Friday, May 30, 2008

A Piece of Heaven

We got an interesting phone call last Saturday morning.

Scarlet: Hey, do you guys have a swing set?

Me: No.

Scarlet: Do you want ours?

Me: (a little stunned) Sure.

And just like that...we own a swing set.

Scarlet and her family have been looking at a new one for their kids, so they thought they would find a family to which they could pass on their old one. I am so happy that they thought of us. We have been thinking for a while that we needed to get a swing set for the girls, but I can't tell you how thrilled I am to get one for free. I don't know if that was part of the motivation for Tyler to finish the patio (when he realized we didn't have to spend money on a swing set), but whatever the reasons, I am loving my backyard now.
We have the swing set, the finished patio, a garden in the corner and a family to fill the space. It is a little piece of heaven on earth. Last night we grilled hot dogs and ate outside. It was so pleasant (besides my constant allergies). Sometimes I don't have to look very far to see all my blessings.
Thanks again Bushman family. You have no idea what this means to us.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Labor of Calculated Clay

They say a picture is worth a thousand words (maybe not my words) so this post is mainly pictures so that I can remember the details of this project.
Tyler and I have been planning to put in a patio for years now. At one point, we even hired some guy to pour a cement pad. He came and placed the outlying boards but on the day he was going to pour the cement, he upped his price by two hundred dollars. He claimed that he NEVER would have quoted us the original price that he did. So, we just didn't pour the cement. And so grass and weeds grew there, and we put down some weed cover and some pallets to keep things from getting totally out of hand. It was ugly my friends, very ugly. In fact, I think we avoided taking pictures of the area because it was unsightly. The only BEFORE pictures we could find were all Easter shots, oddly enough. So here is a flavor of the patio for the last few years.

Then here is the patio today.

Not bad, huh? Am I kidding? I am thrilled with it!!! I can't believe that Tyler did all this work himself. He came home Saturday afternoon from shooting with the Elders Quorum and he must have been feeling manly, because he took one look at the patio and then went at it. I hadn't even asked him (well, at least not recently).

First, he dug up a LOT of dirt and placed the retaining wall.

Next he poured in the gravel for the bottom layer (this picture was taken the next day, but it shows the gravel nicely).

So yes, the next day was Sunday and he pouted all day looking at the patio and wanting to work on it. I was very proud that he left that day to resting. Bright and early Monday morning (in the rain) he started the project again, but not before he bought himself a nice power tool— DeWalt Heavy-Duty XRP™ 18V Cordless Circular Saw (see Home Depot for Specs).

Apparently, you can't do any home-improvement project without buying some new tool to add to the arsenal. I don't mind this one bit, because I would buy them for him; however, I have no idea what to get. So whenever he buys one, I tell myself that I would have gotten him exactly the same thing, had I the opportunity.

This is quite impressive to me...he's so level headed.

Next he added sand...

Then he lay some brick and decided maybe he wanted a little more sand, so he took it all out and headed back to Lowe's. I'm really glad that Lowe's isn't too far away (he made several trips--it's exactly 2.4 miles according to him).

And once again, finished product!!

I had to do Satin Hands on him in the evening so he could feel his skin again. It was so covered in sand and brick dust. I am amazed and proud. When I walk on the patio all I can think is that MY man built it for me with his bare hands! Is there a luckier woman in the world? Oh, and now the grill has a home in the backyard again, so all you people that come to my front door wondering why we barbeque every night can stop wondering. No, no, that was just our home for the grill until we could find a good place for it. I am a little jealous actually. If I weren't eight months pregnant and allergic to the outdoors, I might make a home for myself on the patio too.

Monday, May 26, 2008

A Frog Says Ribte?

I should not be mean, but I might be anyway, so if you still consider me to have no vicious bones in my body, please stop reading now so you can maintain the illusion.

We took the girls over to the Vineyard Carnival that the school puts on. They did a really good job getting it organized and I was impressed with how many people turned out for the event. It was perfect for our girls. We bought them each two dollars in tickets and once those were gone, we called it a night. They used their tickets for fun, silly stuff like the fish pond and balloons. We bought popcorn and cotton candy and enjoyed getting all sticky. They even had face painting (which many of you know, I adore). Naturally I got all the girls in line and it was only two tickets.

