Friday, September 28, 2012

Future Flutist

Sophia had her first flute lesson last week.  She's got step 1 down - put the instrument to your mouth.  And that was as far as she got.
 She liked it though. she just kept practicing.
Corey'd say "Here, let me show you again, then she'd grab it away from him as he played

You'll get there Soph, don't you give up.  Baby steps.  Just keep practicing.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Daily Busy Battle

I am in charge of our elementary school reflections this year.  Don't have much of an idea about what to do other than what I remember from when I participated in reflections in 1984 "I have a Dream..." I was in 2nd grade and I won, that was my first trophy and I still have it.
I felt pretty darn special, and labeled myself as an artist.  I drew a picture of a unicorn titled "I Have a Dream of Seeing a Unicorn."  Not as inspiring and Mr. King's Dream, but ya gotta start somewhere.

So we had our kick off assembly today, Corey came to my rescue last night at 7pm and made a PowerPoint presentation for me (I helped a little googling for pictures and finding youtube videos).  I would have looked like a big loser today without him.  Thanks sweetie.   

So, to tell Corey thanks, I decided to get him something that he's always always wanted!  Tickets to see the Killers on Tour!!!  November 30th.  Just kidding.  He's never wanted to see them.  But we are going.  But first had to ask him "Do we do rock concerts?" I went to one when he was on his mission in '96 - REO Speedwagon.  My first experience and I didn't all that much enjoy it.  I think this one will be fun though if anyone wants to come with us, there are still tickets available!  Did I mention that I love their new CD?  EVERY song really rocks.  I have a different favorite everyday - today's favorite is Battleborn, the lyrics to that one just sound so "America rocks!" to me, and also "rise up America" - makes me feel patriotic, like there is so much good to do, we were born to fight this battle and win - Fight the good fight like Battle Hymn of the Republic.  Love that one too.  (Go Romney!)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Temple Quarry Trail

Let me tell you a little about the Temple Quarry Trail (with a lot of pictures) - how cool is this place?  It is really cool. It's got history, it's got beauty, it's got mountains, a river, granite boulders, it's pretty amazing.
See those little line marks in that slab of granite above?  Well it is very possible that the other piece of that rock is a part of this gorgous granite edifice downtown.
Were those pioneers amazing or what.  How they cut this granite and then hauled it 20 miles downtown with wagons and oxen, it's miraculous the things they did with such simple tools.
I heard about this trail 5 years ago, but yesterday was the first time we went to check it out, which is sad cause it was so cool, just a playground for imagination - the kids were having a blast and I was thinking "Why haven't I come up here everyday this whole year?!?! This is so cool!!!!"
So we're going to go again and again and again and let the kids just go creative crazy and I think I'll bring a book and I'll sit on a rock and read.  :)
It was so fun walking up and down the dry river bed, amazing how much fun you can have with just rocks.
So it was beautiful and cool and cloudy and sprinkling rain yesterday.  We loaded up to run our weekly errands and the mountains were calling to us.  Abi said "The clouds are falling!  Why are the clouds falling?" It made me smile.
Hyrum asked me "So what would you rather see, the mountains or dad?"  Funny.  I said "Your Dad wins hands down, but fall is almost over!!! So they do have an urgent attention due to them since they will be gone in another two weeks..."
Well, maybe not totally gone, but this week and next week are definitely going to be the highlight of their show.
and a few more pictures since I'm on a roll - we did a quick run up to the trail after shopping (I bribed them with a bag of Cheetos) and then we went again when the other kids got home.
 On our first trip up Lily wasn't happy.  She wanted to go home.
(It was cute.)
We eventually got her to come along - Hyrum held Sophi while I carried Lily.  Then it was Abi's turn to complain.  Ah well, that's how it goes.  But we're planting a seed of love for the hills that are alive ~ when they are all older we are gonna have a great time.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Fall and The Moon

It's raining again, the vibrant yellow and red colors are turning more and more into brown and fall is slipping away.  Although no matter how much time I spend in the mountains, it would never be enough. Why?

