Tuesday, October 21, 2014

To Each His Own

I take one child on a date each month. I made this goal one year, and I have kept up on it pretty well. Sometimes dates are right at the end of the month, or maybe they aren't so elaborate, but I can't remember the last month I missed.

Ivory was my date in September. She chose bowling and ice cream. I haven't been bowling in a while, so it was really fun. Ivory's favorite part was watching the ball roll back up into the rack.

She didn't need any help bowling, but she did use the bumpers. (Too bad the bumpers didn't stay up for me.)

We had such a good time. Ivory did a great job.

She almost broke 100. (I told her many adults don't even make 100.) I did a little better than Ivory, but probably only because I got a turkey. Look closely. Three Xs in a row.

Then ice cream of course. Don't ask why I look so freaky in this picture.

Ivory is great company. I love going out on the town with her.

Ivory decided about two months ago that she needed to go out with the other parent as well. Tyler likes to do dates with the girls, but he doesn't have a schedule like I do. Ivory wanted to go shooting, but she got sick. And then Tyler got sick. And then stuff came up. It wasn't until two months later that they actually made it out the door, guns in hand. (Well, not in hand. It is not safe to drive while holding a gun, no matter what they show on TV.)

I can't give you all the details, because I wasn't there, but I hear that Ivory was a pretty good shot.

And now, I'm giving the keyboard to my awesome husband...Oh, Tyler!

A few weeks ago, Ivory asked me, "Dad, can we go shooting some time." Just imagine my joy. So, heart brimming with pride, I said, "Of course we can." I took out my phone and looked over my calendar. We ultimately decided on a day the next week. She was excited.

Unfortunately, the day came, and there was illness in the Cazier home...and not just in the home: it was Ivory. So, we couldn't go shooting on the day appointed. We agreed to wait until she was well, then we'd go shooting.

Unfortunately, the next date came and there was illness in the Cazier home...and not just in the home: it was me! So, we couldn't go shooting. We agreed to wait until I was well, then we'd go shooting for sure.

Unfortunately, the next date arrived, and there was a scheduling conflict. We re-scheduled. Scheduling conflict. We re-scheduled. Forgot. Forgot to re-schedule. Excitement was...waning.

All throughout this process, Ivory would remind me when I was going around giving bedtime kisses, that we needed to go shooting. "Dad," she'd say, "we haven't gone shooting yet."

So, on Friday night when she reminded me for the umpteenth time that we hadn't gone shooting, I told myself that my child should not have to ask over and over to get some one on one time with her Dad. "Ivory," I said, "we're going shooting tomorrow. Get ready."

The next day, she was ready. It happened to be a Saturday, and the weather was great, though I was going no matter what the clouds were doing. We talked ballistics with the other girls that morning. We talked about the difference between shot and projectile, why longer guns produce faster bullets, and why faster bullets do more damage at the target. We discussed why I could shoot a bad guy with the 9mm and I'd have to shoot him a couple of times before he couldn't hurt my little ones. Then we talked about why just racking the shotgun was usually sufficient to help bad guys remember how to pray. Afterward, I carefully selected my shooting-day arsenal.

I didn't want anything too big, because I didn't want Ivory's first big shooting experience to go poorly. I wanted something that could be accurate enough for a child to shoot accurately, but produce the necessary result of, "Ya, shooting's awesome." So I selected my 9mm Beretta and 20-gauge Mossberg 500 ("The Persuader") and nestled them into my trunk...and off we flew to the nearest BLM land.

After some basics, Ivory and I descended on the range. I demoed the 9mm handgun damage on an empty soda can. We talked about safety, ear protection, entry and exit holes, ammunition, magazines, sighting a target, racking the pistol, and cocking the hammer, trigger finger safety, flagging, proper shooting posture, solid elbows and wrist, soft trigger finger, etc. It turned out well. She took some pot shots at a Gatorade bottle--figuring out her aim. Then I brought out the clay pigeons and deposited a few throughout the range. From then on, she didn't miss. Oh, the pride's just welling up here.

