Saturday, December 31, 2011


The theme is actually Winter/Summer but I usually like to do whatever season we are in, instead of the opposite, but it sure doesn't feel like Winter around here. Sure it is cold, but this is Utah, and there should be snow. I am not complaining since I don't really love snow, but I found it odd to try to find a picture that reminded me of winter. I really wanted to go down to the lake and take a picture of the frozen water. (It was amazing last Wed.) But by today, there were only a few little pieces of ice floating around.

So, I took a picture of the mountains. They look more like Summer mountains to me. For all you know, this could be the snow melting away in the hot summer days instead of it being practically January.

Photo of the week:

It was really interesting while I took the picture. I was far enough away from the freeway and hustle and bustle that when I got out of my car, there was silence around me. It was so quiet. I could hear every little rustle in the bushes from birds and small creatures. A snap to my left brought my head around to see a deer staring at me, and as the birds flew by I could hear the thrum of their wings beating. It was soooooooo quiet. I'm guessing it seemed quite unnatural to me based on the constant barrage of noise at our house. Five kids ain't exactly peaceful.

And so my photography challenge comes to a close. I will probably not get the last theme, Oldness before the year ends and the only thing I can think to take pictures of is myself (because I have felt really old lately) and that would just be depressing. I am not sure if I want to challenge myself again next year. I have felt very busy lately, and you have probably noticed my decline in blogging and photography. And yet...if I don't challenge myself somehow, it will be all too easy to let it slip aside. Then again, I don't know if anyone even cares about my pictures. Have they been interesting? Have you wondered at all what was coming next? Has it been a detraction from the normal blog fare? Will you feel inclined in your busy new year to comment on this at all? (I promise that wasn't a guilt trip. I know you are all busy and I don't comment as well as I used to either.)

But whatever I decide, I am glad that I took this journey. I do love taking pictures. It is a hobby that I picked up not too long ago. It is good to know that I can still learn things in my old age. There is still plenty out there to delve into. In fact, here comes the new year... a perfect time to think about what you want to do with your life. I have some resolutions in the works. Maybe I will be brave enough to put some of them on here.

I hope your 2011 has been fine, and your 2012 looks bright. This will be the first even year in a long time that I won't have a baby. Sheesh, I should go knock on some wood right now. That's all I need is a good jinx to start off the new year.


Thursday, December 29, 2011


Photos of the week:




Wednesday, December 28, 2011


I think this one speaks for itself.

Photo of the week:

Beyond Reach

You know my displeasure of multiple posts in a single day, but I have a desire to finish up all these photography themes before the new year. It isn't going to happen mind you...but I have the desire.

Photos of the week:

Tyler is very talkative...chatty even. I think this stems from the fact that he likes the sound of his own voice. (I do too. Like his voice, that is.) I am so used to him talking often that I am annoyed when I can't get his attention or solicit a response from him. I have found that there are three things that cause him to become engulfed enough that I consider him beyond reach. They are:

1. Playing the guitar. (This is the first I noticed and I can ask him a question and literally wait minutes for a response. I know minutes doesn't sound like a lot, but you try waiting a minute before answering someone's question and suddenly it seems like an eternity.)

2. Playing the computer. (This really depends on what he is doing. Some games projects are more distracting than others.)

3. Assembling/Disassembling a gun. (I didn't know about this one until tonight. It was like he was in his own little world. I promise that I don't begrudge the man his hobbies, but I am pretty sure I can answer any questions while doing my hobbies. Unless you count running...but that isn't really a hobby and it doesn't count because I am merely out of breath.)

Also I thought I would include this photo as well. The focus actually fell on the wrong object, but I almost like it more for the idea, because he really feels beyond reach now. What do you think?

Christmas...Two Years Running

Last year I decided that I should actually start taking pictures and documenting Christmas. See, it says so right here. This year we sent the kids packing early up to Idaho and then caught up to them for the actual event.

Packing is not my favorite, although I still like it more than UN-packing. But with five girls and a check-list, it takes us about an hour and a half. And we still missed several items. I look forward to the day that I can say, "Girls, go pack," and they come tell me they are done in twenty minutes. Is that overly optimistic?? A girl can dream, right? Here is the gang in full swing.

Then we partied it up for our anniversary and decided that we should probably relieve Grandma before Christmas ensued. I think her actual words were, "Hope you enjoyed your anniversary, because this won't happen again." Grandma, I would encourage you to reconsider.

We left Eddy in good hands. (He was such a good elf this Christmas, and I will miss having him around.)

We arrived just in time. Pearl had almost forgotten who we were. We got reacquainted in the best way possible.

The girls had been busy while we were gone. Look at this masterpiece they assembled in our absence. Don't look too closely, or you might see some missing pieces.

Pearl found a boyfriend while we were gone as well. It was a bit awkward when J.R. and I walked in on her, but she didn't seem too bashful and she went right on kissing him.

I'm not sure where this picture should go, but I tinkered with it and I liked how it turned out. (Tyler says she looks like she's 90. Okay, to each his own. I still like it.)

Christmas eve has always been the night that Grandma and Grandpa distribute gifts to the grandkids. So we rallied the troops and proceeded to swap between all families. It is always great to see the other cousins and such. Somehow, we didn't get great pictures of everyone (most pictures are thanks to Tyler in the first place, because I was slacking as usual) but here are a couple I liked. The Great Kolbé was in good form.

