Sunday, November 30, 2008

More Pics from Thanksgiving

There were lots of big meals with this crew!
Elise and Lauren ride our fat, lazy horses around in the snow.
The kids all had fun driving in the mud. They all looked similar to Ty when they finished.
Lauren brought her 'friend' Devin. This pic shows them really tiny riding thru our field, but I like that it showed the snow on the mountains
Sunday morning I finally made everyone pose for a picture. Sad the Martins were already gone.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


I loved Thanksgiving. Two of my sisters came with their families. We ate. We played. We ate some more. My only regret-I didn't get enough pictures of all the fun-I was baking. :)
The big kids went to play in the Turkey Bowl while we baked in the morning.
My sisters, Kim and Nicole prepping the bird for baking.
Putting in the Turkey-we were getting a little slap-happy by this time...obviously.
.Jebb was in costume the entire weekend. Here is the purple dragon coloring before dinner.
John carves the Turkey.
Bo, Jackson, and Rex drink soda in anticipation of dinner.
Ty, Corbin, Nate, Seth, and Drake make a toast to sweet potatoes.
Eating Dessert. We had 3 tables. Adults, Boys, Little Boys. (Lots of hungry boys!)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Lessons Learned the Hard Way

At our house we have lots of fun. We also have lots of rules which in theory keep our fun safe. We try to strike a balance between giving our kids experience and keeping them from hurting themselves. For example: The boys can play with light sabers, but they can't hit each other from the neck up. Want to play with fire? Use the fire pit, not the woods. You get the idea. It is a constant struggle for me. I want them to get practical experience with as many things as possible, but the Mom in me screams "Be careful!"

Being married to John hasn't help me relax. I think couples balance each other out. The more crazy he is, the more I want to clamp down. Factor in the knowledge I have of what danger his genetics might manifest in our kids, and it is a recipe for me not letting the kids do anything. Ever. So I try to be reasonable. That doesn't mean I give the toddlers knives to play with or anything, but I do try to remember that sometimes we fall down. Sometimes we will get hurt. And if I don't let my kids test their limits now and then, they will never develop self governing judgement. Lovely on paper...or screen.

So yesterday when the kids got their rooms cleaned and wanted to go ride our 2 day old Teryx around, I was reasonable and let them. A Teryx is a side-by-side 4 wheeler of sorts. It has seat belts and a roll cage (safe, right?). We also have an older Mule which is similar, but much slower than a Teryx. Of course I have rules for these. Seat belts are a must. No racing, chasing, or horseplay are tolerated. No sliding corners on the gravel. Slow and careful when driving J&J around. You get the idea. John and I have disagreed somewhat on one thing-at what age does a kid get to drive? I have been hesitant to let Elise drive since she ran the Mule into a tree-causing lots of damage-at a very low speed. So I let her stick to the slower Mule and the older boys could drive the Teryx.

Around dinner time, they came into the house. I assumed hunger was the only thing that pulled them away from the fun. But Gabe had that look. Oh, that look! Curse that look! His eyes started welling up as he told me that he had probably ruined the Teryx. OK, OK-I need more information. I quickly scanned him and Elise. No abrasions or bones seemingly out of place. Elise was crying a little and looking at the floor. Gabe continued his story. He (in the T) was following Elise (in the M). She had slammed on the brakes, and he couldn't stop fast enough, and he ran into the back of the Mule. He knew it wasn't good when a bunch of anti-freeze poured out onto the road.

While I recognized the blessing that no one was hurt, I was mad. Really mad. I didn't really say anything to the kids. I called John on the phone to tell him what happened. I was brief. I was mad. I decided to take a time out before talking to anyone. I went to my room and closed the door. Slow deep breathes. I still felt mad. The phone rang. I answered. It was Kristine and I couldn't get a word in as she told me she needed us to come over and help her hang her quilt. She told me the story of finding the hangers. I was still mad. She wanted us to come right then-she could heat something up for us for dinner. I finally spoke. I told her we would be over soon and goodbye. I called John and asked him to bring pizza home for dinner and meet us at Kristine's house to hang the quilt. Still mad.

While I was in my time out, Gabe had talked to John and went to the shop to try to fix the Teryx. Out of my time out, I loaded the other kids in the Subaru and backed out of the garage. Yeah, still mad. I was thinking how I would never let our kids touch another thing until they were 18 and why did John think they were old enough for ANY responsibility?! Being mad, I backed out a little fast.

Then CRUNCH! I ran into a concrete step with the back bumper! I, in effect, rear-ended myself! I was stunned, so for a moment, I couldn't feel mad. A little voice in my heart whispered "Accidents happen."

The mad was gone.

I felt humbled.

