Friday, January 30, 2009

John Takes Seth to Telluride

For Seth's B-day, John took him to Telluride for a ski day.  They invited Seth's friend Kanyon and his dad Greg.  I sent the camera with John and this is what I got back.

Friday Night:
Gondola Ride
Jumping out of the heated pool into the snow!  Kan & Seth
Snow sculptures in Telluride's Mtn Village
Birthday dessert! Kan & Seth enjoy it!

Saturday Skiing:
Hiking to ski a bowl-they can't just stay in the normal parts of the resort! :)
My boys-John & Seth

I am so glad these guys got to spend some time together.  Gabe was sad he didn't get to go, but I had fun hanging out with him and the other kids here.  We actually went with the Manns-left-in-Durango to dinner on Saturday before attending a baptism with them (congratulations Turner!).  It is so good for the kids to have that one-on-one time with dad.  He is fun!  Happy birthday Seth!  I love you! 

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Hurry Up and Enjoy It

(this pic is not me-it's off the net-my hands aren't quite that manly)

Today was one of those days when I found myself telling Jebb to "Hurry Up!" a lot.  Lately I feel like I have gone from completing one task on my way to the next one. Last week I was trying to fit in lots of random Scouting activities so Seth could earn his Arrow of Light before his birthday. On Sunday I taught my Relief Society Lesson. Monday I ran to Farmington for supplies. Tuesday was Seth's birthday and I had to get stuff like gifts and a cake before taking Elise to her first piano lesson after school. I have Achievement Days tonight and had to go to Wal Mart so I could find Borax to use in Bath Bombs we are making.

Rush Rush Rush. Jebb's legs are so little and I get so impatient. No, you can't push the cart-just get in it and let's GO! But he wants to help. I just don't have time for it today little man. At the checkout I answer my phone and absent mindedly let him out. The groceries are loaded and paid for. Jebb reaches high over his head to push the handle. He wants so badly to help. I put my hands outside of his on the handle. He makes it hard to push and walk. My feet are getting all tangled. He tries his best. He pushes. Fast. He has to reach so high that I can hardly believe how fast he pushes. His little orange crocs are headed for the doors.

We make it outside and Jebb is still pushing fast. I am mostly just steering. We get to the row our car is in. It's a straight line to our car now. Jebb hangs on to the handle and picks his feet up, resting them on the rack under the cart. He is laughing and his hair is blowing. I grab the cart and give it an extra push before I too put my feet up. It's a little crowded on the rack, but I pinch Jebb between my knees so he won't fall off. It's a downhill slope to the car from here. Now I am laughing.

Sometimes I am rushing so fast to get all of my list checked off. Of course it is the unwritten list of "How to make your kids lives better." It's some weird notion I have in the back of my head and if I have lessons, birthday cakes, callings complete, and a million other things, then we will arrive at our destination of Happy Life. I forget to put my feet up. And too often, I forget to laugh. Man I hate when I forget to laugh!

I am so glad I have these great kids that help me look past the end of my nose and have a better life. I love it when they remind me that sometimes you just have to enjoy the ride! Events will come and go, but what really matters is the journey that fills the moments in between.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Seth's Birthday

Poor Seth didn't get a real party since his birthday falls on a Tuesday this year.  We did cook him the steaks he requested and Grandma came over for a family dinner.
 The oober-cool Mann family stopped by to sing Happy Birthday and shower Seth with candy (the candy thing seems to be a trend with them-do you think I should be suspicious as their dad is our dentist?).  He loved it!   We even broke out the Red Plate for him.  

He made a wish and blew out the candles on his pathetic Wal-Mart cake.    Some how I managed to get pictures with all of the women at the party and none of the men...weird.   What a good sport on a rather quiet birthday night.

