Friday, January 12, 2018

January 12, 2018

Peter has a few articles of clothing that are so offensive to him, they cause him to turn into the hulk.  Full on rage if I even suggest to dress him in his gray corduroy pants.  The long-sleeved yellow shirt induces much wailing and gnashing of teeth.  Lately if he resists clothing I just chuck the article into the DI or trash pile. Just. Not. Worth. It.
These overalls are iffy for him.  Someday he accepts them.  Some days not.  But on this particular day, he was the cutest little train conductor wearing his "train pants."
 George's "workshop" out in the garage.
Captain Red.
Faith building her latest Tinkercrate- a walking robot. 
Side note about Faith-- her teeth are falling out left and right.  She is losing teeth at an alarming rate and frankly, it is really too much for the tooth fairy to keep up with.
George and one of his Kiwi Crate creations-- all about light.  These Tinker Crates and Kiwi Crates are monthly box subscriptions and I cannot recommend them highly enough.  It's really George and Faith that love them the most, but they go a long way in relieving any pressure I might feel to do cool science experiments.
We had our kids book club this week and we read A Long Way From Chicago, which I had read with the older kids when they were younger and it is a favorite.  One of our activities was building privies (outhouses) out of blocks and then taking turns trying to knock down the privies.  What can I say?  It was a hit!  Pun intended.
Some people got fancy with double-decker privies.
Some were very sturdy.
We had a great time and after all these years, book club is still about our favorite thing each month.
So, another thing that made my eyes leak this week was this quote I came across.  It reminded me of Clark and the struggles we I had when he was younger.  Now, it reminds me to be patient with my little Peter.    
And this is my favorite picture of the week-- The D&D gang (at least part of them) geeking out in the basement even though Clark isn't with them.  They make me happy!  Even as I type, I hear their joyful, excitable voices and laughter coming from the basement.  That's one of things I thought I would miss the most when Clark left, so it's especially heart warming.
And a shout out to my favorite swimmer girl!  She continues to work hard and drop her freestyle race times.  The swim seasons is starting to wind down-- they are tapering to get ready for regions in a couple of weeks.  This girl is a gem!  A GEM, I tell you.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Betsy... Unplugged

It's time for a blog tell all.  Well, not all, but more than usual.

1.  I am not handling Clark's departure anywhere near as well as I thought I would.  Almost two weeks out and I am seriously missing him.  His absence leaves a pretty big hole in the family.  You probably shouldn't ask me about him because I will start crying.  I cried when I dropped a package off for him at the UPS for same day MTC delivery.  I cried when I listened to his music playlist.  I cried when a friend sent me a picture of him from a scout camp-out five years ago.  I cried when I went downstairs to get something from the storage room.  I've developed a twitch in my left eye-- I suspect from all the crying. 
I'm going to give myself the benefit of the doubt and say that some of my emotions are hormonal.  I don't want him to know how frequently I'm losing it.   Of course I know he's doing a great thing!  Of course I know I wouldn't want him anywhere else!  Of course there will be blessings and good things that come of his service.  
But right now, I miss him.  I always thought everything about a missionary going out was happy and exciting.  I'd even see other moms losing it and I'd think, "Why?  This is a wonderful thing. "
That wasn't very considerate or understanding of me, because now I'm the one boo-hoo-hooing. 
He's just fine-- better than fine, and I'd appreciate it very much if nobody reading this mentions my hysteria to the boy. 

2.  Hopefully she is on the mend, but poor little Greta has been sick with double ear infections and fevers and about three months (or more) of a runny nose.  Partly because of her lack of speech, I suspect we may be headed down the path of tubes in her ears (same as Peter had) because she's had fluid in her ears for quite some time.  We shall see, but I don't want things to drag on as long as they did with Peter.  I may have to be a little firm with the Dr. if she suggests a wait and see approach. 

