Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Photo shoot

All summer I kept procrastinating Sophie's 8-year pics and Caroline's 12-year photos - I try and get nice pictures of the kids at age 1, 4, 8, 12, then 16 - I like these ages, milestone ages, and a lot of change takes place in those short years, plus it's fun to see the kids' pictures side by side when they were the same age.  Anyway, I contacted Jamie (a darling photgrapher - we met last year after she took Liza's 4 yr. photo) and told her I needed some quick pictures of Sophie and Caroline before the good weather was gone, AND before they turned 9 and 13!

Before I knew it Jamie told me that I might as well bring Ryan and Liza along as well for some sibling photos, then she suggested doing these "urban shots" downtown as well as the girls' pics at Memory Grove, then the night before she sent me an e-mail telling me to look decent because I might as well jump in some shots as well.  Sooo, after running around like a mad woman trying to find outfits that didn't clash for the kids, getting everyone up early and ready on a Saturday, changing the girls in the car into their dresses, and trying to look put together myself, I have to say I was quite pleased with the final product.  Here are a few of the many I liked:

I'm happy, especially now it's over :-).  Jamie's great - click here if you're interested.  She's extremely reasonable - $150 for the entire shoot, plus editing, and the cd is yours to keep.  It was worth the effort!

Love the rain . . .

however, rainy days in the autumn are the pits and seriously bring me down, and I don't get depressed, but yesterday, ugh, the worst - just another lost day stuck indoors moping around wishing I was outside enjoying the colors and smells of the season.

Thank goodness for the SUN today or I seriously think I would have to be placed in the looney bin after yesterday :-).  LOVE the sun . . . can't wait to spend most of the day working in the yard and going on a hike with Liza.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Honest answer

Sophie, always the one to ask whatever is on her mind, while watching me prepare Sunday dinner today, looked directly at me and thoughtfully asked, "is it hard being a mom?" I didn't even think before realizing how brutally honest my answer sounded. "No, not at all, I love being a mom . . . it's harder being a wife." Her eyes flashed instant understanding and she responded, "ahhh, ya, that makes sense," and skipped off with the knowledge that she's loved and even if things sometimes aren't perfect, it's not because I don't love her or the fact that I'm a mom.

I'm not sure if I should have blurted out such a statement to my 8-year old, but I'm thinking it's alright, that our children need to feel confident in my feelings towards them, my feelings about motherhood, and even sometimes embracing those honest moments to let them know that marriage is hard work and when they feel a little tension, they can feel assured that it's not them.

Friday, October 16, 2009

"Whatever it takes"

Those were Chris' words to me a couple of days ago when he had about had it with my melancholy attitude. Wednesday night after another moment of breaking down and crying for no apparent reason, he kindly told me to "do whatever it takes to get back to yourself . . . what's up with this funk you've been in for the last couple of weeks? Seriously, tomorrow, you have the entire day, get outside, go for a hike, work in the yard, go do something to feel happy again, because you're never like this and I don't know how to handle it."

I have to laugh now because he was right, I was having a period of low energy or something - melancholy - that's the best way I could describe it. I just wasn't myself, wasn't talkative or outgoing at all, didn't want to go out much, wasn't interested in much, felt almost robotic in my daily activities. Plus, the weather was just lousy and dreary, and all I really wanted to do was sit at home and read (I did - i read two books in just over a week).

Thank goodness for Thursday morning and the SUN that finally decided to make an appearance. Ahhhh, I woke up refreshed and determined to change my attitude and get my energy back where it needed to be to function normally. It was Liza's day to play at her friend's home after kindergarten, which meant I had from 9am until 3:45 pm to myself. I had been in a quandary all day Wednesday trying to figure out how to spend those precious hours, when all I really wanted to do was get the kids to school and go back to bed! But with the sun rising above the canyon and the colors on the mountainside becoming more brilliant by the minute , I couldn't help but feel alive myself and ready for a fresh start.

