Monday, December 14, 2009

The Season

Thanksgiving was wonderful. It was so nice to spend Thanksgiving with family. The kids really do love being with cousins and I love watching them. I will admit that not living in my own house for the first time since Brian and I have been married has had it's challenges. But I feel so grateful to Kathi for letting us "borrow" her house that those challenges seem very insignificant in the grand scheme of things.

We had Grandma Sally's 86th birthday party/Christmas party here this past weekend. There were 30 + people here, lots of food and everyone seemed to have a wonderful time. I actually left because I had tickets to attend the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas Concert. Natalie Cole and David McCullough were the guest performers. When I knew the tickets were going to conflict with the party, I wasn't sure what to do. But I went to the concert anyway, not with Brian and the boys like I had planned, but I got to spend the evening with friends I hadn't spent time with in forever. I must say, as much as I know I missed a great party, I am so glad I went. I am such a HUGE fan of David McCullough and the concert was fabulous. And catching up with friends was great. Sitting listening to beautiful music, seeing the lights on Temple Square, being with friends (and family later), all made me appreciate what this season is all about. I am constantly chasing the "magic" of the season for my children in an attempt to recapture it for myself. But I have discovered that the magic is really all about the innocence and wonder. I sometimes wish I could feel 5 again this time of year. I wish I didn't have to worry about all the things adults worry about and just be amazed by the feelings, sights and sounds. I keep trying...

This year, things are as different as they could be from years in the past. We have tried so hard to make sure our kids don't feel the stress and pressure that Brian and I are dealing with while we work through the changes that have happened. But they know. They are so perceptive while we continue to try and be deceptive. I hope we have given them enough information to understand but not enough to worry. I want to feel awful that we haven't sold our house and investors for the business continue to fall through, but while it is certainly discouraging, I feel tremendously blessed. We have our families who love and support us, we have 5 healthy children, we have a warm house and enough food and I continue to have faith that all this will work out. I can't imagine living without hope. And yet I know there are so many who do. So this Christmas I am wishing for faith and hope for all those who are without. I hope all of you that I love and miss all over this beautiful country are warm and happy and surrounded by those you love most.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Princess Sally "Way" Snaggletooth

My Sally is growing up. All this is evident by the number of teeth she has lost in the past month or so and the fact that she is finally starting to say Sally Ray instead of Sally Way when she says her name. I have been worried about Sally learning to say her r's, it has started to affect her reading and writing especially. I am so proud of her for working so hard to say things the right way, but there is something so endearing about those "weally" cute r's. Since she was 2 and really started to talk, her r's have been w's. I know it is time for her to grow out of it--actually way past time--but it just means one more little marker on her way to growing up. My kids are getting big. I get a little sad, but excited about the future as well.

Brian has such an imagination. He is a product of Dr. Suess. He can make up nonsense words that make sense, he sings songs and tells stories to the kids that he makes up as he goes along and I have no idea where he gets such fun and clever stuff. The other night, I wanted to take a picture of Sally's toothless grin, but she was worried she would look funny. So she wouldn't smile for me. So Brian told her (and all the other kids plus George who enjoyed it as much as any of them) a story about Princess Snaggletooth. We were all laughing so much, Sally couldn't help but smile. Brian really should write children's books--he has missed his calling in life. Anyway, the following pictures are from that night. I love these people. I feel tremendously blessed.

Isn't that grin priceless?!

Monday, November 9, 2009

A few random things and just info in general

I haven't done just a general update in a while and Kash has said a few very funny things lately that I really don't want to forget to share, so here we go.

Just a general update on the business front. In one word, S L O W!!!! But other than that, good. Brian and Rick have been chasing down information, filling out forms, creating reports and spreadsheets, and talking to all kinds of helpful people in an effort to FINALLY get the paperwork turned into the bank so they can start processing (and hopefully approving) the business loan. I have truly enjoyed having Brian around more, but I know he is going a little nuts. It is so nice to leave during the day and not have to always take the kids and just having Brian with us more. I know he has decided that working from home cannot work on a long term basis unless there is a designated office from where to work, and I know he feels a little insane not having a "job" to go to in the morning, but I also know he is excited about the business and can't wait to get things started. Things really are going well, I just think Brian thought it would all move a little quicker than it has. Partially, the slowness is due to all the new paperwork and information banks require for a loan, so different than a year ago. Our timing is always a bit off, but things seem to work out still in the long run.

Our house in Amarillo still has not sold. This is probably the biggest frustration and worry for us right now. But it just has to work out somehow--I am still holding on to that.

The kids love having their cousins around and seem to be adjusting well. Once again, Jake's teacher wants us to look into the honor program for next year, and Jake once again is telling us he doesn't want to because that would require some effort on his part. Ben and Sally both seem to be doing great too, but honestly, I am hoping to get all the kids into a charter school next year because of the schedule. Next year, Jake would be on traditional schedule, but the other kids would be on the year round schedule. There is a new charter school close by that is K-9, so I could have all 4 of my kids at the same school and on traditional schedule--I am REALLY hoping that works out. My kids aren't thrilled about changing schools again, but I am not thrilled with a lot of things, not just the schedule, so I am willing to try something different for many reasons. I MISS TX and NY when it comes to school! I am trying to adjust, just like my kids, but it has been hard. The kids go off track for the first time next Friday, they are all pretty thrilled about that. I hope I can keep them "entertained" for 3 weeks!

Kash continues to keep me completely entertained here at home. The other day, he told Rick that his new sneakers had a "lift" in the back. I loved that, everything in Kash's world has some reference to trucks or tractors. John (Brian's brother) killed an elk and it was hanging in the garage here. Kash was fascinated with the whole thing and really like being out in the garage with all the guys while they were cutting it up. (Sorry, that really is all sort of disgusting.) Anyway, he had a soda he was just finishing. As he drank the last little bit, he held up the bottle in one hand and the cap in the other and declared, "I just drank the hell out this!" What?!!! Where did he get that?! Seriously, Brian and I do not say stuff like that, but he certainly knew how to use the word correctly and unfortunately, Brian and I can only laugh.

Ruby is BUSY!!! I think I missed the update that the new 2 is really 18 months. She has colored all over the walls twice (thank goodness for Magic Erasers), dumped tampons all over the floor twice (I finally got smart and put those in a high place), she found hot cocoa and dumped it all over the floor, and a few more things have been dumped. She eats out of the garbage and scowls at us when we are not doing our best to make her happy. And yet, she is the cutest little girl ever! She says "tank oo" and "peas", and give the sweetest hugs and kisses. I don't know if my kids have gotten progressively busier or I have just become so tired that it only appears that way. Either way, I love them all more than chocolate and that is saying a lot!

This past week we celebrated birthdays just about every day. My birthday was Monday, Jake was Tuesday, Sally was Wednesday and Kathi was Thursday. We had a week of parties combines with cutting up an elk, Young Women activities, scouts and lots more. Then Sunday, Jake was ordained a deacon, so we had a big dinner with lots of family here after church. It was so nice to celebrate with lots of family around. It was a busy week, but all good. I can't believe my kids are growing up--I still wish I had a pause button--that would stop all my grey hair and keep my kids just where they are. But I know that isn't going to happen--especially the hair thing--so we just keep moving forward and try to enjoy all where we are and all that life brings. So far, so good...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pretending it is still October 25th

October 25 is John's birthday. Since he is my MOST favorite brother, I feel badly that I didn't get something written for him on his actual birthday. Does it help my case of behindness that I have had 2 kids with strep in the last 4 days? Maybe, maybe not. Either way, I am here today to write a bit about my brother, John.

I sometimes feel badly that John is the only boy. He was mothered more than he probably wishes, smothered is probably a better way to describe how we cared for John as he was growing up. We styled, dressed, teased, and questioned him WAY more than boys care for, but he was always so good about our type of "love". I guess to end the year of birthday tributes, I want to do something a little differently for John. I have a few favorite memories of John that pretty much sum up everything I love about him. But if my stories (and they may be a little lengthy, so be prepared) don't express how I feel about my brother, John is truly one in a million. That may sound trite, but it it honestly the truth. You will see what I mean...

