Friday, July 21, 2017

Blackberries

When we first found out in early June that we needed to move,
I was okay with everything
EXCEPT
leaving our garden.
*sniff*

It was our very first year planting a garden,
and it was thriving.
Each morning the boys would excitedly check on our plants
and sometimes they would burst through the door with excitement:
"Mom! MOM!!! The spaghetti squash has a FLOWER!"
We were so excited to harvest our little garden.

And then we moved.

Our new home had been sitting vacant through the Winter and Spring,
so the yard needed quite a bit of work.
Tall, dead weeds filled garden beds,
sections of the yard were either dead or overgrown,
and bugs and spiders had infested everything.

One of the first Saturdays we were here,
Sam and I were out working in the yard, clearing out the garden beds.
And I was beyond excited when I discovered that the previous owners had planted tomatoes last Summer and then the old plants had been left, the tomatoes had dropped down and shriveled up...
and volunteer plants were growing tall in the midst of the crazy weed growth!
I cleared things out around them and chose the strongest plants to remain,
and our first little green tomatoes have made their appearance.

As if that wasn't enough, though,
one evening when Sam was out of town I was wandering around the front yard and went around to the side of the house to look the plants over more carefully and discovered
a big, thornless, beautiful blackberry bush I hadn't seen before!
And despite the fact that no one had been taking care of it all year,
it was totally loaded with blackberries that were almost ripe.
My day was completely made.

They were still a bit tart when Maxwell tried them for the first time
(classic faces!)
but now they have ripened beautifully and he thoroughly enjoys them.
We are so excited to make a blackberry pie and serve it with vanilla bean ice cream this weekend.

PS-I promise I love Wesley too,
but he isn't a fan of berries so he didn't stop riding his bike to come over.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Ode to a Bad Morning


'Twas a day in mid-July
And all through the house
Not a creature was stirring
(Hopefully not a mouse!).

Because all of the children
Were in the front yard
With their busy mother Kaitlyn
Working ever so hard.

The pesky weeds were pulled
And basketball was played
As the boys threw the plants
To the bin from the shade.

And all of a sudden
There arose such a clatter
The boys turned their heads
To see what was the matter.

For down by a clumping
Of aspen tree shoots,
Their mother was hopping
Like a snake was in her boot!

For in the midst of her hacking
She'd upset a wasps' nest
And a couple of stings later
She wasn't feeling her best.

Into the kitchen
She rushed in great pain
The welts were angry
And red, like a stain.

And while she stood running
Water over her wounds,
Her curious boys
Hurried into the room.

And then it was chaos--
questions galore!
And just then the baby
tripped and smashed his nose on the floor.

And so, her arm throbbing,
Mommy picked up her babe
And rubbed on some oils
to help soothe the pain.

And she sent the others
To go off and play.
(For with all their good intentions,
They were sort of in the way.)

And as she nursed her wounds
And soothed the baby's cries,
From the backyard
Came another surprise!

"Lincoln's hurt BAD!"
Talmage shouted with fright.
So she left the wee baby
And ran into the sunlight.

Poor Lincoln stood crying,
Barefoot in the weeds.
His feet had been punctured
By a patch of sticker seeds.

And so, arm still throbbing,
She lay him on the couch
While she calmed his tears
And got the thorns out.

But I guess he was tired
Because in the middle of eating
He threw such a tantrum
You'd think he'd taken a beating!

And so Kaitlyn decided
Naptime should be announced
And then, oh, what wailings
And shoutings were pronounced!

"Dis is the WORST Mommy EVER!"
He said with a sob.
And the way she was feeling,
She could agree with a nod.

But through all the wasp stings,
the tantrums and messes,
She prays she will be one
Who nurtures and blesses.

Who smiles when really
She wants a good cry--
Who encourages and teaches
Even with tears in her eyes.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Neighborly

Yesterday a few ladies from my neighborhood came to visit with me (cookies in hand).
From the second I opened the door to the moment they bid me farewell,
they showered me with compliments and praise
and seemed so sincere in their love for me and my family--
although they barely know me!

"Your outfit is so cute!! Are you going somewhere today??"
"You mean...you might not be here permanently?? Do you need us to find you a house in the ward to buy?"
"Wow, he is so well spoken! Do you work with him on his speaking?"
"He is so sweet!"
"They all have such great names!"
"The moment we saw your family we thought, 'We need to hang onto them!'"
"We love you. And we love your boys!"

And on and on and on.

But they were so genuine in all of their interactions that it didn't seem at all over the top.
I came away feeling so uplifted and boosted because of their friendship.
And all day long I thought to myself, "I want to be like that...I want to be that encouraging. I want to uplift others unconditionally and focus on their strengths."

where I know I will have instant friends and fellowship no matter where I go.

Our former neighborhood was so friendly and welcoming as well...
these photos were taken a couple of weeks before we moved
on a couple of relaxed summer afternoons...
the boys rode bikes
and Maxwell toddled around
and I sat in the shade
and we visited with neighbors
and it was pretty much perfect.

Monday, July 17, 2017

A Tender Mercy


The boys have been champs about this move.
They have been enjoying our new home but also have times of sadness when they miss elements of what we left behind.
Talmage in particular has been a bit sad about leaving his old school.
Before we moved, as he was feeling really sad about not seeing his friends anymore,
he offered a heartfelt prayer that he would be able to see his friends again.

I was surprised and happy when, on our first Sunday in our new ward,
I saw some of his school friends in the hall of the church building.
Since we live in a totally different city, I didn't think any congregations from our old school boundaries would attend this building.
Come to find out, for some reason there wasn't room for their ward in any nearby buildings
so they were assigned to a building a few miles away.

Which just happens to be our building.

Talmage was so thrilled to see some school friends!
"Wow...just one little prayer!" he commented.
Coincidence?
Maybe.
But I know God is aware of the desires of a 7-year-old boy
and I'm constantly amazed by the ways we see His hand in our lives.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Taste of Summer

Babies and watermelon are one of the best combinations out there,
don't you think?
Sam has been out of town this week...
he had to give a presentation on the East Coast,
and things always seem rather dismal when he's gone.
On Monday I asked the boys what their high and low for the day was.
Wesley said, "My low was dropping Daddy off at the airport, and my high was knowing we would see him again."

I'm feeling so grateful to have a guy who is so missed when he is gone!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Cousins' Book Birthday Party


My sister came into town a few weeks ago, so she hosted her annual "cousins' birthday party" for all of her nieces and nephews! Each year has had a super fun theme and this year did not disappoint.
The party had a book theme, so all the kids came dressed as favorite book characters.
My kids:
Wesley-Gwydion from The Prydain Chronicles
Maxwell-a duck from Animal Sounds


Their cousins had pretty awesome costumes, too!
-Flat Stanley
-a demon from Fablehaven
-Spiderman
-Superman
-a ballerina

My brother made this super awesome giant book where book-themed activities were revealed like Harry Potter wand-choosing and a scavenger hunt to find chocolate frogs, roasting hot dogs and marshmallows from Bailey Goes Camping, acting out fairy tales, hearing an ancestor story in conjunction with David Copperfield, and more!
I laughed so hard tears were coming down as the kids played Bean-boozled with Bertie Botts' Every Flavor Beans. Their reactions were priceless!


My mom even made monogrammed library book bags to give the kids as party favors!
All in all, it was an awesome party!
Thanks to Aunt Breanne for starting a much-anticipated tradition,
and thanks to Grammy, Aunt Avalon, and Uncle Bronson for helping to put it together.

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