Monday, June 26, 2017

Birthday Conclusion

We spent the whole weekend at the cabin as a family. It was pretty much heaven! So, so relaxing -- and funny, because we find ourselves hilarious. We ate and visited and played lots of hand and foot and phase 10. We even had a camp fire and I introduced my little brother to the wonders of roasted starbursts (you're welcome, Nick, for changing your life).
The little ones were kept very close but the non-littles had free reign and enjoyed every second of it.
Leighna and Liv took about a million pictures and they had a blast doing it. Leighn got some really cute ones, like this one...
 And this one...
 And this one! A budding photographer, for sure. Liv was a very willing model, as you can imagine.
It was just so great to play together. We are such good friends besides being family and truly love to be together. I know that is a huge blessing!
 Monday morning we woke up to colder weather and packed up quick. We met at Mom and Dad's for lunch and then everyone crashed. 
Tuesday the Double B was supposed to cut down their tree as his gift to Dad, but thaaat didn't work out. The machine was too big to get into the backyard. Poor man was practically despondent, he'd been working and planning for so long! Then, when he got back from St. George, he realized he'd left the key to the machine in his pocket!!! It was so tragic that it was funny (to clarify, it was NOT funny to the Double B). I told him I'd get the kids dressed and we'd take the truck we'd borrowed back to Sabrina and head down to St. George, but when I got everyone dressed he was gone. So I headed over to Sabrina's, and there was the Double B, sadly trudging up the hill from her house on the busy highway, head down and looking as Charlie Brown as I've ever seen him. After we returned the accidentally stolen key, I took that poor pathetic man to Chuck-a-Rama for lunch and he drowned his sorrows in scones and fried chicken and ice cream with all the other old people. Bless his beautifully-intentioned heart!
Look, KJ has outgrown both of his Grandma's! And this is just the beginning, folks!
 Grandpa really and actually does give totally awesome snuggles. And there's a side for each of them, so that really works out great.
 On the day of his actual birth ('Cause we'd been celebrating for quite awhile at this point), Dad wanted to go up to Zion. So we loaded everybody up and spent the afternoon in the Park.
It's nice when you're Benson and you have fifty best friends. Papa takes the cake, though.
 Don't let the walking fool you. That lasted about two seconds and then he got carried the rest of the river walk! Also, he stole Porter's water bottle. Porter is basically the nicest kid ever and let him keep it! That's a valuable cousin to have, I gotta say.
These kids, though, were hiking champions. And Kate the Gr8 led the whole pack, the whole way! I was shocked but very proud. 
When we got to the end the kids played in the water a bit and relaxed. Trina was very nervous about all the rabid squirrels, and I really enjoyed that. Also, we saw a deer!
 The shuttle was fun and the kids loved it. My Mom, not so much. That thing was PACKED on the way back down and that made for some interesting claustrophobic moments for her! She took it like a champ, though, and even had us laughing about it. The ladies standing next to my seat were French, and yes indeedy, I did sneak a glance to see if their armpits were shaved. Disappointingly, they were.
 When we climbed off the shuttle Benson happily waved at it and called out "bye, bye, school bus! See ya tomorrow!" What a cutie. Our shuttle driver was HILARIOUS. He basically just spoke his thoughts all the way down and was cracking us up. He kept saying "and I thought to myself" and would then tell us what he thought to himself. Truly delightful.
We all had dinner together that night, ate a million yummy cookies my Mom made for my Dad, and gave him his cards.
Best birthday celebration ever. Or at least it was for us! But I think it was pretty great for my Dad, too.
The next morning, we headed back to Vegas, but not before stopping to see Uncle Nick and his helicopter.
 Uncle Nick is Benson's imaginary friend, Benson thinks it is SO COOL that "Unca Nick fly a helicopter!" And he carries his little toy helicopter around all day (that apparently Uncle Nick pilots), and he gives him wild flights around the house. It's pretty cute. He LOVED running up to the helicopter and seeing it up close, but did get pretty nervous when Uncle Nick let him sit inside it. He much preferred just letting his imaginary friend carry him all around it on the outside.
He woke up from his nap on the way home with a gasp: "Mom! I flied with Uncle Nick!!!"

