Sunday, September 23, 2007


I woke up yesterday (Saturday) to the phone ringing - Jared was at Sand Hollow ready to start his triathalon and he'd forgotten his helmet. We were planning to go see him finish the bike part and do the running part, but he needed us to come earlier with the helmet. As I stumbled out of bed all bleary eyed - this is what I saw outside my window.

The picture can't even start to capture how surreal the lighting was and how amazing everything looked with a big storm and a bright sunrise seeming to compete with each other. Then a huge double rainbow appeared, spanning the whole sky behind our house. I ran and got the kids and we all marveled at the beauty and the unrealness of the lighting and the soft heaviness of the wet air.
Then the rain really moved in and the rainbow started to disappear - all but one end where it got really intense and bright before finally dying.

After the rainbow was gone and the rain started in full force, we quickly scrambled into the van and took off for the triathlon - only to find that it was canceled due to white caps on the lake (hard to swim through that!) and slippery mud roads for biking and running. Strike two for Jared on triathlons! But they'll probably reschedule and we found a fun place for breakfast then came home for a nice relaxing day of watching movies and just enjoying hanging out together for once while the rain poured down like crazy and made everything smell so nice while bringing out the desert colors so beautifully. We made our first batch of pumpkin cookies to welcome fall and just relaxed for the most part. Precious, great day!

We spent a lot of time Friday and Saturday night explaining Mountain Interiors to our friends Justin and Jessica so they can take over handling orders. So nice to get that in good hands! And our kids had a great time with their kids so everyone was happy.

The kids went to a pirate party for their friend Peyton on Friday night and had a fabulous time. They really wanted to send you the picture of them all dressed up for the party.

Today it's gorgeous - sunny, sweetly cool. Jo just took us for a ride around the neighborhood in his fun new open air Jeep. We had FHE out on the balcony. Everything's sparkly in the sun after the rain. My lesson in YW went great and I'm really loving the four good Mia Maids (have to say "Mia Maids" is a pretty funny name) I have right now. We've got great kids. Life is good. Life is hard - but it's so good. The kids about drove me crazy at dinner tonight - got to love making a really nice dinner and then not getting a chance to eat more than a bite or two before it gets cold as you stop to dish for everyone else, break up fights, try to engage everyone in a half-decent (and very interrupted) conversation about what they learned at church and dish up again and again and again for the kids (especially the twins) who never seem to be able to get enough. After most attempts at a family dinner I'm exhausted at best and despondent at worst! But in the midst of the craziness, there are always the beautiful moments thrown in - like yesterday morning's surreal beauty and the opportunity to delight in it along with my kids - that somehow make everything else OK.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Foogy Cereal and Glitter all Over

A couple days before our anniversary (Sept 8th), I looked out the window and saw a perfect "S" made of clouds. By the time I got my camera out, the "S" had become this great "J". Early anniversary present from Heaven? I like to think so. The kids were so delighted about the whole thing and I took this picture to show Jared - just sorry I missed out on a photo of the "S"!

Eliza says the funniest stuff every day and I'm so bad at remembering it. So I'd better write down the couple of things I've got in mind now. This morning she came and woke me up to complain, "Ashton gave me some cereal and he poured the milk too long ago and now it's ruined it's so foggy!" It took me a while in my half-asleep state to realize what she meant. The twins ended up happily eating the huge amount of "foggy" cereal Ashton graciously prepared (we're working with Ashton on understanding what an appropriate amount of cereal might be) and I got Eliza some fresh stuff and everyone was happy. But a lot of the time, Eliza's issues aren't so easily solved. She wakes me up most mornings with some sort of crisis. Here's how it goes - I'm sleeping, I wake up to my door opening and a little girl sniffing and whining - "I have a bugger in my nose and I can't get it out!" or "My shirt is really REALLY boddering me!" (most of her badly behaved clothing "bothers" her on a regular basis - the tags itch her or the waistband pokes her...) or "Isaac said he's never going to play with me again!" Oh, the traumas of Eliza's life! And Liza's quite concerned about glitter. As we walked down to the pool the other day and saw some trash in the bushes, she said, "Mommy, don't you just hate it when people glitter! Glittering is so rude!" No matter how many times the boys correct her and tell her it's LITTER, she prefers glitter. Right now, Liza and her friend Grayce are dancing away to this funny video some friends gave us called "Kids Dance Party" - they're so cute, trying to learn the bunny hop and hokey pokey. Liza requested this video by saying "Mommy, I just really want that video with the magical juice box." I couldn't figure out what in the world she was talking about. Finally she pointed out this video and I realized she meant the magical JUKE box (there's this dancing juke box on the show). Guess she's never heard of a juke box so to her, she's dancing around in there with a magical juice box, why not?

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.

Inspired by Cinderella, Eliza's been having a lot of fun dressing up her little brothers - and they're delighted about being "pincesses" as they say and love to ham it up for the camera
The twins are pretty much the cutest and most infuriating little people in the world these days. I thought they were done with the worst of the messes - they were much better for a while. But this last week, while I've been sick with the worst cold I've had in a long long time and really haven't felt like dealing with anything, let alone messes, they've been on a wild mess spree. These days most of their messes center around food. They can deftly scale the shelves in the pantry and help themselves to just about anything. In the last few days, I've found JoJo's (oreo type cookies) crumbled and smeared all over the pantry floor (with 1/2 the box no where to be found - surely tucked away in their tummies), crackers and cereal crumbles coating most of the house, peanuts flung all over the living room, granola bars smashed up in their beds, and my personal favorite is the countless times I've found various types of crumbs and smashed foods all over my bed. Is nothing sacred?! They seem to have decided that the very best place to eat their stolen food is on my bed which is just great. Why? Because they know I hate them jumping on my bed, messing up my bed, or being in my room at all and they know I they aren't allowed to take food out of the kitchen so they just cannot help themselves - the total naughtiness of stealing food and eating it in my room is just too wonderful! And the extra food they've been helping themselves to means lots of extra nasty diapers. Fun.

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!

The weather's finally getting sort of decent around here. Saturday night we were at the pool with Joel and Barb and their girls (Jared's brother and sister-in-law) for a BBQ and swimming and I didn't HAVE to get into the pool to keep from sweating to death. And yesterday morning, we ate breakfast outside on the deck in the slightly crisp shade of the morning. And I did some weeding outside the other day in full sun without completely wilting away. And last night we actually opened some windows and got some nice cool air coming in. So I think I can actually say it's starting to cool off around here and a little fall is in the air.

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!
Thats all for now. Enough for you?


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