Monday, February 27, 2017

Dandy The Horse

So, this past Friday night, Corey was pondering what we should do as parents in our approach to our teenagers. In a recent conversation with one of them, it was shared that the boundaries we put up make it seem like we think they are bad kids, with them protesting that they're not! and how they just want freedom and trust from us. For example, they are not fans of Net Nanny and they get a little irritated when it makes the internet slower or won't let them open certain safe websites sometimes when they're trying to do their homework or the blocks we put up on other social sites they use. So Corey was thinking, what can we do to help them know that the boundaries we put up are not cause we don't trust them or think they are bad, it's just to keep them safe and to help them learn to use their time wisely and resist temptations. So, pondering this, Corey picked up the March Ensign (the monthly magazine for the LDS church) and opened it up to find this article that was totally inspired ~ a story about President David O. McKay's horse Dandy:
I once owned and had great pleasure in training [a well-bred colt named Dandy]. He had a good disposition, a clean, well-rounded eye, was well proportioned, and all in all, a choice [animal]. Under the saddle he was as willing, responsive, and cooperative as a horse could be. He and my dog Scotty were real companions. I liked the way he would go up to something of which he was afraid. He had confidence that if he would do as I bade him, he would not be injured. 

But Dandy resented restraint. He was ill-contented when tied and would nibble at the tie rope until he was free. He would not run away; he just wanted to be free. Thinking other horses felt the same, he would proceed to untie their ropes. He hated to be confined in the pasture, and if he could find a place in the fence where there was only smooth wire, he would paw the wire carefully with his feet until he could step over to freedom. More than once my neighbors were kind enough to put him back in the field. He learned even to push open the gate. Though [he often did damage that was] provoking and sometimes expensive, I admired his intelligence and ingenuity. 

But his curiosity and desire to explore the neighborhood led him and me into trouble. Once on the highway he was hit by an automobile, resulting in a demolished machine, injury to the horse, and slight, though not serious, injury to the driver. 

Recovering from that, and still impelled with a feeling of wanderlust, he inspected the fence throughout the entire boundary. He found even the gates wired. So for a while we thought we had Dandy secure in the pasture. 

One day, however, somebody left the gate un wired. Detecting this, Dandy unlatched it, took [another horse] with him, and together they visited the neighbor’s field. They went to an old house used for storage. Dandy’s curiosity prompted him to push open the door. Just as he had surmised, there was a sack of grain. What a find! Yes, and what a tragedy! The grain was poison bait for rodents! In a few minutes Dandy and his companion were in spasmodic pain, and shortly both were dead. 

How like Dandy are many of our youth! They are not bad; (see kids, it's not cause we think you're bad, you are not bad!) they do not even intend to do wrong; but they are impulsive, full of life, full of curiosity, and they long to do something. They too are [restless] under restraint, but if they are kept busy, guided carefully and rightly, they prove to be responsive and capable; if left to wander unguided, they all too frequently violate principles of right, which often leads to snares of evil, disaster, and even death.

So we decided to keep the blocks up and the Net Nanny installed and are glad that we don't need to feel guilty about supposedly not trusting them. They agreed that this story was a perfect example of how we both feel and so are glad to all know and understand that this is not a trust thing. We parents are just trying to make sure you all don't wander unguided. And it's also not cause we think you're gonna kill yourselves by using groupme or anything. We do want to make sure you don't waste too much time on it though. We're all on the same team, be patient with us as we figure out how to parent in this digital age, and we'll be patient with you as you try to survive the teenage years in it!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Peaks Jazz Festival 2017

The Peaks Jazz Festival took place this weekend - yesterday and today. Yesterday Ethan and Hyrum performed in the Little Big Band, and today Wesley performed in New Bop and Joseph and Ethan too with the Voodoo Orchestra. Here is Wesley below in his first trumpet solo! Doesn't he look like a cute bugle boy playing taps or something? (He told me that he doesn't like to be called "cute" by most people, but it is okay coming from me.) Or like the angel Moroni - just standing at attention so well, he's got something important he wants us to hear! Corey teased him a little for being so ready to play - that he had his trumpet to his lips as he walked and before he was even close to the mic.

