Saturday, October 31, 2015


This year has been the weirdest Halloween we've experienced in Oregon. Usually, our apartment complex is hopping - kids and families all over the place. During Aeryn's last year in elementary school I was volunteering at the library and heard the other parents talking about how our complex was "THE" place to go. There were kids all over. The office used to sponsor cider and treats with coloring pages and a trick or treating stop for the kids. We'd see most of our friends as we walked around, and it was a blast. Seriously, a blast.

Today however, it seems mostly vacant outside. We have opened the door a total of 8 times to hand out candy, the parking lot is empty, and there are so few people. With a family, it's just one more thing that makes me anxious for the day we can finally move into a real neighborhood. Soon. At least that's what I'm telling myself: Soon.

Aeryn chose to be Black Widow, and Tate, well, he didn't get to choose anything. (And yes, it causes me stress that her blacks don't match, but well, she was happy and I'll just deal with it.)

Can I tell you how thankful I was for this costume choice? All it took was one trip to Goodwill and one 6 minute block of time to create the belt symbol. She totally made my day and I didn't have to talk her out of something elaborate first. That's the reason she actually has the costume she wanted. It was easy. At 34 weeks pregnant easy is my mojo.

Tate was slated to be a minion. Didn't he turn out cute????

Yes, I know, that doesn't look like a minion... That's because as I mentioned previously I am tired. With a capital T. On our goodwill visit I even scored the perfect overalls and was completely stoked. I was going to make the hat and goggles, dye a shirt or find something yellow for him to wear, then call it done, but even that was far too much effort for me. I have spent the last three days feeling like a slacker mom but in truth I'm going to blame it on baby girl sucking all my energy away. I can't be this unmotivated by myself, surely. 

This afternoon I was desperately trying to think of something we could put together at home and then it hit me that we had taken away a blue plastic bat this morning because Mr. T was waving it all around the place on the verge of damaging everything we own. Couple that with the jerseys he is about to grow into and the idea was born that we could make this look deliberate instead of last minute and spontaneous. Winning. 

Of course I had to try to document this whole weird holiday so I can forever look back at how cute/little/silly the kids once were. Toddlers do not care if you have a camera. They do not care if you want them to smile or be still for only one second. They do not care about much of anything except that they are outside and can run amok. Squirt tried to keep tabs on him, but the darling Pinterest-worthy photo ideas that linger in the back of an internet obsessed mother were not going to be happening. I can only imagine how effective it will be once there is yet another one to coerce into cuteness. Pinterest has ruined me. If it weren't for all the great ideas I've stolen from there I'd wish it would disappear so my self-esteem wouldn't suffer.  (Please, please, for the love, don't go away Pinterest.)

Squirt handed out candy to the few kids who came by and we took Tate to the doors of a few families we know. He didn't get the whole thing and tried to walk away once a person talked to him. He doesn't understand candy and it didn't make a whole lot of sense, but he LOVED knocking. We had success at only two homes which was just fine with us. I can say that we did it, and the kids still had a normalish non-sugared up bedtime. 

Evidently Ellie was sick and didn't get to go out tonight, but she was able to attend a party at church a few days ago and get to have a Halloween experience for the year. If only we'd be able to have them all together for this holiday one year...

And now, it's over. I didn't decorate, we bought our candy at 4:00 p.m. after we already saw kids outside, and as you know I was a bit of a slacker in the costume department. Next on the list is Thanksgiving, and I'm determined to actually experience that Holiday. I've already got plans for simple decorations and food. Bets on if any of that will happen? I'm thinking the odds are not looking good, but I'm going to keep dreaming anyway. 

Friday, October 23, 2015

It seems like only yesterday...

We were crazy kids. 

When we spent most of our money at Express and went dancing every weekend,
And took our first road trip back to Colorado. You were so homesick you almost couldn't stand it. 
We would get a dozen donuts from Dunkin' Donuts before work on a Saturday morning and have them all gone before lunch time. Or grab lunch at Kenny Roger's Roasters twice in one day.

When we had that party at your parents house while they were in Wendover,
and pretended to be taking a medical terminology class on Saturday nights so we would have a weekend night off together.

How we would pick and choose whose singles ward had the best activities that week, or the cutest boys, and go there together.

The vinyl pants we would always wear dancing despite the fact we would sweat mercilessly in them, and how you convinced me to put my fears aside and dance on the lighted pedestals.

Or go to Pebbles in My Pocket and pretend we were going to actually use the scrapbook supplies we bought. I think I made five pages, and this is one of them.

As we would take my camera and have random "photo shoots" around town, and you would always look stylish and amazing, while I looked insecure and awkward,
Because I was...

The day that I had a little confidence breakdown about being "fat and ugly," as most girls do at some point, and you emphasized your own vanity and sarcasm to make me feel better by saying "do you think I would hang out with you if you were ugly?" You still would have btw,  but when you said that you made me feel better; even if it was a somewhat odd way go about it. 

The time that one jerk boyfriend of yours called you "battleship" after you'd lost a stupid amount of weight to anorexia and our awesome gay boss defended you and told you that "women everywhere look at you and curse your name." He was right, and it made you laugh, even if you didn't believe him. 

The day you met my mom and I was so nervous because of all the people who didn't know how to respond to her challenges with tact or kindness. You were so patient, and loving, and instead of her limitations you saw her heart. You told me "I want to be just like her" because you could feel of her love for people and tendency to put herself last. In that moment I came to know your heart so much better than I realized I would. 

I was planning on posting to your Facebook wall about how I'm still wearing those black stretch pants, you know -the ones we used to go dancing in- and how they are getting me through my third pregnancy and still going strong almost 20 years later. 

