Thursday, June 30, 2011

What Are Your Dreams?

Because Clark's birthday is in July he got to go on the 11 year-old scout camp and he'll be going on a 50 miler scout camp later this summer.  Abe is going along with Clark on the 50 miler, which makes this mama feel much better.  I'll worry a little, (what kind of mother would I be if I didn't) but not too much.
Doesn't this look lovely and relaxing?  I want to paddle a canoe on a serene lake.

Which reminds me of a question Elinor posed to me today.  "Mom, besides being a mom and taking care of us, do you have any dreams you really want to do?"

I thought, "Oh my!  What does she mean by this.  What shall I answer?  This is important--I don't want her to think I am unfulfilled in my life.  Go back to school and get a masters and PhD, get in really terrific shape and compete in an Ironman triathalon, write a masterpiece novel, learn to play the cello, become a master gardener... the possibilities are endless.

But you see, I find that the way to be happy is to want what you have.  I have a lot of young children right now, so I don't spend a lot of time dreaming of doing other things.  Rather I focus my energies on doing the best I can to raise, nurture, and educate them.  I am blooming where I am planted.  There are other things I would love to do, but none of them are more important than the work I am currently immersed in.
So back to the question-- what do I dream of doing?  I decided to reverse things and ask her the same question to get a feel for what she was meaning.  "I don't know Elinor, what are your dreams?"

She says, "I would really like to ride Colossas (the big roller coaster at Lagoon) all day long".

Oh, I see where we are going with this.  In that case, "I suppose I would like to swim in a pool of dark chocolate."
I should have gone with the canoe on the serene lake.

Another recent conversation with Elinor:

Elinor:  What would happen if we were a family of spiders?
Me:  I suppose we would spin webs and drink the blood of flies.
Elinor:  Would we go to church?
Me:  Yes (why not?)
Elinor:  What if someone smooshed us in the church?
Me:  No, we wouldn't go to the people's church, we would go to spider church (why not?)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Something is Fishy Around Here

The day after my sister told me she was moving to Texas my dad called me to ask me if I had any kids who would like to go fishing with him.  Did he sense I wasn't dealing with the news very well and I needed a break?  Or did he just truly want to go fishing and wanted company.  I'm not sure, but I don't care, I was grateful.
Clark was away at 11 year-old scout camp, but Bethany and Elinor were so happy to have Grandpa to themselves for an afternoon of fishing at Rock Point Reservoir.  
And the fishing was GOOD!!!!!!  At least for Elinor it was good.  Beginner's luck?  No way-- it's obvious she is gifted!
Yeah, uh... the fishing wasn't so good for Bethany.  I suppose she isn't as gifted as Elinor.  Just kidding-- that is silly. 
Actually, the fish probably sensed Bethany's negative "fish energy".  They knew she wouldn't appreciate eating them if she caught them.  They gravitated to Elinor because they knew she would eat them and thus their lives would have purpose.  If Bethany caught them their lives would be meaningless and made a mockery. 
That explanation makes much more sense and isn't silly at all.
Very fun for Elinor!  I'm pretty sure if I had been there nobody would have caught anything because I have serious negative fish energy.  I really don't do sea food-- which includes anything that lives it's life in water.  Perhaps that's why I've never been invited to go along fishing.  I'm okay with that, but I am so glad the kids have a grandpa that will take them. 

Monday, June 27, 2011

A Complaint Free Post

My apologies for the last couple of posts-- I've been complaining too much.  No one wants to hear that, so here is the other side of the coin.
Prince Cannon dancing with Princess Faith.   Cannon will outgrow Faith in the not too distant future.
Crowns for everyone!
We had a fun family softball night with some friends in our neighborhood last Monday night.  Faith had an unfortunate inning and got hit with the ball twice, so she opted to climb fences rather than play ball anymore.  
We lined up to pick teams.  This wasn't everyone-- just the ones who weren't picked yet.
Guess who was the last man picked?  
But he did not shame his family-- he hit two home runs! 
Cannon found a friend who appreciated his taste in hair.
A happy little tree full of children.
Avert your eyes.  I'm sorry if snakes bother you.  
Clark went snake hunting one day by the canal and had quite a haul.  By the way, if any of you find snakes in your yard and would like them removed you can call Clark and he will rush right over and help you out.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

POOK on Texas!

