Thursday, April 17, 2014

Last Second

A couple of evenings ago Katelyn came in and laid her head on my belly. "This is my favorite pillow. You're my very best pillow!" I felt very complimented.
Last night I got to go get my temple recommend renewed with the stake presidency. I met with President Call, one of the councilors, and we had a lovely visit getting to know each other. He used to work with Governor Leavitt in Utah, so it was fun to talk about our small town and mutual hang-outs we've had. It was actually a very sweet experience. Answering the last question of the interview I mentioned that I do my best... I try hard. He reminded me that the Lord only asks us to do our best. And when we do that -- our best -- He is very pleased. He told me to watch my thoughts and feelings, because if I am ever feeling down on myself, like I somehow don't measure up, it is never the light sending those thoughts and feelings. I know that is true, but I could feel the truth of it as he talked to me. He then said a very sweet prayer and asked the Lord to bless me and my family. I left feeling rejuvenated and hopeful and relieved. I told the Double B it feels like I just got my insurance renewed or something. He laughed and said "Yep. It's just like paying tithing -- fire insurance."
Yesterday as I was making dinner after classes KJ came up to tell me about his day. He mentioned that he got teased a little at school and it really made him feel bad and feel shy. I asked him what he got teased about, and he said that he sorta, kinda, a little bit, likes his friend Emily. Except he's a little worried because she is Baptist and he's Mormon. I assured him that he didn't need to worry about that at all right now -- if she is a sweet and kind girl, that just shows good sense that he would like her! He was glad to hear that, but said that two boys were making fun of him for liking her, because they play together at recess. I reminded him he can always talk to an adult and they'll take care of it. But I also reminded him that no one has the authority to make him feel bad about himself without his permission, so he could just calmly tell them he didn't like it when they said that, and then go on with his life. "Because you're AWESOME!" I reminded him. He felt better and headed back downstairs, calling cheerfully over his shoulder "I know!" And that just warmed my heart. He is, in fact, awesome. Mom dream come true. If I can instill that in my kids... oh man.
I have my massive list made out of things to take with us. You know how it is -- you're trying to get the house ready to leave and take care of the every day things while taking care of something big. It makes me tired, so I decided that sitting down for a minute and writing on the blog was just a responsibility that needed to be addressed, ha ha. I will get back to gathering very soon.
This is such a great picture:
I took it last night. Fun with Dad is the best kind of fun! 
Well, friends, we're off on an adventure. Absolutely, positively, so excited and happy that it is finally here!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Culture Of Happiness