As you can imagine, John would get bored with all the girls at our house and would be a bit desperate for someone to play with at times. He knew I would agree to play with him if we played the "torture game". (This says so much about him and so little about me!) I would stuff him in a hamper and sit on the hamper, make some kind of concoction for him to drink--the base was ALWAYS pickle juice--and then lock him in a room until he drank the whole glass. All kinds of horrific things that I thought were so funny and clever. He would just play along and be glad for someone to play with--he is ALWAYS a good sport about whatever his sisters have in mind.

When John was 12, I was 17. We were having a Halloween dance at church for families, so even the 12-year-olds were allowed to come. John and some of his friends weren't asking anyone to dance and spending way too much time at the refreshments table and drinking fountain. I told them there were lots of girls who would be thrilled to dance with any one of them. Next thing I know, John has asked a little 8-year-old girl to dance--very safe move. I told John that although I was proud of him for asking her to dance, I was thinking of all the girls holding up the walls who were closer to his age. Finally, he and his friends started asking some of the girls to dance and they were all having a good time. True to any dance, there were more girls than boys, so there were always a few of the girls not dancing. On the very last dance all those boys went and got all the girls and they all danced together in a big circle. It looked pretty funny since it was a slow song and I got quite a laugh out the whole thing. As John and I were leaving, I asked if he had fun. He said he had and of course I told him it was all thanks to me since I "strongly" encouraged him to dance. I then said something to this affect, "What was the deal with the last song?" "The idea is to dance with just ONE girl, not all of them." John replied, "Do you remember the Campbell's Soup commercial where the little red head girl goes home from the dance early because no one asked her to dance?" I said I did remember. And then John said, "I just didn't want any of those girls to feel like that, so we decided to ask them all." I remember being amazed that this boy would even consider something like that at his age. But that was so typical of John. I remember him spending his own money on earrings for my birthday because he was sure I would love them.

Just before I left to serve a mission, my life had gotten a little complicated and messy because of choices I had made. I was confused about my future and what I wanted and didn't know what direction to take in many ways. I came home after classes at USU (Go Aggies!) one afternoon and I was crying--a lot. I left for work a complete mess. I got home around midnight and could hear John's alarm going. I went in his room and he was sitting up in his bed. I told him that he had set his alarm wrong and that I would reset it for him, to just go back to bed. He rubbed the sleep out of his eyes and said, "No, I meant to set the alarm for now." "I knew you would be getting home from work and I just wanted to make sure you were okay." I still get teary thinking about that one. That meant the world to me. I needed to know that in spite of the craziness I had created, someone was still there to make sure I was going to be okay.

When John was about 13, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor called a calcified blood vessel. He had started having seizures and was put on medication to control the seizures. This maintained things quite well for several years with just minor breakthroughs occasionally. John was pretty quiet about all of this, very few of the kids he went to school with even knew what he dealt with. The end of his junior year, he decided to run for SBO. During his speech he had a petite mal seizure. When this happened to John, he would just mumble and his leg or arm would shake. All the kids in the auditorium watched it happen. But because not many of them knew about John's seizures, they all thought that John was being funny and they laughed. John won the election and I don't think he ever told many people what had actually happened. He didn't complain and ask for another chance or ask for anyone's sympathy--he just moved on. Things got A LOT worse and John finally had surgery a while after he got home from his mission. He had wires connected to his brain and had his head cut open. He was so full of faith and hope through it all, he truly inspired me.

John just finished his class work for his MBA this month and will graduate with his Master's Degree in December. He married the most fabulous girl and has two beautiful daughters who adore their Dad. The feeling is quite mutual--John is a great dad--I love watching him talk to his girls. And who better to be a dad to little girls?! John is patient, kind, helpful, sincere, smart and wonderful.

So I hope you all have a glimpse of why I love John the way I do. I think Heavenly Father only sent one boy to our house because he would have been the favorite either way, no reason to ruin some other boys life, right?

Love you, John.

Friday, October 23, 2009


Yesterday Kash & I were discussing an episode of "Little Bill" he had seen. Little Bill thought he had broken his baby cousin when the baby spit up. Kash told me that he thought he had broken Ruby when she was a baby. I told him I didn't remember that, but I did remember when he bent Ruby's finger back really far just to see what would happen. Kash's responded, "Yep, I was pretty mean in the 80's, wasn't I, Mom?" I just laughed. Then later that day I noticed that Kash's sneakers were really wearing out and the inside of the sole was worn enough that his ankles were turning. So I told him we needed to buy him some new sneakers. Of course this turned into a conversation about his old sneakers. Kash said, "I remember when we bought my other sneakers back in the 60's." He is TOTALLY serious when he is telling us all this. I just love my little boy. By the way, he LOVES his new sneakers! I just wonder which decade he will remember this purchase taking place...

Sunday, October 18, 2009


We went to Petersboro this weekend for the annual Octoberfest. My sister, Wendy, started the tradition a few years ago, but after we had moved away. So this was our first fest and we were not disappointed. The kids got sufficiently sugared and had such a great time with all the cousins, games and crafts. And it is always nice to spend time with family. My mom and I took the kids to the last Saturday of the Farmer's Market in Logan that morning, what a fine time that was as well! I love the booths with all the veggies and homemade goods. But the greatest part was running into Peg, someone who has been part of my life for more years than I think could really be possible. I had thought earlier as we were walking around, "This is something I am sure Peg likes!" And then, there she was! I love Farmer's Markets anyway, but getting to see Peg made the morning especially nice.

It turned out to be a fabulous fall day--perfect for all the activities and fun. This really is the best part about being back in Utah, getting to spend time with our families and knowing we don't have to fit a million things into a few weeks. here are a few pictures from the fest...

Ruby was a spider

Sally, my pretty witch

Jake was Buddy Holly

Ben, our hippie

Kash, the Power Ranger

Friday, October 16, 2009

Kate's Birthday...

Yes, two days after Malayna's birthday, it is Kate's turn. I wrote before that October would be "tribute month", 4 out of 6 kids were born between October 14 and November 2! Anyway, today is Kate's birthday and it was wonderful to be in the same state for a change so I could go to the little surprise party Kade planned for her. I love being closer to our families! In January I posted a few things I loved about Kate when we were celebrating our "Praise to Jen & Kate Day", so I copied and pasted some because I still love Kate for all the same reasons. But I have added a few new ones as well. Anyway, here's to Kate!

1. Kate can always make me laugh. Stories she tells or silly things she does--she just makes me laugh. And everyone knows laughter can help you live longer! One of my favorite "laughs" about high school she was working on a group paper. Someone suggested they do the report on euthanasia. Kate's response was, "I think we should do the paper on Youth in America, not Youth in Asia!" The greatest part, she was TOTALLY serious. And she will be the first person to laugh at herself. Like I said, always good for a laugh.
2. Kate is always up for anything, "Sure!" I can hear her saying it now!
3. She is a great Mom, whenever I talk to her on the phone, she and her kids are up to something--the latest was caramel dipped pretzels--her oldest is 6 and youngest is 9 months. She is SO brave! :)
4. Katie is kind to everyone, she can make anyone feel like he or she is her favorite. She is just one of those people who everyone wants to be around.
5. Kate was "the baby", I have always thought she was fabulous.
6. Katie is beautiful, like all my sisters, it comes from the inside and just keeps going.
7. She could spot a jerky guy when I brought them home long before I could & she let me know. Not always in the most tactful ways, but she let me know. Once she left "For the Strength of Youth" on my pillow because she was concerned about some of my activities--I love that one!
8. She is amazingly athletic, something of which I am a tad bit jealous. She could not run for months and then decide to run 5 miles & I believe she could! I always loved watching all my sisters play volleyball. I cried when I had just had Jake & couldn't go watch Kate at the state finals.
9. She has made some very tough choices in her life, but she knows what is right and she does it.
10. She is just plain fun! She laughs easily and lots--I love that.

Happy day, Kate! Thirty looks totally fabulous on you! :)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Happy Birthday, Malayna!

Today Malayna turned 40! My mom is 20 years older than her and Kate is 10 years younger. They make it very easy to keep track of ages--you can do all the math if you want. But today I get to celebrate my only older sister. So here is my birthday list for Malayna, a few reasons I think she is great...