Check out how cute Sir Jack is.

Ivory, however, should get some kind of award. She went through what must be a child's worst nightmare and actually held it together pretty well. For some reason, her gifts were absent. There were a couple from cousins, but there was a mix-up on the packaging so Ivory only got to open one gift, and then there was nothing else for her. She kept coming up to me and telling me there were no presents for her, but I told her to be patient. Turns out, there were no presents for her. Not even a pair of pajamas. Somehow her gifts were MIA.

Here she is still looking for gifts

Grandma made the fastest run to Target you have ever seen. (Ivory didn't even know she was missing) and somehow came up with pretty good last minute gifts. (Ivory was pleased as punch.) I told Grandma that if she finds the missing gifts, I know a little girl whose birthday is right around the corner.

Eventually all the excitement died down and it was time for bed. The girls left goodies out for Santa and we tucked them in. (Jeebes has other duties when he is not attending to Pearl.)

Christmas dawned bright and early. Okay, not really. J.R had to come wake us up at 7:30am, because Pearl was still sleeping. (First time ever.) The girls were allowed to open stockings and Santa gifts before church. I love this picture because Grandma was in charge of jammies and somehow I failed to mention that the girls don't wear the size for their age. (They are all miniature.) Therefore, I will be doing some serious hemming. (After I wash them, of course.)

Ivory seemed to like her new wallet from Santa.

Robyn found money in hers.

Other gifts were distributed, but I think we have just about enough pictures for one post. Also, we didn't get the camera out after church, so there is no documentation of our family gift exchange. Just know that it was fabulous and everyone had presents...even Ivory. Look, here she is coloring right away in her new Gymnastics leotard.

Oops, I said no more pictures. You know I lie sometimes. And just to prove it, here is one more. Daisy is showing just how we all felt after it was all said and done.


Christmas was a blast and I will dedicate a whole post to it shortly, but I have been trying to get these pictures for a while, and today I accomplished my mission.

Photos of the week:

I have been watching the birds a lot lately. Hitchcock would be proud. I orginally wanted to catch them on a wire. (See above) But I also love how they become the leaves for dead winter trees.

And I especially love to see them fly together in seamless harmony. They are like one well-oiled machine doing intricate aerial maneuvers.

Why do they gather on those wires? Are they warm with electrical current running through them?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Anniversary (On the twelfth day)

I waited as long as possible so I didn't over-post on Tyler, but he knows better than to post when I am surely going to post. (That seemed like a lot of posts in one sentence.)

Today was the big day. Twelve years ago we got married on a very foggy morning in Washington. Sometimes it seems like a dream, but when I wake up, he is still there beside me. (And some child is calling for me from the other room.) I am the luckiest girl to have married my best friend. Or perhaps he became my best friend after we were married for a while. (Truthfully, it was kind of a short engagement.) I was also trying to decide if we were alike to begin with, or we are just very alike now from living together. There is probably some argument for both ideas.

And even though we are still different, he completes me. He is that last bite of a great meal; when you feel so satisfied and you know you couldn't eat another bite. You think that perhaps you will never have to eat again because it was such a great meal. Unlike my food, my body can't digest this love. It seeps into everything and I am amazed at how much I care for another person. It is different from being a mother. Sometimes I feel like my love for my children is not a choice; it is dragged out of me. It is innate.

But loving a person who came with their own set of quirks and mysteries is different. Sometimes you have to work at it. Sometimes it comes naturally. Most of the time it is cloud nine. Rarely, it is the pits. But it is a choice. And I chose to love you Tyler, for forever.

Tyler's trait for today is a combination of all the others. He is well-rounded. He does it all. He has it all. He could learn it all, if he wanted. If I went back in time and took that test where you write down attributes you are looking for in a spouse, I bet that Tyler has them all. (Of course, I didn't know back then that I should request a man with less gas. Actually, is there a man like that out there?) Tyler is the kit and caboodle, the real deal, the whole package. He is the cat's meow, or pajamas. (Your pick.) He is pretty snazzy.

Here is our last picture. From earlier this year.

Twelve years baby!! We rock.

So, if any of you were looking for ideas, here are the 12 days of our anniversary.

1. Long bath with salts and candles
2. Photo booth photos
3. Massage (on a real table)
4. Met him for lunch
5. New shirts
6. A freezer full of ice cream (all chocolate varieties)
7. Played racquetball together
8. Candlelit dinner (kids helped)
9. Movie night
10. New wrapping paper (inside joke)
11. Professional Photo shoot
12. Dinner out

I actually don't think any of those ideas where especially fancy, but I was thinking of him for over a week. Well, I think of him all the time, but you know what I mean. I actually put the laundry aside to focus on him. (This was painfully obvious when we had to do 6 loads to catch up today. Um...happy anniversary babe.)

So, let's do this again next year. Not the twelve days thing, but maybe you and I can celebrate again this fabulous union we call marriage. I dig it.

CazierTM Turns 12

For clarity, "CazierTM" does not stand for "Cazier Trademark." It stands, rather matter-of-factly, as "Cazier, Tyler & Maleen." And today is our birthday: we're 12!

