Saturday, July 09, 2016

Ruh-Roh -- First Fender-Bender

Our car.

Poor Bam!

Yesterday she took her younger sisters shopping and decided to get a Subway sandwich on the way home. 

Only, the parking space was a little too tight for our car (translation -- Bam now knows the turning radius of our Honda Pilot). 

Thankfully, no one was hurt. AND the person who owned the car she hit (parked car) was SO kind when she learned about the fender bender.

SO kind. 

She told Bam not to worry and "that this is probably the first of many."

I don't remember being that understanding when I've been involved in an accident. 

We all learned a lot yesterday. 

The other car.

25, 46, Hut Hut!

Walk down memory lane: Dinner at Outback (thanks to Melissa for the giftcard).
I don't think we had been here in 10 years! Thanks, Melissa!

I feel like I finally understand what the phrase "Time Flies" really means--because I feel like Dave and I got married, we blinked, and six kids later, here we are celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary.

That is just wild!

And given that we have now been married 25 years, it only follows that I am now 46 years old! 

Holy guacamole.

Papaya made my 46th bday cake. (Ocean theme for Shark Week).

A sweet friend brought me flowers for my bday.

Zu and Lu made snow-cones for my bday dessert. So cool.

Harriet and Zu on our way to buy the special snow-cone ice.

Janae, my BFF, had a lemonade stand at her house and had this CRAZY-BIG cotton candy made for me (pina colada).

This is a family inside joke: Bam got this balloon a month ago. We named it Smiley. We loved it--for a day--until we realized it would drift into certain kiddos' rooms each night. Or slowly trail us down the hall. It was CREEPY.

So imagine my surprise when I went to change the filter in our HVAC system and FOUND SMILEY STUCK TO THE FILTER.

It seriously scared the crap outta me. How in the heck did SMILEY find his way here?
Bam is way into specialty make-up. Her dream-job: make-up artist on a movie set.

Jr. at the 4th of July BBQ our friends had. He is SO good with kids. LOL.

Fireworks across the street from our home.

4th of July night.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

We ❤️ Summer

LuLu's a teenager! (It's official: we now have 5 teenagers at home.)

Summer is usually in FULL-FORCE come June in Utah. 

And we LOVE that.

Summer in Utah means hotter weather (usually 90-100 degrees); swim time; longer days (sundown is usually 9pm); lake time; and lots of fun celebrations . . .

--Father's Day
--Dave and I both have brothers with bdays
--LuLu celebrates a bday
--Dave and I celebrate our wedding anniversary (25 years THIS YEAR!)
--and I celebrate a bday, too

It's a good time.

Thank goodness for the changing seasons--they sure do make you appreciate CHANGE.

Happy Birthday LuLu. We are so glad you are FINALLY a teenager (and we love you so very much).

Lu and her friend J--at her bday celebration.

Lu planned and prepped for her party ALL on her own: water games, sand volleyball, pizza, cake . . . it was great.

Like "Duck, Duck, Goose," only "Drip, Drip, Splash."

Water balloon games.

Teenagers have ZERO mercy when it comes to water balloons.

Lu loves Costco cake.
(Translation: she's had it for breakfast this week.)

ZuZu and Papaya made Lu's family bday cake: It says "Happy Birtday"--oops.

Even though Lu likes cake for breakfast, we did have healthy donuts on her actual bday. (Talk about sugar. Holy cow.)

This is how Dave and I celebrate 25 years of marriage: by making a fort in our backyard and finding some time together to JUST BE. (It was actually awesome, even if it looks hilarious with my tablecloth tethered to our fence.)

Bam and M play in the lake by our home.
(Bam and Papaya are blessed to tend this amazing toddler each week.)

More with McK.

As I look at these photos, I'm reminded of just how TIRING toddlers are! ("More, more, more! Again, again, again!)

Handsome Dave: 25 years and still looking like a baby-face.
(PS: Not our baby, but Dave at a wedding holding his step-sister's bambino.)
(PPS: The big inside joke at our home: Dave loves babies. Like LOVES them.)

My anniversary card from Dave. I love it.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Girl Power

All set for summer.

Living in a climate with all 4 seasons is kinda funny because things like bikes, sprinklers, yard games, etc., need to be "tuned up" before you can use/enjoy them each spring/summer.

(Translation = you don't really use those things in the off-season. Translation = BOO!)
So yesterday was our day to get the bikes down from the racks and ready for riding. And while I know this is totally "Little House on the Prairie" of me, I was thinking this should be Dave, Jay, and Jr's job. My 1970s upbringing has me hard-coded; it seems like guys should maybe be over the garage stuff?
But with Dave at work, Jay asleep (forever), and Jr. not really knowing how to tune-up a bike, that wasn't happenin'.
So . . . rather than wait on the boys, the girls and I got out our tools, watched a YouTube video on changing a bike tube, borrowed a bike pump . . .
and got the job done. OURSELVES!
I don't know why, but this felt SO LIBERATING. Like. So. Liberating. And it made me wonder how many times I wait or assign a project to the "boys" that could really be done by myself or the "girls"?
Probably pretty often.
Time to revise my Boy Job/Girl Job way of thinking--at least where some jobs are concerned.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Summertime Madness

As a teacher and mom with 6 kids, summer is something I look forward to ALL SCHOOL YEAR!

