Friday, April 29, 2011

Oh what do YOU do in the Summertime?

I often have grand plans for the summertime.  This year I was rather dreading it, but I thought dread was a really bad plan and so I was trying to figure out how to make the Summer sound more fun.  The kids, bless their hearts, are never as enthused about my grand schemes as I am, especially if it includes grand chore lists.  So, just for fun I decided to write a list of things I would like to do.  I happen to know that I often like the planning stage a lot more than the doing, it takes less energy.  Here are some of the things that sounded fun yesterday.  I'd love to see what sounds fun to you!

Paint a picture outside (sit outside and paint)
Hike in Rock Canyon
Go on bike rides
Read outside on a blanket (preferably with no bugs around)
Go on walks with Derek
Have a game day with the kids
Have a water day with the kids
Paint the bar stools (fabulously of course)
Learn to play “Standing in the Kitchen” on the guitar (again) – put it on Youtube
Go to the Library
“Triathlon” day (Bike a little, jog about 10 feet, and leisurely swim -- I'm not up for the real thing)
Baking day (treats for friends)
Look through a telescope at the stars
Writing Day (Okay, so maybe not the WHOLE day)
Restaurant Day (make our own with menu and everything)
Music Day
Movie Day
Farm Day (maybe we could skip mucking out the stalls)
Exploring day (Take a lunch to Nephi land or the canyon and be explorers)
Cook Outside Day (one day's enough right?)
Eat breakfast outside
Sew something
Puppet show
Make a movie (The really unprofessional short kind with the kids)
Sports Day
Feed the Ducks
Write the music for hymn
Go to D.I. on a treasure hunt
Go to church history museum
Go to This is the Place State Park
Do leaf rubbings
Finger paint (for Kayli)
Work on rock wall in Elk Ridge
Play tag
Invite family and friends to have fun with us.

Obviously I can't do all of these things by myself.  For example, walking with Derek won't work if I'm by myself, and I think I would feel silly sitting around doing leaf rubbings by myself.  I thought of things I wanted to do, but a lot of them do require others to be around.  I'm kind of funny that way.  My goal was to make a fun list and to be less disappointed than usual when I only pull off actually doing two of the things on the list.  Two is better than none.  Bring on the Summer!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Awesome Pictures

I was planning on posting awesome Easter pictures, but when I uploaded them I discovered I didn't take any awesome pictures, unless you count awesomely bad.  There was a good one of Dan.  Somehow I took more of him than anyone else so the odds were better.  Perhaps I should remember to point the camera at everyone else a little more often!

I'd put in the one of Jake except it is goofy (I think I must have deleted the wrong one).  I'm afraid of my sweet Kayli, and she wouldn't look at the camera anyhow.  There isn't a good picture of Connor either.  I don't know how I managed to think I had taken care of Easter pictures!

We really enjoyed getting together with family on Saturday for the annual C. Easter Egg hunt.  You can't beat the company.
This is a picture of this years Easter Week project.  We do it to learn more about what Jesus did on the original Easter week.  We usually do a table display, but the table is being used for a different Easter display now and so we did a picture instead.  It worked well, but the kids didn't figure out that I really wanted them to draw things until the end of the week.  By then everyone seemed to be more interested.  I liked that Jake or Dan asked almost every day when we were going to do the Easter "thing".

Other good news:
Trisa loved her Easter basket and she is glad the car she drives is working well again.
Tia did a great job conducting a stake fireside (big youth devotional) even though she was nervous.
Kayli does a great job conducting her young women's class on Sundays.
Connor is handling all of the stress of school well and he loaded the dishwasher for me when I hadn't really asked him to yesterday.
Jake didn't complain about piano lessons yesterday, or homework.  He is a good loving boy.
Dan says he loves me so many times a day it's almost ridiculous. 
Derek enjoyed watching an impressive thunder storm in NY today.
Sherie is spoiled.  I got a new can opener yesterday (electric) and today I get a new vacuum.  I can't wait!  I really like to vacuum.  It's a nice rewarding job.  Yesterday for FHE activity we played Just Dance 2 on the Wii.  I won all three times I played without having really played before.  Usually Connor, the Dance King, wins.  He was so impressed with me that he said now he knows where he gets his dancing skills.  I'm so proud of myself:)

I hope you had a Happy Easter and that YOU got some awesome pictures.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Force and Fun

Today I was driving Kayli to school from the orthodontist and was singing along to a Journey song that says "I come to you, with open arms", only I goofed and sang "I come to you, with broken arms".  I laughed and it made even  poor Kayli smile (who now has a horrible orthodontic device, called "the force", in her mouth).