In the book One Thousand Gifts, chapter 6 which I just finished she talks about chasing the moon, and it's the same way I feel about fall and the mountains, the same way I felt as I saw the Buck Moon set, the same way I felt this past Friday as we drove and saw the waxing moon orange from smoky sky grow larger as it inch closer to the horizon.  (I'm trying to wax poetic like Ann) - Can I feel the same sighs of wonder in my day to day life that I feel when I see the moon and the mountains, have my heart filled with energy and wonder by walking around the halls at home like I am when walking by autumn trees?  As Ann says perfectly on page 120 after watching the Harvest Moon rise and then being called back to her home, children, and dinner dishes:
I am going back.  I look up, try to find her again.  I'm reluctant to untether from the moon.  The world I live in is loud and blurring and toilets plug and I get speeding tickets and the dog gets sick all over the back step and I forget everything and these six kids lean hard into me all day to teach and raise and lead and I fail hard and there are real souls that are at stake and how long do I really have to figure out how to live full of grace, full of joy, before these six beautiful children fly the coop and my mothering days fold up quiet?  How do you open the eyes to see how to take the daily, domestic, workday vortex and invert it into the dome of an everyday cathedral?  Could I go back to my life and pray with eyes wide open?
This is a beautiful book!!  I feel like I'm reading through her thoughts the thoughts/growth/questions I've had over the past 10 years ~ learning how to live with gratitude, how to see everything as a blessing, how to find joy in the present moment, in the life you have right now and to stop waiting for tomorrow or for that elusive Golden Ticket to finally surprise you or say "I'll be happy when..." - the good things and the bad, God is in it all, but can we focus on the good? It seems that is a message that the prophet and apostles today are sharing over and over again - Finding Joy in the Journey, In Search of Treasure, Happiness Your Heritage, Forget Not to be Happy Now, Come What May and Love it... I'm really looking forward to General Conference to hear more of their counsel, every conference speaks to and feeds my soul.

And I just had a lightbulb come on in my head - cause seriously people, we are living in the most amazing and cushy-est society every, conveniences, supermarkets, cars - this isn't Valley Forge!  Why is it that in a day when there is so much ease and there are so many miracles and joys to share that happiness is the thing that seems most elusive?  Happiness is what we all strive and search for, is it the thing that we are most deprived of?  If so, why?  and how sad is that?!!  I think that proves Ann's theory, that it's not in what lay before us in our lives, it's in our eyes and ears and what we have learned and taught ourselves to see and hear.  We seem pretty capable of seeing bad and being unhappy with all the good that surrounds us, the clincher is learning to see goodness and happiness in the plain, normal, boring, ugly, & sad.

(You really should go get this book right now.)  Ok, I'm done waxing philosophical (had to spell check that word).  I'm going to go read some more.  :)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Cookies and Milk

I made these cookies over the weekend - they are "worth the weight"  :)  so go grab some milk!
These cookies claim to be "manly cookies" and I would concur that they are, they are rich and loads of chocolate chips, she says "If you are a male and bake this up, your man card is totally safe."  Funny.  Another funny comments about them from her blog -"This ain't no sissy cookie, don't go comparing this to fluffly little lemon bars or other tea party fare."
The thing I enjoyed most about these cookies was that they were actually filling and satisfying - I wasn't tempted to eat the whole batch by myself which never happens!  When I make other chocolate cookie recipes, with their unprocessed carbs, I have to make sure the kids are around to hurry and eat them before I do.  This recipe makes 48 cookies and the kids and I couldn't eat more than 2 each, so we had lots of cookies on the plate, just sitting there waiting patiently and no kids fighting over them!  It was a unique cookie experience for us.  I made these with whole wheat flour, and then with 4 cups of oats and 4 cups of pecans, they are definitely a meal dessert:

1 c. white sugar
1 c. brown sugar
2/3 c. shortening
3/4 c. soft butter
1 heaping tsp. salt
1 heaping tsp. baking soda
3 tsp vanilla
3 large eggs
2 c. flour
4 c. rolled oats,
2 c. chocolate chips (I decided to do 4 cups, 2 milk chocolate, 2 white chocolate)
4 c. roughly chopped pecans (walnuts ok)

ungreased cookie sheet
375 degrees for 11 minutes or til done
she says it makes 36 large cookies, but I got 48 regular sized cookies

And speaking of milk, read or listen to this story about Mitt Romney, good stuff.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Be Still for Journal Time

Getting the kids quiet for scripture reading at night time always makes me so not in the mood to be spiritual.  I'm telling them to listen and shhh and stop and they are bounding off the walls and teasing and fighting and goofing off and playing and laughing, you know how it is, things like this. Sophia is always so cute just being a baby, I admit if I was a kid it would be hard to resist playing with her. (look at that little face, I could just kiss her)
So, anyway, just asking them to listen doesn't ever work, but these past few days, if I just start reading a funny journal entry of mine about when they were kids, one or two will listen in and laugh, then the others will say "What?  I didn't hear, will you read it again?" so I re-read it, then continue reading another entry, and lo and behold they are all listening and I'm not left with a foul disposition.  It's fun. The most tender entries are of things the kids say as 2 and 3 year olds, it really is such a sweet time. 