Ivory was up first. I was a little surprised to see that they were using craft paint (which isn't the best for face painting) but I guess you work with what you can get. But then, as this girl began to paint Ive's face, I wondered where they found her? It must have been all volunteer, but people, don't volunteer if you can't paint basic shapes. Some of the other face painters had stencils to help, and others had natural artistic ability. The girl we sat down with apparently had neither. I almost asked if I could do the painting myself. I had to remind myself that the girls aren't going to care, and they would only notice if their mom raised a fuss. So I sat there and cringed as this girl tried to paint hearts (I've seen June draw better hearts!). I should not be so cruel...after all, this girl was volunteering her time and she could probably have been off playing with her friends (although I secretly wished she had chosen that option). I think it is the perfectionist in me. Ivory got a passable flower on her cheek, and June ended up with two blurry hearts. And then my lovely little Robyn requested something unique. I didn't hear the request, so I was watching with wonder as the girl starting painting this strange thing on Robyn's face. I didn't want to be rude (and I had held my tongue until now) but I finally asked, "What is that?"

"It's a frog." She said. "I've never painted a frog before." (or hearts apparently, I thought). At this point I am trying to morph my emotions from annoyed to amused as I watched her paint a brown streak on Robyn's cheek that was supposed to be the frog's tongue. Then to put icing on the cake, she looks at her handy work and decides to herself that people may not be able to tell it's a frog, so she says, "I'll just write ribbit on the side." And then in green paint, she writes "Ribte."

I wonder if anyone has actually died of laughter…

So her talents do not lie in art or spelling. I hope she is good at math or history. At the very least she was a very pretty girl who is probably much nicer than I am (although that wouldn't take much now would it?).
Anyway, I know you have been waiting anxiously for the pictures. They probably aren't even as bad as I made them seem and like I said, the girls didn't even notice. In fact when I was talking to Tyler about Ivory's 'funny' flower, June said, "I like her flower." This is a good sign. Hopefully June will turn out kinder than her mother as well...

This is your frog...This is your frog on drugs...Seriously a frog?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

I Just Called To Say...I Love You??

Actually, I don't think that was exactly why I called. It was much more selfish than that, unfortunately.
DISCLAIMER: I should preface this post with the fact that I am not civil in the wee hours of the morning. If I stay up late, that is fine. But if you wake me up (and I don't want to be awake), I am less than cheery. I try to remain composed because usually when you are awakened in the middle of the night, it is for things like sick children and hungry babies—and they deserve more than a cranky mom. So I will get up, but if there is any way out of it, I am all about taking the coward's way out. For the record, I do get up and feed the baby; but beyond that, I wake Tyler up and let him take over if said child does not return to slumber rapidly. So what I am trying to say here, is that I am selfish and a half when it comes to sleeping.
So the other evening, Tyler went back to work and said that he would probably be late (meaning he would try to be home before breakfast the next morning). I am used to this, so I read a book and eventually drifted off; only to be awakened at 1:50 am to June. She came in and told me that she had thrown up. She didn't look very sick, and I really did not want to get out of bed. This is where I would normally roll over and tell Tyler that he should get up and help June, but he was vacant from the premises. And now we come to the really embarrassing part. Instead of getting up and helping June, I told her to crawl into bed with me, and then I called Tyler. Yep, I knew he was awake, so I called and told him to come home and see if June had really thrown up. How lazy is that?? (I hadn't even sat up at this point). But amazingly, he didn't even argue, he just said, "You're knight will be home soon."
I hung up the phone, relieved that I didn't have to stir and then Ivory started crying. Dang it. I guess you can only postpone the inevitable for so long. I figured it would be irresponsible to let her cry until Tyler got home, so I hoisted myself out of bed and went to check on her. June was already asleep so I left her in bed and willed myself to be patient as I went to check on the little one.
It was probably just a bad dream because I rubbed her back for a few minutes and she drifted back to sleep. I was already asleep myself by the time Tyler got home, so I didn't hear the puking verdict until the next morning. And the results are in...yes, she had thrown up. Actually, it was enough that Tyler took her sheets outside to hose them off (yuck), and yes I am the laziest person you know right now. It is definitely a good thing that I married such an understanding, kind man.
Normally I’m a reasonable, unselfish person during the day, so feel free to call if you need something, but after 10 pm, don’t call me…I’ll call you.

