Sunday, July 20, 2014

Beach day…finally!

Somehow the summer got away from me, and I hate to say that we didn’t go to the beach ONE time.  There were plenty of other fun things we did, but that wasn’t one of them.  And I feel bad about that since there are so many great beaches around here, and I denied my kids the beach experience!  I won’t blame it all on Peter, but with a two-nap kid, we were kinda chained to the house to a certain degree.  Daily schedule:  get up, feed everyone breakfast, get everyone ready, time for morning nap, nap ends, feed everyone lunch, run a few quick errands, back home for afternoon nap, nap ends, time for dinner, jammies, and bedtime.  It’s OK for Peter to skip a nap now and then, but for the most part, I’m pretty adamant that naps happen. 

Anyway, that’s a long excuse for why we didn’t go to the beach this summer, but I partially redeemed myself by taking the kids one afternoon the week after school started.  The following unseasonably-hot Wednesday after Seth got home from early release school, I had everything packed and we headed to Newcastle Beach Park.  Despite the chilly lake water (it’s never really WARM), the kids had a blast, and so did I.  I promise right now that we’ll go much more often next summer!


Our budding civil engineer made an impressive network of water canals.



Happy end-of-summer and back-to-school!  This is one of about 30 attempts at a picture together.  I sure do love how they play together.  We celebrated on the way home with a McDonald’s ice cream cone, and Peter fell asleep in the car.  After all, it was time for his afternoon nap.  :-)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Back to school 2013

First day of school for Seth and Lydia.  They’re excited to go back to school (and I don’t feel guilty admitting that I’m excited too).

IMG_7903IMG_7907Bus stop boys Spencer, Aiden, Seth, Damion


Lydia is at a new preschool instead of the in-home one she attended last year at Miss Tammy’s.  She liked it there, but we wanted her to be in a classroom setting to transition into kindergarten next year.  She feels like a big girl going off to school.


Since I didn’t have my camera on Lydia’s first day of preschool, here are a few snapshots of her second day:



Concentrating so intently!

12 of 12 – August 2013


1 – Seth and Lydia entertain themselves by doing stuff to Peter like putting his socks on his hands and watching what he does.

2 – Seth lost his second tooth and wrote a note to the tooth fairy.  Background:  he actually lost his tooth 2 days ago, but the first night, the tooth fairy was running behind schedule and didn’t make it to our house.  In his own spelling:  “Dear tooth fairy  Please rememder to check for my tooth and please leve me a present or a coin and I will take good cear of my teeth.”

3 – I finished 30 crayon rolls for a preschool teacher who wanted to give one to each of her little students.

4 – Look in the bottom right part of the picture to see a hummingbird approaching our feeder.  We have so many!  Never mind the bugs in the feeder.  I know that’s so gross, but somehow the earwigs find their way in and then drown.  Any tips for keeping them out??

5 – Beautiful roses brought to me by my new camp friend Jen when we invited her family over for dinner.

6 – We finally got our congratulatory note for Peter’s birth from the White House.  “Welcome to the world!  Your arrival is a cause for great celebration for your proud family.  We wish you a long and happy life filled with chances to learn, ideas to explore, people to love, and dreams to fulfill.  Sincerely, Barak Obama & Michelle Obama”  I’ve gotten one of these for each of the kids when they were born, and honestly I held off sending Peter’s birth announcement in hopes of getting a note from President Mitt Romney (that has a nice ring to it), but this will do as a baby memento.

7 – Matt comes home sometimes for lunch, and Peter likes to stand at the front window to watch his dad drive away.

8 – The sign of a fun summer day outside…dirty marks on Lydia’s feet from her sandal straps.

9 – Almost done sewing my quilt top of Great-Granny Squares.  This is the 49th of 56 squares.

10 – I can’t resist this little cutie.  Check out those eyelashes!  He was playing with some of Seth’s legos, and whenever he dropped them or broke them apart, he’d say his newest word “Uh-oh!”

11 – Two little apples on our Jonagold tree.  Yay!

