Sunday, September 28, 2014

Bucket Filling

I will admit that as a child, I did not look forward to General Conference. We had to dress up, go to the church, and sit there for hours at a time. And it was dark, so it didn't really help to bring something to do, because you couldn't really see it. I think I took a few naps back in those days.

Fast forward a decade or so, and General Conference weekend is one of my favorite, and I look forward to it with much anticipation. I love that they have the Women's Meeting the weekend before now, including all the women. What a great start to the spiritual outpouring. My bucket is already filling up quite nicely, and I expect to top it off next weekend.

I loved all the speakers this evening. Each had something that made me pause and think. I am always awed that these servants of the Lord can be inspired to know what we most need to hear.

Elder Uchtdorf gives great messages. I particularly liked this quote:

"Part of our challenge is, I think, that we imagine that God has all of his blessing locked in a huge cloud up in heaven, refusing to give them to us unless we comply with some strict paternalistic requirements he has set up. 

But the commandments aren't like that at all.

In reality, Heavenly Father is constantly raining blessings upon us. It is our fear, doubt, and sin, that like an umbrella, block these blessings from reaching us. His commandments are the loving instructions and the divine help for us to close the umbrella so that we can receive the shower of heavenly blessings."

This seemed very fitting since it rained all day. As we left the meeting and faced the deluge once again, I happily ran out into the downpour and said, "Kids, forget the umbrellas, let the blessings rain down upon you." Everyone seemed less hesitant. It is amazing what a little perspective can do. (Not that I recommend standing in the rain for hours, but I think the message got through to the kids. Ivory was even telling Tyler the umbrella story before she went to bed. Spiritually fed...check.)

Then we have a little tradition (started last time) to go out for dessert. We changed it up this time and went to The Chocolate. (Physically fed...check.) Delicious, and we brought an extra friend along. Caroline came with us, which made up for the loss of Esther, who went to a birthday party. I didn't remember to take a picture until after Caroline and Robyn left. (Classic.) But here you have the rest of our group.

And I took a picture of myself after I got home. You know, since I like to remember I partook in the evening as well.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Bird Feeder

I really need to get my hummingbird feeder fixed, because those are the best birds to watch, but in the interim, Pearl and Dad picked up a bell seed bird feeder at the store and brought it home.

At first, the birds didn't know where it was or couldn't be bothered with it. Then they seemed to figure it out and it slowly disappeared. I finally took pictures when they had worked their way through most of the top.

One little bird in particular liked to fly from the feeder to the edge of the window, almost as if he wanted to come inside. I should have named him. He came back often.

Then one day, the feeder looked like this.

Oops. I texted Tyler feeling very much like a Dr. Seuss book: Bell fell.

We might get another one. The kids loved seeing the birds out there. Or maybe I will actually fix the hummingbird feeder. Of course, we are kind of going into the wrong season for hummingbirds.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Daisy's 6 Year Gallery

Out of all the kids, it seems that Daisy's birthday pictures sometimes slide back a month or two. Maybe it is because the summer is busy and things get put off. There are a dozen possible reasons, but I'm almost positive this year it was because of the broken camera. It is pretty hard to take pictures without a camera. And even after I got another camera, I still wasn't as comfortable using it. Then school started, yada, yada, yada.

You get the picture. There is always something going on. But without further ado, I give you Daisy's six year (and two months) pictures. She is such a delight in our family. I adore my little 'Cakes.'

Love that smile. She can brighten the room.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Why AARRRRRR We Standing in This Line??

For any of you ignorant of the extremely random holidays, Talk Like A Pirate Day was on Friday. Trust me, I was completely happy to let this holiday slide with no notice whatsoever, but then Hannah mentioned in carpool that we should all dress up and stop by to get donuts for snack after school. (Krispy Kreme gives a free dozen to anyone dressed with three pirate accessories. No joke.)

My first instinct was still to say NO because I was still sick. (Had been since Tuesday night) but there is only ONE Talk Like A Pirate Day and I am a huge sucker for making carpool kids happy. June was excited and she got out all the pirate stuff and dressed up everyone who would be in the car after school, namely me and Pearl. Here are my darling fierce pirates ready for the day.

Sick me, actually bothered to get ready for the day. You can't even tell that I was hacking up a lung half the day.

We picked up pirates at school and made our way to the Krispy Kreme. Let's see if I can keep count of the chaos.