And then, two weeks into "summer" I begin worrying that we're not using the time well. Specifically, that I'm not using the time well.

I start thinking about things like 

--sleep schedules (just how late is "okay" for teens in summer?)
--curfews (again, just HOW late is "okay" for teens in summer?)
--structured family activities (when? where? how many?)
--unstructured "free-time" (for 5 teens?)
--required reading (at 12-17, do we still participate in the Library Summer Reading Program?)
--screen time (in all of its forms: tv, games, phones, music, movies, etc.)
--exercise (how much?)
--service (where? when? optional?)

And on and on and on!

Now, I know that every family and situation is unique, so there isn't a one-size-fits-all answer to each of these questions, but since our oldest son turned 21, I've really started to panic consider just how much influence Dave and I should/can have on our family these last few young adult/school years.

And I'm telling you, my head is kinda spinning. 

So, that's what's on my mind.

In the meantime, I'm trying not to worry too much and accept that life is good even when we are figuring these things out.


Some of my last week's "To Done List":

Harriet went to the groomer for the first time in 6 months. Holy guacamole she needed a trim. (She's a little anxious to leave the groomer and wasn't ready to look at me for this shot. She was still upset about the 8 hours she spent there. Yup, 8!)

I made Energy Bites (Pinterest) for the 900th time this summer. I'm trying my best to drop my winter coat, so I thought I'd snack on things like mini M&Ms, honey, highly processed p-nut butter . . . .

I balance the energy bites with super sweet fruit. You know, because I don't want to suffer while I'm transitioning to a bathing suit body. LOL. (Wow, that knife looks ominous.)

And I'm drinking a lot of water--in my "on-sale cup." Didn't think about reading the cup before I bought it. What in the heck?

Energy Bite Recipe:

Oh, and the recipe for the Energy Bites.

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Time, Time, Time . . .

Truth be told: since our kids became teenagers (5 out of the 6 kids!), I just haven't had motivation to blog regularly.

I think most of this comes from the fact that our lives have just become really busy and it's hard to find a time to sit down uninterrupted and write. But I also think some of my writer's block comes from the fact that our lives have been a little lot more challenging these past few years. 

I know, life is all about Highs and Lows. And I know every human on Planet E has their share of challenges, but I think ours have all kinda happened in one chunk of time.

Here's a little of what we've been through these past 18 months:

1. ELEVEN hospitalizations (only 3 of them were scheduled).

2. A year-long fight with mono for our 16 yo (which included 3 sinus infections and pneumonia along the way). This illness became such a battle that they couldn't attend traditional school, and moved to an online high school.

3. Two broken feet (mine).

4. One ruptured back disc (mine).

5. One pinched nerve in foot--which still needs surgery (Dave).

6. Three oral surgeries (one that involved adding a CHAIN to a tooth stuck in our child's soft pallete!).

7. Three teenagers getting their driver's licenses.

8. Intense stress, insomnia, and overeating from #s 1-7.

As I finish this list,  I realize that there are people all over the world dealing with much more challenging times (war, death, etc.). And this makes it even harder for me to write--because I feel ungrateful if I complain about my "first world problems." (I mean, at least we have access to medical care. At least we have extra food to stress-eat.)

And yet, the struggle is real.

As cheesy as it sounds, my struggle is real. 

And so is yours.

Much love to you as you ride out your Highs and Lows.

(And now, some pics of our Highs.)

CityKitty continues to bring us PURE joy.

Bam joined an incredible program called Bridle Up Hope!

Bam (with new hair color) loves working at the Bridle Up Hope! barn. This is Peetah the barncat.

We're really blessed to have our neighbor K visit a few days a week.

Spidey shakes the sign. We know this guy!

Jr, Papaya and Bam went on a beautiful hike.

Papaya prepared for YW Camp with a Kick-Off Night.

Lu and Zu also attended the Camp Kick-Off.

Camp Kick-Off.

Lu and Zu (and me) were able to attend BYU's cadaver lab and use that as a "job shadow" experience (being a professor in the lab). It was amazing.

We love BYU.

Throwback to Jr as a baby (a photo we just got from his birthmom. Yay!)

I'm learning to knit. Makes me feel old, but I am trying to see it as a HIP thing.

My friend gave me these awesome peonies.

Our strawberries are growing.

My parents came into town and spoiled us.

Harriet is working on growing her fur for "Locks of Love." (She needs a trim!)

Bam went to the opening night of the new Alice in Wonderland movie.

The lake opened and the kids learned to paddle-board.

We added another cat. (Yes, I realize more than 2 is considered a "cattery.")

Ray has been fishing. (And releases them.)

Lu and Papaya made homemade corndogs.