Saturday, May 24, 2008


It's a miracle...Not that June graduated, but that we actually remembered the camera this time.
The teachers and kids did such a good job putting the program together. They sang just a few songs and each child talked about something they did during the school year.

And then everyone walked across the stage in their cute caps and gowns and received a diploma of sorts. The best part of the whole thing was a personalized scrapbook that each child received from their 'buddy.' In a normal program, I can see trying to make 20 or so scrapbooks a daunting task for one or two teachers, but in this program, since each child had a specific person assigned to them, it was much more doable.

Miss Henrietta was a really good match for June.

She is from Germany and is returning next month, but I am so glad that she could come and spend the school season here. I had some trouble understanding her accent at first, but June never seemed to mind. In fact, the first time she talked with Henrietta, June said, "I like your voice."
She made some good friends at school, which I was happy to see.

Taylen (such a sweetie) she knew already and we carpooled with her mom, but I was excited to see her become good friends with people she didn't know to begin with. June has always been a very friendly child. When we go on walks or to the park, she always tells me about the new friends she has made (sometimes with children she barely talks to more than a minute). Here is a picture of Hallie and June.

They became quite close at the end and every time I let June out of the car I would see her take Hallie's hand to walk inside. It was just so cute.
And finally, we got a shot of June with Miss Johnson.

Although she looks like another high school student, she is the lady in charge of the program. She is so nice and extremely kind to the children. If you have ever seen or read Matilda, she reminds me of Miss Honey.
Overall, I was so pleased with the experience June had this year in pre-school, and I look forward to Robyn attending next year. Robyn looks like she is ready for next year too.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Life in Fast Forward

I'm a bit behind on blogging so I will do some catching up here. Please forgive the short random headings, but this is for posterity, not for you. Whatever, I totally write for you (and your comments), but posterity might enjoy this later as well.

Third Time's the Charm

For the record I saw my third snake in the backyard today. Tyler wasn't around to catch it, which is just as well, because snake number two was a handful. They are all just garter snakes, but that last encounter actually involved striking (you know where the snake coils and then springs--you could see the little jaws open and strike Tyler's tennis shoe. I felt like I was watching a mini cobra). So the one today I just watched from a distance and told Ivory not to touch it (don't worry, she has no interest in rassling with a snake...she doesn't even like it when bugs land on the outside of her window; that is how girly she is). I do hope to see less snakes because I'm beginning to suspect a nest somewhere close by.

Please Serve Me...Some Food

We had our annual service auction in the ward and it was really a lot of fun. Since I just barely posted about finishing those crosstitched baby announcements, I did NOT offer that service again. Instead I thought of what I would like to have, and somehow chocolate covered strawberries popped into my head. So, there you go.

The girls and I had a lot of fun making them, and I bought extra of course so I could come home to a treat. Not that I really needed more food. Apparently I must have been hungry at the auction (although I ate before I went) because somehow I came home with four services that I purchased (with fake money mind you), and three of them were food: Homemade Pie, a batch of cookies, and a chocolate cake (all to be delivered at a later time...thank goodness). I did manage to get some free babysitting as well, which is good because I'm going to need someone to watch my kids so I can go to the gym.

Anatomically Accurate?

This just makes me laugh, so I had to post it. The girls were playing downstairs (very nicely I might add) and I came passing through. June was taking care of Robyn, who was playing the part of the horse. June had her caged in the corner (her corral, I guess) and was giving her instructions. Robyn came out to show off her horse attire. June patiently explained what everything was: Horses don't have skin (like we do) so she had covered Robyn's arms and legs with socks. She had a collar, much like a dog, but I can see how it might double as a bridle. But then my favorite was Robyn's pants stuffed with socks, because, as June says, horses have really big bottoms. I laughed all the way to the camera.

Knight in Shining Slime

Some of you may not know what a true hero looks like or the feats he can accomplish, but I can verify that I am married to one. Just this evening, some small piece of metal fell into the garbage disposal. I know from experience what happens if you leave a spoon in there and turn the disposal on, so I wasn't going to risk leaving the metal in there, but I surely didn't want to reach in and get it. I mentioned my predicament to Tyler and without even a blink, he went fishing for the object. I had been in the midst of cleaning the sink, so I won't go into details about what he stuck his hand into. It wasn't even my hand and just watching made me gag a bit. It turns out that the bottom side of the disposal does not stay as clean as the top and at one point his hand emerged with black slime on it (I almost left at that point). In the end, he was victorious (as all heroes are) and he just moved up several notches on my totem pole of marvelous.

