Saturday, August 30, 2008

End of Summer

I have only the fondest of feelings for this time of year. It signals the end of our many hot, fun-filled, active days and points to the cooler, crisper, and busier ones ahead. I have also found that during these last few weeks in August, the world of play-date hot spots seems practically deserted. Makes me eager to revel in summer just a little bit longer. This week we hit the splash fountains at Gateway:

This picture makes me laugh every time I see it :)
Bentley told Grandma Bobbi last night that he has "so, so, so much energy."

Little buddies in the water. Even though we found some cousins to join us last minute,
Cares was the only friend who'd actually get wet with Bentley in the fountains.

Cares lured Sisi in for some sweet splashes

Kai and Cares examine each other

Happy summer cousins

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

iPhone Pictures

Now that my hubby has his new iPhone, we have been playing with it a lot. It's been fun to have it handy for capturing our more random moments. Here are some images from last weekend:

Cares charming us with her smile after coloring all over herself
(thank goodness for washable markers...)

Bentley is tiny when compared to this huge, monster truck school bus

Oh, did we have fun at Target on Friday night--Cares fell in love with these rubber kitty boots--they were on clearance so, I bought them for her (I am a pushover :)

More fun at Target

Yes--we used our bounceback passes and went to Lagoon...again. I am not sure what were we thinking when we made up that plan...It was crowded and hot and not as fun as our last visit--I think it had lost its luster a bit. At least our Bentley had a marvelous time and spent the whole morning with a huge grin on his face (as pictured above)

Cares was not interested in riding anything. She camped out in her stroller most of the time.
But she did have some fun helping her mommy play Skee Ball
with a bunch of spare change we collected from our house.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Preschool, Please

For the last 3 weeks I have been counting down the days until Bentley started preschool again. And somehow, I am still counting because it doesn't start until the Friday after Labor Day. Oh boy--we still have 10 days to go. 10 long, hot, crazy, summer days until I can send my oldest to school and enjoy some calm, girlie time with my 2 year old. I hope I can last. My kids just really need a break from each other and since I have been the lamest of all moms for the past few weeks, (I try to find a way to lay down on the couch, floor, bed, table, etc...while I "play" with my kids) they have really just been entertaining/bugging each other for many, many days now. When we signed up for school way back in January I never thought that starting in September would be an issue. But I am realizing how jealous I am of all you lucky moms who have already entered into the freedom that preschool is! You may think I am being overly dramatic (which I never am--just ask my husband)--10 days isn't that far away right? I just need to keep telling myself that. The funny thing is that as soon as Bentley is gone 3 mornings a week, I know I will totally miss him and wish he were around to play with Cares--so I could rest on the couch a little bit longer :)

Friday, August 22, 2008

FHE Olympics

For FHE this week, we focused on the 2008 Olympic games. We began by looking at a map of the world and finding where China is in relation to the USA. Since Joseph and I visited China in 2000, we showed the kids several picture from our trip so they could see some famous sites and things that make China unique. We also talked about the olympic rings (how they represent the 5 regions of the earth coming together for the games) and then colored pictures of them.

Then we went outside for the real fun--our own backyard olympics (thanks for so many great ideas Brittany and Camille :) We have been watching the games throughout the day at our house and Bentley has loved picking out the American athletes and cheering for them in their races and events. On Monday night he was so excited to get physical and try some sports for himself. It's a good thing Cares is such a fiesty princess because she got totally involved and loved racing and playing with her brother (even in her denim skirt and sparkly pink tennis shoes!)

The discus/frisbee throw

Target shooting

I wanted to take a turn too :)

Our version of the "high jump" (above and below)

The 20 meter dash--look at those guys go!!

the gold medals the kids earned after competing in all the events

We also did the long jump, shot-put (with a soft toy ball), and "fastest slider" down the playset slide. The kids had such a good time--it was definitely worth the extra planning and effort. Now, how will we transition back to our more calm and collected FHE lessons? :)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


In the midst of all the great Olympic moments thus far (and there have been some good ones), I keep thinking of this little snippet of an interview which aired last weekend. Chris Collinsworth interviewed Kobe Bryant and while I am not the biggest Kobe fan, his solid answers about being proud of America made me rethink that. This blog entry pretty much sums things up: click here to read it. (FYI--I've never read this blog before but happened to find it as I searched for a transcript of this interview)

I love America and I think it is the greatest country on earth--why wouldn't I? Just to adhere to some liberal theory that seems to pervade in the media? The USA is my home, it's where I was born, where I have lived most of my life, and it's a place my ancestors worked incredibly hard to become a part of. I have lived outside the USA both as a child and an adult, and traveled to many foreign countries. In fact, I have a great love for some of these foreign lands--they hold a piece of my past and a piece of me. However, by simply saying that I love my own country above all others does not mean that other countries are without value--that logic doesn't make any sense. So what is the "uncool" thing about loving my country? I don't care if Germans love Germany or even if they think their country is the best in the world--same goes for the Chinese, the Russians, the Australians, the French...Props to them for loving their heritage and their homeland--I would expect that of them. But just because I am an American and love my country, somehow, I need to defend it? Yes, there are things I would love to change about our nation and yes, there are things I would never, ever change. But none of that means I need to shy away from being a patriot.

