Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Our Christmas Letter

If you are like my husband, you think Christmas letters are the ultimate in narcissism. If you are like me, you truly enjoy hearing a little harmless bragging of friends. So for the first group, do what you normally do, ignore the post, just skim down to see the pictures, and have yourself a merry little Christmas!!! The second group, read on....

We have had a wonderful, stable year. No houses being built, sold, bought, or given up. Only one auto purchase. No businesses being begun or left or teetering on the brink. We have learned many a lesson from recent years and are extremely grateful for what we have. Here is where we've been the past year:
Hinckley was baptized in April. His milestones are always a little difficult for his old mom, but full of joy still. He is a normal 8 year old boy, who tries as best as he can. I love that about him. He struggles and he learns and grows in capacity. Of all my children, he challenges me most in my parenting skills and I appreciate that. Hinckley loves to make good choices, be an example, and have responsibility, which makes him so perfectly placed as our oldest child. He loves to laugh more than anything and we love to hear him. He is currently involved in wrestling, where he works hard and is learning confidence as he increases in skill. He likes school--mostly the fun stuff, you know, lunch and recess and friends, which makes us happy that he is so well-adjusted.

Halle is going for the Miss Perfect crown. I had to give it up, see, when I married and became Mrs. Perfect. She is happy, polite, and a good student. First grade has been great because she gets to be at school all day long with friends and adoring teachers who hand out candy. Candy and snuggles are her fuel, her air, her reason for being. If you see Halle, give her a hug, you will make her day and be her new favorite. Candy works too, but mom prefers the hug route. Halle is also a regular girl, prone to fits of whining and overwhelming emotion, but I don't know what that's about, never having gone through it myself. She recently began gymnastics, and if there were a stronger word than adores, I would use it here: She ADORES it.

Ava. Oh my. This little girl of mine. Where did she come from? She's vivacious, spunky, a bit deficient in the attention department, squirmy, and completely loveable. I guess certain genes skip generations. She is a mystery to me and definitely adds a special dynamic to our family. Everyone is her friend which has put me in some uncomfortable situations, but I need to be uncomfortable sometimes, right? Ava is in preschool, and although she loves it, likes just as well to stay at home and play with Tommy, her little compadre. She doesn't like the hugs so much although her little body was just made to hug, but she will let you scratch her arms as long as you don't try to snuggle too much while doing it. Not that I do that.

My baby Tommy keeps growing and I am just not cool with that. Seriously, what do I do? He thinks he's a big boy and resists my efforts to keep him curled up in my lap while singing lullabies in the rocking chair all day long. I'm at a loss. Two years old is not old enough to abandon infancy in my opinion. Tommy is best buddies with Ava and sounds like her little clone. He walks around singing "Jacob! Jacob and sons! Aa-aa-aa-aaaah!" from "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat", which is their song du jour (du month). He imitates her tantrums, her drama, her love of showtunes, her everything. When Ava is at school, and the second fiddle gets some attention, he likes going to Target and Costco (who doesn't?) where I bribe him with hot dogs to love me. I mean, what I meant to say is, I get us hot dogs because we are hungry and it is lunch time. He absolutely loves going to nursery at church, loves to take naps, and loves to get his hair cut.

Darron has has a good year. His business has settled down and he has recently begun to have some more flexibility again in spending family time with us. He has a stellar staff that he can trust to manage things well if he is away, for which I am most grateful. He has had two callings in church that have helped him grow and expand as a person, widened his perspective, and deepened his love for and testimony of our Savior, Jesus Christ. He has become more conscientious as a father and husband and we all love him so much for it. One of his best qualities is his desire to be better. He is an inspiration to me. His current hobbies include wrestling (now that Hinckley is involved), the smoking of meats, eating sushi with me, and flag football.

I, too, have had a wonderful year. I never thought I could be so busy, and I may not be handling it perfectly, but I am handling it. Just don't expect me to remember anything you tell me. Or to be somewhere. Or do something. I feel like I have grown as a parent and a wife and a person. My church calling, too, has forced me to grow and be way out of my comfort zone, but I am grateful for the push. My blessings are great, are real, and are humbling. I have felt the love and presence of my Heavenly Father this year and feel like we have become closer. I am grateful for the stability our family has experienced and the wisdom we have gained. I don't know what the Lord has in store for our family next year, but I feel better equipped to deal with it, blessing or trial, than I was last year.