Olivia had her music concert on Thursday. She was brilliant, naturally. I was really proud of her! At breakfast that morning she told me there were some really rocking songs "So please don't embarrass me by having you and Benson break out into dancing." Okay... instructions heard and followed. It was pretty hard, though, because there WAS some pretty rockin' songs and that girl was shakin' it. So dang cute. I just love to watch my kids do their thing! 
It is snowing this morning. Snowing. Don't worry, I'm taking it like a champion. Spring is weird here, I get that. Or maybe this is just spring and I've been insolated from it's natural evils by the beautiful climate in Southern Utah. Either way... snow.
Yesterday I spent a significant amount of time at the church for extra meetings. That kind of worked out for me, though, because a big and loud thunder storm had been hanging out all night and morning and it really unleashed at four o'clock, which is when we get out. The Double B sent me this text on the way to pick up the kids (he'd had to work): "I'm here. On the way high winds, hail, heavy rain. The sky is not green, though." I thought he was reassuring me because there was a tornado threat. When I finally did head home it was just pouring rain, and I told him his text had made me laugh. He told me he was not joking! He was quite nervously checking out the sky the whole way -- black, black, black. He was so happy it didn't start changing color! And I thought, once again, the Lord knows what He is doing. I've never been so happy I had to stay for a Scout meeting and miss all the excitement!
We leave for Utah this week. We are heading out Friday morning and staying in Denver, so hope to be there by Saturday afternoon. If you don't think Utah fever has hit our family with a vengeance! It is about all the kids can talk about, and their parents sympathize, because it's about all we can think about! So very excited to see our family and loved ones again and have a little break. Katelyn knows we are seeing Grandma and Grandpa, but she is a little confused about how that is all going to go down and keeps wanting it to be TODAY. Yesterday the first thing she said to me was "We going to Grandpa's house tomorrow?" Followed by her looking out my window a little later and saying "I keep looking for Grandpa's house, but I don't see it in the forest!" Then "Time to go to Grandpa's house yet? No yet? Awwwee!!!!" "Grandpa loves chocolate! I bring Grandpa a sucker. He likes blue." On the way into church there was an airplane over us and Katelyn said "Grandma and Grandpa in that airplane! They come to see us, NOT go home!"
This morning as she came to snuggle she told me "I see Grandma and Grandpa today!" She was disappointed and confused that it wasn't today, it was this weekend. That's hard to understand. I made pancakes for breakfast and she said "Grandpa make me pancakes when I at his house! Grandma and Grandpa have lots of toys for me to play with in our room. But Mommy and Daddy sleep in a big bed like this." So in her mind, she is the grand queen visitor and has the lay-out down. Love it. She definitely has Grandma and Grandpa on the brain!
Finally, an Olivia-ism. As we were all sitting there eating breakfast she informed us all: "You know why dogs don't toot that much? Because if they toot they aren't happy, and theirs is a culture of happiness!"
Life is awesome.
And... scene.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Oh, Girls.

Last night I had the biggest laugh I have had in a long time, which is really saying something, because the cream filling inside of the Twinkie had really cracked me up the night before.

First, a little background. Olivia is very, very much like her Dad in interesting ways. She seems to carry many of his traits and quirks -- for instance, she is the most joyfully helpful person on the planet. She helps because she loves to help, and that is a quality from her Daddy. I am the grateful recipient of both of their good deeds! She also has a few of his... shall we say... tics. When she is excited, she will freeze up and then have a little bit of a spastic reaction -- rapidly scratching her head, stomping her feet briefly. It's very cute. She also makes little moaning sounds when she's relaxed or tired. Cracks me up.
One of those things is that she clears her throat. It's really become noticeable in the last six months or so, she just has to clear her throat all the time, just sitting there or in the middle of a sentence. Not because it needs to be cleared, it's just some kind of response. The Double B really notices this when I certainly don't because HE used to do this. And it was a hard habit to break, so he tries to encourage her to stop while she's ahead. He notices every time and usually comments to her about it.

So last night we're sitting at dinner and our youngest child's compulsion -- the nose picker, shall we say -- was made manifest. Daddy, the great enforcer, told her not to pick her nose. And then, in a moment of flashing light, Olivia threw in her two cents:

"Don't pick your nose, Katee, because that happened to me when I was three, and now I have a croakie voice that Dad judges."

Oh. My.

If you don't think that brought down the house. I mean, we LOST it. Well, MOMMY lost it -- absolute gulping guffaws for I don't know how long, and the children followed suit. I'd look at the Double B and laugh harder, because it is just the dang truth and he sat there pretty stunned and kind of hurt that he'd given her that impression. I laughed. And laughed. And laughed.
When it finally calmed down, he said to her "I have nothing to say to that. Touché. Touché, Olivia."
The rest of the dinner was very quiet! Some things just can't be topped.
Olivia thought maybe I should put that on Facebook, since she's so funny and all, but Daddy assured her that it would make it to the blog. This one deserves to be part of the family history.

It was my night with primary to go down to the church and make sure Scouts and Activity Days had all the support they needed. So after checking in with everyone, I sat and chilled for an hour. When KJ and I got home, Daddy was asleep and the girls were ready for their promised treat for being so good and to be tucked into bed. We had strawberry shortcake and they thought they'd died and gone to heaven... it was fairly delicious.
And Liv made it onto Facebook, anyway, because she was sitting next to me chatting while Katelyn was whining about something or other behind us. I wasn't really paying attention to the whining, when Olivia turned around and said matter of factly: "Katelyn, Mommy doesn't want to listen to you whine because she's pregnant. And when pregnant ladies get mad... well, you know what happens!"

