Apr 30, 2012

Out with the old, in with the new

Breaking news: I finished a project!  Wow, it's been a long time.  It felt kinda good to actually finish something.  Not much I do around here (think laundry, dishes, cleaning, teaching) ever gets finished.  So this feels like a major accomplishment.

So what did I do?  Well, I replaced this beast:

The awning on our play structure has been gradually shredded by hail, wind, rain, and sun over the last four years.  A few weeks ago we used a coupon to buy some new vinyl.

I ran out of thread 3/4 of the way through the sewing phase.  But miraculously, I got out on a Mommy-only errand (on the way home from the doctor! fun!) the next day and picked up some new thread.  And then I finished.  And then Garry and Zach hung it up.

Ahhh....isn't that better?

I also bid a not-so-fond farewell to my maternity flip-flops.  I know.  It was time...a long time ago.  This might be the last remnant of pregnancy that's left in this house (besides Kate and my waist and my nausea, of course).  Getting rid of the stretched-out, sloppy flip-flops reminded me of getting rid of the recliner.  It was mostly a huge relief.  I have no idea what took me so long.

The next old things to leave this house will be our almost-14-year-old couches.  For my birthday, Garry is building new couches.  Yes, that's right.  Building.  And I'm super excited.  That will be a much bigger project and a much more exciting post (when it happens).  But until then I offer this teaser: the couches will be orange!  Yes!

Apr 29, 2012

Kate crawls!

Well, folks, Kate is officially a crawler!  Here's a cute video with her latest moves:

It's fun to watch Kate cover ground so quickly.  I'm trying savor the moment and enjoy this milestone...and not to get too panicked about how much she'll be into pretty soon.  If Kate's anything like her siblings (of course she is!), life is about to get a bit busier with her helping hands.

In other news, Kate and Garry made a hilarious duo during dessert tonight.  After being camera shy for a few seconds, Kate put on a nice show.  Enjoy.

Apr 28, 2012

Derby Day

The Pinewood Derby has come and gone again.  This is the only year that we'll have two Cubs in the Derby.  Pretty fun!

Zach and Tyler worked hard on their cars with Garry.  On race day, Zach had a pretty spiffy Wii remote, and Tyler had a flashy Rock It (from the Mario Kart video game).  Both cars needed a little extra weight at check-in, but then they were good to go.

This was MY first Pinewood Derby.  I'm glad we got to go as a family this year.  Gavin and Lexi were happy spectators (and donut eaters), and Kate eventually fell asleep in the stroller.  We all enjoyed watching the races.

Overall, Zach and Tyler were middle-of-the-pack racers.  Neither boy qualified for the stake's race-off this evening, but they each won a few heats and were mostly pleased with their performances.  Tyler was especially excited when his car beat Zach's.

Near the end of the Derby, everyone present sang "Happy Birthday" to me.  (The stake Primary president tipped off the cub master.)

Then the boys got awards and we all went home.

Zach has already asked if he can attend next year, even though he'll be too old to participate.  I'm sure the Pinewood Derby will be a family tradition for many years to come.

Apr 26, 2012

Great expectations

Last year on my birthday, I attended BYU Women's Conference with a Presenter name tag around my neck. That whole experience was pretty surreal, but I have marked its milestones--receiving the invitation, attending the orientation, writing the talk, flying to Utah, and speaking at the conference--over the last few months and weeks.  Today marks the beginning of another Women's Conference, and this time, I'm not there.  

At 11:00 this morning, as the first break-out session of Women's Conference began in Provo, I sat in an elementary school gymnasium, watching the Littles play with hula hoops and basketballs while the Bigs took their end-of-year literacy tests.  Instead of standing at a podium with trembling knees and voice, I listened to one mother crowing about her upcoming adoption (a Chinese albino girl who is completely adorable) and another discussing her latest read.  

A year ago, I celebrated my birthday in what felt like a very significant way.  But I was incessantly nauseated, in lots of physical pain, and so worried about the health of my unborn baby.  Today, that little baby is pulling on my computer's power cord and mastering her forward crawl in pursuit of the garbage can under my desk.  