Dropped off three kids to wait in humongous line. (Dozen Box Count: 3)

Picked up three kids (not in pirate attire) at home and went with everyone to wait in line. (Dozen Box Count: 4)

Had to leave to take Ivory to gymnastics, but I took off all my pirate paraphernalia and dressed Robyn as I left. (Dozen Box Count: 4)

Hannah's mom called me and said she just got in line. I warned her that we had already been waiting 45 minutes and had a fair bit to go. (Said guiltily since I wasn't even in line at the time.) She asked if she could leave her pirate children with the kids in line. Sure, the more the merrier. (Dozen Box Count: 6)

I raced frantically back to the donut shop. In the meantime, June was rearranging extra accessories to upgrade Daisy to pirate status. (Dozen Box Count: 7)

Hannah's mom met me in the parking lot by chance and gave me her pirate clothing and I raced inside and joined the kids just as they reached the front (1 hour and 30 minutes later). (Dozen Box Count: 8)

In all, Cazier's left with 5 dozen boxes and Keen's with 3 dozen. We happily shared with our neighbors and all ate about three apiece. I'm still not sure if it was worth it. But the pirates seemed to be happy with their booty.

p.s. It was so HOT while we waited outside for the first 45 minutes. I could feel sweat trickling down my back. Unpleasant.

p.p.s. This picture was taken before Robyn and Daisy were piratified.

p.p.p.s. Although the experience was a bit long, we did meet some nice people in front and behind us in line. I saved one lady's place while she moved her car so it wouldn't be towed and she was extra nice to keep an eye on my gang while I traipsed all over town. It is the least a bunch of pirates can do for each other. Arrrr.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Saturday Chores

The kids are getting older, and whereas I wouldn't say they are a well-oiled machine yet, they are running on at least three solid cylinders. They mostly do their weekly chores, and on the weekend (when I bust out the extra chores) they put their nose to the grindstone and get things done. (I realize I may be painting this in slightly rosier colors than actuality. There is some whining and plenty of reminding on my part to keep the train chugging along.)

Tyler even allows me to assign him some chores. There is his standard chore: The lawn. It does not fall under my jurisdiction. He is pretty great at breathing in all the toxic fumes and allergens. It seems that other family members are also not as affected.

Pearl seems to think a fresh mowed lawn is like new carpet. 

I can't even imagine getting my nose that close to the grass. 

The kids are even getting to the point that they can get things done with minimal supervision. For instance, last Saturday, I may have gone off to the Farmer's Market in SLC. It was so fun. I highly recommend checking it out if you live within a reasonable distance. I think it is open every Saturday morning from 8-1pm, June through October. There are tons of samples. I sampled peaches, watermelon, popcorn, almonds, olive oil, brazilian bread, goat cheese, apple cider, and plenty more that I can't remember. Everything was so fresh and amazing. Peaches were the hot item. I think I sampled at least six different types of peaches. (All delicious I might add.) Oh, I took a picture of the almonds. Why? Not really sure. They were just really good.

Also, on the other side of the market, there was a whole arts and craft fair going on. Lots of art and jewelry. Saw this cute glass turtle. Possibility for a birthday coming up.

The only other picture I took was of this awesome owl.

His name is Pumpkin and right after I took the picture, the guy said something about donating if you take a picture. Oops. I didn't donate, but maybe he meant if I took a picture WITH the owl. I think that is what he said and I'm not in that picture....well, whatever, I seem to be sleeping okay at night. 

It was a great morning, with raspberries for everyone when I got home. After all, I had to reward them for doing their chores.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

When I Was a Kid, We Blamed the Snootchie-Bootchie

Do things disappear in your house? And I'm not counting socks, because they have their own personal black hole. Random things seem to go missing in my domain. I am torn between three possibilities for why this happens.


1) I may accidentally put an object somewhere sneaky, thinking that I would never forget where it is, when in fact, that is probably the stupidest thing I could do with my memory issues.

2) There are indeed sinister forces at work, including but not limited to leprechauns, aliens, chupacapra, or pixies.

3) Kids. Need I say more?

I would gladly blame the kids every time, but I am sadly aware of my tendency to put things down in odd places. And of course, Tyler is a wild card, because he also hides things from the kids and that sometimes translates into hiding them from me.

Here is a recent example: Our camera charger went missing. This is not an object that is needed frequently, but when you need it, there isn't really a substitute. I called Tyler since I think he was the last one to charge the battery. I checked all the usual spots. I even checked where it should be. (Nothing is as funny as never checking where it should be because you figure you wouldn't have put it back.) It wasn't anywhere.

I figured it would show up eventually. It didn't.

