Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Seeing things differently

This morning I got to do a photo shoot with a whole lot of school busses. I had been tasked to think creatively about the photos. I was a little skeptical that I could find something creative and beautiful from a bunch of yellow school busses, but I really surprised myself. It ended up being very fun. I think they all turned out beautiful. It just goes to show that when we put in a little bit of creativity and have an open mind, your eyes will see things differently then they ever have before. I think this one might be my favorite.

Then Julianne and I did 3 whole hours of shopping and I sure wish I had creativity and an open mind about that . . .  I find the whole thing quite predictable.  If I so much as look at anything, it is automatically disqualified from ever being worn by her and I have bad taste and don't know anything about fashion.  It is a good thing I have a very good memory or I might think she was being horrible.  Sadly, I remember all too well doing the EXACT same thing.

More swimming with more friends -- and some of the friends were frogs.  How is it that boys can catch frogs for hours???




Then the wind picked up and the lighting changed and we were right on the edge of a storm.  It was magnificent to watch.


Monday, June 29, 2015

Owen -- a collection of stories

1. In Owen's world there are 7 days of the week. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Cookie Day.  Every Sunday, Trent makes cookies.  Every day for the rest of the week, I get to answer this question.  "Mom, How many days until Cookie day?"

So it should not come as a surprise that when I gave him the kid camera this is what he took a picture of . . .


2.  Owen has an impressive vocabulary.  While walking through the garden picking tomatoes, there were lots of frogs jumping around.  He remarked, "What the hell? Where'd all the frogs come from?"
I didn't make a big deal of it because mostly it was just so darn cute.  But then, while playing nines just a few days later and not drawing the card he needed he said, "What the hell, another Jack???"  And then to top it all off, he brought out the large box of cookies to share with friends and he calmly said to my friend Emily, "I know what your thinking, what the hell?  that's a lot of cookies."  He's young enough to pull it off.  And it is just about the cutest thing ever.

3.  Suddenly on Friday, Owen couldn't walk.  He could limp, crawl, hobble, and drag.  But he refused to walk.  There had been no injury (that we had seen) and he had been running around at Swim Team all morning.  At first I thought his leg had just fallen asleep.  Then I thought maybe he got a bug bite and it was swelling, so I gave him some benadryl.  Then I put ice on it.  Then we took him to see our friend who is a doctor.  Owen didn't have a fever or seem to be in any discomfort unless he was standing straigt legged with his foot bearing weight.  He recommended that we watch him overnight and see how it was the next morning.  Here's a video of him the next morning.  He was willing to walk on it, but not without an exaggerated limp. So we took him in for x-rays.  It was nothing.  No fracture.  No tumor.  Nothing.  And with each passing hour he has limped less and less.  Today he was fine.

4.  Underwater cameras and kids is one of my favorite things.



Sunday, June 28, 2015

Sacrament meeting selfies

These cute boys of mine were being so snuggly at church today.

Julianne had youth conference this weekend. They had their own church meeting so it was just the four kids with me and Trent.  Trent left in the middle of sacrament to pick her up. 

Some interesting things at church. First, we had a beautiful quartet sing "The star spangled banner". I'm a pretty patriotic person and as soon as they stood up to sing, I stood up too.  It is the national anthem after all. Well it only took about half a second to realize that I was standing all alone. As in 100% completely alone. Trent was gone and my kids were all looking at me like I was crazy.  Catherine asked me what I was doing and I replied "I stand for this song."  Fairly quickly the 2 adults on the left of me joined. I was toward the back of the meeting so there was only a couple of rows behind me and several of them came up to me to let me know they had stood up as well after seeing me, but as for people in front of me, there was no one.   It was quite the mental debate going on in my head. Immediately the desire to just conform hits you like a ton of bricks.  One part of me was reasoning "sit down, sit down" but a larger part of me was making connections to so many things I have been reading about. Most recently I read "All the Light we cannot see."  It made me consider peer pressure.  So in that moment where I was the only one standing I realized that this was just another example of group dynamics at play and to forget about the group and follow my inner moral compass. I decided that for me, I feel in my heart that I want to show respect for my country by standing for the national anthem no matter what anyone else does.  And so I did.  

Then in Sunday school their was some discussion about the sacrament ordinance and how if we aren't prepared just right then it is meaningless.  Someone shared what I suspect is a faith promoting rumor (a few quick google searches lead me to think it didn't happen). They told of one of the prophets refusing the sacrament because he hadn't prepared well enough for it. I just don't think it works that way.  We speak so much of avoiding vain repetitions in prayers and for me the definition of vain repetition has nothing to do with the words someone says but the behavior that follows.  Quite honestly I pray for nearly the same things everytime I pray.  For example I pray to be safe while driving.  I can say that every single day and the only thing that would make it vain would be to finish the prayer and head out on a drive and speed carelessly, text while driving, and so on.  That would make my prayer all in vain, but if after contemplating in prayer safe driving and then heading out to be a concsious, observant driver my prayer will not have been in vain.  It will likely lead to safe driving.  