A few cute entries:

Wesley in Jan 2009 (3.5 years old) - I can't remember what Wes did, but Corey told him he had to go in time out, so he picked him up and carried him over to the couch and in his little 3 year old voice Wesley protested "Dad, you can't do this to me!"

Joe in April 2009 (9 years old) - during a short family lesson Corey was trying to get a point across and it wasn't working cause the kids were teasing/poking/tickling each other and not listening.  In frustration, Corey said with irritation in his voice "This isn't working you guys.  Something is missing.  Who can tell me what is missing?" His point being that reverence was missing from his children.  But smart-alec Joseph quickly replied "Your good sense of humor?" which totally made me laugh and Joe was very proud of himself, he even got a wry smile out of Corey as he admitted that was another thing that was also missing at the moment.  It was funny.

Hyrum in April 2009 (5 years old) - I was pregnant with Lily and he asked me how come babies grow in the mommy's tummy.  I replied "I guess that's just the way God made it."  That answer seemed to satisfy him well enough and he was quiet and thoughtful for a moment, and then with a sigh in his voice, he said longingly, "I wish that babies came in eggs and that chickens got fat..."  Then he walked away and I couldn't help but laugh.  I told the kids later what Hyrum had said and Melodie told me that when she and Hyrum had been playing that day he said he wished that the baby was in an egg.  Too bad for Hyrum and for me that it's not true, cause I have to be the fat chicken. 

I've had "Be Still" on repeat as I've sat here at the computer looking through pictures from 2009.  That's a good way to feel sentimental about life and change, time does pass by so quickly.  sigh.  So that song is my favorite today, beautiful lyrics.

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Way It Was...

I drove through the desert last night
I carried the weight of our last fight
Elvis singing "don't be cruel" and I wonder
if you feel it too, it's like we're going under...
Somewhere across the lonely Esmerelda county line 
the question of my heart came to my mind ~
if I go on, with you
can it be the way it was...

I'm loving the new Killers cd - Battleborn.  It just arrived yesterday and the kids and I all squealed with excitement.  I ordered the deluxe version, which I highly recommend (same with the Flamingo cd - bonus track "Right Behind You" is my fav) - so I already liked Runaways, and the next song I'm loving and have on repeat currently is "The Way It Was" - Parts of the tune remind me of Endless Summer Nights my favorite song from 6th grade (Oh, this video ~ my goodness, that hair.  So glad I survived the 80s, such hideous style, wow), so the music reminds me a little of my childhood but the lyrics that remind me of when I was struggling with life and letting fear get the best of me ~ "Maybe your fear stole your heart..." That was sometime during our years at the Crosswood house, so during 2007-2010...  I've been reading my old journal entries to try and find the dates of the beginning of my "refiner's fire" when my waves were crashing down daily and I felt like Corey and I were living separate lives.  Here's one I remember happening in the moment, and I'm glad I recorded

(Write in your Journal Plug: It's really important to write in your journal, cause I promise if you don't (as I tell my children frequently), you will forget most everything about your current life in a few years - which will basically mean you will not know yourself, cause how will you know yourself in 5 years if you don't remember the events that got you there?) ~

Saturday, 12 April 2008 - I was at the gym crying as I walked on the treamill this morning.  I was in the "women's center" - a little room just for girls, so there was only one other lady there, so I don't think anyone saw me, but anyway, I was totally bawling.  On the way home listening to the Disney movie soundtrack of "Enchanted" song #4 which is called "So Close" and is kind of a lovesick song.  I've been feeling like a failure as a wife yesterday and today, and Corey slept on the couch cause Wesley and Abi were in the bed with me, I woke up at 1 a.m. and couldn't fall back asleep, I nursed Abi and stayed up until 3:30 feeling like a failure, so all those emotions came out while I was in the car listening to the music, I kept crying in the car after I got home, went around to the front door instead of the garage, just in case Pablo (house guest from Argentina) was in the kitchen, didn't want to have to explain my puffy eyes, and Corey was up with the kids, he had made breakfast, saw my tears, finished attending to the kids, I took care of Abi, then we were able to talk a bit and I'm feeling much better.  I listened to Elder Eyring, let the sun shine on my face, so we'll see how long I'm good for...

