Monday, February 27, 2012

Eliza's Birthday and Tea Party Tradition

Better late than never, right?

Eliza's birthday is Feburary 13th. She was best Valentine's Day gift ever - our little pink bundle who's grown up to give us love notes right and left all year long. She's everything anyone could want in a little girl - sweet, smart, pretty, dramatic, determined, emotional, artistic, and athletic with a love for beauty and adventure.

Hard to believe that sweet pink bundle is now NINE years old.

Seems like yesterday she looked like this - and talked my ear off in her cute little voice every waking minute.

first day of preschool
preschool graduation
Starting Kindergarten
Here are a couple quick stories stories about Eliza this past year:

Eliza really wanted to learn to ski. But it was way harder than she thought it would be. Her skis were going every which way and she was so frustrated. As she tearfully fell for about the 20th time on the bunny hill, I told her she really could quit if she wanted to. For Eliza, saying she can quit is pretty much like triple dog daring her not to. She wiped her eyes and said "Nope. I can do this." She got her mind around what was going on, really looked at what other people were doing, made some great observations about what seemed to be working, and resolved to be a skiier for real. Within an hour, she was riding up the big lift and making it down the easy run, unhappy with any suggestions Jared or I might give her but excited to tell us about tips she received from kind strangers who helped her up when she fell and wasn't near us (and she preferred us to keep our distance). But the end of the day, she was triumphantly skiing down that hill with very few falls and pretty decent form. Eliza is one determined little girl.

Eliza's a good reader but usually picks pretty simple books. When we saw part of Anne of Green Gables at a party earlier this year, I challenged Eliza to read that whole book and told her I'd take her out for a special book club date to discuss the book and we'd watch the movie together once she finished the whole unabridged book. It was a bit of a challenge for her, but she finished it and we had so much fun at our first "Mother-Daughter Book Club Meeting." We went to a favorite restaurant and Eliza had a whole list of great questions ready for us to discuss about the book - plus she showed me how she'd written out her favorite things about the book inside the front cover so she could give it to her daughter some day. It was so fun to have a real discussion on a somewhat deep level with my own little daughter. We're excited to read another book together and do this again soon!

Every year since her 4th birthday, Eliza has had a tea party for her birthday. Sure, it started off with a little influence from me since I grew up going to tea parties in England and thought they were pretty cool - but she's taken tea parties to many new levels with her ideas. Sometimes they are princess tea parties. One time it was a pajama tea party. Often she insists on dancing at the close of the tea party. Sometimes young men are invited to the tea party. Last year she didn't want boys there so one of her brothers dressed up as a girl so he could come (check out her 8th birthday tea party photos and see if you can find the imposter). Always her brothers eat as many cucumber sandwiches as they can get their hands on whether they're invited or not. Always there are heart-shaped cookies to be decorated by one and all before the end of the party.

4th birthday tea party

Eliza insisted that all the boys dance with all the girls at the close of this tea party -
and everyone thought that was a great idea - they were so cute!
5th birthday tea party

6th birthday tea party (she wanted a pajama tea party...)

7 years old - teeth lost, favorite doll Tasha
7th birthday tea party

8th birthday tea party (can you find the imposter?)
dancing at 8th birthday - Eliza insisted on dancing after tea
This year, we started off Eliza's birthday with her favorite breakfast - yogurt with granola and berries. Then I snatched her from school for a special lunch date and kept her home so we could make the heart shaped sugar cookies we always make and decorate for her birthday.

Then after school, she had her traditional tea party. She only invited a few friends since it's her off year for birthday parties (we just do bigger parties every other year). It was such a perfect sized group and these little girls were so fun to listen to when they somehow instinctively started speaking with British accents as they very politely asked each other about their lives and passed the little tea sandwiches around. The other girls all called her "Princess Eliza" and she called them all "my lady" and it was all very cute. I love seeing little girls be little girls acting like little ladies rather than seeing little girls trying to act like teenagers.

Ready to welcome her tea party guests in her new birthday dress

decorating heart-shaped cookies

and another cookie-decorating time and candle-blowing time with her brothers before bedtime

Sunday, February 26, 2012

What would you learn if you watched your life on video?

First of all, thanks with all my heart for the kind, kind comments and emails I received on that last post. I've got some pretty wonderful readers.

