Sunday, September 30, 2012

Double Digits

People, it is possible that either my kids are getting old, or I am. Because one of them just hit double digits, and that means the rest aren't far behind.

Yep, June turned 10 today. That is amazing. Awesome. Wonderful. And slightly scary. Is it possible that I have less time with her at home from here on out than I have had already? I don't think I care to think about that at this time.

Instead, let's go over a great birthday. (Our fourth Sunday birthday of the year...need I remind you?)

I went to the party store late last night, only to find they didn't have any helium. Well, that kind of ruins most balloon plans, but I had another trick up my sleeve.

I bought regular balloons (10 of them) and we taped them to June's door so when she opened it in the morning, that would be the first thing she saw. Here is the door yesterday evening.

Then Tyler snuck the GoPro below the plastic to get a good view of the proceedings. It doesn't show much, but you get the idea. Door opens, balloons descend, child surprised.

We opened gifts first thing in the morning because some lucky mom has meetings and I didn't want to miss out. (So excuse the jammies and morning hair.)

June loved all her gifts. She is still easy to please. How long is that going to last anyway? Then again, she got money from Grandparent's and who doesn't like money on their birthday? Grandma Cazier found this Unicorn card that talked and sounded almost exactly like the silly unicorns in Charlie the unicorn. Really kind of creepy grandma...

I admit that I didn't even let the girls pick out gifts for June. I just grabbed things and wrapped it all in hopes that no one would argue. It worked like a charm and everyone was very excited to see what she opened because no one had seen it before.

Except that we lost one of the gifts. No idea where it went to. A black hole has opened somewhere in our home and has claimed one baggy book and one present. There one moment, gone the next. Also a little creepy. (Or you know, it could be Pearl, but if that is the case, she has a mighty secret stash that NO ONE has discovered yet. And we have all looked. In fact, Robyn looked hard enough that she found MY secret stash of presents, and then I had to stop all searching. Oops.)

In the evening, we had pie. June requested Lemon Meringue Pie instead of cake. I had never made one, but I figured it couldn't be too hard. I think it turned out great.

And then the meringue shrunk. Strange, but still tasty. We had pie the minute we got home from church, even before dinner. But that is what happens when your birthday falls not only on Sunday, but on Fast Sunday. I was perfectly content to let everyone eat pie while we waited for dinner to cook. June was especially nice about the whole thing because Pearl got overly excited and blew out over half the candles before June had a chance to catch her breath. Here are the last four that June got to take a shot at.

I can tell that June is growing up and her tastes are maturing. She requested Shrimp for dinner. I can't blame her though. This lemon, butter shrimp is crazy delicious.

I tried to get some serious pictures of the birthday girl, but it wasn't really happening.

I guess we'll try harder when we do her gallery.

June is such a delight in our family. I love her personality and curious mind. She explores and searches. She tries to do the right thing. She loves her sisters and is generally a pretty good example. And she is ten. I'm thinking it is about time to get some free babysitting out of her. We have waited long enough.

Just kidding.

A little.

We'll probably pay her once in a while.

Happy Birthday my June bug. You changed my life forever, but certainly in a good way.

Ain't No Sissy Hike

I, Tyler, am an 11-year-old scout leader. I've been a Cub Master in the past, but 11-year scouts have moved beyond all the games and cheers, right?

Now, we're supposed to work on serious stuff like first aid, hiking, and camping. We still have fun of course, but I had become a little worried when Maleen confided in me that she was proud we didn't go on "Sissy Hikes."

Intrigued, I inquired exactly what constituted a "Sissy Hike." She explained that as a young girl in Girl Scouts she had resented the fact that the boys got to go do real hikes on mountains while the girls were constrained to paved asphalt. This stung a little as I remembered out last "hike" was up Provo Canyon toward Nunn's Park on what now I had come to define as a "Sissy Hike" paved trail.

Determined to never admit that I had, in fact, not only participated in a "Sissy Hike," but actually planned it; I decided our new hike would be no "Sissy Hike." We hiked Big Baldy, one of the small mountains jutting out of Timpanogos. Notice, I didn't say, "hill." It's a nice conical mountain, and as I explained to the boys, mountains only come in one size: steep.

