Thursday, October 11, 2018

Catch Up.. Forever Long Post


"...through night and day
and in and out of weeks
and almost over a year..."
This phrase has been in my mind for the past few weeks. Because this is how life goes. the days are so long sometimes, and the weeks just skip by, and lets not even talk about the light speed travel of the years!

Did you know Kip turned 1? I completely missed documenting his birthday on this here little blog of memories of mine.
Why did I miss it? Well, he is an angel, and sweet, and wonderful, and by far my hardest baby. And by that I mean he is still not sleeping through the night much. And so this whole year has been a sort of bleary eye, sleep deprived haze.
I have missed so many details, because I have been a mombie for the past year. And don't let this confession color your opinion of that little boy, because although he is the child who sleeps the least, of all my children, he is the happiest baby I have ever had.

Just not when it comes to sleep.

And when he isn't sleeping, he isn't screaming or fighting, he is wide awake and wanting to play. He has energy and can't figure out why on earth everyone else is sleeping because the moon is up, yo! There is plenty of light to play by.

And so, let me tell you about Kip's birthday. Nearly a month past.
Kip's birthday was on a Sunday and so of course we planned to celebrate it on a Saturday. I piled the kids and the dog in the van, and we set out to the mountains. There is a magnificent trail next to a reservoir that we wanted to explore. The air was heavy with smoke, and we also wanted to get away from the noxious fumes. I was having a hard time breathing, and so I'm sure the baby was, as well. And so we headed away from the smoke. Except we had been on the road for all of 10 minutes when Kip threw up, effectively changing our plans.

Of course, he wasn't actually sick. There was no more throwing up the rest of that day. Just the one fluke time as we were traveling, and just enough to force our plans to change. I don't remember much else about that day. Keith and I did go to the store and got supplies to watch the BYU football game. They won, I think. I can't remember. But it is always fun watching the game with Keith. Vince enjoys joining us, and it is a great bonding activity I can do with my boys.

I baked a cake for him. It wasn't anything great. I was tired, so he got a minimal effort cake. But he wouldn't care. It's cake! Vince really enjoyed it.
He dug into the middle of it while it was cooling, so I had to fix it somehow. Again though, it is cake.
People liked it. We didn't bother with ice cream as Kip was still having a bit of a reaction to dairy.

Later that week I did end up going up to that mountain spot by the reservoir. I brought along the kids I watch, and we took a few minutes to explore. It was beautiful, but children didn't have shoes on, so we couldn't actually hike it. I am so glad I got up there, though. My soul really needed it!

My front door is red. Or was. Do you remember when red front doors and red accent walls was all the rage? Well, this house got swept up in that fad, and my tiny kitchen was painted in red and black, thus making it even more tiny! And the front door, door jamb, and rail were all painted a deep rust red color. Which would look stunning with the right kind of brick. But my house has brown trim and brown brick, so it all just sort of blended together into a dark mass of blah. I have been wanting to paint it for what seems like forever now, but I have never gotten around to it because, Hi. I kept having babies. A few weeks ago, though, I decided I had had enough, and I was going to make a change. So just like my kitchen wall that went from red to buttercream yellow, my front door has gone from rust to a soft yellow. But let me tell you, yellow is the color that suited it the most. The brown brick has flecks of cream in it, and the yellow door really makes the cream flecks pop, the brightening the whole front of the house. The door jamb is currently grey as that is the color of the primer I had to use in order to cover that heinous red. I haven't painted it white yet because I don't have the white. But I put primer on the rail, so it is a sort of grey, and the door is yellow, and the doorjamb grey, and it just looks lovely. It is going to be incredible when I finish it. I am so excited!