Yesterday Tia cut Dan's much too long rock star hair.  Dan scowled the whole time and when Tia asked what was wrong he said that he wanted his bangs to touch his eyebrows.  Poor Dan.  I didn't know he wanted his bangs long, but I probably would have ignored his four year old wishes.  Don't worry, he still has all of his rock star moves.  He could see himself in the shiny silver part of the hair cutting chairs and he kept breaking out into his awesome moves while I got my eyebrows done.  He likes it best if he can see his own awesome moves.  Why not?  They are pretty awesome.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The End of Spring Break

On Wednesday (the 13th) we went to Discovery Gateway Children's Museum with some of my family.  It is expensive, and the older kids didn't absolutely love every minute of it -- but they were good sports and enjoyed the things they did.  This is Emma and Kayli playing in the first section we went to.  If you look carefully you can find Connor too.
Connor was a bit of a ham with the news.  I wish I had seen more of his newscasts.  He seemed to really enjoy that part -- just like Dan.
Jake didn't have a cousin his age to hang out with, but he was good about it and spent a lot of time on the climbing wall -- which was his favorite.
This museum was a very fun place for Dan.  He loved everything and was happy the whole time.  That was nice. 

The next day the cousins came down to stay with us (just for a day).  Dan liked that too and he came up crying Thursday night because he discovered that the cousins were leaving the next day and he didn't want them to.  Everyone played well together and Tina and I enjoyed looking at some slides of us as children and my parents on their wedding day.  Trisa came home on Friday after the cousins left which helped make up for the loss of our other good company.

We had fun every day.  Saturday I went shopping with all of my girls and Derek worked hard and played with the boys.  Sunday was a good day too as we began our celebration of Easter week.  This spring break was one that I really enjoyed.  I was sorry to see it end.  Today I am back to trying to be Superwoman.  I am doing pretty well, (I'm making progress on my list) -- if only I could fly!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The First Half of Spring Break

We started Spring break a little early.  I checked the kids out of school a whole 15 minutes to an hour early and we headed south in the chilly, snowy weather.  (It wasn't quite as snowy as this picture indicates -- this was earlier in the week, or maybe the week before.)  It was a cold beginning to a very nice week.  Friday evening we arrived in Cedar City and had dinner at Wendy's with Trisa.  Then Trisa and Tia went off to enjoy Brian Regan while the rest of us went to a hotel and got ready to swim.  We were super blessed this time because the pool was nice, and warm, and nobody else came to use it while we were there.  It was good exercise and fun too.

The next day we had planned on hiking in Kolob Canyon but we decided, without having to think very hard, that we didn't want to hike in the snow storm and so we headed on to visit cousins.  We were met by H. and M. who were wearing no shoes.  Brrrr.  We all went in and huddled around the space heater until Uncle Quinn came home and turned on the heater.  Tonya and I went on our traditional shopping trip and I think she won this time (as in she paid for more of the stuff).  I snuck a box of Bran Flakes she had picked up -- but then I think I ate the whole thing and so it's just as well that I paid for it!

Some of my favorite things this trip were my kids having so much fun with their cousins, Dan and M. doing some moves / dances for us, reading in a relaxed fashion next to Tonya on the couch, occasionally reassuring her that she wasn't a bad hostess for reading because I was reading too, and our family home evening games.  We played games where we shot each other with marshmallows out of pvc pipes turned into "guns".  Of course, I mostly laughed so hard I couldn't shoot and I don't think I ever helped us win -- but it was sure fun!  I never took any pictures but I probably enjoyed things more without the camera out.  Almost everyone played a game of capture the flag too and Jake was pleased that he got away from his older cousin "Veggie Teen" by turning so fast that his cousin slipped or tripped or something.

Monday the cousins and Trisa had school and we headed off on a hike.  One of my boys discovered after we'd been hiking that Aunt Tonya was missing.  They somehow missed that she was staying home.  This is the only picture with all of us in it since I usually was behind the camera.  We hiked to Weeping Rock and went on the River Trail that leads to The Narrows (which are not hikeable during this time of year).

We have many pictures of squirrels because that is what the kids take pictures of when they get a hold of the camera.  They must think that squirrels are cuter than their mother -- go figure.

Down by the river we found that people have started stacking rocks.  Derek and a few of the kids enjoyed creating their own formations.  These were not here last year when Derek and I hiked here and so they are a fairly recent thing.

It was a really good hiking day and our trip to southern Utah was a very fun first half of a happy Spring Break.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Tanya's Happy Birthday

At one of the latest family gatherings I was stalking Tanya with a camera.  I knew her birthday was coming up and I knew I didn't really have loads of pictures of her.  She was very kind and didn't tell me I was being creepy and to get lost.  Instead I got her to pose a little, but even this good picture doesn't do her justice.  Tanya is pretty and I really like it when she smiles and laughs.
This is what happens when I ask Doran and Tanya to pose and Doran surprises me.  I forget to aim.

So then he has to hold her for a few minutes while the camera gets ready to take another picture.

 Doran and Tanya are good sports and are fun to spend time with.  They have six children -- two girls and four boys -- including Tyson who Dan always wants to play with even though they don't live close by.  Tanya home schools her children and I am always impressed with people who do this, and do it well.  It takes organizational skills.

