Tuesday, December 14, 2010

More Than Just a Little...

Merry Christmas! I've been eating more than just a little fudge, and attending my Jazzercise class, well, just a little. 'Tis the season! I'm not ashamed. And it's not going to end until January at least!

Today I started wrapping gifts and I finally ordered Christmas cards. So, if you're one of the two people who reads this blog, send me your address and I'll send you one. It might be February before you get it, but the minimum order at Costco is 50, so I might send you 25 to make up for my tardiness!

Today I am in awe at how my Mom pulled off Christmas with 9 children and somehow maintained keeping up with friends, sending out cards and family letters, cleaning toilets, making dinner, etc. Yesterday I went through my kids' toy closet and pulled out a big box of stuff to get rid of in anticipation of whatever Santa brings. I'm already having anxiety about the toys I'll be tripping over in a few weeks. I may be somewhat of a scrooge in that respect, but what I love about this season has nothing to do with gifts.

What I love about this season is the music. My Pandora "Jingle Bells" list has been playin' since October! I love the lights, going on drives with hot cocoa, and cinnamon or cider scents in my Scentsy warmer. I love making fudge, press cookies, and toffee. I love eating most of it and drinking milk right out of the jug (that's right Mom!) I love that my little Anna writes letters to Buddy, our family's "Elf on the Shelf." I love that every 30 minutes or so, and/or whenever she sees something Christmassy, Izzy squeaks out in her tiny little voice, "Happy Cwismas Mom!" "Happy Cwismas Dad!" I love remembering times when my little brother Carson and I would go shopping and pick out "the perfect gift" for each family member and buy it together with our paper route money. One year in grade school we bought each of our siblings different colored lucky rabbit's feet. (his gift picking skills have improved, sadly, mine have not!) I love that my kids know why we celebrate Christmas, and that they love to hear about Jesus' birth. I love pulling out my Nativity set each year and knowing that I"ll think of my Mom each time I do and there will be a reverence to it, like when we'd unveil our homemade dough Nativity set as kids. I love that my children have that same light in their eyes about the magic of the season that I had when I was little. Quinn asked today if we should make reindeer treats. Anna prayed tonight that our house elf would find somewhere high to land after going to the North Pole so Max doesn't touch him and cause him to lose his magic. Izzy keeps talking about Santa bringing her "pink stuff." I keep remembering little nostalgic moments of my childhood which endear me to my family. The memories, the beauty of freshly fallen snow, the melody of a song, the smiles and wonder and giddiness all speak of love. What I want is more than just a little of THAT. I want to bottle it. I want to preserve it. I want my children to have memories of times together that bind them. I want new traditions to bring us closer, and I want to continue with old traditions too (that means CHINESE FOOD for Christmas Eve, with or without Caralee!) I want to let go of being stressed about what my house looks like or what I'll be giving as neighbor gifts, and I want to just hold on to the good stuff and focus on how beautiful and sweet and innocent and perfect my kids are. I want to "be calm and carry on." That's what I want for Christmas, more CALM. Now, where do I buy that???

So what are you doing to make this year special? What traditions do you cherish? What makes your heart beat at Christmas time?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Housework Avoidance

This morning I sucked a nasty boogered metallic pink bead out of Izzy's nose with a straw. Gross, I know. I also saved myself a trip to the doctor, and decided that I'd have a great day afterwards, I mean, what could be worse than putting your mouth to the end of a straw and sucking at a place that mouths and beads have no business going near!?

So, I was right. A good day it is turning out to be. I have one kid at school, two at Grandma Pat's having a Halloween craft day, and that sweet little one is napping as I type. I may or may not have a Dr. Pepper in front of me, and I may or may not also be dipping into the trick or treating candy early. I just received a sweet email from my brother, a box of Halloween goodies from my Mom, and I've had a really great birthday week. Life is good. Thank you everyone for the notes, cards, gifts, etc. Thank you for making me feel special and loved. That's all anyone ever wants on their birthday is to feel remembered, like they matter to someone. It makes sucking slimy beads out of kids' noses really seem trivial, although I'll hold onto that story because I'll want to share it later when Izzy is old enough to realize how funny it is, maybe when she has a kid of her own who likes to stuff strange objects up her schnoz.