Talking about fixing things on our house... well, the roof has gone far too long without being replaced. We kept having expenses come up (again with the babies!) and so never got around to it. I mean, in the 5 years we have lived here, we have had 3 pregnancies, and there have been 3 babies! Beth was only 6 months when we moved in, then a miscarriage, then Vince, and then Kip. So we've been busy. Ha! Get your mind out of the gutter. Babies are a lot of work! And pregnancy for me is really rough. Anyway, we knew we needed to get the roof fixed, but this past storm 2 nights ago made it imperative. I love rain, just not when it is coming into my kitchen through the ceiling. On the plus side, we are going to go from a dark brown roof (why oh why was dark brown such a popular color in the 70's?!?) to light grey. We are going to get white soffit, white rain gutters, and I may be mistaken, but I believe the trim is even going to be painted white! So the whole top of the house is going to be going under a lovely transformation. As well as the back of the house! We have some gorgeous bushes that have been homes to hundreds of birds. I love hearing them sing, and seeing them fluttering by. However, the bushes have grown so large, they sort of took over the back yard, and made it nearly impossible for the kids to have space to play back there. Not to mention the Virginia Creeper which has been slowly and systematically choking out our bushes. So instead of having a gorgeous orange leafy fence right now, I have ffirey red vines, dark purple berries, and dead black branches from the bushes that the Creeper has smothered. Oh, and our sprinklers in the back have been broken, so they haven't been watered much, anyway. And so we are going to be tearing all of that out this weekend. It's going to be practically like getting a new house!

Let's see, what else? Oh, On October 1st we had our annual celebration.
I love the month of October. I love the smells, I love the colors, and I love the cooling of the air. The sweater weather. It makes me so happy to look out my window and see so many colors against the black road. I love the air, and that golden glow that the sun casts on everything. I wish it could be October 6 months of the year. With 3 months of winter and 3 months of summer, and the rest, October. I had to laugh, though. I took some pictures of the table before the kids descended upon it, and then when they saw the pictures the next day they said they wished we could have a table like that.
We watched Daffy Duck and the Quackbusters, and then later I watched The Lonesome Ghosts with the little kids. I love snuggling on my bed and sharing shows from my childhood with them. I love the giggles, and the coziness of the blankets pulled up over us. I made a delicious cranberry cider that only I liked. But it was a beautiful deep red garnet liquid and was simoly lovely and satisfying to just look at.

I got sick last week. The flu. Not fun. But it didn't last too long, and I was happily well by Conference. I love General Conference! It is one of the best times of the year. Just another reason October is the best. But then Beth got the flu. She has had it since last Friday, and today is Thursday. Happily, she will be going to school tomorrow because she is feeling a lot better. Finally!
I feel bad that she missed a whole week of school if you count last Friday. But she was pretty darn sick. However! I have to say, snuggling in bed with that spunky little girl was just lovely. The rain was pouring down, and the sky was flinching grey, and Beth, Vince, Kip, and I got to cozy up during the storm. Little moments like that make me happy.

Sunday in between the sessions of General Conference I took Onyx and we went for a walk in the Hollow.

Solitary wilderness just might be my favorite thing in the whole wide world. What I mean by that is being alone in nature is just magic. It fills me up like nothing on this earth can do otherwise. Just being alone with my thoughts and the wild, the wind frisking by, tugging at my clothes, and making me feel like a child again.
And then the whole being alone bit. I didn't used to like that, I thought, but having kids and always having someone with me, and never having a moment to myself sure changes a girl. I love to just go. I take a notebook and one of my pocket books of poems. Right now my favorite is the leather Emily Dickinson one that Jeffrey gave me. I wander, and I read, and I write, and I think. I think that is the time when I am mostly me. I am a nature girl at heart. The city is full of fascinating bohemian dreams for me, but my heart is rooted deeply in the wilderness, far from cars, and airplanes, and bustling people.

And so, I went to the Hollow. We wandered, and I actually went much further than I had anticipated. We went down to the water's edge, and I sat on the shore, watching the hypnotic rhythm of the waves, the mesmerizing lapping of the water on the shore, and the never ending ripples that danced across the water. Onyx was impatient and didn't want to let me just sit and ponder. We got up and headed back after he got a good long drink, just beating the rain that the clouds had been holding back. What a tender mercy that was! I listened to the last session of General Conference while I trekked back down the trail and to my van. I love modern technology. I love that I didn't have to miss anything while I was out being emotionally filled.

