Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day Done Right


As I've said before, it is all the good things about holidays with none of the pressure of gift buying or house cleaning, or food preparation.  Just lots of family and good feelings and thoughts of the coming summer.

We started the day as we always do, meeting up with the Clark family at Wasatch Lawns cemetery.  We visit my mom's, Tessa's, and my Clark grandparents' graves.
Uncle Lane shared his traditional family history moment.  I need to get my hands on that binder he is holding because it had several pictures I'd never seen before.  I see that the kiddos don't look too enthralled, but they were super good sports throughout the day.   I'm sure I wasn't that interested at their age either, but the older I get the more interesting family history becomes!
At the same cemetery we headed over to visit my Richards great-grandparents (my dad's maternal grandparents.)  Great-grandma Richards came from Sweden and we enjoy listening to Dad retell the same stories each year and getting a few new ones here and there.
The kids like to help clean off the gravestones by pouring water over them.
A cute moment of Grandma and Elinor playing wishbone with pine needles.
Those of us with the Cannon name by my Cannon great-grandparents grave at another cemetery across the valley.
We've brought our kids to the cemeteries on Memorial Day since they were very small and they enjoy the day as well.   Especially on a day like today with perfect weather in the mid-70's.  They like that the day includes a great meal out to eat!
Georgie liked Grandpa.  Maybe he just liked Grandpa's hat.
Faith and Takara gathered a whole bucket full of pine cones at the different cemeteries.
Just a few steps away from my Cannon grandparents & great-grandparents are Abe's great-grandparents (his mom's paternal grandparents).  Here are the Jolley boys.
After lunch we went to Memory Grove in Salt Lake where they have a memorial to fallen soldiers from WWII.  My dad's Uncle Hugh (Abram Hugh Cannon) was a radar man who died in the Pacific.  This is a highlight of Memorial Day.
 Fun to cool off the toes in City Creek.
Next stop was the Salt Lake City cemetery.  Once again, Abe and I both have relatives buried there.  These are his great-grandparents (his mother's maternal grandparents).
We're not related (at least not that we know of), but we wanted to stop by President Gordon B. Hinckley's grave.
This is George Q. Cannon's memorial-- my great, great, great-Grandfather. 
This was our final stop of the day.  We were all a little worn out by this point, but we were happy to find the grave of Abraham Hoagland Cannon.  My dad and Abe at George Q. Cannon's son's grave (my great, great-grandfather).
Our minds are rather frazzled from trying to keep straight all the family relations today.

We finished off the day with a very relaxing, enjoyable picnic at the park with friends.
 The kids still had enough energy to play this evening, but everyone was happy to go to bed tonight.
And a very happy 4th birthday to our little buddy who did not need any more toys for his birthday, but got some cute Star Wars toys anyway.
Happy Memorial Day!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Justin Beaver

Last year on our Great Plains Adventure Cannon used his souvenir money from Grandma Fox to buy this finger-puppet stuffed beaver at the Gateway Arch gift shop in St. Louis.  We're not quite sure what the attraction was, but he just loved this beaver.  In the van we asked him what he was going to name it.  A few ideas were thrown out and then I suggested we name him "Justin Beaver".
The name stuck and Justin Beaver was born.  To this day we regularly enjoy the company of Justin Beaver around the house.  Sometimes he goes in the car with us places, but never into stores or other people's houses, lest we misplace him.

Cannon doesn't know who Justin Bieber is and he was quite surprised and alarmed to hear a voice on the radio mention him.
"Hey!  Did that guy just say Justin Beaver??  How does he know about Justin Beaver???"

Cannon turns four tomorrow.  Fun doesn't quite begin to describe this little guy.

As part of his birthday celebrations we had good friends come over for dinner.  But they helped celebrate in another big way.  Their youngest son has kind of out grown some of his superhero toys so he sold them to us for a very reasonable price.  These were the very toys Cannon wanted.  We wrapped them up and we all enjoyed watching Cannon ecstatically get what he most wanted.  

He enlisted help in ripping open the fancy garbage bag wrapping.
Oh, yes-- it was the BAT CAVE!!!  And there was a Joker, Robin, Penguin, Mr. Freeze, bat plane, bat helicopter, bat motorcycle and more.  My goodness!  Can you imagine what a happy camper Cannon was this evening?
He wasn't the only happy camper.  They all wanted a piece of the superhero action.
Here is Cannon with the founder of the Batman feast.
I don't know if I've ever watched a child enjoy a birthday celebration more.  He was so excited and so funny!  Cannon is an absolute joy for our family.  The girls put together a gift for him today as well.
They gave him these stuffed animals he likes playing with and made him a sweet card and gave him $5.00 to buy something he likes.
Cannon loved being sung to in Primary today for his birthday.  As part of the recognition he was spotlighted-- he had answered a lot of questions about himself and then the other kids tried to guess who the birthday child was.
His favorite thing about Primary? 
Getting a birthday treat on your birthday. (Of course!)
Favorite toys? 
Transformers and superheroes.
Favorite animal? 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


It's been a pretty boring week at our house.  Oh sure, we've had our regular lessons and activities and practices and schoolwork and such.  But one MAJOR factor has been absent and we are bored to tears.

