Friday, September 30, 2016

The Trauma of Family Pictures

Yesterday we attempted to have family pictures taken.
My sister was kind enough to drive up from Salt Lake after work and we hurried over to the Great Salt Lake Shorelands Preserve to get a few shots in as the sun was setting.
I absolutely love the simplicity of the location, and I thought everyone's outfits came together pretty well for scrounging in drawers and closets for things we already had. The boys and Sam had fresh haircuts, Maxwell hadn't drenched his outfit with spit-up, I was armed with treats for the kids, and we were set.
Despite Lincoln's mournful declaration earlier in the day that "Faaaamily pictures aren't fuuun."

Unfortunately, as we got things set up in the light (which was fading very quickly!),
a swarm of mosquitoes descended upon the marshlands we were in, and we began to be eaten alive.
I quickly got my camera set up, showed my sister what I was going for, and we hastily captured a few poses while smacking mosquitoes right and left.
And then we gave it up and went home.

As I reviewed the pictures, I noticed that one person in particular took it upon himself to overturn any existing notion that we have a perfectly happy, well-behaved family.
He's pretty pleased with himself.
I'll let you guess who it was.



PS-This weekend we'll be tuning into General Conference! The boys have been counting down the days and we are all excited. I am about to take them shopping to pick out some Conference snacks. It's one of our favorite weekends of the year! Tune in with us here to hear amazing, inspiring words for any Christ-follower, regardless of their individual faith.

Thursday, September 29, 2016


I like words.
I like trying to sum up experiences with just a few key words.
And my word for Fall is anticipation.

In Utah, that means there is a slight chill in the air as we bid farewell to Summer and look ahead to Winter.
It's time to pull out cozy blankets at night.
We speak regularly of Christmas and I begin preparing gifts and planning festivities.
We celebrate birthdays in our family,
in addition to celebrating General Conference, Halloween, and Thanksgiving.
The leaves change colors,
and my mind lingers on memories of falling in love, getting engaged, and planning a wedding.
(What a whirlwind, anticipatory Fall that was 8 years ago!)
Our wardrobes start to transition,
and dark, chilly mornings are made extra cozy with warm breakfasts.
We look forward to so much as Fall begins.

I always missed Utah at this time of year when we lived in Texas.
There are a lot of things we actually miss about Texas, despite the fact that we are incredibly grateful to be close to our families!
But at this time of year, Utah has my heart.

The younger boys and I ventured out on a hike to enjoy some of the leaves this week.
It was lovely.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Rainbow Pollution

Yesterday we went for a hike, and as we looked out over the valley,
I noticed the disgusting pollution trapped below us.
The air quality usually isn't that bad when it isn't winter, but I could see a clear line!

Tonight I looked out the window and noticed a strange orange-ish color lighting everything outside as the sun went down.
The clouds were so creepy--almost apocalyptic--and I wondered what was going on to create such an unusual effect.
I walked outside to see what color the sunset was, and I was met with the most amazing double rainbow.
I quickly called to the boys to come and see,
and soon their shouts echoed up and down the street as they took in the beauty of the sky
and pranced around in the falling raindrops.

I think the rainbow was created in part because of the pollution.
And I suppose there is an application there for me, too--
I grow increasingly alarmed as I see what my children are going to encounter in their lives
and sometimes it's hard to not panic and to be willing to let go.
But maybe the "pollution" around them will encourage them to be even stronger in their beauty
and morality.

And maybe I can become stronger because of it, too.

Monday, September 26, 2016


This guy.

Late Friday afternoon, I got home and stepped out of the car.
And then I found myself staring at a quarter-sized, shiny black spider with a large abdomen in the corner of the garage.
A black widow had made our home her home, and I was none too happy about it.
A quick glance at its underside sent shivers down my spine as I noted the dreaded red hourglass.

I grew up thinking black widows=death.
I still remember my dramatic friend's whispered description of the spider, concluding with, "One bite...BOOM! You're dead."
I was only about 7 years old at the time, and I believed every word.
And although I'm a bit more educated about the issue today, I think I still have some of that residual terror!

Needless to say, I was so relieved when Sam came home and smashed it for us.
Then, he took me to the temple,
and as soon as we got home he washed all the dinner dishes.

AKA, he basically saved the universe.

A lady in Texas would always refer to him as "Superman,"
which only backed up the similarities I had noticed between the two.
He may come off as Clark Kent--a bit reserved, very smart...
but behind those glasses lies a 6'4" tall, dark, handsome guy
who nonchalantly performs superhuman acts on a regular basis.

You know, like washing dishes and killing deadly spiders before they bite our children.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Pepper Pickin'

I've had to come to terms with the fact that Talmage will miss out on many of our outings.
For years now, I've tried to take the kids on a weekly "field trip."
And since I teach piano lessons in the afternoons, it just doesn't work to have Talmage come with us most times.
But, as my sister pointed out, he got almost 7 years of it, and my other kids will get the same thing.
So, onward we go.

Yesterday we visited a U-Pick farm for our field trip,
and we had a delightful time picking peppers!
They were a great price, too, so we came home with a bushel to chop and freeze!
Lincoln and Wesley loved spotting the red ones,
looking them over for cracks,
and then picking them and putting them in the box.
It was a lovely morning at the farm!