So a week or two ago I came across this blog with a list of journaling topics. I've been thinking about how important it is to keep a journal, or to write at least occasionally about life's events and how you feel about them. It helps you remember what you feel, it helps give perspective, it helps get the angry or the mad or the sad out, it helps you work out internal conflicts, and it helps you see your life more clearly, and in your own handwriting. I think too, that writing helps you to sit down and look at your life and see all the good in it, it helps you have a grateful heart. So I do it here on my blog, but during this season I hope too to write in my personal journal about my life at this moment in time.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sweet and SImple

This week I've been going through the pictures from this year and conjuring up memories of outings, special occasions, birthdays, trips, and everyday activities. I'm working on an album for Brett and all the while feeling blessed by all of the sweet and simple times we've shared and the silly things too-like this face that Izzy gives me to make me laugh...

This was from a drive through the mountains, eating bagels and enjoying the perfection of fall.
This was from last weekend, we took the kids to the corn maze and they LOVED it! Brett and I, we enjoyed chucking corn kernels at the kids and following them in circles.
This was another drive-a "3 Moose Drive" up Mantua we took recently.
And this is just a sweet picture of my favorite people. Okay, so all of these pictures are from this month, but I have 10 months and hundreds of shots-2010 has been so good.
Have you been through your pictures lately? Nothing makes time feel so short or your life feel so great as looking through pictures of all the big and little events that have mattered to you. Take time today to look through your albums and remember the little happy moments that give life meaning.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Laughter, tears, gas, and anxiety attacks

So why the picture of my baby brother "Taffy" in his undies on the beach you ask? Simply because it's funny. And because he LOVES any chance to show off those boy thighs of his.

Last week we went to San Francisco to celebrate Browski's 40th birthday by scattering his ashes. There were tears, we had tissue. There was gas, Jill brought Gas X. And there was sadness, but we had some smoothering buggles and laughter to cover that too. There were also rodents of unusual size, but the only remedy for that is to RUN! Dad was good enough to escort us around to see the sights, like the manscaping of Castro, the park, Chinatown, and the area where he grew up. We also did some scavenging for sand dollars, but only came up with 50 cent pieces, Ashley determined that we all had bad credit.

This week as the announced layoffs are weighing in heavily on my mind and I'm working on my first ulcer, I'm trying to stay focused on the good things in my life and the multiple blessings I have right now. I have an amazing family. They are quirky and innappropriate and eat unhealthy amounts of cheese and bacon but they are so much fun, I wouldn't trade them for any other family out there. I have, hands down, THE BEST husband around. Brett truly gets me, he never judges me, he rubs my feet, he laughs at my jokes, he loves my music, and he encourages me and appreciates the little things. I have four healthy sweet kids who are silly and dirty and who's laughter is the most beautiful music I have ever heard. I have a healthy body, my mind however is questionable. So we may or may not have a job at the end of the week, but we still have each other. Sadly, I still have gas too.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Summer Fun

"What's up?" Our summer has been so busy, the weeks fly by but the days are SO LONG! Anyone else feel that way?

Here are a few shots from some of our adventures...

we've gone camping and fishing,
and out on the town.

We've had some laughs,

some cuddles,

and some good times with friends and family.

Some of us have hit milestones: losing teeth, riding a bike without training wheels, scaling stairs, and potty training to name a few.
And we recently welcomed the newest member into our family, baby Hopper.
Oh, and this sweet baby just turned 1!
Life is good. I can't complain too much, but man, I sure could use a maid to cover our tracks!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Big Ten

Brett, at this time ten years ago you were sitting in the temple waiting room, anxiously waiting for a bride who was, and still is, always just a little bit late. Here we are with ten years under our belts. Ten years of drives on dirt roads, inside jokes, sarcasm and laughter, moves, camp outs, hikes, bagels, sunsets, movies, births, deaths, Christmas mornings, autumn sweater weather, Scrabble games....and more.

We have such a blessed life with four little fountains of frustration and joy in our hands, and one another to balance out whatever life brings. Thank you Brett for loving me through it all, for getting me through the bad times and for making the good times unforgettable. Thank you for being you and for letting me be me, even when I'm late. I can't imagine my life without you. Thank you for ten incredible years! I love ya Babe!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


I brought Anna to get her hair cut recently. She got a cute little a-line, she couldn't stop looking in the mirror for a few days afterwards, she felt so pretty. So grown up.