With the exception of a few hours on Sunday evening, Clark has been gone from home since last Wednesday morning.  He went to California with his Lego League team from Wednesday to Sunday and now he's gone to a 3-day Shakespeare camp until tomorrow afternoon.

I am very anxious for him to come home.  I miss the man-child.  The peace and quiet and calm was kind of nice for the first few days, but then I found myself feeling very anxious.   I snacked in the kitchen a lot more often.  I wasn't quite sure what to do with myself without Clark here to tangle with.  The girls will rarely, if ever, lock horns in a battle of wills with me.  I guess Clark isn't the only one who thrives on a bit of drama!  I need him home!!!!  As Bethany said, "Clark is the emotion in our house."

Let's see... what else has been going on?

I'm checking out all sorts of short hair cuts on line in the hopes of cutting my hair soon.  How short dare I go.  No one has ever used "Betsy" and "pixie" in the same sentence, but...
We'll see.

Cannon is about to turn four.  I wish he could stay three for longer.   He is so fun.  I think I'm going to start crying.  Okay, Clark needs to come home right now and then I'm pushing the pause button on every single person in this family.  Sigh.

This post is taking me forever to write.  I'm not very focused and I think I need to just go to bed.  Maybe tomorrow I'll have something more profound to say.  

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Making Peace with Mother's Day

 Sunday was Mother's Day and it was a lovely day for me.  My family brought me cold cereal in bed.  My good husband made me a ham and cheese omelet for lunch.  I made a scrumptious turkey dinner after church.  My family gave me cards.  I particularly enjoyed the singing card that opened up to Tina Turner's, "You're simply the best!  Better than all the rest".  Clark leaned over during church and gave me an unsolicited kiss on the cheek.  Bethany gave a talk in Primary about how moms are super-heroes.  Elinor told me I was beautiful.  My little ones were delightful.  My family does Mother's Day pretty darn well.

And yet, like many women, I have mixed emotions about Mother's Day.  I understand that it can be a very uncomfortable, painful time for some women and I don't mean to suggest that I've got it rough, but the day does make me think.  I knew my own mother did not love the day, so early on I began the tradition of writing letters to each of my children to let them know how grateful I was to be their mother and how much I loved them.  I hoped that would stave off any negative emotions about the day.  Alas, a few have started to creep in. 

There are always talks in church about how saintly mothers are.  How mothers sacrifice so much for their children.  Mothers take care of everything for everyone.   Mothers are so conscientious, remembering all the little details to make things nice.  Mothers have a "queenly elegance" (actually quoted from a talk on Sunday).  Mothers are gentle, kind, loving, always there for you, ready with a warm meal and a smile, staying up late just to hear about your evening's outing.  

Who wouldn't want to be praised for doing all those things?  I'm sure I would-- if I actually DID them!  But I'm not that kind of mother.  Consequently this is my problem with Mother's Day.  I get credit for doing and being something I'm not.  I feel guilty because I'm NOT a martyr.  I'm tormented because I'm happy!

I can easily tell a child that I'm busy, they'll have to wait.  I don't keep a perfectly tidy house, but I do insist that my children do their chores.  I encourage the 5 year old to make her own sandwich if she's hungry.  I don't have beautiful flower beds in my front yard or a vegetable garden.  My girls do not have matching bedspreads because they won't even make their beds so why would I waste money on nice bedspreads.  I firmly insist that their school work must be done even if their friends are standing on the porch asking to play.  I'll turn off the TV if I think they should be doing something else.  I think it's good for them to see me doing things I enjoy instead of just waiting on their every need.  I happily and regularly date my husband, leaving the older kids home to tend the younger.  I'll tell them in no uncertain terms to try harder if they aren't doing something well.  I don't ensure that every set of teeth is brushed every day.  There are occasional tears when I do the girls' hair.  I threaten their utter destruction when they are disrespectful to me. 

I also teach them to read and help them with their school work.  I teach them piano lessons and make sure they practice.  I get pretty good food on the table almost every day.  I read scriptures with them  and read massive amounts of books to them.  I set a good example of taking care of my body.  I laugh with them and drive them all over the valley to their activities.  I trust them and their abilities to figure things out for themselves.  I encourage their talents and expect them to be their best.  It's okay if they are mad at me if I am doing what is best for them.

When it's all said and done and the last of my children is out on his or her own, I hope to have raised a brood of children who are good, strong, dependable adults who will work hard and love their spouses and children.  I hope they love the gospel and live it.  I hope they will give of themselves to those things that matter most.
I'm fairly certain that no child of mine will every refer to their "Angel Mother".  They'll know how it really was.  I hope they'll know that although I may have lacked queenly elegance and was never much for details and home decor, I loved them more than anything and thought they were the most fantastic, brilliant children ever.  Even if I knew that every other mom thought the same of their children. 