In church today, we were discussing how important - and how hard - real progression can be. Someone made a comment that struck me. He shared a story about about a runner who was trying to shave off a minute or two of his time as he prepared for a big race. He kept trying to just run faster but was quite stuck as far as his time. He decided to have someone film him running so that he could watch himself, analyze his own form and his stride, and figure out how he could run faster. It's so important to our progression to step back and try to get a real "read" on the effectiveness of what we're doing. Short of setting up a camera to video all that we do and then watching to see where we could improve, it's hard to figure out how to really see what we're doing wrong or what we're doing fine but could do better. Honest and real feedback is a hard thing to find in this world - but when we can get it, it's such a valuable thing.

Thanks for the honest feedback on my blog and on what you see of me through my blog. Thanks for keeping it to positive feedback given my somewhat fragile ego when I wrote that post. Even though purely positive feedback doesn't give you all the info you need to really progress, it can sure help you realize the great things about where you are and give you the energy to move forward further.

This week I'm going to pretend I've got a camera on me and really think about what I'd be seeing if I watched that footage. It's worth a try.

Thanks again for your kind words.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Jealous Pity Party

Someone made a comment a while back asking if there's jealousy between me and my siblings. Initially I thought the answer was no. We're all different. We all love each other deeply. We're happy for each other when things go well. We're always praying for each other and thinking of each other. I wrote this big blog post about my sisters, our history together, and how much I love them.

But that question stuck with me as questions you're not quite sure about usually do. And tonight I realized that yes, sometimes I'm jealous.

I just read my sister Saydi's blog. It's not just that she's living her dream (and mine) of spending a chunk of time in London with her family (we both grew up there for several years). It's that she's such a good writer and photographer. Her posts make me FEEL. I wish I were better at photography and that I could express things in writing the way she does.

Then I read my mom's blog. She and my dad are in Hawaii having great adventures with my brother Jonah and his family. Jonah and Aja are gypsies who live life on their own terms and never seem to care what anyone else thinks or what anyone else has. I love that about them. I want to be more like that. I'm feeling so encumbered and fettered lately.

Then I read my sister Shawni's blog, glanced at a photo of her and wished, for the umpteen millionth time, that I were as beautiful and thin as my dear sister. When we were growing up, she was the beauty in the family and I was the writer. Now she gets to be both. Then I felt bad for being jealous of Shawni when she's got plenty of hard stuff to deal with and I shouldn't let dumb thoughts like this sneak in. But sometimes I do.

Then I started to think about Noah, Tal and Eli's recent trip together to Puerto Rico and the cool jobs they have, about Charity's freedom and great life in Palo Alto, about Josh's amazing teaching abilities. Then I thought about how hard I work on so many things that don't seem to amount to as much as they seem like they should... I thought about how some things seem to come so much more easily to other people...

But I snapped out of it and started counting my blessings and had the words to a random song come into my mind "I'm one of a kind. I'm as unique as can be. I'm alright I'm OK and I'm glad I'm me." Sort of a dumb song. But it made me feel better somehow. And it made me picture my sisters and I singing that song in the group we sang in as kids. And then I felt tons of love for my siblings and gratitude that we all have different strengths and different challenges.

Then I decided to write this little post because I think we all deal with these sorts of feelings sometimes as we read other people's blogs or look at other people's lives (not sure if it's better or worse if the blogs are family members' blogs...).

My life has it's great parts. My life has it's hard parts. Pretty much everyone's dealing with hard stuff - most of which they don't blog about or flaunt around at church on Sundays. We generally see the happy stuff, the pretty pictures, not the heartaches or the messes. We can catch glimpses here and there of other people's hard stuff if we look below the surface a bit - and sometimes, people do put their hard stuff out there for all to see but sometimes we still stay fixated on what we admire and covet about them and don't figure in the hard stuff we'd have to take on if we were to trade places with them...

I admire and even feel a little jealous of many things about many people. I yearn for so many things I really can't have. But ultimately, when I can get over myself enough to see what's true, I recognize my blessings in all their abundance. I realize that there are plenty of people who read this blog and wish for things that I have - and that if I read their blogs, I'd wish for some things they have. That's just how it is. We can't have it all. But we can love and make the most of what we've got. And we can learn to admire and appreciate rather than envy and covet.