We set out ok, but quickly found this terrain rather treacherous for the unaccustomed hiker. I was glad I brought extra rations of Gold Fish (hey, that's not a "Sissy" food, now shut up) and Gatorade. The boys made it the required distance near the saddle of Big Baldy, and then we definitely had to turn around. We had some of our boys bordering on physical exhaustion, one exhibiting signs of heat exhaustion, low water, low food, and a setting sun. It was time to go home.

The return hike was much easier than the ascent, so I took the opportunity to leisurely snap some shots with my GoPro. We'd come down most of the way and faced only a meadow followed by a close canyon and some rock terrace (about 3/4 of a mile left). I grabbed my last remaining chow, an apple, and took a moment to survey the canyon with my nox ("that awesome rugged hiker talk for "binoculars." Had I wished to go all military I would have said, "binos.")

Whether I was so awe-struck with the view, or confused about which word to call my "nox," or whether I'm just plain absentminded, it was there I snapped a shot with the GoPro, and deposited it in the weeds.

Thinking all was well, I continued on my path, stopping only to capture the grandeur of the canyon up close. The boys went on ahead down into the canyon while I searched in vain for the GoPro. At this point I only hoped I had left it somewhere, and that it hadn't tumbled out of my bag and down into the creek bed. I chased the boys down, told them I needed 15 minutes, that proceed to sprint back up the mountain.

Now sprinting on land is not this man's forte. Sprinting up mountains...well that doesn't last long. So I sprinted, ran, wheezed, crawled back up to the place I had stopped to drink in the canyon view. I approached what I believed in my sweaty, exhausted state to be the GoPro. It turned out to be a squarish looking rock. I resumed the exact stance I was in when I had the nox in hand, and sure enough, there was my GoPro, lying in the weeds. Always the historian, I snatched the opportunity (to rest) to record this monumental blunder followed by the impressive feat what shall hereafter be referred to as the "Big Baldy Sprint."

GoPro in hand, I returned to the boys and resumed the descent. Not long thereafter, we were at the car, and I was only mildly wheezing, which lasted until well after I was in bed asleep that night.

On Sunday, one of the boys actually took a moment to bear testimony about the experience (the hike, not "Big Baldy Sprint"). So, we must have done something right. But hey, this definitely qualifies as something other than a "Sissy Hike."

Here are a few of the shots I snapped on the GoPro (thank goodness I found it). Check out the colors in the leaves—definitely the right time of year to go!

Just a few scouts out enjoying nature around them.

This is the foot of Big Baldy. Yes, it's pretty imposing.

Walking the line. We had a rule that no one was allowed to fall off.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Why I Love Washington (The Really Long Version)

Got my photos back from my trip to Washington. Looking through them made me smile all over again. It was such a fun trip. (As you will read about in a minute.) pictures were not so great. I will happily blame the disposable camera, but perhaps I was NOT supposed to use the flash every time. I don't know what to do with those things?? So, you will notice some really washed out people. And yes, I am usually pale, but perhaps not that pale.

I arrived on Friday night and my Mom picked me up at the airport and took me to the house for some home cooked deliciousness. (My mom cooked for me the whole time and I have to admit that I loved it all. She is an excellent cook and I felt royally pampered. Mom, if I didn't say thank you...THANK YOU. You are wonderful.)

Saturday was my day to catch up with friends. Most of the time when I visit WA, I just see family, but I still have some great friends and since Tyler let me have an extra day, I made good use of it.

First: Karen.

I. LOVE. Her. She is fabulous beyond words. We just hung out and talked, and caught up. We went to a Farmer's market where we had Empanadas and Green Smoothies. (Okay, mine was purple.)

We bought more yummy food and brought it home to munch on. Everything was so tasty. Karen introduced me to Spanish Valencian Almonds and goat cheese. Extraordinary.

And her house!!! Everything in it was so perfect. It felt like home the minute I walked in. And do you want to see the coolest thing? Of course you do. Check out her dishes...

They are all pottery. She even has a colander made from pottery. Actually, you can find pottery all over her house, but I especially liked that all her dishes and cups were handmade. It was kinda zen for me. I would love to have a collection like that, but right now I can only imagine my children breaking pieces and small parts of my brain exploding. So, we'll hold off on that for now.

It was so sad to say goodbye. I see her once in a blue moon. I feel my life is better having known her. We go way back. We worked and played together a LOT in high school. She is my pea in a pod. But hopefully it won't be as long before I see her again.

