Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fun Run

Last Friday Ashton and Dallin participated in their school's Fun Run.


I planned to run it with them since I figured I could this year without feeling like I was going to hock up a lung or keel over and die. But run, I did not.  Wednesday evening I had a nasty tension headache that through the night turned into a horrible migraine that lasted until Thursday afternoon. So Friday morning, I was drained, stiff & sore, a little hazy, and just watching those kids run made my head hurt.


So Ben, Emma and I stood on the sidelines and cheered on our boys and friends.


We also enjoyed experiencing the excitement of the awards assembly. It was really great to see the kids clap, cheer, and be legitimately happy for those who won.


Although, Ashton decided that after running a mile, sitting in the awards assembly- where he was spat on by a special needs child and was awarded nothing, the part that made the whole run "fun"- were the tongue color changing popsicles. I didn't have a Popsicle, but not being a fan of getting spat on; I tend to agree. Blue and green tongues are pretty cool.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Connections

A few days ago, a favorite blog of mine posted this video and wrote about how we seem to be able to forge connections with complete strangers and yet not know our neighbor next door.



Obviously, I loved it or I wouldn't be sharing it with you here.

As the music's tempo increased and locales started going by faster, I was excited to see where he would dance next and I even got misty eyed from a couple of different locations that I have an emotional connection to myself. It made me smile, laugh, cry, and think. I identified with the question posed and thought about it off and on for the rest of the week- until Friday.

That's when I saw something that made me appreciate the connections we make a little differently.

First, I have to explain something so you will understand my appreciation.

My eldest child is sensitive. You know the characteristic you hope you won't pass on to any off your offspring, well he got the double whammy. My tendency to worry and Richard's relationship with anxiety fell squarely on his shoulder's.

We realized the depth of his sensitvity a couple of years ago when he started 3rd grade. It was his second year in this school since we had moved back to the states from Canada. He had done really well getting settled and making friends his first year, so we didn't anticipate any problems the following year. The first week went fine.

Then the dam broke.

He couldn't sleep. He couldn't eat. Panic attacks started and so did the inconsolable crying. Going to school was out of the question. He would beg me not to go, but after some coaxing I would get him there only to end up leaving with him in tears. We finally got that the heart of the problem was that there was nobody he knew in his class.

No connections.

He was the only boy from his previous class that had been placed in his current one and of course, the girls he knew still had cooties. His problem all boiled down to this; it was hard enough to be the new kid and have to make friends one year, let alone two in a row.

The only way to solve the problem though was to go to school. And he did. And eventually he made friends. Things were better, he wanted me to walk him to class each day and would give me the "please, don't leave me here look", but at least he went.

There was a difference in him though. He was more particular about what he did, what he wore, and he became really concerned about what people thought about him. He didn't want to do or wear anything that might cause him to lose the friends and connections he had made. It intensified last year after a bully stopped a soccer game he was playing in to make fun of him.

The boy who used to love to dance in the kitchen with me to Elton John's "Crocodile Rock" won't even dance with me anymore.

That is why I was so surprised and delighted to be able to film my own little 'Dance' video on Friday morning following the Fun Run at the school.

video

I was only able to get 15 seconds of it- I wish I could have gotten more, but I will take what I could get. Just look at my boy "shaking his thang" with all of his friends (I like to think he gets his moves from me), but better yet... think of the connections he has made to make him feel comfortable enough to do it in public!

The good it did this mother's heart, who has the propensity to worry, was great. And perhaps, it is time I give "Crocodile Rock" a rest... it looks like I have a new dance to learn.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Costume Malfunction

I think most everyone would agree one of the charms of Halloween is dressing up. Having the chance to take a break from being our normal everyday selves and dawn the persona of someone else is alluring to me. Plus, I am always interested to see who or what my children want to emulate each year.

As a girl I don't remember buying a costume for Halloween.  We had an old cardboard box that was full of odds and ends of different costumes and masks that was pulled out and we were given carte blanch to do what we wanted.  I remember rummaging through it each year waiting for something to spark my interest, or better yet, creativity. Most of the time it didn't and I was left to come up with something else from other things around the house.

Some costumes I do remember are that of being a baby, a pair of cards with a friend of mine, a punk rocker, and a paper boy, which wasn't much of a stretch, since I had or shared a route for 7 years; the only difference was that I was naturally a girl.  But even if my costumes didn't amount to much, the fun I had trick or treating in them did and that is what Halloween was all about.