Finally, we bought another battery and charger; giving in to the inevitable.

Which means that we found it just a few days later. Naturally.

Tyler was getting the griddle out, which resides under the oven. We use the griddle all the time, but there are a couple things underneath that are rarely pulled out. (I think a roasting pan and maybe a pizza stone.) He stopped for a minute and then pulled out the camera charger. Ha ha. One of the kids must have thought it was plug for the griddle. I don't think they look that similar, but I am not a kid.

It is not looking good for the kids. Number three for reasons things go missing just got bumped up on my list. I'm not ruling out the others though...

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Hidden Numbers

June had a project this month where she had to find a number in nature. The kids were ordered alphabetically and given their number in line. June had number six. (Yeah for last names early in the alphabet. In case you were wondering, my kids usually fall around sixth or seventh in their class. I only know this because everyone sat down and counted their class pictures one time. The closest we got to the beginning was five. Lots of A and B last names out there.)

We went and searched around the neighborhood. It is surprising what you can find when you are looking for it. These are our favorites. (Can you see them all?)

This is my favorite. June has taken this one earlier and I couldn't even see the six at first. She has a knack. (I just helped find the easy ones.)

Ooh, now that I think about it, I wish I could have found one of the zillion snail shells around the house. Don't you think there would be a six in it? Amazing what is built into the world.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


We have a Wii and like most fascinating toys, we forget we have it for months at a time. And then someone rediscovers it and there is a frenzy of Mario Cart and Wii Fit, and the making of many Miis. (I mean hundreds. That keeps them busy for hours at a time.) On Wii Fit there is a silly penguin game where a penguin stands on a block of ice and you shift your balance from one foot to the other in order to make him slide back and forth on the ice. Your goal is to make the penguin catch the fish that jump up on the sides of the ice, so you have to time your balance correctly.

I officially stink at this game. I can never get the penguin to slide to the right side when there is fish there. Most of the time he is just randomly sliding back and forth and if a fish gets in the way, bonus. Needless to say, I have not set any records in this particular game. I don't think my name is even in the top ten slots. This just reminds me that I sometimes have a very hard time with balance. I seem to throw myself to one side, but with too much momentum and it takes me a lot longer to get back to the other side of things, or even back to my middle balance.

I thought school would even things out for me. School sits very squarely on my teeter totter, not to be ignored. And with the majority of the kids gone for half the day, you would think that the rest of my time would fall into a nice routine, and in a way it has. In other ways, it hasn't at all. Look at my recent blogging record, 2 for 14 in the last 2 weeks. Some things are going swimmingly. Others things have been abandoned almost entirely. I am like that stupid penguin: I slide to one side and maybe even catch a fish, but I am missing all the fish on the other side. It seems to be a challenge that I get to work on for a while longer; most likely the rest of my life.

So, I have a goal to blog three times a week. Hopefully on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. This being Wednesday, you can already see how well I am doing this week. Baby steps. And sadly, I don't have much to blog, because I haven't picked up the camera in weeks. So, I guess taking more pictures is included in that goal.

Here is a quick recap since school started. That first week of school, I went to Education Week. Oh my word! It was amazing. Where have you been all my life Education Week?? It was crazy getting kids to school, and Pearl out the door to play at a friends and then myself over to campus. I parked in the same spot and hiked up the huge stairs by the RB twice a day. (It was a good workout.) I would leave in the afternoon so I could be home before kids got off the bus. We would have snacks, and I would hear about their day and then around 5, I would leave again to attend classes until 9:30 pm. Then the next morning, we would do it all over again. Needless to say, it wouldn't have happened at all if I didn't have such a supportive husband and wonderful friends.

Lucky me, I got to attend with one of my wonderful friends. We picked classes we were both interested in and met up as often as we could. Every morning we started in Brad Wilcox's class on the Atonement. Besides being a fabulous class, it is always nice to see this face in the morning.

I had my awful burn the whole week. Although after the first day it didn't hurt, it still looked gross and the blisters it created with plenty of fluid underneath were quite disgusting. I could move my arm back and forth and watch the fluid slosh from side to side. Eww. I think this is the only picture I got of it.

It ended up popping on Thursday, and has been healing nicely ever since. It is almost gone at this point, but there is still a thumb sized section that is still sensitive to the touch. Blasted burn...I don't recommend them. (I do recommend having great friends who give you wonderful concoctions to heal your wound. Megan, a neighbor, gave me something with lavendar, aloe, and coconut oil. It was magical.)