Blanket Adventures

The weather has been phenomenal and almost too hot (yep, and it's only May. I keep reminding myself that I was complaining about snow two weeks ago). So, we have taken the opportunity to spend some time outdoors together, as I hope you are doing as well. A few nights ago we pulled out a blanket at bedtime and just read together on the lawn. Just good 'ole family bonding. Tyler took several pictures of me with the girls and I am putting one in against my better judgment.

But the best shot was of him reading to the little ladies.

Let's face it, I just take better pictures...or maybe he is just more photogenic?? Hmmmm, we'll stick with the first one because it makes me feel better.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


It seems that I am always putting her hair up right after a bath, so I don't even notice how long it is getting. Then Tyler let it dry the other night and took some pictures and it turns out I have a little mophead.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Heavenly Vacation

Wow, I really had an amazing weekend. The absolute best part was meeting family that I didn't really know. My mom has some cousins who live in San Diego, so since we were down there for the conference, they let us stay with them. They were so fun. They are sisters, Ginger and Carol. Carol actually lives in Nevada but she was visiting and it was so great to see them both. They have been sending little cards and gifts to our family for years and I never really knew who they were. It was very nice to put a face with a name and I couldn't ask for better hospitality. Not only did Ginger give up her nice bed to this pregnant lady, but she cooked for me all weekend. I could not ask for a better gift. I like to eat, but it always tastes better when someone else cooks. And Ginger is an awesome cook. We had steak, pork chops, delicious steamed veggies, fruit of all sorts for breakfast and I was in heaven the whole time. Here is a picture of the four of us (Left to right: me, Carol, Mom, Ginger).

Time Out for Women was a lovely event as well, and I do recommend it to anyone who has the chance to attend. The speakers were very good and I left inspired to have joy and remember how important my job as a mother truly is. I have never heard much of Kenneth Cope's music, but he has an excellent voice and I was touched by the fact that he has three girls just like me. One of my favorite things he said was, "If our Father in Heaven loves us as much as I love my three little girls, He must be crazy in love with me." I thought it was such a funny way to say that our Heavenly Father has love beyond bounds for us. My mother and I spent the day together and she even bought me one of those cool family copies of the Book of Mormon (the ones with all the extra pictures and definitions).

I really have the best mom and I think she made my Mother's Day more special than I could make it for her. Speaking of which, I got plenty of comments (you just can't hide the fact that you are a mother when you are almost 8 months pregnant).

Other highlights include Ginger springing for some tickets to a Padres Game. The stadium was fabulous and we sat in a section that brought the food to you (so you don't have to miss a moment of the game) and trust me, I enjoyed every moment. The Padres did great with a couple home runs and some great plays. Ginger was thrilled since they hadn't won in a while and the score ended 6-1. I really enjoy the ballpark experience, but I don't get to go often, so it was a real treat. Here are some pictures of us.

We got to spend a lot of time at Ginger's just talking and enjoying the company. Mom brought along a play she has written called Thanksgiving with the Dargan's and we had a great time reading the parts and laughing a lot. My mother is very talented when it comes to writing and I hadn't heard this particular play before, so I got a real kick out of it. Especially since most of the funny moments are true stories from our close and extended family.

Eventually I had to leave and get back to my girls (who I was missing greatly), but as you know Tyler was dutifully posting and I felt all the love from home (could I be a luckier woman?).
Here are some last thoughts about San Diego. They have the skinniest parking spaces. Hats off to my mom who always seemed to squeeze into one--I am sure glad I wasn't driving. And I went to a store called Bristol Farms that blew my socks off. As Ginger put it, it is the Stepford of grocery stores. This place had everything, from fresh flowers, to mountains of perfect looking produce. The meat counter itself was so extravagant and filled with variety that I took a picture.

They must have had every cut of meat you could think of and more besides. And then the kicker. At the end, past the tank of live lobster, was OCTOPUS SALAD!!