Seth is 11

Today is Seth's 11th birthday. Michael Seth Gilleland came into the world on a chilly winter day just after the sun had come up in the morning. He is the second child we have and he was my biggest baby. I really enjoyed having Seth because I felt like I had a much better idea what I was doing with him than I did with Gabe. I knew Seth was "Seth" months before he was born. It is a biblical name of the Son of Adam that was described as a perfect man. He has always had a sweet and mellow disposition. Gabe often took advantage of this in their younger years and managed to get Seth to 'trade' him for whatever cool toy he had. I think Seth knew what Gabe was doing, but I don't think he was bothered by it. Gabe is Seth's best friend. They have been really close since a very young age.
Gabe and Seth in SLC-age 3
GQ Seth

Drinking COLD mountain water-La Plata Canyon
Seth as Capt. Hook
4wheeling up the canyon
Seth on his 3rd B-day
First day of preschool-age 4

Seth has wavy hair that was really blonde when he was young. I love it, but he tries to comb it straight each day. Seth has always had his own sense of style and he knows what he likes. He doesn't like to do things unless he can do them well. He started walking at around 10 months, but one day when he fell he refused to do it again. He wouldn't walk again until he was 15 months when one day he got up and walked around the room without a wobble. Seth is naturally athletic and is good at team sports. He loves football and basketball with his buddies. Seth is really social and loves hanging with his friends. Seth also enjoys dirtbiking, skiing, and snowmobiling.

Seth has a heart of gold. He is a terrific big brother and is sensitive to others. He is generous and kind. He treats the girls in the family very well and is a great friend to Elise. Seth is also funny and mischievous. He has a fun sense of humor and keep us all laughing with his silly antics. He is also very musical. He plays the violin and has a really great singing voice (this is a secret to his leaders in Primary where he only lip syncs). Seth isn't perfect and his jovial nature has gotten him into trouble now and then at school. ;) It's never anythings serious and he always tries to do better.

Seth on his Baptism day -age 8 with G&G Ross
Wakeboarding at Navajo Lake
Seth's 1st Pinewood Derby-he won! (only time)
Corbin and Seth in Zion Nat'l Park-  someone feed those boys!
Roosting in Page at the Moon
On the Beach in San Diego
Last Year's Birthday Party with friends
Seth cracking us up at Christmas
Seth plays first violin for Grandma G

I am so glad Seth is in our family. He is fun to have around and he is a great example to his little brothers. His desire to do the right thing is one of his best traits. He is learning and making an effort to do better each day. He has been trying new things and is involved in some great academic challenges. I am so lucky to be his mom and I hope I can live up to all that he needs and deserves! I love you Seth! Happy Birthday!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Say No to Crack

I have written on this blog about my Proportionally Challenged Condition, or PCC as I call it. It is a lifelong disorder that has been a thorn in my side for as long as I can remember. As an adult I have come to terms with my condition. While I haven't exactly celebrated or even embraced it, I have definitely learned to tolerate this little challenge.

I have mentioned my monkey arms, but to be more accurate, I have a whole set of monkey limbs and even fingers and toes (I will spare you the details of my primate digits for today). I guess I should be a little more specific. I have really long legs. I know, I know, that is supposed to be a great thing and I really am grateful for the fact that it takes me fewer strides to get where I am going. My legs have always carried me where I need to go. But there is a dark side to having long legs in this modern age. That's right-I have a VERY hard time finding long pants that fit.

I can literally remember different pairs of pants that I have stumbled onto over the years that fit me correctly. In 5th grade, it was the pair of navy blue cords I found at Marshalls. I wore those suckers until all the cord fuzz was worn off the bum and they literally shredded in the wash one day. In 6th grade, it was a pair I found at an outlet mall in California. My PCC was really starting to kick in but strangely, 7th grade proved to be a bonanza year at JC Penney's. They had started a new Juniors section that year and I guess they used a spider monkey as the design mannequin because I found 3 PAIRS of pants that fit me in the waist and came all the way down the back of my heel. One pair was striped jeans, another had little checks, and one was a pretty pink. It didn't take long for the JC Penney jean designers to figure out their mistake because when I went back for 8th grade school dice. They had corrected the proportions. Fortunately, "cropped" pants were an 80's mainstay, and I was spared the torture of trying on pair after pair of ill fitting pants. Man I loved that cropped style.

But all good things must come to an end, and I struggled finding jeans until college. Sure, I had Girbauds in high school, but they were border line. I was glad we had moved to a warm climate where I could wear shorts most of the year.

It was college when I found another pair of jeans I loved. they were from the Gap. They fit at the waist, got baggy through the thigh before coming to a nice taper at the top of my shoe-I was just too cool! ;) I actually bought a couple pairs of those and wore them often.