Our love and best wishes to all of you, our loved ones, this Christmas Season. I hope you feel the love of our Savior in your lives, that you allow Him to enter your heart and fill you with joy. We love and appreciate all of you in our lives, past or present, for what you have added to them. May you have a wonderful new year filled with blessings and peace. We love you!

Darron (not pictured), Heather (camera shy), Hinckley, Halle, Ava, and Thomas

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

In Which I Did Not Learn My Lesson

Alright alright, I fixed it! It still needs a little tweaking (around the ears and up top) and I am just resigned to the fact that it ages me a few years. So now I'm 36. Could be worse. Of course I haven't had to face it first thing in the morning yet either....hmm...

Here is where I got my inspiration:
The lovely Kris Kardashian-Jenner. This could be me in a few months. I love that it is a versatile look. I get bored wearing my hair the same way for a long time. If you didn't know that already. Plus her eye makeup is so nice.
Mrs. Beckham's is shorter and absolutely adorable, but for some reason I am never comfortable with short short bangs. I have issues with my forehead. Some have problems with their mothers, mine are with my forehead. It's complicated. But isn't she darling?

See the thing is, I just didn't go all the way. I couldn't commit to shaving my temples. And I think therein lay the problem.

Monday, December 14, 2009

What Would Anne Do? or in other words, I Have An Announcement to Make

I'll give you a hint. This is what it looks like in the morning.

And frankly, there's not much improvement during the day.

(Clearly taken before I had a chance to conceal and pluck.)

I did it finally. I gave myself a really really bad haircut 4 weeks ago. I'm not saying the others were perfect, or even great, but they were liveable. This one is just dreadful. All out dreadful. It looks like a wig, a bad sixties wig. Remember Hayley Mills in "The Parent Trap"?

The Susan look. Picture it in brown and you have me. I'm not posting a photo of it done and styled because I don't want to hear any false compliments. You all are too nice. My friends would tell me I looked great if I went back to my Mowgli bowl cut 2nd grade roots. Which is not completely unlike my current look, come to think of it.

And also I am doing penance. Because one of the first thoughts that came through my head after the foul deed was done was "What would Anne Shirley do?" And that is to look myself in the mirror everytime I come into the bathroom to remind myself how ugly I am. Of course, I am talking about the Anne Shirley of the book, who gets a scarecrow cut after she dyes her hair green, not the Anne Shirley of the movie, who gets a cute little bob. I am six months and a good licensed cosmetologist away from a cute little bob.

But such is life. At age 20, this would have devastated me. So I have to keep my perspective. I have a lot less pride at 33. I mean, I have my pride, but it doesn't keep me in the house under my covers like maybe it should. So in another month or so, I will allow myself to be seen and photographed, and who knows... maybe even cut and styled by a professional.

Other happenings, because life has unnaccountably gone on since the Great Hair Debaucle of 2009:

We had a fun trip to the mall to see Santa. Trademarked Santa. You know, the one who doesn't allow you to take pictures of him with your own camera because He wants you to buy a package for $29.95 that includes 2 8x10s, 4 5x7s, 16 3x5s, and 132 wallets? Yeah, that one. So here are the kids BEFORE we got to the jolly old licensed elf...

Tommy asked for a blue truck. Ava, for makeup people (go ahead and ask. The answer won't make any sense either). Halle, for a Bratz doll. (me, after: I thought you wanted one of those Liv dolls, not a Bratz. her: I do, but I didn't think he would know what it was. Ahh, the faith of children). Hinckley (and I quote), a Thames and Kosmos Dangerous Book for Boys Classic Chemistry set. With carbine-action two-hundred shot range.

Will Santa deliver? That remains to be seen. They certainly look like they would be on the nice list. A lesser mother might be tempted to point out that looks can be oh so deceiving. But I am not a lesser mother. I rock, folks. You would too if you looked like me.

Can ya dig it, babay?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A Resolution and Some Fun

If you know me very well, you may know my feelings about living in Utah. I like it. Really. I know that sounded like a setup for a wisecrack, but I really have grown to love living here. I moved out here from sunny (foggy, muggy) central California after high school to attend BYU, got married along the way (somewhere between Baker and Barstow) and have been here ever since. Fifteen years ago, my friends.