Each year I am always surprised at the creativity of some new costumes. I always wish I had a brilliant mind that could concieve such creative genius. But over the last few years I have been surprised in a different sort of way when shopping for various costumes. In order for you to fully understand, allow me give you a few examples.

When I had Emma, I wanted to be Little Bo Peep with her as my sheep.  So I started the hunt in stores and online and this is an example of the type of costumes I found:

Not quite the Mother Goose version I grew up with.

Richard's usual costume is a Pirate. So I decided to be a female pirate one year with this as one of my search results:

Can you imagine anyone (let alone me) wearing this trick or treating? Not exactly the "Pirates Booty" I had in mind.

So I am wondering if Halloween has changed since I was a girl walking the streets wearing pajamas, sucking a binky, with painted freckles on my nose, happily filling my pillowcase with treats? Do we now have to look like street walkers willing to turn tricks to get the treats?
If so, give me my ratty old pajamas any day!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Poky Vacation

Last weekend we were invited to enjoy a mini vacation in Pocatello, Idaho. You may not think that Pocatello sounds like a premiere vacation spot, but that is only because you don't know the awesome family we have living there.

My beautiful niece Aubrie had turned 8 and her baptism was scheduled for Saturday. Her parents, wanting all of their families on both sides to be there, had sent everyone a prior invitation to come and enjoy the weekend and celebrate with Aubrie. Knowing that we all couldn't stay at their house, they in all their generosity put everyone up in the Marriot Suites.
Our particular suite had a kitchen, complete with dishwasher, two bedrooms, and three TVs.
My kids thought they had died and gone to heaven.

Ashton enjoying 1 king bed.

Dalllin enjoying the other.

Benjamin loved the fold out couch.

Daddy & Emma snuggled in the chair.

Here's a rundown on the rest of the festivities...

There was golfing to start it off. Sorry, there are no golfing pics because we didn't get there in time. But honestly, we really suck at golf, so it was just as well.
There was lots of visiting.


A lot of eating.

We attended the baptism.

We celebrated birthdays & Aubrie's baptism.



We watched Landon (our nephew & #23) play the position of quarterback in his football game.

Pop Marlin snoozed.

We went swimming.






There was plenty of horsing around and goofing off.

We went to the movie.

(It was a cute show based on one of my favorite books as a child by the same name.)

But most of all we did what families like to do best......just be TOGETHER!

Dan, Natalie, & Nathan. (Andrew not pictured. We hope he and Vicki can make it next time.)

Many thanks again to Dan and Shaleece, for such a fabulous weekend and great get away!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Proof

It's not the best picture, but I think it's proof there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.


 The pot- my house.  The gold- the people inisde.

Silver Linings

In the storms of life there are clouds; dark, foreboding, unwelcome, and depressing. On days like today when the weather seems to be a reflection of my inner self, those clouds seem to hover ever closer above my head. And I'm tired of them.

I am so completely and utterly sick to death of clouds!!!!

But sometimes clouds don't dispel as easy as they form. So with clouds looming, I tried to distract myself from watching the hands on the clock ticking ever so slowly toward Richard's ETA from Cincinnati, by reading his blog. And that's where I found it.

That little shimmering sliver of good amongst the thick, grey crown churning atop my head. The bit of hope to keep me from being swallowed in their endless fog. The silver lining.

His last 3 posts reminded me that even though sometimes I may struggle here at home, Richard has been afforded some amazing opportunities in his travels lately. With his love of history and the cause of liberty how could I begrudge the trips that have taken him to places in the forefront of some of the greatest events in history; places where he has longed to go and now has gotten to? I couldn't, so I won't. It would simply be selfish and that's not the person I want to be.

So as the clouds dispel somewhat, the sun making its way through the cracks, I look forward to our reunion tonight for another reason than just being together again. When I wrap my arms around his neck and kiss him hello, I will be happy to have in my arms a husband who has gotten to experience the silver lining and is a better person for it.

We both are.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

I am thankful I gave birth to this cute little "butterball" in Canada, because it gives us a great reason to celebrate Thanksgiving twice each year.


Benjamin has dual citizenship between the USA and Canada.  It is one of the things that make Ben special and unique in our family. In order to honor Ben's uniqueness and birth country, we try to observe some of Canada's holidays as well as our own. Plus, it is always fun to have another holiday to celebrate, right?