Yuck! But the fact that they sell it must mean somebody buys it. Wow.

Anyway, I hope you all had a satisfactory weekend. I know I was spoiled beyond compare. Thanks again Ginger and Carol. I can't tell you enough how happy I am to know you ladies finally! It was a great trip. There is no doubt I will visit again some time.

Sunday, May 11, 2008


(Posted by Raging Stallion)

Happy Mother’s Day!

We wanted to record how much we love Mommy. Today especially we get to celebrate how much she means to us. So, we got together as a family, and we came up with at least some of the reasons why Mommy is so important to us:

  • June: I love Mommy because she takes care of us and loves us too.
  • Robyn: I love Mommy because she gives me hugs and kisses, and I’m her friend, and I love Mommy so much.
  • Ivory: I know. Loves me. I love Mommy.
  • Dad: I love Mommy because she takes care of me (and my beautiful kids) very, very, very well (and we miss her very, very, very much when she’s not here).

Then we came up with just general reasons why Mommy rules:

  • She helps us
  • She cleans
  • She cooks
  • She’s hot (Dad wrote this one)
  • She sings songs
  • She goes on bike rides
  • She disciplines much nicer than Dad
  • She reads with us
  • She watches movies with us
  • She gets us snacks
  • She gets us lunch
  • She reads scriptures with us
  • She gives us hugs and kisses
  • She helps us learn songs
  • She had us (the kids)
  • She has a new baby coming
  • She talks on the phone and multitasks rather well
  • She made a nice calendar for me (Dad)
  • She reads stories when it’s bedtime (when it’s not too late)
  • She has a picture with Dad
  • She does dishes
  • She changes diapers
  • She adjusts the sofa slip cover, even though she hates it
  • She gave us sisters (the kids)
  • She’s beautiful
  • She does our hair
  • She plays with us
  • She loves me
  • She listens to my songs (the kids and Dad)
  • She thinks I’m some kind of musician (Dad)
  • She loves Dad (the kids said this one)
  • She teaches us to be like Jesus
  • She taught us to color, and that’s one of our favorite things to do
  • She keeps a blog very well
  • She says prayers with us at night
  • She brushes our teeth (the kids)
  • She does makeup with us (the kids—seriously not Dad)
  • She paints our nails (again the kids)
  • She cleans our ears
  • She plucks my eyebrows (I’m not going to tell who said this one)
  • She plucks my nose hairs (uuumm, the kids said this one…)
  • She plays the piano
  • She has a testimony of Jesus among other things
  • She’s given me three and a half beautiful duplicates of her
  • She makes fairies with us
  • She watches He-Man and She-Ra with us
  • She likes my surprises
  • She has nice teeth
  • She kisses our owies better
  • She has long days sometimes but she doesn’t show it
  • She makes shapes for me when I’m at the dentist (Robyn claimed this one)
  • She types all funny (guess)
  • She makes good dinners for us
  • She makes dessert for us and lets us eat it even when we didn’t finish all our food
  • She drives us around to all the places we need to go
  • She shops for us, and usually manages to hit her budget
  • She has a lap that makes everything better when we sit on it
  • She can play softball, even when she’s pregnant
  • She loves animals except those darn voles
  • She got married with Dad (the kids said this one)
  • 2:38
  • She plays soccer with Dad (Robyn said this one)
  • She lets me feel like a genius because I can program the VCR
  • She buys new clothes for us
  • She makes surprises for us
  • She takes us to parks and makes lunch for us when we go
  • She likes Moses, and she doesn’t like Ramsies
  • She plays Frisbee
  • She sets up the gnome game for me and my sisters (June said this one)
  • She tickles us
  • She plays music for me on the piano and on the computer
  • She washes our clothes and dries them and folds them and puts them in our drawers
  • She has blue eyes
  • She knows who Garrison Keillor is
  • She loves Foot
  • She loves Baby
  • She knows lots of movies

These are some of the reasons why we love you Mommy (and some of the reasons we hate it when you’re gone—please come back soon!). Have a happy Mother’s Day, Mom. We love you very much.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Alright, She's Out of Town, but I'm Holding Down the Fort!

