Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Grandma, the Temple, and the Aftermath

I am sorry if you have already read the spoilers in the last post. This won't be very exciting news, any of it. But I do have pictures, and I feel I can entice almost any audience with a few good photos.

Let's start with the temple. The Provo City Center Temple Open House is currently going on. There has been such a huge response that tickets are hard to find. Luckily, procrastination worked in my favor this time, and I joined up on the second distribution of tickets and got an early time in January. We invited Grandma to come down and join us.

It was a very smooth experience. It was rather chilly, but we hardly waited in any lines and seemed to sail through. Some people said they felt the experience was rushed, but I didn't feel that way. Then again, with five children, we don't stay still for long.

It was great to talk with the children about all the blessings that come from having temples so close. We have been so lucky in these last few years to go through multiple temples. And Robyn will be able to do baptisms for the dead in just a few short months. Maybe this summer I will try to take the older girls to several of the temples in the valley.

We got to see the movie this time around. (We missed the one at the Payson temple.) Tyler snapped a picture as we were waiting.


As usual, you are only allowed to take pictures outside the temple. There is a lovely gazebo area on the grounds that I believe will be used for non-member families when there are weddings. Inside was a lovely Christus statue. A sister missionary took a picture for us.



Then we took a couple outside, but we didn't wait for a shot by the fountain because we were hurrying home to get ready for music night. (Sorry that is another post. Don't you love when I say that?)



Having Grandma even for a short amount of time was wonderful. Pip seemed to enjoy our company even when Tyler shoved her up Robyn's shirt. Can you see her little face? (Not Moxy in the background.)


The sad news was that not even a week later, Vicki slipped while shoveling snow and managed to hit her head again and break her wrist.

Her head injury gave her a black eye and I'm sure no small headache.


The wrist, after some examination, was put in a cast and will be there for 6-8 weeks.


Poor Grandma. The girls and I wrote her cards right away and then haven't sent them yet. We really struggle with that last step.


I even made a hidden picture find for her. These are the girls favorite, so I hope she enjoys it. There are over 50 things to find. No list this time. Just see what you see.


But speaking of that, I'm going to put everything in an envelope and go take it to be mailed right now.

See you later...

Monday, February 8, 2016

B&W BARRIER

It is fun that these themes are open to interpretation, but at the same time it almost gives me too much room. I'm not sure where to start or stop.

Like this week the theme was barriers. I thought about taking a picture of Robyn's grumpy face because that is always a barrier to my talking to her. I usually have to break through and make her smile before we can have a real conversation.

I decided against that and went with a more traditional barrier. My first thought was fence or wall. It had just snowed a very light and fluffy snow that morning and the snow looked so cool on my neighbors retaining wall. The snow had gotten heavy enough that it was starting to lean over, but it was light enough to cling to other pieces and not quite fall.


Then I saw all the icicles on my house and thought it made a cool barrier type effect. I would love to build an ice castle with an icicle bar prison. Actually, I would love to go see the ice castles in Midway, but I don't know enough about them. I think it is time to do some research.


But my final shot ended up being my favorite. You may not know that the entire neighborhood used to use our yard as a short cut. I was always seeing people walking through the backyard. I knew most of them, so it wasn't super weird, but Tyler was finally tired of it. He wanted his property (justifiably) to himself. So he put up no trespassing signs.

Amazingly, they have mostly done the trick. We have three signs up and with the closed gates on the sides of the house, most people have stopped coming through. In the back, there is no door. I imagine an invisible barrier there with the sign telling people to stay away. But even better in this shot, my attack dog is waiting to chew up anyone who ignores the sign. Who would want to mess with her?


The only trespassers we see in the back yard now are the neighbors dogs. Clearly they can't read.

Next week: Outdoor Hot/Cold


Friday, February 5, 2016

Hello...It's February

How can I tell it is February? Well...people are sick. That is what we do in February. In fact, Pearl has been sick for a week. She missed school last Friday (which I know was still in January) and she is still sick this Friday. Looking back, she wasn't THAT sick last Friday. I probably could have sent her to school. But she is definitely sick THIS Friday. Poor thing.

I can also tell it is February because it keeps snowing. Nothing major, but many mornings I look outside and realize I should probably shovel the driveway before I leave. Then I pray that Tyler will get there first. He wasn't here this morning, so I did it myself. This morning it was light, fluffy snow, so it was really easy. Score. Plus, I made June get out of the car and help me. (She needs to work on straight lines, but she has the speed down.)