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Dinner Guests

Last night the Elders came for dinner. It was interesting.
I retell this story for our family history... I think the children should know the truth, dang it.
So since it was sort of an unplanned event -- a friend couldn't feed them and asked me to help out, I looked at our menu plan to see what could feed two additional men and would not take too much planning, because -- I plan once every two weeks for meals, and then all bets are off. I know that I will stick to those meals and leave me alone! I settled on breakfast for dinner. Fancy? NO. But potentially delicious? Yes. Plus, I had hash browns! And bacon! And strawberries and whipped cream! (See the previous planning comment.) So we went for it. I even made the most delicious scrambled eggs, Granny-style, because I closely watched my Mom make them at Christmas so I could replicate. They were super good, I'm not going to lie. I felt awesome, and also cosmically connected to my maternal grandmother, master chef. That was needed, because the last few days we've had some real baking tragedies that have hurt my feel-goods and growing kitchen confidence, and caused comparisons within myself -- I'LL NEVER BE TRINA, DANG IT!!! But that's okay, Trina (my excellent sister-in-law) is really good at... everything... and I'm good at... some things. So see? It all comes out in the wash. Speaking of wash, I still have one load of laundry to fold. And I was supposed to vacuum yesterday, as Monday was officially assigned as vacuum the whole house day. But it's also laundry day, and how much should Monday be assigned, really, when your ribs hurt? So I pushed vacuum day to Tuesday, but so far things aren't looking too good. My ribs! How much do I need to complain about my ribs before they leave me alone or before you all kill me?!
Anyhow. Back to the dinner. So just as we're almost ready, everybody pitching in, the Elders call and are going to be about half an hour late. The Double B, who had been awake since 2:45 a.m., expressed concern about how late they'd stay and wandered out of the kitchen in distress. I sat down trying to find relief from my murderous ribs (complaint 3... don't worry, I'm keeping track) while keeping track of everything. When they arrived, the kids were practically beside themselves. They LOVE the missionaries. Rabidly, rabidly LOVE the missionaries. The Double B and I love them, too. We haven't been able to feed them as much as we usually do, because I'm growing a human and try to be realistic about things. But the KIDS... they have missed them being over as much. So they were bouncing all over the place.
Half way through dinner, I had to ask my darling husband to switch me chairs, because his had better back support, while I gripped my ribs and grimaced like a pirate (complaint 4). The Elders looked at me a little funny, and one commented how he really thought pregnancy would be easier every time since you'd done it before. I thought that was darling. Immediately after we ate, I herded everyone down to the couches desperate for comfort (5) while the Double B anxiously worried about how soon his poor tired body would get to sleep.
Elder Hepworth and Elder Davies had a great time working the kids up through high-fives, jokes and tickles to fever pitch. They were, honestly, in hysterics. Then Elder Davies tried to turn us to the lesson, hoping we could quickly get all spiritual. I liked that. The innocence of pre-parenting! They pulled out a picture of the plan of salvation and asked the kids to help them explain it. As we talked about the pre-earth life, Olivia asked what our spirits were, if they were made of bones. Daddy tried to explain, but it is a little tricky, so then Elder Davies said "I like to think of our spirits as the creamy filling inside of a Twinkie."
Oh. My. Gosh.
That was it. That struck me as the single funniest comparison I have ever heard, and laughed, and laughed, and laughed until I cried, which brought my silly punch-drunk children back up to fever level. The Double B told me it was funny, but not THAT funny... but oh my gosh, it just cracked me up. The creamy filling? Really? I will never look at a Twinkie in the same way again! Naturally, this caused me to really, really need the bathroom, and as you Moms know, you really can't wait in this situation. So I excused myself while they continued on.
As I headed back up the stairs KJ loudly proclaimed that I took so long I'd even missed the prayer! Awkward... so I thanked them for representing for me. Katelyn met me on her way DOWN the stairs, utterly devastated because Daddy had told her to stop picking her nose and eating it (a real problem for her right now). Her feelings were very, very hurt, as they are every time Daddy gets after her, and I think she was a little embarrassed. I comforted her and the Elders got everybody laughing again, when KJ, who was really past the point of hyperactive, let freedom ring with a very loud and long fluff. This cracked the Elders UP... they are males, after all. At that point, I just had to hang my head and confess that they knew pretty much everything about us at that point and could now rest in peace. Honestly!
As the Double B herded them out the door, Olivia kept poking Elder Hepworth in the back, convinced she would convince him it wasn't really her at all!
It was a little bit exhausting, last evening. BB took them home and I read the kids their scriptures and tucked them into bed. I had a nice visit with my Mom as I laid on the bed and she drove home from work. My darling husband came back with a blended root beer float from sonic to bribe me into giving him a hair cut, so we took care of that while Olivia headed downstairs to inform us that Kate was already asleep and she was "feeling lonely." I gave her a big hug. Then I laid in the dark reading on my phone while the Double B gently started snoring beside me.
It was an interesting night.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Conference Weekend