3.  We've done a slight room rearrange this past week.  No, it doesn't involve Clark's empty basement room.  Our hope is to finish the basement in this next year, so it's remaining empty for a little while.  Greta came out of the closet. 
That is to say, she moved out of the pack-n-play in our closet she has been sleeping in for the past year and into the crib in Elinor's room.  Peter moved out of the crib and into the boys room.  He and George share a bed-- not just a room, but the actual bed.  Whatever, little kids can sleep anywhere.  He's been doing a marvelous job of settling down and staying in his bed.  So, that is something.

4.  Abe and I joined a couple of my siblings and my parents at a showing of Darkest Hour (a movie about Winston Churchill) this evening.  The movie was fantabulous!  I highly recommend.  What I don't recommend is getting into a rather heated disagreement with one's husband over the legality of parking outside of the marked parking spaces at 10 pm in a deserted Walmart Neighborhood Market parking lot.  I'm certain that at some point, maybe even tomorrow, the argument will be humorous.  I admit, I am emotionally volatile right now. 

5.  I don't mind January so much.  February is another thing, but January is kind of nice.  Routine, a slower schedule, normality.  Well, there would be more normality if I could stop crying for a couple of days, but still, more normality than December.  And even though I like this pace of life better, I do find it challenging to come down off the the frenzied excitement of December.  It's like I want to slow down, but I feel anxious slowing down-- like I'm forgetting to do important things.  Shoot, it seems like I'm somewhat darned if I do stay busy and darned if I slow down.  I'm going to have to ponder this dilemma.  It seems unhealthy. 

6.  George has been taking dance for a couple of years at a local dance studio that we really like--Wasatch Arts Center .  They have a wonderful, nurturing atmosphere, beautiful choreography, great teachers, and very appropriate costumes (not such an issue for boys, but appreciated nonetheless).  Now that Nutcracker is over, Cannon is back doing tap there, although he is at Ballet West for ballet and contemporary.  Bethany got tap shoes for Christmas so she could do a tap class there as well.  And then, I asked Faith is she might like to try tap and be in the same class as the boys.  She jumped at the idea.  So Team Middle Kids are all in a tap class together and Bethany's class is immediately after theirs.  And the very best part?  The studio owner gave us killer deal for all these classes.  I won't say how much, but I feel like we're committing highway robbery!  Sometimes things just work out.

7.  When I was a mom with only little kids, every day lasted forever!  I remember looking for things to do to fill my time.  So much to do, but such monotony as well.  Older, more experienced moms would say, "Enjoy it!  It goes so fast!".
Really?  Really?  This doesn't feel like it's going fast!
18 years into this parenting thing and I am SHOCKED at the speed at which time as flown. 
Yep, I'm crying again.
And it is just getting faster.  Another year from now and Bethany will be getting ready to head to college.  Elinor is a freshman in high school-- passionate about swim team. 
I think I'm some sort of mourning for the end of this phase of life-- but that doesn't make much sense because Greta is 18 months and I still have roughly 17 years of her being a minor in our house.  It's just that now I see how little time that actually is and I'm sort of pitching a big ol' Mom fit about it.  Perhaps I will have had my fill of parenting by the time everyone has moved on and I've had 35 years experience.  Perhaps I'm emotionally panicking unnecessarily.  So unlike me to emotionally panic unnecessarily. 
Actually, it is very much like me.

8.  Sounds like tomorrow needs to be a day where we all stay in pajamas and read.  That sounds lovely.  Not possible, but lovely.

9.  I thoroughly enjoy reclaiming my bedroom closet this week.  It's not a huge closet to begin with, but it was markedly smaller and less accessible with Greta's bed in it.  It is easier to keep a tidy room when you have access to your closet.  And kids like to come visit with you in a clean room more so than in a messy room.  And lately, I really like the kids coming to visit and chat with me.  So that's a win/win. 

10.  Okay, well, this was cathartic for me to blah, blah, blog.  Clark, I don't know if you're allowed to check this blog on the mission or not.  If you do come across this post, you know I am will be totally fine.  I'm like Bethany-- I cry to relieve stress.  It doesn't mean there is actually a problem.   

