Friday, August 18, 2017

County Fair

There's just something about a fair that fills me with patriotic pride and gratitude for this amazing country.
The exhibits and displays seem to take me back to the past
as I look at hand-stitched quilts,
beautiful artwork,
and livestock snuffling in their pens.
Somehow seeing ribbons dangling from bottled fruit and baked goods appeals to my farm-girl dreams and roots. 
My mom was raised on a farm in Idaho and my dad was raised with plenty of land, plants, animals, and chores. I have so many fond memories from my childhood of swinging in the tire swing that hung from the massive willow tree, climbing hay bales, pretending to drive old tractors, riding the three-wheeler around, climbing trees, and playing in the real pioneer log cabin that sat on my grandparents' property.
Maybe it's because of those fond memories that I have such a deep yearning to get our kids involved in work in a similar environment--even if it's on a very small scale.

We got together with my sister and her kids and had a ball petting a python, riding ponies, visiting the petting zoo, watching an adorable sea lion show, playing on a pirate ship, and wandering around the exhibits.
It may be a while before we have our own mini-farm,
but in the meantime I'm glad we can have little tastes.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Supporting My Spouse

Last week I had the opportunity to present at the Wives' Workshop, which was co-hosted by a good friend of mine. I was asked to present about supporting my husband, and I was really grateful for the opportunity it gave me to reflect on principles that have helped our relationship along the road of Sam's education and career.

I decided to share 5 keys to supporting a spouse that I've discovered over the years, and today I'd like to share a small portion of my presentation because this shift in mindset has helped me SO much over the years when Sam has had a lot of demands on his time.


Key #1: Remember--Same Goals, Different Roles

I think the number one lesson I have learned is that I need to not just support my husband in HIS goals—they actually need to become MY goals as well. One day I sat thinking about some of the challenges we faced through grad school and I suddenly realized that I had been thinking about it all wrong. I had been thinking about grad school as my husband’s goal and something I wanted to support him in, which was requiring a lot of sacrifice on my part. Although this had helped me become more selfless, I realized that a slight shift in my mindset would help me become more united with my husband through life’s ups and downs. I began to look at my husband’s schooling as something we were working on together. It was no longer the idea that “My husband has goals and I need to support him in those goals.” It became “WE have goals together and we both make sacrifices necessary to achieve them.” This may seem like a minor thing, but it was huge to me. I no longer felt such an overwhelming sense of loneliness during the long hours he was away. I was no longer frustrated when his work demands were constant and I attended activities alone or just missed out because I didn’t want to go without him. These sacrifices and challenges became stepping stones toward OUR goal. With this mindset, my husband and I grew more united and our relationship was greatly strengthened because we were working TOGETHER to achieve something instead of me struggling to support my husband while he pursued HIS goal.


If you're interested in reading about the other keys I've discovered, feel free to let me know through a comment or the contact form linked above. I'd be glad to e-mail you a copy of my presentation!
Thanks to Amberly for giving me the opportunity to reflect on this subject and become more purposeful about supporting my husband as a result!

Monday, August 14, 2017

MTC Open House

This weekend we went to the MTC (Missionary Training Center) open house.
What an amazing, beautiful facility!
The artwork lining the halls is absolutely stunning.
I was filled with awe as I saw so many devoted missionaries and so excited as I watched our little boys fist-bumping will be so amazing to watch them serve as missionaries!

Afterwards we went to the Creamery for ice cream.
Because Graham Canyon.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Aviary Wonder

On Maxwell's birthday, we went to the aviary.
Sam had just left town, so we weren't really going to do a full celebration until he got back,
but we have a pass that gets us into the aviary once a month,
so I thought Maxwell (and his brothers)
would enjoy the outing.

They started out with a fun scientific exploration at a stream where, among other fun water activities, they got to capture water in magnifying cases and then check for bugs.
Then we circled around the aviary
and I delighted in Maxwell's wonder of it all.
One of my favorite parts of taking little ones to new places
is seeing their fascination, wonder, and concentration as they try to make sense of it all.
Kids help me take fewer things for granted!

They loved pumping water into the fun sand/water course,
visiting the Owl Forest,
watching the flamingos frolic (while standing on one leg),
feeding the ducks,
and--perhaps most of all--discovering a swallow nest in the bathroom!

