Saturday, January 31, 2015

Back to Back Birthdays

It would be shameful if I let the month of January end without highlighting our birthdays. Granted, they aren't as exciting as the kids birthdays, but I hear we are getting wiser. (Ha ha, only a fool would believe that.)

My birthday is always first. (Can't help it.) Tyler spent time sequestered with the kids working on a project on the days preceding my birthday. It took them a few hours to finish whatever it was, so I was excited to see it.

I woke up early on my birthday to go to boot camp and saw this on the table. (To the sweetest mom, it says.)

When I got home, June had made me breakfast and everyone was awake and ready for me to enjoy my present.

Tyler said I wasn't supposed to get up early and see my gift. "What, the candy jar? It took you 2 hours to fill that thing?" Turns out there were designs etched into the glass that I hadn't seen because of the candy. Can you see the cute owl?

And the heart with 'Mom' inside?

It was a very sweet gift....they know me well.  In fact, even Robyn loaned me some socks for the day.

Naturally I had my buddy with me for the day. Pearl and I like a selfie now and then.

The only thing I had planned for my birthday was to find the headquarters for the Google Fiber trucks. I know this may sound strange. When I drop off Ivory at gymnastics three times a week, I see a lot of Google Fiber trucks going the same direction. I count how many I see each day and my record so far, was fifteen.

I thought that for my birthday, I would follow the trucks and then count them all in their den. (So to speak.) The girls were pretty hip on the idea. So we loaded in the car and began our search for Google Fiber Mecca, as I call it.

It didn't take us long to find a truck. (I see at least one every time we go to gymnastics.) We had bets on how far we would have to follow the truck, but it wasn't far. Less than two minutes on the trail, we came to GF Mecca.

There was a large gate that was closed as we coasted to a stop behind our prize. There was a phone number displayed on the gate to call to enter. I figured the guy in front of us would do that. In the meantime, I was worried that another truck would pull up behind us and trap us. Sure enough, another truck appeared, but he just went around.

When the gate finally opened, I wasn't sure if I should enter as well, but the girls were suddenly screaming, "Follow Him!" "Go mom!" "Get in there!" "Don't let them get away!!" So I gunned the car and followed them right into the compound.

(I would like to note that this was scary for me. I'm not really a rule breaker and I was pretty sure I was trespassing on private property.)

But oh...the trucks. They were everywhere. We stopped and asked someone if it was okay if we looked around for a minute. He said he would check with his supervisor. In the meantime, I let the kids out to look at the trucks. They were madly running around trying to find the lowest or highest number on the trucks.

This is, of course, when the supervisor came out and told us that we couldn't be there and he needed us to leave as rapidly as possible. (Thought so.)

Monkeys were gathered and we departed in haste, but we had found GF Mecca. I have no desire to return because I have some guilt associated with that place, but I'm happy to report that I smashed my record, counting more than 50 trucks.

It is early in the year and already I am doing questionable things. (Clearly not one year wiser.)

In the evening, I made myself some lemon-blueberry bread instead of a cake. (There were many offers of assistance, but I was fine doing it myself. After all, I didn't have to make breakfast, and June was making dinner as well.)

Thirty-six years under my belt. Not too shabby.

Now to the big man on campus. It is convenient that Tyler's birthday is five days after mine. I never forget it. (Although I'm pretty sure I wouldn't forget it no matter when it happened.)

Same kind of story as my birthday. We tend to have early mornings with present opening since no one wants to wait. Once Tyler was up we bombarded him with presents. Robyn had been doing some princess tracings. She did one for Dad with his favorite princess.

You need a little back story for this next gift. There is a gym at Tyler's work. In the past, he hasn't used it much, but a friend of his said that they should start lifting weights together. Brett said that he was going to make Tyler into Captain America. (I think this is in reference to the movie where Steve Rogers starts out as a skinny guy, but gets super buff---although admittedly not by normal methods.) Tyler has always had nice arms so I don't really think of him as scrawny, but he could probably add some muscle.

