Monday, October 20, 2014

Doughnut Falls

I was able to get my 6 trusty companions to go on a hike with me again on Saturday. I looked at my phone as I put Natalie down for a nap at 2:15 and saw that I'd received a text from my little brother at noon, informing me that they were going on a little hike with their kids to Doughnut Falls at 3. I assayed my situation, tested my kid's willingness, and then it was decided and we got on our shoes and headed for the door. Joseph stayed home to do homework, Ethan was at a Airsoft war game. I got Natalie down for a nap again and we headed out.
There were a lot of cars, but timing helped us get a place in the parking lot at just the right moment. Everyone ready? Abi, you set to take on the trail? Mark, set...
 Go!!
It is a very child friendly stroll through the mountains.
25 minutes later we arrived at the falls. Look! A river!
They just can't help themselves.
 Into the river bed they go
I was loving the patters and line designs in the rocks. We had to head out earlier than they'd like (only 20 minutes to play in the falls) cause Melodie had to be back by 5 to babysit.
We ran down the trail to the car and got back fast enough that we had time to swing by Arctic Circle for twist ice cream cones on the way home (my little reward/bribe in hopes that they'll come with me on future outings. We didn't get anything for the boys at home, too bad for you Joe and Eth if you're reading this! You missed out! So you better come next time!)
More cool rocks on the trail - love the lines!
How are those lines made anyway? Lava? I'm sure I learned that back in high school geology... I shall have to offer myself a refresher course. Just a few shots of the mountains on the drive down the canyon. Here they are with a vibrant color feature...
 And without...
They weren't this gray looking, but they weren't as vibrant as the vibrant pictures show either.
So imagine somewhere in between those two. But even with their colors fading, the mountains and trees are still beautiful!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Smart Kids

It's been nice to not have school the past two days. Sleeping in until 8:00, ahh! I came downstairs this morning and found this little guy reading on the couch:
What are you doing Wesley?!?! Today is not a school day! You should still be sleeping and you should definitely NOT be reading! What, do you think reading is fun or something!?!?
Well, you're right. Reading is fun. I'm glad you've caught the bug. It usually hits our kids around 4th grade that they realize there is magic in reading and you can transport yourself to another world! Wesley's been reading up a storm. He read for like 2 hours on Wednesday after school, 2 hours yesterday, and already in an hour today and it's only 9 in the morning. Good job little buddy. Joseph came down shortly after and ate breakfast and then joined his little brother studying on the couch. Such good kids.
Woah woah, what are YOU doing, Natalie?!?! You're reading too?!?! When did you all become such smartie pants? She's looking at me confused - Mother, where have you been? Don't you know? We've always been smartie pants!
 I love watching her flip through books. So precious. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Characters

We found this drawing on the counter this morning. Wesley made it. It is a drawing of Wes in the "fucher". I helped a little bit with the torso.
I drew a mid-section like that for the kids when they were playing this drawing game that they learned at school: they fold a paper into 4 pieces and each person draws part of the character. They were all very impressed with my artistic ability.  "How do you know how to draw so strong like that?!" Well, it's easy cause I see abs that like all day long! Haven't you seen my ninja boys? Ethan's reply "Oh mother, you flatter me!" Most of their character creations end up looking like weird monsters, they love it though! It's a fun game.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Making Home

Nothing exciting to report right now. I've been in "the zone" yesterday and today - homemaking wise. Today it's been the "get organized" zone. I am finally sprucing up the binders for the kids school papers (drawings, certificates and awards and such).
Those above are not in biological order. Of the four that I've finished, when in order of age, it said "meal", so I changed it to say "lame" ~ (I thought that was funnier.) Here below is a picture of my desk where the creative juices try to flow. My desk is a big mess.
The chore boards are no more, so I'm using the papers that I had on them for the front of the binders.
Looking forward to UEA weekend and having everyone home. Might have them be my slaves and get some other things checked off my homemaking to do list. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Rearrange

Today was a good day. I was in a good mood after spending the morning moving around furniture and cleaning. Yes, I think rearranging furniture gives me energy. I wasn't sure I could move this by myself, but I moved this buffet and hutch from the front room to the side room - it is now our FHE/scripture time headquarters - it's got all the scriptures, hymn books, family videos and such.
I got that over the summer at a neighbor's garage sale. It wasn't really the right color and has looked out of place in the front room. But now it looks okay in the side room, since the floor in there is all sort of different colors of wood. So I'm really happy with that! The buffet thing was moved to where our family trip pictures were, so I moved those into the front room above the couch.
I moved the roll top desk from the over crowded study into the front room where the buffet was. It's color matches, and since I see that as I come down the stairs, it is good for my chi. I don't love the photo collection on the wall there. But they are good conversation starters, so maybe it's good to have them out front and center. And that big wall is the first thing people see when they are standing at the door or if they come into the house. A tall vaulted wall that has been blank since we moved in 3+ years ago, I guess I'll leave it for now until inspiration comes. Any ideas? I've obviously been at a loss for 3 years. And I put these little sconce things on either side of the kitchen table, they're kinda cute - put little pumpkins on them. I think they'll be cute for little holiday decorations.
Hope my "in the zone"-ness continues tomorrow!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Working Together

I'm trying to figure out again (and will be forever) how to stay on top of the mess and chaos at home.

