike ride with the big boys.  This is the conversation Liza and the twins are having as they work:

"Remember how Wicked SHOOTS you up and then you go STRAIGHT down?"
"I like that part where you go upside down and twisty"
"I like the loops on Collossus"
"It's called Fire Dragon Collossus, not just Collossus, you know."
"Who cares what it's called."
"Well, I can't believe we got to go on that one so many times in a row"
"That rain was kind of cold.  My feet got cold from the puddles.  That was the bad thing."
"Yeah but it was good because it made everyone else leave and we got to go on EVERYTHING as many times as we wanted"
"That swing ride was really good too - it wasn't scary but you could feel like a bird."
"Yeah, I put my arms out like a bird the whole time."
"I'm so glad we got to go on the swing ride at the very end - that was SO cool they let us on when it was really supposed to be closed."
"Yeah, can you believe we were there from the VERY minute it opened until it was totally closed?"
"We did EVERYTHING."
"Ollie and Si, I think you are the smallest people to ever go on Wicked.  And you weren't even scared at all, were you?"
"Yeah, we were just barely tall enough on that tape measure thing but they let us on."
"And we went on it 15 times.  I can't even believe it."
"Your hair looked SO funny after you went on that ride from the wind."
"I feel like I'm still on it when I close my eyes."
"Put all that underwear in your cubbie, Oliver."
"Silas!  You can't leave!  There are still some socks here!"

As you can tell, Lagoon was a bit hit.

We drive past Lagoon every time we drive to Salt Lake and the kids have been begging to go forever.  Ashton and Isacc found some special deal passes for yesterday so we set the date and the kids worked really hard to save up enough money to go. Ashton babysat for neighbors.  Isaac mowed the lawn a lot.  Eliza did crafts with the twins and lots of other jobs around the house.  The twins used their recent tooth fairy money and did lots of jobs as well.

As the big day got closer, the kids researched every ride and measured each other to see who could go on what.  It turned out that the twins were just barely 46 inches, the magic height that gets you on 99% of the rides.  They were so excited to tell me the news.  They found Lagoon maps when we were at Antelope Island last week and used them to map out their preferred route.  We packed up lots of sandwiches and bought special snacks at the store.  We packed swimsuits and extra clothes and I insisted on bringing sweatshirts even though everyone else thought that was silly since it was clear and warm.

We really had a great day. It was so fun to see the kids SO excited about everything and to be able to walk right past the kiddie rides and all the people with strollers and wagons and go on all the big rides together as a family.  And it was so great to see Jared practically jumping up and down about it all right along with the kids - he loves amusement parks.  I wish I had a video of Oliver on the first roller coaster ride we went on.  He looked pretty freaked out and he had a vice-like grip on my arm.  And at the end, when I asked him how he liked it, he said grimmy, "I was scared to death."  Hmmmm.  I geared myself up mentally for a day of kiddie rides - but he wanted to keep trying the big rides and after a couple more rides, his fear was magically completely gone and he was as daring and excited as everyone else.

It was the perfect temperature and pleasantly sunny until about 5pm when a big storm moved in and it got COLD and rainy.  But the kids and Jared weren't remotely interested in heading home.  Jared went to the car to get those silly sweatshirts I'd insisted on bringing plus an umbrella and we stayed all the way until closing at 10pm.  The lines were non-existent and almost all the rides kept running. As long as we kept running around to keep warm and didn't mind soggy rear ends from sitting on wet seats or rain pelting our faces on the fast rides, it was great!  For the last few hours, it was like we had our own private amusement park.  What seemed like a big pain (the rain and cold) ended up feeling like a real blessing.

It was hard timing for us to Lagoon yesterday in some ways - we just got back from St George, I've got this Retreat on Saturday (got lots of little emails taken care of while standing in lines at Lagoon yesterday so I was able to keep up w/o detracting much from the day), and finances are tight.  But we all needed this. Sometimes you've just got to get away and live out your kids' dreams a little!

Monday, June 06, 2011

Important Timely Tidbits

OK, I'm way behind on blogging.  Someday soonish, you'll see info and photos on all our end-of-school stuff - the twins' Kindergarten graduation, Eliza's lovely dance concert, Ashton's first boy/girl party, and Isaac's choir concert.  And I'll put up the gorgeous photos of our field trip out to Antelope Island last Monday with some friends as well as stories about how our summer schedule and activities are going (quite well, actually). And I'd like to blog about our time with my brother Josh who came to visit for a couple days (we gave him a grand bicycle tour of Ogden with major highlights being the train museum, antique car museum and a visit to the kids' school - he's a school teacher and the kids wanted to share their school with him).  Maybe I"ll even get around to posting the photos Jared took of me and the kids for Mother's Day and the half-finished post that goes with them.  Who knows?

But right now we're driving back from St George (great weekend of friends and hiking and waterfalls and memories and swimming and SUN, glorious sun - plus the kids found a new pet - photos coming soonish) and I just took care of 50 emails or so while driving (so cool how Jared's got our car set up as a hot spot).  Now I want to tell the kids some stories and get them to sleep.  So for now, I'll just let you know about a couple timely and important things:

  • We have a few precious spots left at our upcoming Retreat this weekend in Centerville, UT.  This will be a unique opportunity to work with me, April and some of our best trainers to really delve into some answers for your motherhood needs and your family's needs. We've had lots of requests for more discussion-oriented Retreats that offer the chance to go deeper.  So we've put this exclusive, small-group Retreat together.  Along with all the great small-group stuff, we'll have the chance to hear from super-blogger Courtney Kendrick (cjane) and probably my wonderful mom, Linda Eyre, as well.  And this event will be small  - we're strictly limiting our numbers so we can preserve a more intimate feel at this Retreat.  HERE is the link to all the details. And PLEASE pass this information along to anyone else who you think would be interested.  After seeing what a huge difference our Retreats have made in the lives of so many moms, we want to be sure that every mom who might need and want this experience hears about opportunity.
  • Our Blog Contest ends on Wednesday (as in the day after tomorrow).  Please nominate your favorite blogs so we can spread the word about the best blogs out there and offer some great prizes to some great bloggers.
So there you have it.  Happy Monday.
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