Enough. Pity Party over. Time for bed.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Kid Entrepeneurs

So Jared and I decided that Ashton gets to go to Australia with me in a couple weeks for the Power of Moms Retreats over there. We've always talked about taking each of our kids on a special trip when they turn 12 and I feel much better about being on the other side of the world for 10 days when I can combine a special bonding experience with Ashton with this chance to provide some great stuff for Australian mums. My trip is covered by the registrations for the two Retreats we're doing over there (if you know anyone in Australia, send them this link please!). Jared and I are covering a chunk of Ashton's expenses but he's been diligently working on earning his portion of the cost. He's been babysitting a couple times a week for neighbors. He's taken care of a bunch of data entry and helped edit videos for Power of Moms. He's saved up his birthday and Christmas money. And this past weekend he earned a nice chunk of money by doing this:
counting up the money (with our friend Grayce)
It was the Parade of Homes last weekend in St George, and as usual, there was a home in the Parade in the development where our house is. So we decided to head down there and hold an open house to get some good traffic through our house. Ashton decided to capitalize on the situation and do a little selling of his own while Jared and I worked on selling the house. So we bought a bunch of stuff at Costco (which Ashton paid for with his own money) and Ashton made some spreadsheets to figure out how much to charge and how much profit he could make. Then the kids, headed by Ashton, set up a refreshment stand in front of the house. Armed with granola bars, oranges,and bottles of water, Ashton and his various "employees" (siblings who stuck by him all day and were paid real money as well as neighbors who helped for a while and were paid in granola bars) sat out there all day on Saturday and most of the day on Monday. They made nice signs for their stand and experimented with different marketing strategies. They smiled and waved at every car going past to attract customers - and tried putting the cutest small neighbors on "waving" duty.  Liza and her friend tried dancing around to attract customers. They were very polite to customers (we practiced on this). Sure, there were squabbles about who'd earned a granola bar and who got to make decisions about how the various goods should be displayed. But all in all, the refreshment stand was a great success. After paying for supplies and paying his employees (Isaac and Eliza) at a rate that felt fair to all, Ashton walked away with $124 and is now very close to what he needs for Australia.

It was hard to stand back and not micromanage the project (I am a recovering control freak, after all). But after offering a few pointers on pricing and ideal cost/profit ratios and insisting there be total politeness to customers and respect and appreciation for"employees," Jared and I backed off and let Ashton run the show. And it was great to see him really step up and come away feeling so proud of his accomplishment while helping the other kids feel proud and happy about the whole thing as well.

I was generally supposed to stay clear of the stand (Ashton: "No offense, but we have a lot better business when you're not here..."). But as I did a little yard work nearby, I could here some of the conversation between those working at the stand and between the kids and customers. I loved hearing the kids speak so nicely to customers and explain their pricing and purpose so well. I loved seeing how many kind people stopped by and were so sweet and encouraging to our kids. There are a lot of nice, nice people in this world.

We got to go on a beautiful hike out behind the house and had a bunch of our old friends visit including "Grandma Sae" (in the photo below). This lady is one of my heroes and the kids love her like a grandma (plus they think it's pretty cool that she's shorter than most of them now). She lives right up the street. She has amazing stories of growing up poor in Hawaii and having the bombs on Pearl Harbor shake her house. She had to work from the time she could walk. And now that she's 84, she keeps young and spry by helping everyone in need. She insisted on scrubbing out closets in our house when we moved and she was late coming to visit us yesterday because she'd needed to help a lady in the hospital and help another lady move. She keeps her mind active by taking Spanish lessons and learning about everything she can and she keeps her body healthy by going on daily walks and attending Tae Chi, Yoga and Zumba classes regularly. I want to be just like Sae when I'm 84!

And we got great traffic through the house. Scores of people came through and asked lots of questions and expressed lots of admiration. We fell in love with our house all over again as we explained the materials we'd so carefully chosen and admired the amazing views alongside the people who walked through the house. The kids have been praying every day for "nice people to buy our house who will love it as much as we do." That would sure be nice. We'll see what offers materialize. Oh how much we'd love to pass our beautiful home along to someone else who'll love it and reduce our financial stress! It's time. It's really time. But it's been such a blessing to be able to go back and enjoy it a little more before it sells. Good old Krawnchie Boo will always have a big place in our hearts. If you want a virtual tour or know someone who wants a great house in St George at a great price, check in out here.
view from our back porch
view I used to wake up to every morning - from my old bedroom

Great room and kitchen

Downstairs rec room/wet bar (sort of empty now that we've moved)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Friday Q and A - Awards

OK, I've been meaning to do this forever but you know how things go...