"There is no way to be a perfect mother, and a million ways to be a good one."
--Jill Churchill

So to all of us good mothers out there, Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 11, 2012

A Little More Spokane

We're back home and settling nicely into our regular life, but I wanted to post just a few more Spokane pictures.  This was one of my favorite moments of the whole trip-- from left to right is Mike, Marj, Abe, Amy, me, and Ninja Mary ready to go for a run on the Centennial trail.  Mike and Marj (Abe's brother-in-law and sister) are super into working out at a place called Crossfit.  I went with Marj to a couple of classes while I was there and it was very tough.  It took several days to recover.
Abe's dad is the general chairman for a HUGE Boy Scouts of America encampment this summer in Washington.  He took Abe and Clark, who will both be attending this summer, out to the site where the camp will be.  
One of the things we miss by not living in Spokane nearby so many of the cousins is "Grandma story time".  Once a month or so the cousins gather at Grandma's house for story time with Grandma.  We were so happy to finally get in on one!
Asher (Jesse and Amy's), George, and Brigham (Mike and Marj's).  There have been many years of many little girls in the Fox family-- it's fun to have lots of little boys running around.
It was close, but Clark's pride is saved.  He's still slightly taller than cousin Alexis.
Elinor and Annie
Bethany and Julia digging a well in the sand box.
 Adults night out.  This is a lot easier to do now than in years past because more of us have built-in babysitters.
YES!!!! They finally beat the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle game that no Fox has ever beat before!!!!!
It was a real cause for celebration.
Bethany and Talitha
The rope swing in the kitchen was a favorite for Faith.

Georgie loved the horse.

It was a wonderful trip and so nice to get so much time to play and visit with family.  It was just the right amount of time to be away and now I am feeling so grateful to be back.  I feel rejuvenated and contented and happy to be home with my  people.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Opposite Day

 Introduction:  My children LOVE a CD we've gotten from the library called Marvelous Day by some guy named Steve.  There is a song called "Opposite Day" that we play over and over again.  Thus this post is called Opposite Day.
We are visiting Grandma and Grandpa in Spokane this week--a belated Spring break and an early summer vacation.  We have some seriously happy children. 
You see, visiting Grandma and Grandpa's house is the opposite of their regular life at home in many respects.  At Grandma's house there is no school work and no chores, but that's just the beginning of the differences.
There are really cool toys at Grandma's house.  Topping the list is the golf cart they drive around at break-neck speeds, threatening to drive themselves right off the mountain.  I know I would never allow this at home, but at Grandma's house it seems like a great idea and I cheerfully wave to them as they careen around the corners.
We let the kids do sleep-overs with cousins at Grandma's house.  We almost never, and only for extremely rare occasions, have any kind of sleep-over at home.
I rarely allow, much less encourage the kids to play video games at home.  However, here I feel it turns the hearts of the children to their fathers--since the kids play on the very same gaming systems their fathers did.
Grandma's house is a food paradise for children.  There is a cupboard with crackers and goldfish, eggo waffles in the freezer, and best of all-- the tub of Red Vine licorice available morning and night.  A child grabbing a handful is smiled on whether it be 7:00 AM or 11:00 PM.
Smiled on by Grandma that is.  Not so much by me.
Clark ate a bowl of ice cream yesterday morning and as I began to question him he cut me off saying, "Mom, it's Grandma's house!"
Point for Clark.
At home Bethany loves to play with friends, but because of other responsibilities she can only get friend time in smaller doses. An hour or two here and there.  But up here she can play with cousins for not only hours on end, but for DAYS on end.
We have a lot of pets at home and so if Clark mentions a desire for any more we try to quell his enthusiasm.  But he knows that any wildlife found in Spokane is free for the taking home.  
After all, he found it at Grandma's house.
 This picture has nothing to do with this next opposite, but it's a picture of Abe and Abe does something up here in Spokane that is very opposite from his normal behavior at home.  
He cooks.
He heats up actual food for people to eat.  
I don't.
He does.
It's a beautiful thing. 
At home I'm pretty well aware of each of my children's locations because I know what they should be doing and I'm on them.  But here I'm so busy visiting with my fabulous sister-in-laws that I'm not really sure where my people are half the time.  To my wonderful mother-in-law I will just say that I really do take better care of my children at home.
I don't really play with my kids very much at home.  You know the kind of play where I get down on the floor and build something or play a game with them.  It is a great shame to me.  I think I used to much more with the older kids but I'm not doing such a good job of it these days.  But Grandma and Grandpa are so patient and involved, they will take the time to play with the grandchildren.  Grandpa spent no less than 30 minutes working on a Lincoln Log cabin.
Grandma may think checkers are boring, but she finds each grandchild fascinating and wants to get to know each one.  
I'm telling you, she is a good woman and I feel so blessed to benefit from her example.