Thursday, April 28, 2011


I love trees. Maybe it is because I grew up in Washington, or maybe it is because they have such simple/complex beauty. Oddly, I like park trees more than a forest, mainly because you don't have to look down all the time to watch your step. Or give me a good orchard. Although, since I just came from one, I know you still need to watch your step. Anyway, I digress. Behold, the trees.

Photos of the week:

They are working on expanding the road near my house, and the city just chopped down a bunch of trees. It was really hard to watch. My view as I come out of our neighborhood went from this:

To this:

Maybe when they are all finished, they will plant some more.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

One Year Older, and Wiser Too...

Robyn was my tiny baby. Although she was full-term, because she was growth-restricted, she weighed in at only 5 lbs. 15 oz. I remember setting up my camera and taking a couple of pictures because I wanted to remember how small this little bundle came.

Seven years later and I can't believe how much she has grown, and I'm not just talking about physically. I love that Robyn is distinctly different from her sisters. She has a deep love of animals and nature. (Just today she was telling me that we should walk to the store to save the planet. I told her that I would continue to carpool kids to pre-school and count that as my part in world conservation.) Robyn has great ideas and she listens. She remembers things: Like she has been asking for two years to have breakfast in bed. I still don't really get the idea of breakfast in bed, but nevertheless, she got it today.

I picked her up from school and brought her balloons. She said that was one of her favorite parts of the day. See how happy she is?

Oh, did I mention that she is a joker?

I was much more organized coming into this birthday, so she got a homemade cake. Voila!

I think it turned out cute. And we didn't even burn it down when we added candles. (June was dully concerned.)

In the evening just the two of us went out to a bookstore and we read books together until we got tired. It was a perfect ending to her birthday.(p.s. My favorite was Hooray for Amanda & Her Alligator, it was surprisingly humorous.)

Happy Birthday my sweet Robyn.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Possibly Worse Than Halloween

I'm sure you don't need to hear me give another candy-infested-holiday rant. So I won't. But, keep in mind that I too fall victim to the commercialized sugar indoctrination. I was stuffing my own hoard of eggs for the kids on Friday evening and I mentioned to Tyler that I wished I had more candy to put in the eggs, or at least more variety than the two kinds I picked up.

Naturally, I immediately repented after the city hunt on Saturday morning. I wished I could go empty all our eggs, because I could already tell they had enough candy to last them for months. So, here is my plan for next year: We have so many eggs, next year I am going to color code them for each child. (i.e. Robyn only gets blue eggs, Daisy—pink, etc.) and then I will hide a puzzle inside that will lead to one nice giftish thing. Phew, I feel better about it already.

See, candy is great, but you don't need it to have a good time. We went to our local hunt and Daisy waited dutifully for the horn to blow, but she told me she didn't want eggs; she just wanted to go on the slide. She told me this at least fifteen times. I still made her get eggs, because I knew in the end that she would feel left out. I think she had a good time after all.

Pearl picked up these two eggs and never let them go. I figured that was all she needed.

The other girls also made quite a haul, but they all ended up over here:

They were doing twirls down the pole. You can see June's hair flying out.

They had a good time. And yes, I am still glad we went.

More Easter festivities to come: (One of these years, I am going to combine them all so I don't end up with so many Easter posts.)

Sunday, April 24, 2011


My family came to visit back at the beginning of the month. (Remember the blogging fast?) We had a really good time while they were here. We played lots of games, and I was very impressed with my Dad. He is NOT a game person. He could watch movies until he fell over unconscious in his chair, but if you ask him to play a game, he usually passes. But not this time. He was such a good sport. Thanks Dad, you rock. See, I even have proof that he played with us.

Ticket to ride is always fun.

One of the main reasons that my family comes (besides seeing us) is for the big Crack-Off. If you have followed this blog for any amount of time, you have probably seen Crack-Offs come and go. They are still deliriously fun. We now have two each year...the family Crack-Off and then the neighborhood Crack-Off. I didn't want to have a crazy amount of pictures so I asked my photoshop 'eggs'pert to take the reins. Oh, look how efficient and pretty.

Take a look around, see which is your favorite. The colors are more muted from the originals, but you get the idea. Lucky Me took first place (Maleen) in decoration. Indian Art (Maleen) took second, and Apple Core (Grandma) took third, and fourth was Pearl of the Sea (Pearl's egg-sorry we didn't get a picture of the actual Pearl) .

This year we also added categories so the girls has a better chance of winning. Most Colorful went to Ivory's Love of the World. Most Attractive was Grandpa's Lettuce Alone. Most Amusing was a tie between Double Smile (Daisy), Puppy Love (Robyn), and Possession (Grandpa). Best Name went to Band Aid, also Daisy's egg. I liked the category system. In fact we adopted it for our neighborhood Crack-Off as well, but that is another post, of course.

