My mother often referenced the "chapters" in her life book. And just like a book, when one chapter ends, another begins, and it goes on and on and on. My first chapter, was new (frazzled, stressed out, neurotic and perfectionist) mom. Second chapter new mom with two children who thinks she knows everything. Third chapter, mom with preschooler and two at home who still thinks she knows everything. Fourth chapter, mom with elementary school children and little children at home and no clue what's going on.

I know the chapters will keep ending, and changing. There are a few that I am a little timid about experiencing. Namely, and not in any particular order, "Middle School", "Dating", "Puberty (Hello, 3 girls)" and "Empty Nester without grandchildren."

Right now I feel as though one chapter is closing on us, and that is having all of our children "little".  I think I will often look back at these as the golden chapters. They all still adore us, and want our attention 24/7. They all want us to hold them and praise them and read to them and tuck them in.  As exhausting as this section of my book is, it is a dear one to my heart. All the characters are developing quite nicely and it is humorous enough to keep me going.

But my role in it is confusing. It's as though the older ones are needing me even more now. A fact I thought almost impossible after trudging through getting the swine flu post partum and nursing a newborn with same said swine flu (true and horrific story).

Now we have sports this year. To be honest, I kind of dreaded starting the "sports" chapter that is a very long one. Even though I always loved sports growing up, and so did Ty, I disliked the schedule and driving and night games. But once it started? It was lovely. We loved going as a family and watching Lucy play and learn how to work with a team. It didn't hurt that her first season her team went undefeated either. I helped out a little with the coaching and remember how much I love soccer, my first love. And I enjoy teaching it too.

I'm sure I'm not the only mom that feels like taffy being pulled everywhere, and I know I could ask everyone how they do it all and how they choose to keep it simple and I would receive a million different answers. For now, I'm going to figure it out and try to keep choosing the right path in this chapter, and the ones to come.

The Blue Dolphins! and their awesome coach Jenny.


a guessing game

Most of what our kids do either passes by us without notice, makes us laugh (like when Abby sang to the floaties in her cup at dinner for a good two minutes), or puzzles us. 80% of the time is puzzling.  For example, Rodney has been "sliming" everyone for over a week. He runs up to you, clobbers you (with his face only) and runs away giggling.  Add in his runny nose and you get the slime part.

Ty and I are so unfazed by stuff now we ignored it. Until I was helping Rodney put his shoes on the other day. I pulled up his shirt and gave him a big zurbert (sp? anyone?). Just like you were given growing up. Your parent presses their lips into your tummy and wiggles their face around making a horrible sound. Yup, zurberts.

And just after Rodney, of course, laughed and then "slimed" me. He doesn't wriggle his head, or know how to make the sound (trust me, i've noticed him trying since then) he just sticks his head into your leg, or tummy or neck, and pulls away with a string of goo attached to you.

I called Ty as soon as I realized it.

"Hey, you know how Rodney has been doing that thing with his face all week and sliming you?"

Ty: "yeah, weird"

"He's giving Zurberts!! I just figured it out. My dad gave him one last week"

Yup, Rodney's first introduction to Zurberts was from my dad. Which is so apropos it isn't even funny. Or it's really funny. Whatever it is, it's insanely adorable and I don't mind the boogies. Scratch that, it's super gross.


a child's prayer

Yesterday the girls and I participated in the annual Primary Program. For an hour the children sing the several songs they have memorized and recite scriptures and gospel principles for the congregation. I've always loved the primary programs, those 3 year olds! But participating was a whole different ballgame. It is so hard to sit still for an hour if you are a little body.

 But they all did so well, and did their parts perfectly. My favorite song from primary (and always has been) is A Child's Prayer. It is a duet sung by a child and a parent (or leader). I wanted to share the words that never fail to humble me and bring tears to my eyes.

Heavenly Father, are You really there?
And do you hear and answer every child's prayer?
Some say that heaven is far away. 
But I feel it close around me as I pray.
Heavenly Father, I remember now.
Something that Jesus told disciples long ago:
"Suffer the children to come to me"
Father in prayer I'm coming now to Thee.

Pray, He is there.
Speak, He is listening.
You are His child. His love now surrounds you.
He hears your prayer;
He loves the children.
Of such is the kingdom, the kingdom of heav'n. 

You can download this version for free Here
Or other versions on itunes Here


Birthday girl

Something about your oldest's birthdays really gets me. Maybe because it's the first one each time. First one year old. First 9 year old. First teenager etc. Or because maybe because you see time fleeting faster than you can grab it. Whatever it is, it's different than any other birthday.

Last week as I lay awake I marveled at how much has happened in these last nine years of our family. 

All the wonderful, and hard and those few black empty spaces where I blocked life out. They are all there filling up what is our life.

And I'm grateful for it all and for this beautiful, smart girl that started it all.


a little change

I have an awesome hairdresser. She is young and vibrant and gorgeous and talented. Oh! I wish I had the energy she has. She is also brave. I am pretty brave, but not when it comes to my hair color. My only rule is NO GRAYS! I've been battling grays since freshman year of college. The girls noticed mine for the first time this week ( I was overdue for a color). "Why do you have grey hair?" Abby asked. "You're not even old!".  Sweet, blessed Abby.

