Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Happy 1st Birthday Holly!

My baby is 1! Her first year went by so fast. I love first birthdays and this one was no exception. We sang Happy Birthday to her at least 10 times and she loved it every time. I always feel like we've arrived when a baby turns 1. They enjoy life so much more and are so cute and fun. I was a little camera happy so enjoy the pics!

Here she is in her new birthday outfit.
We got her some balloons and she loved letting them go over and over and over.

She was excited about her new presents.

Thanks to all those who spoiled her on her special day!

And here is the beautiful cake and the cake decorator. What am I going to do when I don't live close to my professional cake decorator sister? My poor kids won't know what's hit them when I offer a poorly frosted cake in a 9X13 pan. For now we'll just feel so lucky to have such awesome cakes. Thanks Steph!

Holly loved having everyone sing Happy Birthday but wasn't sure what to do with the candle. She attempted to grab it at one point so we had to keep it at a distance. The moment we handed it to her she dug right in and enjoyed (we think-she didn't smile once) her delicious cake.

Once she was done, everyone else wanted to enjoy her cake as well.

So we let them do just that.

Even Heather took part in the fun.

Thanks goodness for birthdays so we can have reason to celebrate such special little ones as Holly. I'm so lucky to be her mom!!

Monday, April 21, 2008

My Many Colored Days

I love reading Dr. Seuss. His imagination is endless and his rhymes are so fun to read. Not only that, but I think the man gets it. I learn so many lessons from all of his funny tales. One of his books helped me keep things in perspective recently and helped me realize that it's ok, and part of who we are, that we feel all different emotions. So, for your reading enjoyment. I've included the text. You can decide what color you are today.

Some days are yellow.
Some are blue.
On different days I'm different too.
You'd be surprised how many ways
I change on Different Colored Days.
On Bright Red Days how good it feels
to be a horse and kick my heels!
On other days I'm other things.
On Bright Blue Days I flap my wings.
Some days, of course, feel sort of Brown.
Then I feel slow and low, low down.
Then comes a Yellow Day and Wheeee
I am a busy, buzzy bee.
Gray Day....Everything is gray. I watch. But nothing moves today.
Then all of a sudden I'm a circus seal! On my Orange Days that's how I feel.
Green Days. Deep deep in the sea. Cool and quite fish. That's me.
On Purple Days I'm sad. I groan. I drag my tail. I walk alone.
But when my days are Happy Pink it's great to jump and just not think.
Then come my Black Days. MAD. And loud. I howl. I growl at every cloud.
Then comes a Mixed-Up Day. And WHAM! I don't know who or what I am!
But it all turns out all right, you see. And I go back to being...me.

Love it! As I was dragging my tail and walking alone on a recent purple day, I tried what I could to talk myself into being happy. I reminded myself of all the many people who love me, I remembered the people who have so much less then me, I counted my many blessings, but try as I may, I was having a purple day. And then I remembered this book and I was comforted in knowing that a different colored day was just around the corner. And that when we are having brown, black or purple days, we need to remember that it's part of who we are to have every kind of day and that it all turns out all right. I survived my purple day and have survived many other black and brown days. And I've enjoyed every other kind of day as well along with many mixed-up days too. Thanks, Dr. Seuss, for another valuable lesson!

As for today, I'd say it's a Bright Blue Day. What about you?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Mud Pies

There are times as a parent when memories of my own childhood help me allow my children to do things I'd rather they didn't. As a child, of course, I was unaware of the mess my mom had to clean up after fun in the mud, both on my clothes and the mud we tracked in the house. I was unaware of the extra wet, and muddy garden boxes that would now be difficult to plant in. But I was very aware of how awesome it was to get my hands covered in mud and how I had made the best mud pies in town. Well, I hope my kids were as unaware and aware as I was as they found the perfect combination of dirt and water. There time will come, sad to say, when they will don the garden gloves and try to steer clear of the mud. Until then, they can take over my title of making the best mud pies in town. Even Sage was allowed to get dirty. She loved helping us weed and was enthralled by a ladybug as it climbed all over her. Jaxon and Emily were MIA most of the time-they usually are. And poor Holly was sick in bed. She's still trying to recover so please keep her in your prayers. It's been a rough week for her. We've been to the ER once to get fluids into her and are praying we don't have to go back. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Day 9-Homeward Bound

I have very little too report. We were all exhausted and had a very uneventful (thankfully) drive home. We only stopped a few times to empty our bladders and to fill up the gas (not ours-the cars of course).