Whew!

I think that about sums up my past month or so.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Michael Stipe Served Us

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Today is my dear friend Lisa's birthday. However, due to a chaotic week, she decided to cancel her birthday.

As if one could simply cancel the celebration of oneself by others. Especially if it is someone who is constantly serving and helping all those around her.

I messaged her earlier this week and asked her if she wanted to go out for lunch today. Sans children. See, we used to go out for dinner all the time before the babies were born. Her little girl is a few months older than Kip, and so we got to suffer through pregnancies together. And so, for old time's sake, I asked her if she wanted to go out today. Cleverly forgetting that it was her birthday. Of course, she saw through my ploy, but consented to join me anyway.

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We went to Olive Garden. Italian is her comfort food. When she got in the van I gave her some flowers the kids and I had picked up from the grocery store. Not because it was her birthday. She cancelled her birthday. Just because they looked like they needed a good home, and she would probably appreciate them.

Our server at OG was fantastic! His name is Tad and he was prompt, friendly, and looked just like Michael Stipe, the lead singer of REM.

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It was so nice to be able to actually converse instead of worrying about the babies. When we go out to eat now, it is usually to a place that has a play place, and interrupted by little people begging for help, or crying because of some arbitrary reason or another, and even smaller people who want food, but they want all of it even though their teeth aren't grown in yet, and who spill chocolate milk all over the floor, themselves, and us. Tad asked if we were out to eat for any special reason, and Lisa admitted that it is her birthday today, but begged to not be sung to. Tad confessed that he used to sing really loud and operatic once upon a time, but would be too embarrassed now. I secretly think he really is Michael Stipe doing a side gig for some movie he is going to star in or something like that. The resemblance is uncanny! However, the whole time we were there I kept looking at him, thinking he reminded me of someone, but couldn't figure out who it was. It wasn't until I had left that I realized it was actually Michael Stipe. We talked about it, but apparently no one has ever called him on his secret identity before. I realized who he looked like as I was driving home, and I may have called the restaurant and had them pass on the message that Tad is a doppelganger.

I "found" a new journal and pretty bracelet in my purse that I gave to Lisa. I mean, not as a birthday gift. She cancelled her birthday, remember? Not as a birthday gift but just because I had no use for them and they happened to be floating around in my purse at that moment. I sure love that lady!

We got back to our respective homes, and I finished up Arcadia. I am so happy with it! Of course, when I paint, and get a rug and some curtains, it will be absolutely divine. For now, it is just blissful and very hyggelig.

The big reveal! Unfortunately, I am impatient, and I don't want to wait until tomorrow for better lighting. It was really quite nice to listen to my audio book while cleaning.

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The book is Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons. I am so excited to "read" this book! It is the book I chose for book club this month, and it makes me so happy. The movie is one of my favorites, and I can only imagine the book is infinitely more so. Apparently, I have a love for British literature as this is the second book based in England I have chosen, in a row. Anglophile, I believe it is called.

I am happy to get my space tidied and organized.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Door and Hair Locks

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Something about today was just... right. I don't know what it was. Actually, on second thought, yes I do. I woke up this morning around 5:30 to feed Kip. After he fell back asleep I did some fervent praying that he would be able to stay asleep so I could get my scripture reading done. I had been trying to read while I nursed him in the night, but I kept falling asleep. I just couldn't keep my eyes open at 2 in the morning. Weird, right? And so when he fell back asleep I prayed the whole way back to his room. "Please let him stay asleep. Please let him stay asleep. Please let him stay asleep! I really want to read my scriptures and have a morning devotional today!" 