Growing up I was hair challenged, and clothing challenged, and just girl challenged all around. Mix together the fact that I couldn't brush or braid my own hair (or anyone else's for that matter), liked boy clothes better than girls and was the last of my friends to physically "mature" you've got a good recipe for frumpy girl syndrome.

I did not consider myself cute or pretty. I did think I was beautiful, but because my parents told me so. Beautiful never meant pretty or cute to me. It meant something that I just was and always would be. Note to self: Keep telling the girls they are beautiful.

As a woman ( I feel funny just writing I'm a woman!), I still have the same thoughts as I did as a child. I'm just a normal, regular person. I'm not cute or pretty and definitely not the girl on the homecoming float. I'm the soccer player with stinky socks and the ballerina that could do a triple pirouette en pointe. Those were the things I identified with, and I guess still do.

Beauty? What is that? I mean, I definitely try on Sundays and date nights to look my best. But I always feel like the old woman from Princess Bride will run out and yell "BOO! BOO!" and everyone will see me for the impostor that I am. I can't be the only woman who feels this way. If I wear heavier eye makeup than regular or spruce up my accessories I feel extremely out of place.  Anyone else like this? Or is it just me?

Back to hair. I decided to give my hairdresser full reign. "Do what you think would look best" I told her. And just sat back.

You guys, I have trendy long hair. I have hair that is in style.  This has never happened to me in my life.

It feels fun, and young and totally ridiculous all at once. Who am I to have trendy hair?

 I mean, really?

*post edit* both of my curling irons died yesterday. Blast you karma. 


baby girl birthday

Our baby girl turned four last month. FOUR. She wanted a "swim" party. We acquiesced, despite the windy and cold weather. It was a blast with all of our family.

Phoebe and cousin Evelyn

Trucks and their sounds are important
 Grandma Curtis and Lucy
 Uncle Roger and "Uncle" Jed
 It was a full house, these kids have so many grandparents!
  I hope they realize how magical a childhood that is.
Phoebe, my little firecracker. WE LOVE YOU!


Our family trip

Tyson had a hunt coming up in Wyoming during his birthday. He is always hunting on his birthday. Fun for him! Lame for us.

Then he told me how close his hunt was to Yellowstone. We've been wanting to go there since we married. We've wanted to take the kids there since they were old enough to remember it.

"It's only 3 hrs away!" he said.
"It will be easy!" he said.

Let me say right now: The trip was very worth it!
Was it easy? NO.
Was it only 3 hrs away? NO.

But we went a different route that I can't imagine us ever being on again, and we saw beautiful back country that was to die for. Wyoming, I love you!  I've decided that something wonderful must have happened in that area and that is why God blessed it with an abundance of beauty and wonders.

We were not prepared for the forecast change, and we bundled up in 3/4 layers. We were the only family there with more than two children. We were in a sea of retirees, wealthy hippies, Europeans and Asian tour buses. We stuck out like a sore thumb. The Yellowstone Inn was breathtaking! Well, what we saw for the 3 minutes we were in there before two kids had a meltdown and we dragged them out kicking and screaming. And we were right next to a tour guide explaining the natural wonder and history behind the architecture. Lovely.

We used the priceline app to bid on hotels just minutes before checking in and got smoking deals on beautiful rooms with breakfast included. For our family that saves us lots of $$. We pretty much cleaned out every buffet. You should have seen Phoebe and Rodney on the cantaloupe platter. Ravenous wolves I tell you what.

I will let the pictures do the talking.
 Oh, and the forecast changed every so wonderfully for us and went from a high of 70* to a high of 51*. YIKES! We were layered and freezing the entire time.
 Carrie Smigelski and I watched Austin Powers here in college, memories.
 Our DVD player is non-functioning, so these rascals entertained themselves for hours upon hours.

Lucy was extremely embarassed taking this photo.

 Old Faithful lodge, the littles and I watched from the warmth of indoors
And the Europeans watched Phoebe feast on mac n' cheese like a monkey
 Old Faithful Inn for 3 seconds
 Because of the temperature, you could spot geysers and hot spots miles away, pretty neat.

 Upper falls on the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, just gorgeous. The snow made it a unique sight.
 Our marriage survived through my navigation skills. That is saying a lot.
 Don't the kids look excited?

 Lucy's wish came true and we saw every animal she wanted. Black bear,
 Elk, antelope, a wolf, Trumpeter swans. We were very lucky.
 The Grand Tetons are hiding under the clouds.
 There is a mother Moose and baby moose in this picture, I promise.
 Cold girls.
 Dragon's mouth was exactly what you would think. Deep, dark, stinky, gurgling, spewing and moaning. The gasses rise up and get stuck in underground caverns and it was really a sight. It was Ty's favorite, and mine too.
 Lots of bison
Lucy and Old Faithful (he was faithful for us)

Rodney was a time bomb. Everyone kept a distance from him, considering he went 5 days without naps he was a champ.

It was a wonderful trip. I am absolutely exhausted and apologizing to the kids for yelling at them from Cedar City to home non-stop. But hopefully the "good" memories theywill hold on to and pass on the tradition of exploring the beautiful parts of our country with their children.

It saddens me all those people that were there the next day that had to leave and all the people planning to go. Yellowstone is once in a lifetime for most people and families, the fact that it is shut down is just maddening. We were there the day before the shutdown, thank goodness. When it reopens, I highly recommend you place it on your list of family vacations. We cant' wait to go again (when the kids are all older!)
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