Of course, everything I wrote about our trip was from my perspective. Rick's would have included more time with the kids, 24, Wii, golf and hanging out with his family. Abbie's would have included more time with Bruno cousins, and the Wii, Connor's would have been ALL about the Wii-he had a hard time thinking anything else was fun. Who knows what Emily would have blogged about. I'd be interested to know. And Holly would have complained a bit in her blog. She hated the drive, hated sleeping in a different bed and didn't usually like being towed along everywhere. It's always hard for babies to travel. However, she would certainly have bragged about learning how to climb stairs. She seemed to think that was pretty cool.

Well, you succesfully made it through my dreadfully long travel log. I'm impressed if you read it all. I was getting a little sick of it myself but had to see it through the end. I'll be glad in the future to have it all recorded. My blog has become my journal so forgive me for my many details. I guess it's time to stop living in the past and see what's happening around me. Who knows what I'll blog about next!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Day 8-The Breakfast!

I have been so anxious to write about one of the biggest highlights of the trip! Whenever we are in Utah we do alot of inviting ourselves over to peoples homes. I had an hour in the morning before I was planning on visiting a friend and so I talked John into making me breakfast. I had NO idea what a grand breakfast I was going to get. Because he did such a fabulous job describing it on his blog, I encourage you to check it out at http://www.mirms-milieu.blogspot.com/. Thanks again John for going all out for your little sis-even if you hoped there would be more people there to enjoy. It was awesome.

After a yummy breakfast I went to Andrea's, my college friend. It was SO good to see her again. My kids loved playing with her kids and I loved catching up and the lessons I learned from her in those few hours. Thanks Andrea for taking the time for my family to come hang out. We loved it!

Next we were off to the movies with John, Miriam and kids, Stacie and kids, and Maura. Rick joined us at this point (he had been golfing all morning with Ben). We took up a whole row. We enjoyed "Horton Hears a Who" and had fun watching the kids giggle and whisper during the movie. Cousins are so much fun!

After the movie we went to Lehi's awesome pool. We've done this the last 2-3 times we have gone to Utah and now my kids can't go without it. I'm ok with that. It's an awesome pool. I wish we had something like it in Oregon. We had fun with Aunt Stacie, Mia, Luke, Aunt Rachel, Uncle Rand, Maura, and Collin. And despite Holly's funny face-she loved every minute of her first trip to a pool.

After swimming we went to J&M's and said our goodbyes. As always, I hadn't seen nearly enough of anyone. Rick's parents had dinner for us that night which we were so grateful for. We then spent the next few hours packing up the van so that Grandma and Grandpa could give the kids a special surprise-as if the day could get any better! Their jaws dropped when they realized they were actually going to get Build-a-Bears. Thanks Grandma and Grandpa for the present! And thanks for opening up your home to us, even with our crazy comings and goings. We loved being with you!
We spent the night at Mike and Stacie's so we didn't have to make an extra stop to pick up Heather early the next morning. Mark and Mikelann came over and we played games until I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer. Every moment of the day was filled with fun and I was completely exhausted. I did feel just a bit jipped that we didn't end up talking with Mike and Stacie until 2 or 3 in the morning. I miss those times but doubt I could have even made it that long, especially with a 12-hour drive ahead of us.

Day 7-A Date with Rick

By this point in the vacation I realized that I hadn't seen much of Rick and I missed him! We scheduled a date for that evening and then, once again, went on our separate ways for the day. Heather was getting a pedicure that morning and so I decided I was on vacation and needed one as well. I picked the wrong color but it felt great. Especially after hiking in sandals for two days!

