Sunday, August 31, 2008

"Our Moments"

WOW - three posts in one day - that's a first. It's been a crazy week with the summer ending much too soon, the kids getting back to school with all that it entails, and the trip to the orthodontist for Ryan and Caroline's new hardware. The time that I thought would be mine and Elizabeth's flew out the window and I'm shaking my head in disbelief that September is tomorrow. Where on earth did August go? I have to admit that this is the first time in my LIFE that I am lamenting the passing of summer. In years past, I anxiously await the beginning of autum, the drop in temperature, and the change of color. This year I want to scream, "STOP . . . please stay warm, stay green, let the kids run around barefoot for a little longer, and please DO NOT let me see Christmas decorations in any store!!" Too late.

Can't life slow down just a little? Can't people enjoy the summer before feeling the need to display nativity scenes and giant blow up santas? I'm a purist, I refuse to put up Halloween decor (um, ya, that would be the two things that look remotely "halloween-ish") until it's actually October for heaven's sake, and Christmas . . . c'mon, can people at least wait until AFTER Thanksgiving to begin setting up for the next holiday? RRRR . . . such a gripe of mine!

OK, I'm just a little off my topic at hand. Anyway, along the sidebar of my blog I added "our moments" - a running list of little sayings, songs, or happenings that trigger funny, memorable moments for our family. Today I was thinking of all the fun we really do have together and thought I should try and remember some of those little moments that truly only have meaning to our family - those "inside jokes" and memories that define us as a family. You know, the times when you're together and someone says, "remember when . . . " and before long you're all in tears remembering something in the past that was so corny that only your family gets the humor.

I want to remember those times - with just a word or two - because life can sometimes get overwhelming, and raising children and keeping your marriage strong is a lot of work, so I thought why not keep the fun times alive and add to it to our list everytime one of these "moments" presents itself. And please, if any of my readers out there want to know the specifics of any of our moments, just ask . . . I'll be happy to share the story behind the words.


Before . . . After . . .

My living room furniture is now on my children's teeth ;-).

New School Year

Ryan on his way to his first day of 8th grade . . . seems like yesterday when Chris took him to his first day of Kindergarten. Only this time, Chris didn't walk him inside to say "hello" to the teacher and help him find his desk :-).

Sophie (2nd grade) and Caroline (6th grade) ready for a new year.

Sophie talking with her new teacher before she goes into class.

Caroline was SO excited to be with all her friends again - she's the queen of "group hugs!"

"Really? . . . you're not joking . . . tell me more . . . NO WAY!"

For old time's sake - a picture of Ryan's last day of pre-school (his "graduation"), hmmm, that would be spring of 2000. That was when "group hugs" were reserved just for Mom. They're growing up too fast, but it's been a wonderful journey watching them change and become such great kids. However, I can't help but wonder what Ryan would think of me if I sent him to Jr. High in THAT outfit??

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Last trip of the summer

Last weekend the girls and I drove up to a little, tiny town in Idaho to spend some time with my friend Maria and her boys. It's one of those places that you might drive through and wonder to yourself "what do people do here?" And I LOVED it - it was wonderful to take a step back and slow down and enjoy a quiet way of life if only for a couple of days. It's one of those towns where everyone knows everyone else and since I was with a Packham, everyone in town seemed to know a Packham since Mark's dad grew up here.

We took all the kids to the local county fair and pro rodeo - ok, SO much fun - we really got into it, buying the program and learning about all the different events - even cheering for local cowboys from Fairfield. Another highlight was attending the small branch on Sunday - our six kids almost tripled the primary, increasing it's numbers from four to ten! We met so many humble, kind people and were grateful to be included among them. Thanks so much to Mark's family for such a warm welcome, and especially to his aunt Nancy for an amazing meal at her home and the time she spent sharing her horses with my girls.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Am I insane . . .

to send my kids back to schools WITHOUT air conditioning systems when the temperature will reach 99 on Monday?? If it were any other day but the first day of school (which they are looking forward to purely for social reasons) I would refuse to take them until the temperatures dropped. After spending just a half-hour sweltering in Sophie's classroom at back to school night, I can't imagine what all day is going to be like for these kids. Why do I send them to sit for hours in a stuffy, hot, cramped classroom with 25-30 other students conforming to the state mandated curriculum? I'm not sure, except to say that it would only be an matter of hours before they sent me to the nut house if I attempted home school :-).

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The picture says it all . . .

It's our little daredevil jumping off the high dive and LOVING it . . . and we have this little guy to thank for giving Elizabeth some competition. Really, she was scared to death minutes before Thomas showed up at the pool - she had even climbed up the ladder and walked out on the board, only to climb back down again. Then her little friend takes the plunge and she's running over to show him up! I've learned that all it takes is a boy who can do something she can't, and 10 seconds later she'll prove herself. Hmmm, sounds like her mom :-).

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A summer's breeze, nearly full moon, and The Boxer

Li la li . . .

It was just one of those perfect evenings last week that I wish I could capture and keep in a bottle for future use. That's one reason why I began this blog - to remember those experiences that last for a few minutes, then disappear a week later if not recorded. Caroline and I were leaving the park on a perfect summer evening, just the two of us watching the moon rising above Mt. Olympus as we headed to Wasatch Blvd. for our trip back home. The windows were down with the breeze coming through, and then to make our time nearly perfect, Simon and Garfunkel's unmistakable harmony made it's way into the car as I was perusing the radio station . . .