1. Malayna always made it hard to be the 2nd child. She was SO good at everything. She is athletic, smart, beautiful, talented, and good. I remember all of those things making me crazy at times because I was not like Malayna in so many ways. But I remember having someone in middle school make the connection that I was her sister and oh, how that made my life easier. I was given a few free passes because she had been so good that others just thought I was having an off day when I wasn't. I decided then that all her good qualities were a good thing--they couldn't curse me forever.

2. Malayna was and is such a good example. The oldest child is given a lot of responsibility without asking for it. I think Malayna set such a great example in so many ways for the rest of us who came after her and she still does.

3. Malayna is SO honest in such a tactful way. I think this is a really amazing ability. To be able to tell someone exactly what is what and do it in a way that they still like you afterwards.

4. She doesn't let the unimportant stuff get in the way of what is really important. Malayna can see what needs to be done and is able to sift through the nonessential and get a job done well.

5. Malayna graduated from college. That may sound silly, but it was always a goal for her. It took her a little longer than she intended, but she did it. And I think because she did, she showed the rest of us it was possible. I was so proud of her.

6. She and Marty have great kids. And I know behind most great kids are great parents. I don't know all their secrets, but they are doing lots of things right. So like I say about all my sisters, she is a great mom.

7. Malayna used to get mad so easily and had quite a temper. I should know, I was the family button pusher. I especially loved to bug her and Wendy. But I have watched over the years, and Malayna has totally changed that behavior. I obviously don't try intentionally to bug her anymore, but I am sure there are others who have taken my place. And she handles difficult situations with such grace. I am constantly impressed by this.

8. Malayna is so kind. She has such a good heart and really wants to help others. But she does all of this very quietly without much fanfare, which makes me admire her even more.

9. Malayna is a true friend. She makes and keeps friends forever. I am not good about keeping in touch with people, so I really admire this about her.

10. Like I mentioned in #1, Malayna and I are very different in most ways. We fought A LOT growing up and I honestly thought we would never get along. Then I started high school as a freshman when Malayna was a senior. Some older sisters pretend like the younger sister doesn't exist--especially when they are a little dorky like I was. But Malayna was SO good to me. She would take me with her to games, dances, all kinds of things. I did have to start her car in the morning during the winter if I wanted to ride with her ;), but it was all worth it. During all those car rides between Petersboro and Mountain Crest, and lots of other things she became my best friend. I adored her. I cried for days after she left for college. I was thrilled to have my own room finally, but I missed her like crazy. I had some pretty terrible experiences in middle school with friends, but I had Malayna to show me what a real friend was like. I don't think I would be who I am now without Malayna being the friend she was to me then.

I love you, Malayna. I hope you have a fabulous day.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Great Book

For those who know me, you know I love to read. I am always on the lookout for a good book and I am never without something to read. I don't like to watch a movie before I read the book and I don't usually like to read the book if I have already seen the movie. For this reason, I have never read "Little Women". I know, I know, a classic. But I loved the movie so much (the more recent one with Wynonna Ryder), all the Massachusetts scenery that is so wonderful and the story. So I thought for sure the book would be too much of a repeat and wouldn't keep my interest. How wrong I was!!! The book (as usual) is so much better than the movie. And I was sad to find out how much Christianity was totally removed from the movie--I didn't say surprised--just sad. I am still not done with the book, but I wanted to share a few of my favorite quotes. Inspirational! Now I would just like to go to Concord again and enjoy all those lovely places once more...

"It was easier to try for your sakes than for my own; a startled or surprised look from one of you, when I spoke sharply, rebuked me more than any words could have done; and the love respect, and confidence of my children was the sweetest reward I could receive for my efforts to be the woman I would have them copy."

"If I don't seem to need help, it is because I have a better friend, even than father, to comfort and sustain me. My child, the troubles and temptations of your life are beginning, and may be many; but you can overcome and outlive them all if you learn to feel the strength and tenderness of your Heavenly Father as you do that of your earthy one. The more you love and trust Him, the nearer you will feel to Him, and the less you will depend on human power and wisdom. His love and care never tire or change, can never be taken from you, but may become the source of life-long peace, happiness and strength. Believe this heartily, and go to God with all your little cares, and hopes, and sins, and sorrows, as freely and confidingly as you come to your mother."

"I want my daughters to be beautiful, accomplished, and good; to be admired, loved and respected; to have a happy youth...with as little care and sorrow to try them as God sees fit to send...My dear girls, I am ambitious for you, but not to have you make a dash in the world, --marry rich men merely because they are rich, or have splendid houses, which are not homes because love is wanting. Money is a needful and precious thing, --and, when well used, a noble thing, --but I never want you to think it is the first or only prize to strive for. I'd rather see you poor men's wives, if you were happy, beloved, contented, than queens on thrones, without self-respect and peace."

"Then let me advise you to take up your little burdens again; for though they seem heavy sometimes, they are good for us, and lighten as we learn to carry them. Work is wholesome, and there is plenty for everyone; it keeps us from ennui and mischief, is good for health and spirits, and gives us a sense of power and independence better than money or fashion."

Friday, September 25, 2009

Lazy--not really

My mom thought that something was wrong with her computer because she hadn't been able to see any recent updates on my blog. I guess I should take that as a hint that I haven't posted much lately. I would like to say I have just been lazy and enjoying the wonderful weather while sitting on the back patio reading a book. And while I have done that once in the last couple of weeks, it is not the norm. We have been staying busy getting settled. Just an update on the Tahoe--as of this week it is running well. I almost hate to write that sentence for fear of cursing a good thing. But wait, the Tahoe is already cursed, so I guess I don't have to worry about it! We were just very grateful the work done on the Tahoe was covered by the warranty--that was a huge blessing.

The kids are starting to like school a little better. I hate to complain, we had such GREAT schools in NY and TX, this has been a bit of an adjustment for all of us. I am not saying schools in UT are terrible, but I will say they are lacking. I guess if we had never moved in the first place I wouldn't have known the difference. But we are making the best of it and I try hard not to complain in front of the kids--it only gives them license to do the same.

On the whole work front for Brian: He and his brothers are working hard to get the business plan put together and get it presented to some banks by next week. So far everyone they have talked to at different agencies and banks have been very positive with what the boys have so far. But that is not to say there won't be glitches once they finally submit everything and actually need someone to give them money. Brian is still very positive about everything and we both still feel like we are where we need to be. We are freaking out a bit, our house in TX hasn't sold yet. Our realtor said everyone who looks at it loves it and has actually had 4 people want to make offers but when they go to the lenders they can't get the financing. That really stinks for us because it is no fun to be making payments on a house we aren't even living in. But we are hoping the right person comes along very soon and it will all be fine.

So that is about it in a nutshell. I will try and do better...

Thursday, September 3, 2009


We took the Tahoe to the local AAMCO to have it looked at. It was the transmission that failed. Fortunately we had that totally replaced before we left Amarillo and it had a 100,000 mile warranty on it. Funny that it failed before it even had a 1000 miles, even more funny that it happened to THIS Tahoe. Brian says we need to have a Priest, Bishop, and a Rabbi over to "exercise" it. Maybe we should just sell it...anyone want a Tahoe? :) We still have to fix the flat...maybe THEN it will be okay! Oh, I just about forgot! Tuesday morning Brian had a police officer stop by wanting to know who the Tahoe belonged to. When Brian told him it was his, he wanted to see license, registration, etc. Apparently the 2 license plates on the Tahoe were different. Just one more really is SO just doesn't stop!!!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Trying to do the right thing

Last year when we moved to TX, we decided that we would just be a one vehicle family until we saved enough money to buy a 2nd vehicle. We thought that was more in line with "living within our means" and we really didn't want to have 2 car payments. So we waited. Man, it was killing me! We had sold Brian's car before leaving NY thinking it would be easier with a new baby to all be in one vehicle while traveling across the country. I thought it was a good idea until I was going crazy not having my own vehicle. But I really wanted to wait and save the money, so I tried really hard to not complain too often. Thank goodness for friends who would haul us to the park and such places in the mean time! ("Ya'll" know who you are :)...)

So in the spring we decided to start looking. We found an older Tahoe that Brian really liked and I told him to buy it. But he waited too long hoping the guy would drop the price. So we started looking on eBay. We knew others who had bought vehicles there and had a good experience. We found a Tahoe in Houston that looked great so we bought it. And here the story really begins...