I was also thinking of my refiners fire time because of this book by Ann Voskamp "One Thousand Gifts" - the way she described herself at the beginning sounds like how I was feeling at that time - basically grumpy and bitter and murmuring about life, yet struggling to find a full life of happiness.  I experienced a real change in Costa Rica/Chile, she experienced a change too and the internal workings of her thinking process sounded like mine in many ways.  I'm not done with it yet, but already highly recommend this book.  I'll write out more thoughts later, cause I got a lot.

...Although I'm hoping she explores how to be grateful for things that you're not grateful for (I figured that out, just want to read her saying it, Voskamp really has a gift with words) - cause I tried making blessing lists, but that didn't take care of the things I hated, the non-blessings and holes, that were there in my day to day struggles.  I think she'll get to that cause that is what she started her book with, the death of her little sister and two baby nephews.  (I was tearing up on page 2, again on page 6, and that was with 4 kids around me interrupting my thoughts as I read, mind you).  Again, highly recommend!  Here's more recommendations for it on her website.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


Life is getting so busy now - Jr. High has definitely upped it a notch.  I was talking to a friend last night who's oldest son is Joe's BFF and schoolmate and also their oldest kid and thus first one to start Jr. High for their family.  We were talking our efforts to try and figure out how to manage it all - cause right now I'm not, it's just whirling around me, which is why the kids can't find socks to wear - it's cause the 5 loads of clean laundry still haven't been folded, but at least I swept and got dinner on the table and the kids are all still alive, so priorities are taken care of, but we gotta start figuring out the rest or I'm going to drown in the chaos.  She recommended the book Large Family Logistics which I just placed a hold on at the library.  She said it's got good stuff for any size family, not just large.  The reviews looked promising to me.  Hoping it will help me figure it out!

So, as I said, Joe just started 7th grade.  We like to tease him that this is about when he'll start getting beat up if he corrects people who say "So-n-so and me" instead of "So-n-so and I" as he likes to correct us around here. Then he came home from school looking like this:
As he first caught my eye I just looked at him to see if it was real.  But he was smirking/holding in a "this is a funny joke!" laugh too much for it to be real, so that gave him away, then I could tell it was fake as he got closer - they were practicing makeup in Drama class.  They never got to do this kinda stuff in elementary school!  (He is loving Jr. High.)  

One more Joe story - Joe is a funny kid.  If he's going camping on Friday at 2:00 after school, then at 9:00 Thursday night, he would most likely mention in passing to me as we say goodnight "...17 hours until I leave for the campout..."  I'm like "yup, that's great Joe!"

They just left for school, and he said something to that effect to Corey as they were getting into the car, and Corey said to him, "Why are you telling me this?  Is it cause you're... LOGISTICS MAN!!!" (That last part is to be said in an "I'm announcing a super hero" voice, which also echoed really nicely in the garage as Corey pronounced it)  It made me laugh, we do tease Joe a little bit about how he's always aware of the logistics behind an event or mapping out the logistics of upcoming situations.

But, when I want to remember to do something that I feel like I'm going to let slip from my mind, I just have to tell Joe to remind me, it works every time!  His wheels are turning with room to spare, so he's got available mental storage for my random bits too.  Like my own personal secretary.  If only he were home all day to keep track of everything for me.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Handsome Man

Wednesdays are Corey's day to take it easy in the morning, he doesn't have to take Joe to band or drive the carpool to school.  So it was a little bit of a slower morning and he was able to do some music with Hyrum before he left for work.  I didn't capture it with the camera, but Hyrum's feet were cute to see as he played, he was concentrating hard. Corey serenaded Sophia with some Kenny G... 
She wasn't sure what to think of the saxophone - Hmm, that thing is loud... a little scary... I think my dad's trying to make me laugh though, so do I smile?  But boy, this is a loud sound!
It was heartwarming to see them playing together, I loved it.  Even with how busy Corey and all dad's are, they make time for their kids.  Nothing more attractive than a man who loves being a father.

