Aug 31, 2008

Flowers for Granny

Dear Granny,

The flowers are thriving.
Thank you for planting them.
We enjoy them every single day!


Your Colorado family

P.S. Your grandson enjoys digging in the dirt, too.

Balloon crazy...nighttime style

After enjoying our morning at the Balloon Classic so much, we decided to return for the evening festivities. They didn't disappoint.

We spread out our blanket in what turned out to be a prime location in the thick of the action. The Mayflower hot air balloon was right next to us, so we watched the crew spread out the balloon, fill it with cold air, assemble the basket and gas tanks, and finally, at dusk, fire it up.

The effect of 75 hot air balloons simultaneously glowing was breathtaking! An announcer led the huge crowd of people in a countdown every few minutes, so we joined in yelling, "5-4-3-2-1!" and then shielded our faces from the heat when fires all around us blasted into the balloons.

Gavin wasn't super impressed with the whole affair. Unless I held him tight during the "glow," he screamed. The combination of the huge crowd, bright lights, and late hour were working against him, but eventually he got used to the excitement and fell asleep!

What a fun family activity! We are already looking forward to next year.

Aug 30, 2008

Balloon crazy

We discovered a fun family activity this weekend that will likely turn into an annual tradition: the Colorado Balloon Classic. This huge hot air balloon festival isn't quite as large as the one in Albuquerque each October, but it comes close!

On Saturday morning we left home at 5:30 a.m. so we could get a great spot in the launch field and watch the balloonists set up, inflate, and launch their hot air balloons. What a fun experience!

After all of the balloons were in the air, the big boys enjoyed the "kid zone," which had some pricey activities. We splurged on a few, the most fun and rewarding of which was the rock wall. Tyler (on the right) almost made it to the top, but he got too tired to finish. Zach was a little nervous about being up so high, but he did a great job, too.

We had such a fun morning together! The evening "balloon glo" promised to be awesome, too. Pictures to come!

P.S. Thanks to Garry for all of these amazing photos, and for the blog's new design!


Gavin has completed 75% of his first year of life. Kinda crazy, eh? Time flies.

Here's a recap of the last month, as taken from my journal for Gavin's scrapbook:

Physical traits: You were such an adorable baby, but definitely big for your age. People who knew you called you “tubs,” “hulk,” “linebacker,” “chubs,” etc. My nickname for you was “cheeks” because your round cheeks were so much fun! People also couldn’t resist touching your fluffy hair, which still stuck out all over. You were very sturdy and started standing on your own a little bit. You crawled like crazy, cruised around furniture and walls, jumped in the jumper, and walked with support. You also cut four more teeth.

Little things I’ve noticed: You finally mastered the crawl-to-sit maneuver after crawling for two months! You preferred playing with toys that allowed you to stand, so our little piano and the Incrediblock were very popular for a while. You loved toys that made music, too. You’d bounce around with a big grin as you tried to dance to the music.

My favorite moments: Watching Dad’s face light up when you said, “A-da,” which sounded a lot like, “Hi, Dad!” Even though it made my life more difficult, I loved seeing you explore your world. You discovered doors that month, which meant that you got into drawers and cabinets a lot and often shut yourself in your bedroom. Your brothers started soccer practice in August, and I loved watching you crawl, bear style, through the long, cool grass. You even ate some, but didn't think it was super palatable.

Stuff I’m learning about you: You preferred big people food to baby food, and you became adept at handling crackers, berries, and even big chunks of banana. Other new foods that month were bagels, noodles, yogurt, cheese, and juice from a cup. You weren’t proficient with sippy cups yet, but you were more interested than in the past. You were definitely a people person who liked being where the action was. You also developed separation anxiety and were very difficult to leave with a babysitter.

Highlights: You finally learned to sleep through the night! The cry-it-out process was traumatic for a week or so and then off and on, but the first night you slept 11 straight hours I knew it was worth the effort! I especially loved having a daily schedule to depend on. Before each rest time, you and I read books together. The last one was always “The Going to Bed Book” by Sandra Boynton. Then I cradled you, sang “I am a Child of God,” and tucked you into bed. Usually you fell right asleep. If you got upset, however, you would throw your blanket, pillow, and pacifier on the ground, then rock the crib rails until they banged into the walls.