I drove to the shop and went in to see Gabe. As I crossed the shop floor to him, He told me the Teryx was not fixable before Thanksgiving when my family was coming to visit. He felt terrible. I didn't say anything until I hugged him. I told him accidents happen and I was so glad he was not hurt. I told him to come get in the car because Grandma Kristine needed our help. As we got to the car, I opened the door to the backseat and pulled Elise out. I didn't say anything until I hugged her. I told her accidents happen and I was so glad she was not hurt. She cried and said sorry and she knew I loved her and worried about her.

We drove to Kristine's and helped her hang her quilt. John brought pizza, and I was quiet. I apologized for being mad and short on the phone. He gave me a hug. When I told him about the Subaru, he went out to check it. He told me that we wouldn't be driving it for a while. I guess I really did some damage.

I am grateful that my children were all kept safe. I am humbled when I think that our Heavenly Father trusts us to be parents to them. He lets us be responsible for them even though we lack experience and judgement. He lovingly lets us learn and grow, hopefully by following Him. He will also lovingly let us learn and grow by crashing now and then, that's called learning the hard way. He trusts us to learn. He trusts us to grow. Even when we get mad, He knows accidents happen.

It seems like too often, I have to learn the hard way.

Here's the Subaru where I backed out and hit the step (bottom left). The left tailpipe should look like the right one. The left muffler was pushed into the fender well, hitting the tire. Oops.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Why must I tempt fate

I am the new Achievement Days Leader. No, I wasn't released from Webelos. Why must I jinx myself (see Thursday)?

Hot Stuff

Now that's hot!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Girls Night Out

Tonight I went with a bunch of awesome ladies to go to dinner and a movie. OK, OK, we went to see Twilight. I know there are some that pooh-pooh this Forbidden Love, Chastity Heavy, Teen Romance, but I think they secretly long to embrace their inner Vampire. I'll admit, I was hesitant to see the movie for two reasons. First, I really liked the book-Twilight is definately the best in the 4 book series. I didn't want the movie to slaughter it for me. Second, I like to feel like an independant thinker. I stumbled onto Twilight before it was teen-obsessed. I didn't want to be too 'into it' because it would tear away at my aloof, indifferent persona I try to hard to portray.

Solution to the first. Nicole called me after going to the midnight showing an Thursday and said it was pretty good. I trust her movie opinion.

Solution to the second. This was easy. I am not cool. I am goofy. I love mob mentality now and then, especially when it is sure to elicit some good laughs. I saw Twilight to be such an occasion. Sometimes you just have to 'get into it' to enhance the fun factor. I decided to quit dragging my feet and jump in with both of them. So I did.

Several ladies from our ward (most had read Twilight, but not all) met at Tequilla's for dinner (OK, this is my favorite resturant-truth be told, this is REALLY why I went!). After dinner, we cruised to the theater. We got there good and early so we could sit togther. We had so much fun sitting, talking, and laughing. We have some really great ladies in our ward. Since I decided to have fun with it, I brought the pack of Glow in the Dark Vampire Teeth I found on clearance the day after Halloween. I was elated when everyone decided to wear them and even get a picture doing it! Strangely, they made us drool a lot. Weird.
During the movie I managed to giggle and gasp at all the right places. I enjoyed the movie, but I am sure I enjoyed it all the more because I went with friends and left my cynical self at home!

Jebb took this pic of me before I left-I had to keep going lower to try to get in the frame! :)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

My First Webelo

Tonight was our bi-monthly pack meeting and as a Webelos leader, I was really excited. All of my boys had earned their Webelo rank and were going to be awarded them. Sadly, only ourselves and the Manns came from our troop. Kanyon actually turned 11 and is now in Boy Scouts, but he came tonight because he not only earned his Webelo, but also his Arrow of Light. With recent bithdays, I only have 3 boys left and they all turn 11 soon after the New Year. We have been working hard to get all of the requirements done and as their leader, I was proud to see the boys earn this.

As a mom I was super excited as Seth (our second son) is my first boy to get his Webelo rank. Way to go Seth!! Our Cub Scout program has been hit and miss for years and I was too lazy to push it myself--so we have some gaping holes in our rank attainment. So tonight, Seth got his Webelo patch and several Awards and I got my Webelo Mom Pin. I know if we want Scouting to be important, we will have to make it happen. That is why I requested (for the first time ever) a specific Calling of being the Webelos Leader even though I prefer them to be led by someone not blood related.

Come January, Seth will be out of Webelos. Last month Elise lost her Achievement Days leader. Since I seemingly issue myself Callings now, maybe I will look into that one...