The good news was that I got to go straight from seeing her to seeing another good friend of mine. This is Kara. (And her super cute family.)

Kara is expecting in October and her husband, John, talked her into waiting to find out what gender the baby will be. I am so excited for her. (I never could wait.) I haven't seen her for a while either. Look how young Kylie is here. We simply ate dinner and talked. (Funny how when you are a kid you see adults talking and it looks so boring, but I love catching up now.) Kara and I snapped a photo together also.

And I got the baby a gift (Waldo!) but Kylie said she would be nice enough to find him first so she could show the baby.

(Man, you gotta love Waldo. My Mom gave me several Waldo books to take home from her collection, and my kids have LOVED them.)

Kara lives across the Narrows Bridge. I was very safe and took pictures while I was driving. (Okay, maybe that isn't safe, but I didn't have the option to pull over on the bridge.)

And here is the great Puget Sound. I miss the water and greenery. Oh, and the weather was perfect the entire time I was there.

My parents are downsizing. They have enough stuff to fill a museum. My Mom has an extensive library and she is finally getting rid of a lot of her books. Namely because she has a Nook and can get a lot of them in digital copy. She told me that I could look through and take anything I wanted. I casually glanced at them and said I would take a couple. But after going through, I had four stacks and had to take an extra suitcase home. I really love books. Here is one of the walls of books I looked through.

There were two more walls that I browsed as well. It is probably just as well that I was flying or I would have taken a whole carload with me.

I should note on here that I was very good about keeping to my training schedule for my Half Marathon. Wait, I haven't even blogged about that. Don't you love when I throw you curve balls. Okay, remind me to blog about running sometime. Anyway, I ran on the treadmill while I was there, and then I even ran four miles the morning we went to the fair. Washington is full of hills, so I purposely ran up hill first. I didn't think I was going to make it, but downhill put the wind back in my sails. Phew...

Also, I slept at Miranda's apartment one night. The bed in my parent's guest room does not really agree with my back. They must argue all night because I wake up very sore. Miranda was nice enough to loan me her bed for one evening. And of course we watched some movies and bonded like only sisters can.

The next morning was the FAIR!! One of the main reasons I come out to Washington is to go to the Puyallup fair. I didn't enter any thing this year, but Mom entered SIX things. Go Mom! I was supposed to go out in the morning with my Dad, but he wasn't feeling all too great, so instead Miranda came with me. Best trip to the fair. EVER. We had such a blast.

First, we started at the stitchery section. We were scouting the area for Mom so we could warn her if she didn't get any ribbons. Well, that was hardly the case. Five of her six pieces earned a ribbon. One 1st, one 2nd, one 3rd, and two honorable mentions. I meant to take a picture of her by her crosstitches, but I forgot. But here is my wonderful mother. (No, she is not that pale either.)

From the craft building, Miranda and I browsed the fair, seeing the sights. We stopped by the hobby hall and collected some cool coins. (Impressed that we both found our birth year.) We looked through the collections and both loved the slinky one. Clearly some little girl loves slinkies and our favorite part is that she has a name for each one. You can't see them, but that list in the center is all their names. Sweet.

After a bit, I decided that I wanted some ice cream. There is a dairy there that makes the yummiest ice cream. I decided on a vanilla strawberry soft serve twist. It was huge and looked so delicious. I thought I would offer Miranda a bite before I dug in. I leaned the cone her way and said, "Would you like a bite?" She seemed unsure and I held my stance thinking that I could convince her and then suddenly....

...the entire ice cream leapt off my cone and onto her shirt. I have never seen anything like it. I scooped it off her and put it back on the cone, but I couldn't stop laughing. We must have laughed in a crowd of on-lookers for what seemed like forever. I cried off half my makeup. That is what happens if you don't take a bite. I will just throw it on you. Really, you had to be there. We giggled about it for a long time. I still smile thinking about it. And I'm happy that Miranda was so nice about it. Not everyone laughs when you throw ice cream on them. :)

Mom, Dad, and Tim eventually joined us. We split up to go do different things. Tim and I went on a roller coaster while the rest of them visited a new exhibit called the Rain Forest. Tim and I always have fun.

When we met back up, we were told that the Rain Forest was a must see, so we got back in line for it. We, being the three stooges. (Please pardon my tired eyes...please recall that I cried off half my makeup earlier.)