Notice how the gun's on safety, pointed in a safe direction, and her finger's off the trigger? She just does that naturally. Pride, overflowing. Notice the pigeon as well: that hawk-shaped hole was her first shot at the pigeon and it was the first hit she claimed as her very own (no help from Dad).

Here's the same shot with a little more of the range behind her. Notice the orange pigeon fragments just littering the area. More pride.

We ended on the 20-gauge shot gun, "The Persuader." I retrieved the empty soda with which we learned about entry and exit wounds at the beginning of our shooting expedition. Then, with all the showmanship I could muster, I yelled, "Ivory remember the 9mm holes in the soda can? Watch this!" I let fly with 1 round out of "The Persuader." The can disappeared in a cloud of dusty demolition.

We were able to recover the top of the can, and Ivory asked in amazement, "Whoa, Dad. Where'd the the bottom of the can go?" Difference between shotgun and pistol taught.

Then we lined up 3 pigeons about 4 inches apart, then backed off a few yards. I handed "The Persuader" to Ivory, and helped her position the weapon so it wouldn't hurt her when she shot. One shot, and "The Persuader" helped the pigeons into the clay afterlife. "From dust to dust," they say.

She only put two rounds through "The Persuader." That was enough to feel of its awesome destructive power.

On a side note, I showed her what the pigeons are really used for--throwing them high in to the air and "Persuading" them to explode into thousands of pieces. Turns out "The Persuader" likes to eat skeet. It's never pointed at a clay pigeon and failed to send it explosively into the great pigeon beyond. I like to think that has something to do with my amazing aim, though. Like daughter like dad.

The thing I love about this picture is how big the gun is in reference to the Ivory holding it. 

So we finally got our shooting day. That night when I tucked her into bed, I asked her if she had a good time. "Yes," she said, "we need to go shooting again." So, I guess we'll have to find another day for the range.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Literal translation...Rooster's Beak

I really like to cook. I find myself constantly searching for new recipes even though I have a billion already. (Trust me, I still have plenty of the old stand-bys that never are discarded.) If I want to try something new that is guaranteed to be delicious, I usually go to the pioneer woman. She never steers me wrong. I saw this recipe for Loaded Nachos the other day and I knew it needed to happen in my life...pronto.

And you know it was fantastic if I had to take a picture. Now here is a man who is about to get into some nachos.

The thing that made it sing was the homemade pico de gallo, and maybe the fresh avocado, and maybe the super tasty beefy bean mixture. Okay, let's go with the pico de gallo. Can you believe I have never made it before?? I feel like I have found a secret that everyone knew about except me. It was the best topping for the nachos. And then I ate it on quesadillas until it was gone. Yum!

In other food news, we had the annual school carnival. I am required to bring baked goods for each of the children. Ha ha, these count right? I had to bake them...

Even if they aren't my favorite flavor of deliciousness, (I would gladly eat a cookie over a sucker any day) they were a hit with the chillins.

The carnival was the usual brand of craziness. Children everywhere...specifically our children everywhere. I think we ran into one or the other at least every 11.4 minutes. Next year I am thinking we drop the kids off and then Tyler and I go out and eat some real food. (I kid...mostly.)

We managed to reunite for dinner. Look at our happy group.

Then we scattered again and rounded up troops once more at the end. Some kidlets looked a tad different, but I am liking their style. (Especially Daisy who got that spider just for me.)

The girl in the center below is Robyn's bestie, Mo Mo. She is a sweetie. We love having her come over. It is always an added bonus when your kids have good friends.

Another carnival under our belts. Weird to think that next year, four of the girls will be going to the same school.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A Bit of This and That

I thought about saving all my small posts for November when I'm supposed to blog every day. But I am already pretty sure that isn't going to happen this year. So welcome to a hodge-podge post.

Back in September, I got sick. Bleh. It was not fun. I was sick for almost two weeks with a cough that held on for dear life. It was a busy couple of weeks and being sick was inconvenient. (I should probably not mention that Tyler had the same thing a couple days before me, but he took a few days off, slept all day, and seemed right as rain. Too bad, I didn't have that luxury. Moms seldom do.)  