Before I moved here I was of course, like any self-respecting "non-Utah Mormon" completely and superciliously prejudiced towards Utahns. Believing and passing along Mormon lore and gossip like it was the latest Ensign edition. Next to canon. And being from California certainly didn't help things. Californians, along with New Englanders, are born with a sense of superiority, which just further intensifies the longer you live there. Not that there's anything wrong with that. If there is anyone I haven't so far insulted, hang on, I'm getting there.

Over the past 15 years, I have come to terms with my Utah issues and love being here. I think there are benefits and challenges to living anywhere and we just try to take advantage of the benefits. Our kids' school alone is one reason we would never want to leave. There is nothing to compare to it anywhere in the world and we are so grateful we get to experience it. But that's fuel for another post. There is one thing about Utah that really irritates me. Maybe not irritates as much as makes me a little sad. I was talking to a friend the other day about how she likes going out of state when she's pregnant because they--strangers-- make such a big fuss over her. People offer completely unneeded assistance, hold doors, make special accomodations, etc. How absolutely lovely. Now you all know how I feel about pregnancy. I LOVE it. On me and on others. And here in Utah, you are 92 % of the time within 10 yards of at least 34 pregnant women. And there is a 85 % chance that you yourself are also in the baby way. Which tends to dilute its uniqueness. As well as the assistance and recognition you receive from others. Not necessarily because you need it, but because you deserve respect for carrying out such a special task that means everything to our human race. AND because you are beautiful. Beautiful people should always get special treatment. I think it was Darwin who said that.

And it isn't just the pregnancy thing. I love visiting my parents in California because without a doubt, as soon as I cross the border out of Utah, people will start commenting on me and my family. "Oh, they are so beautiful, are they all yours?" (no one asks that in Utah, see) And when I answer yes.... "FOUR children! How amazing/brilliant/lucky/young you are! And you look so great! How do you manage that, you must be so busy." And I bashfully admit that I don't work, but that I am a full-time mom and I get back... "Good for you. That is the best thing you can be doing!" I mean for real! Strangers are really nice to moms and pregnant women outside of Utah. Supportive, helpful, complimentary, supernice. And my question is, why are we not the same way here? The answer is of course so obvious, because we are just too darn busy with our own mess of kids or grandkids to notice someone else's. But this is a sad sad excuse.

So here is my latest resolution. I am going to take notice of other people with children. I am going to say nice things and be helpful and make them feel great because they deserve to feel like they are doing something really amazing and important, even if most people around them are doing the exact same thing.

Now I know I have just added potential further ammunition to the anti-Utah arsenals some of you may be stockpiling. So be it. We totally deserve it on this one. Just be gentle, is all I ask.

And just for fun, here is my top 5 list of Utah Tall Tales - things that you persist in believing about us:

1. Utahns are 2 years behind in fashion and 9 in hairstyles. I would deny this if I could, but just for the record, whenever I go anywhere out of state, I get complimented on my Utah hair. It seems women of all geographies hunger for a little more volume. Bouffants Without Borders. I think it could do very well. I don't think it is as much as being behind, as willfully setting our foot down. We've found what works for us and we are sticking with it. Would that you could be so bold.

2. We are the land of multi-level marketing. There will be no denial, only a massive effort to pull you down with us. We may start the ideas, but you all go to the parties, too. I know this to be true. My mom's mailbox is always overflowing with invites.

3. We have obnoxious accents. So do you. See, it all depends on your point of view. Oh and by the by, I spent the first eight years of my life here listening for people to call it "American Fawrk" and was bitterly disappointed. Although I did once ask a person who grew up in Lehi which southern state she was from.

4. If you move to Utah, you have 2 years to get a) a full-size SUV and b) a boob job. I'm pretty sure this is completely true.

5. Utah Mormons are totally different from non-Utah Mormons. And so deserve your scorn. In my humble experience, the makeup in my wards are generally half and half. Half Utah native/ half not. And adherence to the above "Tall Tales" is no indicator of someone's pedigree. So there.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Halloween Fun

Gotta get these up quick for my mom, before Halloween is too far past.

Here's Darth! Could be any little boy behind the storebought (Ebay bought) mask

But the eyes give it away.

Halle is thrilled to be wearing makeup, but manages to remain in character.

