Thursday, October 31, 2013

The 31st

I dislike Halloween.
I just do.
I don't have a long list of reasons why I don't like it.
I just don't.
It doesn't help that Mike doesn't really like any holidays, so it isn't like he picks up the slack for Halloween.
So, it usually means I try my best to make it a fun holiday for my children, despite not throwing anything "extra" in as I so often do at other times.
It's just a few dressed up kids.
(Luke fulfilled one of my biggest pet peeves about Halloween costumes: not really being dressed up as anything specific. At least he didn't wear the head part that completely covers his face.)
Far too much candy.
(This is just Luke's loot. Although Ellie's collection contained 203. Ridiculous.)

And a sick little monkey who bailed early and watched television with Dad.
Until next year.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.
L.M. Montgomery--Anne of Green Gables
(the view from my front door + a beautiful sunrise=spectacular!)

I have always loved October, perhaps one may argue due in large part to it being my birthday month. Which of course shan't be argued, but really, who doesn't adore October?

The colors in October are a more vibrant color than its side months of September and November. They are no longer in the beginning stages of September where they are gradually changing, nor are they in the ending stages of November when they become faded and dull as winter approaches.

In October, the colors are confident in their autumn splendor. October has always been my favorite month to soak in the beauties around me, but this year it seems to be even more so. I can't tell if it is just me and my personal perspective, or if the intensity of nature is stronger this year.
My garden has been harvested and the dirt tilled for the winter, leaves cover much of the ground, and this weekend will mark the beginning of darker evenings. Although I love all of the seasons in their own splendor and grandeur, there is something about the glorious fall, especially this year, that has captured my senses on so many levels.

I echo dear Anne of Green Gables, "I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers."
I'm sad to see it end.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Phone Clear Out

It's been a while since I purged my phone photos, and so excuse the overload, but memories must be preserved...

My BFF and I very carefully co-ordinated our youngest children's preschool and kindergarten schedules for this school year. It's too bad we don't take advantage of it more often. At least we have once so far this school year.

Mike and I spent a day last month at an auction. Remember, we attended last year as novices, we could probably call ourselves professional auction attendees about now. I mean, we bought enough stuff. Things like this...
A pallet of tools for a screaming deal. It also included about 17 brooms (no exaggeration), and more shovel HANDLES Mike will probably ever need or use. But a deal is a deal, right? Besides, the shovels alone "paid" for the rest of the stuff we got too.

Another pallet Mike bid on because of the tarps. Well, if you want one thing on the pallet, you bid on and purchase everything else. Including...
Approximately 600 gift bows. We gifted them to my mother-in-law, who seemed genuinely happy with her acquisition. (She also received one of 17 aforementioned brooms.)
As if 17 brooms, 600+ gift bows, some tarps, binoculars and such weren't enough... Mike also bid on and purchased 2 trucks. Yes you read that right. Mike purchased 2 trucks at an auction. I was meandering around a different section of the auction, and my blood pressure certainly rose when I returned to Mike and he said, "I just bought 2 trucks." All you are guaranteed is that they will "drive off the lot."