We went through so much together. So many boyfriends (mostly yours), so much drama, so much junk food. Trying to find ourselves, heartbreak, lots of chocolate, weddings, and first babies. We traded clothes when we found they looked better on each other, and when you gave me my first highlights. I was there when you did the "superstar" pose walking to the Joseph Smith memorial building and split your dress up the back on the way to your wedding luncheon, and I admired how even when people were roasting you over that lunch about your many, many driving mishaps, you were able to laugh it off and find it hilarious. I always take those things so personally and get embarrassed, but not you.

I was jealous of how stylish even your baby looked, and ecstatic when Squirt got some of your oldest's hand-me-downs. I was always much more frugal than you, which meant you always had better stuff than I did. 

The day we decided that our perfect spouses would be just like the other one of us, because no one else "got" us like that.

There are so many memories. Good, bad, ugly, hilarious, and tender. 

I've missed your sarcasm, wit, and hilarity. Social media makes the world feel so small even when distance prevails. I can't believe you are gone. Your parents are amazing and I know your kids will be taken care of, but even though it has been a long time I feel a hole in my heart where only your crazy personality fits.

Til we meet again my friend,
In those few college years you made me a better version of me.
RIP Smelly Poo

Friday, October 9, 2015

"Things" with cousins

The girls each have their "thing" with Jim. This summer they each got to hit one more on their way out to Grandma's house. This time though they had cousins to share the experience with them.

At the Boise state capital....

And the Payson UT temple.



It's better late than never. This girl started seventh grade. Seventh? Really? Oy.

I had to work so first day pictures had to wait until afternoon. She tried to cooperate, but really she just wanted to go off and and hang out with friends. Most of her looks scream "whatever."

This girl loves boots. And skirts. Or rather, she thinks she loves skirts but still wears jeans most days.

This year is going so well. Last year was a daily battle with homework and structures and responsible choices, but there has been a great improvement in all those areas so far this year. Well, with the homework and structure areas at least. Responsibility is a slow going process :)

When I think about her being my baby girl I get all choked up. Is this really the same child that I held and rocked and snuggled for years? It's crazy how quickly the time goes. Everyone used to tell me how quickly the first year passes, but man alive, each year after that just goes faster and faster. Crazy.

Beach House Weekend

At the end of summer we were able to spend a weekend at the beach in Lincoln City with Jim's parents and his brother's family. It was dreamy. Like, seriously dreamy. We were literally only feet from the beach and the kids got to frolic and play in the sand to their hearts content. As true Northwest children (most of them anyway) they were completely unaffected by the cool air, no matter how soaked they were.

We took a couple different hikes, and these photos are most definitely not in order, but the two were completely different yet completely great.

One day we went to a "secret beach" that BIL/SIL + kids used to frequent. The beach is only accessible during low tide and we made it in farther than they had seen before. There were numerous sea stars, plenty of photographic opportunity for my FIL, and many little puddles for T to splash in.

T hiked a little way with Grandma before dad snatched him, took off at a crazy pace and left us all behind. I confess I was quite disappointed. Since I was lugging all the baby stuff and the camera, the least I could have had was the chance to see the baby being all cute. I didn't end up with to many pictures as a result. Next time though I suppose we will both get to hold a baby.

The view from where we turned around was beautiful. I sure do love the west coast.

I think he was pointing at my camera, but I really don't remember. Jim's smile is so great that I don't need to remember the details. It just makes me happy.

Tate found the different textures to be pretty interesting. He was more interested in just looking at them, but splashing in all the puddles was his favorite thing ever.

The little girls climbed through rock tunnels...

And Uncle Ben became a beacon on top of a rock. The coast is so refreshing. I'm thankful we've had the chance to live so close and get to experience these type of things each year.

Redwoods '15

We took our normal summer adventure once again. It's a weird feeling having no idea where we will be next year and not knowing if we will be able to continue this tradition.

We stayed in our normal campground, but instead of a campsite filled with redwoods we had gorgeous mossy maples instead.

There was a little creek bed behind our site that the kids loved to explore. To climb down they had to go over a semi-burned log which made for some really clean adventures. I can't believe how much this kid is growing up.

Ellie was crushed to not see any banana slugs in our campsite. Ironically, within one minute of her complaint Aeryn started to find them all over the little creek bed. The girls ran around and found at least a half dozen in less than a minute. Usually, we find solid yellow slugs, but this time we were lucky and found several spotted "overripe banana" slugs.

Jim attempted to share the banana slug joy with Tate. He was not impressed. You can see his trepidation in the first picture, and if you look closely at his hand in the second picture you'll see he's still stiff from trying to swat the thing out of Jim's hand. I've never seen him so uncertain about something. He really did not like them.

He did like the camp chairs and s'mores fixings though. I seldom got to sit in my own chair because it seems all the kids like adult chairs better.

I can't believe how big these girls are getting. This overlook looks out toward the Pacific ocean but it took a great deal of concentration to identify where the clouds ended and the water began.

I love these people. They carry my heart with them everywhere they go. As a kid I dreamed that family life could be this great, but I didn't really believe it. It's not all sunshine and roses of course, but I think that is part of what makes it so great; It's completely real.

T was fairly sleepy as we finished our walk through Stout Grove. I'm not sure he was very impressed with the trees, but he endured it well even with it being the middle of nap time.

My boys are so cute. I have a feeling these guys will have an extra special bond. Since they will be surrounded by so much estrogen they will have to band together to stay sane.

How much longer will we be able to fit in our tree? The family pictures here have sure changed a lot over the years. It's strange to think that in a year we'd have to fit another human into this shot.