The guy told us he could get it shipped to Amarillo for $225. It ended up costing $100 more and he said he would give us the extra $100. Never happened. The Tahoe finally showed up 3 weeks late. Now you have to know that the description said "new brakes, new transmission, new shocks, new fuel pump, A/C works great and all power options". Here comes the fun part. Brian couldn't get the Tahoe out of 1st gear and then he about ran through our garage trying to stop. When we tried to get it to the shop to be looked at, it wouldn't start. It was that "new" fuel pump. It had to be replaced just to have the transmission looked at. We had to have a brand new transmission put in (luckily eBay covered this). When we had the shocks looked at, they were the ORIGINAL shocks--they needed replaced as well as the brakes. The A/C never worked. While the Tahoe was at the AAMCO getting fixed, it was broken into and the stereo (the only nice thing that worked) was stolen. Are you laughing yet? Brian and I just keep laughing. So we thought we were good, but needed to get an alignment before we left. I was just waiting for the guy to call and say there was something else wrong. Sure enough, he called and said we had to have something else done before the alignment could be done. So instead of $70 it cost $370! Oh, did you remember that Brian at this point has NO job? What can we do but laugh? So FINALLY we have everything set and we head out for UT. Brian calls me while we are driving through Green River, WY and tells me to turn around and come find him, the Tahoe has broken down. Yes, I am serious. It is either the transmission or the transfer case (whatever that is). So we were on the side of I-80 for almost 2 hours getting things arranged and situated so we could get to UT. I asked Brian what we were to learn from this Tahoe experience and he said he had learned to jump at a good thing when he sees it and not to wait anymore. So here we are in UT, "jumping", hoping and praying this whole business thing works out. In spite of all the trouble we have experienced over the past couple of months we continue to feel so blessed. What an amazing blessing that the Tahoe broke down close enough to UT that Brian's awesome brothers could (and were so willing) help us get the Tahoe to UT. Oh, I forgot! When they got to the Tahoe, it had a flat tire too! Too much! Just gotta laugh! We have amazing families and super friends who are so supportive and helpful. So we just laugh a lot, pray more, and feel grateful every day. Just be careful if you ever buy a vehicle on eBay--it could cost WAY more that you think! :)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

News at our house

So we are moving. We are headed back to Utah after being away for 7 years. It is hard to believe, I honestly never thought it would happen, but here we go! I will try to be brief in my explanation of what has happened over the past few months...

Most of you know that when Brian took this most recent job, he worked in CA while we lived in NY for almost 9 months. Then we were in UT last summer and moved to TX in August last year. Even then, Brian was still doing the long distance commute until the plant here was built. In just under 2 years, he helped fix the plant in CA (they were so in love with him then), and got the plant here up and running and accomplished their 5 year plan is less than one. I would say pretty impressive. But Brian has been miserable for the past few months. His idea of management/leadership is far different than what he was experiencing from the top. When we left for UT in July, we really weren't sure what was going to happen when we got back. Brian had a meeting with his boss and they mutually agreed that it wasn't going to work out any longer. So Brian's last day of work was Aug. 14. They were good to us and gave us a decent severance package which makes things a little easier while we figure things out. We were really trying to make choices that would be best for our family and give Brian a chance to do some of the things he has wanted to do for years. We knew it was time to be closer to family, but weren't sure how it would all work out. A few weeks ago, Brian's brother called with a plan. He has wanted to open his own trailer/welding shop for some time, but lacked the business knowledge to do it. He is truly one of the best at what he does, but needed some help with the business. So Brian and I really thought and prayed about it. Honestly, it sounds like the craziest thing we could do, to just pack up and move like we are, but we feel great about it. Brian and Rick are such hard workers and if anyone can make this fly, they can. So for now, we are going to move into Brian's mom's house for at least a year. Kathi has been so supportive of her boys and is so willing to do anything to help make it happen. We are keeping all our options open at this point, but we are headed to South Jordan for now to help Rick get the shop up and going. I am so excited for Brian and just hope we can sell our house REALLY fast! :) So that is the "low down" on the Owens family. We are leaving in less than 2 weeks so the kids can start school out there. It is going to be a crazy few weeks, but we really are so excited about it all.

Monday, August 10, 2009

My Dad...

My Dad's birthday was July 27th. On that day we were driving to Fish Lake where for the next week we had no access to computers (it was great). Then we got back to Amarillo and this past week I have done so much laundry I felt punished for something and just trying to deal with the craziness that has happened since we got home (a post for another day). Basically, I am trying to make excuses for why I haven't posted my birthday post for my Dad. But now, 2 weeks after the fact, I am getting it done.

1. My dad is probably the most honest person I know. He ALWAYS tells the truth, does what is right, and is such a good example of what being honest means.

2. My dad is so smart. I am amazed at the information he has stored in his head. He has the amazing ability to remember SO much. He can remember years, dates, names, interesting facts, all kinds of stuff that comes in especially handy when playing Trivial Pursuit on his team.

3. I really think my Dad gives everyone a fair shake. He seems to be able to look past the exterior, whatever that may look like, and make decisions about people based on who they really are.

4. My Dad can fix anything if he has duct tape and baling twine. This may sound silly, but SERIOUSLY he has repaired so many things (including my high school car) with these things. I like to tease him about it, but I am still impressed whenever he can make things work with just those 2 things.

5. I love my Dad for deciding to move us to Petersboro. I know he and my mom sacrificed a lot and went through a lot to make it happen. But I really LOVE the farm and I loved growing up there. I know it will never mean to me what I believe it means to my Dad, but that farm is such a special place. There is just a feeling there and the view of the valley is unbeatable.

6. My Dad is reasonable. I know I pushed the line quite a few times while I was growing up. I asked questions and did things that I am sure caused at least 1/2 of my mom's grey hair. Often, she would pass me to my Dad when she wasn't quite sure how to answer my questions. My Dad would always listen (however absurd I might have been) and give me answers that made sense. Perfect example: At some point during high school I asked my Dad if he thought it would be okay for me to swear since he did. His answer was, "Go ahead if it makes you feel better." Being me, I wanted him to tell me no so I could in some twisted way feel justified in my bad behavior. But instead, he made me look at the situation logically. By the way, I don't swear. Okay, maybe occasionally when there just isn't a better word! :)

7. My Dad would do anything for me. I know that.

8. My Dad is a better version of Jack Fryer than he was 20 years ago. My Dad will admit when he is wrong and then he really works to do something about changing. I think this is an amazing thing. So often we are complacent in our effort to "become", but my Dad constantly surprises me with his efforts. I really admire this.

9. He is meticulous. My Dad likes perfect lines when he mows the grass, he likes nice lines when he vacuums (yes, he does vacuum), everything is always very neat when my Dad does it. He says he is probably a little OCD, but who of us isn't about one thing or another? Because of this, I think my Dad always looks very nice. His clothes are always pressed and he ALWAYS smells good. So I think his version of OCD is a good thing.

10. My Dad is a great dad. He always made sure to tell us he loved us and still does. Growing up, he would make sure we knew he was proud of us. In a world where fatherhood is diminished, my Dad exemplified that role. He is not perfect, none of us are. I find that out with every situation that faces me as a parent. But I still know I was a very blessed child and still feel blessed to have the parents I have.

I love you, Dad.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Got it!

I got the pictures to finally load--I updated the slide show over on the right. There are lots of scenery picture as well as lots of the kids. Again, we had a great trip.