Here are a few shots of the action that night. Here is Grandpa getting ready to roll.

Ivory and June managed to miss each other's egg about five times.

This is what it looks like when you smash up egg shells with your hands. Thanks June, and thank goodness for vacuum cleaners.

Our big winner this year was Tyler. Fu Yung was the grand champion. Although the parasite from Grandpa's egg worked its way up, so who knows who really won. (I guess you had to be there.)

Always a blast family. Always.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Photos of the week:

This first one I took while I was out at Pearl's photo shoot. I love to see the trees blossoming.

This one is more important. I have been threatening Ivory for a while that she needs to be 40 inches by the time we go to Disneyland. I think she may have reached the mark.

Now thick-soled shoes will just be a bonus.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Notice Anything New?

Like these:

And the hole in my wallet. Oh wait, I don't have a picture of that.

The good news is that June's teeth are mostly where they are supposed to be. The braces are just doing minor adjustments, so I don't think she is very sore. The expander was much more challenging, and she will get that off in a few months. For the moment she has a mouthful of metal. But she is such a trooper and she was actually very excited to choose her color of rubber bands. It was a hard decision, but she went with lavender and will probably do light blue next time. I think she is pretty cute.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

When You're Helping You're Happy...

This weekend, our ward had a large neighborhood service activity in which we went out and helped as many neighbors as possible with whatever service they needed. Our family ended up helping a neighbor trim hedges and clean up her trees. I was so proud of my girls. I know it isn't as easy to work for a long time when you are little, but they all did an excellent job.

Service is definitely one of those things I would like to instill in my children. I feel when you look beyond yourself and your own problems and help others, you feel a satisfaction that doesn't come any other way. It helps you learn to love others and serve as Christ would have us do. June told me afterward that it was hard work, but she felt so good. Yep, that is pretty much how it goes.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

My Pearl Shines

Here is Pearl's Gallery for her one-year-old pictures. Taken today, so perhaps not as close to her birthday as I would have liked. Who cares though. She is such a cutie. Enjoy, enjoy:

That last one is my favorite. It is her sweet smile that she gives me when she is truly content. She was being held by Dad when I took that picture.

Friday, April 15, 2011

It Almost Feels Like Summer

I'm not talking about the weather, although today was quite lovely after the chill burned off.

Nope, instead I am talking about getting used to having everyone home. The first day is always the hardest because the girls are so used to going to school. Instead they have to entertain themselves (while not fighting), make up a new daily routine, and I suddenly find myself making five lunches again instead of three. But by the end of the week, it almost feels normal to have everyone here. We can go do things together, which is nice, because I sometimes feel guilty when I take out the youngins somewhere fun and I know the older two are in school. Everyone gets their chores done which doesn't always happen with the chaos of after school snacks, homework, and playing. Just when I am ready to make this whole thing permanent, they will be back in school next week. Kind of a bummer, if you ask me.

Yesterday, we went to another museum, the good ole Bean Museum. Ever seen this guy?

We picked up some of the scavenger hunts that were available. I'm not sure I liked them or not. The girls were interested in finding the answers, but they still needed plenty of guidance and I felt like we hopped from one side to the other instead of taking the museum at our own leisurely pace. On the other hand, the scavenger hunt got June reading the plaques and she probably wouldn't have done that by herself. We learned interesting facts, like the Giant Clam has never killed anyone, but people have lost arms and legs to him. I think that is right...June read the info.

Side note: Having many small children, I don't really get to read many plaques or signs myself. I mentioned this about the other museum, but it is very frustrating. I have been to the Dinosaur museum about nine times, and I have never got to go at my own pace and read the stuff on the walls and cases. At the Bean Museum June had some trouble finding all the answers so she would ask me to help. I got really good at scanning the words in the twenty seconds it would take Pearl to get into trouble. I complain now, but someday I may even be sad when I have no kids interrupting my cultural experiences. Or not.

I diligently tried to take a picture of my nuggets together. This was the best I could do, and I am pretty sure the lion was the best poser.

Besides the frantic pace and bizarre questions, I was impressed with the kids. They do a good job looking out for each other. I only have to ask for one of them to watch Pearl and they dutifully turn into an impromptu babysitter for a few minutes. Here is Robyn on one of her shifts.

I really love all these amazing children I have. I like watching them explore and learn. I like the different personalities and quirky things they think and say. I love to snuggle and kiss each one every day.