The temple. That's where I needed to go, that's where I needed to be on such a beautiful morning. The drive along Wasatch towards the Draper temple was rejuvenating, walking inside that magnificent edifice made my heart lighter, and participating in an endowment session within it's beautiful corridors brought me peace and comfort. Besides the open house, it was my first time inside this temple and I couldn't have chosen a better place to spend my Thursday morning. The love I felt was incomprehensible.

As I was driving home, and already feeling more myself, I thought, "a little retail therapy can't hurt today." If you know me, you know I rarely shop anywhere else besides the the tables at Costco, however there is one little boutique in SLC that I have come to adore the past year and unfortunately stop inside to see what's new more that I should. Soooo, taking Chris' words "whatever it takes" to heart, I just had to drop by to see if they still had this jacket I've been drooling over for the past month but couldn't justify the price tag. Well, it must have been karma, because there it was in my size, just waiting to help me feel better . . . along with a new skirt, sweater, and an oh so cute blouse . . . sigh, I really don't like shopping, but oh, did it help bring back whatever part of "Julie" was missing! Apparently I still need "retail therapy" because tonight two of my good friends talked me into the most amazing new ski jacket and pants at the ski swap . . . sigh, but it sure brought a smile to my face :-).

Next part of my day, and the one thing Chris KNEW would make me feel better: the mountains. Get myself up into the canyon for an afternoon hike when the sun is at it's peak and the leaves will be their more brilliant. HEAVENLY. I hiked up Neff's canyon towards the back side of Mt. Olympus and it was truly spectacular - bright blue skies acting as canvas to the display of radiant yellow, red, and orange, with the towering granite walls to the east and the impressive views of the Salt Lake Valley to the west, it was exactly what I needed to wrap up my time alone before I picked up the kids at school.

Thank you Chris for your awareness of what I needed, to get that part of me that makes me "me" back again. I feel alive once again and hope you'll still remember telling me to do "whatever it takes" when you see the credit card statement ;-).

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

No words

Wish I were a poet, wish I could adequetly write the things in my heart, but I'll try:

Morning, driving home alone, acoustic "For Everyman" for company, up the canyon hill, lost in my thoughts.
Catch my breath, unparralled beauty, mountain on fire, no words, swallow hard, deeply feel the moment.
Fleeting. Autumn. Peace. Blessed am I.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

It's been awhile!

My mind has finally decided it can't function any longer until it's relieved of the many thoughts, impressions, and ideas floating around inside. I've needed to "catch up" and whenever the thought entered my mind, I decided just to ignore it . . . sort of like the idea of "maybe you should organize that drawer, or closet, or laundry room, or basement" . . . if I just put it out of my mind, it actually doesn't need to happen, right? Wrong!

Besides my impressions of India, there have been so many other little moments during the past few months that I have wanted to capture, so right now I just want to write about those small, but meaningful times that have meant so much and made me so happy:

1. Making homemade apple pie this afternoon with Sophie and Caroline using the apples from our backyard apple trees.

2. UEA weekend - 5 days of complete bliss! We didn't go anywhere, no packing, no long car rides, just the kids and I spending our days sleeping in, spending time together, and enjoying the crisp fall weather. Memory to capture: walking through the zoo, holding hands with a little girl on each side, feeling the warmth of an autumn evening, and suddenly stopping, crouching down and smothering these two sweethearts and whispering in their ears how HAPPY I was at that moment and how I couldn't imagine being anywhere else in the world but with them!

3. Conference weekend - inspiring, enlightening, touching, life altering. One of those conferences that truly spoke to me. Some of the talks that stood out in my mind were given by Elder Uchtdorf, Boyd K. Packer, Henry B. Eyring, Jeffry R. Holland, and Elder Christofferson. What beautiful messages!

4. Listening to Chris play the piano in the evening, as he's doing this moment - always such a calming influence at the end of the day. Also, the other night after coming back from a wedding reception with Sophie and Caroline while Liza and Ryan were off at friends - it was the four of us laughing, dancing, being silly in the living room while Chris played and sang for us. Peaceful evening.

5. Bear Lake this summer . . . making dinner EARLY one late afternoon so we could enjoy the evening down on the beach as the sun was setting. I was stretched out on my stomach reading a book, watching the glow of the sun illuminate the water and hills as the kids played in the reeds near the shore while catching frogs . . . ahhhh. Splendid indeed.