Tuesday was the day that I started to feel the scratchiness in my throat. Luckily, I played substitute mom before it got bad. A friend of mine was out of town and she scheduled a stand-in mom each day for her kids after school. It was so fun to go hang out with her kids, give them a snack, and ask how their day was. Joe jumped in my car when I was leaving and tried on Pearl's hat before going back inside. I told him that I would take a picture and send it to his mom. He certainly does look suave.

The next few days I was a little slower around the house. Pearl was so good at entertaining herself, especially if I let her play on the computer.

In general it is easy having just the two of us at home. She comes with me if I have errands, or we chill at home and read books or both of us bond in the computer room. (Like right now. We are eating M&Ms and chatting while I blog and she plays something on FRIV.)

Lunch time is a good time. She is not too picky. And I enjoy the company. (I even curled her hair this day. Props for the sick mom.)

Pearl will start pre-school in a couple weeks. I hope it doesn't mess up our schedule too much. We have our groove on.

Monday: Library Day - We hit up the city library and restock books for the week.

Tuesday: Shopping Day - Gotta buy a ton of food to feed the hungry mouths around here.

Wednesday: Temple Day - I have a few friends and we trade off watching the kids and attending the temple. Pearl is one of the older kids and she is pretty helpful when I am chasing them all around. I took pictures one day last month when I was following them around. These two really like the organ.

Our sand pit always is a hit. Look at this little sandlot.

Thursday: Library Volunteering - This day we go to the school library and help Mrs. Giles with whatever she is working on. Some days I read stories, sometimes I do projects, or sometimes I just organize the shelves. Pearl is very well behaved and she sits and colors, reads, or occasionally steals my phone to watch Netflix.

Friday: This was Swimming Lesson day, but Pearl has not been the most adaptable student in the water. She has made progress and will put her face in now, but she gets so cold in the water, that she clams up and won't try anything. (I don't particularly blame her, since I don't like being cold either. But I'm not going to drag her to the pool just to watch her shiver.) Right now Friday is just a relaxing day to renew our energy from the long week.

What else can I throw into this post? Oh, June had this weird assignment to find and measure the largest leaf. We raided the neighbor's rhubarb patch and found this beauty.

Not bad, but Zuzu in her class found a bigger one, although I can't recall from what plant at the moment.

One more picture for the post. They've had two different spirit weeks at school already this year. I think one week was a campaign against drugs and the other was just a school spirit type of thing. But crazy hair day is always the favorite day. Personally I think that some of the kids could just get out of bed and go as is, and they would fit the bill, but we usually push it up a notch. (Not much though, it is still before 7:30 in the morning, and I don't punch in until 8.) This is about as good as it gets.

Ivory threw in some crazy socks for good measure.

Which reminds me...she has almost worn through another pair of shoes. Does anyone else's kids go through shoes like I go through peanut butter M&Ms? Is there a brand out there that lasts longer than others? I think I would pay good money if I knew the shoes would last the year. As it is, I buy the cheapest I can find, knowing I will have to buy more in a few months. June is the other culprit. A neighbor gave us a new pair of Tom's and she wore through the front toe area in two months. I think she must walk like a bear, dragging its paws. Another reason why I love flip flops. (Cheap and hard to wear through, although Ivory did break two pairs this summer. But still...cheap.)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Tooth Fairy's Biggest Fan

Of all the kids (so far) Ivory has been the most inquisitive when it comes to the tooth fairy. She leaves a note for the tooth fairy every time she loses a tooth and asks questions and gives coloring pages to the tooth fairy. I'm not sure exactly what info she has extracted from the tooth fairy, but I do know that the shy flyer confessed her name is Enamella (pronounced like Pamela).

Ivory has had a wiggly tooth for a while. She told me it was about to come out....for four months now. I'm actually quite relieved to finally see it exit the mouth that has proclaimed its exodus for so long.

True to form, Ivory made a note for the tooth fairy.

