Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Prince George turns 3

The day finally arrived -- George turned three and had a Thomas the Train birthday party!  For the last couple of months he's been telling anyone who will listen about his plans.  He was overcome with joy when we all sang "Happy Birthday" to him.
He was overcome with joy when he opened his Thomas umbrella.
And his Thomas & Friends train set.
The girls gave Prince George a royal train salute.
I love an overblown little kid's birthday party as much as anyone, but this evening's family-only party was an absolute delight.  I love how much the whole family dotes on George.  So this is how youngest children become what youngest children are?  I see.
He can verbally, correctly answer that he is three, but holding up the correct number of fingers is still a challenge.
We celebrated earlier today with a day trip downtown on Trax.  It was the most convenient, least expensive way I could think of to take him on a train ride for his birthday.  He loved it.
He was contemplative at times.  Or maybe just bored.  He did say, "This is a really long train ride."
We met up the our Aunt Alison and went to the children's exhibit at the Church History Museum.  Bethany was working with Cannon and Faith to be Mexican dancers.  Cannon's dancing quite quickly morphed into ninja fighting- as many of his activities do.
Yes, yours truly got in on the action as well.
Cannon enjoying a moment of glory.
Oh, side note about Cannon:  While eating our sandwiches on a patch of grass today Cannon says, "There are two things I don't appreciate about grass--Grass stains and sometimes getting wet."  

He makes me smile.
Here we are waiting to catch the train home.  I love this picture just because of Faith's expression.  She was not happy with me because I denied her the Book of Mormon Go Fish cards she desired from the gift shop.  
How cruel of me.

Where was Clark for all our celebrations?
He is off on a 50-mile backpacking scout camp through the Uinta mountains.  And I'll tell you the truth.  On Monday when he left I was just fine-- maybe even a little happy.   I wasn't worried about him and he's been gone a lot this summer, so no big deal.  But then he missed George's super fun Thomas the Train party today and our adventure downtown.  I'm still not worried about him on the 50, but I am missing him.  Kind of a lot.   At the very least, he keeps things very interesting around our house.   I think I'll be very happy when summer is over and all of my people are back from all their summer adventures and we're back to our usual schedule.  I am, however, afraid that after all their adventures, home might not be exciting enough for them!
Want to see something cool?   Well, a little bit sad, but mostly cool.  THIS is how much a boy can change in 2 years.  His first 50-miler was right after he turned 12 and now he's 14. 
I'm sure this little boy will never go and do that to his mother.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Such Stuff As Dreams are Made Of

Yesterday Abe, Clark, Bethany and I got into our car and drove out of a dream.  We had just arrived home from a two day dream vacation to the Utah Shakespeare Festival with our dear friends, the Flynns.
No, I'm not kidding.  We really did fly to Cedar City on a private jet!  This was at least half the thrill of this trip.  I loathe flying-- but not in a super posh, quiet private jet.  Ooh, la la.
It was everything I would have imagined it could have been.  In some ways you feel the bumps more, but it seems like a smaller plane can correct itself so much quicker, that it didn't bother me at all.
And I think you'll agree that if your plane is going down then going down in a private jet is even better than going down in first class.  That sounds pretty morbid, doesn't it?  Oh well.
I know you're wondering what does David Flynn do to afford to fly in a private jet-- are you not?  He was the CEO of Fusion-io and is currently CEO of another tech company in Israel.  Google him if you want to know more.  We have been close friends for many years in our homeschooling circles.  Our kids have grown up together and we've had lots of firsts with them.  Now we've had our first private jet flight!
Less than forty minutes later we had landed in Cedar City and one of the first stops was the gift shop.  Knives-- how dangerous!  Interestingly enough, you can totally take your huge dagger-knife on your private flight home and nobody bats an eye.
Wednesday afternoon we saw Love's Labour's Lost set in the Regency Era, so of course, I was in love with the costuming.  Andrea had directed Clark's Shakespeare class in this play a couple of years back so it was very fun to see it done by professional actors.  I'd say it was very comparable to ours:)
We ate dinner at my most favorite restaurant in town-- Centro.  It's a very authentic Italian pizza place and OH MY, YUMMY!  Naughty yummy.  Cannot control myself yummy.  Are you familiar with that kind of yummy?  It is a dangerous thing.
We didn't have a car (didn't need one), rather we enjoyed walking around the charming area surrounding the Festival.  I love where I live and don't want to move-- but I think I could be talked into Cedar City.  It's small town, but with loads of culture.  At least that's how it seems to me--having never actually lived there.
The Green Show before the evening play is great fun and not to be missed.
It was drizzling before the show began so Andrea and I ran back to the gift shop to get these pink windbreakers we'd been eyeing earlier.