Little Pocahontas
Here it is... the big homemade skefuffle. She is a white HORSE, not a pony, for those who may have asked
And very happy to be
Practicing for senior portraits...

I thought Tommy would be nuts about his costume. He loves trains, loves to sing about the "engine driver pulling the lttle throttle", but he kept trying to trade this cap out for his BYU baseball hat. You can imagine how Darron felt about that. So it took awhile to get a smile.

But I finally fell upon the age old ruse "What are you going to get tonight?"

"Are you going to eat lots of candy?"

Getting set

Let's go!

Much love from us to you!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Make It Work, People

I do it every year. No, that's not right, I do it every other year, because even I am not that stupid that often. Intermittent stupidity, that's what I have.

I don't know if it's in my genetic makeup. I'd like to blame it on genes, but I may have used up that excuse on too many other things, like my continual desire to change my haircolor or my inexplicable aversion to team sports. This one may just be me.

Here's the underlying problem. I am 100 percent, utterly confident in my ability to do anything. Anything, you name it. Figure out instructions, power tools, math problems. Fix a toilet, a roof, grammatical errors. Build a shed. Sail a boat. Cut hair. Assemble a swingset. Grow a garden. As long as it does not involve making phone calls, I can do it. At least, that's what my inner voice tells me. And that inner voice calls to me each year come September..... Heather (she calls in her siren voice) should sew your children's Halloween costumes....that's right, sew's not that hard, you can do it...imagine how cool they will be....those storebought ones are so ugly and'll have so much fun and the kids will really appreciate it....they'll think you're the best mom ever...the best mom ever...the best mom ever...

And every other year I am smart enough to smack myself in the head so that my inner voice will shut up.

But then another year goes by and the frustration and overwhelm and lost hours of sleep fade into the lore of ancient fuzzy memories that seem so sweet in retrospect and then Boom! I'm pregnant again. Whoops! Same nostalgia, different outcome. Where was I going with this? Oh yeah, Boom! I'm crouched over my sewing machine with my hands gnarled and stiffened from gripping the seam ripper, my eyes bloodshot and red-rimmed and staring in hopeless frustration at piles and piles of little used up bits of fabric and thread and trim as the clock ticking on the wall grows louder and louder and my temper grows shorter and shorter and my children get hungrier and hungrier and I swear to myself one more time that I will never. Again.

See the problem is, although I have complete confidence in my abilities, I don't actually (air quotes) "know how" to sew. Or any of those things listed up there, actually. My mom tried to do her duty in passing on her sewing knowledge. I actually "made" two "dresses" during my preteen years. A little blue and white sailor number, the inspiration for which has completely abandoned me. Pollyanna, perhaps? An old Gene Kelly movie? I don't recall sailor dresses being popular in the late eighties, but who knows. The other was a floral cotton sleeveless drop-waist tea-length dress with (wait for it) doilies sewn to the pockets. Mom, remember that one? We ate lunch at that Nut House place in Oakhurst ( that a town?) that was an old house/restaurant/shop that was all shabby before it was chic and they had this dress on display and I loved it and you thought that it was your big opportunity. To teach me something of value. And then I kicked and screamed and pouted and frumped and tried with all my adolescent might to make you rue the day you tried to teach me to sew. Did it work? Did you rue that day, Mom? I think there was a steady stream of rue flowing through our house for a good number of years. Ah, memories.

So I can sew a straight (ish) line. Wind a bobbin. Thread a needle. Whatever. But just where did I get the idea that I could go all Project Runway and whip up the elaborate costumes envisioned in my head? No pattern (who needs it?!) no skills (how hard could it be? I went to college, I can figure it out) nothin' but the sense I was born with to see me through. And lots and lots of candy. Although I've sworn off, or at least down, for the time being, so that's a real handicap. And sad.