This has been the faithful retelling of an awesome week.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Sneaky Birthday Project

I got the idea quite a while ago of what I wanted to give my Dad for his birthday but I knew it would take some maneuvering.
I wanted to gather messages of love and memories for him from his friends and family.
So a couple of months before the big day, I started gathering cards and stamps and addresses. I wrote a letter explaining my plan and then I sent out 60 of those letters along with a blank card and a self-addressed, stamped envelope -- with my Dad's name on top, c/o Marie.
And then I waited.
I told myself that I would be happy if I got 20 back. Every day I anxiously checked the mail, so excited if there was a card in there, disappointed if there wasn't. And I got 41 back!!! HURRAY! I also gave a blank card to my mom and to all the kids and grandkids -- even the tiny ones. So on his birthday, I had a pretty big stack of love notes to hand him! 62 cards, all for my Dad.
I wish I could freeze that moment and go back and visit it on rainy days. He would open them and see who they were from and then Jon and I read them out loud for everyone to hear. We laughed and teared up and thoroughly enjoyed hearing the love and admiration that so many people have for this good, good man. It was a magical evening and one I will always remember. There was a whole lot of love in that room!
I think my Dad felt truly, truly loved. Mission accomplished!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Dad's 60th Birthday

I keep trying to write this post but my heart just feels so big about it, it's kind of hard to wrap my brain around how to write it! So here goes.
My Dad turned 60 on June 14th. And I've been thinking about this upcoming birthday for oh... about a year and a half. What to do, how to do it, what to give him... I just wanted it to be really special, because we just don't turn 60 every day, you know?
And it turned out AWESOME.
Totally awesome!
My heart is pretty full about the whole thing, to be honest. Treasured memories were made, and we get to keep those forever!
We borrowed my Uncle Craig and Aunt Mary Lou's cabin for the weekend. And sent out invitations to siblings and nieces and nephews on both sides of the family. And danged if we didn't have a totally awesome party!!!
My Mom, brothers and sisters-in-law all pulled together and it was pretty darn cute if I do say so myself. Karen decorated beautifully and we served cake, cookies, fruit, and all of my Dad's favorite candies -- midnight milky way, circus peanuts, candy orange slices, black licorice candies, and sour patch kids. I thought that was so fun (I may have had an unusual amount of enjoyment over the candy, I'll be honest). We also had big tubs full of cans of Diet Pepsi to go with the water and punch. It was just fun thinking of all his favorite treats and and sharing that little piece of him with everyone. The candy was a big hit.
Sooo many people came! Almost every... single... person invited. I had prepared myself to call it a success if five people came, but there were a ton. And they all stayed and enjoyed it, and that made me so happy. You should have seen my Dad. He was a happy camper!
The real coup was when my 'Uncle Dave' (my Dad's best friend) came, all the way from Montana. I'd sent him an invitation with a note saying that I knew he couldn't come but I thought he'd like to see the invitation and know he was loved AND THEN HE CAME. That moment may have just made my Dad's life. They were both so happy! I didn't see him arrive, darn it, but I was sitting by my Dad's three little brothers and got a high five  of celebration from all of them when we realized he was there. Highlight!
The kids thought it was great fun. Everybody was just having an awesome time.
It was great to see all my aunts and uncles, and so many of my cousins. We are lucky to have so many people to love. All of my Dad's full siblings were there so we got some good pictures. It was an open house, so people came and went as needed, but most really did just stay until the very end.
Here's my amazing FC, who so kindly fit the party into a crazy weekend! So happy for any chance to spend time with her and her family.
The winding down scene. My Dad really felt loved. I think he was amazed that so many people came to celebrate him! That was really the dream, that he would just feel a little bit of how special he is to all of us.
 I'm a Daddy's girl. Always have been, always will be. It was such a pleasure to put this party together for him. He is a giant in my life.
I really couldn't feel any luckier to have this amazing Dad. So happy and thankful his 60th birthday party was a success!
Isn't he a cutie?!
You really are loved more then you know, Dad.
Happiest weekend ever!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Last Day, Hurray!