I get so many great questions in emails and blog comments and I've just been saving them all in a folder and waiting for when I'll have a minute to start responding. That minute has arrived (sort of - if I really wait for a "spare" minute, it'll never happen).

Each Friday (taking the lead from my dear sister, Shawni), I'll start responding to a question or two that I've received. Feel free to add your questions in the comment sections of these posts and I'll add them to my list of questions and get to them when I can.

Saren...just a really quick question for you. I saw on a Channel 5 interview that you did that you had little awards for your kids for the week. I have 6 kids under 10 and I would love to do this with them. i am curious just the awards that you used. I saw self starter...but I was wondering what the others are. I just want to do more positive reinforcement and less threats! :) Thank you! I KNOW you are busy and I appreciate it!"

Here is the video segment she's talking about

I think awards are one of the most helpful, positive ways I've found to really encourage the behaviors you want in your home. Initially, my husband and I brainstormed a list of behaviors we really wanted to encourage in our kids and then we worked with our kids to come up with a list of awards. Then the kids made these cute awards (just a simple paper designed and colored by the kids and/or parents and put in a sheet protector to keep it nice):

At the close of Sunday dinner, Jared and I ask “who's in the running for the ____ award” and kids can nominate themselves or someone else by sharing a story about something they did that week that would make them eligible for the award. Then we quickly decide who should get which award for that week (it works great if there are the same number of awards as there are kids and if you track who's won which award when with a little note on the back of the award so we can help ensure most kids get a chance to receive most awards at some point). The "winner" of each award gets to put the award on their bedroom door for a week and then brings it back to the dinner table the next Sunday.

The kids LOVE this and it's really so simple. We aren't all that consistent about doing it. Sometimes we'll do it regularly every Sunday for a couple months. Then we'll sort of forget for a while. Then one of the kids asks if we can get going on awards again, so we do. I don't think it matters if you do it EVERY week. It makes a big difference, though, to do it quite a bit. We switch up the awards we offer from time to time - adding in new ones as we see the need to reinforce a new behavior.

  • Super Friend Award: For someone who was extra friendly to someone, helped someone in need, made a new friend
  • OK (Obedient Kid) Award: For someone who did what parents asked quickly, happily and well quite a lot that week
  • Self Starter Award: For someone who has shown real initiative to get tasks done (jobs around the house, homework, helping a sibling or parent, etc) or who's noticed something that needed to be done and done it w/o anyone even asking.
  • Neat as a Pin Award: For someone who's done a great job keeping their room really clean and keeping the area of the house they're in charge of (their "zone") nice and neat.
  • Leader for the Right Award: For someone who did the right thing even when it was hard and set a good example for others.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Girls' Weekend

What a weekend I had last weekend! I got the chance to head to sunny Arizona for my sweet niece Claire's baptism and had the chance after the baptism to enjoy a brief but super-fun get-away with my mom and sisters at a hotel nearby. We laughed. We cried. We got bugged with each other. We remembered how much we love each other. Oh, how I love to be with my mom and sisters! (Here's a whole post about my sisters if you're interested - and here's a post about our get-together last year)

And as always, it was so fun to be with my nieces and nephews. I love how when I don't have my own kids with me, I can focus more on my sibling's kids for a bit. Shawni's got great kids and this little Claire is such a dear friend for my Eliza as well as being quite a remarkable little girl in so many ways. I loved being there to see her glow with joy at being the center of attention and following Christ's example with her baptism. She really understood what her baptism meant and was so happy and sweet about everything.

Here's me and Claire after her baptism (somehow didn't get a shot of her in her baptism dress, oh well)

After working together to prep and clean up all the food for the post-baptism luncheon at Shawni's house, my mom, sisters and I headed over to a hotel nearby to have a little time to ourselves.
Our sister, Saydi, is currently living in London so we spent about 2 hours
talking and laughing with her on Skype in our hotel room. Gotta love technology.
We were laughing so hard we were crying.
Here we are headed out for a nice dinner together.

Before we had to go our separate ways on Sunday evening, we made this podcast about how love is the ultimate answer to so many things. We were sitting right near this sign in Shawni's house as we made the podcast - very appropriate.

Love is the answer. Love is always the answer.