Because it stopped raining as soon as we got back to our seats.  That's okay-- there will be other opportunities to wear my jacket.  But will I be matching with my friend?
Wednesday night we saw King John.  Chronologically, this is Shakespeare's first historical play.  And it was a highlight for several of us.  Very well done and Shakespeare in an outdoor theater on a lovely summer evening is simply marvelous.
Then the next day we saw King John in the theater and like the raving lunatic fans that we are, we stalked him and begged for a picture.  He was very gracious.
We appreciate him so much that the Bard is practically a member of the family.  Hee, hee hee.
 But truly, I must thank Andrea for introducing Shakespeare to my children and helping them gain such an appreciation.
Thursday morning was quite leisurely by the pool.
We watched the girls perform various dramatic methods of walking/falling/jumping into the pool.
We saw a matinee of Peter and the Starcatcher which was great fun.  Our play ended around 4:30
Our dream flight home landed at 5:30.

And we woke from our dream as we got into our van to go pick up kids from my parents' house, who were so kind to watch Elinor, Faith, Cannon, and George for two days.
Life at home is pretty dreamy sometimes as well!  Someone was pretty happy to be together again.
And he was too.
Actually, we just grabbed George from Grandma and Grandpa's because the other three were off on a fishing adventure where Cannon emerged the triumphant winner!  Grandpa brought them home late last night.

Thank you to the Flynns for the incredible gift!  And thank you to Grandma and Grandpa for taking care of the other kids.  We are so thankful!

Oh, and thank you to Abe, who was our personal paparazzi, snapping pictures of us at every turn and so thoroughly documenting our trip.
Flying in a private jet and being stalked by the paparazzi-- now I know how Kate Middleton must feel.

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Angriest Bird Ever

This robin red-breast has a lovely nest with a baby bird in it in our big cottonwood tree.

It hates our whole family.  I've never seen an angrier bird in all my life.  Anytime we're in the front yard it just screams at us and agressively swoops down trying to peck our eyes out.  We went outside to do fireworks this evening and the kids were telling Abe about it.
Abe went over to take a picture of it...
...and the maniacal bird flew down to attack Abe!
 It makes me wonder if this is one of those birds (like some people) that moves trees every year; constantly getting in fights with the tree owners.  Each year he finds a new tree, thinking this tree will be the one, only to find he hates the people there as well.
To be honest, I have always loved to find a bird has taken up residence in our trees, but I'd kind of like this robin to move on.  He frightens the children.
  We did fireworks for family home evening tonight.  It was a great success.
Here is what I love so much about family fireworks night--
It's all Abe's gig.
He buys them, he prepares the trash bucket, he hands the fireworks out, fields all the grabby hands and requests, he lights them, and he cleans them all up.  I just sit and watch.  Sometimes after long days of telling children what to do all day it is a marvelous treat to pass off any and all responsibility to the dad.
It is one of our family's gifts/curses to be able screech/scream/squeal at outrageously high pitches from infancy well into adolescence.  What did we do to deserve such a gift?  Who knows.  But every year at our little fireworks show the children scream along with the Piccolo Petes so loudly that we can't even tell when the firework ends and it's just our screaming remaining.  What joy!
It is a brave thing for a little guy to hold a sparkler.
Clark would prefer not to take on that responsibility-- too risky.
AH-HA!!!  Victory!
Well, now.  That's just fun!