Once I was married, the PCC was really accentuated 5 different times as I bore my lovely children over the years. Have you ever tried to find really long maternity pants? Good luck. Even though they add all that extra fabric for the belly at the top, you can't pull them down without the crotch looking ridiculous from the back. Kim (my sister with a similar though not as dramatic PCC disorder) gave me a pair of black knit pants that she had worn during her final pregnancy. They were a pair she got from some new maternity store and once again, the designers 'fixed' the problem and they were no longer available. Yah, I wore those babies out too on my months of winter pregnancy over my child bearing decade. (OK-that is a little pathetic that I wore those bad boys for a decade....not to mention the fact that I was wearing knit pants-knit pants!-ugg)

The Gap has pulled me through many of my non-pregnant years. I had success buying jeans online. I would go into the store, find a pair that fit me, then go home and order it in an extra-long version not stocked in stores. Long and Lean was my mainstay. I dabbled in Flare, but usually shrunk them too much. Old Navy's 'long' wasn't. Forget generic clothing stores like The Limited, Ann Taylor, or Maurices. These types of stores were havens for the 'petite' cut.

So many times I would let the memory of my PCC fade, and I would wander into a mall. Without fail, the reality of my condition was driven home as I would look for a pair of khakis or slacks only have my ankles revealed in all of their PCC glory. Oh, the trauma! Fortunately, one thing you can always count on is change. Seasons come. Seasons go. Hem lines rise. Hem lines fall.

In recent years, it has become increasingly easy to find many pairs of jeans in X-Long length and I have felt my PCC abate. I have found a great deal of success at the mall mainstay, "The Buckle." They have lots of jeans and lots of teens eager to help you buy them. Ahhh. It's almost enough to make me forget my condition. If you know me, you know I am one thing-trendy. Uh, OK, maybe not. I am pretty plain and boring and oblivious when it comes to many of the fads of the day. But I decided that with my PCC in check, I wanted some jeans with cut little designs on the pockets or maybe even some nifty flaps. I felt safe at the Buckle. I tried on many pairs and to my absolute amazement, even found a pair or two that were TOO long! I was euphoric and in my giddy state, I forgot an important consideration in proper jean fit.

As hems have lowered over recent years, so has something else. It is referred to as the 'Rise' of the jean. In simple terms, it refers to the distance the front zipper travels to close up the jeans. The rise on many jeans, like the hems, have gone lower. In some cases, much lower. So in my little Buckle cubicle with the silly grin on my face I had come up with 3 different jeans in my 'Yes' pile. I couldn't believe my good fortune. I was Queen of my PCC! I was happy. I was even cocky. And yes, i got careless.

Today I put on the only pair of jeans I had yet to wear. i was smug in my triumph over my disorder. When I zipped and buttoned, they were long. Really long. Delightful! I started doing my usual stuff for the day. Gather laundry for a load. Get the dishwasher emptied and reloaded. Wipe down the table to get rid of breakfast remnants. You get the idea. I don't do anything super bendy or radical, but I am moving around and active. You know how your jeans kind stretch out as you wear them? Ya, I had that. I went outside with Jebb. He was intent on riding his bike around in the cool, crisp sunshine. The snow has melted enough from my front planter that I decided to squat down and pull out a few withered remnants from last fall. As I bent down to work, I felt a chilly breeze. Somewhat startled I reached back to see what was going on. My long, flowing, slightly stretchy jeans were giving me PLUMBER'S CRACK!! Something about the curve of my bum with the cut of the waistband combined in a very unpleasant and revealing moment of exposure to the cold!

Oh PCC, you got me again! To beat you in hem length I forgot I had to be ultra diligent in finding a higher rise. I got too comfortable with my disorder and I let it trick me into a false sense of security. I forgot to sit and stretch and bend and squat in my Buckle cubicle. I have learned my lesson. I can't take anything for granted. Although my PCC got me with an icy blast to remind me of it's presence, I will not give up. I will continue to look for the X-long. I will not lapse into forgetfulness and try on mall khakis. I will continue to be content without a lot of variety in my jeans. I will not be conquered! PCC, I will overcome you and I will say NO to Crack!

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Inauguration

This is a historic day.  Barack Obama took the oath of office to become the 44th President of the United States. I am pulling for him. Our country faces a lot of challenges at this time both domestically and abroad.

