Sunday, June 24, 2018

Daddy And His Kids

Yesterday Daddy and Benson were so darn cute. Every time I'd look at them, all through the day, they'd be snuggled up in some configuration just enjoying life. Seriously melted my heart. Benson was loving being Daddy's pal and Daddy was loving being Benson's pal. Plus, they can watch 'Voltron' together.
 Dad and Liv had a daddy/daughter lunch date -- Dad was feeling bad he'd had to work through her Activity Days one this week and wanted to show her an extra good time. I'm pretty sure he succeeded. They went to Red Robin and she was so excited because she got to order a HUGE salad (with Italian dressing, no less) and a HUGE root beer float! Then they went window shopping and it was just really, really great for them both. I tried to take a picture of the two of them but Benson dove in last minute and with the Double B you get just one shot when it comes to pictures! So it's a picture of the three of them, ha ha.
Here is a truly hilarious Benson story:
Last night as we were finishing reading scriptures KJ said that he thought there was something in Benson's underwear. Benson of course made a beeline behind the couch so we couldn't see and tried to act very casual and distract us like 'hey look, what's over there". We thought maybe he'd had an accident, so the Double B persuaded him to come over and let him check. He pulled his undies back, and there, nestled nicely against Benson's bum, was a FRUIT ROLLUP!!!!! Half way eaten and just being saved there for later. Oh my gosh. If you don't think that brought the house down!! We were all just so surprised and delighted by this wild boy we just busted up. Of course Daddy had to throw the treasured fruit rollup away, and between that and everyone laughing, Benny did need lots of snuggles from Dad to feel like he could go on.
Honestly. The adventures we have in this house.

We leave for California early tomorrow! Everyone is so excited, as you can imagine. The beach and a whale watching expedition tomorrow, and then three days of the happiest place on earth! I hope it will be wonderful. I'm sure it will. See you on the flip side!

Friday, June 22, 2018


The kids got to go work at the scholastic book warehouse today. They were so excited and so proud to buy things with their own earnings!
 It was such a great day. June 22nd, internationally known as The Double B and Marie's anniversary.
My Boo Boo Boo and I turned 16 today. No one believes that we are mature enough for that; nevertheless, here we are. 
The Double B took the day off. We had great fun taking the kids to see The Incredibles 2 (go see it stat, soooo good) to celebrate and then going out just ourselves to buy new work shoes (thrills!) and go out to dinner (bigger thrills!). We even held hands over the table for almost a whole minute! 
I am very fond of this fine human being. The great news is, we are not perfect or even in that neighborhood -- but we love each other and like each other, and for that we are truly fortunate. 16 memorable, adventurous years. 
Thanks for it all, Double B.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Lovely Summer

Summer moves slowly along. Delicious summer! My very favorite time of the year. 
(Olivia, currently reading over my shoulder, said that she thought my favorite season was spring. NOPE! Summer. Summer all the way.)
Here's a summer haiku to emphasise the seriousness of my feelings:

Summer is the best.
The true, sweet, absolute best!
I love you, Summer.

Moving right along.

The kids and I found this little treasure for 75% off at "Lobby Lobby" and have decided to put a new quote on it every week. Liv takes her duties as my assistant very seriously, and she and KJ chose our first quote. Katelyn patiently poked out about a million letters from their case, so she also did her part!
We changed it today to celebrate our 16th anniversary coming up on Friday. Every person gets to choose a love quote and today was KJ's. He chose "As you wish." Pretty clever, I thought. Parenting pat on the back, Marie. Any day that your children are quoting 'The Princess Bride,' you win. 
Olivia has successfully gotten Benson to sit through a story book! This is a major accomplishment, he's not a big story guy. 'Pinkalicious,' and he has wanted her to read it about fifty times since! I've said it before and I'll say it again, that kid is one lucky dude to have YaYa and Katelyn as his big sisters.
 She's a great storyteller, too. Kate also loves to have Liv read to her. And Kate loves to try to read to Benson, but that's been a little tricky... like I said, he's not into being read to (yet, but hopefully he'll grow into it!). So I really loved this sweet little moment.
KJ is going to his game group tomorrow and Liv is going with Hadley to work at the book warehouse, so Kate the Great, Benson and I will have to think of something fun to do.
I have finished all of Brene Brown's books and just hurried through '11/22/63' by Stephen King again. I enjoyed it even more the second time.

Now for your "Family B Quotes" portion of the program:

Today on the way home from the library Benson was singing along like a wildman to 'The Greatest Showman.' He was on key, but it was pretty loud and interpretive! Katelyn goes "Sheesh. He has bag pipes just like that kid in my class." (She does have a boy in her primary class that sings louder then any small human I've encountered yet.) Bag pipes. Nice!