It always starts out so good. A month before Halloween. I'm drawing patterns and doing muslin mock-ups and basting and draping and it's all so Fashion Institute of Technology I could just wrap myself in my smug little fantasy and quit my day job. Then I hit trouble. Followed shortly by The Wall. A small problem, involving seam removal, new cutouts, and two broken needles, snowballs rapidly into a meltdown of my entire concept and a shaking of my self-confidence and a flood of memories of "the last time". It is not pretty, dear readers, not pretty at all. Remember the ghost outfit that made my sweet 5 year old look like a klan member? The princess dress that required my 3 year old to lose 2 pounds before I could do up the back? The cowboy chaps that had to be stapled on to keep from falling off? What am I doing? What was I thinking? (Insert smallish mental breakdown)

So we close the curtain on our little vignette and allow our heroine to regain her inner strength and resolve. But it just doesn't happen. She postpones. And procrastinates. And mulls. Rues even. But doesn't sew much. There's a whole month until Halloween, what's the rush? Well here leads to there and all of a sudden it is two days until Halloween and she realizes that her daughter's preschool program is slated for the day before Halloween, which actually gives her only one day and she has to start sewing at this very second or her innocent and unsuspecting daughter will be going as her big brother. If big brother has any clean shirts, that is.

A big frenzy ensues, as you may imagine, a big messy frenzy, with fur and feathers and yarn and glue and spangles flying. And from it emerges a costume. A so-so, serviceable costume that if I'm lucky, looks ok from 10 feet back, and if I'm real lucky, stays on while they stand still for pictures, and if I'm really really lucky.... actually, I've never experienced really really, so I can't imagine what it might entail. Flying or invisibility, maybe? Gee! But I've also never sent them down the catwalk--I mean out the door-- naked, or with last year's costume on, although I have come very very close. And they always seem to be happy. But they're kids and its Halloween, so I can't take the credit there. Somehow there always seems to be a Halloween miracle, things get wearable in the nick of time, and I think it is that lack of showtime disaster that keeps me thinking I can do it again. What else could it be? Is that what it will take to teach me a lesson I will never forget?

You know what it is? I think you might. And I hesitate to say it because my inner voice will have a total field day with it. Unless it came from her...? But here goes: I like it. I do. I like it. I like the creation and the drama and the setbacks and the problem solving and the hundred little triumphs and the thrill of seeing something that I made slide off the shoulder and up the rear of the little girl walking in front of me. That's hard to beat, right? And then that little girl turns around and says "I look so beautiful Mom, don't I!" and I feel like the best mom ever.

Just like she said I would. I hate it when my inner voice is right.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Here It Is

The answer to your most burning question "Heather, does your husband really believe you will one day kill him?" Yes. I was not kidding when I first shared this disturbing news, several months ago. And now I lay bare my soul:

Last night my dear husband and I were involved in our usual nightly activity. Watching House in our bedroom. In this particular episode, an apparently devoted and happy wife turns out to have been slowly poisoning her husband, in order to kill him. This turned my mind to a certain incident of several months ago...

It all began one night when we were both asleep in bed. I woke up thinking I heard someone throwing up. The air vent in our bedroom leads directly to the girls' room below and we can hear quite clearly everything that goes on in there (making it so much easier to keep up the "Mom knows everything" racket). Not my favorite 2 am sound, I admit, but best to catch it in the early stages. Or I don't know, maybe I was just imagining things...I'll ask Darron if he heard it.

Me: (whispered and a little urgent) Darron! Wake up!
Him: (startled and panicked and jumping away from me just a bit.) What?
Me: (wondering if his instincts have already told him something is wrong. What a sensitive dad.) Did you hear anything? That sounded like barfing? I thought I heard someone throwing up.
Him: (confusedly and breathing a little quickly for 2 am) No, I didn't. But I'll go check. (Runs from the room.)
Me: (Wait a minute, Darron doesn't run. Thinking...) Hmm. Hope things are okay down there. *yawn* Gosh. He's sure taking a long time. (Lays back down on pillow) If there was throwup, he'd come up and get me. *yawn* I'll just rest my eyes until he gets back. I'll need my strength if I'm going to be up all night with barfy kids. Hmmmmm... (falls asleep)

What I didn't know was his version of the terrifying events:

Him: (woken from a sound sleep by the woman your instincts tell you is about to kill you, as you have secretly known for a long long time. Panicked and awaiting imminent death, but perhaps only after a lecture...? "For 12 long years I've had to live with your...." something along those lines) What?
Me: (urgent and confusingly off topic) Did you hear anything? That sounded like barfing? I thought I heard someone throwing up.
Him: (realizing he is not about to be destroyed and chopped up into small soup-size pieces with that big knife his wife received for Christmas from her mother. Not tonight.) No, I didn't, but I'll go check. (Exits speedily but clumsily, trying to calm his anxious breathing, and really to get some space between him and his loving devoted wife. Thinking...) So not tonight, I guess. That's good. There's that BYU game I'm going to on Saturday, would have sucked to miss that. Hmm. My reflexes aren't what they should be, that's surprising, I'll need to work on that. If she wakes me up first, it could really make the difference.