Turns out we got a pretty dang good deal considering the price we paid, what they looked like when they were cleaned up,and the final verdict from our auto-mechanic. I'm not so sure if we'll ever do it again though, is it really possible to be that lucky, twice?
One morning, the boys crawled in my bed to watch some Curious George. I absolutely loved that Drew rested his hand on Joshua's. I loved even more that Joshua wasn't bugged by it.
Joshua  spent one Sunday morning, thoughtfully drawing a picture for his missionary cousin. I loved his final project so much, I was tempted to keep it. Alas, Joshua dropped it in the mailbox and sent it across the country. Joshua was thrilled to receive a letter a couple of weeks later addressed to just him as a reply.
I accompanied the 4th grade on a field trip a few weeks ago. There is something about this container on the bus that makes me want to throw up every time. "Body fluid cleanup kit." I could never be a bus driver. Or anything for that matter that required a "body fluid cleanup kit." I know it sounds funny coming from a mother of 5, who has certainly done her fair share of "body fluid cleanup" over the years. But still, a kit on the bus? Gross.
The fourth grade field trip, was to This is The Place Heritage Park, where the children learned about the Mormon Pioneers, that are the basis of Utah history. Reminded me of the first couple of weeks after moving to America, I had to give an oral report on the Mormon Pioneers in a junior high class. I couldn't comprehend the assignment, until I realized it was history.
Mike doesn't like dark chocolate, so when I came home from Costco with this purchase recently, he scoffed about how disgusting and gross they looked and why did I waste money on them? This bag here? My third purchase of them within a few weeks because Mike LOVES them. I have since stopped buying them as he consumed aforementioned third bag far more quickly than he should have.
This costume here was sewed for Megan in 2002. It always was a little big big for her when she wore it as a 4 year old girl, but it made the hard work of pleats and letters seem somewhat worth it to think Ellie was wearing it 11 years later. It took a little bit of shimmying to fit it over Ellie's hips, and the shirt is a little short, but not bad when mother is pretty cheap when it comes to purchasing new Halloween costumes. (She did wear it once when she was younger, but it was exciting when it was pulled out of the "outgrown" costumes box. It fits in well with the 2T costume Drew has been sporting around to the last few Halloween dress-up events.
I know you've seen this one before, but it is a favorite. I'm not sure what it is about Drew's little body, but his little bum crack is ALWAYS showing.
Sorry the photo is sideways, but I have major homework issues. I can't stand the busy work and I can't bear the fact the teachers think 1st graders should be doing 30 minutes or so of homework. I don't mind 20 minutes of reading each night, but anymore than 10 minutes of math or English gets a note such as this from me. (It isn't the only note I've sent back to the teacher...)
This photo is from almost 6 weeks ago, but loved this morning! Two California cousins en route to BYU Idaho spent a night with us. Megan skipped the morning of school and these three entertained themselves (and me) singing (Megan was accompanying them on the piano) songs from Broadway musicals. I could have listened to them for hours.
Luke and Joshua have been into football a lot lately. On a recent rainy afternoon, Joshua and Luke made this on my family room carpet. Miniature army men become football players.
The perk of having our own business, and Mike's office only a 2 minute drive from our house is I frequently have Drew "spend quality time" with Mike if I have somewhere to be. Usually Drew quite enjoys "working with Daddy", but sometimes he spends too much time in the truck...
(I promise, he usually uses a booster seat...)

My kids were thrilled that their school finally had "crazy hair day."
Joshua found the camera one afternoon...

Fortunately for you, I didn't choose to upload the 4 videos he took of a football sitting on the kitchen table.

This is my life.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

LMS Racing

A few months ago, I purchased two pieces of equipment, specifically a mini-excavator and a skidsteer. Did that whole sentence take you by surprise? (I must fill everyone in on that one of these days, but the long and short of it is, for the last couple of years I have been the president/owner of a landscape construction business.)

Back to my point...
When I returned from my business meeting over an Apollo hamburger (MY FAVORITE!!) and onion rings, and announced to Luke where I'd been, he couldn't stop the questions.  As much as he appreciates a good burger, my restaurant choice had nothing to do with his incessant questions. All he could talk about was...

"When will the machines be here?"
"Can dad bring one home tonight?"
"Well what about tomorrow?"
"The next day?"
"The next?"

You see, Luke has been dreaming of a little bike track for months. Our dear neighbor Paul, gave Luke permission for Luke to build one in his field, and Luke, ever the hard worker, set about making one by hand f....o....r    d....a....y.....s until he realized he'd be too old to even ride a bike before he ever got the first real jump made.

So when Luke found out we owned some machines, oh golly did his excitement peak.

And then that excitement began to wane as the days went on that the machines never made an appearance at home, and instead stayed where they should be... on job sites, making money.

Good thing the owner/president of the company has a good mother heart, and was able to gently nudge the company's main guy to get one of those machines home one weekend and make the poor kid happy.

Oh was Luke in heaven that Saturday when Mike spent an hour or so whipping up a bike track for Luke (and the neighbor kids).

Luke, seeing another business venture, realized the bike track could become more than just a bike track...

And that was how
LMS Racing

(Luke's initials are LMS, which just so happens to also be the first name initials of a couple of neighbor kids. They like to think they are part of the deal, Luke is determined it is his copyright.)

Race nights mean, $1 per kid, which includes a race bib and a water bottle. Wednesday afternoons, bike track practice is free.

It's a bike version of The Sandlot.

(Joshua taking a much needed break. That kid didn't stop that night! His little legs just pedal and pedal as fast as they can. As do Drew's.)