I believe the sacrament is the same.  It serves as a weekly ordinance to remind us of our baptismal covenants. We can make our sacrament all done in vain,  if afterwards we do not behave as though we can remember them.  Do we mourn with those who mourn? Do we comfort those who need comfort? Etc.  if we not do do that then our sacrament was in vain. One does not need to prepare himself ahead of time.  There is no righteousness clause.  We take the sacrament, ponder on our behavior and then act accordingly.  If we do that then it is not in vain.  

The second thought I had was in relief society. Our teacher was very emotional about the thought of not having all of her kids in the temple with her.  I felt sad for her and for others in the room who feel the need to have this experience before they can experience a full joy.  For so many women in that room, this will just not be a possibility. And I could sense the discomfort. 

I remember the wording in the bible dictionary about the home being the only thing that compares in sacredness to the temple and I encouraged all of us to elevate in our opinion the experiences we have in our home with our children and families.  Recognize our homes as sacred ground. Honor the experiences we have with our families as equal to any experience in the temple.  Let that be enough. Since we cannot nor should we desire to control other peoples choices, then we need to carve out equally blissful benchmarks and recognize them as such.  

Saturday, June 27, 2015


The EY entrepreneur of the year gala is my favorite. I love seeing all of the businesses they highlight. It's inspiring. I want to start one!!!!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Wide angle


There is just something awesome about the wide angle.  Yes, it distorts a little but when trying to capture a whole room or the whole yard there is no substitute.

It's lightning and thundering, so no swimming. Trent is back from Mexico City.

Today was a big day for kindness, love, patience, tolerance and understanding here in the United States.  The Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriages are legal in all states.  I am proud to be an American.  Now I hope we can all spend our time strengthening our own marriages.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

My favorite kind of day

Today started off ordinarily, driving kids to swim team and at 10 am I dropped Julianne off with friends to go to six flags.  On the way home from swim team I started to realize that no one needed to go anywhere for at least the next 6 hours.  That is exceptionally rare in my world.

I was so excited to get home from swim team and find Catherine feeling a little bit better.  She still has a bad cough but for the first time in a week, she was out and about in the house.  We all had lunch and then I put up all the umbrellas.  Everyone got in their swim suits.  I got a good book to read.  And we were outside from noon to 4.

It was super hot and super bright and sunny but it was really fun.  And snow cones make everything cooler. I got out the underwater camera and let the kids take pictures.  Trent is still in Mexico City so we had cereal for dinner, followed by ice cream cones and then we played sequence on the back patio.  So far this summer nines and sequence have been the favorite games by everyone in the family.


Also, since I had the camera out, I figured I'd document this year's tomato plants. I don't want to jinx anything, but this year has been my best ever!!!! They are all super healthy and producing tons of tomatoes.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

For my brother, Tyler . . . with love

I am going to return to routine blogging.  My brother has just left for 2 years.  He will be a missionary in the Czech-Slovakia mission.  I just know I will suck at letter writing.  My days fly by one after the other and it's all I can do to concentrate on the next few hours so that no child is left behind or forgotten at pick up.  And yet, things do happen.  We do "stuff."  I am sure of it . . .  it's just that once the moment passes, I will likely not remember any of the good parts worth sharing.

Today was another swim meet.  All five kids should have been there.  Catherine missed it though.  She has been quite ill.  She has been running a fever for 6 days and coughing.  She is sick of being sick and she is tired of being tired.  So it was just the other four there swimming away.

Owen had his first meet EVER last week and loved his ribbon in freestyle so much that he worked extra hard on his backstroke so that I could enter him in both.  That would mean 2 ribbons.  When we got to the meet a member of the 6 and under relay was not there, so Owen got moved into a relay (that means THREE ribbons).  He was so excited.  He jumped in and proceeded to only kick.  No arms at all were used in his relay leg.  Who knows what he was thinking, but everytime he came up for a breath he was smiling!

Then he did freestyle.  This time his arms did their job and he kicked well and made quite good time.  That is until he got to the finish.  He treaded water right by the edge talking to Julianne without touching the wall for a good solid 15 seconds.  Everyone was yelling "TOUCH THE WALL".  He just smiled.

Backstroke was his best event.  He looked great and did great.  Officially he'll be disqualified for rolling past vertical to see how far he was from the wall, but, really, what 4 year old has counted their strokes to the finish???

He came back after each race and sat in his chair, pulled his iphone out of its ziplock bag and sucked on his ring pop.  He is so often MUCH, MUCH older than 4.

The rest of the kids swam great.  I love swimming because you can track your own individual progress so well.  While the changes day by day are subtle, over time the change is significant. Julianne's 50 freestyle in 2013 was 35.72.  Today it was 29.91.  Madelyn's 25 free was 26.00 in 2013.  Today she was 18.03.  Adam's 25 free was 40.68 in 2013 and today it was 25.89.  Catherine's 50 free was 46.97.  Last week it was 34.11.  And Owen???  well his first recorded 25 free was 1:06:23.