Saturday, December 3, 2011

Joe's Observation

I took Joe and Priya south to Monticello this afternoon for a grandparents' weekend. Can I just say how awesome those are and how I don't think I'll ever get over my gratitude to John's mom and Lew for suggesting them? Anyway, it had been kind of stormy all day, with several inches of snow falling on Grandma and Grandpa's property. The sky was mostly cloudy, but to our right, on the edge of the horizon, shafts of sunlight were peeking through the clouds. You know how that looks, don't you?

Well, Joe pointed it out to me, and then he said, "That always reminds me of what it looks like when Jesus comes."

I said, "Joe, I have always thought the same thing!"

This is significant because, while my mom had the well-known LDS picture of The Second Coming displayed in our house growing up, John and I have the picture of Christ in the red robe. I'm sure Joe has seen the other picture before, but not as often. Anyway, we talked about it for a little bit, about how it made us feel, and then Joe said, "It just looks like something special is happening there."

The boy is a poet. I'm so pleased. :)

Monday, November 21, 2011

What I'm Grateful For

6:00 a.m. Got up and ran three miles. I'm grateful for my mother-in-law who is happy to hang out at my house while I run with my husband
7:00 a.m. Made breakfast for John, me, and the kids. Got everybody dressed and dropped Joe and Priya off at school. I'm grateful for a good charter school close by.
9:00 a.m. Volunteered in Joe's classroom for an hour. I am grateful for my husband who watches Auralee and Elijah on his day off so I can grocery shop by myself.
10:30 a.m. Did my weekly grocery shopping alone. Glorious! I am grateful for $0.59/lb. organic winter squash. Man, I love squash!
11:00 a.m. Sorted the laundry and started a batch. Vacuumed the kitchen and dining room, prepped it for mopping, did the breakfast dishes, started picking up the house. I am grateful for tile floors and corian countertops. I know it's silly, but it's also pretty, and I am grateful for the home we have been able to rent here in Moab.
12:00 p.m. Switched out the first load of laundry and convinced Auralee to help me sort it. I am grateful for my washer and dryer. It takes half as long as it used to take for a week's worth of laundry in a house of six people.
1:00 p.m. Took Auralee to ballet class, put Elijah down for a nap. Mopped the kitchen floor, cleaned the bathrooms, finished picking up the living room. Did another load of laundry. I am grateful for naptime and for Elijah taking a nice, long nap today.
2:00 p.m. Picked Auralee up from ballet, made us both lunch, let her help me sort another batch of laundry. I am grateful for children who smile and say, "yes, ma'am."
3:15 p.m. Picked up Joe and Priya from school. Came home to find Elijah awake. Made everybody snacks. I am grateful for fruits -- nature's perfect snack food in a biodegradable container.
4:00 p.m. Got everybody dressed to go to the park with Dad. Vacuumed the whole house, mopped the entryway and bathrooms, did another load of laundry, sorted the previous load, started dinner.
5:00 p.m. Finished making dinner. Fed the kids. Convinced everybody to fold and put away their clean clothes. Talked Joe and Priya into cleaning and vacuuming their rooms. Put away Elijah's clothes and helped Auralee with hers. I am grateful for children who do their part and appreciate my part.
6:30 p.m. Sat down to rest for ten minutes. Got everybody bedtime snacks. Got all the kids into their pajamas. Brushed teeth. Read bedtime stories. Gave hugs and kisses. Listened to prayers. Said goodnight. I am grateful for bedtime. More than I can possibly say.
8:00 p.m. Folded and put away my own laundry. Copy-edited another chapter of my novel. I am grateful for peaceful evenings.
9:00 p.m. Read a chapter in the Book of Mormon. Brushed my teeth and got into bed. I am grateful for the plan of salvation. I am grateful for the Book of Mormon, the gathering tool. I am grateful that Heavenly Father created my body so that I need to stop and sleep every day.
10:00 p.m. Posted on our family blog. Went to sleep. I am grateful for tomorrow morning because it's going to be another great day!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Joe's Baptism

Joe was uber excited for his baptism, only two months after he turned eight. All of his cousins came down to see him. It was a crowded but very happy house!

Elijah just couldn't stay awake for the whole baptism. But sometimes those catnaps are exactly what you need to get through the day.

After the baptism, we all hiked up Millcreek canyon. When we got to the area where people were jumping off the cliff into the water, Joe climbed right up. He stayed there for a while, just watching other people jump, but once he was confident that it was safe, he did it! Twice!

After that, John and I kind of had to try it. It was that or look like a couple of pansies.