I love Luke.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Best Day of the Year

This was a text exchange between my brother and me this morning. Despite him being 750 miles away, I could see the look on his face as he typed the message. I could also feel his sarcasm oozing through the message.
I could say lots about my birthday. I could regale you with all the things that made it fabulous...
gifts, text messages, phone calls, Facebook greetings, emails, songs sung to me, remembering to give flowers to my mom, shopping, lunch with Mike and Drew, dinner with the family, etc. etc. etc.

Instead I'll keep it short and sweet with just a few highlights.

I may or may not have skipped attending a missionary farewell with Mike and the kids so that I wouldn't miss the Primary children singing a birthday song to me on Sunday.

I began my birthday celebrations on Monday, October 21st at precisely 5:55pm. (Wonder why? Click HERE.)

Ellie gets the importance of my October 21st celebration, and handed me a gift at 5:55pm at the same time Mike burst out into song.

Drew think's I am now 19-0-1.

By the time bed-time rolled around Tuesday night, and Mike said the family prayer, expressing due appreciation for me and my birthday, Megan was rolling her eyes and sighing loudly.

Speaking of Megan, she may have pointed out more than once that my birthday is all about "me."

Joshua had to go to the bathroom on the way to the restaurant, twice at the restaurant, and once on the way home.

Luke's homemade birthday card to me had a long heart-felt message on it. My favorite was the part he wrote, "And you're the mom with the best legs ever!"

I like being sung to. Whether it's my in-laws on the phone, the Primary children at church, waiters at the restaurant or my children around the kitchen table, Luke and his friends in the garage, or my niece in a video message, it makes me smile a HUGE smile.

It's preposterous to think the waitress actually asked, "Do you want to be sung to?"
Who doesn't?

And yes. In case you are wondering, I spent a fair amount of the day wearing this hat. Including, driving Megan to the junior high this morning, at a restaurant for dinner AND through a downtown Salt Lake City grocery store while scurrying to find a bathroom with Luke, who desperately "had to go." (It was a big store, included an escalator ride, and birthday greetings from a homeless man.)

I love my birthday.
One day, if I ever rule the world I will put the following two laws into effect.

1. Everyone must love their birthday as much as I do.
2. Birthdays will happen more than once a year.

Happy Birthday to me.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Arizona Mothers

Sometimes motherhood seems hard. Some days I wonder what in the world I can possibly do to help one of my children through an issue, or other days I wonder how I can feel more peace in my day-to-day life. Some days I want to curl up in a hole and hibernate for a season.

Other days, motherhood seems like an absolute dream job. Hand-written notes show up on my pillow, slobbery kisses grace my cheek, a teenager tells me she thinks I'm a "dang good parent", and general feelings of peace and joy fill our home.

Too often there are weeks where the hard days outweigh the dream days. Last week was a little bit like that for me, and so a Power of Moms retreat in Phoenix, AZ was a near perfect way to end the week.

So often during the hard days of motherhood, when I feel discouraged and allow myself to think I'm the only one in the world who ever feels that way, I remember I am not. I KNOW all over the world there are mothers who at times feel the exact same way.

That's what I love about what I get to do as a Power of Moms trainer... I absolutely LOVE the opportunity I have to meet so many other mothers and learn together with them. These mothers love their children. They love motherhood despite the difficult days. They can laugh, they can cry, they can learn and they can teach.
I feel beyond blessed to have spent a day learning from them.

Jonelle Hughes was a dream to present with. What a great lady. She has such a clamness and peace about her that I want to incorporate more into my own life.

One day I will have a photo of me presenting without using my hands!

What a thrill to have had my cousins in attendance!

Actually, my father-in-law and her dad are cousins, and so who knows what that makes us exactly, but LOVE dear Jennifer.
My favorite parts of the retreats is seeing women together in small groups discussing motherhood. The feeling in that room is indescribable as I take a few moments to stand back and simply observe.

Not sure why Jonelle, Maurie and I didn't get a better photo together, but these ladies? A definite MUST for a future trip together. Love them.

When I think about the time I spent in Phoenix the last couple of days, I am reminded of a quote by Helen Keller, "Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much." A group of mothers sitting together in a room together, is a powerful, powerful thing.
(photo courtesy of Jonelle Hughes)

Love these opportunities!


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