A couple of days later I brought Anna and Izzy shopping on a girls' day out. We tried on clothes and bought a few outfits, then went out for Chinese food. On the way home I turned on Anna's music in the car and listened to her belt out the songs. During this Taylor Swift song I looked back at Anna's sweet little smile as she confidently sang along and I started crying. I realized that my baby was growing up. I know she's only turning 7 this month, but I listened to the words in the song and realized that I don't want her to be a teen yet (maybe ever). I don't want her to get her heart broken, or to quit kissing me goodbye, or to want to be with her friends more than her family. I don't want her to care about what boys think of her or to change who she is just to fit in. I don't want those cute little freckles to fade or those twiggy legs to get longer-I'm just not ready!

I keep thinking about that drive, that perfect few minutes when we were laughing and singing and nothing else mattered.

I keep telling my kids to quit growing too.

They don't listen!

Friday, June 11, 2010

What's Up

Okay, here are a few pictures of what we've been up to recently.

We finally had family portraits done. Remember how paranoid I was about it? Yeah, well, when we scheduled to do it the weather turned ugly within an hour of portrait time. We headed out early and it was windy, rainy, and FREEZING. We were only out there for 20-30 minutes but Amy took some great shots, thanks Amy, you're the best!

Soccer came and went. It was fun, and now we're on to t-ball...
The kids are in awe of all the critters around this place. Anna wrote a report on Killdeer yesterday after observing a few that are nested in the neighborhood. Izzy is LOVING the horses and "sickens"(chickens) down the road too. She brings carrots to feed them and is the most comfortable of all the kids around animals.
Izzy is also wearing herself out on a daily basis, playing SO hard, then crashing so hard.
Last weekend we were in Payson to attend Maddie's baptism and the kids got to go fishing with Papa John.
I sat back and snuggled this guy.
Quinn did some light reading.
And the girls had a good time.
And we got to meet this little sweetie, Avery, our newest tiny little niece,
who makes my Max look like a monster! A skull crushing monster by the looks of this picture!
Oh yeah, did I mention EVERYONE has been worn out lately? Two of these people are truly asleep in this picture, try to guess who...
Oh, and this Squirt, I know I'm in for it and he isn't even 1 yet! I'm tired just looking at this shot. I know the work I'm in for! Luckily he has that cute smile to smooth over my frustration at whatever mess he's making!
Ah, and my Quinner finished preschool last week. Here he is with Teacher Becky. Teacher Becky gets lots of loves from Quinner. He won the "Ladies' Man" award at school, apparently he's sharing the love with all the shorties there too! Such a sweet boy!
Brett got a new toy last month which all the kids are eager to ride on every chance they get.

And, we sold the Brown Trout to pay for the new Banana on wheels. He's off to muddy up the water for some other lucky family while we take to the mountain. Oh, but we will always have the memories...will we ever!

And we have wizards to entertain us as well. The kids now fit into the capes Jill made for the twins and G.G. painted up some wands for some sorcery. If only the kids knew some magic that clears toys and shoes out of the family room-that would be amazing!Oh, and we FINALLY kicked the pink eye and sinus infections. Now we're just down to one ear infection and two goopy noses. Isn't this the saddest picture? Yeah, my girl recovered from that just to turn around and get sick again. I blame it on the weather. Who knows though, maybe we'll all be better in time for summer, whenever that season decides to show up!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Happy Birthday Brett!

Happy Birthday Brett! I am so glad your parents decided to keep you despite the little cowboy-booted devil your sister says you were as a child. I think I'll keep you too. No cowboy boots though. (And remember when I asked the other day what we did to deserve Izzy? I think Kristie has the answer!)

Nah really. I think you are the best. The. Best. You are such a laid back guy. Such a good Daddy. Such a thoughtful caring husband. Such a jack of all trades. Who else can whip up a Pottery Barn bunkbed for a fraction of the cost? Who else pounds down ultimate skillets weekly and still manages to lose weight? Who else can sew, juggle, build furniture, repair cars, clean a kitchen in the bat of an eye and answer every question of a four year old boy during a 30 minute drive with patience to spare? Who else can keep their kids captivated nightly with the imaginary adventures of Bob, Bob, and Betty? I could try, but I wouldn't do it right, just ask Anna.