We were all so proud of him. And here below are two videos of Joseph and Ethan in Voodoo. In this number Joseph even stole a vocal part that was kinda fun (starts around 2:15)

And you can see both of them feeling the beat

It was a long busy weekend for them. The rehearsals and shows yesterday and today, and then today they also had some clinics and workshops this morning and afternoon that they are required to attend. The kids weren't excited about getting up sooo early on a Saturday for those, 9! Such torture.
Hyrum, I'll try to update this soon with a picture of you and LBB, I didn't get those sent to me yet from your Dad. Corey went to both of the shows on both nights, I stayed home with the kids. He took Owen last night, against my recommendation, but he was like "I'm gonna be gone all next week, we need some together time..." so he took Owen and Owen was horrible for the first 5 hours of call time prep and of the show. Yeah, we new that though, right? But by the end Owen did let Corey put him down and was even dancing a little bit. When they came home, though, with Owen's poor behavior fresh in Corey's mind, I had him pledge to not take him tonight. So tonight was more enjoyable for Corey and the kids. I'll update later if there is anything they'd like to add.

I have one last thing that I will add - I was just looking over the Soundhouse's facebook and instagram for pictures from Peaks, didn't find anything but I did find these pictures of Joseph's trip to the Bristish Isles last summer. And I never recorded anything about that, so here you go Joseph! I'm 7 months last by finally doing it. (I think the thing the kids love the most about being involved with the Soundhouse is the summer tours!) His group "The Inevitables" at the Birmingham Jazz Festival.
 At Buckingham Palace ~ Joseph reppin' the Y
and you can see his little head here in the middle at Malahide Castle and Gardens. 

Friday, February 24, 2017


Corey shared this announcement on his LinkedIn yesterday morning:

"I’m super excited to announce that Gary Riding has accepted our offer to join Media Mouth as our new CEO. Gary has extensive experience bringing products and services to customers through companies both large and small. He has served in senior executive roles at Samsung, Verizon, and T-Mobile in addition to small-company CEO roles which include successful startup experience. As a result, Riding has deep cross-functional and experience with a strong operating background particularly oriented to consumer-centric recurring revenue models. He received his MBA from UC Berkeley and BA in English from Brigham Young University, and is especially passionate about helping both individuals and businesses grow."
(We are all very excited!)

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Too Much

I read this article today about Simplifying Childhood. The book that that article is commenting on is titled Simplicity Parenting which "encourages parents to keep fewer toys so children can engage more deeply with the ones they have. Payne describes the four pillars of excess as having too much stuff, too many choices, too much information and too much speed. When children are overwhelmed they lose the precious down time they need to explore, play and release tension. Too many choices erodes happiness, robbing kids of the gift of boredom which encourages creativity and self-directed learning. And most importantly “too much” steals precious time." (All the time I spend cleaning! Or more like the time I spend dreading cleaning)

Melodie just mentioned a film she watched that talked about how of two stores that sold ice cream, the one with less choices was more successful. People feel overwhelmed/stressed by too many choices! Again, the four pillars of excess:
  1. Too much stuff
  2. Too many choices
  3. Too much information
  4. Too much speed
This article is right in line with what I need to hear right now (again). I haven't done much more to clean out the basement since Angela and her girls have arrived, but I haven't needed to go down there to that mess to still be drowning in too much stuff on the main floors and up in the bedrooms. The clothes problem here at our house is my current kryptonite. I get it all washed, but it does not get folded. I put the clean clothes in laundry baskets in the kids rooms and my room and there it remains. Well, the boys toss everything out all over the floor as they look for the item they want so the rooms are just a mess of clothing on the floor. I get most of ours folded, but then hit a roadblock or get interrupted before I finish sorting through the kids clothes and socks that make it into our hamper. Maybe we need to have just one winter jumper too.