4,380 days ago (give or take a few days for leap years), I followed through on the best decision of my life: to marry Maleen. Back then I was handsome, immature, and looking for someone to settle down and spend eternity with. Now, 12 years later, I'm just handsome and immature. Marrying Maleen was a no brainer: she was hot, smart, witty, and also looking to settle down for an eternity of something interesting. Of course, now she's just hot, smart, and witty.

We've had ups and downs, but mostly ups. She keeps helium in my life's balloons, even when the world around me is trying to pop them as fast as they can. Like every couple, we had some getting-to-know you time in the beginning. Somehow or another we managed to get it right—of course I mostly blame Maleen for all the awesome that's happened since 12 years ago, but I had a small part in it as well.

Through computers and fridges, houses and cars, kids and school, Maleen has brought me through it all more-or-less unscarred. She's the reason I can walk through the door with a smile on my face every day, because I know she's there. She's the reason behind that warm feeling I get right before I go to sleep—she's near me. She's the one I can always talk with and figure out my woes with: she's always there. She's the one who has given us five wonderful daughters, who will eventually pamper me for the rest of my life. She's the one who stands by me during those rough decisions that seem like they have no right answer. If it weren't for her, this whole life of mine would have turned out much differently for sure, and there's no way we'd have so many inside jokes.

Thank you Maleen, simply for being the best thing that's ever come into my life.

As of now, when people ask us how long we've been married, I'm rounding up to at least 13. Heck, on a crazy day, I might round up to 20!

And yes, I'm posting freaking early in the morning so you can't post ahead of me...shameless I know (see paragraph two: maturity).

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Photos (On the eleventh day)

I had such great plans planned for today. Tyler and I were going to get our own photo shoot; just the two of us. I was having some guilt since it has been a while since we did family photos, but some times you have to think of your husband first. Especially when all the kids are in Idaho anyway. (Thank you, thank you, thank you Grandma and Grandpa for taking the kids. Best Anniversary gift. Ever.)

BUT, (you felt this coming right) I woke up this morning with pink eye. Yep, that won't look so great documented, so the photo shoot will have to be rescheduled. Blat. However, Tyler and I took some pictures together just the other day. We'll just substitute those for a minute while my eye heals. Candid as always, but pictures without kids. (And that proves we love each other.)

We also have our picture from the eleventh year married. Look, we voted.

Our character trait for the day is...well, I am not sure if there is one word for it. Tyler likes to snuggle and be pampered. Well, who doesn't like to be pampered? And when I say pampered, this doesn't have to mean girly things like pedicures and facials. (Although Tyler likes those too.) Pampering is getting some of whatever you like. Right? For instance, if someone came and secretly cleaned my house, I would feel great amounts of pampering. (This is one of those moments when I wish my children were older and read my blog. Maybe they could take a not-so-subtle hint.)

Anyway, Tyler does enjoy many of the traditional pamperings. He likes his feet rubbed, a hot bath, or a long massage. I think he likes to have someone near him showing love. This means he also likes to cuddle. I have found that I don't love to cuddle. I will cuddle some, but I like my space and the feeling of not having someone breathe on me. So Tyler seeks out a good cuddle companion to snuggle with. Daisy is definitely the best right now. She likes to cuddle almost as much as Tyler. Grab a blanket, turn on a movie, and you are almost guaranteed to find Daisy in your lap. I like to wrap her in my arms and snuggle her right under my chin. (See, I said I like to cuddle sometimes.) Tyler is a great reminder that people need physical contact. Children need to be do adults.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Funnies (On the tenth day)

Wow, only two more days after this. Can you believe we made it this far? (Some may be wondering how we made it twelve years. But through reading these posts, you can clearly see that we two weirdos are made for each other.)

This photo was taken at Thanksgiving Point when we went on this date.

We are not the best about getting out on dates, but we love each other nonetheless. We usually just watch a lot of TV and pretend that when we both happen to be in the same room after the kids are asleep, it almost counts as a date.

Tyler's character trait today may seem boring, but I actually respect him for it. (That is when I am not slapping him for correcting my grammar.) That trait is that he is very literary. He likes words and the usage of words and correct grammar. I like all that stuff too, but somewhere in school they skipped me through some classes, and whereas I can write well; my commas are not always in the right place, and some of my sentences are not grammatically correct. (I'm sure you have noticed.) This trait makes Tyler an excellent editor and I try to make sure he looks over all my stuff before I print or post it.

We enjoy humor such as Anguished English and Eats, Shoots & Leaves. We like finding typos in others' work. (Not to make fun of them, but to merely laugh at how the mistake sounds once made.) For example when we went to an orientation for June's A.L.L. program, Tyler leaned over to me and asked what A.L.L. stands for. I told him it stood for Advanced Learning...something. Throughout the orientation there was a slide show and it finally listed the title on one of the slides. Except that they have left out a letter and it said, Advanced Learing Lab. Tyler and I spent the rest of the night staring intently at one another and then laughing hysterically. (I would like to note that I think we were the only parents who smiled the whole evening. Parents of smart kids can be pretty dull when in an orientation.)

But it is occasions like that...misspelled words, and incorrect punctuation that make us smile. (See, two weirdos. If you didn't believe me before, you must believe me now.)