Which we definitely are not!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Driver's License

This year marks the twentieth year I have been driving. Two decades! More than half my life! Isn't it funny how you spend so many years waiting for the privilege that will, in only a very short time, become a chore to you? But I'm grateful that we have a working car that I can drive to get where I need to go, because I've taken four kids grocery shopping with a bike and trailer, and let me tell you, it's not fun.

Of course, with our new move comes the necessity of obtaining new drivers' licenses. It's been seven years since we moved to a different state, so I'm not sure if the change in procedures is nationwide or not, but it has definitely caused WAY more stress than it should have.

Our first venture to the Drivers License division is our shortest. It's Friday morning. I wake up, shower, dry my hair, and put on makeup, since those pictures need all the help they can get. John and I take all four kids with us, since we don't exactly have anyone we can ask to watch them here. It's our shortest trip because the whole building is closed, with no mention of days or hours posted on any of the doors or windows. Fortunately, I find someone during the weekend who tells me that the department is only open two days a week: Wednesday and Thursday.

Attempt number two: Wednesday during John's lunch break. I pick him up at 1:00 and we hurry (with the kids) to the DMV. Alas, it is not to be! We do not have any proof of residency (to go along with our out-of-state drivers' licenses, social security cards, and certified copies of birth certificates), and John has to be back at 1:20 to see a patient. Home we go.

When John gets home early that day, he suggests I go down and try to get my license without so many kids around. Back I go. It's 5:00. The DMV closes at 6 p.m. But they won't let me get my license because I have to take an open-book, 25 question test, and they can't administer the test anytime after 4:30, in case I don't finish and they have to stay PAST THEIR TIME TO GO HOME. I promise I can take it quickly (I read pretty well!) but they won't budge. Plus, I don't have the right proof of Utah residency. Plus, I have to have two proofs of residency. Home I go.

The next day, Thursday, I bring the proper two proofs of residency, pick John up at work at 12:30 with all the kids, and we head to the DMV. But it is not our lucky week. The DMV is closed for lunch. They will re-open at 1:05. John has a patient to see at 1:20. He cannot stick around and get his license. They open at 7:00 on Wednesdays and Thursdays, but he usually has to go to work early to round on patients then. They stay open (except for their lunch hour, which is his lunch hour) until 6:00, but if he shows up after 4:30, they won't let him take the test anyway. Home we go.

Well, actually, I take John back to the clinic and then take all four kids by myself back to the DMV. After their lunch break is over. To get my driver's license.

I have all the right documents this time. They're open. It's not too late for me to take the test. But as I'm filling out the paperwork and waiting for the assistant to copy all my documents, she reminds me that other people are taking the test, and asks if I could keep my children quiet.

Hm. Let me think about that. Actually, no, I can't. (The truth is, before we went in, I gave Joe a green light to lead everyone else in as much ruckus as he can without actually going out of the room or getting anyone hurt. He's doing very well.) It doesn't bother me, taking the test with all four children running screaming around me. I get 24 out of 25 in about half the time it takes the other guy sitting at the computer screen.

So I am now the official recipient of a temporary Utah license. (My permanent one should come in the mail during the next six weeks or so). And so, after only five trips to the DMV, I have succeeded in my original goal, plus the added bonus of succeeding in making everyone in that blasted place just about as miserable as they made me. Hooray for hyper kids! We moms have our own ways of exacting revenge. My only question is, how is John ever going to get his?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Our new home

We've been in Moab for a week. Last Sunday, July 10th, we left Reno at 9 a.m. and drove straight across Nevada and Utah to arrive in Moab at 9 p.m. We got unpacked as quickly as possible so we could get down to the business of enjoying the area. The first pictures are taken from a hike down to the Colorado river where the kids played on the bank and waded in a little bit.

The next day, we drove up to Arches (it's, like, five miles away) and went hiking and climbing around some of the easy trails. All four kids had a great time, and I kept thinking, "I live here. This is crazy!" I mean, look at these photos. I'm no photographer, and our camera isn't anything special, but this is amazing.

It's a great, little town, and we're busy making friends and getting to know what the area has to offer. Our house is small but cute, and it will work for a year, so if you've any inkling to visit southeastern Utah (and you will after you take a look at this slide show), come on by. We'd love to have you.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sam's Wedding

My brother, Ben, got married on June 25th in a small town just outside of Park City. The wedding was beautiful, but I didn't take any photos. Dang! John's brother, Sam, got married in Reno on July 9th. John was the best man, and Priya and Auralee were flower girls. I'm going to try and embed a slide show here, since I don't like trying to align text with photos.