I'm trying FlyLady style routines again, making myself little "daily" "weekly" and "monthly" cards. My daily laundry task is do one load of laundry a day from start to finish. But since this is day one, I can't just do my one daily load cause there's a backlog of 4 loads already waiting for attention. Let's do this. I summon the children. Only Hyrum and Joseph come, they are my lifesavers. I know they will take care of me in my old age. Natalie helped us too. She did what she saw us doing: pick up and move socks.
She was very busy playing the sock shuffle, and Joseph showed her a new game - stick the socks in Joseph's shirt. It was super cute. Don't you just love big brothers playing nicely with their little sisters? It's one of the best things in the world.
Natalie, are you violating his personal space?
So Joseph and Hyrum and Natalie helped do the laundry. Our goal: laundry sorted, folded, and put away. That last one is the killer. Joseph had the hiccups, and he and Hyrum played a game of "fake or real" as they sorted socks. It was pretty funny, and I love small moments like that as we work together. That is what it's all about anyway: time together, laughing, playing, talking.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

It's Glorious!

Melodie was on the go all day yesterday... she didn't get home til late but had to get up early and be on the go again today with orchestra practice down town at 9, then flute lesson at 11:30. She seemed a bit frustrated and shared that she was feeling the burden of "busy". I feel it too Mel. Time for a break. We decided after we got home, we'd have lunch and then go for a hike.

Joseph and Ethan were gone on a scout trip, so after Natalie went down for a nap, I loaded the remaining 6 kids in the car and we headed out. Corey stayed home with Natalie, and we were gone for 3 hours. 1:40 pm and we were headed up the canyon. The views from the car were a huge distraction. Melodie and I were hardly able to contain our amazement. It was truly and amazingly glorious out every window and on every side of the canyon ~
Just a short drive from our home and it's like driving through a Dr. Seuss book and visiting the Lorax's forest! What a spectacular show - so over the top, it was insane. Lots of cars up the canyon enjoying the color that the mountains and trees were showing off. I'm glad that they aren't modest about their colors I'm glad it's abundant and over the top. I mean, what an idea to come up with! "Let's have all the leaves and trees just explode with color when it gets cold and before they die." Snowflakes are crazy too - I am in awe at the creativity of the Creator. God is glorious.
The ridge between the canyons - huge and majestic and wow. Melodie and I were not able to put our feelings into words, so we were mostly just screaming the whole time.
The kids were such good little hikers too, it was so fun. And look!...
The trails up there are literally paved with gold!!! I was singing Glorious the whole time, specifically the line "it's like a symphony" ~ each little leaf plays a part, the mountains play a part, the trees, the rocks, it's amazing what it's all creating! Just an abundance of color and wonder to behold.
The air was a bit hazy, so I did turn the camera on "vibrant color" mode for some of these pictures. That mode could almost capture how bright and beautiful it was.
We made it up to the mountain stream where it splits to the White Pine or Red Pine trail. The kids played in the water briefly and then we tried to go a little further.
I didn't want to make them go all the way to the lake, just to the spot on the trail with the huge view of the canyon that was the inspiration for this family outing. We found it. Vibrant color filter applied again and I think it about captured the beauty.
I carried Sophia for about half of the hike, but that's okay. I was planning on it when I brought her along and I didn't mind, we just needed to make it out into the lovely world of fall in Utah.
We took like 100 pictures. One last one, laying on the trail of gold. Perfect afternoon. Heaven.

Friday, October 10, 2014

It's Like a Symphony

We might go see Meet the Mormons this weekend, but Joseph and Ethan are at a scout camp till Saturday night and Melodie is gone babysitting tonight, so we don't have our usual sitters for a Friday night date night. So choices are: take all the kids with us -or- don't out at all, we'll see what we have energy for. But if we don't see it this weekend, we will on next Tuesday for sure - people in our community rented out a theater :) want to come? It will be fun! I'm excited to see the movie. I had heard about this song, but hadn't heard the actual song myself until this week. I guess I've been out of the loop, but glad to know about it now, so pretty. Love it ~ "...just keep listening, and pretty soon you'll start, to figure out your part..."



There are times when you might feel aimless.
You can’t see the places where you belong
But you will find that there is a purpose.
It’s been there within you all along.

And when you’re near it, you can almost hear it.
It’s like a symphony just keep listening
And pretty soon you’ll start to figure out your part.
Everyone plays a piece and there are melodies

In each one of us,
Ohhhh, It’s Glorious
And you will know how to let it ring out
As you discover who you are.