The last day of school finally arrived on June 8th! I am so excited to have my little chickens with me for a whole summer! They are pretty excited, too.
We went to lunch at Wendy's, and Benson spent the last part of his time there flirting with an older couple, smiling coyly and showing his jumping skills and waving. They loved it. As we walked out he turned around and said "bye, bye, grandma!" He must recognize the warm and fuzzy people. The older kids got to party with water and friends in the afternoon and Kate and Benny got to run to a RS activity with me while the Double B slept. We got our summer of shakes on at Sonic and then drove around hoping for another dumpster fire like last year! No dice, but it was pretty great, anyway.
Starting out with a bang this year! I love summer and I love my tiny chickens!

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Sentence Structuring

Benson's language skills are just taking off the last week or so. He is starting to form sentences and it totally kills me! He was so dang cute tonight.
I snuck a bath before bedtime and we all know how troubling a Mom with a locked bathroom door is. He kept coming and knocking and asking if he could come in or if I'd get up and open the door. We had the following exchange calling back and forth and I was pretty darn impressed:

Benson - You taking a shower, Mom?

Me - No, I'm taking a bath.

Benson - Oh. You taking a bath, Mom?

Me - Yep.

Benson - Oh... Good!

And... scene.

Later when I called everybody for scriptures, he protested with:

Benson - No! Nooo! Let's go!

Me - Where do you want to go?

Benson - Go and see GRANDPA! I want to go and see GRANDPA. Let's go, Mom. Let's go and see Grandpa!

 And... scene.
My little buddy is doing awesome.

Tonight he was practicing his growl and his "scary face" at me, and he was cracking himself UP. He likes to pull this face at me whenever he disagrees with me (code word: often), usually with a little growling thrown in. I'm pretty sure he thinks he'll intimidate me into changing my mind! He was cracking us up. He has the most contagious laugh in the land.
After scriptures KJ informed us that only 2% of the world can bend their thumb a certain way. We all promptly bent our thumbs the way that was supposed to be special and then Benson bent his right over, too. It was so funny that he did it, too, and we all busted up. He was thrilled and belly laughed right along with us. Either KJ's statistics are wrong or we all have really amazing thumbs!

Official Protest

It is 4:49 a.m. and I just crawled back in bed after dropping KJ off for baptisms for the dead. For his Disneyland trip, I had to drop him off at 2:20 a.m and pick him up at 3:50 a.m. I'm sick of these middle of the night things for my thirteen year old. I'm  getting concerned about what his future teenage years are going to look like as far as unholy hour drop offs. I value my sleep, dangit.
This is me, officially protesting.

Friday, June 2, 2017


"Don't forget about another adjective that describes her -- FUNNY!" - Kate about Liv. What a sweet compliment. But let's talk about how Katee, age 6, knows what an adjective is!

"2020 will be the year of Ben. Because I'm the only one who doesn't need glasses." - Double B

"I need to lose a tooth so I can get free money!" - Kate the Great

"I'm sorry, I dishonor the family." -  Liv. I can't remember exactly why she said it, but it was over something silly and hilarious. She is such a tease.

"I love your shirt. You so pretty, Momma." - Benson. Melt my heart!

"This is where I see myself in ten years." - Olivia, wearing an In-N-Out hat. Dream big, little butterfly.

"Can you get me a coconut bra?" - Olivia

"You're looking sharp! But you're not the sharpest tool in the tool shed." - Liv to Benson

On Valentine's Day Katee poured out her Valentine candy and then when Benson got up she turned and looked at him sooo suspiciously before frantically putting her candy away. It was hilarious! She was right to be worried!

"When I grow up I want to just talk. That will be my job, to talk." - Kate. I love this plan.

"So gross plus boy gross equals good?" - Kate. It's a confusing world, isn't it.

"I love you every day." - Benson