Yeah, so a few days later, we were just sitting there doing--I don't know--something, when he pipes up with this revelation:

Him: You remember the other night when you woke me up to tell me you thought the kids were barfing? (deadpan) I thought you were waking me up to kill me.
Me: (even more deadpan) Why would I wake you up first?
Him: Yeah, see, that's what I was thinking, too! Doesn't make sense, does it?
Me: Well, I certainly don't think so. But I tend to question the entire murderyouinyourbedoranyotherlocation scenario as a whole, so I wouldn't take that as a sign of our simpatico. How do you envision me doing it?
Him: (quickly) With a knife, like that Bobbitt lady. Wasn't she the one who cut off her husband's ***?
Me: Yes, Lorena Bobbitt. Huh. So after dismembering you, then I take the knife to the rest of you? Is that how it goes? But why? Why would I do it?
Him: (truthfully) I'm hard to live with. You've had to put up with a lot from me. I just think one day you are going to snap.

Sigh. You know, you work so hard at a marriage, trying to get the other person to believe that you aren't going to murder them in their beds and then something like this happens, that makes you see just how far you still have to go. It's a little frustrating, to be quite honest. Yes, Darron has his quirks. But I do like him, still. And I am not a sociopath. And I have a deep and abiding fear of prison that maybe I need to let him in on, to give him a little peace of mind.

So back to our House-watching. They didn't give this wife any sort of motivation, which kind of bugged me, and I asked Darron about it. He said something about never being able to tell... what did that mean? So I asked him in a very level, non-confrontational-type way if he really thought I was going to kill him, or was he just being funny. I really needed to know. He answered that he did believe it. That I had the "personality". And the voice. Then he smiled at me and turned to go brush his teeth.

There you have it. I can't fight that. And I won't anymore. If he's okay with it, so am I. See that's what marriage is all about. Planting ideas in someone's head and then cultivating them through your paranoia to fruition. I was so misguided for so many years, but now I see the light. Shining off the surface of my big shiny kitchen knife. Sleep tight, Darron.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

My New Favorite Quote

You know the one I spent a day and a half searching for?

"A happy home is but an earlier heaven." --Thomas S. Monson

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

On Schedule

I was so anxious for summer to be over. Not necessarily to get my kids out of my hair, which sounds like a lie, but isn't, but just so we could be on a schedule again. I'm not huge on schedules, but I'm not exactly free-wheeling and spontaneous either. I told you I have no yellow in me, so any fun I decide to embark on must be planned, plotted, and coerced into being. Thoroughly exhausting. The path of least resistance (which I majored in) involves just letting it be, man. So the summer consisted of lots of letting be. Outings, exercise, housecleaning...let it be. Hair and fingernail trims (theirs and mine)...let it be. List of projects to do when free time presents itself...let it be. It's summer, man. Relax. Why you gotta be so uptight?

But enough of that. I need some discipline again. My abs need some discipline again. My kids need to change their underwear every day, it's just time. We need a schedule. So hooray for September, here we go again. We've got the school thing, we've got the church thing, the household thing, the exercise regime, the nurture your kids thing, we've got it all. And all I need to succeed is a schedule. Here goes:

7:20 Get up

7:25 No really, I mean it. Get up!

7:30 Ok, they're pouring their own cereal and milk. It's harder to clean up a gallon of milk than pull your lazy butt out of bed. That's what you get for watching "just one more" episode of House.

7:35 Make lunches. No bread. Plan B: little bags of croutons and almonds. Same food groups.

7:40 Scripture reading. Never seem to get more that 3 verses. I should consider that a challenge, but I haven't taken myself up on it yet.

7:45 Hair (theirs; mine must wait, along with my teeth. Waitaminute! Ok, brush teeth. Apologize to Hinckley for telling him his breath is atrocious).

7:55 Recheck homework because I can never quite remember if I did it the day before.

8:00 Gather everyone. Grab quickly and hold firmly.

8:05 Family prayer and hugs and kisses and goodbyes and last reminders called out the door as Dad, Hinckley and Halle are sent out.