Political Note for the day - It is not good to have a sitting President that says this:
Is it just me, or is the President here proving that he tells people what they want to here during an "Election Year" - In other words "He Lies to the American people just to get re-elected"?  Not good.  Not to mention the real possibility of our national security being in danger by his current and future relations with Russia.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Kid Snippets

Ok, I'd seen a few of these but hadn't been following, but now I shall be.  Funny, they'll make you smile :)  I'll start you off with this one, then you can waste however much time you want linking to and watching more of them on youtube after.  :)
They make a new one every Monday.  Good to start off a new week with something that makes you laugh.

Sophi Loves Green Slime

So yesterday I got all the goods for myself to eat/drink more veggies this week, and I made Dr. Oz's green drink.  I got Joe to try it - he barely stuck his tongue in and then drank water like I'd fed him some wasabi, pathetic.  That was it for the older kids.  Younger kids... well Lily wasn't around, she would have tried it.  But Sophia -
She gives it two enthusiastic chubby cheeks up.
She was lappin' it up!
I added a few drops of stevia, and I didn't just do the lime and lemon juice, I peeled it and threw the whole thing in, seeds and all.  Mmm!  Glad I have a power blender (my kids love the Will it Blend? videos)

Here is the recipe for it that he has on his website:
Make the breakfast drink that Dr. Oz swears by! This "green drink" is high in fiber, low-calorie and rich in vitamins:
Dr. Oz's Green Drink
2 cups spinach
2 cups cucumber
1 head of celery
1/2 inch or teaspoon ginger root
1 bunch parsley
2 apples
Juice of 1 lime
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Combine all ingredients in a blender. This makes approximately 28-30 ounces, or 3-4 servings.

but - the "head" of celery confused me - he didn't say a stalk of celery, but that would be just way to much to put the whole head in, right?  This was a helpful facebook comment by Maureen Burns, she said this was the recipe that Dr. Oz originally gave to Oprah:

Dr. Oz Green Drink Recipe.
2 apples, cored.
2 big handfuls of spinach.
1/2 cup of chopped parsley.
1 celery stick, chopped.
1 thumbnail length of ginger root, peeled.
1 lemon - juice only (use peel slice for zest).
1 medium cucumber.
Place ingredients in a blender, add 4 oz. spring water or a handful of ice cubes, then puree quickly for one minute. Makes two glasses of Dr. Oz’s green drink.

The green drink has a strong taste and if you are used to drinking soda or sweet tea, the taste will take some getting used to. Dr. Oz suggests adding other items at first to sweeten the green drink to your taste.

Green drink – Optional ingredients:
2nd cucumber
raw carrot
unsweetened fruit juice.

I'm going to try to keep her eating healthy her whole life, we'll just see if we can avoid that whole fruit-loops route that throws off all their good baby habits.  Go Sophi!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Dimple Dell Nature Park

 It's "Get out and enjoy that beautiful fall weather" take 6!  Last week we went to two parks and 3 hikes, and I'm hoping to visit a different place each day this week. :)  Tonight we took a stroll down into the Dimple Dell Park, I've never been there before either even though I drive by it all the time.  We took the main trailhead on 13th east, and after going down the hill we went west under the tunnel. 
 No fall colors to see down here yet, so we'll be back in a few weeks when the mountains don't have any more leaves to show off.  Lily was being super cute with Corey.
 And Sophia is pretty patient in her body wrap.  She blew spit bubbles to keep herself entertained.
(We all though it was pretty funny.) 
Cute kids... I love them all & I love autumn!  Anyone want to go on a walk/hike with us?  Will travel for friends!

I Laughed So Hard...

The kids came home from school to a healthy snack of red grapes.  And they proceeded to do what I always forget that they always do with grapes - let's see how many we can shove in our mouths to make our cheeks look like hamsters and then we'll make funny faces!  I though Joe's upper lip made a pretty good Dr. Seuss character look a like. (minus the crossed eyes...)
Lily didn't make faces using grapes, but wanted to be sure to get in the fun...
And Melodie.  Well, Melodie wins the prize.  Cause when she pulled this one I couldn't even hold the camera still,
and then I fell on the floor laughing and unable to speak through my laughter as I confessed to the kids that she made me laugh so hard that I was going to need to call a timeout for a bathroom break.
Then I had Joe help take these photos cause I couldn't hold the camera still. 
Pretty funny kids, it's good to have a good laugh with good company!
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