When they go and work out, Tyler calls it his Captain America time. You can imagine we took advantage of that for his birthday. First, the shirt, complete with muscles.

And then original art from me and the girls. (They did a great job helping me paint the Captain America shield, including stickers and mod podge.) Tyler seemed to like the finished product.

Other fun gifts included a book, written by Ivory. It was called the 'D' Book.

She supervised while Dad read it. It was pretty funny with lots of good D words and definitions.

Tyler's last gift was a set of new sheets. We have never had nice sheets before. We always buy sheets on sale or get the jersey knit kind that somehow stop fitting the mattress after a few washes. Now we have honest to goodness, 400 count, grown-up sheets. 'Bout time since we've been married 15 years.

Tyler's birthday was also celebrated with laser tag festivities, that can be seen again here.

We haven't gotten around to his 'cake' yet. He requested brownies, but we still had brownies left over from FHE on his birthday. It didn't make sense to make more, and I keep forgetting to make them now. His candle shot will have to be in a later post. But I will get it...mark my words.

And with that, I leave you. Happy February in an hour or so.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Reflecting on Life

I think I have finally figured out the different levels of Reflections. I think this is the order:


In the past we have only gone to the district level, and never any farther. We have gotten to the district level several times, but that is all. Well, this year, we had two kids go on to Region.

June's literature entry received an award.

As well as Ivory's song.

If you want to reflect again on their entries, go here.

Shortly after that evening, we received another invitation to the Region's award evening. (That was pretty fast judging.) Ivory's song had done well, but it hadn't moved on, but June's story got an award of excellence and moved on to State.

Here she is up on stage receiving her award.

And her name in the program. Pretty cool. Only two entries per division in each category continue on to State. And two more are honored.

Later at home I got a closer look at her certificate, medal, and chocolate bar. (Pretty sure the chocolate was June's favorite part.)

I'm really proud of her. I don't even know if there is a National level. I guess we just wait to hear at this point. But it doesn't change how honored I am to be the mother of my girls. I love to witness their creativity.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Christmas With the K's

Tyler's older brother is Kolby, who married Kathryn. They have three amazing boys, Kaysen, Hinckley, and K.J. (You may have noticed that Hinckley does not start with a 'K', but his first name is actually Kenneth so we count him right in there.) So, we often refer to them as the K's. (While Tyler's younger brother, J.R. and his wife Jami are fondly referred to as the J's.)

Since Barry (Tyler's Dad) has not been feeling up to as much company as of late, Kolby offered for us to come stay with him during our visit to Idaho. That way we could visit with Grandpa for a few hours at a time but not overwhelm him with the chaos we bring with our seven bodies. Of course that meant our seven bodies were taking up space in the K's lovely abode.

There couldn't be nicer hosts. Kaysen gave up his room for Tyler and me. Kolby made us breakfast each morning, and Kathryn painted everyone's nails. (She is a nail pro!!) Look how awesome these are...

I really get ahead of myself though. We went up to Idaho after Christmas. We took the gifts from relatives with us, except for one gift from Grandma that we didn't want to haul around. It happened to be for Ivory. She was surprised to get it early.

We needed to fill up some space on her wall, and this seemed to do the trick nicely.

Later, we all piled in the car and took off for the Northern Hinterlands. When we arrived, we stopped briefly at the Grandparent's abode to drop off the dog. (We figured the K's would have their hands full without an extra canine companion. Plus, Moxy knows the drill at Grandma's house considering her past, long-term stays.) Once we were there, gift opening had to happen.

Pearl is always on hand to help open a gift, or just offer positive support.

Daisy is playing with a trinket here. The girls love to admire Grandma's knick knacks and find the hidden chocolates around the room.

Primped and pretty.

Pearl found Pip.

Grandma gave gifts to the pets this year. (All the families have a dog.) I think she captured the true spirit of Moxy in this portrait.

June got trinkets of her own, including lots of earrings for the newly pierced lobes.

Robyn got a bucket-load of socks. (Maybe she will stop stealing mine.)