Home again, home again, jigity jig

We are back in Amarillo. It is great to be home, although I am not ready to face reality tomorrow. Already, there are dr appts, school registrations, and vehicles to deal with. PLUS 5 kids who have had a month of continuous party and believe they should continue to be entertained. What a sad day tomorrow will be when it is filled with house cleaning, laundry and other miscellaneous items. We had a great month, we were able to do and see so much. The kids loved spending time with grandparents, aunt and uncles, and cousins. Utah and Idaho were beautiful! I will post some pictures later, I am having technical difficulties...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Utah continued

The battery on the laptop is dying and Brian forgot the power cord, so I will be brief. Brian got back to UT with us this week and we are THRILLED to have him with us for the last little while before we return to TX. We are staying busy and loving the time we get to spend with our families here. Jake asks me constantly what our plans are each day, he is already concerned about how quickly this month has gone by and how soon we will return home. I feel a little like I haven't been home forever and yet the month really is flying by. We have been in SLC this week, but will head back to Cache Valley for Pioneer Day in Mendon. Then we will head to Fish Lake and stay at the cabin for a few days--I am very excited about that--it is such a beautiful place. I have always loved Fish Lake with all the aspen trees--they sing simplicity and peace to me. I have included a few pictures from our adventures, it has been a great trip so far.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


We made the trip last week to Utah and have been here since Thursday, so almost a whole week. Brian is back in Amarillo fighting the fight while we are enjoying beautiful weather and wonderful family. We had a great 4th of July weekend and some jam packed days with cousins. My kids are beyond exhausted at the end of the day and go to sleep quickly. I do miss Brian so much and wish he were here, but so glad he is willing to do so much traveling so we can enjoy the family. We are headed to Island Park (outside West Yellowstone) tomorrow to spend some time with the Owens family--should be a great time. Some highlights so far...Jake & Sally bought fireworks and lighting those, Bear Lake, the Cruise In, camp out at Grandma & Grandpa's, walking the Logan River trail, boating at Newton Dam and watching my boys CRASH then crashing myself, and just plain relaxing on the porch swing! All this and more in 6 days--phew! No wonder we are all so tired! But truly having a great time!

Friday, June 26, 2009

All relative

Sally showed me a penny this morning and said it looked really different than any other penny she had seen. I said, "It is just an old penny." Sally asked how old it was and I told her to find the year on the penny. She found "1956" on the penny and asked, "Were you alive then, Mom?" I said no and she then asked if Grandma and Grandpa were alive then. I told her they were and she wanted to know how old they were then. So I thought for a minute and told her that Grandpa would have been 10 and Grandma would have been 7 (I think that is right). Anyway, she looked at the penny and then looked at me and said, "Then this is a really, really, really, really, really, really old penny!" Sorry, Mom & Dad! I don't think the penny is that old! :) Too funny though!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Another Birthday

Today is Mandy's birthday. I actually remembered to call her--something I often forget to do on birthdays. We tend to group our birthdays together, but this will be it for June. It really is so great for me to think about just a few of the reasons I love each person in my family--they are all such amazing people. Just wait until October though--it will be one bday after another! :)

So a few reasons why I think Mandy is marvelous...

1. She is very adaptable. She never seems upset by changes or things she can't change.

2. SO easy to get along with. There were always sibling fights going on at our house, especially with 5 girls. But I can honestly say I don't ever remember being upset with Mandy about anything. I don't know if anyone could.

3. Mandy loves to read. So I love to talk to her about books she has read and things I have read. I love having a sister who enjoys so many of the same books--makes for lots of great conversations.

4. She is a peacemaker. We always called her that at our house, but I think she still is in her own family. She has to approach "keeping the peace" in a whole new way with Mick and her own kids, but she does it and does it well. Marrying Mick brought out the feisty in Mandy--we have all loved seeing that! :)

5. She is open to anything. She is one of those moms who actually considers all the crazy ideas her kids have and many times helps them figure out how to accomplish them. I too often just say no because the alternative would take too much effort--she inspires me to think differently. She talks about some of the things they do like they are no big deal, but they are a big deal!

6. Mandy owns her own power tools. AND she know how to use them! She has built some amazing furniture--YES--I said furniture! How cool is that?!

7. Mandy can laugh at almost anything. She has a knack for not taking things too seriously for too long. I think she will live long and happily because of this wonderful trait.

8. I love that she says what she thinks. She is always nice about it, but you know where you stand with Mandy and I love that.

9. Mandy is so creative. She will see something she likes and she will figure out how to make it herself or paint it herself. I have copied so many of her "designs" and she is happy to help me. I swear every time I see a picture of her house, something else is under construction.

10. I said I would say this about all my sisters, but only because it is absolutely true. She is a wonderful mom. Mandy really LISTENS to her kids. She is patient with them and helps them find solutions. She is calm and so understanding. I am always so impressed when I watch her handle "situations" that always happen.

I love you, Mac! I miss you so much. Hope you had a great day.

P.S. Happy Anniversary, John & Karlee! :)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Missing: Front Tooth

Sally's tooth was dangling. I finally convinced her to let me get it out last night. She was thrilled when it was all over and didn't hurt at all. But so cute, she said about 5 minutes after with tears in her eyes, "Mom, I'm going to miss that tooth." I asked why and she responded, "Cause that is my first front tooth I lost." I guess she had become very "attached" to it--ha ha! I just hope the new one coming in stays put forever! :)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A week late

Last Thursday was my Mom's birthday. I mentioned earlier in the year I was going to do a special post each time someone in my family had a birthday. My mom called yesterday and told me she was checking in on her lost kids. I asked what she meant and she said she hadn't heard from me in quite a while. My response, "Has it been a long time, Mom?!" I really didn't know the last time I had talked to her. After I got off the phone I realized I hadn't talked to her since her birthday. Summer seems to be especially busy this year for whatever reason. Maybe the fact that I have 5 very active kids who feel they need to be doing something every day. I am glad they want to be busy instead of in front of the television, but my house is very aware of the neglect and apparently my Mom noticed as well. So anyway, a week late I am letting my little blogging world know what an amazing mom I have.

1. I remember shortly after Brian and I were married, I met someone in our new ward who worked with my mom. She said, "Melinda Fryer is YOUR mom?!" I said she was and then this girl went on and on about how wonderful my mom was and how much she loved her. This has happened several time since then. My mom is loved by everyone who knows her.

2. Why do so many people love my mom? Because she is warm, friendly, sincere, accepting and just plain kind.

3. My mom is a goal setter and achiever. I am always so impressed by all my mom accomplishes--she still runs circles around me.

4. My mom does what is right simply because it is right.

5. She was and still is a fabulous mother. She has made so many sacrifices for us and continues to. She was ALWAYS at anything we did from a 5 minute assembly to games. She is such a good example to me.

6. Now with 23 grand kids, I get to see what a wonderful grandmother she is. She adores all of her grandchildren and they adore her back. I love watching my mom's eyes when she is talking to our kids and the other grand kids. She loves to tease them and her eyes sparkle just like my grandpa's did when he would tease us.

7. My mom is very thoughtful. I remember getting the best notes from my mom. Sometimes little notes stuck in suitcases or books and sometimes cards in the mail. I love getting notes from my mom. She now sends notes to my kids--they get so excited when they see something in the mail from Grandma and Grandpa.

8. My mom is fun. She is the first one to suggest everyone plays a game or goes outside to start something. Whenever my kids talk about my mom, FUN is always a word that is mentioned. She LOVES to be playing and doing and seeing everyone having a good time.

9. My mom loves her family. She adores her own brother and sister, she loves my Dad and she loves her kids and grand kids. All this love is expressed in such individual and personal ways. Her family is one of the most important things in her life and she lives in such a way that we all feel and know that.

10. My mom loves me. I love my mom for simply loving me and forgiving my faults so easily. I know that sometimes I can be a little hard to love. I am a bit quirky and definitely have my faults. My mom know all that about me and she not only loves me in spite of all those things, she sees the good in me that I find hard to see sometimes. In a nutshell, she loves me unconditionally.

I love you, Mom. Even if I do get lost sometimes, I can't imagine my world without you.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Ben is 9. I know I shouldn't, but already I am looking at next year and the fact that I will have another child in double digits. I wonder constantly how this happened, where did all those years go? I simply can't accept we are headed to that stage of our family. I will go kicking and screaming into the teenage years--I wish I could just hit pause.