Since today is Thanksgiving Day in Canada we ate a different kind of "butterball" than the cute one pictured above. I spent the better half of today making Thanksgiving dinner complete with some of our traditional must haves like green bean casserole, orange jell-o salad, and Cran-Raspberry juice mixed with sprite and real raspberries. Of course, we also had turkey, mashed potatoes with gravy, yams, buns (Canadian for rolls), and stuffing.


And pie... you can't forget the pumpkin pie. 


I figure why not celebrate Thanksgiving twice a year? In fact, perhaps we should celebrate it more often.  In a world where we seem so preoccupied with getting ahead and having more, we need more days where we are content and grateful for the things we have been blessed so abundantly with in our lives.

Plus, it is a great excuse to eat pie!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Cornbelly's & 'Decking the Halls'




The best thing about being in pre-school is going on all the fieldtrips.  And even though, this is Ben's second year in pre-school, he doesn't get any less excited about upcoming fieldtrips. He really anticipated going with his class to Cornbelly's at Thanksgiving Point last Tuesday, especially since we missed it last year thanks to the stomach flu.

Monday evening we packed our lunch, so we wouldn't risk missing any excitement the next day and at five o'clock Tuesday morning I woke up to the sound of a seal barking; only it was Dallin, with a horribly croupy cough and gasping for air.  After two trips of sitting on the front porch bundled in blankets the cold air helped, he was breathing much better, and went back to bed. 

But what about the field trip? I couldn't send Dallin to school to cough all over his classmates, but I didn't feel like he could go to Cornbelly's with us the way he was feeling. I figured Ben, probably, wouldn't go to Cornbelly's without me, but I decided the least I could do was to drive him there and pick him up. 

Hoping Ben would go for it, I woke him up and explained the situation. No go.  He cried and insisted  he wouldn't go at all without me, so I said we would have to miss it again this year. By this time Dallin was awake, looking a little perkier, and coughing less.  He said he would go with us if we didn't stay long. So I may be a bad mom, but off to Cornbelly's we went.
We stayed long enough to jump a little...


...slide down the slides...

and visit the pumpkin patch.

Dallin was a trooper and did lots of snuggling with mom while Ben and Emma played. He was happy he was able to take home a pumpkin and that his brother got to go on his fieldtrip.


One of our family's favorite holidays is Halloween.

Who's isn't it? Right?

So Wednesday, for Family Home Evening, (yes, that's not the usual night, but since Richard was going to be home we waited) we kicked off the season by pulling out the halloween totes and putting up our decorations.

Ben and Dallin enjoyed making the yard into a graveyard with Daddy.









Ashton was too busy doing this....

...to help much, but he would occasionally stop to give us his opinion on how things should be done.

Emma was okay with everything as long as she didn't have to get too close.

And of course, you can't have FHE without treats, so we went to Krispy Kreme for 2 dozen doughnuts.  We kept one to eat with apple cider at home and took the other to a fabulous family who we admire a lot.

It was a 'sweet' way to kick off what we hope to be a 'spook-tacular' Halloween!
(All corniness intended.)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Shoot me now

So I did it.

Now my heart is pounding, my mouth feels dry, and I feel like I might vomit.

I've been thinking about this since May and talking about it since August, and now that I've done it, I am wondering what I've done!

I just registered for my 1st half marathon.

Just writing it my stomach lurched.

It isn't until May in Ogden, so I have 7 months to add 6 miles onto my run. Easy, right? Except, that about 5 of those months are cold, some are snowy, and I move about as well as molasses in the cold. 

At least, I will be in good company.  My brother Dan and his wife Shaleece, will be running it; along with newcomer, Nathan, another brother of mine. I would love it if you would join us!

I'm not talking about setting any goals yet.  I'm just going to get through the winter and see how it goes. 

Okay maybe just one goal...get through the day without losing my lunch.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Watch it! That's my friend you're talking about.

As I checked down my list of blogs to see what new little goodies had been posted this morning, I saw a new one on this  friend's blog. I clicked the icon and was whisked away into her blog world.
I have enjoyed this friend's blog for a little over a year now.  I started reading after the plane crash happened, so I got to know her through  her fans/friends reposts of their favorites of her pre-accident blog posts. When she came back I was excited to hear about how life was now; post crash.

I worried that things had changed; that she had changed. She could have easily- she had every right to, but she didn't. If she did, it was for the better.