The other morning Benson was cuddling in our bed when Katelyn walked in. He sat up, reached out to her and said "There's our Gorgeous!" 
How sweet is that.
A little later he said he wanted a "piggy ride" and climbed up on my back. He just kind of melted into me and sighs "Ahhhh.... feels nice."

We are going to Disneyland NEXT WEEK! We are all so excited and the kids want to talk about it non stop. I told them that not only have I seen Tinkerbell fly over the castle, I once saw Dumbo fly over it! The Double B doesn't remember that, so I asked "Don't you remember, I had a canary?" His reply: "I have a hard time remembering, because you've had a lot of canaries." 😂😭

The Double B was holding Benny and tickling him. Benson's response: "Put me down, you naughty pickle sandwich!"

Benson's unfortunate quote of the day: "Momma, I kissed Katelyn's butt!"
I really don't like that word on little people, but he sure finds ways to use it. He did kiss her bum, too, I saw it. I don't know why.
This kid keeps me on my toes.

The missionaries came over on Saturday to give Katelyn a lesson on baptism, since her big day is coming up on August 4th. When they asked her what she was most excited about, she said "I'm excited because I know that I don't have to be perfect, I just get to try my best every day."
Her mother promptly melted into a puddle of blissful butter.

I was talking to my sister-in-law Megan on the phone today and she reminded me of a Benson funny from our reunion. I was helping him change out of his swimming shorts into dry clothes, and he had a little cup of nuts and chocolate he was eating. Everyone was looking away to give him privacy, and at this EXACT MOMENT of nudity, Katelyn approached him. Naturally suspicious of his sister stealing his food, he holds his cup of treats closer and yells at the top of his lungs "DON'T TOUCH MY NUTS!" Sheesh. I mean. 🙈
Everyone got a big chuckle, but I tell ya. That was perfectly imperfect timing, that's for sure!

The kids are watching 'The Little Mermaid' tonight in preparation for our upcoming adventure. Popcorn and Disney, what more do you need.
 Ariel is Olivia's favorite princess. When I mentioned that I thought Ariel was kind of a dum dum for going with those scary eels to see Ursula, Olivia instantly came to her defense: "Well it was at a bad time!" Ha ha. 

Enjoy the beautiful summer! Signing off for tonight. 😙

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Wednesday Adventures

The Double B is off today and we've spent a significant amount of time just laying there and chilling out in the magnificent summer. I love you, summer time. You da best.
If you were wildly productive today, I salute you. 
I did go to the dentist. So there's that. (I have a hilarious dentist. But I still deeply dislike visiting him in his dental office with all of his dental equipment and  being attacked by all the general dentalness.)
I have also run a few errands. 
And I have young womens and a presidency meeting tonight. So actually, I am now thinking that I'm actually a wildly productive person! Hashtag: go Marie. 
Here are these two little rugrats playing "Family" the other night with their baby doll. So fun to watch. 
Kate the Great drew these pictures of Benson and his little friends yesterday. He looooved them, basically went nuts with joy and carried them around all day. Then, in a fit of Benson rage (he's really holding on to that whole toddlerhood thing)(hashtag: Battle Benson), he crinkled them up and threw them on the ground. A few minutes later he came back in, gasped, and cried out "Oh, no! My precious Benson!" And we had to straighten them up as best as we could. What a nut.
I love Katelyn's art. She has her own special style and I really love it.

The kids and I went on a date last night to In N Out to celebrate a clean house (before we destroyed it again). It was a great time. Katelyn put lemon in her root beer, which I thought was interesting, but Olivia vouched for and proclaimed very delicious. Hashtag: way to be individuals, I guess. Benson was, as always, a little rambunctious, and KJ was...a teenager, and unimpressed by Battle Benson. I reminded him that he prayed for this little brother! One of my favorite answered prayers ever.
Please note that I have a swollen eyelid right now. My right, your left. It's a fascinating story of a crazy zit, sensitive skin, and eyelids that are a little droopy and totally willing to swell at the least provocation.

 Olivia was telling us the other day about all the little children that love her. She's great with kids. After naming several she said "All my worshippers, basically." It's nice to be Queen.

The other day the kids wanted to go "cokin'," so we all piled in the car. Benny was wearing a shirt and underwear and I was just fine with that since we weren't getting out anywhere. As I went to buckle him in, he said "Oh wait" and pulled a little red car out of his undies. Then "Oh no, where's my guy?!" And had to look around before pulling a big red Lego that was acting as his 'guy' out of his improvisational "pocket." So funny. Points for creativity.