I'm glad she didn't go over the top. (Speaking of top, how is she ever going to top this?)

I know it is a little hard to read, so let me translate:

Dear tooth fairy. Enemella, 

Thank you for being my tooth fairy. Do you have a miniture tooth brush so you can keep my baby teeth I give you clean? You are Faboulas! It should be a fact. What color of dress do you wear? Is it your favorite color? Do you like to read. 

From, Ivory

p.s. Can you give me prizes sometimes instead of money?
p.s.s. What is your favorite book.
p.s.s.s. Do you have teeth? Do you have a tooth fairy?

Shall we get a close up of that fabulous fairy?

Ha ha. The funniest part is that I didn't notice that Tyler had put Ivory's tooth on the fairy's hand until I was editing the picture.

Ivory has only lost three teeth. With this intense interview process, we should know a lot more about Enamella by the time Ivory has her adult set of chompers.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Put Off Today What You Can Do Tomorrow

I think part of my recent blogging problem is that I don't have a list. You know, my crazy list with all the posts I should do that I mark off when they are done?? Non-existent currently. So I busied myself with getting on the ball and making a list.

Now I am a little depressed with how many things I haven't blogged. But I am strangely consoled knowing that they are written down and there is less chance of their being overlooked.

While we are on the subject of my procrastination and delay, let's blog about the ice problem.

Remember back when we lived in the cat pee house? (I try not to.) There were plenty of problems there. One included that the water pressure was ridiculously high in the house. Great for showers, awful for appliances. While there, our ice maker in the fridge, broke.

I don't know what it would take to fix it? Even to disconnect it, I think we would need to take everything out of the fridge, defrost the freezer and then detach the line. In the meantime, there is a leak of some kind. It fills up the bottom of the freezer until it overflows onto the floor.

When we find a puddle of water (which has warped the wood) on the floor, we know it is time to chip out all the ice so that the leak can slowly refill the bottom of the freezer.

Chipping out the ice can be somewhat fun. Tyler uses his fists, I prefer a hammer. Large chunks of ice pop out and the kids actually like helping with this cleanup.

Here is Robyn helping me get the large chunks before we sweep up the smaller ones.

This is a strange ritual that we do every two to three weeks. It is annoying, but oddly, not annoying enough to bother moving everything out of the fridge and fixing the problem.

I document it here to prove that I am lazy sometimes. I am totally putting tape over the leak instead of fixing the pipe. And most likely when we do fix the problem, it will be easier than we thought and we will wonder why we chipped ice out of our freezer for a year or so.

Ah, good times when one is too busy to be efficient.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Time Out For Family

A.K.A. General Conference

I love General Conference weekend. I have mentioned this several times, but it is always the same. I look forward to it, I am never disappointed, and I feel renewed afterward.

The Primary (of which I am a part) usually makes a conference packet for the kids to use during the sessions. Somehow, we all completely spaced it, and never put anything together. Luckily, the internet is full of places to look and print things, and I threw something together at the last minute.

Here we are Saturday morning and the kids are already busily coloring.

The big hit was the one page that I did not find online. I have seen pages before where it gives you a place to color in the General Authority's tie, but I couldn't find one....so, I made my own. Oddly, I think that was the page the oldest two liked the most. Check out the detail on these ties.

The littles got involved, although I'm pretty sure some of these ties are ahead of their time. (I think they were just designing their own fashion line.)

Tyler watched two sessions with us, but spent the rest of the time in Idaho. I'm really glad he got to go see family.

I spent my conference, stitching as usual. I now have three kids that join me. Amazingly, none of them need too much help now. They can count on their own and usually only come to me when they can't thread a needle. But I was busier than usual this year, since two of them finished the piece they were working on.

Ivory started this cute lizard a while back. She was so excited to finish her first project and add the golden bead eyes.

She has improved so much since she first talked me into letting her join the ranks of stitchers. When she started her second project today, I was impressed with how even her stitches were.