I hope Ben had a good day today, he has had lots of phone calls, cards and gifts. He had a fun little party on Friday night. Ben got golf clubs and some Cd's for his birthday, and he wanted an ice cream cake. I attempted making it myself and I will admit it turned out okay. I think my cake/ice cream ratio was a bit off in favor of the ice cream. I would have liked a little more cake, but live and learn. Ben is a mini me in so many ways that we often butt heads, but I will say that he really is such a great boy. He has such a wonderful smile and beautiful eyes. He is always the first to ask if I need help with anything and he has a HUGE heart. Ben was my biggest baby weighing 9 lbs. 13 oz. He continues to be a big guy, usually the tallest in his class and yet one of the youngest. I think God knew he needed a body so big to handle the size of his heart. All you have to do is look in Ben's eyes, and you can see his tender heart. He really is such a special boy. He is truly the champion of the underdog and hates to see anyone hurt or sad. Ben loves food and loves to cook and already keeps a notebook of ideas for recipes. He and Brian talk about what kind of restaurant they want to have someday and what the menu will look like. I am always flattered when Ben tells me something I have made would make it on his menu! Ben is ACTIVE and always has been. He has a very hard time sitting still. He is very smart and does so well in school and is so well liked. But he is so hard on himself--I wish he could see himself the way I see him--even just a glimpse. He would be amazed. I love my Ben.

Friday, June 5, 2009

She is walking!

Ruby is finally walking! She still does her little scoot quite a bit, but she gets more confident walking all the time. I love watching her and to see how excited she is about her new found ability--it is easy to see she knows it is a big deal.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Firsts and Lasts

I took Ruby on Thursday for her 1 year check-up. She had to get 4 shots--yuck! She has been a bit "wheezy" this past month--I thought it was due to a few colds she has had, so I wanted the dr. to listen. When she did, she informed me that Ruby needed a breathing treatment. I asked what was going on and she said Ruby's lungs were full of junk and she wouldn't rule out asthma, but thought it was most likely severe seasonal allergies. So Ruby is my FIRST child who needed a breathing treatment! After we got done (Ruby screamed for the whole 10 minutes), her breathing was SO much better. The dr. came back and listened and agreed Ruby was much improved. This means more breathing treatments for the next two weeks--we were at the dr. for 3 hours! I was so glad that at the last minute I had decided to ask someone to watch Kash for me--that would have been miserable for my Kash-man. Ruby also got some allergy meds and for another FIRST, she slept through the night 2 nights in a row. I am so glad she is feeling better, but feeling so bad we didn't do something sooner--I really didn't think she sounded that bad. I am feeling so much better too--sleep is an amazing thing. And she is dealing with the breathing treatments much better too--she has to realize they make her feel better. She still gets upset when I get out all the equipment, but settles down once it gets going. I love the little mask they gave her, it makes her look like a dragon with smoke coming out it's nose--funny.

As for our lasts, Sally, Ben, & Jake all had their last day of school yesterday. They were all so excited. It was just a half day, so Ben went with a friend after school to go see "UP", said it was great. Jake went with friends to Amarillo Country Club to swim (he would like for us to join--ha ha), and Sally went with friends to have a pedicure and manicure to start off the summer right. She said she felt like someone really important, like a movie star--so fun for her--totally up her alley! They all had a very fun last day and we are all excited to have a slower schedule for a couple of months. The kids are also counting down until July when we head to UT. Should be a great summer, they always are, I LOVE SUMMER! :)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Jake's Talent Show

Jake auditioned for his school talent show a couple of weeks ago. I was so proud of him for simply doing that! The actual talent show was today, so Brian and I went up to the school to watch him. I was so proud of him for doing something like this--I would have NEVER!!! He has only had his guitar since November and so far hasn't had a lesson. We have been looking for someone, but haven't found anyone yet. I am sure with summer almost here, we will have to wait for fall, but I will be excited to see what he can do with some lessons. He figures out all the songs with tabs on the computer. I am sure I am biased, but I think he did great! I had to edit the video a bit so it wouldn't take 3 days to upload, so you get to hear his solo and the second verse. It is "Sunshine of Your Love by Cream". He is all about the classic rock. I LOVE his smile at the end--so Jake.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

For Livi--and Kate I guess :)

All our cousins live far away from us and it make me sad sometimes that my kids don't get to spend quality time with them very often. I listen to Kate tell me about her Livi or read on her blog the things she has been up to, and I think to myself, "Sally is SO related to her!" Kate talks about Livi picking flowers and leaves for pretend salads and other things or the art projects she is working on, and I always think of my Sally. Sally often times will have art projects going on in 3 rooms at a time. I love her creativity, although some of the messes she finds herself owner of aren't always so great. I think Sally brings me home bouquets of flowers she has picked a couple of times a week. Sally has her own style, very different than mine. She HATES when I pick out her clothes and I am often astounded at the clothing she puts together. But she wears it all with such happiness, who can say a thing? Anyway, we were out doing yard work this past Saturday and I walked around to the backyard to find Sally stripping all the branches she could reach. She was making pies. And then after we had sampled strawberry and blueberry pies (which were delicious if you were wondering), she threw all the leaves in the air and danced around as they fell on her. I only wish Livi were here to have enjoyed our wonderful feast of pies and the tree confetti that ended Sally's little party. This summer I am sure there will be leafy feasts for all to enjoy! I can't wait! I snapped this picture before she knew I was watching. I love my Sally!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

A weekend to celebrate women

I found this poem on another blog, so thanks to Anginette! Because I really LOVE this poem. I love it for a million reasons that I can't explain so well. But poetry is truly something left to interpret, so decide for yourself. Either way, I thought was appropriate to post this weekend.

Phenomenal Woman

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them, They think I'm telling lies.
I say,
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.
I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It's the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.
Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can't touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can't see.
I say,
It's in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.
Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed.
I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say, It's in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair, the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
'Cause I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Maya Angelou

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

My helper

I needed to mop my floor. I will start there.

Every month or so I like to make a big pot of veggie soup to keep in the freezer for quick lunches for myself. Today was one of those days. I had asked Kash earlier who made the mess in the toy room (I knew I was speaking to the perp) and he admitted to the mess. I told him he needed to clean it up. After much whining, he went in and started cleaning. So I thought that was a great time to make the soup. I was just about done when Kash yelled to come look at the toy room because he had finished. I went in and it REALLY did look great. I have no idea if the toys are in the right bins, but the room itself really was clean. I told Kash he did a great job and gave him a big hug and he was quite proud of himself. He asked me what I was doing, so I told him I was making soup. Kash loves to help cook, he likes to pretend we are on a cooking show--very cute. So he climbed up on the counter and asked if he could help. How could I possibly tell the cutest four-year-old who just cleaned the toy room, no? So his first job was to dump in some crushed tomatoes, so far so good. But all that cleaning and pouring must have made him thirsty, so he asked if I could get the water bottle for him. This is a HUGE water bottle. It was empty, so I filled it up most of the way and handed it to Kash. Next, he wanted to help add some salt. I was making a huge pot of soup so I figured that would be okay, he couldn't get too much in, right? I handed him the box and as he was adjusting himself to pour, he bumped that almost full water bottle and as it hit the floor, it popped open and spilled ALL over the floor. I grabbed Ruby just before the water got to her and then grabbed a big towel. I thought to myself, "Just an accident and I needed to clean the floor anyway, all good." I got the water cleaned up and Kash was impatiently waiting to add the salt. I was trying to help him (big mistake) and as he pulled the box up a bit away from me, it POURED in! Luckily, like I said it was a BIG pot of soup and it was kosher salt, so we were okay still. I stirred it all together, and Kash asked if he could stir. I told him sure he could stir. So I turned around to grab something on the other counter and hear a "SPLAT, SPLAT, SPLAT". I turn back around to see clumps of soupy veggies all over the floor.

So I will end by saying that I still need to mop my floor. I love my Kash!!!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Ruby is ONE!