So what else do I like about Tanya?  Well, if you are going to have an Aunt (ont) Tonya it is fun to also have an Aunt (ant) Tanya because it's kind of fun to say.  Tanya is impressive to me because she is really good at things that do not come naturally to me.  Perhaps they didn't come naturally to her either, but she is good at them.  Tanya has determination.  If she decides to do something, she seems to make a plan and then carry it out.  After baby number six she decided to run again -- seriously.  She can run 6 or 7 miles in the time it would take me to run 1 or 2 -- no kidding.  She ran a marathon and I think her last miles were all probably faster than any I have done, maybe ever.

Aside from that, at family reunions I have always enjoyed watching Doran and Tanya work together to take care of their kids.  They work together well.  Tanya might notice that there are five things to do and that she can reasonably only manage 3 and so she'll just go and ask Doran which things he wants to take care of.  My natural inclination has been, unfortunately, to play the martyr.  Woe is me, there are five things to do, I can't possibly do them all, it's a shame nobody notices, I will just do what I can and feel sorry for myself the whole time, while hoping there are no dastardly consequences.  I have to say that her way is better and I did get better at that -- sometimes:).  I like that she just seems to matter of factly handle the things that need to be handled -- no woe needed.

Tanya has not really lived close by and so maybe I don't know her as well as I could.  However, I do know that she and Doran will spend their time, and their gas money, and lots of wear and tear on their car to support family activities (we have a lot) and family occasions (a lot of these too).  I know it is not convenient for them to come but family is important to them and they show it.  Doran and Tanya's faith in our Savior and their good example of how to value family is something that I am thankful for.  I hope that today will be a very happy day for Tanya because I love her.

Happy Birthday!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Our 18th Spring with Tia

Tia was born in the Spring after a really snowy Winter.  We lived in Bountiful and the snow was up to my rather round "waist".  The driveway looked like a tunnel, and Derek pulled snow off the roof to make sure it wouldn't cave in.  I can't remember what the weather was like on Tia's birthday but it was a happy day because Tia was born healthy and all had gone well.
Tia was a super cute little girl.  She had a little squeaky voice that I can't really describe well but which is fun to listen to in old videos.  Now she has a lovely voice that she uses to laugh, talk, and sing.  She is my Sunday choir buddy.  Tia loves music.  It could make things all better when she was little and it still helps her in different ways.  She plays the piano very well -- even though she's so busy lately that she doesn't get much opportunity to play.

Tia has leaned over the years to be really good at laughing at herself even when she's embarrassed.  She enjoys telling her own stories about whatever funny thing she's managed to do.  Tia and her Dad have fun laughing together.

Tia is a really good sister for all her siblings but is particularly good friends with Trisa.  Tia is hoping to join Trisa at college as soon as possible, but she has to finish cosmetology school first.  In the last week she has cut Jake's hair, my hair, and Connor's hair and will be doing Dan's hair Thursday. 

On Monday we had a little surprise family birthday party.  We had a Tia game, boola boola (a look for little presents game), pie, and a mystery to watch.  She seemed very grateful and was a good sport.  Her real birthday will be full of school, dinner, and a Young Women activity.  At least I'll make her the dinner of her choice (noodles -- not spaghetti so probably rigatoni) and she'll get presents and a strawberry delight cake.  Tia likes fruit and is more inclined than I ever am to eat fruit instead of dessert.

When Tia was about 2 years old I went to KMart and a lady there stopped me to say, "That is the cutest girl I have ever seen".  She was cute, but now Tia is a beautiful, kind person with a lot of spunk.  We are happy to have another Spring with Tia.   

Happy Birthday Tia!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

An Answer to Prayer

Today I am going to share something that is important to me.  Most of you know that I like to write poetry.  Some of them I sit down and struggle through writing.  Others seem to come as a gift.  I realized the other day that I haven't shared one of my poems that was written at the beginning of last year.  It is one that came on a hard day.  It was, to me, a gift from a loving Father in Heaven in answer to a need I had that day.  He answers prayers in many ways, and I am thankful to know that He is mindful of all of His children.  This poem is called "Windows of Heaven" and seemed to come to me directly from an open window to heaven.  It sounds more like a prayer, but it is a prayer that was answered as it was given.  I hope you will enjoy it.

Windows of Heaven

Lord, open the windows of heaven to me.
Help me obey so thy light I can see.
Let me feel warmth from the strength of thy love,
Oh Lord, send thy light from above.

Lord, open the windows of heaven to me.
Help me feel sun when it’s clouds I can see.
Brighten my road when the darkness creeps in.
Oh Lord, please protect me from sin.

Lord, open the windows of heaven to me.
Help me the love of my Savior to see.
As I walk through life, do not leave me alone.
Oh Lord, let thy light guide me home