Robyn was the other finisher this weekend. She has worked long and hard on her project, which was rather ambitious for a first timer, but she did such a fantastic job. She is a natural.

She likes the bears. She immediately started another one. (It's a good thing I had fabric and thread on hand for these guys.)

I actually finished a project too. (It was a good weekend for us.)

Now we just have a lot of framing to do.

Conference was amazing! There were so many wonderful talks, and it was great to hear the kids talk about their favorites. Ivory was able to recall certain stories that she really liked. I am already excited to read them when they are available.

We still have the conference wall up. It was not quite as colorful as last time, probably because there were less candy incentives with it, but June read EVERY single talk from last conference. I'm so proud of her. I owe her a book and dessert at Kneader's. (You know, because the words from conference are things we KNEAD in our lives. Okay...it's a little cheesy.)

Tomorrow, I'll put up new pieces of paper. Ivory says they will be baptized and be clean again. Sure...whatever floats your boat. Just remember to stay in. (Shameless conference reference to M. Russell Ballard's talk.)

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

In All Her Official Glory

All birthdays are special, but some seem more of a milestone than others. Someone around here just turned twelve. TWELVE!! Where did this baby go?

She is growing up. I love it. And some days it kinda kills me. She had a great day. Pearl and I brought her balloons at school. Conveniently, we ran into her class coming out of the library. I sent my official deliverer in.

And then I got a picture on the way out.

There were such cute fall balloons this year that I went with that theme. Luckily, June loved them. One in particular. There is a special bond between a girl and her owl balloon. She named her Maple Blossom Leaflet.

Odd story about balloons. You all know that I get balloons for my kids each birthday. June kept her balloons from last year. Even when they deflated. Even when her mother tried to throw them away multiple times. She kept them in a corner of her room and defended them to the last. I think she wanted to say that she had those balloons for a WHOLE year. And when the year was officially over, she popped them with gusto. (Really weird, if you ask me.)

Twelve is a special age in our church. She is now in Young Women's and she got a temple recommend so she can do baptisms for the dead. It was awesome to go with her for the first time and see what a stellar young lady she is becoming.

In the evening, we came home to make dinner and open gifts. Gotta love money. Thanks Grandma Cazier.

There was a bit of the crazed paper ripping. (Watch for the bows on her face. They keep multiplying.)

A new water bottle for school. 

One of the coolest gifts was a family history book from Grandma Dargan. It was amazing to look through it and see pictures of so many ancestors. (We stayed up late looking through it. Incredible. Thanks Mom!)

June saved the biggest gift for last. Robyn could barely carry it. (Just kidding, it wasn't that heavy, but she is doing a great job pretending it is difficult to lift.)

Love this look of surprise and astonishment.

What was it? Her very own pudgy. (That is what we call backrests.)

June requested pie instead of cake. And I unabashedly bought a pie. (Some days that is just the way it goes. Triple Berry. Thank you Village Inn.)

Twelve candles are a bit trickier to blow out all at once.

We served it with some delish ice cream. Robyn literally served her, with a bow and everything.

You may see the remnants of dinner on the table. June asked for lemon shrimp but she also wanted mashed potatoes. I've never made the two together, but I am willing to make special exceptions for the birthday girl. However, now I will never make the two apart. Apparently the lemon butter sauce left under the shrimp makes the most outstanding sauce to drizzle on spuds. I drool just thinking about it. Super yum.

June wasn't finished with the day yet. One last big twelve year old step. 

Yep, ear piercing. (Twelve is my designated age for earrings. I figure she can take care of her ears nicely at this age.) One done. No going back now, unless you want only one earring.

She was such a trooper. She didn't even wince. I like her choice of earrings, and I hope she does too since she will be wearing them for 6-8 weeks.

Finally back home and to bed. June likes to wait for her official birth time, which is 9:20 pm. (She was my only evening baby.)

I can't say enough about how much I love this girl. She is so intelligent and funny. She is great company. She is responsible, and dedicated. She is kind and thoughtful. She is spiritual and insightful. I just want to crush her in a hug.

Happy Birthday June!!