Now for a story in pictures.  There will be no commentary, except to say that Bethany has been so sick for the past 2 1/2 weeks that I am relieved to see her behaving a little more normal.  See for yourself.

Isn't she just a sweetheart?
We're so glad to have her back.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

July 21, 2013

Georgie rode his bike in the Neighborhood Pioneer Parade.  At church today a member of the bishopric asked him if he had fun at the parade, to which he responded, "I so tired of riding my bike."  The progress was slow, but he was darling.
It really was quite charming with the missionaries leading the way on scooters.  And it was wonderful because the parade route went right by our house and our big tree provided a lot of great shade for spectators.
Last night Abe and I and Elinor and Faith went downtown to the Conference Center for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's Pioneer Day concert featuring Lindsey Sterling and Nathan Pachenco.  It was really magnificent, but the evening was somewhat marred for me because of something I did as we arrived at the Conference Center.

I lied.

As we were walking to get in line at the door we were to enter an usher lady stopped me and looking at Faith she said, "Do you know this event is for ages 8 and up?"
Now I knew this.  But in my rationalizing mind I figured they set 8 as a guideline to make sure they wouldn't have crying babies and distracting toddlers.  I know my Faith  and she is quite sweet and well behaved and not at all prone to tantrums.  And besides, she will be turning 8 in March.  Unfortunately she is really little and could easily pass for a five or six year old.

So I responded, "Yes, I know.  She is good."
Couldn't the woman have left well enough alone with that response?  I didn't actually lie.  I simply said she was good.  She is good on many levels.
But no, she delved deeper, "So she is 8?"
"Yes."  Oh good heavens, I just lied to someone at the Conference Center!  AND FAITH HEARD ME DO IT!   I'm feeling bad and hoping that perhaps the shame of a public confessional can alleviate my guilt.

So in other upsetting events this weekend, Abe took the crib down today.  In some cases this is a cause for celebration-- signaling the end of the challenging baby years-- the sign of moving on to the next phase of family life.
I suppose that if I wanted this phase to end now, then I would feel happy about the dismantling of the crib.  But I'm not smiling-- rather, I shed a few tears.

Some of you know, but many do not know that I've had a couple of miscarriages since December.  The most recent was at the end of June when I went in for a ten week initial appointment to have an ultrasound, thinking I was 10 weeks along and there was no baby.  Things had begun, but never progressed and I just hadn't miscarried yet.  I had hardly been sick at all, and I knew that wasn't normal for me.  I wasn't surprised at all that things had not developed properly but I was sad.  I had a D and C on Friday and left for our Spokane trip early Monday morning.  Our trip was really, really enjoyable, but I wasn't able to process and deal with the loss.
I admit that I've been quite down in spirits since returning home.  I don't think anything is really wrong that God, time, family, and friendships won't put right again, but I'm hoping that it might be kind of cathartic to share my experience on the blog.  Keeping it to myself isn't feeling so good.

I have six beautiful children here on earth.  We are bursting at the seams in our house and car and we are certainly not rolling in the dough.  I can understand that many would think us crazy for wanting more children, but we do.  Our children-- our families are some of the very select few things we do here on earth that matter enough to carry on in the eternities.  There is nothing worth working harder for.  We will gladly sacrifice a few comforts to have as many as God sees fit to bless us with.

If there are not to be any more Fox babies for us, that is okay.  I trust Heavenly Father.  He knows we are ready and willing to care for more of his children.  But if Georgie is the end of the line we will gratefully and happily move onto the next phase of no-baby family life.  I hear it can be pretty enjoyable as well!  But for right now I'm a little saddened at the prospect.  I hope and pray we may have reason to put the crib back together again (before grandchildren).

Like I said earlier, not very many people knew I was even pregnant.  I didn't want to tell until I'd had my first ultrasound.  Those very few who knew were so kind to me-- not only did they respect my privacy but they quietly and sensitively brought me food and treats and flowers.  And I am so grateful for the support and friendship.