Sunday, January 7, 2018

We Carry On

He's three and today was his first day going to Sunbeams at church (the class for the three-year olds).  It went as well as could have been expected!  He laid on the floor most of the time, but he didn't yell and scream or have a hulk moment.  So we're pretty happy about it!.  
This little Beanie is in bad shape.  She has a double ear infections and has had several days of high fevers.  At first I though her extra snuggles were because she missed Clark-- turns out it was a little more serious. 
This was a fun moment!--They look SO MUCH ALIKE anyway, but then they were dressed in their University of Utah gear for the gymnastics meet that evening and practicing violins together. 
 Bethany, Faith, and two of their besties took the train up to the U for the first Red Rocks meet of the season. 
We rang in the new year playing games with the Johansens! 
The girls danced the night away with Just Dance.
Cannon was happy when Hayden came over for piano lessons and had time to play a little Heroscape game.  Of course, in the past, Cannon had Clark here to play with. 
We have heard from him-- he is doing very well and loving his mission time-- but were are missing him.  And that is as it should be. 
I was happy this week when Clark's friend Jacob came over for a visit and played some chess and checkers with Cannon and played some wrestling tag with the little boys.  Did my heart good. 
I got this picture this evening from Phil (pictured with Clark)-- who does Audio/Visual at the MTC.  It did my heart A LOT of good. 
More creations by George.  He leaves a trail of duct tape, scissors, and cardboard snippets wherever he goes.  Well worth the mess!

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Distraction Is the Name of the Game

I don't know what most people do after dropping a missionary off, but we decided distraction would be our best option.  We took the family swimming while Elinor was at swim team practice.  And the good thing is, if you cry at the swimming pool, you just splash water on your face and nobody has to know!
Greta had the hugest smile on her face the entire time.  Bethany is so great at a swimming pool with little kids-- she is naturally so good and playful with little kids, but she is certified swim teacher to boot.
It was rather too crowded for my taste since it is the Christmas break, but still a good idea to have the kids release some of the stress of the house they have been absorbing over the last few days.
 When we got home it was time for Cannon's shearing.  Nutcracker had ended and we'd said goodbye to Clark.  Now it was time to say goodbye to Cannon's hair.
It think he looks pretty handsome. He's happy to have it short again.
Well before we knew when Clark would be leaving, we had scheduled tickets to go see Aida at Hale Center Theater.  None of us had ever seen it before and we all really enjoyed it.  But as you can imagine, I was a basket case.  I totally started to cry just as this picture was taken.  No rhyme, no reason-- just lots of highly charged emotions. 
In good news, after only three days now, the crying has diminished considerably, AND WE GOT EMAILS FROM HIM TODAY!!!! Oh happiness!  We didn't know when we'd hear from him, but we didn't expect it this soon.  It appears his P-Day (preparation day) will be Saturdays while he's in the MTC, so that is when he will be emailing home.  He sounded GREAT and is enjoying learning Spanish.  

Clark Enters the MTC December 28, 2017

Wednesday evening at 9:15 we went to the Stake Center for Clark to be set apart as a full-time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  It was so wonderful and peaceful and comforting.  Our stake president, President Neilson gave Clark a beautiful blessing and I felt such a strong spirit.  I felt excited for Clark and the work he will be doing-- inviting others to come unto Christ.  When we went home I loved having a missionary in the house.  Then Clark and I (mostly I) used up any leftover nervous energy obsessively packing his suitcases. 
 The day of, everyone was in good spirits as we got up, got ourselves ready an headed to brunch at Denny's in Orem. 
 Our next stop was the parking lot across the street from the MTC where we  attempted another infamous Fox family selfie.  
They never turn out particularly well, but we crack ourselves up.
Abe's brother, Phil works at the MTC and he came over to take a real picture of the family.  It was nice to have him there to take Clark in.
Clark is wearing the coat Abe wore on his mission.  Like father like son. 
Then it started to get real.  Real sad.
Peter wasn't being sad, just squirmy!
Because Clark was one of only 6 missionaries entering the MTC on this Thursday, we didn't drop him off a the parking garage, like usual, rather we just pulled up to the front door and could get out for proper goodbyes.  