This last picture wasn't taken that day, but Pearl has been biting her cheek and whereas I don't know if I approve because of long-term habits, I still think it makes her dimple look cute.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Photos of the week:

There's your usual work:

Then there's the work that you love (p.s. I have to work pretty hard to get a self-portrait):

Then there are the things you wish you didn't have to work so hard at to be good. I wish I had his talent with the piano. I don't think he has to work hard because he has natural talent:

Yep, and now the word work is starting to look really weird to me. Work, work, work.

Oh, speaking of which. I have a new adage for my house. I need to put it in vinyl on my wall somewhere. Okay, maybe not vinyl because Tyler doesn't let me do that. But you know what I mean.

My home is a work in progress. 
More work. Less progress.

You may quote me, but you saw it here first.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Every Who Down in Who-Ville Liked Baths a Lot

I spent all day attacking the garage, and yet, the spider spray man coming tomorrow will be lucky if he can get through without falling down, let alone find a place to spray his chemicals of death. The garage is definitely a work in progress. But I like a challenge.

We didn't go do anything fun for spring break today, but the kids actually think the garage is a fascinating place. They find the sequestered toys and make up little games about them. They were as content as anything. Tomorrow we will venture out again, if there isn't too much snow. Yes, you heard me right. There is supposed to be more snow tonight. But maybe it will magically disappear with the morning light.

In the interim, you can check out my cute Cindy Lou Who.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


I feel fairly heroic when I take five small children to something cultural and there aren't any meltdowns. I guess it would be easier to wait until all my kids are older, but June would get the short end of that stick and my kids would never learn manners in polite society. So, without many second thoughts, I took all my children to the BYU Museum of Art.

They happened to be showing their exhibit featuring Carl Bloch and his paintings of Christ's life.  We were quite lucky to even get inside. The main parking lot was blocked off for only those coming to see the exhibit, so we had to park farther away. Once inside I was told they had some standby tickets and since we were early and it wasn't crowded yet, they gave us six. By the time we left the museum an hour or so later, there was a long line, so I was very grateful that we got to go in at all. And it was well worth it. The paintings were magnificent. Bloch's work is well recognized in the LDS church, but even so, there were several pictures that I had not seen before. I particularly liked a portrayal of Christ in Gethsemane with an angel by His side.

And the girls were very well behaved. There was a certain wall dipicting the 14 paintings Bloch was commissioned to paint after the art work was destroyed in a fire at the Freidrickburg's Castle. It took him 14 years to finish all the pieces, but it cool to see them all displayed together and the girls were able to pick out their favorites. (Please pardon if that history is incorrect. I read the inscription rather quickly. You learn not to take your eyes off children for long.)

After that we wandered downstairs and viewed lots of art showing the "Wide-Open Spaces" of the southwest.  Having grown up in Washington, I am more a fan of the greens and trees of the northwest than the browns and cacti of the south. Nevertheless, there were some beautiful pieces. Somewhere on the bottom floor we ran into this really cool media-art that you could interact with. I can't really explain it well, so here is the blurb from the MOA website:

Brian Knep is a new-media artist who uses science and technology to explore change, healing, struggle and acceptance. Healing 1, the work the museum will be showing, uses custom algorithms to create a glowing pool of organic patterns projected on the floor. These patterns tear and rebuild themselves as viewers walk across the projection, mirroring the healing process as a scar develops over a wound and reflecting the memory that those scars may hold.

Anyway, this is what it looked like. First, Robyn is walking across it and you can see the hole she left behind her. 

Then the girls sat down and waited for the art to heal itself. 

Um...I got scolded at a different place for taking a picture, but I didn't see anything down there that said no photography. Even so, just focus on the kids and not the art and maybe that will make it okay. That place was really cool and even Pearl liked walking around on the swirly floor.

Next, we just wandered and found another section. By then Pearl was getting rather feisty but we were in the World War II art, so that was probably appropriate. (After all, many of the pieces were supposed to inspire fear in the viewer, or at least incite them to action.) The kids said afterward that that was their least favorite section. I thought it was very interesting to see what the media put out to encourage people to contribute to the war effort. And yes, lots of the pieces were somewhat disturbing.

The last thing we saw on the way out was a huge tower of books. It was so incredible. I would have taken a picture, but that may have been what I got scolded about. It was really cool. Trust me, or go see for yourself if you live nearby.

And yes, I know I just told you yesterday that I wasn't taking the camera around, but I did have the stroller, so I decided to be brave. After all, if I was going to be supermom today, I may as well go all out. And you can't knock the price. We had a great morning and all for free.

Here are my art enthusiasts. (June looks particularly enthusiastic, don't ya think?)