Last Sunday (the last day of January) I sat in front of my computer thinking that there were really 3 things I needed to blog about before February. I wanted to get my photo of the week on there. I thought maybe 2016 intentions would be more appropriate in January than February, and I wanted to get all the extra pictures off my phone. Ironically, I sat there stewing until I ran out of time and I didn't blog about anything that night.

Fail.

But you see that in the meantime, I got my photo on there, and my intentions (or lack thereof) intact. Now, I just need to clean out the pictures on my phone. So here is a bit of randomness from last month.

I think Robyn can do hats. For some reason, I just don't look that great in them. There are a few that I can pull off, but in general, I think my head is too small.  But this cutie is destined for some good hat days. (Yes, that is Hobby Lobby, my other home.)


Oh wait....maybe my other home is the library. It is probably one of my most favorite places on earth. It is like being at the top of a roller coaster. There is so much potential ahead. I love to see my kids looking for books. I love to sit down and read. In fact, this summer, I am going to make the kids spend some quality time at the library. We usually have a day to pick out books, but I think we will go for at least an hour a week and sit down and read. It is therapeutic.


Speaking of the library, they have this cool display up right now.


Blind Date with a Book. Such a fun, fantastic idea. I had to get one of course. I picked the one that said: "Say goodbye to your life for a while if you pick me." That is exactly what I wanted.

When you check out the book, the title shows up on the screen. I had chosen The Night Circus, which is a wonderful book, but I had already read it. So I went back for another date. This time I chose: "One of the best melodramas you'll ever read."

Sounds good. Turned out to be Nicholas Nickleby by Dickens. Eh...I'm trying to read it. (And by trying, I have read two chapters.) But sadly for Nicholas, Tricia and I just went to a library presentation of the BEST BOOKS of 2015 and now I have a whole list of things I want to read. Sorry Nicholas...I may not be the one for you. But don't lose heart. There are other fish in the sea.

I love when the girls play with my hair. It is nice and long right now, so it feels great when they brush it. They do some very interesting styles now and then. June did a fun thing with braids the other day, but my hair is so thin, that sometimes it looks like I have bald spots. I'm pretty sure you shouldn't  be able to see that much scalp.


It means that I am limited in some of the styles I can do. I hope the girls get Tyler's thick locks and not my thinning ones. (Although I'm pretty sure pregnancy has something to do with the state of my hair, so maybe it isn't all genetics.)

Look at these two lovebirds? Guess where we are.


Did you guess we were giving blood? Probably not. I told Tyler we should take a picture. (We were at his work giving blood.) After we took the picture, he said there was nothing about that picture that said, "We just gave blood." Sadly, I didn't have Ivory with me. She would have taken a picture of the blood bag. I am happy to say that the workouts seem to be doing their job. I got in there after Tyler, but caught up to him by the end. I donate quickly. I'm not sure if that is a good thing actually. Doesn't that mean if I have a severe injury that I will just bleed to death faster than the next guy?

Grandma came down to go to the City Center Temple Open House. I have pictures of that to put on there later. I guess Ivory said something about her eyebrows, so Grandma fixed them and told me to take a picture for Ivory (who was at a long test the next morning). I didn't notice anything wrong with her eyebrows before. And they look just fine here.


Unfortunately, shortly after her return to Idaho, she fell shoveling snow and broke her wrist. Boo. I have pictures of her cast to put on here later as well. Grandma can't seem to catch a break.

A good friend of mine, McKenzie, did my nails for my birthday. She has the gel nail stuff. It is amazing. Put your nails under the lights for a minute and then you are good to go. No waiting for hours to make sure they are set. I could get behind this type of nail. Although I hear they don't come off very well and you almost have to chip them off. Or soak your fingers in acetone. (Both sound cheery.) But I haven't even been tempted to bite them or pull them off. That is good for me.


June took this picture one night when the moon was looking so cool. She said it didn't even capture the real effect, but I think it looks so Halloweeny. One of my favorite pictures of the year so far.


Here is the family getting ready to do family pictures. They were watching Mutton Bustin' on Tyler's phone and they looked so cute huddled around together. I'm not sure I approve of Mutton Busting, but I do approve of family time.