12 – Lydia is the best and most adventurous eater at dinner.  She usually asks for things Seth wouldn’t touch, like salsa or avocados or pickles or salad or more chicken.  Of course, it doesn’t take much coaxing to get her to eat a bowl of ice cream for dessert.

YW Camp 2013

I was asked to volunteer at Stake Girls’ Camp by helping in the kitchen.  That meant stocking food baskets for ten camping units at each meal for them to prepare, and preparing the meal itself for the stake leaders, stake staff, and 6th & 7th year girls in “head shed.”  All in all, there were about 230 people in attendance.  headshed Here’s all the stake staff.  Can you tell this was the first day?  We’re all clean, smiling, rested, non-sunburned, and non-mosquito-bitten.

I knew it would be a lot of work because I’d helped with the food for Mom’s quilt retreat, and I knew at camp I would be helping cook for a lot more people, and the cooking would be done outside on camp stoves and dutch ovens.  About halfway through the week, we laughed every time someone would tell us we had the hardest job at camp.  It became our inside joke, among other funny experiences.  Here was my home away from home for 6 days:

DSC04426DSC04416  Looks cozy, right?  We stapled up old thrift store sheets so we wouldn’t have to wonder what kind of bug would drop on our face at night.

 DSC04418 Our well-stocked and organized “pantry.”

 DSC04419Cute kitchen babes L to R:  Me, Pam, Pattie, Melanie, Jennifer (I made the aprons for us).  We had so much fun together.  I haven’t laughed that hard at dumb random stuff in a long time.  Love these ladies!

 DSC04420This seems like a weird photo, but I had to laugh about it, as it reminded me of my girls’ camp days.  At the beginning of the week, lots of the girls braid each other’s hair…and they don’t take the braids out ALL WEEK.  During devotionals and flag ceremonies, we sat behind these 7th year girls, and each day I witnessed the ever-growing halo of ratty hair  around their heads.  I totally remember doing that! Ha ha! 

I wish I’d taken photos of our kitchen because it was a pretty impressive setup.  Brother Richmond from our ward has been going to camp for 15 years, and he was a lifesaver!  The kitchen is made up of a few folding tables and a long countertop from his kitchen that he remodeled. 

I literally did NOT sit down all day long.  If I wanted a shower (which I very much did), I needed to get up at 4:45 am and walk to the showers.  As hard as it was to get out of bed, that was probably my favorite time of day.  Walking through the camp, with no one awake but me, and having only the light of the full moon to guide me down the road, I appreciated and recognized my purpose for being there.  It’s all about the girls and the growth they’re experiencing.  I was immensely impressed with their strength and kindness.  The theme was “Finding Precious Gems” to go along with the scripture “Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God.” (D&C 18:10).  These girls are confident and certain of their worth.  I’m not sure I could have said the same about myself when I was their age.  The whole experience was touching, exhausting, awesome, stressful, amazing, uplifting, etc, etc...a bit of a rollercoaster it would seem.  But camp made a positive impact in one girl’s life, then my small contribution to the whole experience was worth it.


Just look at me in this photo, and you can guess that this was the LAST day of camp.  This is my sweet friend Jen, whom I might never met if not for camp.  We made each other laugh, listened to each other complain, learned about each other’s family, and made it through the “hardest job at camp” together with smiles on our faces.  I’m personally thankful that camp gave me this gift.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Peter is ONE!

We had the big party before Peter’s birthday, but we still had a little family fun on his actual birthday.  We have a tradition that we start celebrating first thing in the morning, and I usually put a single birthday candle in the birthday honoree’s bowl of cereal/oatmeal.  I lit the candle and turned away for half a second to get the camera (bad mom!) and the poor little guy grabbed the flame. Hence the big tears:

IMG_7785 Things looked up from there.  He had a good day of playing, eating, napping, playing, napping again, and eating birthday dinner with the family.  Sounds like my kind of day!  He wasn’t quite over the trauma from the morning’s candle incident, as documented here:

Peter's 1st birthday

1.  Happy and full from dinner.

2.  Oh, what is that, Dad?

3.  OK, now I remember.  Get it away!

4.  Alright, hurry up with the song before I lose it!

5.  Mmmm…chocolate.

6.  Whew, all better and happy again.

We went outside to open presents, and he was loving his new drum.