"Now the years are rolling by me, they are rockin even me. I am older than I once was, and younger than I'll be, that's not unusual. No it isn't strange, after changes upon changes, we are more or less the same. After changes we are more or less the same."

Li la li . . .

Caroline put her arms out and leaned out of the window letting the wind catch her hair as she sang along with the radio. As I looked over at her completely enjoying herself without a care in the world I couldn't help but remember how it just seems like yesterday when I would take every opportunity to drive my parent's car around on summer evenings - wherever, i didn't need a destintation - just to have the radio set to my favorite station feeling the cool air of evening. Nothing's changed, except the fact that it's my car now and the opportunities seem to come less often.

My thoughts turned to Caroline and how much of life she has ahead of her and how little she has really lived. Everyday I see her learn more about herself and the world, and as difficult as it is to watch her grow up, I'm actually excited for her to enter into the unsteady universe of teenagers, driving, dates, and independence. My one desire is that we will remain as close as we are now in another five years. However, I know the day will soon arrive when hanging out with mom listening to "old people music" will cause her to hide under the seat rather than wave her arms out the window!

Monday, August 11, 2008

About another week . . .

until the wildflowers are GONE!

Saturday morning I grabbed whoever was up and interested in a hike to Cecret Lake in Albion Basin. Caroline and Sophie were the takers on this jaunt. It seemed that during the past two weeks, every time I planned to get up there, the clouds rolled in and it began to thunder . . . and believe me, that's one place you DON'T want to be when there is lightning. I was afraid we had missed the wildflowers, but they are still in bloom and absolutely beautiful. Here are a few pics from our hike:
The best part - making it to the lake, taking off shoes and socks and feeling that cool water.

Our cute little beggar friend. He was quite fond of fruit leather - "potgut on a sugar high" :-).

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Artistry, the spectacle . . .

WOW, WOW, WOW . . . absolutely breathtaking, beautiful and spectacular! Words can't even come close to describing how unbelievable the opening ceremonies were tonight - I was speechless. If you missed the production of a lifetime, make every effort to find someone who has it on tivo (that way you can skip the two-hour plus "march of nations" - just pause long enough for Nadal and Federer ;-), I promise you won't be disappointed.

Now I'm even more excited to don my official olympic t-shirt my brother-in-law brought back from Beijing a couple of weeks ago. Oh, and the kids now think their pins are REALLY cool. Thanks Bryan :-).

We love the Olympics!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Our Books, Our Daughters

This afternoon Sophie and I attended our fourth neighborhood "Mother & Daughter Book group." We began these little gatherings last summer as a way to share our love for the classics we treasured as young girls with our own daughters. Today's discussion, followed by the brilliantly casted movie, was Anne of Green Gables, truly one of the most inspiring and tender books ever written. I remember reading it out loud to Caroline when she was about Sophie's age, and then a few years later watching her become completely engaged in Anne's antics and imagination once again as she read it on her own a couple of years later. I still own the same copy of the book that I read as a girl and vividly remember finding myself (along with my friend Rachel) so engrossed in Anne's life on Prince Edward Island that we would act out parts of the book . . . even cutting off pieces of our hair to give to each other as a token of our friendship, and to this day I still refer to my dearest of friends as "kindred spirits." Caroline just finished Anne of Avonlea (the sequel), however, she stopped attending these discussions because she realized all the other little girls hovered around the age of 8, so that's all it took for her to boycott the outings. She did, however, love our very first group when we read and discussed Little Women (with some older girls) - she truly learned so many lessons from Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy. Not to mention the insights I gained into motherhood by listening closely to the wisdom so freely offered by patient Marmee.

It is no wonder that one of my greatest joys right now is sharing these treasured books with my own children. Maybe that's the reason I was blessed with three girls - we're already planning our trip to P.E.I. as soon as Liza can read the book! Anyway, after the discussion we all gathered to watch the movie together. It doesn't matter how many times I've seen this film, it's a classic. It's one of those rare films that captures the book's characters and scenery so beautifully through it's music and cinematography that you just relish every delightful minute. It was a pleasure to just spend time with my Sophie, cuddled on a couch, giggling at Anne's gregarious and stubborn nature, while watching her grow and mature into a bright, talented, and strong young woman. I can't think of a more poignant, sweet message for our daughters.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Who comes up with this stuff?

So, this morning, in my rush to meet my friend for a friendly tennis match at 7am, I brushed my teeth in the kids bathroom so as not to wake up Chris (what was that? Julie was up before Chris? I think that was the first time this summer :-). Anyway, I grabbed a sample sized toothpaste (one of many sitting around from our recent trip to the dentist - the kids love the mini tubes) and began brushing. It took about 2 seconds to realize that it wasn't the usual "minty freshness" we all come to expect from Crest. It tasted like I was brushing my teeth with frosting, really people, who wants the taste of vanilla at 6:45 in the morning?? Come to think of it, there might be plenty of you who do, but for me, give me the mint! I thought for a moment that this was surely a left-over April fool's prank (ya know, Caroline must have swiped the real toothpaste with Betty Crocker vanilla frosting). Nope, I grabbed the tube and read the label . . . it's Crest's latest attempt to get people to brush - "Refreshing Vanilla Mint." OK, absolutely nothing refreshing about it, and where did they come up with the "mint" portion of the label - it was a sugary sweetness that shoudn't even be associated with toothpaste. There you go, my rant for the day . . . really, it's the only thing that has bothered me all week!