Finally two funny moments that need to be recorded. Daisy was playing with Dad the other evening and I was in the room, and was lucky enough to hear this exchange:

Daisy: Dad, I want you to be my horsey-horse. (She likes to ride on his back.)

Dad: I'm not being a horse right now. I'm going to be lying down. (He proceeded to lie on his stomach.)

Daisy: Okay, you're a snake.

(Tyler starts hissing and trying to grab her as she walks by.)

Daisy: You can't grab me, snakes don't have hands. They only go 'Ssssssssss'.

She is so fun.

The other funny moment was at the table, and really it was only funny for me. With the help of Robyn, I made a chocolate pie for Dad's special dessert one night. Robyn didn't want Dad to know about the pie until we served it, so she didn't want her sisters talking about it. She asked them all very nicely not to say anything, but there were a few slips. Tyler was very nice and said we weren't going to talk about the unmentionable thing. And then every time someone started to reference dessert, he would tell us not to talk about the unmentionable. He said it so many times, and the pie being chocolate, all I could think of was the terrible, awful in The Help. If you've read it, you know what I mean. And if you haven't, go get yourself a copy today.

The pie was delicious, by the way. And perfectly fine to eat. I had two slices myself.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Crack-Off (On the ninth day)

This picture is great. It was from a past-gone Christmas party and Tyler and I were in good form.

We really don't have much shame. We will try most anything and we are not easily embarrassed. Although there has been a time or two that I wished I had not opened my mouth quite so wide to insert my foot. Like the time Tricia and I went to get pedicures....(cue music as we fade into the past)

Scene opens with Tricia and Maleen sitting in pedicure chairs and wallowing in the joy of husbands watching children while feet are pampered and beautified.

Maleen and Tricia have noticed the large amount of boxes piled throughout the shop. Each has the name of a customer. (You have to go multiple times before you can receive a coveted box with your own supplies.) Technician is quietly working on Maleen's feet while both women peruse the plethora of names. They are fascinated by the variety and they strike up a conversation involving many of the names. (I wish I could remember all the names, but sadly time has stripped the small details. However there are certain parts of the conversation that are painfully clear.)

Maleen: Look, Griselda. Who even has that name anymore?

Tricia: It sounds old-fashioned.

Maleen: It actually always reminds me of a witch's name. You know, Helga, Broomhilda, Griselda.

The two women go on to discuss other names and then the conversation falls quiet for a while. Maleen, always trying to get on a more personal level with the nail technician begins talking with her and realizes after a moment that she has never asked her name.

Maleen: Oh, what is your name?

Nail Technician: Griselda.

(long pause)

Yes, Maleen tried to back pedal a little but really there wasn't any ideal way to return to grace. Maybe Maleen could have mentioned that she, herself, was named after a witch, but she froze in the moment. And really would Griselda have felt better about her name being slandered just because Maleen has witchy origins? Probably not. (music fades back to present day.)

See, I have problems sometimes. And Tyler has had his fair share of embarrassing moments. Lucky for him, my memory is short and that is NOT the character trait for today. Today I chose a trait that is quite the opposite of yesterday. Tyler is strong. You might think strong-willed and you would be right. (He is that.) But I was actually going for physical strength. He has a slim build, but he is surprisingly powerful. He can open jars, and lift children. :) Okay, that may not sound so impressive, but I can't pick June up anymore, so I am thankful for his muscles. He can also move pianos and fridges and that goes beyond my muscle abilities. I'm not silly enough to think he could lift anything, but I think he can lift almost anything. And I trust him enough to lift me. (That is saying a lot since I don't think I have let anyone else lift me since I was dropped on my head in college by a guy carrying me.)

I just like the word 'strong' and I think it fits my man well.

Speaking of the past (which I am again) there have been a few things I have left out of the blog. I write often enough that if something is left out, I just move on. Life continues, I might have a chance to throw it in later. But in about two weeks, I will print another blog book and everything will be written in stone, so to speak. It is time for my death-blog repentance.

So, these are pictures from back in April. We had our family crack-off, documented here. But we had a neighborhood one as well that was really fun and somehow it never made the blog. I need to remember these things because we always invite back our champion. So, Jon, thanks for bringing your 'Egg-zit' and stealing the show. It was great fun.

Here is the whole gang. that off my conscience. Now, to bed.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Robyn (On the eighth day)

Robyn has been making me laugh a lot recently. She draws great pictures, she makes up funny songs, and she has great ideas of what to do with things around her. Like that Ukelele you saw in the picture yesterday...Robyn said you could take off the long part and it would be a big bow. (Why didn't I think of that?)

Her songs are hilarious. She sang one just this evening about Christmas. (I think she makes them up on the spot.) Somewhere in the chorus there was this line, "Stockings are hung high." And every time she sang that line, she would kick her foot up into the air, which was adorned with my new fuzzy red stockings. (Oh, did I mention that there is often awesome choreography accompanying her lyrics.)

I can't decide if this is my new favorite song of hers, or if I should stick with the old classic, DIE. She wrote this whole song about death, with a chorus that went, "Dee, Eye, Eee." (Or would you write that D, I, E?) It was so funny.