Don't you just want to squish that little face??
I'm glad he loves being squished, because I do it all through the day.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Birthday Cake

Baby brother enjoyed his first birthday cake.
It took him a few minutes to get into it--he wasn't sure what to think at first.
But after a while he became more enthusiastic
and s-l-o-w-l-y ate a good chunk of it,
seeming to savor each bite.
"Mmmm! Mmm!" he said.
His frosting goatee was pretty much perfection.

Also, 1st baby=darling from-scratch smash cake that I slaved over for hours.
4th baby=unappetizing cake mix smash cake covered in ganache because the baby just doesn't care.
Sorry, kid.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017


Our baby is one.

This year has been pretty full of changes and decisions,
so in some ways it has flown by but in others it seems like his birth was a lifetime ago.
 A few facts I want to remember:

-He is the cuddliest little guy. I've never had such a cuddly baby. He LOVES hugs and will come running over if I hold out my arms and say, "Hug?" After naps he will often just lay down on me for half an hour. Sometimes I'll let him sleep next to me for a little bit in the morning, and he is constantly moving to make it so part of his body is squashed up against me.

-He is really tactile. He loves using fine-motor skills by fitting things together, putting lids on things, opening and closing small items, taking straws out of holes and inserting them back in, and lifting flaps on books.

-He isn't talking a whole lot, but he will say "Mama" (only when he wants something), "Dad" (but not "Dada"), "bubbles" (learned during this little photo shoot), and his most favorite word: "BALL."

-He loves books. All of my kids have loved to read, but he has been obsessed since the time he was about 6 months old, and since that time he's been able to turn pages in real, paperback books and will actually sit on our laps and listen to full storybooks as well as board books. He will sit contentedly for quite some time while we read.

-He loves to dance to music and often does a move where he puts his arm out and moves it all the way up and all the way down over and over again.

-He loves his brothers. They delight in making him laugh, and he laughs really easily for them.

-He eats almost anything, but prefers food scavenged from off the floor or out of the garbage when I unwittingly leave the pantry door open. A normal dinnertime routine is to let him eat in his high chair and then when he starts fussing to get down, we put him down and he starts eating what he dropped on the floor. He especially loves fruit, toast, muffins, cheese, yogurt, and smoothies.

-He still has the darkest, most reflective eyes. I feel like they are endless! A lucky girl is going to lose herself in those eyes someday.

-He loves swinging, being thrown in the pouf, exploring outside, and watching animals and bugs. He hates shoes, loves his blanket and binky (I've delayed weaning him off of it and I fear it's going to be a rough transition!), and fills our hearts to the bursting.

Shum-Pum the Mighty, Maxwellito, Maxwell Sobramos, The Giant, Maxwellisimo...
we love you.
We're all so grateful you're in our family.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Bear Lake

I LOVE this little tradition my family started a number of years ago.
We were still in Texas at the time,
and I remember wishing we could go to Bear Lake with my family.
About a year after we moved back to Utah, we finally joined in the tradition, and it didn't disappoint.
It's just a little day trip, but it's a highly anticipated event for the kids!

This year, Sam couldn't come with me
(several other family members had to miss this time, too),
and as I lay on the bed awake at 4:30 in the morning, I just didn't think I was up to the trip alone.
It would be a long trip with 4 little boys...
not to mention keeping them all safe in the water...
and I have a LOT of trouble staying awake while driving in the afternoon.
If I hadn't already told the boys we would go, I probably would have just passed this time.
But I put on my big-girl pants, and we headed out several hours later.
And I'm glad we did, because it was another great trip!
And of course my family was wonderful to help out with the kids since I was flying solo.

Last week Sam was out of town and my sister's husband was also out of town.
So we decided to get together for a "cousin sleepover."
The kids made pita pizzas and fruit pizzas for dinner and the boys' room was lined with six sleeping bags.
(Poor babies had to miss out on the fun and sleep in other rooms.) 
The kids didn't fall asleep until about 11:00 pm because they were having too much fun,
and my sisters and I were doubled over laughing upstairs over games and ridiculous videos made in college.
The next morning the kids ate french toast and played at our house for a few hours 
before visiting a pond to feed the ducks.
(It turned out the ducks didn't like that pond that day--disappointing.)
Then we headed over to my sister's house where the kids played together for a while longer.
My other sister came over that night and we watched Anne of Green Gables
and then she stayed with the kids while I picked Sam up from the airport around midnight.

Saturdays are often spent with Sam's family, doing yard work, playing water balloon baseball, and building with Legos, in addition to our monthly family dinners with both sides.
Having so much family close by is such a treat!

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