I think about my grandfathers who fought in the Air Force and Army during World War 2. I think of my dad who served in the Army during Desert Storm not too long ago. And I often think about my little brother who at this very moment is physically working harder than I could ever imagine, pushing his limits in all ways possible, suffering, praying like crazy and doing his best to hang in there day after day just because he is a US Marine--and that's what Marines do for our country. If any of you know Marshall, he is not in the military to earn money, pay off schooling debts, or have a steady job and great health insurance. He is there because he loves his family, loves his freedom and loves the ideals this country represents. And that's why he is willing to sacrifice so much--even his life--for the preservation of that which is most important to him. Now that is some serious pride in this country--pride that should never, ever be questioned or belittled.

Wow--I am really good at making a short story long...:) There is much more to say, but for now I simply add GO USA--I'll keep cheering for you loud and clear!

Monday, August 18, 2008

August Evening at Temple Square

After another full day of errands and activities on Saturday, we skipped out on nap time and headed downtown. We had our favorite pizza for dinner at Settebello, attended my friend Neil's wedding reception (he's an old friend from good old HHS as well as BYU), and wandered around Temple Square enjoying the perfect night air. No wonder tourists love it there--I always forget how stunning the colorful plants are and how peaceful it is just to be there-- I love it too! It's fun to think that just about 9 years ago, our family of 4 began our eternal journey simply as 2 inside that beautiful temple.

I did get a haircut on Saturday afternoon but it's hard to really see it in this picture--besides, my adorable rascal grabs the spotlight :)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Happy Birthday Joseph

My cute hubby had his 31st birthday yesterday and I didn't really do anything special for him. At all. How sad is that? I mean, I thought about waking up early and making him breakfast in bed but after I did the waking up early part, I just couldn't make myself stand in front of the stove and cook eggs and bacon. So, at least I let him sleep in while I hung with Bentley in the early morning hours (which would seem pretty nice except for that fact that since I started feeling sick with baby #3, Joseph has gotten up with the kids every single morning--so I totally owed him anyway...) I didn't have any presents for him and I didn't even post a birthday blog entry just for him (which has totally devastated him I can just tell...)

Thanks goodness for Joseph's fabulous mom who seriously saved the day. She not only got us tickets to see the comedian Brian Reagan for a birthday gift, but came out to our house to babysit our kiddos while we had a fun date night. We grabbed dinner at Tsunami, stopped by the AT&T store to order Joseph's new iPhone, and then headed down to Thanksgiving Point for the show. I am so glad she helped us out and let us celebrate together--thank you Ruth Ann!

My hubby deserves so much better because he really is the very best thing in my life. I can't believe he and I have been married for almost 9 years already. He is such a good man and I am totally in love with him. He makes me laugh every day, he takes incredibly good care of our children--who in turn adore him, he works hard, keeps me grounded, and serves others. I can never thank him enough for loving me and showing me again and again what that really means.

I love you babe--happy (late) birthday!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Tutu's Funeral

What a lovely meeting and day it was when we celebrated the life of our Tutu. The funeral was beautiful and very tender simply because my grandma's 5 children spoke so lovingly of their mother.

It was actually so fun to gather again with so many cousins that I haven't seen in years and years. We were very close growing up thanks to the yearly traditions of the 4th of July water-fight at Tutu and Papa's house and Christmas Eve at my great aunt Beth's house. My grandparents have created quite a growing family--from 5 children to 28 grandchildren to 49 great-grandchildren (with 4 more due in the next 7 months). It is amazing to me how much we have all grown-up! I loved looking around at the viewing and funeral and seeing so many people that I know and love--they are my family and I am proud to be included in their midst.

My Papa and his children: Charlotte, Sherman, Emery, (Papa) and Ron. In the back row: Jeff and all the sibling's "surrogate brother" Gifford Nielson (he practically grew-up at my Uncle Jeff's side
and loved my Tutu as his 2nd mom :)

some of my closest girl cousins: Barbara, (me), Carol and Audrey

Tutu's pallbearers--her grandsons (only my cousin David and little brother Marshall weren't able to attend)

our big group photo (we're missing some faces--Joseph and Chad had headed back to work and Bentley had decided he wasn't in a cooperative mood...)

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Loving Memories

My sweet and loving grandma, whom I have always called “Tutu,” passed away 2 days ago. What I will remember and miss about her the most are her wonderfully solid and happy hugs. I could never see my Tutu without getting one of those great hugs, usually followed by her hands cradling my face and kissing my cheeks (even when I was an adult :) She was ninety years old when she passed and had been fighting many physical ailments for several years in her constantly weakening body—so it was her time to go and I am very grateful that her suffering has ended. She left behind the love of her life and husband of 70 years so my heart goes out to my dear Papa right now—I know he will feel lonely without her.