Too much is totally true. I was thinking back on our simple life in Brazil in 2007. We packed light, and the kids each brought a cape, a stuffed animal, and then we also brought some Knex toys and a mega blocks train. The toys fit in a small bin. The kids went deep with those toys, they "engaged deeply", and now I love those toys cause my kids loved those. The stuffed animals are currently are on a shelf in my bedroom closet cause they capture that simple time and those memories.
When we had to simplify again when we went to Costa Rica and Chile for 9 months, the kids went deep again with their one stuffed animal, even making furnished apartments for their toys out of paper. Joseph didn't take one that time, but the rest of them each had a Webkinz toy they liked. We went through stuffed animals and threw out quite a few two weeks ago. We kept more than I thought we should, so we might need to try again with this new article fresh in mind. We have a lot of Webkinz, but the kids remember their Costa Rica ones and their names: Mel had Kacey the bunny, Ethan had Lucas the Lion, Hyrum had the Gecko Ben, Wesley's dog's name was Matthew, and Abi's cat was Scarlet. Lily's bear was one she stole from the church nursery room in Chile there.
Our visitors, Angela and her girls, have been angels in how much they've been cleaning  this house, which gives me a grateful/guilty feeling... grateful for the help, Lord knows I need it, but guilty/embarrassed that we Wrides can't keep on top of it and I'm going to feel like a loser tomorrow when they clean it all again. Our current goal is not to live like pigs. So yeah, going to try to thin out the thick of all our toys and clothes and stuff around here again.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Lunch with Lily

Yesterday Lily gave Corey a note that said "12:50". That was the time that she wanted him to come to school to have lunch with her. So being the obedient daddy he is, he went. Sophi went with him. They found Lily out at recess~
Sophi was able to join Lily on the playground.
Then in for lunch. 
I think I've gone over for lunch once, but it was a few years ago. Would be fun to do it again. Lily, I'll gladly accept a lunch invitation, but for me to come, I'll need 24 hour notice to gear myself up. Coming to school isn't the problem, it's the "leaving the house with 4 kids" part that is the kicker for me. But give me some notice and I'll come, the little ones would probably enjoy it too, huh Soph!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Park With Dad

It felt like spring was in the air yesterday, I was even able to go for a jog outside. Today it's been a little bit cold and windy, but the kids still wanted to go to the park. We tried to talk them out of it but Corey was the nice one and gave in.
They had fun. Owen is glad to have his "Dada" back.
Owen is comin' at ya, Corey! You're about to get "Owen-ed"
And that's the look Corey sees before he's got his arms full of his Kryptonite again. Owen is his kryptonite. But he's a cute Kryptonite.
 Pretty chilly, but still fun

Monday, February 20, 2017

Baby Headphones

Daniel was a very good baby on the plane home yesterday. I think most people were nervous to sit by us, but Daniel got lots of praise from strangers when the flight was over. "What a good baby!" and "He didn't make a peep!" He did actually peep a few times on the flight to San Diego and on the two flights home, but overall he really did great. The few times when he did start to get restless, Corey hurried and put his big head phones on him.
The Phantom of the Opera was Daniel's first album put on for his listening pleasure, but Corey confessed "I put it on shuffle... Hope it doesn't mess up the story line for him."
(which made me laugh)
When Daniel made a kinda pained expression in his sleep, Corey commented "The pursed lips are because the 2nd clarinet is a little flat..."
The headphones didn't quite fit him. But luckily Daniel doesn't have a neck, so his shoulders helped keep them over his ears.
Every so often his look reminded me of this part (1:58) on the "Not the Future" song... "Cyborg with no big boy words to say..." But from this video you can see that he actually does have quite a bit to say...