And guess what? It actually worked! It was lovely! I got up, grabbed my slippers, let Onyx out, and then sat down with my journal, scriptures, and pencils. I studied in Alma 4 today, about the people of the ancient church. I love scripture study! I love that I was able to make time for it today. I even got a shower in! I finished studying at about 7:15 and was able to shower before Kip woke up. Miracle of miracles! 

After I dropped the kids off at school, we made a run to the hardware store and I got a new doorknob for Astoria. See, forever ago, when we were new in this house, this door functioned like a normal door with a lock, where the locking part was on the inside. And when Beth was about 2, she locked the door with herself on the inside. And this door did not have a key that came with it. It was installed without the keys when we moved in. I had absolutely no way of getting in to her. I called Jeffrey in a panic and explained to him that she had been in there alone for about 10 minutes. Thus far she was happy, but I didn't know how long she would stay happy, and I didn't know how to get to her. He came home from work. He grabbed a hammer from his tool box, and did a perfect reprisal of Jack Nicholson's Shining. I think. I've never actually seen the movie, but I have an imagination. Beth was happily playing when we got through, and didn't even seem to be bothered by the hammer bashing a hole into her door. I was very impressed! And so, my door had both a large hole in it, and a doorknob where the kids could lock me in here, because we simply turned the doorknob around. So no one would be able to be locked in accidentally. Except we hadn't counted on Vince. That kid is funny and mischievous, and clever. He actually nearly locked me in my Astoria from the hallway the other day, and so I knew, something had to be done. And so, long story coming to an end, I bought a new doorknob from the hardware store today. 

Kip was a doll, "helping" me as I removed the one knob and attempted to install the new knob. Of course, I ran into some snags and Adrienne came to my rescue and fixed it. Of course. Like she always does. I am happy to report, though, I have a shiny new doorknob on my door, with a lock, and a few keys hidden throughout the house. Just in case.

I was babysitting again today. Those kids are just the cutest. I honestly have to say, for the most part, adding 3 extra kids into the mix isn't all that bad. They are really sweet little ones. We had a bit of a scare with the girl, though. She told me she lost her glasses at school on the playground. I had horrible visions of sand scratching the lenses and kids stepping on the frames. I called the school, and they hadn't seen any. I had them patch me through to the kindergarten teacher, and she hadn't seen them, either. I let her go look at the playground, except it was lunch recess for the other kids. I don't know how thoroughly she looked. She wasn't gone long, and when she came back she told me she just had to do the monkey bars, "real quick!" I sighed, and we gave up and headed for home. When we were about a block away from my house she announced that they were actually in her back pack. Whew!

I had to run to the store to get a prescription for Kip, and while there we did a bit of grocery shopping. It was sort of fun to have 5 kids, 5 and under at the store. There were a lot of looks, smiles, and a couple of "Wow!"s as I passed people. I had to laugh. And I was in the zen! It was a moment of complete and utter tranquility. Even with the 4 kids fighting over who got to sit where, and Vince constantly trying to run away from me. It wasn't all that hard, contrary to what the passers by were saying and thinking. 

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Speaking of Adrienne, After school and naps we went over to her house and she preformed miracles on my boys and their hair. Keith is ridiculously attached to his hair. It is a huge part of his identity. As we were driving there, he kept saying mournfully, "This is the death of Keith. So long, Keith. From here on out, I will be a different person." But I was incredibly impressed with Adrienne. There were no tears, which is what has become customary with Keith and his haircuts. Well, that isn't completely true. There were some tears of laughter, so that was good. But man oh man, what a handsome kid that is!

He went from shaggy 
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to shnazzy! And those eyes! Hold my purse while I do a little swoon over here, will ya?

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Vince also got his hair cut. It wasn't nearly as traumatic, and he was funny the whole time. That kid just cracks me up. Over and over and forever, he is the funniest little guy ever! Keith said his hair looked a lot like Gildory Lockheart before it got cut. I forgot to snap an after picture, but really, wouldn't it just be better to end on this heart melting smile?

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Happy Tuesday!


Monday, September 10, 2018

Hurrah for Arcadia!