Speaking of family time, I got to take the older three out for ice cream. We had such a good time. I sure love these girls. Despite the occasional mood swing and complaining (we have girls...you know it happens) these kids are a delight to hang out with. While eating we played a game where we picked two guys and you had to decide who you would rather marry. One funny one was Albert Einstein or Obama. (Sorry Obama...no votes for you.) The best one was Robyn who asked if we could do more generic things, like job titles instead of actual names. When I said yes, she said, "Okay, would you rather marry a doctor...or a poltergeist?" (Hahahaha. I think she thought a poltergeist was some kind of scientist.)


 Lastly, I walked by the front door the other day and thought someone had stacked up some snowballs. Upon closer inspection, I saw they were three little snowman buddies. Ivory made them. I almost want to get mini chocolate chips to decorate them, but I think they are frozen solid by now. Still adorable.


And that is January in a nutshell. It sure went quickly. 1/12th of the year is already behind us.


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Intentions for Less Intentions

You might have noticed that I haven't discussed any kind of New Year's resolutions. (If you haven't noticed, or cared, that is alright.) I stopped making resolutions, per se, a while back, but I believe good intentions are going out the window this year as well.

Tyler has never really been on board. The New Year's goal train has been almost entirely in my camp. Each year, it seems harder for the train to make its journey and this year, due to irreparable damage, it couldn't even leave the station.

Tyler had a better idea though. He said we should look back at the last year and find some accomplishments we had or made. We could still celebrate our efforts and successes. Which makes sense, since many of the things I feel good about aren't on my goal list in the first place. Some are picked up mid-year, or even at the very end.

My mindset is quickly shifting in that direction, especially since I believe I have a whole bunch of FAILS for last year. Let's take a quick look.

Here were my intentions:

Mom:

Stock Something Emergency Preparedness each month - FAIL. I think I stocked a couple items, but I was never quite sure what to put in there. Luckily, Tyler and I made a list this last month and I will be adding some items onto my shopping, so there is still hope for this one.

Voice-record receipts to track spenditures - PASS/FAIL. Like many things, I started off very well with this one. In fact, I did it most of the year. Somewhere around Thanksgiving, it completely left my mind to voice record information. That was very unhelpful since I usually buy quite a bit around the holidays. (Sorry Tyler.) I am trying to record again. It is still useful in the long run.

Finish spider crosstitch – On Sunday afternoons - FAIL. BUT, the reason I didn't finish it, was because I was working on a different piece of stitching. I'm not sure if any of you remember that I did three pieces for a friend's kids. Well, when she had a fourth child, she wanted another one. The only problem was that there were only three patterns in the book. But, serendipitously, I found the perfect pattern online and finished the project. (Her little girl is only seven. Hee hee.)


Read 50% of the Ensign each month - FAIL. I read the Ensign for the first month or so, but never was consistent. However, I have been very good about rereading all the conference addresses, and I like those more anyway.

Don't touch the phone while driving - TOTAL FAIL. Hmmm, how do I put this without getting into trouble? So...I watched this commercial about texting and driving and I vowed I would never text again in the car. I even told the kids that if they caught me texting, I would owe $25 to them. (That will be the same rule when they are driving. I DO NOT want them touching their phones.) 

That said, I still touch my phone often. I turn on music, I turn off alarms, I answer the phone. I even voice text to Tyler sometimes...when the kids are not present. 

Ironically, I went looking for the commercial and couldn't find it. But there is plenty out there to remind me that it isn't worth it. I should not touch my phone at all if possible. I do sometimes pull over if I really need to send a text, but I am not as good about that as I should be. I sure don't want to be a statistic, so this is an endeavor that I will continue to work on. 

Bleh...now that I am on that sour note, I'm not really in the mood to sing my praises of last year. Just know that I did okay. I'm happy with my accomplishments, one of which is continuing to blog another year. 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Freeze Motion

Haha. So this week, my photo didn't turn out quite as I expected. But I learned something and that is what this is all about, right? (Oh, and to actually pick up my camera more often.)

Freeze motion is a cool idea and you can get some amazing shots, like this one.


Or I love how you can see all the particles of water in the air in this one.


Knowing the theme, I had a great idea. I was going to get a picture of a balloon popping.

FAIL.

It is really hard. Balloons pop very rapidly. They are gone in a instant. Tyler recommended taking a video and then trying to take a still shot from the footage. I told him that was missing the point of using the camera in the first place. But for future reference, if you need a picture of a balloon popping, try using video.

Most of my pictures are more of the now-you-see-it-now-you-don't variety. In a couple, you can see part of the balloon pieces, but more often than not, it just disappears. Take a look for yourself.