Also today, she came in with a paper stipulating the rules of a new club she was creating. I will write it down including all the spelling mistakes, because those are my favorite. Robyn still struggles with spelling, but I am glad that she write things regardless.

rulzs of colering club      (time 5:30 Monday)

you may NOT skribil!
Only bring Colering Books to the club (it has paper thar)
Coler light and dark if needed
Have fun

Boss Robyn!

I still can't decide if my favorite part is the word skribil, or that she labeled herself as 'Boss' at the end. I really love that kid.

But on to another person I love. (Look at that excellent segue.) This picture makes me smile every time I see it.

Tyler's character trait this evening is something that he might not be so proud about, but I really like it. He is tender-hearted. He likes chick-flicks, he cries when he hears songs on the radio about daddies and their daughters, and he really is a softie on the inside. (This is quite opposite from his rock-solid exterior.) He is not one for crying in church and he probably still shakes his head in embarrassment when I sob all over the place, but I know that he has the capacity to get emotional, even if it isn't about the same things I do.

Possible reasons he might cry:

1. No more Dr. Pepper
2. Netflix is not working
3. Someone stole his preferred character on League of Legends
4. He missed listening to Prairie Home Companion on Saturday night
5. I plucked his nose hair

Okay, I am just kidding. He is sweet and sensitive, but in just the right amount for a guy. He isn't gushy, but he isn't dead inside. I think he is perfect. (But you already knew that.)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Music (On the seventh day)

Trudging onward, I am determined to finish my photography themes, although the chance of them getting done before the new year isn't high. Nevertheless, here is Music.

Photo of the week:

June got a Ukelele at her classroom auction. It isn't really in tune or anything, but what kid doesn't like to strum something and pretend they are making beautiful music. I like that the piano is captured in the background. June is actually getting quite good on the piano. At least she has reached my level. I hope she goes on to play much better than I do.

The Twelve Days of our anniversary are still going well. I will probably post all the activities at the end so if any of you want to do something similar, you are welcome to steal, or just use them as date ideas. Obviously, you would tailor them to your own special someone.

Here is our photo from year seven:

That is a picture from Fete Day. And yes, it was the best I could find from that year. By then, we were three kids strong and probably giving each other a peck on the cheek before we crashed into bed. We certainly weren't worried about taking pictures together...

Tyler's fabulous character trait for the day is creativity. I like that his job description at work marks him as a 'Creative.' Since he works with a lot of programmers, everyone is fairly intelligent there, but I like that he goes one step further and he makes his work look cool. Brilliant even. I feel that almost anything he puts his hand to turns out better. I have said before that I am spoiled. If I want something done with pictures or announcements, I just turn it over to him, and Voila!! Instant creativity. He makes a calendar every year that makes me smile. He does the layout for a magazine (Rocky Mountain Running and Triathalon) and I am amazed at all the ideas he invents for the stories. Somehow I always thought that people would turn articles in with interesting fonts and graphics in place. Not. Even. Close. They just send words his way.

I am not knocking the stories themselves. Journalists and content writers have an important job too, but Tyler sells their work. If it doesn't look good, people will be less likely to stop and read the article. I am proud of what he does. He puts a lot of time into little details. He really wants things to look right and sharp. Go check out the magazine online.

He is creative in many other ways too. He comes up with efficient ways to do things and has good ideas for almost any project I attempt. I still rule when it comes to family traditions and fun activities, but he is always right behind me making things just a bit better. What can I say? We make a good team.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Patches is Safe

Recently, Maleen and I spent some time cleaning up after a throw up incident. It was disgusting, as anyone on the cleanup crew after a puking incident can tell you. I actually have a friend who will clean up any bodily fluid except vomit because he'll puke if he smells it. (I think he just says that so his wife will have to clean it up.)

It was Robyn this time. When she went to bed, she felt fine, but had been awakened by an uncomfortable feeling in her tummy. She had remained in bed, hoping the snuggliness of the covers would make it all go away. It didn't. She felt worse. She hunkered down, hoping that blasted feeling would just quit.

She realized too late that the snugglies of the blanket would do her no good. She took a last look at Patches, her stuffed dog, before the chunks started flying. In the nick of time, she thrust her head in the other direction, away from the wall where Patches lay quietly comforting her, and toward that hump of covers on the other side: June.

During the bath part of clean up, Robyn queried Mom as to whether Patches had made it out unscathed. In fact, Patches was clean as clean gets. Lucky Patches, we thought. Then Robyn filled us in on the rest of the story: "Ya, at the last moment I turned toward June to throw up, because I didn't want to get Patches dirty. It worked."

So how bad was it downstream? How much eventually got tangled up in June's hair and soaked into her blankets? For those of you worried about poor June, you can rest easy. She was very tightly nestled into her blanket and sheet, which snug nestling made a temporary waterproof (and chunkproof) barrier. When I unwrapped our little June tortilla, she was clean and miraculously unhurled-upon.

We bathed Robyn, scrubbed the bed, changed the bed clothes, dressed Robyn, and sent them back to bed. But hey, at least Patches is safe.

Dora (On the sixth day)

I know I just told you that I couldn't find pictures of just us without kids, and here we have one. (Darn blanket statements.)

It might feel confusing since we are dressed as gifts, but there are cobwebs above us. We went as "God's gift to women", and vice versa to a Halloween party. I remember it was one of those rare moments that we got out without the kids and then our sitter called to tell us that one of them had thrown up. Why do I remember these things? (Trauma? Randomness? My brain refuses to hold phone numbers so it keeps illness reports? Who knows.)