That is one of three videos I took on my phone as I captured a small bit of his 20 minutes of squawking in our hotel room on Saturday evening. I think he was trying to tell me that he wanted us to turn off the Alaskan Bush People that was on in the other room. Corey kinda got sucked into that one this trip. Then came to find out the whole thing is fake, who knew? Sadly, probably the only reality show on tv right now that isn't fake is the news reports on President Trump!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

18 Years of Us

Happy Anniversay, sweetheart! 
I was able to upload part of our wedding DVD to youtube, just without the reception. That there above is a photo is a still from the said video below, where we reenacted Corey's marriage proposal from two months earlier. That's the spot where this whole journey together officially began. I don't think I could have believed where we'd be today if you told me then, (especially the 11 kids part) It's been better than I could have imagined,

Looking forward to another 18 years and forever after that!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Balboa and Temple

Today we got up a little earlier than yesterday. The storm from last night had passed but it was still slightly overcast and sprinkling. I strapped Daniel on and we walked to Balboa park.
We went into a museum and walked through the Desert gardens. I didn't bring pants for Daniel on the trip so his legs were a little cold - it was still a breezy day. So we didn't spend too long and Corey wrapped Daniel in his sweatshirt and carried the sleeping baby on the walk home. Then we took an Uber to the San Diego temple. I did a session while Corey watched Daniel. (thank you sweetheart!) I hadn't been in the celestial room before - gorgeous!
I hadn't noticed them before in the pictures, but what struck me most in person were the long beams pointing down everywhere - like giant white and gold icicles. I had to keep asking for directions wherever I went, I was so turned around in there! But it was great. Then back to the hotel for some late dinner - a repeat of the flatbread that we ordered last night for Flatbread Friday ($3 bucks off yesterday) and tonight Corey ordered some amazing tacos from the Shake restaurant here in the hotel! So good. We spent quite a bit on room service for our food this trip, which was a fun thing to do. Good big breakfasts and good dinner. Our flight leaves here tomorrow at 7:15 am. So we've got an Uber scheduled to come at 5:20, bright and early. Actually dark and early. Huge thank you to Corey's parents for taking care of the kids for us again (hope Owen did okay!) We'll see tomorrow, back to life.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Tijuana Temple

We went to Tijuana today. First off let me share something both Corey and I learned today: it is not Ti-a-juana - not your Aunt Juana (TIA Juana) it's just TI - Ti-juana. Good to know. So apparently Corey's been thinking about how beautiful the Tijuana temple is and thought if we were ever in San Diego, we should go see it. So we did. We didn't want to take an Uber to the border cause we'd have to take bring a carseat for Daniel, so instead we wrapped him in the baby wrap, walked down to the closest transit stop and got on the rail and took it to the last stop of San Ysidro. Got off, walked down a causeway...
...then through a revolving door/gate (possible point of no return) and we did it - we walked across the border to Mexico! Mexican officials were there to look over passports and giving the ok for all us travelers to enter. We were just a little nervous about it. It was easy enough to leave, hope we're able to get back in! It's fun to do something new. We got attacked by a hoard of cab drivers and finally one of them talked us into his car. Corey wanted to get an Uber but these guys were pretty persistent... "I don't have cash..." "I take you to ATM! Very close, it's easy" "I want to use my credit card, it's already set up on Uber..." "I give you good deal!" Okay fine. I just had Daniel on my lap. The cab driver, Cleofarro (like Egypt he said: cleopatra and pharoh) drove us to the temple. We passed their little Cristo statue - you could see it from the freeway.
He said it's Rio de Janiero's little brother Jesus. The temple was beautiful. 
I changed and went in to do some work. It was 1:30. I was greeted by a few people who asked what I needed. "I was just coming to go to the temple..." "We are closed." Apparently they take a temple siesta from 1-5. Too bad for us. No temple work today. So we took turns holding Daniel... we also took turns walking around outside. 
Such awesome plants, reminded me of my mission. Desert plants are super cool. 
This one below is like a cactus lettuce or something?
Or like ocean coral? Weird and cool. It was super windy. A "tormento" was on it's way. Corey did a good job visiting with the locals. He has a gift for that. Corey had one sentence he was sure to tell every Mexican we met: "Yo no vote por Trump." Just making sure they know we have nothing against them or the wall that might soon be between us. We asked one of our new friends to take our picture~
Then we called Cleofarro to come pick us up and take us back to the border. Nice guy. So we've survived thus far, lets see if Uncle Sam lets us back in. 
A few last images of Mexico that let us know we're in Latin America.
This was kinda funny too - a sign, ripped and torn and flapping in the wind, printed with the saying "Tijana Te Quiero" and underneath: An intitiative for the betterment of... something something...
Well, that was fun Mexico, see you again soon. 
Back in the US, where we have lots of unused pay phones with the nice touch of having the receiver attached
On the Metro. Daniel is tired of being strapped to me.
Time to play with Dad! 
Back to the hotel. Did I mention that last night we went to bed at 8:30? And I woke up at 8:30 this morning! 12 hours baby! Nothing like partying like 40 year olds on vacay!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