The Rain Forest was full of exotic and interesting animals. I liked the porcupine the most, although he was sleeping. There were some things you could touch too, like hedgehogs and a scorpion. Yes, you heard me correctly...a scorpion. I did NOT touch it, although it seemed fairly harmless. Still, you can never be too careful. Miranda on the other hand had no fear. Look at her.

She is holding a SCORPION!! I decided to touch the giant tortoise instead. He looked pretty vicious. You know, if he hadn't been sleeping.

We went on a couple more rides after that. The Pirate ride was the worst ride I have EVER been on. Hands down. Miranda said she could have held her breath through the whole ride since it wasn't very long. Most of the automated pirates inside were broken with hanging jaws or droopy heads. And the only scary thing was the loud buzzer noise that threatened to give you a headache. Lame. Two thumbs down.

The Giant Slide was more fun, but I totally lost to Tim. Look how far ahead he was.

I got to the bottom and mumbled something about the slide being really slow, and the lady told me I was in the slow lane. Sheesh, they should have a sign at the top.

The scones were yummy as always. We used the rest of our fair food dollars and stocked up on our way home. Good thing too, because I got lost going home and we might have all perished from famine if not for the scones. It actually wasn't too long of a detour, but once again, it was nice to be with relaxed people who were very nice about the scenic route and added time together. There was a really cool red sun going down on the horizon.

Oddly, there was one in the morning too. Pollution? Smoke? The Apocalypse? Who knows.

And then my trip was over. I did not get a picture with Dad. I should have taken a picture when I thought about it, but I forgot. But he was there, and I love him too. At the airport I wore my hair in a bun and they actually frisked my head. I'm sure it is because I look like a ninja and that is where we keep our throwing stars.

Tyler picked me up. What a sight for sore eyes. It is great to be with family, but oh so great to come back to family too. I am one spoiled girl.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Act Now!! Don't Delay!!

I've noticed that the mountains have a beautiful fall tinge to them. I headed out to the canyon to run 8 miles yesterday. That was some supreme torture. We (McKenzie and me) did not get out there until the afternoon, and we are morning runners. This was evident in the fact that the sun sucked all life out of us and left us like husks to crawl our way the last few miles. (Oh, and we were pushing her sweet little girl who was an angel and slept most of the way. But add stroller weight and that run was rigorous.)

Wait, I was talking about the canyons and the colors. My goodness...the COLORS!! So amazing. I decided that we should enjoy them as a family. And if you can ignore all the whining, complaining, arguing, noise, and general chaos that ensued from the backseat off and on, I would say it was a successful trip. And holy cow. The colors were amazing. Especially on the Sundance side of the mountain. I don't know the area very well. I just know that you can take the Alpine Loop from either the Provo or American Fork Canyon. The road just gets a tad narrow at parts. (Like freakishly small, and I realize that I have never been the driver before because I would remember being that nervous.)

But I would go again in a heartbeat and I think you should too. And you should go NOW. Fall happens in the canyons earlier than it happens around here. When you notice that your neighbor's trees are partaking in the Autumn festivities, it is too late to see the splendor of the mountains. They are kind of big overachievers.

I even grabbed some samples.

It involved a minor hike, several scrapes, a stowaway spider, and then many subsequent conversations about spiders the rest of the way home. (But don't worry long as you are wearing your seatbelt, spiders won't bother you. My kids believe anything.)

So, take a trip out to the canyon...soon.

You'll thank me.


I guess it depends on how good your kids are and the number of spiders that make it into your car.

But the colors.

Totally. Worth. IT.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Creating an Heirloom?

Hello. Remember me? Yeah, I have been busy and out of town. I have all these great pictures....I hope. I took a disposable camera with me to Washington and found out today that it takes a week to develop them. Hmmm...more reasons why I don't use those things normally. So, we'll just put my mini-vacation on hold for a moment.

And I have barely gotten myself organized since I came back. Man, five kids keep you hopping. But I didn't want to ignore my blog for too long, so you get some filler.

My mother gave me an embroidery piece a while back. It was so fun with many patterned squares, but I didn't know what to do with it. It sat around and the kids would pick it up occasionally and admire the different colors and patterns. I wanted to display it somehow.