Sorry about the following story, Adult Benson, but it's hilarious. Bens has always loved to get into the bathroom cupboard and carry around tampons. He just thinks they're a great toy. I thought he was moving on from this but the other day he had one again. He ran into the room, held it up high like a superhero, and yelled "It's an energy capsule!' And then ran back out. Awesome.

He also loves 'Transformers' and "transforms" frequently. It's really fun to watch. He takes it very seriously.

Yesterday morning Benson shoved a little Lego wheelbarrow up into a vacuum attachment and was very upset when it was stuck. As Daddy was trying to get it out with a pair of pliers Benson said, very sincerely (he's a great apologizer. He really gets into it) to his Dad "I'm sorry I did it." Daddy answered "That's okay. You're really cute, and that's why it's okay.
He loves saying things like "I'm so, so sorry, Momma." Or "I'm so sorry I did that, Katelyn." Or "I'm sorry I'm mad at you, YaYa." He pulls a big dramatic face and fills his voice with great remorse. Ha ha.

Early this morning we were laying there, listening to the house start to stir. 
We hear in the hall KJ go "rawr!"
And then Benson let out a primal scream. That's cold blooded to scare a three-year-old, but oh man, that scream was hilarious!
KJ quickly whispers "Not too loud, okay, buddy?" Like Benson could control the volume of his fear. We laughed all morning about that one!
Alright. I'm off to young womens. Dang, Marie, you're so productive!

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Gratitude And Practice

I really can't tell you the effect that reading the works of Brene Brown is having on my life. Big time, positive shifts happening on the inside. I love what I am learning. I am almost done with 'Rising Strong' and it is great. 'Daring Greatly' has my heart, though, and all the others I'm reading seem to build on that. I guess I would say that her work in 'Daring Greatly' rings absolutely true to my soul. I am pursuing living a whole hearted life. And it's interesting, because I can see how my spirit has been guiding me in this direction for a long time, piece by piece, but I just didn't have a clear map and the research to back it up yet. Loving it so much.
One of the steps in building Shame Resilience is using gratitude as a spiritual practice. Of course, I knew how important it was and even had a profound teaching moment from the Holy Ghost when Katelyn was a baby about how instrumental gratitude would be to my life. But while I feel gratitude every day, and often profound gratitude, I couldn't seem to hold on to it as a substantial thing. I couldn't understand if it was an attitude, how to constantly maintain it, if that makes sense. Dr. Brown explained it in a slightly different way that helped me understand it: that gratitude is a PRACTICE. It is an intentional, conscious decision to practice. And I am all ABOUT practice, because I think practice is the secret sauce to both discipleship and compassion, both for self and others.
So I can do that practice. I am ready to be a student, learning how to utilize this amazing gift of gratitude to help me live a more whole hearted life.

I think God is so smart.
And maybe that sounds funny, but I am constantly amazed at Him, a designer and creator filled with so much love and mercy and wisdom. I am grateful for every opportunity He gives me to learn and grow.

Thursday, June 7, 2018


Fabulous quotes from the Family B so far in 2018.

"I like gravity for a lot of things. But I want to walk on the air and I can't do that!" - Katelyn

Right before family scripture study: "Previously, on The Book of Mormon." - KJ

"Moooom?! Are you hiding??" - Benson looking for Mom in the other room.

"Where we going you? Okay, be safe!" - Benson running to check on Mom when she opened the garage door.

"My kitty child" - Benson, in the sweetest voice, putting a blanket on his stuffed cat.

"What the heck?! This is so interesting!" - Benson, again.

"How could you?!?!" - Benson, to anyone who crosses him.

The Double B fixed the door knob for me and after I thanked him he said, totally straight faced "I dedicated it to you."

"I'm so glad to hear you!!" - Benson very sweetly welcoming me home.

I was telling KJ something his Dad told me and said "So I believe him now! I believe!" KJ: "You probably shouldn't."

Benson on the sun rising after taking KJ to school: "The sun! He's still cute!"

The kids wanted to look at the pictures on the day that Claire was born before they climbed in bed. After her bath they'd put her in a little crib with a sign that said Cutest Baby in the Nursery. Katelyn looked at it in amazement and said "Wow... they gave her an award for being the cutest baby in the Nursery?!?"

"China is so wonderous. They're good at thinking. And they're good at movies, too." - Katee 

Mom - "Are you impressed?"
KJ - "...sort of."

The Double B was reading an article and told me the people in it needed to go to stupid jail. Ha.

"You are naughty and get to your room!" - Benson to KJ.

"Not a cool move, Dad!" - Benson 

"How was to sleep?" - Benny checking on how I'd slept that night.