In San Diego

Corey arranged for a little anniversary trip for us this weekend. So we are in San Diego right now. He flew here from Brazil and I flew in with Daniel from Salt Lake.
Daniel, the angel, was of course absolutely perfect on the plane. Since Corey wasn't with us, Daniel got to use his seat!
Ha, just kidding. I just him there for a photo. The lady across the isle from him laughed and said "yeah, that looks legit". She was smiling at him the whole time, he's so stinkin' cute! After we landed and as we waited to get off the plane, there was a little boy on the row in front of us (probably about 6  years old) who turned around and was delighted to see a "cute baby". His mom stood up and turned around too, and Daniel just starts smiling and laughing out loud at them, it was so cute, everyone who heard his little giggling turned and was smiling. I sure love this little guy.

Corey was there waiting at the airport and we met at the baggage claim and then took an Uber to the hotel. We took lots of Ubers. I fed Daniel and then we walked to downtown...
and enjoyed dinner at an Indian restaurant. 
It was not as good as India House, which is our go to for awesome curry and Peshwari Naan, but it was okay, and the Bollywood Movie that was playing on the screen behind Corey kept making me laugh, it was so funny even though I think they were trying to make a serious drama movie. I don't know what it was called, but I know this guy Shah Rukh Khan was one of the main characters. Ok, I just wasted like 45 minutes and found it. ...all the pictures started to look the same to me but I do recognize the two guys in minute 1:30 at the trailer here. (and the stupid fights scenes at 1:30 here, I mean can you imagine being at a party or something and people start busting out fighting like that?! I mean WOW!)- so yeah, I think the movie was Dilwale. or one of them in that series (since there appears to have been several of them)... Glad to know it was an "Action/Comedy/Crime" movie and that they were probably trying to be silly/stupid in it, cause it was pretty dumb from what I could tell. Not that I really understood culturally what was going on by only reading the subtitles. Ok - sorry for that tangent, I just had to know what the name of that dumb movie it was.

I don't know what our plans are for tomorrow, we'll see where the weekend takes us. :)

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Solo Conferences

Ah, parent teacher conferences. Usually we divvy up the conferences and Corey does the older kids and I do the elementary and middle school. But Corey is gone, as we are all well aware, so guess where I got to go? Back to High School! Oh boy, I had to gear myself up to leave the house again... I've like had to leave the house every day the past week,which I'm not used to doing. So last night Joseph and Ethan were gone at Voodoo in Corey's car, and Angela had borrowed the van, so I wanted to bail out and say I couldn't go in the busted car, but fortunately (though unfortunately for me and my desire to get out of PTCs at this moment) it's still driveable. So off I went. I left Mel and Hyrum in charge and headed over in car with the busted bumper. Daniel fell asleep on the way, woke him up and strapped him on. Got a full bottle, here we go
Walking past the seal from the great class of '94!
I saw some teachers that I took classes from 22 years ago (AP Art history teacher Woods, Health teacher Hymas) and a friend of mine from the class of' '94 was there for conferences for her kids too and we said hi (Allison Hampshire - she hadn't aged a bit, the only difference was she had shorter hair) So it went well at conferences. Mel is quiet, they both have a few grades they need to try to get up. I felt like I totally had to go to Conferences cause we skipped them in September cause we were busy with Daniel being born, and we didn't catch that Mel was struggling and that term didn't go so great for her. So, even with Corey gone, I did it, go me. Positive mindset: I can do this! I went to Churchill after but the empty parking lot clued me in that there weren't conferences going on tonight. Doh, that meant that today was gonna be busy, and it was. I couldn't do conferences tomorrow cause I'm going to be in San Diego with Corey. Blah this is a lot to manage... my brain is kinda used to managing it but not doing all of it. Here we go