Today I would like to mention one of my favorite character traits about Tyler. He is funny. No... really funny. Like roll on the floor, tears streaming down, not making a sound because you are laughing so hard funny. (Granted, this happens more at night when we are pushed over the edge by sleep deprivation, but I will take my funny however I can.) When he married me, he promised to make me laugh every day. He has kept that promise.

I tried to imagine how it would be to be married to someone who didn't amuse me. I amuse myself plenty, but I just don't think that would be enough. Although come to think about it...I am sure Tyler is glad that I am witty and humorous, but I am sure he could spend a life time laughing at his own jokes. I, on the other hand, like to play off of other people. A lot of my humor is sarcastic (thanks mom) and it just wouldn't be as funny without someone to hear it. I already smile to myself when one of the kids gets a joke I say.

Basically, the fun is pretty constant around here. Tyler and I are pretty good at jogging the other out of a bad mood with a little humor, and I find it works wonders with the kids. It is hard to frown when you are smiling. :) I am sure that by the time I am 40, the laugh lines around my eyes will be etched deeply. But I don't care. Bring it on Tyler. I will keep laughing with you every day.

We don't have TV right now, but we do have Netflix. The kids will find a program they like and watch it incessantly. The latest is Dora. I would like to apologize to Dora. (Even though she is a made-up character.) I always thought she was rather loud and obnoxious. She is still loud. But now I have actually watched an entire episode, whereas before I was going on assumptions. Her show is very educational, and I am impressed with the reactions it gets from my kids.

Daisy is riveted. She will come running over to tell me that the ice cream truck is stuck in the mud, they can't get little star back in the sky, or Swiper, that sneaky fox, is coming. If we ever pause in an episode, she talks about it until we can return to finish it. I think she summed it up pretty well when she said, "I could watch Dora all day." (I don't let her, just in case you are wondering. But they are short episodes and I am surprised when we watch 5 or 9 in a row.)

More impressive (to me) is Pearl's reaction. She is talking. Pearl talk, mind you, but that is progress. Whenever 'Backpack' comes on, Pearl will point and yell, "Ba pa!"

Then they will sing for Map, and she yells, "Ma! MA!! Lh (look)"

I have noticed that since watching Dora, Pearl will try more sounds. She tried saying egg the other day, and she has finally figured out that Dad is 'Da da'. (Although that was kind of pre-Dora.)

I am content with these developments. There is still a stretch in front of us, but this is definite progress. So, thank you Dora. Your repeated phrases and silly tunes run through my head constantly, but I know this is a phase that will hopefully be replaced by He-man or Jem one day.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Puzzle (On the fifth day)

We are entering a sad time in our marriage. It is when we had kids.

NO, having kids did not make us sad. (Okay, maybe a little bit, sometimes.) But, we officially stopped taking pictures together. One of us was always behind the camera and the kids became the focus. I struggled to find ANY pictures of us together for many years. Here is a good example.

See, this picture wasn't even taken near our anniversary. But it was the best picture I could get of the two of us for that entire year. Kids literally took over our lives. So, for the next few posts, that is just the way it is. It tells a story in its own right. (That is June and Foot, by the way.)

So, I highly encourage you to take a picture with your spouse. Every year. Heck, even every six months. It doesn't have to be fancy, but capture a moment or two, and remember how your family started. You know, with just two people.

Tyler tries constantly to remind me that he was the first one I loved. He is very romantic! (Character trait of the day.) As a mom, it is easy to get focused on the kids, but Tyler pulls me back and makes sure I give him kisses or clean his ears. (Yes, that is a sign of love and affection. I don't clean just anyone's ears.) Tyler has interesting ways of showing affection. I get pinched and groped often, but I honestly feel lonely if I bend over and he walks by without taking notice. I promise that too much affection is better than none.

We end every conversation with 'I love you.' The guys at Tyler's work make fun of him a bit, but I don't think he really cares. Tyler still opens doors for me and holds my hand. He writes me sweet notes and gets me random gifts. He knows when I have had a hard day and he shoos me out the door, or locks me in my room (figuratively speaking since our bedroom door doesn't actually lock....stupid door.) He takes kids, does hair, drives littles, and basically is the best dad ever. And what woman doesn't find that romantic?

A lot of Christmas traditions have gone by the wayside this year to make room for our anniversary. The kids haven't really noticed (thank goodness) and I am still trying to keep things interesting for them. However, we did get our Christmas puzzle done. I could not find a good Christmas one, so I opted for one of the Savior since in my mind, Christmas and Christ are kind of the same. 

The girls helped a bit more this time around, and I think we might do another one when Grandma Dargan comes to visit. I find that I really enjoy doing a puzzle every now and again. (As long as it isn't a weird 3D one.)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Van (On the fourth day)

Here we are on our fourth anniversary.

I remember going out that night. I was pregnant with Robyn, but I wanted to wear a cute dress anyway. I'd like to thank the photographer (whoever she was...probably the babysitter) for not capturing my entire glamorous figure.