8:10 Use up 10 minutes deciding which exercise video I have time to do, the hourlong, the 30-minute, or the 20-minute.

8:20 Check email. (ok, and my blogs)

8:30 Reconsider the exercise decision, now that I've wasted 20 minutes.

8:35 Remember I have preschool carpool, begin to panic, tell Ava to get dressed while I shower. Shower. Half-shave. The other half can wait for tomorrow.

8:45 Hair and makeup. It takes some effort to get me looking like this. Call to try and find volunteers to help with PE Testing this week, starting today. Leave a lot of messages. Email the whole class. Looks like it'll be me going today.

9:15 Change Ava's clothes, because I am just not ready to send her to preschool yet in an "I dressed myself today" outfit. Not until I have proven to Miss April that I am not a neglectful mother. Which being late will definitely NOT prove. Everyone get in the car!

9:25 Stuff slower children into car and frantically but positively encourage them to get their buckles on as I back out.

9:26 Pull car over because Tommy, who has tricked me into thinking he was buckled up is now jumping up and down on his carseat. Get Tommy actually buckled up and back onto the road. Pick up carpool kids.

9:43 Arrive at preschool/Miss April's house. Haha. Never been late. I hate being late. Drop off Ava's "mystery person" bag of goodies.

9:46 Realize I forgot to put Ava's "mystery person" information sheet in the bag of goodies and will need to go back. Mentally adjust my daily timetable to allow for stupid mistake.

10:00 Visiting Teaching, just one today, must take Tommy since babyswapper is out of town.

10:45 Arrive back at preschool with information sheet in hand. Knock on door as I realize Miss April will not answer the door during preschool, nor will she answer her phone. This actually pleases me, however I would have ben more pleased had I realized this an hour ago.

11:00 Home again home again. Jiggety-jig. Put Tommy in his bed, hoping he will take a nap an hour and a half earlier since this will be the only opportunity for a nap until 3:45 today and I have to appear in public with him so would rather not have him screaming and flailing.

11:10 Listen to Tommy alternately scream, sing, and declare he's all done with his nap (clearly) while I eat breakfast. And clean the kitchen. And the bathroom. And check my email (still no volunteers). And pack a lunch for Tommy and Ava, since we won't be home for awhile. Give myself a pat on the back for realizing this.

11:34 Tommy falls asleep.

11:35 Wake Tommy up, head to preschool.

11:45 Wait for kids to get out.

11:49 Kids are 4 minutes late coming, which according to my math will make me exactly 19 minutes late for PE Testing.

11:55 Stuck in construction on drive home. Stuck behind "cautious driver" on drive home. Make a wrong turn while driving home. 24 minutes late.

12:04 Drop last kid off, turn around and head for school. Open juice boxes and hand them and tortillas (still no bread) to 2 toddlers behind me. Stuck in construction, despite my attempts to find a new "construction-free" route. 27 minutes late.

12:29 Arrive at school, park, shuffle kids along to the gym, entering exactly 30 minutes late.

12:31 Talk with PE teacher, who says enough people showed up to help. Ok. Hang around uselessly for a minute. See the ridiculousness of this. Take kids hands and walk back out the door amidst shrieks and wails. Musn't neglect the proper prep and build up of change of plans.

12:48 Back home, ironically making excellent time, renewing my faith in the cosmic joke. Place Tommy immediately in bed, hoping that he won't feel his 60 seconds of sleep earlier should count as his nap. Laugh silently. Tell Ava to go downstairs for quiet time. Feel grateful that this is something she loves.

12:53 Still no email responses.

1:15 Start a batch of bread. (Out, remember? I did.)

2:15 Pull out scriptures and journal.

2:16 Read them and write in it. (Didn't think I was going to, did ya?)

2:42 Eat lunch. Clean kitchen. Get Tommy, who I forgot had already napped today and has no intention of doing it again, out of bed to go play with Ava.

2:55 Shout down the stairs for Ava and Tommy to get their shoesies and get in the car.

2:57 Act surprised that they haven't come up yet, run downstairs to shoo them out. They really don't need shoes.

3:22 Arrive at school, a little too late for Hinckley's tastes. Try to explain my new idea of getting there after the first slew of cars have gone, so I can find a good spot without having to get there 20 minutes early, since they generally don't come out until 15 minutes after school ends. Convince no one.