As I compiled pictures for my dad’s 60th birthday slideshow this winter, I found many wonderful pictures of Tutu as a young mom. I wish I could have known her as the 30-something mother of 5, raising my dad as the energetic, wild and playful kid that he was. I think my Tutu relished the role of motherhood and loved her children with a genuine adoration that continued to grow and grow throughout her life. My Tutu simply loved children and had a natural, tender way with them. I certainly felt that as her granddaughter and could see it when she held my babies as tiny infants and fell instantly in love with them.

With little Sherm and her older children, Charlotte and Emery

Tutu with my 3-month old Bentley in 2004

She was an incredible example to me of love, loyalty to her spouse, and sacrifice for her faith in serving as a mission president’s wife in Fiji when she could hardly bare the thought of leaving her home and beloved children and grandchildren for 3 years. She has taught me about patience and endurance through her physical suffering in recent years and also shown such humility. I have seen my Tutu love and nurture her dear grandchildren even as some struggled and pulled away from family—even as some caused her worry and sorrow. Her arms were always extended to them and ready to enfold them in her love. If they doubted in any way, she would not let it be over her love for them—she wanted us all to know that was a sure thing and would never change.

Tutu and Papa's growing posterity (I'm fairly sure this is Christmas, 1977)

My dear Tutu, I know you loved me and that you love me still. Thank you for being exactly yourself and for drawing us all in with your tender care. I want you to know that I remember every single time you came to see me dance and that I felt so proud to have you there knowing that is wasn’t always an easy effort for you. Thank you for raising such an amazing family and especially for bringing my dad into the world. He is so much like you with his gentle heart and abundance of love. Thank you for letting Heidi and me play with your darling porcelain mice and for letting all of us grandkids run rampant in your basement and on your Fiji bed as we played “Shark” and many other games. I have nothing but happy memories of times with you and Papa. I hope you know that I love you and will always keep a special place for you in my heart.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Lagoon 08

Saturday morning we packed up, headed out and arrived at Lagoon just after it opened. Our agenda for the day went something like this:

10-11:30 kid rides, kid rides and more kid rides, before any real lines formed.
Note to self: don't take Cares on any kind of "scary" kid ride (aka
Ladybug Bop) as her first one for the day since it will scare her off of any other rides entirely (except the boats--which we know we can trick her into riding...)

Bentley the Flying Ace

Beans and Daddy riding "Puff"

Cousin Tiago braving the boats!

A huge hit of the day--Bumper Cars!

Fighting off space aliens (cousin Elijah has got Bentley covered from the back)

11:30-12:30 Log Flume, Rattlesnake Rapids and lunch.
After my whole right leg was dripping wet from the Log Flume it actually felt really good--nice and wet and cooling. But after my entire body was totally soaked in trying to protect Cares from the massive waterfall on Rattlesnake Rapids, I just felt really, really wet. And soggy everywhere...

12:30-2:00 Lagoon-A Beach
So, this was my very first time to go to Lagoon-A Beach--crazy right? How many Tennis Team Lagoon days did I attend in my childhood and still, never ever really wanted to hit the water park? Well, let me just say that on a 100 degree day at an amusement park, nothing feels better than floating around in a tube in the freezing cold lazy river. I kept thinking about everyone who wasn't playing in the water but standing around in the blazing sun instead and I just felt so bad for them! Anyway, we had a lot of fun there--I didn't know there was a whole kid area with swings in the water, little water slides and shallow water but we ended up hanging out there for quite a while.

2:00-? Fit in as many rides as possible before I felt too hot and too sick to stay any longer.
So, after the water fun was over Bentley asked me to ride on the "high-ride" (Sky Ride) with him and I couldn't refuse. Joe and Cares met us at the train when we were done and we had a little adventure on that trying to convince our Caresie that it wasn't going to go too fast or be scary in any way. After the train I was really ready to head home but I let Joseph buy me some ice cream and the kids a huge snow-cone first. We ran into the rest of Joe's family, who we had been hanging out with off and on that day, so we sat together for a bit while Tillie napped peacefully in her stroller (lucky Mary! My kids only do that as infants--boo).

On the Sky Ride with Bentley

Cares milking her "fear" of the train ride and getting lots of cuddles from Daddy

On our way out, we felt hot and sticky again and so I reached into the huge play fountains to cool my arms and face and told Bentley he could do the same and get a little wet. He did--and got a little splash on his face and arms. And then he was suddenly squatting right over the fountains getting completely drenched. I was kind of surprised since he'd been so timid with the fountains when we first arrived. It was quite the spectacle and Joseph and I were just left laughing as Beans, and then Cares, played and played in the water. And so we drove home with Beans in his mostly dry swimsuit and Cares in just her diaper.