General Conference! Pretty much the most beloved weekend in my whole church. We all love it, one and all. That is no exception at our house. This is the first time that we have asked our kids to sit through the whole thing -- in the past we would just have them pick a talk or two and then come in and listen to the prophet when he spoke. But last October conference I received the message several times that I need to not underestimate my children -- that they have the ability to listen and learn, too. So we stocked up on special treats and went for it! It was a challenge for them, but they did great, and I was so proud. Here we are Saturday morning as it began:
Kate camped out next to me and I enjoyed her company -- she did good and only had to be reminded to quiet down a few times on Saturday. Of course, she was not under the same responsibility as Brother and Sister, and did get to wander as much as she needed to.  
The Double B was able to get home for the afternoon session and promptly fell asleep. In fact, he pretty much slept through all of General Conference. While his new department is awesome and he loves it, he pretty much sleeps every second he's home. Did his spirit take any of it in by osmosis? I'm not really sure. That is frustrating for me, to be sure, but I'm me and he's him, so that is his choice. I was happy to come down from a bath on Saturday night to find that not only was he awake, he was in position for the priesthood session. Pretty cute. I like the tilted head -- kind of like a puppy!
It was a great conference. I heard many things I needed to hear, which I am grateful for. Spiritually fulfilling and spiritually exhausting! That's when I know it was good, because I was stretched. This morning Katelyn told Andrew "I really just like Phineas and Ferb better then General Conference." Hilarious! I remember being little, too. I'm sure the Lord understands!
I have been profoundly under the influence of hormones the last few weeks. Driving myself and I'm pretty sure everyone else crazy! I don't like to be snappy, and I really have been. I am hoping to crawl my way back to the sane table very soon.  
This week I've been pretty homesick, which is sort of funny since I'm about to visit home! I have found when I get too homesick that seems to open the door to my little black dog and I've been feeling pretty down. Thoughts that are not usual for me, that are very down on myself and are hurtful, try to visit. This goes against my fundamental beliefs on how we should treat ourselves. I honestly, truly, really, profoundly believe we should be kind to ourselves, a friend to ourselves, patient with ourselves. I believe when we are kind to ourselves we are kind to others, when we are at peace with ourselves we are at peace with others. I think this takes lots and lots of self mastery to do. Lots and lots and lots of practice. As in... practice over a lifetime. So I try to banish those thoughts and immediately push them out of my mind, because they are not welcome there. My body is strong and is doing a great work, and it doesn't have to be a certain way, and it doesn't have to look like anyone else's. My mind is my own and it's quirks are kind of fun and unique, and I am glad it doesn't work like anyone else's. It wouldn't be mine if it did. I am a rough stone rolling, I don't have to be perfect or "whole" yet, that is why I get to take this journey. And I am not going to wait for happiness for what I perceive as the right time or place, because this right now is my perfect time and place, the perfect opportunity for me to grow. I am in the good ol' days RIGHT NOW. So breathe. Breathe. Be present. Be grateful. Be patient.
I love life. I am so glad I have the opportunity to live it!!!
In closing, I would like to share this picture with one and all, but especially my mother. I let Olivia go to school this way:  
When she came out with her outfit I found it very... interpretive. Plaid shirt, flower skirt, Mary Jane's and socks pulled up almost to her knees. I was going to ask a few questions about it, but I just couldn't think of anything she couldn't counter... and she felt so very, very pretty. So we did her hair, I took her picture and I'm sure she is feeling like the Queen of Arabia today! The experts would find me very progressive.
The End.