KJ's scout leader Brother Stewart sent us this text after a big hike campout: "KJ did awesome on the hot springs campout. He was part of the faster group hiking out. He even took the time to help other boys, push them along. He's come a long way in the last three years." I thought that was pretty cool.

KJ - "I don't know why but I think you need to call Grandpa right now."
Me - "Okay."
Katelyn - "Yeah, you'd better call him, then. He might be under attack!"

Katelyn reporting on her day "Apparently I have the same birthday as Ms. Canfield's dog." *shrugs*

Olivia telling an interesting story about the last time we went to Disneyland: "I remember the last time we went. Me and Grandpa were in the hot tub with some bikers. Nobody said a word. It was EXTREMELY awkward. ... And I kept putting bubbles on Grandpa's head."

Katelyn explaining preschool: "It's a school for pre's!"

"Momma, I need to go to sleep!" - tired Benson.

"I honestly dream of a world where we don't drive cars, we drive pandas. Cause I'm afraid of being runned over... And pandas can't runned you over!" - Katelyn on the way home from school. 

"I gotta go wash my hands in the bathroom. Bathroom, here I come!" - Benson

"Guys, I turned off the light! (Closes eyes. Opens them.) I got the light on!" - Benson. Classic.

Driving by 'wind turbines' on our trip to Kansas City: "Winter vines are really silly, Momma!" - Benson with a slight hearing problem.

"That cost-ed a lot of bucks!" - Katelyn appreciating adult financial responsibilities.

"Thanks, Dad! You're our hero!" - Benson 

Benson saw this beautiful painting in a magazine. 'She Will Find What Is Lost' by Brian Kershisnik. He pointed at the angels and exclaimed "My friends! Yes... this is my friends."
During one of Liv's preteen moments I asked her to cut back a little on the pre-pubescent rage. I thought she'd be upset by that but she LOVED it. She told everyone about it and asked me to include it in the blog "Tell everybody how I learned to say pubesc -- dangit! I forgot how to say it! ... Pubescent rage! Let the record state."

"You naughty, Mr. Fly! I gotta kill you!" - Benson really hates flies.

Katelyn excitedly telling us about her upcoming field trip: "And it must be one of those good field trips because it cost six bucks!"

Mom - "Did everybody like your haircut?"
Benson - "Yep! I'm pretty sure!"

Liv was acting as our scribe for something and cracked a joke: "Sorry. That was unprofessional."

Benson spilled some ice cream: "Oh no! What should I do?!?"

"I think I know who started that dumpster fire. It was Ryan." - Olivia with a truly amazing 'The Office' reference. 

"It's because you're old. You're only a few years away from being a Grandma!" - kind words from the Double B.

"Tall and manly-handed." - Olivia's description of her gigantic crush.

"Those cherries don't ship my boat." - Katelyn

"Bless you, Me!" - Benson blessing himself after a sneeze.

I asked the Double B what is the best marriage advice he could give someone after our almost 16 years. He thought for a minute and then said "Friendship and kindness equals happiness." I thought that was pretty great.

B Family Camping Extravaganza

We just got back from our family reunion with all of the Double B's siblings and their families up American Fork canyon. Best time ever!!!
It's been a looong time since we've done anything like that and we were all in seventh heaven. The mountains were absolutely beautiful, the weather was gorgeous, and the company couldn't be better. We are blessed with amazing families. We are family people, that is just our jam. 
So relaxing, and the kids loved every second. It's kind of too bad our littles are city kids, because they are total wilderness explorers.
Here's Benson, living his best life on the way up to northern Utah.
The view from our camp site. Not too shabby, right!?
The Double B comes from an awesome family. The kids are all so great and the adults had great chances to visit and enjoy everyone's company.
His big sister Megan kept cracking me UP. She got in some excellent zingers that first day while we were setting up camp. The Double B was putting up the tent and pointed out some dips and she said "I only see one dip here." 😂 Then while we were having fun whispering to each other about his funny ways she said "I love him like a brother." 😂😂😂 I die.

Lots of yummy food, games, FHE, movies in the open air at night, exploring, the lake, a trip to an ice cream shop, and lots of fun memories made.
Benson was a big help putting up the tent. Hammering with one hand and holding his "spider kid" mask on with the other hand. It was a fabulous disguise all week, as you can imagine.
Everybody took a turn on the kayaks, even Grandma! Benson and Katelyn loved riding with Dad, and KJ and Liv had a blast on their own. They all loved the water, even though it was freezing, and stayed in it almost the whole time. It was a blast.
Driving down the canyon to get to the lake, Benson had a coughing fit. I asked him if he was okay and he said "Yes. I need brownies (cough, cough)... and ice cream (cough, cough)... and pine cones." We all had a good laugh at that one!

So fun. 
Families are the best.