It is hard to believe, but Ruby had her first birthday today. I think the other kids were more excited about it than Ruby was, but she is just ONE so that is understandable. She wasn't quite sure what to think when we put the cake in front of her, I really thought she would dig in, but she mostly painted with the frosting. She finally started digging in once she got a little help from everyone else. Fun day though, she is loved and adored more today than a year ago--we can't imagine life without our Ruby!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Great visit

My mom and dad have been here for a few days. It was so nice to have them here and the kids loved spending time with them. I know my mom always worries about any inconvenience they might cause, but I can honestly say it is never the case. I love having my mom and dad at our house. I love the time my kids get to spend with them. There are many days I wish we lived closer so we could enjoy all the get-togethers and cousin time, but there is a selfish part of me that loves when my mom and dad come, they are all ours for a few days. I think it is more of an inconvenience for them that they have to come so far to see us. Either way, we had a great visit and enjoyed every minute. I am sure my kids would say the highlight was their Christmas present. What, you say?! Christmas is April? Well, for Christmas this past year my parents told the grand kids they would take groups of them at different times to a hotel for an overnighter and find some fun things to do. So while my parents were here, they took our kids (minus Ruby) to a hotel and had a serious party. My kids were SO excited! And I will admit I didn't mind the quiet house for one night either. So it worked out for everyone. I am just glad it will be only be a couple of months before we get to see them again.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Camping trip gone south

Brian took Friday off and we were going to leave on his birthday after work to go camping. The kids were so excited to be missing a day of school and we were all just happy to have Brian captive for a couple of days and get out of town. Well, Wednesday we started hearing rumors of rain. By Thursday morning, it was no longer rumors and they were talking about thunderstorms and possible tornadoes. I don't know about you, but camping in that kind of weather is beyond extreme, I just call it stupid, just my opinion. So we decided we better not leave Thursday night and I was really pushing to still go down Friday and camp for one night. Brian thought that was a bad idea, all the setting up for just one day and the fact there would be lots of red clay mud all over. I finally relented and agreed with him. But we decided we would still go down to the canyon and check things out and possibly go hike a bit. So we packed a lunch and left. We got down to Palo Duro Canyon about noon and found out that our campsite was inaccessible due to flash flooding from the night before. There was a flood gauge on the bridge and the water had gotten to 2 feet above the road! From what we heard from others there in the canyon, it had gotten pretty crazy during the storm. One guy told us there were some people who had been in tents who had water and mud all over the inside of their tent and all over their stuff. Good thing we didn't go! Luckily, we were able to find a good trail that wasn't too muddy and we hiked for about 2 hours. With five kids, that amounts to about 2 miles total. But the fact that Kash walked the whole time by himself and Ben only complained a couple of times, we are calling it a very successful hike. Jake of course, being the expert hiker he is, was explaining to all of us the best way to climb rocks and traverse the many cacti when we got off the trail a bit to climb rocks. Ruby loved the backpack and was very happy the whole time. Little stinker wouldn't leave her hat on though and she got a little sun kissed, but is looking fine today. We all had a great time!And the best part of all...I found something beautiful. Amarillo is still the ugliest place I have ever seen, (sounds so mean, but should see it before you call me mean) but Palo Duro is gorgeous and it is only 30 minutes away.

I caught Jake with the camera while he was jumping from one rock to another--he LOVES to climb rocks--and he really does believe he is an expert. I love his confidence--even if it does get him a broken leg at some point.

Really, a very pretty place.

All the kids minus Ruby up on a rock.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Oklahoma, birthdays and Easter

I have lots to post, things I should have done a week ago and didn't get to it, so I'll just have a big random post. And I can do that because it is my blog and if you don't like it, you just don't have to read, right?! :)

A couple of weeks ago, my Bonnie from NY was going to be in OK for her son's Army graduation. I would NEVER pass up a chance to see Bonnie and I thought I would really like to see a military graduation. So I packed up myself, Kash, & Ruby and we headed to Fort Sill. It was WONDERFUL to see Bonnie but now I just miss her so much all over again. And I was SO impressed by the graduation. Nolan, (Bonnie's son) has grown up so much and I was so proud of him and all those other boys (it really was all boys). I am a patriotic girl anyway, but these soldiers were something to truly be proud of. It was a very nice ceremony and just a great couple of days.

Saturday was Kash's birthday. He is four. And he tells me all the time how big he is. But he really is getting big--so hard for me to believe--he will always be my little boy. We took the kids to Mr. Gatti's (like Chuck E Cheese) on Friday night, minus Jake. Jake went to a birthday party/sleepover where he stayed up ALL night--I remember thinking that was fun--vaguely. The pizza was average, but we had a great time. The kids loved the bumper cars and Ruby loved the Merry-Go-Round, she wouldn't get off. And of course they all love the tickets they can redeem for prizes.

After we left there, we went shopping for a bike. Kash has outgrown his tricycle and said he wanted a new bike for his birthday. He picked the bike and has been riding it lots ever since. He loves anything with wheels. Don't look past the awesome Spiderman boots Kash is wearing. When we had the snow storm a few weeks ago and we had to find some boots for Kash to wear, these were the ones that fit him. He was SO thrilled! So now he keeps them in his closet and wears them all the time. I think it is cute.

Kash wanted me to make a John Deere tractor cake. A friend told me she had a tractor mould and I said "no thanks"--I know my limits and that is beyond them. I was just planning to make a green cake and stick a tractor on top. You know, I consider myself a fairly decent cook, but decorating a cake is truly just not my thing. I will give it my best effort and still, it just doesn't work right. It is a great thing Kash is just 4--he thought the cake was great. Brian and I just laughed. For starters, I got too much batter in one of the pans and it was spilling all over the oven and getting really uneven. Neither cake came out of the pan right and I was left to try and put it together with frosting. This plan didn't really work out either. The cake was literally falling apart. I bought a little John Deere tractor to put on the cake and as I set it gently on top, it started to sink because there was so much frosting on the darn thing trying to hold it together. But again, Kash thought it was "AWESOME", that is what he said! :)

So after we ate a late dinner (the cake took forever), we colored eggs at 9 pm and sang Happy Birthday at 10 pm. Brian could see this cake was not going to cut well, so he said, "Kash, wouldn't it be fun if we all got forks and just started eating?" Kash smiled big and said, "YEAH!" So we dug through all the frosting to get to the cake and enjoyed. Not a conventional way of doing things, but when have I ever been conventional?! :) And once again, Brian had the fanciest eggs. He loves to complain, but the guy is just plain creative! He comes up with the most clever ideas. I tend to go for the plain eggs with bright colors, maybe a two tone here and there. But BRIAN, his eggs have faces, designs, all kinds of stuff. I always look forward to what he will create.

So we finally got the kids to bed and still had to make sure the Easter bunny stuff was taken care of. Needless to say, it was a VERY late night for us and I was thrilled to get a nap Sunday afternoon. We had a great Easter although there is more candy in the house than I would like, but less than last year. We did quarters and half dollars in the eggs instead of so much candy. The kids thought that was great. And we were only 5 minutes late for church--AMAZING! Easter is always such a great holiday. I love to celebrate Christ's resurrection--such a hopeful event. And the anticipation of spring is so exciting as well. Just a great day all around.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Cadillac Ranch

One thing Amarillo is known for, Cadillac Ranch. We hadn't been yet, but Brian wanted to get out of the house yesterday after we had been inside watching conference all day. So we took the kids to the "ranch". Luckily we had a few cans of spray paint--the kids were excited! Brian, of course, had the best looking graffiti. He really is so creative. I think the kids would have stayed longer, they were having a great time, but the wind was blowing and making it a bit chilly. So we were there for about 30 minutes. Enough to make our mark, just to have someone come along today and cover it up. The story behind the ranch...there is a wealthy eccentric man here in Amarillo who loves unique art and he owned some land and for 10 years buried a Cadillac in the ground each year. He has signs all over Amarillo that look like regular road signs but say weird things. There is one that says something like "I am a scrappy fighter". Seriously really random, but they make you smile. Maybe that was his idea. If so, I like it. Anyway, here are some pictures from our few minutes at the Ranch.