The younger brothers had to be pried away from their brother whom they adore.

It was the strangest emotion of happiness and sadness at the same time.  I suppose that is what we call bittersweet, but so much more intense than I anticipated.  
The final family picture for a couple of years.  
As we drove home we all cried and we all shared why we loved Clark so much and how much he has shaped our family.  He was a leader-- creative, visionary, driven, determined.  He has an example and Abe and I could not be more grateful for him.  
As we cried and talked, Peter kept telling us, "Hey! Stop talking that way!  Just be happy!"  
Then he would call us each out individually, "Hey, Dad!  Just be happy!"
"Hey Befany! Just be happy!"  "Hey, Mom!  Just be happy!"
It was hard for a three year old to understand!

Getting Closer...

We loved going to the Salt Lake Temple a couple of days before Clark went into the MTC.  The impending separation was weighing heavily on my heart on Tuesday and the temple was the place to be to soothe and comfort my heart.
Andrea has been another mother to Clark for many years and we loved having her with us as well.  She has experience as a missionary mother and I appreciated her calming words.
We went on a final family outing to see some Christmas lights and get ice cream.  Greta isn't in this picture because she was sleeping in the car.
We are a rather unruly bunch-- rarely seen in public all together.  At least we amuse ourselves.
We enjoyed a visit from Matt and Misty's family on Wednesday.  The took Clark out to lunch and their girls stayed and played.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Christmas 2017

Miracle of miracles-- the children slept in!  We didn't head down to open presents until 8 AM.
The older kids are such good sports!  I will miss this picture next year.
Greta loved her horse.
The girls were excited to get hammocks.
Her first baby doll and stroller.  The youngest in the family has to have a baby toy since she won't have a baby sibling.
George got tools and a tool box and scrap wood for building.
Tinker Toys for Peter.  We have the classic wood ones and he loves them!  Now he has the new plastic ones as well. 

A watch for the mission and luggage.  And of course a set of Legos.
More season tickets to University of Utah gymnastics!
Matching fox slippers.
Clear gave this game set to Abe and it's gotten lots of use.
Greta and her babies found a happy perch on Clark's lap.
Bethany gave George pegs for his bike and he took Pete for a ride.
A new swimsuit for Elinor.
Clark gave Cannon a big Heroscape set so that Cannon can take his place at the monthly tournaments.  The most important part of Clark packing up for the mission was bequeathing Heroscape pieces for Cannon to use in his absence.
A new bow tie for Abe from Bethany-- although he does usually like to tie his own rather than pre-tied.  But since it was a gift...
Perhaps you're not familiar with this series of books.  My children find them hysterical.  I do too.
The only thing I really wanted was a fleece ski mask.  I have wanted one for 7 years of morning walking in the winter.  I asked every single member of the family for one when they asked what I wanted for Christmas.  Thankfully they communicated and I only got one.
The only thing Peter said he wanted for Christmas was a brand new ball.
Thanks to Bethany he got it.
The mission smart phone!  Clark is probably the only missionary who will upgrade his technology as a missionary!  He's been loyal to his little flip phone for many years.
A writing tablet Faith really wanted.
THE moment of the morning was when I opened Clark's gift to me.  A framed picture of the the day we went hiking back in September. 
Perhaps from my face you can see how much this meant to me.  It will be prominently displayed for the next two years.
 I completely adore this hat on Elinor-- the girl who loved Curious George!
We got our hands on a Wii U for Christmas and the kids have loved having Just Dance games to play again.
Greta got the quilt I mostly finished making last Christmas and finally finished this Christmas!  Go me!

Abe got this new hoodie for Christmas. 
He looked dashing cooking his British fried breakfast.
Yummy!  And very filling!
We sure will miss this guy!