3:40 Home. Unload. Settle. Mediate. Bounce.

3:45 @#&@%!* (homework). And chores.

4:15 Begin to fill out a computer survey for an upcoming seminar I am attending which asks such perplexing and invasive questions as "What are you passionate about?" or "What is your favorite quote?" Feel boring and dispassionate and unread and completely stymied. Start googling. For ideas! For ideas. Not just random googles. Come on now.

4:30 Continue the above and the above that for the next two hours. Yes, really.

6:20 Start dinner. Salad and garlic bread, easy peasy. Start laundry. Monday is laundry day, if you didn't remember. Like me.

6:40 Darron home. Burn garlic bread because it is in my genetic makeup. Dinner.

7:20 Get kids ready for visit to Meemaw and Boompa's (don't ask) for Family Home Evening. Everyone is mannered and behaved, even Darron. Meemaw provides dessert, which soothes and calms everyone on the ride home.

9:30 Home once again. Superquick condensed bedtime routine. Don't ask if the kids brushed their teeth, tonight we'll just assume. Who needs a bath? No one, as long as we keep our distances.

9:45 Back on the computer to suss out a killer quote. Still on that. Darron watches House without me because he is highly rude and filled his survey out in like 15 minutes. Start this post.

11:05 Bedtime. Past bedtime, but this is when we always seem to get there. Feel thankful that I like two out of my three pillows and that my mattress is firm. Feel thankful that the neighbor's dog is not barking. Feel thankful that I have a busy life that is filled with family and purpose. Feel thankful that my 4-week cold is gone and I can breathe through my nose. Sleep.

Summer is so overrated.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

It's Always Fun for Everyone...

....When Grandpa Comes!

My dad was out for a few days to catch the Cougars and to catch some grandkids and it was great timing, since Darron was out of town I got a little help kid-wrangling. Which made me think a little hike would be just perfect for us. And it was. My older kids didn't have school on Friday (just another reason it is the greatest school in the world) so we busted Ava out of preschool (don't tell Miss April) and headed for the hills. We went up Timpanooke Trail (a very very little way up) in American Fork Canyon.

It was a beautiful fall day. Sixty degrees, sunshine, chipmunks chattering, kids getting along.

I don't know why they look so miserable, they really did have a good time.

Tommy kept the trail cleared of rocks. How can I harness this tendency at home....?

Ava was in it for the juice box. Mission accomplished.

Everyone wanted to take a picture of the pretty little meadow and valley where we stopped for lunch.

Mmmm lunch.

It was a lovely outing. We enjoy living so close to such a beautiful place. We love our Grandpa, he is a great sport and great fun whenever he comes.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Last Leg

Of our two week trip.... Norco, California to stay with my sisters Susie and Erin and my brother David. At the time Erin and her family were living in Susie's guest house, and David was living with her as well, so I got to hit three for the price of one.

Susie's house of course is known as the party house. She is the fun aunt, the adventurous aunt, the up for anything anytime anywhere as long as there is food aunt. And don't worry, she's bringing the food. I have never heard Susie say "I can't do that, Whitley is sick/Shelly is napping/I have placenta previa/etc." She just likes to do things. So I was interested to see how being 7 months pregnant might affect her. Not much, it turns out. Don't believe what you read in her blog. Erin, also 7 months preg, at least had the decency take a nap. Uncle David came home every night to pay attention to the dogs and children. All dogs and children love Uncle David.

We began with some horse ridin', courtesy of Uncle "Go For the Nerd" Christian, also a fungi. (Sorry, it's the nerdiest joke I know.) Ava was born ready.
Halle, summoning her courage
She always finds it.
Tommy is just happy the dogs aren't out. And no one is fighting him for the Princess scooter.
Whitley expressing herself. Through the medium of ribbon. Get in Shape, Girl! (You know the feelin')
But back to the dogs. These are some dogs, y'all. They require a bullet-proof vest AND bicycle helmet.
The next day was beach day. Aaaah. I love the beach. A little sand...

A little surf

A little seaweed
A little crab
A little Del Taco

A little cousin bonding

LOTS of fun!

Thanks to Susie, Christian, Gavin, Whit, Shelly, Erin, Wyatt, and David. We loved staying with you and can't wait for next year to do it again!