Pook on Texas!  That is not a very nice thing to say, but I don't care.  Pook, pook, POOK on Texas!!!!

My sister is moving to Texas in less than a month.  My sister who currently lives less than 10 minutes away from me.  My sister who has born my little nieces and nephew that were going to be best little playmates with my younger children.  My sister who I love and is the closest thing to my mom I have left here on earth.  I am very sad.  Very sad, indeed.

Her husband Dev got a great job in Big Springs, Texas.  Google it-- it is way the stink out there.  It's a small town and as much as I am sad (for my sake) that they are leaving, I'm sure they will love it.  I hear Texans are about the nicest people on the planet.  They better be.

I am feeling such a loss not just for myself (although a lot for myself), but for my kiddos and their cousins.  I had visions of Takara and Faith playing on a softball team together.  Cannon and Brigham playing flag football.  Now they will be their cool cousins from Texas, but not friends that are a regular part of their lives. 

Oh, and she is now the third of my three siblings to move out of state-- and I don't mean Idaho.  Matt is in Vancouver, Washington, Chip is in Falls Church, Virginia, and now Big Springs, Texas.  What the heck is the matter with Utah?-- except that the available jobs pay next to nothing because so many people want to stay here to be close to family and so MY family is all moving out of state!  So this is me hosting a BIG OLE pity party for myself and nobody else is invited!!!

Please don't try to comfort me with thoughts of technology to keep us in touch.  I know that!  But I am sad and I want to be sad for a while.  Just a couple of weeks ago I was thinking how long it has been since I needed a good cleansing cry.   HA!  I've more than made up for it this week. *sniff*

Brig and Dev flew to Texas today to look for housing and Takara (almost 4) is staying with us for a few days.  I love her and am very happy to have her here, even if she is a constant reminder that my dear svester is way the stink out in Texas looking for a new house that I can't easily drive to.  POOK!

I grew up moving all over while all of my extended family lived here in Utah.  I appreciated that we got to live lots of different places, but I always loved coming to Utah to visit family here.  Yet, I was a little bit jealous of the closeness that my extended family had here and even though they are the nicest people I know, I felt we weren't quite one of them.  I've always hoped that my current extended family (my siblings' families) would be like they were-- gathering for lots of holidays and special family events and couples going on dates.  Now I know that that will not be the case.  I suppose I am mourning the loss of what never will be as well as my sister and her family. 

I recently read an article about being of good cheer.  I'm going to need to work on that in the near future.  

Well... I guess there is one thing that makes me feel a little bit better.  "The Alamo".  I don't mean plans of going to visit The Alamo, although I hope that does happen at some point.  I mean saying aloud, "The Alamo" like Pee Wee Herman does in Pee Wee's big adventure.  Try it.  It does help. "The Alamo"

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Boo Hoo

 I should not be awake right now.  I should be sleeping comfortably in my soft, cozy bed.  Sadly I am not.  I am in pain.  Boo hoo.  Over the past few hours my very slight sniffles and sneezes have exploded into a full blown head cold with major sinus pain.  Owwww!  My teeth ache, my eyes ache. 

My mom had sinus troubles and I'm afraid I'm headed that direction.  I can take the discomfort of a cold, but the pain of sinuses is another thing.

Abe is at a late movie with a couple of his brothers, and I am glad he gets to go do something fun, but he is very comforting to me and I like to have him around when I'm sad.  Boo hoo.

I have taken a decongestant and some tylenol and hopefully they will take effect quickly and my pain will lessen, but I doubt much sleep will be coming my way.  The sudafed decongestant makes me crazy.  No really--When I try to sleep it makes me feel like I'm hallucinating all night long.  It's very disconcerting.  Boo hoo.