Come to think of it, Tyler has been pretty patient through all my body changes. I basically varied between normal and whale proportions for about seven years in a row. He took it all in stride and loved whatever shape I happened to be in. Patience is not his character trait for today though. (Because let's be honest...he isn't all that patient about many things.)

Today we will talk about how sneaky and mischievous he is. Although he will turn 34 next month, he is still a child at heart. He loves to prank and he spends a lot of time trying to get a reaction out of me. I think we could call him a button-pusher. He is not mean. But that is a relative term. Some might say pretending to throw a baby down the stairs is 'mean'. Or making me think a spider is over my head is 'mean'. I say, it is just who he is. It makes him happy, so in a way it makes me happy. Because I am happy when he is happy. It's a complicated emotion at my expense.

I do get him back occasionally, so all's fair in love and war. (At least in our family.) And even if I am irked at the time it happens, it usually makes for a great story later.

I mentioned the new fridge (our unexpected Christmas gift) but we did get a gift for our family that was a pleasant expectation.

The spots are frost. Now I park it in the garage, sometimes on top of stuff (oops)

I love it. (Sorry, I didn't have the wide angle lens, but I think you get the idea.) It is a Honda Odyssey. We had a Honda when we were first married and it was such a reliable vehicle. Then we had the Dodge. That car was great for teaching Tyler lots and LOTS about car repair. I think we are ready for another stretch in our life with reliability instead of maintenance.

And it doesn't hurt that the van is pretty and holds eight people if need be. (NO, this is NOT an announcement. Remember? We are done. We just hope to transport the occasional friend.) It doesn't come with any bells and whistles, (We still claim to be DVD free.) but I love it just the same.

That should be it for large Christmas gifts, but I have my doubts on the dishwasher. Here's hoping it can hang in there at least until next year sometime.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Hide and Seek (On the third day)

The character trait for today is loyalty. Tyler is extremely devoted to his causes and his people. Oddly when I say 'people', it makes him sound like he has his own tribe or something. Well, with all the girls, it is almost like he does. But Tyler remembers when you do him a favor and he remembers who has helped in his life. Naturally family tops his list and he would drop everything in a heartbeat to go help his brothers or his parents.

He also feels loyalty towards a company who treats him well. He has worked at his current job for over six years. That may not seem like much (especially in comparison to our whopping twelve years married) but he moved jobs a bit after leaving college and it is nice for him to find a place that he fits pretty well.

Tyler is so loyal to his ideas and principles that he actually gets quite stubborn. One would say pig-headed even. (Not me though. I would never say that.) Although it is frustrating when he is wrong, there is something to be said for someone who stands by their values and can't be swayed by the ebb of popular opinion. And Tyler's values are based in some pretty good stuff, so he tends to be a very reliable, honest sort of man. (Even when he is wrong. Which isn't often.)

I probably benefit from all this loyalty, since I am his right hand man woman. I can honestly say that there isn't anyone I would rather have by my side through thick and thin.

Here is a picture from our third year of marriage.

Family News

There has been a lot of hiding and seeking around our house lately. At night we hide Tyler's cell phone. There is an alarm on it that signals when it is bedtime. The last thing the girls do before bed is run around madly trying to find the phone as the intermittent chime goes off. It is actually quite funny to watch.

We also have an elf this year. Every morning he hides in a new spot and the girls find him and put him back under the tree. He is watching to see if they are behaving themselves. He has probably had to turn a blind eye to a few incidents in order for all children to be receiving gifts on Christmas.

Daisy has been enjoying all these seeking games, but she stinks at them really. Not the hiding part...she gets that. But she gives everything away. If she knows where you are hiding, she will tell the seeker. If she sees Eddy the elf, she points him out to everyone, even if they want to search for themselves. Let's give you an example:

We were playing regular hide-and-seek the other evening. It gets very competitive and we parents think up spots where it will take a long time for sisters to find hiders. Tyler had stuffed June behind the couch cushions and I had stuffed Ivory in the linen closet under some pillows. Robyn was having a tough time finding anyone. Tyler and I were trying to give her some clues. We told her she should look in places that she didn't even think people could fit. Daisy was sitting quietly on Tyler's lap this whole time. We thought we had her in check...

Tyler: She might be in something. Robyn, we'll give you some ideas. Like, is she in the entertainment center?

Me: Is she in the piano?

Tyler: Is she in the mandolin?

Me: Is she on the ceiling?

Daisy: (right on cue) Is she in the couch?.....yes.

She just can't keep it to herself. She thinks she is helping and actually gets quite flustered when her 'help' is unappreciated. She is such a good little duck.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Fridge (On the second day)

On the second day of our anniversary, I'd like to talk some more about Tyler. He is smart. S-M-R-T. I like to consider both of us above average intelligence, so we have some very stimulating conversations. Granted, many of our conversations are quite the opposite. I actually tried to find one on the blog that I remember, but I couldn't find it which makes me worry that I never wrote it down. That is tragic people, because my brain does not hold memories like that. Just browsing through the blog had me laughing at all these idiotic things we do and say that I had already forgotten. So, for old times sake, I am going to record a conversation we had a few months ago that makes me laugh.

*Please be advised: Content is questionable.

Tyler and I were snuggling on the couch. Maybe we were watching a movie, maybe we were just talking...I have already forgotten. Somehow we got talking about my chest. It is no secret that I am not the bustiest woman alive, but Tyler happens to like my figure. He always chides me when I say something negative about my bosoms. (Or lack thereof.) Once again, I can't remember how we got on this topic and why the letter 'S' came up, but this is what I remember.