We then went to lunch with some dear childhood friends. Kathy set it up and we were so happy to see everyone. Bev and Kathy were my mom's volunteer nurses when she got so sick. I'm not sure how accurate my memory is but it seems like at least one of them was there all the time. I wasn't arware at the time of the sacrifice they were making leaving their families and being with us. Bev's daughters-Liz and Becky were at lunch and Kathy's daughter-Lora and Rachelle were there as well. Liz and Lora are my age and Becky and Rachelle are Heather's age. We all lived within a few houses of each other our entire childhood and in our elementary years we were pretty inseparable. I rarely get to see these friends and loved being with them!

I got back from lunch and had an hour before Rick and I took off for some time together. Our original plan was to go night skiing. However, because of the funny way I was walking, the icy snow, and the high prices, we decided not to. I pulled too many muscles hiking and was grateful not to put any more stress on them from skiing. We were sad to have missed out on Utah skiing but more than anything just glad for a few moments together.

After dinner, shopping and a drive up the canyon, we met up with Ben and Breezy for a fun night of games and treats. Like I said before, I don't have the best memory but I'm sure Rick and I were on some sort of winning streak. We usually are. Maybe we were just winning the eating competition. Who knows? It doesn't really matter as long as we were winning! (I'll be looking for comments from Breezy after this post!)

Monday, April 7, 2008

Day 5 & 6-Snails and Adventures

Are you wondering what Snails and Adventures means? So were Heather and I as we ventured out into the beautiful canyons of southern Utah. Tuesday night, after our visit with Sis. Beck, we met up with good friend Breezy and headed to southern Utah. We got to her parent's summer home in Boulder UT at 1:00 a.m., had a quick midnight snack, and got some sleep. We were up early the next morning and ready to experience a Bigler style Snails and Adventures. You look at a map, find a canyon, and wish for the best. Breezy had never been down this particular canyon but had been told it was a good hike. Heather and I were a bit apprehensive. Don't get me wrong-we trust Breezy. She has been doing this for years. Our style is just different. We were used to hiking on a trail, with a guidebook in hand. We quickly realized the fun of a S & A. It was amazing hiking where few people had hiked, fun to maneuver our way into the canyon when the path we had been taking suddenly dropped off, and amazing to think of the vastness of the canyons. So for hours, we had our little adventure. We even discovered an Indian ruin complete with pottery shards and corn husks. Breezy informed us that it had been used as a granary. That girl knows her stuff!

We ate our lunch in the warm southern Utah sun and continued hiking for a few more hours. It was about this time that Heather and I started yearning for our guide books that we were used to. Our water was disappearing too quickly and the canyon we were supposed to make it to, where we would have a new supply of water, was nowhere to be seen. Our brother had once been stranded alone in this same area with no water and suffered from heat stroke. Heather and I were letting that experience make us nervous and were losing our ability to appreciate a S & A. So we all put in our votes and made a decision that we better head back in the direction of the cars. Poor Breezy was, of course, outnumbered. And continued to be outnumbered with other decisions we would make. She was a good sport.

We hiked back the direction we came and by 6:00 we were ready to be done. We took off our packs that we had been hiking with for almost 8 hours and were so happy just to lounge around our campsite. Breezy made a campfire, something we had never done backpacking in southern Utah, and we sat around it as we ate and talked. The stars came out as the sun went down. It is always amazing to me how many stars you can see in southern Utah. Beautiful. Heather was in the tent, ready for bed by 8:00. I made it until 9:00 and Breezy stayed up a bit longer. She was too busy thinking about the cows that were going to attack her! We all slept well after a full day of hiking.

I woke up early the next morning and took the opportunity to climb to the top of the canyon and explore. It was awesome! There wasn't a single footprint anywhere but there were hundreds of animal tracks. I sat there and took in the vastness and beauty of the desert and felt cleansed and rejuvenated.