Other items of note in our family:
--- Cannon is in a VERY bad habit of putting a lot of toilet paper in the toilet after he takes care of business.  I mean A LOT of toilet paper.  It's ugly, not to mention wasteful.  Upon discovery yet another roll of toilet paper disappearing much to fast for even a family of 8, Abe yelled out, "I'm not going to keep buying toilet paper if it's just going to be wasted!"
Really?  I mean seriously, is that a threat that you could possibly follow through on?  Isn't all toilet paper kind of wasted?  Wouldn't that hurt you just as much as it would hurt us?
We will keep purchasing toilet paper-- we'll just have to monitor Cannon's usage a bit tighter.

--- I like technology.  I'm not super tech-savvy, but I'd like to be.  Abe-- not so much.  He likes things how they were circa 1986.  He was 11 then.  His older brother got a Commodore 64 for Christmas.  His brother was cutting edge.  Did that somehow scar Abe?  Was the sibling rivalry too much and sucked Abe into an anti-technology vortex?
For a while now I have been very interested in getting a smart phone, iphone, ipad, anything to help us keep up with the technology that our children will be immersed in.  I could see the benefits in our schooling to have info at our fingertips and not just in bulky books, although I do love books.
Abe wanted nothing to do with it.  We have cells phones that talk.  That's it.  They can let two people talk to one another.  Nothing else.  He purposefully had the texting disabled in his phone, although the guy at the T-Mobile store thought he was a lunatic. Abe told him that texting was going to be the down fall of society.  Now it was confirmed he was dealing with a lunatic.
Both of our phones (Each one is 2-3 years old-- ancient in cell phone years) have been on the fritz the last week or so and we knew it was time to get new phones.  I knew we would just go to the store, pick the very simplest, talk only phones they had and be on our merry way.  I was a little disappointed, but resigned.  But lo and behold!!!!  What does the man I've been married to for almost 14 years say?  "What do you think about getting a smart phone with unlimited talk, text and web?"

WHAT???? Who are you and what have you done with my husband???  What do I think?  I think it would be glorious!

He did a little research and as it turns out we both got smart phones for free, and are paying about $15 dollars more a month, for unlimited everything, than we were for the most basic talk only plan before.
Hallelujah!!!!!!  We picked them up this evening and as we came through the door the children greeted us with shrieks of joy!!!!  I didn't realize we were such a shame to them before.  And I quote Elinor, "Now I can be like all the other children playing games on their parents' phones.  I don't know who those kids are, but I can be like them!"

Good grief.  Where am I going wrong?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

All Play and No Work

Have you noticed that when your children play with friends a lot it kind of changes their behavior.  They start to behave like they are entitled to play with friends whenever they want.  School work, chores, and general courteous behavior becomes beneath them.  In short, they become little monsters.  My solution to this problem is to call for a "No Friends Day" or if it's really bad, a "No Friends Week".

But guess what?  This phenomenon is not limited to children.  I am here to confess that I have been guilty of too much friend time lately and consequently, I don't want to do my household work, my children are a bother to me, and I am being a beast to the people I love most.
Truth be told, the kids have been playing a ton with friends, but they are handling so much play time much more graciously than I am.  Shame on me.  
With my dear friend, Rebecca when we went to their home for dinner last Sunday.  Cannon called me "Super Hero Mommy!" 
Can you even fathom how beautiful their children would be?  Their hair alone!!!!  Am I the only one who actively thinks about future matches for my children?  I won't force anything, but you better believe I will try to influence!
Wonderful Christine came for a visit from San Diego and there was lots of playing-- including space camp.

No wonder school was such a drag this past week.  Who would want to spend time memorizing states and capitals when there is such socializing to be done.
The ward camp-out was Friday night at Granite Flats.  We went for the evening dinner, but opted not to stay overnight.  If you saw my laundry pile you would agree that I should not add on a camp-out's worth of dirty clothes to the already mountainous pile.
The rivers are running high and fast.  We live in bear country.
Those are reasons enough for me to hold on as tight as I can to my little people.  I don't mean to be such a worrier.  I don't enjoy the anxiety, but it seems to be getting worse.
I did chill out a little as the evening wore on and I could let the ladies explore a little more.
Here are the Cheetos monsters.  They were cracking each other up, not to mention the three surrounding picnic tables.
Georgie liked the camp-out until it got a little too late and a lot too cold.
At family book club tonight we discussed Shakespeare's Richard III.  
I should say that we discussed the half that we read.  None of us got much further.  I'm telling you-- too much playing-- not enough time for reading.  
This picture is blurry, but Clark and Anders had a great game going of running as fast as they could toward each other and colliding.  You can see why this would be so fun for little boys-- there is such danger and possibility for injury!
They both remained unscathed.  Whew!