Thursday, April 3, 2014


We are three weeks into a new chore routine that is setting a much needed and desired return to order in our household. Hallelujah! I mean business, too, and my kids know it -- I told them I would rather take them to school late then take them without their chores done. Not sure if that makes me evil or smart, but it's worked. Of course, I mean it. And they know it. So it works! Every morning we eat breakfast and chat and then attack our chores, so by the time they are to school there is just the last few things I need to do -- and then of course, follow Kate and Wandrew around to keep them out of trouble and clean up after their adventures. I love order.
Yesterday morning we were in a little bit of a rush by the time KJ got out of the shower, so I just checked to make sure he looked nice before we rushed out the door. Then, sitting in the car line, I looked over and noticed how dashing he really looked -- he'd put gel in his hair! He was feeling it, too. He was very happy I'd noticed and I could see it gave him that extra little boost of confidence that makes you feel good. He is the cutest kid in fifty states. Growing up on me! Sigh...
Yesterday was also the day of Katelyn's district preschool assessment. We were sooo hopeful she would be admitted to the district preschool. We are in a really amazing school district, and almost all of their preschool teachers have PhD's, but it is tough to get in to. Usually, you need a little extra help in one area to get in... we thought her speech might get her in, because although she says such hilarious expressions and communicates very well now, she can still be a little tough to understand sometimes... she talks very fast. But nope! She actually tested super well in that area! How she got in is hilarious -- she can't throw a ball with much accuracy and definitely can't skip! It was hilarious to watch her try. She can't count backwards from 10 (who knew she was supposed to? Not me) and wouldn't sing the alphabet for them, even though it is her favorite song. She gets to go and we were thrilled! Preschool has a going rate of about $300 a month around these parts -- for two hours, two days a week. So pretty much, Kate the Great was not going to go to preschool unless the district swooped in to save the day. Yay, preschool!!! She was so cute during the testing:
That's a big blessing! One thing the principle told me, which I loved, is that she has a "surprisingly" well developed sense of humor. All the testing teachers mentioned that she would crack them up with her answers... that her answers were very clever and she knew she was being funny. I loved that! I have always thought she would grow up to be a very funny person, because she's always just been funny -- never in a teasing way, either, just in a legitimately observant way. He agreed and said she had "a very highly developed sense of humor for a three-year-old!" Awesome sauce. The ability to see the good and funny in a situation is such a gift, so if she brought that with her -- more power to you, Kate the Great! Awesome!
Teaching classes was hard for me yesterday. Very hard to dig deep for the energy and patience I needed. All you full time school teachers, I honestly do not know how you do it, but boy do I honor you!!! It is not for the faint in heart. When I finished, I went into the bedroom to let the Double B know the dinner plans... and this is what I saw: 
Almost ridiculously cute, honestly. Those two are sleeping buddies. They both love to sleep and love to nap, put them together for a little snuggle time and it's all over! This kind of worked out great for me, because I was not sure I had it in me for a nice dinner and KJ and Liv are willing to be casual -- we warmed up some Campbell's soup and had a nutritious hotdog to go with it. They were both delighted! And so was I, honestly.
The Double B is LOVING his first week in merchandising. I can not tell you how thrilled that makes me. He comes home with a bounce in his step. My wife heart just toasts up so nice and warm about that!
We are going home to Utah for a visit in 15 days! The kids keep me very well-informed of the daily countdown and have for about a month and a half -- and who can blame them! We are so very excited. It's been nine months since we've seen our families (with the exception of my parents, who have saved our lives by visiting) and those beautiful red rocks and plateaus. It's funny how "home" just ingrains into who you are. What it looks, sounds, and feels like. Of course we know and are thankful that wherever we are together is home, but oh -- to be back for just a minute and rest! Thrilling.
And finally, in closing, I would just like to introduce you to my only REAL issue with the Midwest:

Monday, March 31, 2014

End Of March

The shop that fixed our car was right by Katelyn's very favorite place in the whole entire universe, Home Depot. Every time she sees it she squeals with joy and wants to go there. It was a good day, because our car was alive and Sister Bev had just taken us out for a birthday lunch, so I was happy to go in and make her dreams come true. We pretty much spent our time trying out all their new outdoor furniture before picking up our ritual purple paint sample (she prefers dark purple... picks pretty much the same shade every time).
This morning about 6:30 a powerful thunderstorm moved in... the rumbles were long and quite beautiful, and then flash-flash-flash. It didn't last more then twenty minutes or so, but I laid there in bed and actually found it quite comforting. I'm becoming a total weirdo! The forecast for the next few weeks has many thunderstorms riddled throughout... spring. It may take me a few weeks to get my tornado watch mojo back, but I'll get there. 
We played games last night with the Tates, and it was great. It's been awhile because life has gotten so busy, but we laughed and talked and Bev and I totally had our bums kicked by the boys. We got talking about family and the Double B and I shared some stories about my Grandma and what a great gal she was/is. I enjoyed sharing reminiscing on our favorite memories, and felt so thankful that my husband was able to know her well and develop such a loving relationship with her. They had a mutual adoration society.  
My girls were rocking it as "Princess Ariel and Princess Rapunzel" over the weekend. Cracked. Me. Up. The Double B simply could not grasp the pioneer twist, but that was part of what was making them feel so beautiful! Katelyn looks like she could be transported right out of an ancient family photo. She took it very seriously. The bonnets were a reoccurring theme all weekend. Love being a Mom so much. Not always the easiest job, but always, always, the happiest job for me.
Today is the Double B's first day in his new department! He got moved out of the bakery (hallelujah!) and will now be one of the merchandising managers. It was such a HUGE blessing, with other huge blessings wrapped up in it. Just the opportunity to have less stress in his life is an answer to prayers. He is so excited! He will go in at 3:45 in the morning now (which works out, really, since he is usually awake by that time, anyway -- insomniac) and while for a few weeks he will still need to spend some time in the bakery helping his old supervisor acclimate to her new job, soon he will be free of even that. I'm so happy for him. So crazy about that guy! He does SO MUCH for our family, and carries such a burden. My hat is off to him. Love, love him.
Olivia studied a youtube video and then drew this picture of Elsa:
By herself. That's right, ladies and gentlemen, 7 years old. I could not believe it! She has always been a very talented artist, and it is something she really loves, but that just seems to be ridiculous to me, the ability to follow instructions and execute that well. I am pretty darn impressed. She said the nose and the hair was the hardest. I am thrilled that she can express herself this way! The visual arts are so powerful. Go, Olivia!!! Last night we had the following conversation:
Liv - I have to be honest, I am pretty darn proud of myself!
Mom - You should be! That is absolutely amazing!
Liv - Well, I've decided that I drew it for you.
Mom - You did?! Thank you!!! That is so sweet. I will keep it forever.
Liv - Will you take it with you even when you're dead?
Mom - Hm. Well, I think I'll leave it to you in my will and you can give it to your grandkids.
Liv - Oh. Good idea!
And... scene. Ha ha! What a mind that cranks in that head of hers!