Gabe was home from school and watched the proceedings on the TV with Jebb and I. Seth and Elise reported that they both watched it at school.

I hope we can become a more united country that will be willing to tackle the hard problems. I believe in the American Dream and the Ideals our Founding Fathers embraced to help craft the framework for our government. I am very grateful for past leaders who have done their best to make the world a better place (yes, I believe that even though none of them are perfect, they did their best). I love this country and even with all of its problems, I still believe it is a shining beacon of hope for the rest of the world. It is my hope that the citizens and the leaders of this great land will strive to preserve liberty here and anywhere men long for peace. God Bless America. Good luck President Obama-my prayers are with you.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Fire it Up

This week we attended the Blue and Gold Banquet for Scouts. This will be Seth's last Pack Mtg. before turning 11 at the end of the month. Seeing awards given out inspired Seth and another one of my Webelos, Richard, to want work for their 'Arrow of Light.' (Richard turns 11 a week after Seth.) I had encouraged the boys to work towards this, but I admit I lost steam over the Holidays.

Upon further review of the Webelos Book at home, we realized Seth still had several things that needed to happen. Luckily, it happens to be the weekend of the 'Klondike.' This is a huge winter campout involving all of the area Boy Scouts. My husband is the best and agreed to take Seth up at the last minute so he could fill several requirements like pitching a tent, cooking a meal at a campout, and lots of other little things that can be done most effectively at a 'real' campout. Of course Seth had an absolute blast sleeping in the Bishop's huge canvas tent with all of the other scouters. He managed to accomplish many of his needed requirements. Yeah!

Since I am Seth's Scout Leader, I decided to try and do my last minute part too. We shoveled out the fire pit and planned a night of fire building and s'mores. We had Richard over and the boys built a scout worthy fire. I am always trying to come up with creative activities for these boys, but I think they would be happy if I just let them build fires every time. There is something about boys and fire. It is a wonderful, terrible attraction. Of course all of our kids were on hand for the firey treats! It was a really fun way to spend the chilly night and I am so glad Seth has decided to kick it into high gear and earn that award!
Seth and Richard give me a salute
Jackson LOVED the marshmallows!
Future Scouters

The lone lovely lady! :) Elise is a good sport with all these boys!

The Hiding Place--by Corrie ten Boom

I am in charge of selecting books for our Relief Society Book Club. I have tried to select books that are centered on Jesus Christ and His message for us. Often the authors are members of our church, but many times they are not. It is inspiring to me to read about ordinary people in diverse circumstances that are striving to pattern their life after the Savior of ALL mankind.

The Hiding Place, by Corrie ten Boom, is set during WWII and is one Christian woman's experience in trying to live like the Savior in a time and place where the light of Christ was seemingly dim.

I read this book in high school (about a million years ago) and I remember being deeply impressed by it's message. Corrie and her wonderful sister Betsy were able to see every circumstance as a blessing from God which presented both an opportunity to learn and a reason to give thanks. We are all familiar with the teachings of Christ recorded in the scriptures, but to read how these teachings are applied in seemingly impossible circumstances is moving and inspiring.

Far too often, I find it easy to follow Jesus, unless I have a good reason not to. I am so glad I revisited this true story. The Lord is always with us. We are never forgotten. The Love of Christ is transformative. God loves ALL of His children-even the really rotten ones. We need to try to see one another as God sees us. Miracles happen.

I am grateful for good books that can help us stretch and learn from the experiences of others. I hope I will be able to remember how the people in this book were able to apply their faith in difficult times and I will be inspired to 'try a little harder to be a little better.'

Thursday, January 8, 2009

First Ski Day for Jackson and Jebb

Today John and I pulled Jackson out of school to take he and Jebb skiing for the first time. I feel kinda sad that Jackson is 5 and we haven't taken him yet, but it turned out just swell. It was a beautiful day and although it was super cold early this morning, we were all shedding layers up on the mountain. Durango Mountain Resort was formerly known as Purgatory and I was afraid this day would live up to the hellish name. This was not because of the boys, but because I was worried I wouldn't be much help. It turned out to be an outstanding day. John and I each took a kid and helped them wedge down the hill with their hands on their knees. I loved it except for the one time I almost did Chinese splits trying to stop Jebb (I say almost because I am not limber enough to actually do the splits!). I also learned about all kinds of weird muscles I didn't know I had in my legs which I am getting to know better as they are now sore. If I want to keep up with these kiddos I need to stay in shape and this was a good reminder of that fact!!