Workshop Giveaway

My friend and neighbor Janelle has become one of our Power of Moms Trainers and she's doing a wonderful workshop entitled "Mommy is a Person: Taking Care of the 'Me' in the 'Mom'" next Thursday evening, February 23th in Farmington, UT.

She invited me to offer one lucky reader a FREE registration to her workshop. If you want a chance to win the free registration, just leave a comment on this post.  If you want TWO entries in the giveaway, leave your comment, then share the link to Janelle's workshop on Facebook and come back and leave another comment saying you linked on Facebook.  Check back here before noon on Friday (the 17th) to see if you're the winner.

Here's a link to all the info on the workshop:
Workshop February 23rd in Farmington UT: Mommy is a Person: Taking Care of the "Me" in the "Mom"

This is going to be a great workshop on some of my favorite Power of Moms topics!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Favorite Quotes on Love

Happy Valentine's Day!

I love a good quote. Here are a few of my favorite quotes on love. I thought you might enjoy some food for thought to go with all that chocolate and candy you just might eat today!

Almost every emotional problem can be summed up in one particular bit of behavior: it is a person walking around screaming “Love me! Love me!” He goes through a million different manipulations to get somebody to love him. On the other hand, healthy people are those who walk around looking for someone to love. And if you see changes in the people who are screaming “Love me,” it’s when they realize that if they give up this screaming and go to the other business of loving another human, they can get the love they’ve been screaming for all their lives.
- Thomas P. Malone

Love is an act of endless forgiveness, a tender look that becomes a habit.
- Peter Ustinov

To love another person is to see the face of God.
- Victor Hugo

See that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently.
- 1 Peter 1:22

Love of one’s neighbor is the only door out of the prison of self.
- G.K. Chesterton

It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.
- Antoine de Saint Exupery

A friend loveth at all times and a brother is born for adversity.
- Proverbs 17:17

Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other’s cup, but drink not from one cup…
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
- Kahlil Gibran

Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get – only with what you are expecting to give – which should be everything.
- Katherine Hepburn

Love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking outward together in the same direction.
- Antoine de Saint-Exupery

We don’t love qualities, we love a person; sometimes by reason of their defects as well as their qualities.
- Jaques Maritain

If you would be loved, love and be loveable.
- Benjamin Franklin 

Children gauge the love and admiration of adults by asking "Do your eyes light up when I enter the room the room?"
- Toni Morrison

What are some of your favorite quotes on love???

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Family Love Celebrations

Part of this post is from an article I did last year for the Deseret News - but it helped me to re-read it and I thought you might enjoy it as well:

I went through my teenage years and 20s dreading Valentine's Day. It seemed like a horrible holiday that caused a lot more pain than joy as it reminded every unattached girl and woman of what she wanted and didn't have.

On the few occasions when I did have someone I was dating or interested in around Valentine's Day, there was plenty of angst trying to figure out what actions or lack of actions on Valentine's Day might MEAN.

Then when I was married, I quickly found that the angst didn't go away! Plus, I realized that getting flowers and going out to dinner on Valentine's Day wasn't all good: The price of flowers in February is crazy, and getting a baby sitter and a table at a restaurant can be way more trouble than it's worth.

But in the last few years, I've come to love Valentine's Day. While my husband and I do some special couple-oriented things around Valentine's Day, we've decided to focus Valentine's Day, and really all of February, on celebrating FAMILY love, not just romantic love.

One of my favorite February family activities is the "heart attack" we give each other. Toward the beginning of the month, we cut out construction paper hearts (all sizes and colors), write down what we love about a family member on each heart (the little kids dictate to someone who can write), then stick the completed hearts all over our kitchen cabinets.

Another favorite is our "Jar of Love." We got this tradition idea from a friend last year and it's become a favorite. Together, we brainstormed a list of simple, fun little act of service that would show love for family members, friends, neighbors or relatives and write our best ideas on little slips of paper that go into a jar (examples include "leave a secret love note on someone's bed," "read a story about love," "do a secret service for someone in your family," "give an extra lot of hugs and kisses," "say something you like about everyone else at the dinner table," "do a secret service for someone NOT in your family," "write a letter or make a Valentine for someone you love who you haven't seen for a long time." take a treat to a neighbor"). Then for the whole week of Valentine's Day (leading up to the day and a few days after), one of the kids gets to pull out a slip of paper at breakfast and we do what it says on the paper sometime that day. It only takes a few minutes but it's great to prioritize these little acts of love.  And since we still had our jar from last year with all it's little slips of paper in it, we didn't need to re-create it this year and it's been extra easy.