(Posted by Raging Stallion)

Maleen has left town. She's in San Deigo, or so she tells me. She and her mother flew down for "Time Out for Women." For those of you who don't know what that is, it's a women's conference of sorts presented by prominent LDS women. There are conference talks, music, inspirational poems, etc. Anyhow, we dropped her at the airport last night and off we went for home. For the first ten miles Ivory kept piping up, "Where's Mommy?" I kept telling her that Mommy would be home in a few days—she's going to be on an airplane. She would then point out the window at an airplane overhead and say, "Hi, Mommy." Even the Raging Stallion cries.

Once we made it home, it was well after their bedtime, so they went directly to bed, leaving me to wait an agonizing three and a half hours for the telephone call confirming safe touch down. After that, I crashed.

The next thing I remember as daylight came burning in on me the next morning was a shrill, "Daddy! I'm ready out Daddy." (No that's not a typo.) Ivory had awakened and wanted out of her barred nocturnal prison. I had no choice: I got up, hefted her from the crib, snuggled her down into my own bed and waited to see if she'd snuggle or want to get breakfast. Turns out she wanted breakfast—at 8:00 on a Saturday morning! The nerve. I tried to keep in mind that Maleen does this for the girls everyday. Patience, Tyler.

I was off to a long day as I looked at it. I had PPIs (Personal Priesthood Interviews) from 10:00 until 1:00 this afternoon. After that, the thing a solo Dad hates to ponder: nothing for the kids to do for an entire afternoon. (...and...cue the creepy music and sound effects.)

Happily my PPIs didn't go until 1:00. I picked up the kids about 12:30—well timed as my babysitter had already fed them lunch (Thanks Adams!). As I drove them home, I pondered what on earth there was to do with three little girls. Stop laughing all you parents out there. You know what I'm talking about. You've done it too!

Ivory's nap could safely take me to the 2:00 hour, but what then? I put her down and waited. Maybe I'd take them to Bridal Veil Falls, that'd be fun. Maybe Y Mountain—the hike would certainly keep them busy, and might tucker them out pretty well for a long sleep. Take them to Temple Square? Hoping they would enjoy the thing they did during the afternoon hours, I pitched the three options to June and Robyn. "The Y!" they said. They had no idea what "The Y" was, but so be it.

Upon Ivory regaining consciousness, we loaded the minivan with all necessary provision, and launched for Provo. If you've ever climbed "Y Mountain," you know it's about a 30 minute hike for a 20 something with nothing to do between finals. I slathered the children in sun screen to protect them from the fair-skin curse of burning into a welted lobster in 2 hours of UV exposure, and we started up the trail.

I should have paid more attention in my Greek history class. Well, had I attended one, I should have paid more attention, for we were no more than two steps upon the trail when an omen fell upon us. This particular omen was shaped pretty much like an overweight 35-year-old sprinting down the jagged, rocky trail with his underweight 5-year-old in tow. We stopped; waiting; staring at this rather noir omen. The parents in the audience know what happened next—you all do. The giggling, laughing child had legs slower than her head. I paid enough attention in my physics classes to understand that if the cranial lobes are traveling 1 mph faster than the pedal phalanges, eventually you get road rash on the cranial lobes. Down she crashed, taking in a bite of the new ultra-abrasive lava-rock coarse sand some landscaping graduate student thought would add to the overall flavor of the trail. And add to the flavor it did. Child screaming, dad shaking his head, blood oozing, parents everywhere grabbing their childrens' hands so as to prevent such a cranial collision, there we stood not five feet from this disaster.

As I said earlier, had I received the opportunity to pay attention in somebody's Greek history class, I would have turned around, having recognized the ominous omen. Like an oblivious fool, however, I carried on.

The first fifty feet of the trail were great. No injuries, plenty of laughing and smiling, the whole I-got-out-and-showed-my-kids-a-good-time-in-nature motif was definitely in play. After fifty feet, Ivory was tired. I heaved her up on my shoulders and soldiered on. Two hundred feet later, Robyn was tired. Full of youthful vitality (or at least the imagination thereof), I threw Robyn on my shoulders and carried Ivory in my arms. As I panted and wheezed around the first switchback (there are 14 before the bottom of the "Y"), I wondered if I had made the right choice.