We sure love you, Gavin! Happy three-fourths!

Aug 29, 2008

Five sets of life lessons

This week's update comes in the form of the random bits of knowledge our family acquired over the last seven days.

Garry has learned...
  • How to wrangle four-to-six-year-olds into some semblance of a soccer game
  • That his Lord of the Rings Online buddies have missed him the past three months
  • That verbal commitments at work don't always translate into results
  • That his boss will go to bat for him at all costs
Heidi has learned...
  • How to plan/prepare/serve/eat dinner early enough for 5:30 soccer practice
  • That Zach has been late to school every day this year
  • That sudden quiet usually means Gavin is playing in the toilet
  • That she needs to work harder to get photos of Zachary (gotta be fair...)
  • That our garage door's motor didn't burn out; the up-spring just broke
Zachary has learned...
  • That being on time to school requires leaving at 8:00, not 8:10
  • That Nate the Great is a pretty fun book series
  • That it's not possible to multi-task his homework and being at Ty's soccer practice
  • That shin guards don't always prevent injury from an aggressive teammate
Tyler has learned...
  • That library story time and playgroup and visiting teaching are all acceptable alternatives to preschool
  • That he can read "Go, Dog, Go" all by himself
  • That mixing up pieces from seven puzzles is a bad idea
  • That an 11-year-old neighbor can make an excellent playmate
Gavin has learned...
  • How to chuck stuff out of his crib when he's supposed to be sleeping
  • How to shut himself in a room
  • Where the baby food drawer is
  • That standing unsupported is fun
  • That the mall is a fun place to play

...and so our brains are full!

Aug 25, 2008

Love/Hate relationships

I love making curtains.
I hate the way the sewing mess takes over my house.

I love flowers.
I hate weeds.

I love all-day first grade.
I hate the after-school grumpies.

I love a clean, stocked refrigerator.
I hate being responsible for cleaning and stocking.

I love one-stop-shopping at Wal-Mart.
I hate slow, incompetent checkers (the only kind this store employs).

I love stainless steel appliances.
I hate obvious fingerprints everywhere.

I love losing weight.
I hate counting calories.

I love hot pink toenails.
I hate chipping the polish on the first day.

I love seeing kids enjoy long-lost (packed) toys
I hate tripping over toys that are "resting."

I love my new house.
I hate knowing my old one is unloved (and for sale again).

I love blogging.
I hate being done.

Aug 24, 2008

Boys will be boys

I was talking with a friend the other night about crazy things our kids have done, and we both felt lucky that our all-boy families have so far been spared from the broken bone scenario. Having Tyler pull out his stitches at an early age was about the worst I've handled so far, but the boys still seem to post more than their fare share of crazy antics. (Case in point: the newsletter I just linked to is chock-full of antics! Sheesh!)

For example, on Saturday I charged Zachary and Tyler with weeding the back yard garden. Transplanting strawberries in June was not a successful venture, and while we were out of town the garden totally gave in to a horde of weeds. I have ignored it completely until this week, when I offered to pay Zach and/or Tyler to weed the whole thing. They flatly refused, so, conniving Mom that I am, I assigned the task as a Saturday chore. All was well and good; they got started and I jumped in the shower. At 9:30 a.m. they reported the chore complete. I glanced over, and amazingly, they had done it! Not ten minutes later, our next door neighbor, quite possibly one of the most gentle souls on earth, informed me that her yard had "inherited" a bunch of weeds. Eventually Tyler confessed the whole business: Zachary made Tyler pull all the weeds and put them in a bucket, which Zachary then dumped in the garbage can. Except the one bucket, which went over the fence and into the neighbor's yard. I immediately thought of Tom Sawyer and his famous whitewashing scheme. Should I be proud of Zach for his industry in avoiding work?

Here's another boy thing that pops up a lot at our house: I have three boys who love to be naked. Considering their ages, Zachary and Tyler ought to have at least a small sense of privacy and decency, but apparently we have failed in that regard. Walking through the house with nary a scrap of clothing on them is just not a big deal! Taking ten minutes to dress after showering is commonplace. And little Gavin has even started taking off his own pants. If the legs are a little long, he'll step on the pant legs and squirm right out. I found him crawling around completely naked because Zachary had gone a step further and removed Gavin's diaper. What's the deal?