So finally I took it in to be framed. It wasn't until later that I learned my grandmother made it. (I'm sure my mother mentioned this the first time, but sometimes I don't listen well.) I tell my kids stories about Grandma Pat every once in a while, so it is fun to have something she made in our house.

Now it hangs on the wall. I really like it.

And here is a detailed shot.

We don't have a lot of things from past generations, and I am happy to have this lovely piece.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Brigham City Temple

Yesterday, we had the great opportunity to take our family to walk through the soon to be dedicated Brigham City Temple. This was such a fabulous opportunity because the girls often hear of the temple, but they know they are not allowed inside until a certain age, so they were all very excited to hear they could go inside on this special occasion.

We went once before as a family, (to the Draper temple) but I'm sure it was lost on most of them, considering their ages. This time around, I know that June and Robyn will remember pieces of their experience.

It was a bit of a drive, but well worth it. When we got near, you could see the temple from the freeway.

We planned to eat dinner when we arrived, but we were running short on time, so we went straight to the buses that would take us to the temple. I wrote last time that the buses were their favorite part, but this time they were just a side bonus.

We didn't get any pictures before or during. They obviously don't allow photography inside. We watched a brief video and then waited in line as the crowds slowly progressed toward the entrance. Some things I would like to note:

The Costco game is always a favorite in large crowds. (And it is named such because I made it up at Costco one day.) We spent some time playing it to keep us busy in line. To play, someone picks something to find in the crowd. For example...find someone in a green skirt, or find someone with red shoes. You can make it as hard or easy as you like, but remember that the more difficult the object, the longer you will look and the easier it is for kids to become restless again. (I'm just saying that you probably shouldn't look for a checkered purse or someone equally rare.)

Another thing I want to remember is the white plastic booties they have you wear. They are a little itchy, and the girls were a tad bothered by them. Pearl in particular would stop every ten minutes or so and tug at her booties, hoping to rearrange them in a better position. Robyn even leaned in and whispered at one point, "Mom, when you come to the temple, do you always have to wear these booties?" I was happy to tell her they weren't normal attire. Everyone was happy to take them off. (Another note to self: People were sitting in a line to put the booties on you. You just lifted your feet and they slide them on. I made a Cinderella comment about them being a perfect fit and then told the lady that she had probably heard that dozens of times. She said it was the first reference to Cinderella she had heard the entire time. Seriously?!? I must be the only one living in my own personal fairy tale.)

The temple was amazing. It was a little busy keeping all five girls accounted for and quiet, but they did a good job, and I really think the older ones could feel the spirit. June even told me after that when she walked through the font room that the spirit flipped inside her and she was so excited to think that she could go there in just a couple years.

I personally love to see all the art they have chosen for the walls. I also love the details in the buildings, from light fixtures to ornate flooring.

After our tour, we stopped at the end for cookies. I remembered we took a family photo last time, so I thought that would be a good idea again. It wasn't exactly the same this time around.

I think part of the reason was because it was all in the underground parking garage. It just made for a very noisy atmosphere. We quickly departed and headed for the temple grounds.

We did see this impressive tile mural on the way out. We stopped to take a picture.

I should apologize now because we didn't have the wide angle lens, so everything is very up-close and personal, and nothing really fits, especially when you are standing by a large temple, but you will still get the idea.

The weather was perfect, and the sun was slowly setting. I love this picture. Pearl is standing by Robyn and you can barely see her peeking eyes. And Daisy is back with me, if you are wondering.

This is my favorite shot of the day, and Tyler took it. (He is not a bad photographer either.)

Nothing like the present:

I tried for another group photo. It wasn't meant to be, but you get the picture.

(I wish you could see Tyler's tie, because he was wearing the same one when he went to the Draper temple. Purely coincidence, but funny.)

I took some outside shots of the temple.

The girls did a mini photo-shoot by the fountain.

(June's bandaged hand is from some serious blisters from her school playground.)

Tyler eventually decided to walk back to get the car, so the girls and I crossed the street to the Tabernacle to wait.

I was finally far enough away to get a better shot.

It was such an amazing evening. We ended at a park where we ate our picnic dinner and then the mosquitoes ate us. We didn't stay too long on account of them.

I am so grateful for temples. I am thankful for the priesthood power that seals me to my family and the opportunity to bring temple blessings to those who have gone before. And I am very blessed to live somewhere where 14 beautiful temples are all within easy traveling distance.