Others around you will start to wake up
To the sounds that are in their hearts.
It’s so amazing what we’re all creating
It’s like a symphony just keep listening

 It’s Glorious

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Questionnaire

Today Abi made a questionnaire for us to fill out ~
Can you figure it out? Mel and I are getting more fluent in "Abi talk" and got it on the first try. Made me smile.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Baby Roomie

I was a little tired this morning after waking up early to look the moon. I freely and perhaps a bit foolishly chose to have my sleep interrupted every 5-10 minutes as I lay on the living room floor with a view of the moon out the window. I peeked at it every few minutes from 3:30 to 6:30 as I was in half sleep half awake world. It was cool. Not "once in a life time" opportunity, but a "only a few times in a lifetime" opportunity. It was worth it, but I was tired today. And it was also a bit tragic since last night was the first night in a very long time that Natalie slept through the whole night. It's time for her to move out of our room. But she usually wakes up and I usually bring her in the bed so I can fall back asleep. She just needs to hold someone's hand. ...Or have her foot on their back. Just some kind of human contact. On an average night she'll wake up here where Corey's head is supposed to be"
He and his pillow are gone. He to the foot of the bed perpendicular to where he started the night - he chose to do that probably around 3 when Natalie put herself perpendicular to his head and put a foot in his face. Yes Natalie, time for you to go get a new set of roommates. But then she'll wake up with these little eyes and innocent little face ~ "Me?"
I'll tell her that she isn't very fun to sleep with, she'll think over her poor behavior and promise not to do it again...
And then bat her little eyes at me and give me a smile and a hug and talk me out of trying to be a hard liner with her. Soon Natalie, I'm gonna start being tough on you soon. As soon as I can muster up the courage.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Blood Moon Tonight

It's October and it's a full moon tonight! We drove to the mouth of the canyon before our very late dinner to try to get a better view of the rising moon.
We are really excited for the lunar eclipse tonight, and I told the kids to pray that these hazy clouds are gone by 4 a.m.

I messed up last time tthere was a blood moon in April. It was on the night of Monday Apr 15th to Tues Apr 16th- we were on vacation and I think the time zone change messed up my planning. I saw the beginning partial eclipse and ending partial eclipse, but missed the full eclipse between them. I was pretty bummed. This time I hope I studied correctly, this is what should be going on and be visible from Utah tonight (clouds permitting):

Prenumbral Eclipse begins - 2:17 a.m. - Earth's penumbra starting to touch the Moon's face
Partial Eclipse begins - 3:18 a.m. - Partial moon eclipse starts, moon is getting red
Total Eclipse begins - 4:27 a.m. - Total moon eclipse starts - completely red moon.
Maximum Eclipse - 4:55 a.m. - Moon is closest to the center of the shadow.
Total Eclipse ends - 5:22 a.m. - Total moon eclipse ends
Partial Eclipse ends - 6:32 a.m. - Partial moon eclipse ends. Moon will be close to horizon, so be sure to have free sight to the west.
Moonset - 7:11 a.m.

I told the kids I'll wake them up, hope it's a good show.

Monday, October 6, 2014

General Conference Weekend

This past weekend was General Conference ~ one of my favorite times of the year. Such great talks. I listened to President Uchtdorf's message from the Women's broadcast twice today as I folded laundry. The other talks should be up on the Gospel app soon  - I'm ready to follow his counsel and discover my best self, my real self (put selfish desires and unworthy ambitions on the altar of sacrifice and service (see the end of his talk)) Yeah, just tons of counsel, ready to get to work again. I was left edified and inspired to do more and become better. The kids did a great job listening too. We started off with four kids, then five...
My "conference with kids" prep was to buy a bag of chocolate candies at Costco. I passed out MnMs to each of the kids for each talk they listened to. The kids didn't know there was a chocolate reward at first, but soon word got around and we at the end we had 9 kids trying to listen. Ethan and Mel were taking notes.
Good job little people. I didn't take notes cause I was rubbing backs and had a lap full of toddlers. Instead of asking "What would Jesus Do" I'm going to try to ask "How would Jesus ____" such as "How would Jesus listen to conference with children?" I hope asking myself "how" might help me better follow Him. I was able to listen though, listened to all 8 hours and loved it.
Natalie kept herself busy playing with sports cones on my toes as I rubbed backs. Sweet.
One of the themes running through a lot of the talks was the importance of a living prophet. I know it's true. I love President Monson. My life has been blessed as I've received and followed his counsel. I think one of the first talks of his that really spoke to me and was an answer to the desires and concerns of my heart was in 2003 as I was just starting our family and was a busy mother of 3 and expecting our 4th child Hyrum. His counsel in that talk "In Search of Treasure" was to "Learn from the Past, look to the future, Live in the present!" I love the story of Benjamin Landart. I tried to put the Lord first in my life when I left on a mission, even though I knew Corey was about to come home from his... not only was I surely not going to see him for another 18 months, but there was the chance that he would marry someone else while I was gone. I tried to put the Lord first. Thankfully, he answered my prayers and Corey was waiting for me when I returned. But I was willing to give him up for the God who I loved even more. "He has never forgotten me for it." That is still an inspiring message that touches me. Prophetic too - here we are 11 years later and the counsel still just as relevant to my life today as it was then. Another talk by President Monson that I absolutely love is from October 2008 - "Finding Joy in the Journey". Amen and amen. I am so grateful for modern prophets. I know they are true servants of Christ. Corey and I watched this video about President Monson last night. I will do well in life if I strive to follow Christ the way he has. I'm grateful for his example of how to do it. I will follow Christ.
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