Other things that happened that first week--Ivory got sick. Yep, she went to one day of school and then stayed home the next three. As a good mother, I let her stay home and then I continued to go to Education Week. Luckily, Tyler would come home every day from work to have lunch with her and we kept in constant communication through the computer/phone. She only had a cold. I would never have left her alone puking. Except that one time.... when I did.

Daisy and Pearl got a cough somewhere along the way and Daisy missed some school. June was out yesterday (on picture day, no less). Robyn has felt terrible off and on, but I think in her case it might be allergies, so we have kept sending her to school. (Lucky her.) It has been a great start to the school year, but I'm not sure I expected much less since germs are a blessing you can count on at when you combine hundreds of kids.

The munchkins are settling in well. They all like their teachers, and each seems to have friends they can play with. I think Ivory and Daisy often meet up on the playground. That is neat. I don't remember having the opportunity to play with my sister during recess.

Plenty of other stuff has happened along the way. I have just been running so fast and so hard that it has slid by, almost in a fog. I hope I can figure out a good way to start incorporating our adventures back in. This blog is my lifeline to my memory.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Fete Day - Eeyore Style

Fete Day has a long and glorious history. We began the holiday back in 2005 and we have been going strong ever since. (Unless you count 2009.) Wow, next year will be our ten year anniversary. Crazy. We have been through every color of the rainbow, and some that aren't in the rainbow. But we hadn't done grey. Grey was going to be in 2009. (That was how I was feeling that summer.) I'm actually glad we saved it for another year because although we all looked kind of depressed, we had a roarin' good time.

We were getting everything ready pre-party and Tyler tried something new in the water. You have heard of lemon water, and maybe cucumber or strawberry water, but have you seen peach water?? It didn't actually taste that peachy.

Our guests started arriving and we were one couple short. They were busy making the coolest shirts ever. Check these out. (Drew and Jessica - You rock!) We have had some creative apparel, but no one has ever made a Fete Day shirt before.

Our activity this year was a bunch of fun group party games. We started off with the popcorn toss. Everyone was matched up with a random partner and they had a minute to throw popcorn into their partner's mouth. I think Drew/Ivory tied with Me/Daisy for 6 pieces when time was called. We asked if anyone got higher and one team got 25!! WHAT?!? After watching them, we had a pretty good idea how they managed it. Check out the long arm reach in the back there.

We had some pretty competitive teams. Look at Matt going for that popcorn. I'm not sure if he caught it but I like to think he did.

Lynn is golden with that catch. I don't think she could miss.

Then we came inside and divided into two large teams to play spoons. We didn't get any pictures until the end when Robyn and I faced off from our respective teams. (I won. It is possible that I am a bit competitive too.)

We played a game called Electricity as well with hand squeezing and a coin that looked like both sides were heads. (Stupid buffalo.)

Then we played a game called Three Deep. Each person is given a slip of paper with a word on it and a letter (B for bottom, M for middle, or T for top). When the signal is given everyone mingles and tries to find two other people with words in a similar theme. (For instance, if you have Snow White, you may be looking for Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty.) Here is everyone ready to go.

The mingling portion tends to get really loud. Everyone is yelling trying to be heard above the din. It is a miracle anyone finds their team.

When three people find each other (assuming they match up), they must quickly sit down. Here is where the letter comes into play. If they have a B, they sit on the bottom, M in the middle, and T on top until they are sitting 'Three Deep.' Like Matt and Lynn who are squishing Abby on the couch over there.

The last team to sit down is out, and you play again, eliminating a team each time until only three people are standing, or I guess, sitting. Here you see three lonely kids who didn't quite match up and sit down in time.

It was riotously fun. Daisy was not a fan. I think she didn't like the loud noise, because I found her like this later.

After Three Deep, we sat down to exchange gifts. Oh, but I pulled out the cake to soften just a tad before consumption. This year our ice cream cake was different. It had layers of fudge, graham cracker, and ice cream, but no actual cake. It was a Martha Stewart recipe, and a little tricky to put together.

The gift exchange was really fun. When is it not fun to receive a gift? But it is interesting to see what people come up with when confined to a certain color.

Then we devoured the cake. (One of my favorites so far.) It sliced into exactly the right amount of pieces, so there wasn't a bite left.

Although that didn't stop June from licking the last drops.

And although we weren't that colorful, it was a great group. Smile, like you mean it.

Okay, now be silly.

We should have made an Eeyore face, but I didn't think of it. Happy Fete Day everyone!