I See

Tonight at dinner we were talking about glasses and John mentioned the notion that there was a good chance some of our kids would get stuck with my lousy genetics when it came to vision. I started wearing glasses in 7th grade when my eyeballs stopped keeping up with the growth of the rest of me. By the time I was done growing I had 20/600 vision (that means I couldn't make out the big E on the top of the eye chart). I had to wear glasses or contacts to see anything more than a foot from my face clearly. As an adult, I kept a bottle of saline solution by my bed so I could sleep in my contacts (I know-this is not good to do) because I couldn't even read my alarm clock without them. This was such a pain! I found my vision to be very limiting. Swimming was a trick. I was always fussing with them. I truly could not do anything without those contacts or my super thick glasses.

About 6-7 years ago I had Lasik. This is where they peel back the top layer of your eyeball, then use a laser to shave your cornea to the desired shape. I was SO scared to have this done (I am a chicken about any medical stuff) so I research and went to who I thought was the best doctor. Thankfully, my big sis Kim took me and held my hand. :) My fear was for naught, as the procedure was a piece of cake. It was fast and painless. I would recommend it to everyone and I would do it again. The process seemed foolproof and I should have just gone to the cheapest place offering it! The only part that was ick was the smell. It was like burning hair or burning eyeball. Yuck. My eyes were super dry for several days and I am more sensitive now to bright sunlight. It was all worth it! I can see the moment I wake up and can wakeboard without losing a contact when I face plant.

The kids have never really known me with glasses as they were very young or unborn when I was liberated. So tonight as we were talking about it, I jumped up from the dinner table and went into my medicine cabinet where the last dusty reminder of my old days lies on the top shelf. I got my old glasses. I brought them out and the kids all tried them on. They all laughed and squinted to look through them. It was funny.

I am grateful for modern science and the ways it makes our lives better. I feel like I am more self sufficient having this procedure. I think our bodies are truly amazing and with all of the things that could go wrong, it is a wonder any of us function. I feel fortunate living in a country and a period in time when this handicap is just a memory. I hope none of my kids inherit this from me, but if they do it is wonderful to think they can have it corrected at some point.

Lunch at the School

Today was the annual Thanksgiving Lunch at the school. There were tons of people there! It was really yummy-even if the turkey was 'school lunch turkey.' I loved eating with the kids. We sat with the Manns and saw lots of old friends.

Monday, November 17, 2008


I was noticing a comment that my sis Nicole left me. It was a post she wrote with humor but I noticed that the Profile Picture she had gave the post an air of seriousness. Or authoritativeness. Or royalness. (Hmm, now that I am looking at it bigger, it IS more humorous....well, it is really, really small on the comment page...)

So now I am wondering what my Profile Picture connotes to my comments I leave on other blogs. I am very proud of this picture. It is one I took of myself, underwater, in the ocean, with a STINGRAY! How cool is that?. Well, I think it is cool, but maybe it isn't. What does it convey? Aquatic? Dangerous? Odd? Hmm. Not sure...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sunday Afternoon Baking

There is something that happens to me when the weather turns cold. I am not sure what it is, but when the leaves fly and the mercury plummets, I feel compelled to bake. Elise was my partner in crime. Pumpkin cookies was our creation of choice. I love how Elise posed for the 'finished product' picture. :)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Party of 5

Since we were staring down a weekend at home with nothing to do, John and I cruised to Albuquerque (why is that so hard to spell?!) Friday night so that Gabe, Seth, and their friend Dayne, could play in a B-Ball tournament for Kelly Kennedy's team. OK, and by the way, the whole 'staring down a weekend' part was totally facetious-we need to stay home! ;)

First of all, it is really hard to get a table at Macaroni Grill on a Friday night-especially when you have 5 in your group instead of the easily sat 4. On the bright side-waiting forever to eat there makes it taste even better. LOVE that bread!

We stayed at the coolest hotel EVER (value wise)! It was the Hyatt Place Uptown and I'll give my review. The updated, contemporary styling gave it a cool Euro feel. The rates were super good and the rooms were huge. They had desks, refrigerators, and big sectionals that folded out into an additional bed. The location on the North end of town was excellent as it is near all of the good shopping and restaurants. The boys loved the huge flat screen to watch 'The Hulk' on pay-per-view (they had their own room). There was a complimentary continental breakfast with additional hot items for purchase (omelets or waffles). Although there was no restaurant on sight, you could purchase food items (like salads or sandwiches) any time. I love getting a good value and I felt like we did. We will certainly stay there again.