IMG_7813 Who doesn’t love a huge pile of packing peanuts for their birthday??

IMG_7820And here’s one of many attempts at a sibling photo.  Peter is so loved by all of us.  Happy birthday, sweet little one!


Party Time!

The 13th of July was the Saturday between my 40th birthday (10th) and Peter’s 1st birthday (19th), so we combined a party for the both of us and threw in “housewarming” just to get all the celebrating in.  We made the hotdogs and burgers, and everyone else brought yummy stuff to go with it.  It was a perfect evening in our backyard, and afterward Matt and I were just talking about how thankful we are for such wonderful friends that are like our family.  As close as we could guess, there were around 70 friends from church and past & present neighborhoods.

Here’s the party in full swing:


Love this one:


The kids came up with an orderly line all by themselves to take turns on the rope swing.  If they weren’t doing that, they were playing in the little bouncy house some neighbors gave us, playing with bubbles, or stuffing their cute little faces with food and drinks.  I love this shot!


The rest of the photos are thanks to my photographer friend Lori.  She got some good ones.


The treat table had rainbow a rainbow cake for Peter and a fresh raspberry cake for me.  Yum!


Happy birthday, dear Peter….happy birthday to you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Here’s a collage of the birthday smash cake progression.  He wasn’t so sure at first, but after one little taste, he was all in!

Peter's 1st birthday



Finally, I snapped this last one.  After a big, fun, busy party, we were saying goodbye to the last of our guests, and I turned around and found the man of hour the lone man standing.  He’s such an easy going little kid that he was really content to watch the party from his high chair.  Thanks to everyone who came to celebrate with us!


Monday, March 31, 2014

12 of 12 – July 2013


1 – My beautifully colorful flowers I got for my birthday 2 days ago.

2 – Big little man using his sippy cup and enjoying a leisurely breakfast, and probably being entertained by his brother and sister.

3 – I’m in charge of centerpieces for Girls’ Camp.  Yes, that’s right…centerpieces.  The theme is “Finding Hidden Gems” so these are plastic plant pots and Burger King cardboard crowns spray painted gold, soon to be embellished with plastic jewels.  These are for the tables at Head Shed and will be filled with candy.  It’s kind of fun now that I’m actually doing it and they’re turning out cute.  Yes, we decorate the wilderness for camp…it’s what we do.

4 – While I was spray painting and working away, Seth and Lydia were decorating our own “wilderness".”  They kept me company outside by drawing elaborate pictures and scenes on our driveway.  They’re quite the little artists!

5 – After his morning nap, Peter came out to join us.  He’s sporting his Johnny Cash onesie that says “Crawl the Line.”  Thanks, Gerilyn!

6 – This afternoon the 14-year-old neighbor kid Joseph came over for a little hangout time with Seth watching a Wild Kratts episode.  Sometimes you just need to come inside and have a little quiet break with your buddy.

7 – They’re tiny, but I managed to put a couple of braids in Lydia’s hair.  It was a fun departure from the usual hair-clip-on-the-side hairdo.

8 – After dinner, Matt brings out the “birthday bowl” for Peter.  He’s done it ever since Seth was a baby.  I don’t even remember why we call it that, since it didn’t originate on a birthday.  He fills up a bowl with warm water and carries it to the high chair to wash baby’s hands and face.  I think he carries it kind of slow so as to not spill it, and it looked like he was carrying a birthday cake, so we started singing “Happy Birthday” when it’s time to clean up.  Peter likes it (and I think Matt does too).

9 – Peter’s helping Matt fix some kind of little plastic toy that came apart or something.  Daddy’s little helper!

10 – For Family Home Evening, we played beach ball volleyball.  These kids would have stayed out past dark playing it if we had let them!

11 – After the kids were in bed, I finished binding another t-shirt quilt for one of my quilt customers.  Now it’s ready to deliver!

12 – Time for a little reading before bed.  Do I choose serious and inspiring non-fiction (“The Undaunted”), or will it be funny yet still non-fiction (“Parenting Illustrated with Crappy Pictures”).  Yawwwwn…maybe it’s just lights out.  I’ll read something tomorrow.