This week we've worked through a bee sting (Zach), the stomach flu (Tyler and Zach), teething (three new choppers for Gavin), and astonishing separation anxiety (Gavin). Zach is discovering the "joys" of nightly homework (he doesn't know I make it up for him...) and Tyler is remembering how to putter at home since preschool hasn't started yet. Gavin is starting to stand alone more often. He's also biting. These things aren't exclusive to boys, of course, but they were a big part of our boys' world this week.

See the little circle on Zach's right cheek (your left)?
The bee sting provoked quite the dramatic (read:emotional) reaction.

I'm grateful for the sport of soccer right now. Soccer practice means running and yelling and kicking are allowed. Soccer practice means time at the park, fresh air, and snacks after dinner. Soccer means wearing cool shoes and shin guards that inevitably prompt one brother to kick another without injury. Soccer means time with Dad. Soccer means early dinner and frenetic bedtime routines, but it's totally worth it.

Garry is an awesome coach. Tyler is the non-participant on the right.

Being with this crowd at least helps me feel a little normal. We've got common ground with at least two all-boy families in the ward. (Although I still think my boys can trump theirs in mischievous endeavors.) We meet at parks and each other's homes to let the boys...well, be themselves in good company.

Seven boys between three and seven! Sweet! The moms are awesome, too.

Even the littlest ones, who play in toilets, knock down garbage cans, unroll toilet paper, sleep funky hours, eat weird stuff, grow teeth at the most inopportune times, and sometimes stress out their frazzled mommies, can be buddies as they grow up.

Gavin, Isaac, and Luke.
Gavin is the youngest by three months, but you'd never know it.

And the classic rite of passage. Grrrr...but I still laughed when I found him.

I might moan and groan about my crazy boys, but of course I wouldn't trade them for anything.

Aug 23, 2008

Case closed

If you haven't read my last post, you might want to do that now. It contains the first part of this story. Here's the second part:

The case of the missing diaper bag left me feeling very unsettled. I talked to my neighbor and learned she had found the cup and the book in the street. A few minutes later, the neighbor drove off and found two of my board books at a nearby intersection. She brought them back to my house. We decided whoever took the bag must have started rooting through it and tossed out these inconsequential items. It seemed we might be able to follow a trail of baby belongings and ultimately find the bag.

I was so grateful that my wallet, phone, camera, and checkbook were stowed safely in a separate purse. The thief wouldn't find anything particularly valuable in the diaper bag, so we hoped the chances of recovering it were good.

Garry, who got home from work just after I finished my last post, received the news with as much incredulity as I felt. We felt mystified and violated. We contemplated calling the police but anticipated their laughter at such a silly report. I almost emailed the head of our neighborhood watch but opted to do it later. Garry and I still wanted to get on with our date! We jumped in the car and started scouring the streets, hoping to pick up the diaper bag trail.

Just a few blocks away, at the entrance to our subdivision, we spotted the bag! It was tucked behind some bushes, right next to a brick wall. If we hadn't been scouring for it, we never would have seen it. I jumped out of the car and snatched the bag, surprised that it was so full.

As we examined the bag, the truth quickly became apparent: there was no thief.

Though Tyler left diaper bag in the driveway, its strap must have caught in the van's sliding door. The cup and book most likely fell out when I backed out of the driveway. When I stopped at the first neighborhood intersection, two more books fell out (and I probably ran over them...they have some road rash). It seems the van dragged the bag five blocks, and then, when I stopped at a bigger intersection, the bag somehow fell free from the door's mighty grip. I drove on, oblivious, leaving the bag behind. Some kind soul probably saw the diaper bag and tucked it safely away where we would find it if we went looking.

The items I stowed in the outer pockets of the bag -- containers of formula and cereal, a spoon, a bib, a bottle, a binky -- are thrashed. The pockets are full of dirt, the plastic webbing from the straps is melted and torn, and the side pouches are torn. The interior contents -- extra clothes and diapers -- are perfectly preserved. I'm just glad to have my stuff back, ruined or not.

I am most grateful for the renewed sense of peace and security I feel now that I know the missing diaper bag was my fault! Thoughts of a creepy guy trolling my neighborhood streets made me very uncomfortable. I'm so glad this crazy experience just amounted to good blog fodder!

And hey, since I am now out one very functional diaper bag...can any of you recommend a great one?

