Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The joy of parenting

Today I got stuck had the privilege of accompanying little miss Hannah on her non-learning party away from school class field trip to the Arch. It was, as all field trips are, sheer torture delightful.

If I were to choose how I would ideally spend my free time, I would never almost always choose spending time with other people's annoying children Hannah and her school friends.

First, I get to sit around doing nothing practice the art of patience while I wait for the children to board the buses. Then I spend a painful thought-provoking hour in traffic, thanks to our annoying state a freeway construction project, and wait again at the Arch for the buses to arrive.

Once all the loud and hyper happy and energetic children emerge from the bus, we maniacally shepherd sweetly lead them to the Arch museum for a tour. It is always a bore treat to listen while park rangers explain the intricacies of the buffalo digestion system. Most gag-inducing humorous moment was when an actual buffalo chip was passed around for the germ magnets children to fondle with their bare hands.

Some of the sickos darlings even raised the large chunk of poo specimen to their noses for a sniff.

And the talking statues are creepy not at all creepy. In fact, I would call them zombie-like life-like and interesting. An added fright bonus was the homeless man that had wandered in and was trying to possibly kidnap bring Jesus to the children.

I mean, what makes a chaperone happier than having to fear for the safety of her charges getting to see interesting urban characters?

Best part of the day was definitely listening to the kids whine for lunch watching the children leap with excitement when it was time to eat. And annoying thrilling to see that they were too busy playing human dominos to actually sit down and eat.

Seriously though.

It was a very long day really fun. I honestly hope I don't have to go to another one of these this year can't wait for the next one.

Remind her of this when she's 15 and hates me, will you?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Sisterhood of the Traveling Shoes: Branson Edition

Me and the pink lovelies are packed and ready to go away (yes, again) for the weekend. This time, with just some friends. Headed down to born-again Las Vegas (aka: Branson). Don't have too much fun without me, peeps.

Dan: hope you like the latest shot of my feet. I did it just for you.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A decade

Dear Chase,

Well, big boy, you are a decade. I would say I can hardly stand how fast the time has gone, but I say that every year, and I am sure you are sick to death of hearing it. (Even though it's TRUE!)

It has been a good year for you. You are now in fourth grade and have settled into your own kind of routine. Homework is not a challenge for you (most days) and you still have to be forced to read just about anything that is a work of fiction. You would cheerfully spend your quiet reading time pouring over college-level textbooks on topics like reptiles or World War II.

Funny, now that I think about it, you also did that at age two. You couldn't read then (obviously) but would sit on my lap in the library for hours as I read to you the names of obscure dinosaurs. You never got bored as I described in thorough detail the inner workings of dinosaur digestive systems or hunting tactics. You soaked information up like a sponge, and still do so today. Daddy and I joke that you are a walking encyclopedia of random, useless information.

But it's what you love, kid. And there's no changing the essence that is you. You are absolutely an original. A quirky, handsome, hilarious original. They broke the mold after they made you, that's for sure.

You have been busy the last few weeks, working on a frog comic book that you are hoping to sell in mass quantity. I am afraid to break it to you that your target audience is probably solely your grandparents, and even they might be hard-pressed to pay thirty dollars for, as you put it, "an original, signed by the author!"

But that's the thing I love most about you, Mr. C. You dream big. You shoot for the moon and somehow seem to catch it every time. I am in awe of your fearlessness, your confidence. I don't think the word impossible is at all a part of your vocabulary.

Thanks for making the last ten years so darn entertaining. You are a special spirit, Chase, and I am humbled that someone trusted me enough to send me you.

I love you more than you'll ever know.



Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A picture perfect weekend

Over the weekend, the Husband and I flew to Utah to meet his siblings and surprise Oma for her 60th birthday. It has been very difficult to keep the secret, and there was a time or two when I almost let it slip accidentally over the phone.

I know. I am not good with secrets.

Luckily, I kept my big mouth shut, and she was beyond thrilled when she walked into the restaurant and saw all seven of her children and their spouses (minus one who inconveniently started to go into labor the day before).

Unfortunately, I left my camera in our hotel room during the big surprise dinner, and kicked myself all evening because of it. Being married into this family has its perks, for Marta has already documented the festivities here much better than I ever could.