Both weddings were lovely, and we are so lucky to have been in attendance, and so glad to welcome Catherine and Sarah as new sisters into our family. It made for a very exciting few weeks, with all the traveling, but the kids coped with it all very well, and they had such a good time seeing cousins and grandparents and aunts and uncles.

(In the photos, the tall blond with a cowboy hat is John's brother, Sam, the groom. They look so much alike, don't you think?)

Dance Recital, Graduation, and Lake Tahoe

Yeah! John graduated! This is him with his graduating class, on his birthday, June 17th, at the Hyatt or something like that in downtown Jacksonville. We cannot emphasize how happy we are that he has finished that portion of this training.

And here are the girls after their first dance recital. They were so cute! One of these days, I might upload the video I took at their dress rehearsal and post it, but that would be awfully ambitious of me, so don't hold your breath. They both danced beautifully, and they are very excited about their trophies, as you can see.

And here is the family at Lake Tahoe, where we visited some of John's high school buddies who were in Reno at the same time as Sam's wedding. Slide show of the wedding to follow!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day Present from Joe

It's a peanut dispenser. All I do is tape the top strings to the ceiling above my bed. Then, when I need a little snack, I can pull the red string and viola! peanuts come spilling out the tube into the bowl attached conveniently underneath. Now why didn't I think of that?

Kids' Fashions part 2

Yesterday, Priya went upstairs to her room to get dressed. She came out with a skirt in light teal with flowers around the bottom half and a shirt with dark blue butterflies on it. I said, "Priya, you know those two things don't match. They're not the same shade of blue." She replied, "But mom! Butterflies pollinate flowers."


Apparently, there's more to matching clothing than mere color coordination.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Heck of a Long Post (part IV)

Then last Friday, we went to Camp Blanding with a whole bunch of neighbors. It was perfect!

Heck of a Long Post (part III)

Saturday night, we went to the beach in St. Petersburg. There are no stories for these pictures; they speak for themselves.

Heck of a Long Post (part II)

On Tuesday morning, we loaded up the car and headed out to High Springs. We rented a canoe and paddled around for about an hour and a half. It was pretty peaceful.

Except for all the noise the kids were making. Needless to say, we didn't catch a lot of wildlife unawares.

And Elijah did not want to stay in the boat. We coerced him with a bottle and a bag of cheerios, but he spent the last half hour hanging over the side with his hand in the water.

After High Springs, we drove to Crystal River, touted as the year round home of the manatees. Priya got sick that night, so while we did visit the Homosassa Springs State Wildlife Park and see real live manatees eating romaine lettuce, it wasn't a big picture day. John also took Joe and Auralee to Rainbow Springs, but he left the camera in the car. These are pictures of places along the route between Crystal River and Tampa/St. Petersburg.

If only we'd had time to stop and see the mermaid show!

We stayed with Jenisa in St. Petersburg. She was certainly gracious enough, but I'm sure it was like going through another hurricane having our family of six descend on her quiet apartment.

By Friday, Priya was feeling better, so we went to the Florida Aquarium in Tampa Bay.

Joe and Priya had a good time at the pirate show, dancing, singing, and hula hooping.

All Auralee wanted to do, though, was play in the sand.

Heck of a Long Post (part I)

On the Sunday after John took his boards, he and Joe got invited to go boating (and fishing, of course) with Mark Mabus.

This is Mark. He's a really nice guy and very generous with his boat, but not exactly a fish magnet.

Joe didn't seem to care that they didn't catch any fish, though. He stayed out there for eight hours with only a box of wheat thins to feed his growling stomach. There's no sacrifice too great for a good day of fishing.

On Monday, we went to Fort Clinch. Priya had a fun time posing for dad at the park. She's working on a more natural smile. It got better as the vacation continued.

Joe was fine with whatever, as long as he got to wear Dad's fishing hat.

The beach was beautiful, in spite of the jellyfish everywhere.

Priya doesn't really fish. But Elijah does really walk. He loves the beach. His only problem is that he can't seem to figure out what to do with it besides eat it.

John fished all morning. He caught a whiting. It wasn't big enough to feed the whole family, so he gave it to another couple fishing nearby. Elijah was fascinated by it. He kept trying to grab it out of the bait bucket.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

And the winner is...

MOAB!!! In June, we are moving to Moab, UT. Now who's going to come visit us?

Elijah's Birthday and Pictures of the Kids


"The best part about this," says Kaleb, Joe's best friend who lives next door, "is that we don't even have to go anywhere to catch a fish!"