The hike out was quick. We were completely out of water by the time we made it to the car and were glad that we had decided to turn around. Breezy took us on a drive in a gorgeous canyon and then we went back to her house to refill our water. We talked Breezy into going on a very popular trail (NOT Sails and Adventures style) to a very pretty watefall, Calf Creek Falls. The hike was very relaxed, we enjoyed not having packs on, and we ended up being the only ones at the waterfall.

On the way back we took a break to lay on a rock in the sun. This is one thing we all agreed on. We needed some time to soak in the sun as we laid on the red rock. If I made a list of my top 10 favorite things to do in life-this would make the list. Heather wanted to fully enjoy the experience so she made sure to empty her bladder before she found her rock. Of course, there aren't any toilets anywhere so she told us to turn our heads so she could squat. (I hope I don't get in trouble for sharing this story-but I can't resist!) Unfortunately, she didn't account for the people who would be passing on the trail, and didn't realize that she was in FULL view of the trail. Not knowing what else to do, she simply waved and said hello. We all had a good, long laugh.
Thanks to Breezy and Heather for a perfect couple of days and to Rick who was so willing to let me go on my adventures. I always come back a better mom and wife as I realize how much I love them!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Day 4-Julie Beck

I've been so excited to write about day 4! I'll start with the best part but I have to preface it with a sad story. Stacie's (sister-in-law) next door neighbor had a daughter who passed away just a few days before we came. The 5-year old girl had been diagnosed with cancer a little over a year ago and fought it as long as she could. She was one of Mia's (Stacie's daughter) good friends. Stacie was asked to sing a solo at the funeral and Michael accompanied her. I talked to her right before the funeral. She was SO nervous to sing at such an emotional meeting. The little girl's grandpa had been a general authority. Elder Holland spoke at the funeral and other general authorities were there as well. We went to Stacie's that afternoon to hang out (Rick was golfing with Mark and Mike). I was touched by the pink balloons that lined the streets and the pink bows tied to the little girls house. The parents had asked that everyone wear pink because it was Ashley's favorite color. I had Stacie give me a play by play of the funeral. The parents both spoke and helped those attending feel the spirit. An emotional day for all involved!

What does this all have to do with Day 4? The boys were still golfing, it was 7:00 at night, we were watching American Idol, the kids were in the backyard playing and there was a knock at the door. Stacie answered and there was Sister Julie Beck-general Relief Society president. What a treat for us! She had only heard that day of the little girls passing and had made a special trip to deliver a letter to the family. She didn't know them personally but knew the grandpa. When noone answered at the home Sis Beck decided to leave the letters at the next door neighbors home. We were the lucky ones. Stacie was good to invite her in and she spent about 15 minutes talking with us.

Sis. Beck saw that we were young, very normal mothers. We shared with her our gratitude for all she has taught us through various meetings. I was relieved to hear that even Sis. Beck gets overwhelmed with such tasks and is just glad that she is able to do a bit of good. It makes me wonder if she really knows the magnitude of good she does for the sisters of the church. At one point, as we were trying to keep kids under control and attempting to feed them, she said, "We need more women like you in the church." I was touched to know that what I was doing was of worth and that she was able to recognize that. And we weren't doing anything extraordinary. Just being moms. She told us she realized what a challenge it can be as mothers but how important it is.

About 10 mintues into the conversation I realized that Heather was hiding out in the back room and must not realize who we were visiting with. I went to get her and she immediately joined us. She gave Sis. Beck a hug and thanked her for her great example. Sis. Beck looked at the three of us and said, "You are beautiful women." The best part was that she was seeing more than our outward appearance. She recognized that we were women who were trying to follow Christ and she saw the beauty that comes from that. I later thought of all my dear friends and knew she would say the same to them. We do have a beauty that comes from trying to live the gospel!

As Sis. Beck left she told us she had already been "working" 12 hours that day. It was 7:00 pm and I was impressed that after putting a full days work in she was still willing to take the time to stop by this family she didn't even know and give them her love. It helped me realize that we need to go the extra mile whenever we can.