6. Chris planning and following through on a trip for he and Ryan. Watching the excitement build each day as Chris would plan another leg of their "guys trip" was so sweet, it almost brought me to tears a few times. He waited until everything was all set - plane tickets, hotel rooms, rental car, and each day's activities planned, before he surprised Ryan a few weeks before they were to leave on an unforgettable week together in Michigan, Toronto, and upstate New York.

7. Watching the growth and maturity in both Ryan and Caroline. This summer both kids were involved in so many programs and camps it about made my head spin, but they couldn't have been happier and we felt so blessed that they had these amazing opportunities to grow spiritually, socially, and develop their talents. They both participated in our ward youth conference - river rafting down the Colorado river and hiking in Moab - it was a beautiful testimony growing experience and Ryan spoke in sacrament meeting the following Sunday about what he felt and learned. Caroline went to girls' camp for the first time and thought it was just about the greatest week of her life, and she kept busy with tennis camps and a theater camp at Hale Center Theater where she met so many new friends and loved every minute. Ryan attended EFY down in Provo this summer and came back with a stronger testimony, greater faith, and so many fun stories about his time spent with other youth and fabulous counselors. He also went to Lake Powell with the Young Men in our ward and participated in a couple lacrosse camps.

I couldn't be more thrilled with the direction these two children's lives are taking. They bring so much joy and happiness into our family and both Chris and I are so grateful for the example they are to their younger sisters.

8. Sitting next to my dear friend Jodelle with Caroline on the other side at her daughter Hannah's (one of Caroline's best friends) dance performance. There we were, on the 2nd row, smiling SO big and making funny faces while Hannah was trying to perform her "flying monkey" dance in this ridiculous unitard that Jodelle thought was hideous, that we made her laugh and mess up. It was just one of those "had to be there" moments, but just the fact that our daughters are such good friends and we all get one another's humor, care so much for each other, and have so much fun, I don't know - it was one of those evenings I'll never forget. Caroline and I laughed all the way home!

9. Taking Ryan down to Utah Lake for his personal watercraft license. I had to drive Ryan down to take his test and back home one summer evening, and before I knew it, it turned out to be one of those rare moments when we just talked, and talked, and talked. For some reason, returning to Provo always opens the doors to so many memories that I just began sharing some dating stories and other stories of college life, and before I knew it Ryan was full of questions and we were laughing so hard at some of the silly things I did my freshman year, my lame dates, and other fun BYU tidbits . . . it's a wonderful thing when your kids are old enough to understand your past and laugh with you at some of your mistakes - great bonding moment.

10. Sophie's baptism. I'll never forget how sweet and pure and innocent my Sophie was on that day. Truly one of our Heavenly Father's choicest spirits. So much love during her baptism that Chris could barely say the words, and then Sophie stepping into the dressing room in tears - overwhelmed and so touched by her own feelings that all she could do was cry, so we just sat together and talked . . . a moment I'll never forget.

11. Being constantly entertained and feeling the pure joy and love that makes our Elizabeth. Everything that comes out of that child's mouth makes me smile - everyday. Her constant hugs and kisses are just so sweet, I don't want to think about the day she'll stop coming over for a hug every 5 minutes. I've been such a homebody lately and it's because I want to spend my days with my youngest child - reading stories in her favorite chair, going on walks, going to the park, and just letting her play in the playroom she created in the dining room - letting her be in her own little world. She is truly one of the greatest blessings in our family. None of us could imagine our home without our Liza.

12. Making time with Caroline to go to the "Art Market" yesterday and let her pick out some jewelry with some money she's earned from babysitting jobs, then playing tennis together. I'm not sure how much longer "hanging out with Mom on a Saturday afternoon" will appeal to her, but for now she enjoys it and really had a great time, and it sure made me happy just spending time with my beautiful daughter.

I'll wrap it up there. It feels good to write again, to express myself and catch up on those little moments and feelings that would soon be forgotten if I didn't take the time to write them down.