Me: The 'S' would stand for 'small'. Small boobs.

Tyler: No, the 'S' would stand for 'super!'

Me: Let's just combine them. The 'SS' boobs. Super small!

About that point we both started laughing, because putting super in front of small doesn't exactly improve my situation and I didn't realize how it would sound until I said it aloud.

Sorry if I offended you. And this only proves that we aren't always using the full capacities of our brains when we converse. (Or at least I'm not.)

But back to Tyler being smart. He really is. I firmly believe that he could do ANYTHING! He has self taught himself many subjects including computer programming, car repair, and playing guitar. He picks up on things quickly and is interested in world affairs. He remembers facts about pertinent topics, and he has a desire for knowledge. He has always gotten excellent grades through all of his schooling. He does well testing. (Although I did score higher than him on the driving exam. Don't worry, he's an excellent driver.) He is just a smarty-pants. I often question which one of us is smarter. Probably me, but he would be a really close second. (I sense he will want to comment on this post.)

But how about a picture? This is from the second year we were married.

In 2001, we went to Ukraine to teach English to children for a semester. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity. That picture was taken in a large park. The rock we are underneath was said to be a Lover's Stone. Couples would come and whisper to each other and if they told a lie, it was said that the rock would fall on them. Tyler is whispering that I am beautiful.

Well...we weren't squished. :) feels good to be blogging again. While I have your attention (if I didn't lose you somewhere around the sketchy discussion) I would like to show you an early Christmas present we got. There are the fun presents you get because you have been hoping and dreaming about them. And then there are the kind that are thrust upon you out of necessity. This would be one the latter. Although I am happy to have it.

Ooh pretty. And check out the freezer.

Our other fridge was very nice. We bought it large to accomodate our growing family, but for some reason, it only lasted 8 years. That doesn't seem long enough to me. It started breaking a few weeks ago. The freezer stopped working and all the ice cream melted into a large puddle at the bottom of the machine. Yuck. It was actually a mix of hamburger blood and ice cream. Double yuck.

So we had someone come in and replace a part for about $200. Freezer worked again. Things looked good. And then we left to go to Idaho for Thanksgiving. And the fridge passed away quietly in the night. I feel bad that no one was there with it. It had served a long and dutiful life. However, the really sad part was coming back to a fridge full of bad food. I practically cried as I emptied it out. That is a lot of waste. But now we have a new one. Merry Christmas to us.

The few days we were without a fridge were not so fun. I really like milk and cheese and cold water. The weather was with us at least and we put some things outside in the interim. It was funny watching the girls look out the back door to see what was in the 'fridge'. We did eat out too much and I consequently got food poisoning one night. Happy New Year to me!! Let's just say I am glad to be back in business. The double doors are still a bit odd to me, but it is growing on me. And truthfully I don't care much what it looks like as long as it keeps my milk cold and my ice cream frozen. Cheers.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Hello Blog... (On the first day) are you? It's been a while, but I have something very important to write about, so I will be using you frequently for the next few days. And while I do that, I might even catch up on some random happenings.

Like....I reached my 900th post. Interesting, I know.

But what is so darn amazing and fantastic that I needed to blog right away... is that I am married. What? You already knew that? Okay, but did you know that I have been married twelve years? Okay, more lies. Our anniversary is this month. In twelve days exactly. So truthfully, we have been married 11 years and 353 days. Since we got married at this festive time of year, I thought it would be appropriate to get into the Christmas spirit. I know you have heard of the Twelve Days of Christmas. BUT, have you heard of the Twelve Days of our Anniversary??? Fabulous huh? I have been planning this for years. It is just how cheesy I am.

And because you have been faithful blog readers, I am going to drag you through it let you share in the experience. Each day, I have an activity for Tyler, and an object with a silly saying. Also, there is a photograph from that year of marriage. Being a blog, I will share the pictures with you so you can traverse memory lane.

Here is the picture from 2000.

We were married at the end of 1999. (We figured we would make it all official before the world ended with the Y2K angst. Fortunately for us, it all went fine.) After we were married, we realized that we had never printed any wedding photos to display in our home, so we decided to go do a photo shoot. That umbrella picture was one of our favorites, and Tyler proudly flaunts it on his desk at work.

I guess this is where I should say something amazing about my awesome husband. I will try to extol one of his virtues each day. Tyler is very good looking (in my opinion). He has some excellent genes working for him, and he has managed to stay in shape these twelve years. (Please note that I am giving a lot of credit to genetics here.) Tyler does not love to exercise, but he stays active and eats well. (I try to ignore his Dr. Pepper addiction.) His current favorite sport would be watching himself do pull-ups in the mirror. His muscles are looking more defined and he likes to admire the new definition. I can't really complain since I admire his muscles too. I try not to show it too much because he doesn't really need extra encouragement when it comes to his ego, but I do admit to liking his hotness. He is a bodacious babe.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Tis The Season

I really love Christmas. (Although not the gift-giving so much but that is a rant for another post.) But looking back at these pictures, I am suddenly ready for Spring.

It is going to be a loooooooooong winter.