Special Visitor

Just after July 4th, my very dear friend and kindred spirit Jana came to visit from Utah.  The kids were excited to see her, but not as excited as their mama was!  Wanna know one of the many things that makes her so great?  She’s always up for an adventure or two, but she’s also game to come along when we have to do normal stuff like running kids to/from birthday parties, making a quick trip to the local farm to get raspberries before they’re all gone, helping make jam with said raspberries before they get too ripe, and running all manner of errands that needed to get done but I didn’t have time to do them before she got here.

We did get out and do some fun things on a perfect Pacific Northwest sunny summer day.  We’d never visited the troll under the Fremont Bridge in all the years we’ve lived here, so we drove to north Seattle to see what it was all about.  I can check that off my list…that was the first and quite possibly the last time we go there.  It’s just kinda weird and cool in a creepy way, but SOO dusty and dirty.  The kids climbed up on it and had fun, but afterward I was looking for a hose to spray them off.


What’s a nice day in Seattle without visiting this fun place? 

IMG_0713 I was thinking it would be fun to go there more than we do, but with two kids on the loose and another in the backpack, that would be hard to manage on my own on a weekday.  Better save those trips for the weekend when the whole family’s together.  So glad Jana was there to have fun with and help wrangle easily-distracted little ones.

IMG_0711 Her last night here we went to dinner at one of our favorite places to take guess, the Newcastle Golf Club.  We sat outside, and here’s a phone pic of Matt, confident enough in his manhood to wear my huge girlie sunglasses since he was facing right into the sun.

IMG429 We were serenaded by a bagpiper (wasn’t quick enough with my phone to get a shot of that) at sunset, and after dinner we walked around the paths that wind around the golf course looking for deer and wayward golf balls.  Such a perfect night to spend with family and a lovely, lovely friend.


IMG_0693 (1)


Love you, Jana!!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

4th of July

We spent our July 4th pretty much like we spend most of them, unless we’re out of town for something special.  First thing in the morning is the annual flag raising ceremony/cinnamon roll breakfast at the church.  Then we worked in the yard for a bit before packing our picnic dinner and heading to our favorite spot to play and watch the fireworks.  Up until now, Seth has not been a fan of fireworks.  This has always puzzled us since he’s not a shy or quiet person, not even kind of.  There has only been one year that he hasn’t spent the evening of July 4th either covered up with blankets or hiding in the van, and that one year was when he was 10 months old and didn’t know better.  Well, the spell has been broken!  The neighbors were shooting off bottle rockets and screaming cannonballs all day long, which I thought would send Seth racing into the house and under his bed.  But it didn’t bother him, and he had a great time that night…which meant we all enjoyed ourselves more too.

Baby’s first July 4th:


BFFs Lydia and Miriam:


Our family on the 4th:


(I’m thinking I want a permanent lipstick tattoo for my birthday – sheesh!)

Almost time for fireworks!  Cute Emma, Miriam, Lydia and Seth passing the time playing Uno.


All ready for bed, and yes it looks like he’s wincing because there’s an obnoxious camera flashing in his face.  He really was cutely fascinated by his pink glow stick.


Friday, March 7, 2014

Surprise Road Trip!

Be warned…lots of photos coming up!

Math story problem:

Matt was going on a Boy Scout high adventure trip to Idaho for a week at the end of June.


My sisters were going to be in Utah that same week for their 30-year high school reunion.


My mom’s 70th birthday was during that same week.


The kids hadn’t been to Loa to visit Grandma and Grandpa for too long.


Surprise road trip…me, by myself, driving to Utah, with three kids.  Only logical, right?

It was actually a really smooth trip and a pleasant drive.  The last day of school was June 18th, and on the 20th, we were on our way.  We stopped to stay in Boise the first night before driving the rest of the way the next day.  We spent the night in Bountiful with my awesome aunt and uncle, and stayed up WAY too late talking to my Aunt Nonnie.  So fun to catch up with one of my favorite people!  The next day on the way out of Salt Lake, we stopped at my friend’s wildly successful gourmet cookie shop before heading to Provo.  The kids were cute little good sports while we walked around BYU campus on a HOT day.