I haven't been very excited for my birthday to roll around, but I'll turn 33 on Saturday whether I like it or not.  It's not the aging that upsets me.  Getting older is what it is.  I think some pesky expectations are bothering me.  Last year at this time, I spent a lot of time thinking about what life would be like today.  I imagined my healthy, happy baby--and she has certainly lived up to my greatest dreams.  But I also had great expectations for my own health and happiness, both of which are floundering right now.  I thought I'd have my body back by now.  I thought I'd have my life back.  I thought I would have rejoined society and reclaimed my personality and overcome all of the obstacles that pregnancy put in my path.  None of that has really happened, and I'm frustrated.

When I think about my Women's Conference assignment, I think about how significant it made me feel.  I never set out to do anything flashy or of great acclaim in my life.  I have always been quite content with my small and simple existence, my happy family, my little church calling, and a quiet spot on the back row. And I still am.  But somehow, this year, I feel less important than I did last year.  Less visible.  Less needed.  Less capable.  Just....less.  My birthday is always a time of reflection, and this year, I don't love what I see in the mirror.  Last year I had dreams of "fulfilling my life mission" and "blessing more people than ever."  What the heck does that mean?

Since I really have no idea, I got a haircut today.  I always think that getting a haircut will change my life.  (Hint: It never does, but I'm going to keep trying.)  I have decided that even though my jeans still don't fit and I will probably feel like barfing, at least I'll have great hair for the Pinewood Derby, which is my plan for a birthday celebration.  Stay tuned...the boys have some wicked-awesome cars and I promise to post pictures.  They are a lot more fun than birthday candles this year!

Apr 23, 2012


Every spring, approximately seven gazillion Miller Moths migrate through Colorado Springs.  They like to hide in the crevices above our windows and screen doors by day and fly into our house by night.  The moths are a complete nuisance for about three weeks, and then they move on.

A rogue moth hid in Garry's car yesterday afternoon until Garry was driving down a major street in town.  Then, quite suddenly, it was dive bombing everywhere, bouncing off his glasses and the windshield.  It's pretty amazing Garry didn't crash!

After surviving that harrowing incident, Garry snapped a picture as the moths swarmed around our blossoming tree in the front yard. 

These moths are oddly fascinating creatures, but we won't be sad to see them go.

Apr 22, 2012


On Saturday Zach competed in Academy District 20's annual chess tournament.  He has loved being in his school's chess club this year and was happy to earn a spot in the tournament.  I was pleased to spend the day supporting my boy.

Zach's nerves almost got the best of him before the competition began, but he ended up having a great time.  He played five chess matches.  He won two, lost two, and had one tie.

Final rankings weren't posted before we left, but after the fourth round he was 15th among fourth graders.

Last year Zach was too nervous to play in the tournament, so we are very proud of him for conquering a fear and doing his best.

Way to go, buddy!

Apr 20, 2012

Kate at eight months

At this time last year, as Women's Conference approached, I spent a lot of time thinking about my baby girl at eight months old.  I imagined her blonde hair and blue eyes and the milestones she might achieve by that age.  It's hard to believe that the year has finally passed, and Baby Kate is eight months old.

The pictures I took this morning make me laugh.  They don't capture Kate's charming, dimpled, happy grins at all.  Trust me when I say she's generally not as stoic as she looks here.  Also trust me when I say I don't know when I'll have another window for a photo shoot, so this is it, folks.

Kate continues to be sweet and happy.  The best way to tell she is excited is to look at her legs.  No matter what position she is in,  she kicks and wiggles those chubby legs when she is happy!   She also makes a "kih" or "chuh" or snorting sound, especially in conjunction with seeing a family member she has long missed.  Kate also gives a high-pitched screech when she's super happy.

Kate has had a runny nose for most of the month; she seems to be working on teeth.  This has been a month of discovery for her mouth and she has chomped and chewed on everything within reach.  She loves to play with Mommy's kitchen toys, like whisks and rubber spatulas.  But big brother's shoes, pencils, and remote controls will also do in a pinch.