Favorite "jar of love activities" this year:
Today we drew out "read a story about love together." We pulled out some old favorites from when the kids were really little - Guess How Much I Love You, You're All My Favorites, and The Very Best Thing is Bub. We all piled on Silas's bed and I read them all three books. We read chapter books together now so it was fun to go back and do picture books together again. I fell in love with my kids and those books all over again.

And yesterday, we did "write a letter to someone you love who you haven't seen for a while." The kids all did letters for their grandparents. Here's a favorite:

Here's one favorite hearts from the heart attack this year (should have taken more photos but it just didn't happen):

And here's a post about these two traditions from last year with lots of photos and more info:

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Adventures in St George

Ahhhhhh St George. Love the place. A piece of my heart will always be there.

We spent last weekend down there enjoying the warm sun and brilliant blue skies against the red rock while fixing up a few things on our house there to prep it for what we earnestly hope will be a somewhat quick sale. It's so hard to say goodbye to a home we designed and built ourselves and that we've loved so dearly. But our renters moved out and we're feeling we need to stay here for the forseeable future so it feels  like time to pass good old "Krawnchie Boo" (the name the kids gave the house ages ago) along to new owners. It was so nice to stay at our beautiful home again and enjoy those views and all the great amenities we don't have here (not-so-steep stairs, tons of windows, huge kitchen, big mudroom, open floor plan, a big bathtub, theater room - I'd better stop before I forget that we really DO love the house we live in now and that there are simply trade-off's).

It was great to visit old friends and go to our old church. It was also great to do something I've wanted to do since we moved to St George seven years ago - climb Red Mountain (the mountain we could see from every room in our house, the landmark that defines our area of St George).

Here's the view of Red Mountain that we woke up to every morning for the 6 years we lived in St George:

Hiking Red Mountain was a little harder than I expected. I knew it would be a serious climb. I knew there would be plenty of steep rock climbing sections. I knew it would be best to just take the three older kids and leave the twins playing at a friends' house because while they are great hikers and wouldn't bat an eye at the difficulty of the hike, they'd be scary to have along with all those drop-offs.

What I didn't know was that the hike would involve countless super-steep stretches of loose rock and dirt. I love love love hiking but I really really really don't like that feeling of sliding down a cliff that the loose rock and dirt offers. In fact, I'll go ahead and use that "h" word. I hate hiking on steep places with loose rock and dirt.
See that barely-there path? All loose rock with lots of sliding -
and I couldn't stop and pull out my camera to capture the worst parts....
Isaac at the half-way spot
ready for the final steepest assent! See that part behind Ashton?
It's just loose dirt you have to crawl through going straight up.

It was a gorgeous, perfect day. There were some sketchy areas but it was OK and we all made it up to the very top.  The views were breathtaking and we had the whole mountain to ourselves. We could see Snow Canyon, our house, our church, all our friends' houses and pretty much all of St George from up there. It was BEAUTIFUL and so worth the climb.

The way down was not fun, to say the least. I was fine as I hiked along with Eliza, listening to her tell me the plot lines of several books she's read lately and keeping my mind off how much I hated all the stretches of loose rock and dirt that made me feel like I might slip to my death at any moment. Then when it just kept going FOREVER and Eliza got ahead of me and Jared was nice enough to stay behind and keep his slow, fraidy-cat wife company, I started being a baby. My hair was in my face and I couldn't see anything. The rock slides seemed never-ending. Crawling/sliding backwards down a steep mountain with prickles in my hands and dirt in my shoes was really getting to me. Jared was so patient as I inched along and the kids were already almost to the bottom. He gallantly pulled out one of his shoelaces to tie back my hair and told me I was doing a great job (a lie but hey, it was nice). My legs were burning and I felt like sitting down and giving up and that make me feel like a wimp and I HATE feeling like a wimp. But there was no choice other than to keep going and ultimately, slowly but surely, I got down that mountain in one piece. We were about 2 hours late picking up the twins. Luckily it worked out fine for the dear friends they were with.

I was humbled. My legs were like jello (and my thighs have been killing me since then!). But I did it. I've hiked Red Mountain. I'm glad we did it. But I've vowed never again to hike in dirt and rock slides!

If you happen to know of anyone looking for a great house in St George or if you're just curious to see our house there, here's a link to the blog we made about the house:


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