We pulled into Loa late that afternoon, and I regret not having my camera with me.  Mom and Dad weren’t home because I later found out they were cleaning the church.  Being small town USA, their doors were unlocked and we came in and waited, and waited, and waited.  The suspense was killing me, and I was constantly keeping the kids away from the big front window so as to not spoil the surprise.  Seth got the alphabet blocks from the toy box and started building something on the kitchen table.  I saw Mom and Dad’s truck pull into the yard and told Seth to run into the living room with me for our big surprise.  I didn’t think about the blocks on the kitchen table, and when they came in the kitchen door, the conversation went something like this:

Dad:  Um, well have you started playing with blocks now?

Mom:  What??

Dad:  How did these blocks get here?

Mom:  Well, I’m sure I don’t know.  What in the world??

Me and the kids yelling from the living room:  Surprise!

Boy, that would have been a priceless photo had I thought to have my camera.  They were SO surprised and had no idea, especially since I’d parked the van at the barn across the street.  I love surprising people, and they kept saying, “I can’t believe you’re here!”  And of course, Mom kept saying how she hadn’t cleaned the house yet, but those of you who know her, have you EVER seen her house dirty?

The next day was Saturday, so we helped them with some yard work.

IMG_7631 IMG_7637IMG_7640IMG_7645

Terilyn and Gerilyn (with Cardon cousins) came a couple of days later to celebrate Mom’s birthday.  Here she is showing her baby book to her granddaughters.


Fun with cousins Hyatt and Hannah:

IMG_7649 IMG_7650

Time for birthday celebration!  I stitched this “Quilter’s Psalm” wallhanging for Mom, and I think she liked it!


Look at my pretty Mama!  Seventy years YOUNG.


Random snapshots of Peter with his favorite kitchen tool and his favorite time of day…bottle time with Grandpa:



That night was the great night crawler hunt.  Dad put the sprinkler on the lawn during the day so the ground would be nice and soft for those big suckers to break through to the surface.  With flashlights and plastic cups in hand and our quietest voices, we set out after sundown to find and grab enough to take fishing the next day.  I haven’t done that in a LONG time.  It’s cool and gross and fun all at the same time.  We were overzealous and caught more than the bait box could handle, so I think Dad ended up putting some back around the lawn.  Here’s Seth:  Look what we did!  Molly June the kitty:  What the???


We got up the next day and drove up to Cook Lake, the same one we fished at during our family reunion 3 years ago.  It’s so high up there that the air physically feels thinner, but it’s secluded, peaceful and so beautiful!  See what I mean?


Grandma made Lydia a homemade fishing pole out of a stick and some fishing line.  So cute!

IMG_7669 Here’s the one and ONLY fish caught the entire day, and Dad caught it. 

IMG_7674 It was only fitting since he spent most of the day changing bait, fixing lures, unhooking snagged lines from rocks, like this:


Peter was a champ, either hanging out in the backpack…


…and even took a good little nap out in the wilderness on the big camp quilt.


Grandma’s getting the little ones started early!

IMG_7683 These pretty little blue butterflies were all over the place.


We drove to Manti a couple of days later for some swimming and the Mormon Miracle Pageant, and then it was already time to make the trek back home.  One last photo with Grandma and Grandpa before heading out.


We drove from Loa to Bountiful and spent the night again with the Sannars after a late-night trip to Nielsen’s Frozen Custard with just Aunt Nonnie, Terilyn, Gerilyn, and me.  The next day, I planned on driving to Pendleton, Oregon, spending the night there and driving the rest of the way home the next day.  We rolled into Pendleton around 5:30.  Miraculously, I was still feeling pretty energetic, kids were OK and not melting down, and it was actually only about 4 more hours to home. Soooo, I decided to go for it and drove the whole way from Bountiful to our house in one day.  I’m glad I decided to do it because we not only saved money from not staying in a hotel, but I got to sleep in my own bed a day earlier than planned, and when I woke up the next morning, I was already home!  What a great trip and awesome start to the summer!