While reading her blog post today, I was still kicking myself for missing her appearance on Oprah yesterday. I ran off to Costco and forgot to set the DVR. I think it had something to do with subconsciously not wanting to watch Oprah. (Yes, I hear you gasping.  But everybody loves Oprah! Not this body. I don't necessarily dislike her...but that is a controverisal tangent for another day.) So friends, if anyone recorded it and wouldn't mind sharing or knows where I can view it online I would be most grateful- even if it means I will be watching Oprah.

Anyway, while reading her latest post, which included what I thought was absolutely beautiful picture of this friend of mine, Dallin, wanting the computer, looked over my shoulder and made a derogatory remark.

I felt anger rise in me.

 I snapped back and launched into that she had been in plane crash where she was badly burned and that it was not her fault.  His grin faded and I could tell he felt bad; either from the story or my harsh tone, I'm not sure which. I remembered that this was a child I was talking to, so I apologized for snapping and softened; realizing, what I hoped to be a teaching moment.

Before I knew it, my mouth was spewing forth the oratory about beauty. You know the one we all recieved from our own mothers at one time or another growing up.

It went something like this:
"...True beauty comes from the inside. It does not matter what people look like on the outside, it is what they do and say- who they really are that matters. You shouldn't judge a book by it's cover, meaning we shouldn't judge a person by what they look like; we should get to know them first..."
I even said, "Pretty is as pretty does."

When the oratory was done; all canned phrases repeated, and every word that I swore I would never say to my children spoken, I realized that probably for the first time in my life, not only did I know those phrases- I knew them.  I believed them.

Over the course of a year, through nienie's words, attitude, and simply who she is, I have been taught many things. But probably, the biggest accomplishment for me...was that she turned me into a believer.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Sanity Secrets




For the last 2 ½ months a lot of Richard and my conversations have gone somewhat like this...

Richard- “I have a business trip next week in England.”
Me- “Really?” “I want to go.”

Richard- “Then the next week I have to go to Tucson.”

Me- “Okay.”

Richard- “Then the week after that I’m going to Pennsylvania.”

Me- No comment. I look for a chair in order to sit down.

Richard- “Then at the end of the month I’m going to have to go the Philippines or India, I’m not sure which yet.”

Me- (Sigh) Where is that chair?

Richard-“Then to New York and Phoenix and then I should be able to stay home a while.”

Me- Forget the chair, I collapse on the floor.
Throw New Jersey and another New York & Pennsylvania in there, and you will have the last few months of our lives.

Really, I am not complaining. I have been very lucky this year with just a few trips here and there until now. It has been and could be worse. He counted up how many weeks he traveled last year and came up with the number 25. If you figure there are 52 weeks in a year, he was gone almost half of it….so I count myself very lucky. I think that single parents should be awarded something spectacular because I have had a taste of what they experience. I'm sure they will get their just reward in heaven- where it matters most.

I have friends and family who ask me how I do it and express that they would be insane if their spouse was out of town so much. This makes me feel good. They think I am still sane!!! I thought I bought a ticket on the 'crazy train' years ago. So barring that they are just being nice, I have decided to share my top 3 ‘Sanity Secrets’ with you.

#1- Prayer. And lots of it. There is no other power by which all of my children are still alive (especially #’s 1 & 3). They are a walking testament to the power there and that miracles do still happen.

#2- Caffiene. Yes, I am one of those “bad Mormons” that may have a slight dependency on stimulant laced substances such as Wild Cherry Pepsi, Dr. Pepper, and Mountain Dew; all of the diet variety of course. That one, maybe two- okay, three on a really bad day, ice cold pick me ups is a Godsend when my tank is empty. Plus, I am hoping all my prayer will get me an allowance in this department.

#3- Adult interactions. I love my children dearly, but at the end of the day I need to have a little more stimulation than hearing all about various Pokemon and the damages they do.

There is nothing like getting together with adult friends and talking about interesting subjects and current events happening in the world. Okay…. so that rarely happens to me. When Richard is gone face to face interactions are few and far between- almost nonexistent. (You realize how pathetic you are when you really look forward to a PTA meeting because there will be real live adults there.)

This is where you, my dear blogger friends, come in.

I love to read blogs. I love people and I love to know what makes them tick. Each time I interact with you by reading a post, I get a little glimpse into who you are and what makes you tick. And even if I can’t have face to face interaction with you, I start to feel like I know you. You become my friend, whether you like it or not.

I was chatting with a friend the other day and the subject of blogs came up. She said, “I don’t get up to read the news; I get up to read blogs.” I thought… That IS news!!! The very best kind of news! Because it is about someone you might actually know. And if it isn’t someone you really know, at least, it is someone that you care about enough, even if it is just because you enjoy their writing style or humor, that you give them a portion of your day by reading about their world.