In order to save you the agonizing trip up and down the mountain, I'll shorten it to this: I carried Ivory 95% to the top. She walked the last 5%. I carried Robyn 75% to the top. She walked the last 25%. I carried June 25% to the top. She walked up 75% entirely by herself. I was proud of her. If you do the math you'll discover that I was indeed carrying two children most the way up the hill. College students would pass me and snicker, eyebrows raised. They would of course muffle their comments out of polite courtesy (if you can call it that). Nevertheless, we crested the hill at about 4:00—not quite the spry 20-something-college-student time, but oh well.

June, as is her custom, made friends with everyone on the hill. Ivory worked the crowd, conning everyone with ANY food out of their trailmix, gummy bears, pretzels, and crackers. We spent about 30 minutes at the top, the returned down the trail.

Now that part about the omen returns...

Blissfully, I cantered down the trail not a care in the world, until Robyn caught a rock (much the same way the accelerated cranial 5-year old in the opening did). There was a stellar attempt to keep herself upright, which utterly failed as she finally slid down trail in the exact same posture as a child on a water slide at 7 Peaks—smiling exactly the same way a child at the waterpark doesn't.

Now before we get carried away here, we're only talking about maybe 12 inches of road rash on her leg. (Right now I know you're looking at your leg pondering what 12 inches of hamburger might look like). The only redeeming thing is that apparently Robyn felt inclined to kiss the softest rocks on Y Mountain. Sure, she's got some scrapes, but it's not nearly as bad as you might think. She'll certainly live.

We found our way to one of those benches they put on the trail for people who've bitten off more than they can chew. The wound was cleansed, kisses administered, and snot mopped up. It struck me this might be a good time to call 5 Buck Pizza and have them bake me a pizza. So I did. Within 30 minutes we were down the mountain (Robyn on my shoulders, Ivory in my arms, and June in tow), in the vehicle, and on our way to a well-deserved pizza dinner. To top it off, we stopped at Dad's work to get some 25-cent sodas.

You can't go on a hike and not get a bath afterward, well not if you're my kid at least. So, I bathed them and put their droopy eyes in bed. Every one of them was asleep in 5 minutes.

And so ends day one of my wife's sojourn in the California wilderness. Seriously? This was one day? Oh boy.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

I'm leaving for the weekend to go to Time Out For Women with my mother. I didn't originally realize I was leaving Mother's Day weekend, and I feel a little bad that I won't be with my girls. On the other hand, I get to spend some quality time with my mother and I get to go to San Diego (kind of a last trip before I hunker down and wait for my baby to get here). I thought I would leave a thought for all you mothers out there before I leave (and change the picture so you didn't have to look at rodents over this happy weekend).
Mothers I know--I think you are all terrific! You work hard and none of us are perfect but I am constantly inspired by you. Just the fact that you continue on despite regular trials and imperfections makes me realize that I can do the same (trust me, I have plenty of imperfections to work on). So, take a moment this weekend and give yourself a pat on the back. And all you women who are not mothers, give yourself a pat on the back too. This should really be a day to celebrate all women because each has something special to offer.
So, eat some chocolate (not you Sarah) or some fruit. Read a good book, take a bubble bath, whatever you enjoy. And remember your blessings. Here are three things I am very thankful for. I took these around Easter time and forgot to post them.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

My Yard...Teeming with Wildlife

Last year we had quite a problem with voles. No, they are not mice, and not moles...just something in between. They look a lot like mice, but they are diggers. They carved little trails through our yard and came up all over the place. Tyler spent a lot of time thinking of ways to exterminate the unwanted guests. At one point, he caught five babies and we put them in a jar (here is a picture from last year).