Brett, you are the best husband I've ever had, I really mean it. I hope to never have to replace you. I couldn't find anyone who would know me like you know me. I couldn't find anyone with that same devilish grin of yours either. And let's be honest, there just isn't another guy out there as good as or better than you, not for me anyway. I hope you have a Happy Birthday and know that I love you. I hope you enjoy your birthday getaway with the guys. I'm sure you'll enjoy the gift I got you too. It looks exactly like the mothers day gift you got me. It's yellow, it's in the garage.

Happy Birthday Babe!

I love ya!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

For Jill on your Special Day...

Puma comes and Puma goes
Puma wears pumps and pantyhose
Puma whispers in Brett's ear
he smells something funny, Brett dealt it, it's clear

Puma, he sometimes cries in his beer
over lost love, his dead cat, and the scent from Brett's rear
But no not today folks, Puma's beaming with pride
Jill's graduating, finally, his friend, and his ride (if she can get her Mom to come out and push their car back!)

Jill has earned her Ph D-how do you spell this?
Who knows, don't ask me!
But finally she's done it, and gets to move on
no more heckling the staff, no more drafts to write on

She's a doctor for sure and Puma's so giddy
she can write him a script to get out of the city
To take a vacation, get away from his problems
Especially the scent coming from some people's bottoms

From the tops of our heads to the places where we stink
We love you Jill, so much more than you think
We're so proud of you, and Puma is too
For what you've accomplished, except for what you did in the mu-u-udroom.

Congratulations Dr. Jill!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Today's Thoughts

I like this video, and it makes me anxious as well. The scene where the couple is standing in the hallway looking at their family portrait makes me panic. My brother Jim died in the fall. In a helicopter crash. It feels like he just vanished. Disappeared. We don't have a family portrait with ALL of our family in it, and with him. The last pictures taken of all of us were at Caralee's wedding, we don't have one with the 3 youngest grandchildren though. Now it's too late.

I love pictures, hate posing for them, but love to have them after the fact. Pictures are pieces of the past. Tangible memories. Moments that last forever. Something to hold on to... Something to hold on to.

Brett keeps bugging me to schedule an appointment for portraits for our family as we haven't had any since Max was born. Last time I scheduled to have them done Izzy fell and split her face open needing stitches that evening. I feel like if I schedule the event again something bad will inevitably happen. It's a looming feeling. Regardless, I really want a portrait to hold on to this part of our lives, the stages our kids are in now, those beautiful little perfect faces. Even if I'm just being paranoid about things changing, things will change, I know that. Life always changes. I just hope we can get some decent pictures taken so I can quit thinking about it. I also hope that with whatever comes in life, I can feel the gravity of existence with as much optimism and gratitude as Stephanie, and that I can continue to have my sweet family here with me until I'm so old and gray that everyone around me wants to take pictures with me on every occasion to be able to capture their memories of me before I kick it. Also, and God, if you're listening I'd appreciate if I could have Brett's hand in mine until then, and can we die together like in The Notebook? Okay, thanks.

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Green Goblins

Last weekend we bought goofy matching bandanas, packed our car full of gear and kids, and headed to Southern Utah.

The kids LOVED Goblin Valley and couldn't get enough of playing hide and seek and climbing the weird rock formations.
We also did some hiking in the slot canyons...
Here Brett is probably proclaiming that he is "the King of the Echo People!"
Ashley and Jill, either one of you can come pick up your daughter at your earliest convenience.
Here Max and I are rejoicing that we made it through the night without being eaten by a puma. Brett may or may not have forgotten the tent poles so we camped out under the stars. On a dinner platter-like tarp in open view of the pumas. Luckily we were spared. I did keep a watchful eye on the crew both nights. And according to Brett, my "imagination left nothing to my imagination." I was ready to bearhandedly kill our predators. I'm tough like that.
Izzy enjoyed being toted around and the day after hiking refused to let Brett put her down. Also, she quite likes the paparazzi, "Take my picture!"
Me and my bird legs. If you saw Intervention the other night you'd think I might need one but don't worry, I have plenty of meat in the middle!
Little hiker man. Please don't grow up Quinner-I so love you the size you are!
These two had pink eye but it didn't stop them. They hiked like champs and Anna was our tour guide through the canyon. Apparently she's been there many, many times.
Me and my Sweetheart. Don't be jealous Brett.

If Anna were on Survivor I think she'd win.
My five most favorite people in all the world. Thanks for a great Spring Break y'all! Brett, I appreciate your planning, life is always an adventure with you and I so enjoy the ride (if only we could find the trailmarkers!) :)