Happy Friday, and Happy FALL!!!


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Summer Fun

I know I keep saying it,
but I am so amazed by the increase of energy that comes when I am no longer pregnant.
I feel like I let summer slip by without doing much out of the house,
and now that Talmage misses out on most of our outings, that thought makes me sad.
But I have to remind myself that we did go swimming almost every week,
we went to Bear Lake,
we went on some easy hikes,
we had lots of fun in the backyard,
and we did some simple outings like:

-getting snowcones on my birthday

 -going to a super fun park with an awesome zipline and the best hill for rolling

-going to Hill Aerospace Museum the day before my due date

(Wesley was so excited to see an airplane with "Joej" on it and wanted us to send this picture to Uncle "Joj!")

-and mini-golfing at a nearby park

I miss having my kids with me all day long.
The adjustment to first grade has been much harder for me than it has been for Talmage.
But we are slowly getting used to the new schedule,
and he loves his time away.
He's already gotten to go on two fun Fall field trips!

I'll just keep looking forward to next Summer which I plan to pack full of fun activities
while also being better about giving my kids lots of chores to do.
Sam and I keep talking about how we hope we can find a farmer to hire these boys when they are teenagers.
We want them to learn to work hard!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Such a Big Thing

Every morning when I pack Talmage's lunch,
I write a little note on a paper towel
and sometimes doodle a little picture I hope will make him smile.
I want him to feel like he's been hugged by me in the middle of his school day.
But the other day, he came home and told me he had saved his note because he wanted to look at it with me.
We took out the paper towel, and he unfolded it and read, "I'm so glad you made me a mom almost 7 years ago!"
A look of pleased awe came over his face and he said with a smile,
"Wow. I was so little, but I could do such a big thing!"

I love this boy.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Being Famous

Have you ever wondered what it's like to be famous?
To have people fawning over you all the time?
Well, if Maxwell could talk, he could probably give us a pretty good idea of what it's like.
Here are a few "real-life" (jammies and all) pictures of his adoring big brothers.
They're like this pretty much all day long.
But don't worry, despite the fact that they're always in his face,
Maxwell has only gotten stepped on once.

Having four boys has been so fun!
This is real life,
and this is the good life.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Lunchtime Conversations

A few highlights from today's lunchtime conversation:

Wesley: (referring to my dad) Grandpa doesn't really have a lot of wrinkles, but if you look closely you can see some.
Me: Yeah, he's not super old yet, but he's getting there, huh?
Wesley: Yeah. But he hasn't "lost his chops" yet!

Wesley: How many prophets are there today?
Me: 15. President Monson, President Eyring, President Uchtdorf...and then all of the apostles are prophets, but only one is the President of the Church. President...
Lincoln: Hinckley?
Me: Nope! President Hinckley was the President when I was growing up, but he died so now it's President M-...
Wesley and Lincoln: Monson!!!
Lincoln: And Heavenly Father helped you to not die.

Lincoln: Uncle Corban has a BATTLE AX!!!...
...Wait...just an ax.

I just love kid-talk.

In other news, this past weekend was my family's "Big Boys' Campout." My dad, my two brothers, Sam, my brother-in-law, and my sister's boyfriend all went camping on Friday night. Then on Saturday, their female counterparts drove up and met them at a picnic area. The boys drove RZRs through the mountains from their campground to the picnic area and we all had lunch together, and then the girls drove the RZRs back to the campground with the boys while my mom and dad drove the car back and met us on the other side.
It was a blast.
Between the influence of my dad and my brother, Sam is starting to become a bit of a thrill-seeker.
He loved going really fast over super rocky parts and I loved going really fast through mud puddles.
So we made a pretty good team!

Thanks to my dad for planning a fun outing and renting the RZRs.
Sam is dreaming of taking our kids on similar adventures when they are teenagers!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Maxwell's Blessing

Maxwell was blessed on September 4.
His daddy gave him such a tender blessing.
It is such a beautiful thing to see a circle of men surrounding a tiny infant with love as the babe is blessed, looking ahead to a wonderful life.

My grandpa is named Max.
We had considered the name Maxwell for our other boys, but it never seemed like the right name,
but it was on my mind from the beginning of this past pregnancy.
I just felt like it was his name.
Then my cousin had a sweet baby boy and named him Maxwell (also after my grandpa) and I thought we better name him something different--
but try as we might, we could not come up with another name that felt right.
I'm grateful to my cousin, who was super sweet about it all, and we (obviously) ended up still naming him Maxwell.
My grandpa is such an amazing person--I was thrilled he was able to be a part of the blessing,
and I told him I hope our Maxwell grows up to be just like him.
He is getting a pretty good line-up of posterity named after him!

Maxwell's middle name is Joseph, which is a common name in both Sam's and my family lines.
Sam and his brother Joseph were very close as they grew up,
so it was also wonderful to have him be a part of Maxwell's blessing.
(Wish I had snagged a picture of the two of them as well!)

I'm so thankful we were able to celebrate our 4th boy with our loved ones,
and I'm grateful he has such an amazing heritage behind him!

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