The games on Saturday weren't until the afternoon which meant we had to kill some time shopping! :) The boys opted to stay in their room and watch The Mummy on PPV while we walked over to the shopping center. I managed to blow some cash and apparently, since we were on a roll, we just kept with that theme. After grabbing lunch and dropping the boys off for some BBall, we went to the Denver Mattress Factory. Why? Well, like I said, in keeping with the spending theme of the morning, I guess we needed to find some big ticket items. Seriously though, we had talked about getting--some time in the future, possibly, if we found a good sale--a new mattress--eventually, some day. So of course, we went in and were immediately 'tested' for a mattress. I should have gone with the sales lady's recommendation and bought the 'Dr's Choice' generic, pillow top mattress. But no, I was feeling a little caged in (I don't love the pressure sale) and suggested John and I wander around and try out some other mattresses. This gave me a chance to get some pics too.
Of course Margot (our salesperson) followed us around anyway. She inflated and deflated the Airbed for us, she put pillows under our heads (very effective technique-we bought a 'Beyond Perfect' pillow AND a memory foam one), I think she'd have rubbed our feet and fed us grapes if we'd have let her! I was growing weary of sleeping around and was ready to go when John decided to try one more bed. It was a big one in the center of the showroom. It had pleasant lighting and a lovely foot protector cloth. I think when you laid on it, there was the sound of a harp or maybe a boys choir singing the Hallelujah Chorus. (This is code for: It was the most expensive mattress in the joint!) John laid down for a moment and let the Viscal Memory Foam warm to his body and envelop him in it's supportive embrace. That was it. He'd found the one. He was done dating and was ready to buy the cow-er-the mattress. I won't tell the price, but let's just say that the whole family could have slept on new generic pillow tops for the price of THE ONE.

John was pretty excited and who can blame the poor guy-his back is not the best. He has cracked it, bruised it, and generally stressed it right out. I guess if this mattress works we can take that Chiropractor off payroll.

By this time, we thought we'd better get back to the BBall tourney. We found the gym the boys were supposed to be playing in. Strange. They were the only team there and the clock showed that it was half time. Ouch. 32-2 was the score. We found Kelly and got the scoop. Apparently there hadn't been enough 6th grade teams that signed up, so they put us against the 8th grade teams. I laughed as I thought back to dropping the boys off. We were watching a team with some big, hairy boys on it. Gabe laughed and said "If these are 6th graders, I'm gonna be devastated." So... devastated they were, by the hairy 8th graders. Even though they really worked hard, I guess it was so bad that they called it at the half. But the day wasn't over for us yet. We still had one more game.

Thankfully, a team that looked to be the right size sans armpit hair arrived to play us. Unfortunately, our lack of practicing together quickly showed. They were a scrappy team and I think the shot percentage was 80-20 (they sank 80% of their shots and we sank 20%). Since we only had 6 players, my boys were in the entire game and they were working hard while they were getting stomped. Here's the funny thing though, I totally and completely enjoyed watching that game. I loved to hear my boys grunting and puffing. They were WORKING. They didn't give up. They were all-out for the entire game. It was hard, really hard. There are so few things in life that require these little guys to really stretch and dig deep. I hope I don't sound too cruel, but I think it's good for them to struggle, even suffer. I love to see them do hard things and be OK. :) So, we can say this game was 'character building' (that is code for 'a blow out').

Even though the BBall didn't go like we'd hoped, it was still a great couple of days. We now have 7-10 days. That's how long John has to wait before he gets to drive back to Abq and pick up his new mattress! I am going to have to keep his debit cards here at home when he goes. :)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Hang Over

Wow! What a fun and busy weekend! We ate too much, played walleyball, climbed rock walls, ate more, visited family, saw old friends and made some new ones, watched movies, swam, rode a little train, drove racecars, played laser tag, pulled weeds, swung at fastballs, laughed, and loved every minute. Here are some pics

So now I am having my post-trip hang over. I am up to my neck in laundry, the kids were impossible to wake up this morning, and I am a little chilly (it snowed while we were gone). Or, put another way, it is just as it should be. I had such a good time with my family and had so much fun seeing old friends, a hang over seems inevitable. And SO worth it!!!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Saturdays don't get much better

We had a really wonderful day. We started off the morning tagging along with Kip's family to go to the Mesa Temple. Kip's stake was doing a service project and all of the Primary children were given the opportunity to help beautify the temple grounds. There was a tree planted by each ward, and everyone was able to get their hands dirty pulling grass from the flower beds. It is not often you are able to work in the shadow of the temple. Wonderful!

Uncle Kip digs for the tree we planted.

Everyone worked hard!

There were over 800 people from the stake that showed up to help-here are the 8 cutest!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Out of town

We did finally make it to Phx. I must say, in November, there is not much that can beat the weather in the Valley of the Sun! Wow! Even though they are doing a little remodeling, Kip and Jess let us crash their pad and lucky for us, their back yard is a mini resort! Our kids wasted no time changing into swimsuits and jumping in. Luckily, nice Aunt Jess warmed the pool water up to 90 for us-the kids were in heaven! Jebb said he loved 'this cool pond'! Aunt Deb came and hung out for a while with me which was really great. We haven't seen her for a while.

John got in on the action.

The kids kept swimming until bedtime! The only thing they stopped for was Jess' yummy enchiladas.