I was amazed by the lessons I learned in the 15 min. conversation. I recognize that it is because she is the Lord's servant. She is acting and serving as He would do. I was grateful to have been the recipient of that service.

Other highlights of the day: Hanging out with Aunt Darleen (my autistic Aunt whom I love dearly), eating lunch at Kneaders-another Utah favorite, buying a new super cute dress, and being with cousins. What a perfect day.

Is there a limit on how long a post should be? If so, I'm sure I've exceeded it. Good night!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Day 3-Favorite Things

Part of the fun of our Utah trips is that we get to do some of the things we loved when we lived there. We spent Monday doing a few of these things. Of course a drive up the canyon was one of them. I love Utah's mountains!It was so fun to only drive 20 minutes and to be playing the the snow. We weren't well equiped for snow but it was a warm, beautiful day and we didn't stay too long. Just long enough to take in the beauty of it all.
Mount Timpanogas! I've lost track of how many times I've hiked it. I love this mountain. It's always so good to see it again. I tell the kids that it's my mountain. The fun thing is-they probably believe me! They all know that one day they will stand on the top of it. After hanging out on the mountain we took the kids to a park in the canyon. Such a pretty day.
Rick and I love and miss the grocery store Macey's. We took the kids there to get King Kone Cones. Of course they loved it. We also bought flowers for my mom's grave and took them to the cemetary.
The unphotagraphed events of the day were a trip to Los Hermanos and a visit to John and Miriams. Los Hermanos is one of those Utah things that we do every time we are there. Rick loves the food and I love the memories. John, Miriam, Mark, Mikelann, and Heather joined us. Thanks to cousin Aaron who babysat the kids! We loved hanging out at John and Mirm's after dinner and learned a new game with Mark. He's good at finding fun games.
When we finally made it back to Rick's parents and got the kids to bed, Rick and I made time for a movie. I thought I'd watch movies and read books all week long. That ended up being the only movie (Dan in Real Life-I liked it) and I only had time to read a few pages from my book. It was a busy, fun vacation.

Day 2-Ward Families

Did I say I would post every day? What I meant to say was that I would post about every day-not that I would post every day. I'm certainly not capable of that.
Sunday was our second day of vacation and we spent the entire morning getting ready for church. It wasn't until 1:00 but it took us that long to get our act together. The kids looked extra cute in their Easter clothes. Of course we had to attempt pictures but they didn't go over very well. Abbie and Emily loved the chance to pose in their new, pretty dresses. Holly, on the other hand, wanted nothing to do with it.
This was the only picture we got of all four kids before Holly lost all control. Turned out she wasn't feeling very well that morning. We did manage to get one family picture before we headed out the door for church.

Heather and I had decided that we wanted to visit the ward that we had grown up in. Both of us lived in the same house from the time we were born until we were ready to move out. Our entire childhood! So we knew the ward well and had some dear friends in it. I hadn't visited the ward since I moved out almost 15 years ago.
The people in the ward are special to us because they helped us so much when our mom passed away. I was 17, Heather was 16 and we needed their help and love at this time. I'm only sharing this in my blog because I was so overwhelmed with love and gratitude when I saw the members of the ward that day. It wasn't until then that I realized just how much these great members had done for me and my family and how grateful I was for it. It showed me the power of a ward family. At one point Heather and I were in a circle with 5-6 of the women who had done so much for us when our mom died. Women who had brought us meals, loved us, talked to us, helped us. What an amazing group of women. It made me glad that I can be part of a ward family and helped me see the influence for good we really have on people. Thanks to those who took us under your wings! I hope to return the favor to someone else in need.

After church we had a yummy Easter dinner with Rick's family. We were at his parents and were glad that his two brothers and families came over as well. The cousins loved playing together and we all enjoyed the warm weather! Emily was having fun posing for this picture as well. Collin was busy having fun in the swing.