Aug 22, 2008

The case of the missing diaper bag

I just dropped my kids off at a good friend’s house for the evening. I watched her kids last Saturday and now she’s returning the favor so Garry and I can go on a date.

On the way out the door, I asked Tyler to carry the diaper bag. Zach had the swim suits and towels, my arms were full of baby and purse and keys, so the lot fell on him. Ty struggled with the *massive* bag, which was packed with all manner of baby items one might need to care for an eight-month-old for five hours. I teased him across the driveway; he was laughing at his load by the time we hit the van. I went around to get Gavin in and assumed Tyler heaved the bag into the van. Not so.

Once we arrived at Kym’s, the boys made a mad dash to the house. I got Gavin out and reached for the bag, but it wasn’t there. On second glance, it wasn’t anywhere. I asked Tyler where he put the bag and he admitted he left it in the driveway because it was too heavy. Lame! So I went home to fetch it.

The problem I discovered upon arriving at home was that the bag was nowhere to be found. Stacked neatly on my porch were a sippy cup and a board book, both of which had been carefully packed in the diaper bag. Did someone really steal my bag but purposefully leave a cup and a book behind?

There has to be another explanation, right?

Aug 20, 2008


I don't like to watch the news. I don't subscribe to the newspaper. I rarely check even national news online. I realize that this leaves me woefully uninformed about current events, politics, and the like, but I prefer to label my deficit as blissfully ignorant. I just can't stand hearing about all the pain and suffering in the world.

When the 10 o'clock news tells me about the stabbing at 7-Eleven, the home invasion on Third & Main, the crop failure in California, or the earthquake in Taiwan, I go to bed dreaming about the victims and their loved ones. This either makes me overly compassionate or obsessive/compulsive (I can't decide which), but it is real enough to me that I try to insulate myself from the nightly news.

The problem is much worse when I know the people involved.

A couple of days ago, I heard that some people I know were involved in a plane crash (reported by here). The man who survived grew up across the street from me in Mesa, and we're the same age. He and his wife have devastating burns and injuries. They also have four small children who, thank goodness, are unhurt.

I don't pretend to be on buddy-buddy terms with this guy, nor do I expect that anyone who knows him also knows me (besides my family) or will read this post. But his family's tragedy has touched me deeply. I can't stop thinking about him and his wife and their kids and the long, painful road of recovery that is ahead for all of them. Following their story has not only made my little heart bleed, though. It has made me profoundly grateful for my perfect little life.

How grateful I am for my health, for my body that breathes and moves and works the way I want it to.

How grateful I am for my family. For parents who taught me good and true principles, who gave me opportunities and freedoms, and who were (and are) an example of a loving marital relationship. For in-laws who did the same for my husband and who love my children now. For siblings who teach me more now than ever before. For the fun and adventures of a large family. For a husband who is a righteous, worthy patriarch, who loves me and his sons, who sacrifices time, money, and energy to serve us, who works hard to provide a good living so I can stay home. For children who teach me how to be a good human being, who help me grow, and who help me see a glimpse of Heavenly Father's plan.

How grateful I am for technology that simplifies (and sometimes complicates) but always improves my life. For computers and the internet and cell phones and vacuums and washing machines and ceiling fans.

How grateful I am for the freedoms I enjoy in this country. For the right to worship as I choose. For the right to be educated, to vote, to have my voice heard.

How grateful I am for my testimony of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. To know that God lives, that He knows who I am, that He speaks through a living prophet in this day and age, and that His gospel is alive and restored on the earth today. To know that through sacred temple ordinances I can be with my family in this life and throughout eternity.

How grateful I am for friends near and far. (Of course I can't post pictures of you all!!) For grade school friends that keep in touch. For those I made in junior high and high school, my crazy college years, and after I married. For the friends who nurtured me through the beginnings of motherhood. Especially for the ones who haven't forgotten me in my move. For the friends I am making now and the friendships I will form and cherish in the future.

How grateful I am for clothing to wear, food to eat, furniture to sit on, and a roof overhead. For functional cars in the driveway and money to buy gas. For a piano that brings immeasurable joy. For hot water. For beautiful flowers in my garden.

These are but a few of my choicest blessings. How grateful I am for the opportunity to remember them.

pass it on!

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