I already had conferences with Abi and Lily scheduled for tonight, so first this evening was heading over to the elementary for them at 4:45 and 5. Then to the book fair cause I promised them we'd do it today since I missed books and bagels yesterday morning (that whole "can't do it cause I'm flying solo" thing again...) so after the book fair we headed home to check the status of Owen and Daniel, who I'd left with Mel (Hyrum, Eth, and Joseph gone at band). Owen was ready for a change of scenery so I took him with me for the rest of the evening. Stoller in the back. First to Albion. Wesley wanted me to see like 5 of his teachers. Wasn't too bad, lines were okay, was there for like 45 minutes. Then over to Churchill to finish off the evening. Stroller out of the van, kid out of the van, hoof it up the hill from the parking lot. It was 6:40. There weren't a lot of people there. I walked around, long line for a teacher to see for Ethan, which was the first name I recognized, so I went to say hi to Mr. Arnell since there was no line. I didn't have any concerns with Hyrum in his class, but wanted to introduce myself and tell him that my kids absolutely love having him as a teacher. Mr. Arnell is the teacher I heard all the kids say really positive things about. He also comes from a family of 10 kids so we talked about that for a bit and visited. I like Mr. Arnell and am grateful there are great teachers like that. He was one of the deciding factors to Wes deciding to go to Churchill. Hyrum and Ethan and Mel were all like "You have to go to Churchill or you'll never have Arnell!" Then after that the line for Eth's teacher was down to one so I jumped over. That was also the time that I realized almost all the teachers were leaving. Oh, this ends at 7? Doh. That was a quick visit, then over to Ethan's one request: Peterson. Someone was still there talking his ear off so I waited for a few minutes then talked to him. We were the last ones in the room. Then we were done. I guess that will have to do, I did my best. Now it's time to get home and pack and get ready for tomorrow. Hope I don't lose these notes and papers in my absence before I can go over them with the kids. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017


Today was Valentine's Day. My #1 Valentine is far away in Brazil, but I shall see him shortly. He did call to wish us all a happy love day. Keeping me company while Corey is gone is my funny Valentine Daniel. He was super cute sucking his thumb two days ago ~
My next Valentine Natalie is a sweet little roommate too. Still sleeping on our floor most every night.
The past few nights she's been sleeping with an old toy that Abi got when we were in Chile 5 years ago. I had it on display on my shelf to remind me of little Abi, now it will remind me of Natalie too. I made Valentine's for the older kids. Some Candy grams - I was inspired by the "Super8" candy bars that Angela gifted us. And this was also an effort to get rid of the chocolate before I ate it all.
Joseph likes Mr. Goodbars. Mel likes KitKats, but they aren't good for candy grams...
Neither are Reeses. So I tried to get creative, but it mostly got lame.
Then I got lazy with Wes and Lily. They didn't seem to mind. I didn't keep track of how many treats each kid got, but since I hid the Valentines on their beds they weren't able to compare to each other.
Abi was excited by the surprise, she loves stuff like this. She used some of her treats from school to make a Valentine for me, cause she is also a major note writer. I've got a whole stack of love notes from my sweet Abi, and now have this one to add to the collection.
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