This is the interaction I am talking about and love.

Your trials and triumphs, adventures and mishaps, trips and photos, are the news I crave. I laugh along with you or, if fitting, I laugh at you. I cry when you are hurting. I contemplate your views. Often, I do all three together. Sometimes, I sit quietly letting your words penetrate; absorbing the lessons you teach me. I most often comment, except when I hold back because I feel like a comment pest or have never really met the blogger who I am reading.

Recently though, I accepted a challenge to come out of my “blurking or blog stalking” shell. It has made all the difference in fulfilling my adult interaction quest. It feels good to let people how much I enjoy what they do, what they post...the little bit of their world they share. Sometimes they respond back and I love that- more interaction with an adult mind, acknowledging that I am there. Sometimes that is all that matters.

So you see, dear blogger friends, what you do is important. Keep up the good charity work you are doing. Keep on posting!

My sanity depends on it.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Never Say Never


Cedar Canyon 2009 

When Richard and I were dating and newly married we loved to go to the theater. Musicals, plays, and the occasional concert were a favorite past time of ours. With our fondness for plays and the fact that we lived in Utah, it was no surprise we found ourselves headed to The Utah Shakespearean Festival located in Cedar City one summer. To make a long story short, we loved the festival, but for some reason we HATED Cedar City. I vowed that I could NEVER live there.


Fast forward a couple of years, Richard was asked by his supervisor to interview for a specific job. She felt he had the needed leadership skills and knew he would benefit from the promotion. The promotion and coveted job were located in….Cedar City.

No way! Remember, we hated that place.

Plus, we just had our first baby and I was a week away from starting my 2nd year of nursing school at Weber State. This was not a good time to be quitting school, packing up, and moving four hours away from any of our family.

But in all actuality, it was the best time to be doing all of those things.

No, wasn’t the right answer- and we knew it. We felt it. So off to Cedar City we went. And do you know what? We LOVED it. For 3 ½ years we proudly called it our home.

Then Richard phoned me one afternoon to tell me he had been talking to his boss again. There were some sites that were struggling that could really benefit from Richard’s experience and once again, it would be a worthwhile promotion. Our choices were Killeen, Texas or British Columbia, Canada.

The choice seemed easy. Texas. The alternative was not even a choice. Canada? I could NEVER live there.

And so the magic words were said. Our fate sealed. Kamloops, British Columbia, became our home for the next 3 years and 3 months… to the day. And do you know what? We LOVED it and still do. I ache to see those tall lodge pole pines, to be asked if I want my milk in a beg (bag), and not to have people smile or laugh when I say “eh”. But all to soon our time there was over, life was to move on- as much as we hated it- we knew it. Again, we felt it.

And so the magic incantation brought us here.

The answer is…yes. I said it. “I will NEVER live in Happy Valley.” And, “I definitely, would NEVER want to live in Provo.” You would think that I would’ve learned my lesson by now, but who knows… maybe the third time really is the charm. Three and a half years later, I’m thinking…I might be right.

Thanks to the help of my parents watching our kids, Richard and I were able to run away last Thursday and Friday to Cedar City. We visited old friends, ate at our favorite restaurants, took in a play, walked the campus where I finished nursing school, and after years of not being back to visit, we toured our once beloved town.

It was an incredible feeling. I was struck with how much you leave of yourself behind in a place that you love. It was like we never left as we took in the brilliant blue sky set against the red rock landscape. We drove familiar streets and relived our life there.

Emotion swelled in my chest and tears blurred my vision.

I was grateful there is someone who would not accept NEVER as my answer. Who has eternal eyesight to see beyond the here and now to view the entire plan for me; who knows beyond my mortal comprehension the lessons that needed learning and the growing that needed to take place so that wonderful experiences could happen.

And dare I say it…. Provo is one of them.

Me with one of my best friends, LaRae.

The best fast food place to eat at in Cedar, Hermies. I highly recommend the grilled turkey & onion rings washed down with a Vanilla Coke. 



On the beautiful SUU Campus.


At the play "The Complete Works of William Shakespear- Abridged".  It was hilarious.  If you can get the chance to go see it, you won't regret it.


Fall in Cedar is breathtaking.  Right Hand Canyon and Cedar Mountain certainly didn't disappoint with their fall colors on display.  


Last stop before heading home, Cedar Breaks.