What I did remember to bring my camera for was a little morning with this lovely lady. Yes, photogs everywhere, weep with envy. I was treated to pastries, fabulous conversation, and an impromptu photo lesson from none other than the best. I tried to remember how I first found Michelle in blogland, but I have decided since that she is my long lost soul sister. She is as beautiful in person as she is on her blog. Just as easy-going, intelligent, and funny as I pictured her to be. I cringe with horror at my inability to do her justice here, but fell in love with this picture of her and sweet little Mary anyway.

I imagine posting this is somewhat like handing Michelangelo a stick-figure drawing you have done and asking him what he thinks.

I would be remiss if I didn't also mention how much I fell in love with this gorgeous girl. Miss Mary is as cute as a button. She was mildly tolerable of the two cameras in her face, and very fun to sit and eat cookies with. I am fully convinced that she and Hannah need to be BFFs someday.

Later in the weekend, I was able to turn my camera onto my nieces and nephews. Looking at these shots collectively made me laugh - they are almost all blue-eyed and blond. Scandinavian ancestors much?

Absolutely adorable though. Need proof?

These pictures are for a top-secret little project I'm working on. It may or may not see the light of day, but rest easy, Mom, you'll get copies of these shots at some point.

It was a fantastic weekend and we owe so much to the good souls who were kind enough to watch our kids while we were away. (Thanks Meggan and Maren!)

Stay tuned - coming this week: Thanksgiving dinner in September and a big boy turns ten.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

loving her is the easiest thing in the world

Dang, I love this girl something fierce.

We were driving in the car together yesterday, and her chatter floated up from the backseat - her words filling the air around me like a warm blanket. She's happy, this girl, and it's contagious to be around her. She is relatively unconcerned with the realities of life, floating through her girlhood on a cloud of innocence and laughter.

Just the way I want it.

She's social, yet loving. Spirited, yet tender. Sweet and spicy, all rolled into one. A contradiction that makes perfect sense wrapped up in her tiny 47-pound package.

Sometimes she leaves me breathless as I stare in wonder at the sage-like wisdom she articulates so well. Other times, I take a deep breath and count to ten, searching for that last ounce of patience while silently wondering why I have to explain myself to a seven-year-old child. But then I step back and realize that she wants and needs detailed information about everything in her life. She will not be dismissed, this one. She wants to understand reason, logic, and emotion.

I think maybe she wants to understand me. So that she can understand her own heart, too.

She brings a sparkle to our family that is all her own. She has the men in this family wrapped around her little pinkie finger, even though some of them don't know it. As a baby, she even knew how to charm the men. She'd leap out of my arms in the hallway at church, reaching for her favorites. She'd bury herself in their embrace and reward them with her crooked smile. They were like butter in her hands.

(Drove the wives of these men crazy who were trying to buy her baby love with goldfish crackers. Right, Cindy?)

She keeps me in line, and calls me on it when I don't do what I should. She is automatically my teammate and likes what I like because she wants to be like me (at least for now). I know she is watching every move I make, and that helps me walk a little taller and try a little harder. I want to be a better mom so she can be a better one herself someday.

I love you, Chica.

Just thought I'd tell you that today.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Photoshopping up a big batch of trouble

Question: What happens when there is a Saturday football game on television, and a certain someone's husband is ignoring them busy watching it, leaving that certain someone with a lot of free time on her hands?

Trouble, that's what.

Well, remember this gorgeous girl?

And this gorgeous boy?

Well, what if I happen to know that a secret not-so-secret wish of both their mother's hearts is that this someday were to happen?

Names were changed to protect the victims innocent, but let's just say that if this blessed event were to take place in, oh, a little over two year's time, two women I know would be overjoyed.

I'd simply be overjoyed at the sheer perfection of their combined genes and the gorgeous babies they'd have together, leaving me to beg and plead to photograph them daily.

But for now, the ball is in your court, Justin & Rachel. Just know that we've got the invites all ready to go, and neither one of you had to even be in the same place at the same time.

A cheery thought on a Monday, I'd say.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

What must it be like?

I had an extremely fun photo shoot last month, and am now just getting a few of the pictures posted for you all to see. Didn't mean to take so long in getting them up - life just somehow got away from me.

The real question is, what do you think it would have been like to be this gorgeous in high school?