It is always exciting opening gifts at Grandma's. Each year we get something unique. This year Vicki gave us a painted rock with the baby Jesus in the manger. I told her I wanted the rest of the set in the following years. (She said "fat chance.") I'm not giving up yet.

I happened to wrap Tyler's gift from Grandma, so I could put whatever I wanted on the tag. He said it was about time it was officially announced.

*It says 'To My Favorite Son.' (Well, he is MY favorite, at least.)

Tyler got tools to tune pianos. I'm hoping he uses those sooner than later.

Eventually, we headed out for Kolby's place. Dinner was waiting (yum) and we always have a great time with them. Kathryn made this awesome candy ball with layers and layers of plastic wrap with pieces of candy hidden throughout. It was a blast trying to frantically unwrap to a treat before the person before you rolled doubles and took the ball away.

We spent the next day and a half in both homes, playing games, and enjoying the best company. We did unwrap gifts with the siblings, but I only have three pictures as proof. (Jack is the only thing proving we saw the J's. What can I say? Sometimes I have a camera, and sometimes I don't.)

We did manage to get a group shot of the fabulous K family before we left. I can't even tell you how much I love these guys.

Muscle men!! Seriously, those boys are so strong. They were showing off there pull-ups while we were there, and I was impressed. (Impressed that Ivory can do pull-ups too. Means I'm not wasting my money on gymnastics.)

We had one more stop at Grandma's on the way out, to pick up the dog. She talked us into helping her take down the tree. I really liked her red and white tree this year.

Pearl got all the flowers off the tree.

And then we rode for the border. Note to future self: It is very cold at the house when you have been gone for a couple days. In the future, call someone who has a key when you leave Idaho and tell them to turn on the heat. Then it won't be 36 degrees in your house when you get there. (I am not kidding.)

Tyler also had me take a picture to document how much stuff we manage to cram in the car. When we unload it seems to fill a room in an unpleasant sort of messy way.

Oh, and back to the freezing house...we all had to hunker down in Atlantis (basement). It was about fifteen degrees warmer than the rest of the house. The cozy fire was a bonus too unless you count Daisy putting her favorite blanket on top to warm it up and finding that melted blanket is not as fun to snuggle with. (This earned her a new blanket that seems to have cheered her up immensely. I'm sure the 'snoopy' will end up in future pictures.)

We sure love spending time with family in Idaho. Seeing these pictures again is very bitter sweet at the moment. Our nephew Hinckley, the handsome guy in the group picture to the right of Robyn was diagnosed with a brain tumor last weekend. After a very long surgery, the tumor is gone, but there is a long road of recovery ahead.

He is such a strong guy that I am very confident that he will have a prosperous life. There is still much to be discovered concerning his final condition, but I hope that years from now, one would look at him and say..."Can you believe that when he was 14, he had a brain tumor? You would never know looking at him." The only problem is that you only get to that point in time through a long journey.

He will never be the same person. Not because of possible brain damage that could be permanent but simply because he has crossed a line that not many of us cross. He will understand trials more deeply. He will understand people more accurately and know what they are dealing with. He will have to learn patience as so many naive people say stupid things because they have never been there. He will grow up faster than other boys his age and he will mature beyond men twice his senior. We are not all asked to cross these lines. Only one person ever crossed them all to understand our sorrows and suffering. But Hinckley will cross this particular line and never be the same. I already admire his bravery and pray for him and his family continually.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Outdated Photos (Photo Shoot 2014)

We love Fotofly. I was so happy with our family photos in 2013, that I signed us up again the next year.

And then I promptly never put them on the blog. (Can you use the word prompt with something you haven't done?)

Anyway, all the pictures are sitting there and of course we did grab one to use on the header. But the rest need to see the light of blog. You can tell they are outdated by the fact that two kids are missing glasses. And hair has changed on many of us. But who cares? It is always fun to look at pictures.

Sit back....get your scrolling finger ready....and go!

Phew. That is one fine looking family.