Kate is trying valiantly to crawl.  I think she is our latest crawler, and certainly the most frustrated.  She plants her hands and knees in the right position, then digs her toes into the carpet and raises her bum in the air.  And then she pushes the wrong direction. Pretty soon Kate is across the room, backed under the couch or with her legs straddling a chair leg.  She cries out in frustration!  Poor little girly.  Crawling will come eventually, but for now she's plenty mobile, especially since learning the belly-to-sitting trick (my favorite baby skill).  Kate is starting to pull herself up to things, but just to her knees. She is pretty excited about that elevation, but she also loves to stand.  The crib mattress will move down this weekend.

Kate loves to eat.  Her diet is growing more varied.  It's hard for me to know where the bottle fits in all of this.  (I hate being a novice with baby five!)  Kate needs total silence and peace in order to drink her bottle, though.  In this house, quiet places are hard to find, so sometimes she drinks her bottle in her crib.  I'm sure that's the first lesson in Bad Parenting 101. Oh well!  Hopefully we're not ruining her teeth (that haven't appeared yet).

Kate is mostly wearing 9-12 months clothes (the things Lexi wore at about 15 months old) . She rarely wears shoes because the kids take them off,  but her chubby feet need a size 3.  She weighs about 20 pounds.  Her hair is coming in and thickening up a bit, and we are so surprised that it has remained a light brown.

Kate loves to listen to me play the piano. It's kind of a late afternoon ritual for her to play on the rug while I practice whatever I want,  just because.  It's a good way to put off making dinner and pass the time until Daddy comes home. 

In short, Kate is a joy.  We're so glad she's ours.

Apr 19, 2012

Bright spots

This week the stomach flu visited our family.  Gavin and Lexi were victims over the weekend.  Kate had it Monday and Tuesday.  Zach barfed all night Monday and part of Tuesday, and Tyler threw up at school on Tuesday.  Garry and I felt nasty on Tuesday, although Garry went to work.  But Wednesday--oh boy--was bad for me.  Yikes.  I haven't been that sick for a while (and that's saying something, because hey, it's me).  I'll spare you the details, but yesterday was one long, miserable day.  And all the kids were home.  I got to feeling pretty sorry for myself.

So today, when I woke up feeling less queasy, and the kids all went back to school, my outlook improved.  But a few little things helped my day feel even brighter.

There was the "YAY!" text from a friend when she found out I was feeling better.

There was the snatch of time before Kate's morning nap when she actually let me rock her to sleep.

There was the lovely period of coloring and workbook-ing with Lexi at the kitchen table.

There was the sort of nap-ish thing I grabbed during the Littles' afternoon movie.

There was the rain.

There was the glorious moment when I found my awesome-but-missing library book all tangled in the bed sheets.  It was due yesterday, and I have been so mad at myself for losing it.  Finding it restored a little bit of confidence in myself.  I didn't lose the book.  I don't have to pay the "lost book" fine.  AND...I might get to finish it before the three-day grace period ends.

Then there was the surprise package in the mail from Jill, a friend from my BYU days who now resides in Alabama.  Unwrapping all of the treasures was a real delight, and I love everything she sent.  Thanks, Jill.

I feel loved, which is the brightest part of all.

Apr 18, 2012


Garry's dad visited us for a couple of quick days this week.  He came to town for the funeral of his older half-brother, but we were glad to have him, even if a sad reason motivated the trip.  The kids were absolutely thrilled to see their Grandpa!  He brought them special treats, played games with them, and just made them feel special.

Thanks for coming, Grandpa!

Apr 14, 2012

Things that make you go "hmmm...."

Zachary: "Can I have scissors to cut Lexi's hair?  It's stuck in the trampoline zipper."

A two-month-old shoe held together with purple duct tape.  Replacing said shoes with a men's size ten.


One baby girl fauxhawk (courtesy of her older brothers).


Cleaning out the fridge for the first time in...a while.


A ten-year-old with power tools.


Gavin: But I wanted to cut the [brick of] cheese outside!  That's why there's grass on it!

A girl who desperately misses her nap (but would never admit).


Buying a trunk full of groceries-in-bulk in 20 minutes flat.


A daughter who doesn't like me to feed her but is content to lie on the floor and feed herself.


A rug outlined in black marker.


One exhausting (and exhausted) four-year-old falling asleep in the middle of the room.



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