I will never know, you see, for when beauty and kindness were being handed out in heaven, I accidentally got in the chubby and selfish line. Thought there would be donuts and was mighty disappointed when I got to the end and there wasn't.

But I do get the opportunity to live vicariously through the beautiful people who are nice enough to give this amateur photog a chance.

Ladies of Provo, listen up: This handsome boy is now in your city and breaking hearts where'ere he goes, I am sure.

His sister is still at home, and absolutely breaking hearts where'ere she goes. How could she not with those cheekbones that make models everywhere weep with envy, and that flawless, pristine skin? It's almost not fair that she's so nice, too.

I'm betting she didn't get in the chubby and selfish line hoping for donuts.

Where do they get such fine genetics? From their drop-dead-gorgeous mother, of course, who had the audacity to tell me they don't get it from her.

I know, right? The proof is in the puddin', sister.

She's gorgeous and I'd sell my soul to be thin like her. Course that would mean I'd have to stop eating the donuts.


Thanks, Jennifer, for giving me the opportunity to take pictures of your babies. Your family is so beautiful and it was so fun to spend time with you guys.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Counting my blessings again

I have nothing for you here, my friends, but can send you elsewhere today for some of my words.

Mormon Women is featuring a post I wrote over a year ago that was definitely life-altering. Go check it out if you haven't read it yet or read it again if you need a reminder for yourself, like me, that somebody is watching out for you.

I still get chills when I think about what could have been. And I still tear up when I wonder why it wasn't.

God is good. And He blessed my little family in a very simple, yet profound, way.

Happy pretend Monday.

Friday, September 4, 2009

A weekend so full of estrogen it will be scary

The boys are leaving this weekend to go and watch themselves a little college football game. Live and in-person, in the great state of Texas. (Which hopefully won't leave them too disappointed when if the Cougs lose.)

Ha. I say that as if I know what I'm talking about. Implying that I honestly care about college football.

I slay myself.

Anyhoo, the little Princess and I are on our own for the next few days, and, boy, has she ever got plans. She brought up a large stack of DVDs last night, informing me that THIS is what we'd be watching. I smiled as I noticed that my all-time favorite was at the top of the pile. Though she's tried many times to make it the whole five hours, she has never yet managed to stay awake long enough to meet the entertaining Mr. Collins, let alone see the love story through to the end. Something tells me this could be the time. FINALLY she will see Pemberly and understand why I swoon at the thought of Mr. Darcy jumping all sweaty and such into the water.

Her wanting to watch it also tells me that I am absolutely raising that girl right.

She also made a lengthy list of things she and I are to do while the boys are gone. Top of her list is shopping for clothes at the mall, shopping at the scrapbook store, actual scrapbooking, manicures & pedicures, and watching a lot of "girl movies."

I am pretty sure this will be the best weekend. EVER. Hope yours is, too.

P.S. Did you know a while back my brother Dan created a blog whose sole purpose is mocking me? Please pay him a visit and tell him how much you love me. That would tick him off something awful. While you're there, you can have a good laugh at what I looked like in sixth grade.

Yes, I know. Some things are just that frightening.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Sisterhood of the Traveling Shoes

Over the weekend, I was the lucky recipient of a most happy package. Not one, but TWO fabulous pairs of shoes (and some chocolate and a magazine, too). This little ditty came courtesy of the chic and hip Diane (whose shoe collection I am sure would give Imelda Marcos a serious run for her money). Diane has had her fair share of bad luck and broken bones over the past few years, and is not able to wear all of the oh-so-pretty shoes she has stashed in her closet.

Can you imagine the horror?

So rather than have those lovelies gathering dust on a shelf, she has generously decided to spread the wealth.

Thus was born her idea for the Sisterhood of the Traveling Shoes. And, lucky me, I am the first sister. I will keep these gorgeous shoes for 30 days, document the places I take them (seen here lounging at the pool) and then will choose someone who will then get them for the next 30 days. And so on and so on, until these pink puppies have traveled the globe. What would thrill me to no end would be seeing these happy shoes on display internationally somewhere.

Aren't they cute?

So leave a comment letting me know whether or not you'd like in on the fun. The shoes are a size 9, but I'd wager you smaller-footed peeps could make them work, too. On October 1st, a new sister will be born.

Let's show these shoes a good time, shall we girls?