He worked hard to get rid of them, so as the season has warmed up, he has been watching for early signs of our unwelcome residents. Tyler filled in all the holes and watched for new ones to be dug. He placed rat poison in all the usual spots and waited. It looked like most of the little pests were gone. There are a few that continue to camp out under the AC unit, but the worst of them (back by the garden) seem to be eradicated.
Tyler checks the holes religiously. He comes home from work and pops outside just to make sure that nothing has developed. He took Ivory with him yesterday and I was watching out the kitchen window. "See," he said. "There is a dead mouse right there." (For the sake of argument, we just call them mice, because it is easier to say and the girls have no idea what a vole is). I looked out to see a splotch of brown on the lawn. "Don't let Ivory touch it!" I said.
"Wait, it's not dead!" he exclaims. This I had to see because mice are fast and I couldn't imagine one just sitting there waiting to be discovered. I picked up Ivory on my way there so I knew exactly where she was and I looked at the mouse just sitting there. I was pretty sure it must be poisoned already. Rodents don't just stay still unless they are in a dark space and this was one right out in the open. Tyler said he was going to kill it and I told him I didn't want to watch (especially since he went and picked up a big rock. Yuck!) He could see the distaste on my face and he said, "Should I catch it?" He got a big jar and put it right over the sitting mouse (by this time, I had no doubt the mouse was not feeling well). I decided to wander back into the house and as I was walking across our patio area I heard a rustle at my feet. My first thought was that something was down there, but then I figured I was just being paranoid since I had just seen a mouse. It was probably just the wind. Even as I decided upon this verdict, a snake slithers right out in front of me. "Snake!!" I yell and Tyler comes bounding around the corner. This snake was much more lively than the mouse so we chased him around and invited the kids out to see him. Tyler put on some gloves and caught him so the girls could touch his scales. I think Tyler has lost the boyhood vigor of grabbing a snake without gloves (he has been peed on one too many times). He tossed the snake in a jar too and decided to take the girls to a nearby field to release them. I snapped a picture of his prizes before he took off.

I told him not to release them together because the snake was likely to eat the mouse and then be poisoned as well (talk about a meal that doesn't agree with you). When he returned he told me that the snake was headed in the direction of the mouse when he left. My guess is one less mouse and snake in the world.
But people, that was so weird to find one so quickly after the other. I apparently need to watch my step in the yard.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Soon to be part of the Blue Man Group

First off--thank you to everyone with ideas for my back. I shouldn't complain since things could be worse, but if I didn't complain, Tyler might think there was something seriously wrong with me.

But on to other things. The weather is getting very nice outside, so we are spending more time out of doors. This means more time with the sidewalk chalk. In general, I didn't think I minded sidewalk chalk, but now that I see what June can do with it, I am not as pleased. No, she doesn't draw bad words, or eat the chalk...she just can't keep it off herself. She did a splendid rendition of June on a sunny day. You can see the grass down below and a stick figure resembling June (if you use your imagination). And then there is the sky; her true masterpiece.

She worked on it for ages, and I sat and frowned as she gave me reports, each more blue than the last (her body, not the reports). I was really concerned about getting all the chalk out of her clothes.

In case you were wondering, it came out of the pants just fine, but the shoes still have a blue tint to them.
The next day, she forgot and wore Sunday shoes. She was more careful not to actually roll in her art, but the cement scraped off the nice finish on her pretty black shoes. I wish I could be that fun mom who says, "Whatever, they are just shoes," but instead I was appalled. I obviously need to set some ground rules (ha, ha, that is funny...I am laughing at my own joke).
Anyway, she will probably continue to enjoy her time with the chalk and I will continue to enjoy mine with the washing machine. Wait, did I say enjoy? My mistake.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Pillow Talk

This isn't an incredibly interesting post, but I needed to post something because every time I went to my blog, I saw a spider and it was freaking me out a little.

I don't have hard pregnancies by a long shot. However, they are not a breeze either. I suffered some back problems early on in my marriage and I have never been the same since. And pregnancy only aggravates the problem. By the time I had Ivory, I was worried if my back would ever be the same again after pregnancy. Fortunately, it was. But now my back is acting up again and I still have a good (almost) three months left. I cringe (literally). If only I could eliminate all bending, lifting, sitting on the floor, etc. but with three kids that is quite out of the question and if I am smart, I can usually get by. But each day seems to bring new twinges of pain and my normal back exercises don't help as much since I can't do them properly with the added belly.
So Tyler went looking for solutions to my problem. He came back and told me that I should sleep with a pillow between my legs at night and that should take some pressure off my back. The first night I tried this, it was terrible. I kept waking up and trying to put the pillow back where it should be and if I wanted to turn over, this was a whole complicated process with the added pillow. I woke up more sore than usual. I told Tyler it didn't help much, but he said that ONE night wasn't going to solve all my problems. So I have dutifully been using it each night. I still haven't noticed much of a difference, but I am getting better at rolling over.
So, if any of you know of some wonderful remedy for back problems, I would sure like to hear about it. I may end up using the pillow as a projectile.