It is just so fun to see your kids learn new things. J&J both did really well and were sad when it was time to go home. We are all skiing this winter which is just fun! I have 5 kids and we are all skiing together! I love it! I am no longer the worst skiier in the family, but I am sure it will be all too soon that the two little guys will eclipse me in skill and bravery! I am pretty happy to cruise the blue groomers and I DO appreciate it when then take a run with me. I am starting to feel awfully sentimental about all of these guys growing up. I guess that's why I need to savor these times learning together!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Jackson Hits a Milestone

Jackson finally lost his first tooth. It had been wiggly for a few weeks and yesterday evening he was ready for it to come out. It wasn't coming out without some help. That is John with his trusty leatherman doing the extraction. I am not one for blood and gore.

I asked Jackson to smile and show me the new space, but for some reason he struggled. It turned out more like a grimace which is funny because he was VERY excited.

The Tooth Fairy is very hit-and-miss at our house. Sometimes Daisy (the dog) has scared her away and sometimes it is me staying up too late that keeps her at bay. She does always come eventually and leaves a quarter for each year old the tooth-loser is. For first teeth though, she is usually persistant enough not to fall mean, get scared off by us. Sure enough, Jackson found 4 shiny quarters under his pillow. He ran up early in the morning and excitedly showed us. I leaned over and whispered in John's ear that Jackson was in fact 5. The tooth fairy, uh, I mean, John, told me rather emphatically that he knew Jackson was 5. He took him by the hand and found the 5th elusive quarter in the crack of his bed. Jackson was excited! He spent the rest of the morning wiggling the remaining teeth in his head. When that didn't work, he tried Jebb's.

Losing your first tooth is a fun milestone and I can't believe how fast these babies are growing up!

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Rest of the Break II-The Utah Chronicles

There was still a good chunk of break left when we decided to road trip up to Utah. My little sis Deb is still staying and Kim's house and Nicole and I both decided to go up there to see her. That's right-all of the Ross sisters together on one Holiday. Our poor husbands! They just don't understand how FREAKING HILARIOUS we all are when we get together! Seriously-NON STOP LAUGHS!! It's too funny- KIm, Nic, Deb, and I are constantly cracking ourselves up! I am sad that our husbands don't get our quick wit! ;)
Of course Kim fed us all llke Kings. Here is our New Years Feast.
But for some reason, she made us drink our beverages out of extremely tiny cups.
Brad and Keryn came up from Spanish Fork for the festivities too. It was great to meet their new baby (more on him later).
Even though our husbands don't understand the comedic genius they are all married too, they are still fun to have around at New Years to smooch!

We rang in the New Year on Tobago time where G&G Ross are serving a mission. In other words-we celebrated at 8:00 PM! Perfect for all the young cousins! Kim had some good noise makers for the party. The kids had a ball!

But the break wasn't over yet. We still had several days for some serious cousin bonding.
Jackson, Jebb, and Rex are like peas in a pod.
Going to Cabela's was a highlight for the kids. Elise took a TON of pictures. Here is my favorite. I have a picture just like this of myself that I took way back on my mission!
We are thinking of starting our own Rock Band! Kim had Rock Band and Singstar-video games that tested our musical abilities. Maybe we'll keep the day jobs.

John, Gabe, Seth, Elise, and Uncle Theo headed up to Ogden to meet up for a day of skiing with the Kofords. They took some photos for me.

They had an absolute blast!

Another huge reason we drove up to Utah was to meet this little guy. Heber Alexander Ross is the newest addition to Brad and Keryn's family.
Here are a few pics from the blessing day.
These are all the people who traveled to be there. Here's a close up of the Ross side for G&G Ross! We missed them being there!

There were obviously lots of really great reasons for us to go to Utah! We had a whirlwind and fun-filled visit. As usual, we weren't ready to make the long drive home. But the vacation was finally over and we headed home to begin 2009! Thanks everyone for a fun time!