Brian helped Kash with his and then did his big "B".
All the cars at the ranch.
Sally freezing by her golden name--she was SO excited we had gold paint!
My two boys who think anarchy is really cool right now--they have no idea--oh to be innocent!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

My big boys

Yesterday I went outside to check on the kids and found all of them (even Ruby--Sally had taken her out) sitting on the curb. I told them I didn't think that was a very good place to play especially since there were little kids with them. They all said okay, I brought Ruby in and continued fixing dinner, assuming they had all moved on to a new location to play. Well, about 20 minutes later a man came to the door, I figured some salesperson since I didn't know who he was. Well, I opened the door and he said, "I just thought you would want to know that your boys are out by the street throwing rocks at cars." I think my chin hit the ground and I politely thanked him. I began hunting down my boys, I was a woman on a mission. I was in the backyard yelling their names and up pops Ben from behind the tiered flower beds. I asked where Jake was and he said he didn't know. We finally found Jake and I explained in my calm yelling voice (is there really such a thing?) that they were in some serious trouble. Jake says, "But Dad did stuff like this all the time!" They have heard many of their Dad's youthful escapades, but none included throwing rocks at cars. I told them as much, and also included that their Dad had also said he was very lucky no one ever did get hurt and that some of the things they did weren't very smart. Jake seems to have conveniently forgotten that part of the story. Then they both proceeded to tell me that it was all just innocent. I asked them, "If it was all just innocent as you claim, why did you feel the need to run as soon as a car stopped?" SILENCE... I seriously couldn't believe MY boys were doing something so awful. I kept thinking, where did my sweet little boys go and could they please come back? I am not ready for this "stage" and just pray it doesn't last too long. My hair is already grey enough, I can't take it! I have told Brian I take no responsibility after they turn 13, they are all his, but I am thinking I need to lower the age a bit. Holy Cow!! I have never had to "ground" my boys, but it happened this week. A monumental point in our lives of the not so good kind. I have a good friend in NY who told me, "Kids are so cute when they are little, you just want to eat them up. And then when they grow up, you wish you had!" One of those days!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Learning life's sweet pleasures

I really wanted to exercise and was having trouble finding the time. With all the kids home for spring break, Ruby was having trouble taking a nap. I finally told Jake just to watch her for an hour while I hopped on the treadmill. I came back in the family room to check on them part way through and found Ruby asleep on Jake's chest. I had so many thoughts...first, that Jake could experience what I consider to be one of the sweetest pleasures in life and second, that Ruby loves Jake and feels secure enough with him to fall asleep. It was a good mom moment, especially after a pretty rough morning. Moments like that put many other things into perspective for me. Jake totally loved it and so did I!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Something to share

A woman from church recently passed away after a long and difficult battle with cancer. Our Relief Society printed one of her favorite poems on the back of the monthly newsletter. I LOVED this poem because sometimes I find myself with a terrible attitude and I need to be reminded to adjust it. The author is unknown, so unfortunately I have no where to place the credit. Anyway, I just wanted to share...

There once was a woman who woke
up one morning,
looked in the mirror
and noticed she
had only three hairs
on her head.

"Well", she said, "I think I'll braid my
hair today."
So she did and she had
a wonderful day.

The next day she woke up,
looked in the mirror,
and saw that she
had only two hairs
on her head.

"Hmm", she said, "I think I'll part my
hair down the middle today."
So she did and
she had a grand day.

The next day she woke up,
looked in the mirror,
and noticed that she
had only one hair
on her head.

"Well", she said, "Today I'm going to
wear my hair in a pony tail."
So she did and
she had a fun, fun day.

The next day she woke up,
looked in the mirror,
and noticed there wasn't
a single hair
on her head.

"Yea!" she exclaimed,
I don't have to
fix my hair today!"

Attitude is everything.
Be kinder than necessary,
for everyone you meet is
fighting some kind of battle.

Live simply,
love generously,
care deeply,
speak kindly...
leave the rest to God.

Life isn't about waiting
for the storm to pass...
It's about learning
to dance in the rain.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

A new found love of the bath

Brian and I were very excited about this house because it had a bath AND a shower. And it is a fairly large bath. Well, I thought it was going to change my feelings about bathing forever, but I was wrong. I tried out the big bath and I just really don't love a bath. Now I will stand in the shower forever if I can, but I just get bored sitting in there. Anyway, I sometimes walk past that big bath and say to myself, "What a waste of space!" But I no longer feel that way! Now I have a place to keep kids contained and happy while I take that long shower that I love or do the dishes, or make my bed...the options are endless. What a great discovery! FYI--the bath makes a really great race track! Can't get much better than mom & kids BOTH happy!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Man, I really messed up AND Sally's new doll

Jake decided for his last basketball game he wanted to ask his coach if it would be alright if he played the National Anthem before the game started. So I talked to his coach who thought it would be great and he made the arrangements. Jake practiced lots on his guitar and really had the Anthem sounding pretty good. So we got to his game, got all his equipment set up and he was ready to go. I got seated in the bleachers and Brian says to me, "Do you have your camera?" I was nearly sick! I had forgotten my camera! I hadn't taken a picture of Jake playing all season and now he was going to play his last game AND play his guitar in front of his first "real" audience and I got the loser mom award! I felt awful! Jake played his guitar great and had a great game, he scored 6 points. And although they lost, it was a great game for the whole team. So hopefully he will have another opportunity to play for someone other than his family and blogging audience so I can redeem myself as a mother.

Sally discovered she had a new doll this weekend and dressed her up super cute. Take a look! Looks like her doll enjoyed it as well! She is quite a doll! Who knew "Build a Bear" clothes would sort of fit a 10-month-old?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Ruby vs. vacuum

While I love this age, I hate that Ruby puts EVERYTHING in her mouth!!! I vacuum and sweep and she still finds things on the floor. Ruby gets in the corners and under the couch and tables where the broom or vacuum have missed something and with those cute little pinchers, she can get anything and it of course goes in her mouth. Most recently a marble and a rock. Brian has taken the stance of just throwing things away. He doesn't care if it goes to a game or not, he just wants to avoid any choking hazards. And while I agree with him largely, I also hate to see a game ruined over missing pieces. So I am constantly on the lookout for things she might see. I should probably get on my hands and knees and go through the house. She is like a microscopic vacuum. I am pulling my hair out--it makes me crazy! Of course I don't want her to choke, but what to do with 4 other kids and all their "stuff"?!!!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Bootie Scooting

While Ruby doesn't crawl, she gets around just fine. She is into everything and thrilled about it. The color on the video is a bit dark, but you still get the idea. I've never had one move quite like this--they are all so different!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Happy Birthday, Wendy!

It was so nice for me to think about all the reasons I love and admire Kate on "Praise to Jen & Kate Day", I decided on my sisters' and John's birthdays I am going to do the same for them. I truly feel like I have the best family in the world. My sisters are really very amazing women. And I cannot begin to say how much I adore John, I am so proud of him. So today is Wendy's birthday and there are a million reasons why I love and admire Wendy, but I will write about 10.

1. Wendy ran a marathon, I admire anyone who can do that.

2. Wendy is a perfectionist. Anything she does, she does well. And she does A LOT very well. I remember in middle school I had to sew a pair of short for my sewing class. I sewed the two backs together and the two fronts, so I had one huge leg and one really skinny one. Wendy started looking at the pattern and within a matter of days, she had made several pair, all of them perfect.

3. Wendy is very organized. I admire that because I am not. And she is organized in a very simple and effective way. I have taken many ideas from Wendy, haven't used any of them yet, but I liked them a lot.

4. Wendy is one of the most thoughtful people I know. She sees things that need to be done or could be done for others and she finds a way to get it done. Always quietly and without much fanfare.

5. She is kind. In a most sincere and genuine way, she is just so kind. She has such a good heart and her heart shines through her eyes. She literally saved me this summer with scouts. Jake would have NEVER gotten his Webelos done if it wasn't for Wendy's thoughtfulness, kindness and patience with me. I am so glad she has a son Jake's same age.

6. Wendy is responsible for some of the family's favorite traditions. She started Octoberfest and also in the spring she started the family clean-up at our family cemetery. She has great ideas and she is such a planner! I just feel badly we don't live close enough to enjoy all the fun stuff that goes on.

7. Wendy is a fierce competitor. I admire this so much. She sets goals and gets them done. We did get in a lot of fights growing up when I would beat her at a board game, especially if I bent the rules at all or teased her about beating her, but I love how competitive she is--she makes games fun.

8. She is such a good mom. I will say this about all my sisters, but it is true. Her kids may not know it, but they are darn lucky to have her.

9. Again, I will say this about all my sisters, but she is beautiful from the inside out. She had at least a dozen boys who said they were all going to marry her in high school. She had a following--seriously. Those boys thought she was perfect. It was pretty funny to see from a distance. I don't think she had any idea sometimes, but as her older sister, I saw it AND heard about it.

10. Wendy is strong. I mean this physically and spiritually. She is such a good athlete, but I think I admire the later more. Wendy never wavers. There is no grey area for her, she knows what is right and it is never a hard choice. I like to run into brick walls several times before I figure things out. So Wendy's ability to do what is right and do it so simply is amazing to me.

I really am so blessed to have such amazing people in my life. I love you, Wendy. Hope you have a great birthday.