We went to the big city park on Friday afternoon with friends before the campout.  

Clark had a bunch of friends over this afternoon for a rehearsal for the movie he is making.

Faith has had friends over and has gone to friends' houses this week. 

Bethany has had girlfriends over to play.

Elinor has had four boys at a time over to play.  What can I say, they think she is awesome to play with?  They are right!
Friends, friends, friends and more friends!!!!!
ENOUGH ALREADY!!!!!!  I think we have thoroughly proved the point that home-schoolers are still getting "socialized!"
But all this socializing is wearing us out!

And this is how we are feeling.  We need a break.  We need some calm family time this week.  We need to do our chores and get our home in order.  It's been fun, but we're out of balance.  

"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
All play and no work makes Jack a mere toy."

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Lucky Little Ladies

He is a man of many talents--getting a cookie from his forehead to his mouth with no hands is just part of what makes him so attractive! 
Our activity day girls had a Daddy-Daughter night and Elinor was very concerned that Abe wasn't enough dad to go around for both her and Bethany.  She decided it would be best to call Grandpa Cannon and ask him to be her date.  He lovingly agreed and Elinor was thrilled!
Yummy ice cream sundays with MASSES of toppings!
Can you imagine how this man is going to weep on her wedding day?
This is our writing class teacher, Chante.  She is darling and has such a classic style that is all her own.  I quite like her and I think she did a great job with teaching this enthusiastic group of young people.  She taught three classes, helping the kids to write essays. Then on our last class (yesterday) she led them in an academic symposium.  The kids dressed up and presented their papers, followed by everyone else asking questions.
Bethany wrote about sleep.  She began with, "I come from a long line of deep sleepers.  My mother is a deep sleeper, my grandfather is a deep sleeper, my great-grandfather and so on and so forth".
Clark wrote about why reptiles make good pets.  Surprise, surprise!  First and foremost, they live in terrariums and so they don't pee on your carpet.  
Bethany has one big school thing to finish up, but the other kids officially started summer break today.  I'm pretty sure she'll get this last project done quickly once she sees the goodness of summer vacation with very little school work! 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Moms in Spaaaaace!

I have a friend.  In fact, I have several friends.  But tonight I will discuss one friend in particular.  Many of you may know her as Andrea Flynn, but to me, she is my captain.

Andrea likes adventure.  A few weeks back my very politically active, conservative father called me.  A well known conservative in the state of Utah had asked his assistance in looking for someone to temporarily fill in as a producer for a weekly radio program.  He asked me, did I know anyone who might be able to do that?  Actually, I do know someone who loves new experiences, isn't afraid of anything and might be available.  Andrea!

Now I don't want to brag or anything, but okay... I can't help myself.  This is me glorying in something I had absolutely nothing to do with and is no reflection of any effort on my part whatsoever.
The guy who rang the bell-- who is the guy standing next to Steve Wozniak is our good friend, David Flynn.  He's married to Andrea.  His company, Fusion-io went public on June 9th.  It's very exciting.  And once again, I had nothing to do with it, but am glorying in it nonetheless.  Andrea looks so professional, so classy, so arrived.  Here's the great thing about her-- I think she was just as excited to do a space camp mission with her friends as she was to be up on the platform at the NYSE.  Maybe not quite as excited, but she was excited.  Talk about unaffected.
So when Andrea told me a little while back that she wanted to gather a group of her mom friends and go to space camp--- I was super excited, but not the least bit surprised that Andrea would think of such an adventure. 
Our boys have gone to space camp for years together.  They love it, they rave about it, they try to build their own simulator and write their own missions.  Quite frankly, I don't think they thought we mamas were smart enough for space camp.  Were they right?  We were about to find out.
We were assigned our positions and given our uniforms.  Andrea was the obvious and correct choice for Captain.  She is our leader.  She is cool under pressure.  I wasn't actually assigned my position as I volunteered for the position with the most action.  Come on, you know I don't get out that much.  I needed excitement.  Fire power, preferably.
Christine is glamorous wherever she goes.  Entry on the the U.S.S. Voyager was no exception.
  I was the Left Wing Officer.   I was in charge of defense (aka firepower!), engines, shields, and power distribution.  I loved my job!   I'm thinking of giving up the home-schooling-mother-gig and joining Star Fleet full-time.