So...not so much on the balloon popping. I took a famous levitating shot. See how Daisy doth float above the floor.


I also thought about taking a picture of the snow falling since we have had so much recently. (Spoiler: It is snowing as I write this as well.) I only snapped one picture outside because it was cold. (Duh.)


I tried a spray bottle, but it is really hard to use the spray bottle and also get far enough away to take a picture.


I finally settled on a water shot. They always seem to do the trick.


 I figured that with more time and motivation, I could have gotten a better shot of something, but I'm okay with what I have. And like I said, I picked up the camera when it would have just been sitting there.

Next up, B&W BARRIER. That is open to a lot of interpretation. We'll see what I come up with.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Colored Envelopes, Treats, Sombreros, and Murder

In other words...birthday fun!

I usually like to do a separate post for my and Tyler's birthdays, but today I'm just lumping everything together and calling it good.

In the beginning, I was very adamant about celebrating separately, but the older I get, I see how foolish that is. Why make two cakes, when you can make one? (Or in our case...just one batch of brownies.)

I had a delightful birthday. I went to lunch with some of my wonderful friends. I happened to choose a Mexican restaurant, so I ended up with a Sombrero on my head, but that didn't even spoil the day. (You and me, Tim.)


In the evening, we had big plans. We went to a Murder Mystery dinner. There is a little back story to this. When Tyler and I planned our monthly dates for the year, we decided to do a Murder Mystery. I suggested around my birthday. He agreed and I didn't think much more about it. Then in December, a good friend said she was planning a Murder Mystery evening. She said she was thinking about New Year's or mid-January. I immediately voted for January. It would incorporate our date and our birthdays and I wouldn't even have to host. Pretty sweet.

Our characters were the lord and lady of the household. We got all dolled up for the big occasion.


I even tried my hair in an old-fashioned pin-curled style. Trust me...it looks nothing like it is supposed to, but it worked for the evening.


The evening was so fun. The food was great, contributed by all. (We brought a ton of shrimp...yum!) I met a lot of new people and enjoyed everyone's company. We played the game through most of the event and there were prizes awarded at the end. I managed to snag an award for being one of the best to stay in character. But I did not get any awards for keeping secrets. By the end of the evening, everyone knew of my torrid fling with the bad guy right before I got married and the confusion about whether my daughter was really my husband's child. (Spoiler: She WAS my husband's child, thank goodness for that.) I'm sure it brought scandal on the household, but I am all for honesty and I was tired of being blackmailed by the scoundrel. So much for secret keeping.

I also did not accomplish my goals (in the game), since one of them was to keep the good doctor out of trouble and he turned out to be the murderer. (Oops.) At the end, there was a vote for who everyone thought was the murderer and I got the most votes. (Although the doctor got the second highest number of votes.) Hannah's parents were at the party as well, which made it very fun. They are to the right of us in this picture. (Your right, not my right.) (Oh, and Mr. Keen was the good bad doctor.)


I couldn't have asked for a better 'birthday' party. I'm thinking that we might do this again next year.

The kids watched themselves and we came home to a clean house and treats. Look at this cute sign.


But my favorite part was that later, on my camera, I found a little photo shoot of the treats...just like I do. Here they are close up.


And then the best part...eating them.




Birthdays mean colored envelopes. I think a colored envelope is about the best thing that can come in the mail. I opened the mailbox to find three one day and it was exhilarating. Sadly, one of them was from Geico. Granted, it was a birthday card of sorts, but I don't think that counts. Don't spoil it Geico. Colored envelopes are special.


You already know that we played some Laser Tag around Tyler's birthday. I don't know what to say. I don't mean to win. It just comes naturally. (That sounds more conceited than I mean it sound.) He forgot to post a picture, so I'll put it here. (And yes, I am holding up one finger because I came in first...that is purposeful conceit.)


We opened gifts as they came. The card from my mom was a little too generous, but happily received. (Seriously, thank you mom.) Tyler helped the kids burn their names into a cutting board for me. It will be well used.


Tyler received clippers. (Which we promptly used to mow his mane.) The girls gave us a dozen love notes with pictures and candies. They are the sweetest. You don't need much when you already have fantastic kiddos.


I did manage to make some brownie bites in lieu of a cake and we blew out our candles together. Ahhh.


It was a great birthday for both of us. Another year under the belt with the love handles to prove it. Some say we are older, but I like to say we are more experienced. Either way, we felt the love from so many people who made our days special. Thanks!