Jennilyn and Erin were the security crew.  Don't let those sweet smiles fool you.  These mamas had laser guns and they weren't afraid to use them.  And yes, the ship was invaded and they saved us!
Grace (left) had serious work to do.  She was damage control.  This is muy importante, as you know a ship cannot operate safely if the port side shields are down!  I thought my mind would explode when the warp engines went down!!!  But she was diligent and allowed us to complete our mission.  Stephanie (right) was the sensors officers.  Her job was to raise her arm and shout, "Captain!" a lot and give important information.  
Adrianne (middle tier) was the Right Wing Officer-- mostly in charge of navigation and transporting.  The year was 2384, so of course we had that kind of technology.  She saved the mission a few times with her quick transporting.   Becci up top was the ship's engineer.  She made sure we had enough power to the ship.  Clark specifically told me I would not be right for engineer.  Once again, did he think I was not smart enough for that job? Actually, he told me I should be a security officer because, "I like putting people in the brig (time-out)."
Clark, did it ever occur to you that I would rather not have to put people in time-out?  I would rather everyone behaved themselves so I never had to put anyone in time-out?  But I digress.
Christine (bottom tier) was Uhura.  You know, the beautiful communcations officer in Star Trek.  You all know what a trekkie I am.  Anyway, she was lovely and she said charming things, like okie-dokie, to the alien space forms that contacted us. 
On the captain's deck we had Captain Andrea and her First Officer, Tewie.  They were fine leaders.  Oh, Captain!  My Captain! James Tiberius Kirk has got nothing on Andrea Flynn!
All right, seriously-- this was fun.  I admit it was hard for me to wrap my brain around when Clark would come home so excited.  I just didn't quite understand what they did and why was it sooooo fun.  I get it now.  I want to go on a group date with Abe for more space camps.  There are other missions.  There are other ships.  There are other galaxies to explore!!!!!
Dinner afterward with fancy drinks-- ooh la la!  What a beyond enjoyable afternoon and evening.  Thank you, thank you, thank you Andrea!!!!! 

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Many Faces of Abe

Abe has two fears he has developed as he has gotten older:  Aichmophobia-- fear of needles and acrophobia-- fear of heights.  So you can understand why the children and I, who do not suffer from the fear of heights, think it is kind of funny that Abe is horrified of the ferris wheel. 

Perhaps it was dehydration from the heat of the day.  Perhaps his brain was jarred from the several roller coasters.  Perhaps he thought the fear would be lessened without the worry of small children accidentally falling out.  Whatever the reason, Abe wasn't feeling too nervous about riding the ferris wheel at Lagoon.
(Betsy's translation of Abe's thoughts as we ride)  We are beginning our ascent.
"Oh, crumbs!  This was a big mistake."
"Elinor! No! Sit down and hold still!  Do not knock on the seat!"
"This is my worst nightmare.  Oh, no!  Are we stopping at the top?  This is so much worse than I remember."
"I'm going to be sick. ELINOR!  Hold still!"
"I am still the man of this family.  I can do this.  See...?  I am having fun..."
(We are descending and nearing the bottom)
"I am fine.  You all should stop laughing at me."
"You're right.  I've been kind of a wussy pants."
"Ahhhhh.  I am alive.  I will NEVER go on this ride again.  Go ahead and laugh.  I'm on the ground again."
And just to set the record straight-- yes, we were laughing at him.
Each time he says he'll never go on the Ferris wheel again, but for whatever reason he returns time and time again.  He says it is the quintessential  amusement park ride and out of respect he must ride it.  I'm glad  because he's more fun to watch than the surrounding views!