I have to say, having my own quiet space, on the main floor of my house, is probably the best idea I have ever had. I wanted to find a name for it that I loved and that spoke to me. I wanted to find a word that described this space of mine. Honestly, I sort of hate Mom Cave. I thought back to all my Victorian era books, looking for that word that I just knew existed. Sitting room? No, that implies I would entertain in that space. This is my own Appledore, except physical. My Sanctum Sanctorum. But both of those are very manly places, and I am looking more for something that suits me. I did a google search for "private room for a woman" and boudoir came up. I was surprised! The exact definition of what I was looking for was the word boudoir. Except that word also has other, ahem, meanings attached to it, and my room most certainly is not a place for hanky panky. Bower was another word that seemed to be perfect, but again, it didn't ring to me. Possibly because I kept thinking of an outdoor bowery, and Bowser from Super Mario Bros. My room is not going to be called Bowser, because knowing my husband and children, that is exactly what would happen. 

And so I messaged a few word nerd friends, and together we discovered the perfect word for my room. Arcadia!

Arcadia is a region or scene of simple pleasure and quiet. Which describes my room exactly! I don't have to tell my kids to put something away in the "Mom Cave," "my office," or any other such nonsense. None of those words describe this area. But Arcadia is perfect! The only hang up is I keep wanting to call it Astoria, and the song So Long, Astoria by the Ataris keeps getting stuck in my head, but I'm not too concerned. I am hoping that Arcadia, my room, will be a place full of simple pleasure and quiet. Emphasis on quiet. I have already begun to log away hours simply reading in here. I miss reading. I haven't had a quiet place to curl up in and just let the words wash over me, drowning me in the story, for such a long time! Today I was able to steal away in here a few times over. I am still not finished cleaning it. I really haven't had much time to do that at all. I was babysitting today, and will be again tomorrow, except for much longer. But the potential of this room is breathtaking. I have arranged my reading chair so that it looks out the window towards the west sky, giving me a perfect view of sunsets. There is a book case to the left of it, small and perfectly situated to rest a mug on top of it for those cold wintry days I am actually excited for. To sit and watch the snow fall while sipping cocoa and reading a book... I'm most likely just dreaming here. I mean, I do have 5 kids, and I watch 3 more a few times every week. When I'm not babysitting I am trying to get caught up on the house and other things that I have let fall to the side. But a girl can dream, can't she? 

Which makes me laugh. Today while I was cleaning up the living room I remember thinking, "one day I will put my decorations in their spot, and they will actually stay there! Won't that be an exciting day!" But as I understand it, there is always a trade off. I hear of grandmothers who miss the sticky hand prints and muddy feet, and don't clean them up when their grandkids come to visit. They would be in heaven in my fingerprinted, muddy footprints, and juice always all over the floor kind of house. 

It has been a busy day today, just trying to get caught up. The house still looks like it was raided by inconsiderate museum curators who just wanted to see where everything was, and pull it all out and display it on the floor. Everything is disheveled and all over the place and may take me a week or two to set aright again. But here's the funny thing. I don't really mind all that much. It must be from the magic of Arcadia. Because I know, no matter how crazy it gets out there, I have a peaceful and quiet place here where I can escape momentarily.

To Arcadia!
glasses are raised and I wipe a small tear from the corner of my eye.

P.S. Pictures are forthcoming. I just need to finish cleaning first.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

My Own


Oh good gravy. I always get a little embarrassed when I look at my blog and see it has been over a month since I last wrote. Especially with that whole goal post I made. At any rate, life is much the same.

This weekend we did have quite a few changes, though. Keith hasn't been sleeping in his room for about 3 months now. There is always an excuse, but I think when it gets down to the brass tacks, he is just creeped out by something in that room. Not to mention, it smells horrible! Adjoining his room is a little bathroom. The toilet has had issues since we moved in nearly 5 years ago. Frankly, it hasn't been a priority to fix, and so it has been forgotten. But the water doesn't fill the tank properly, and so it just makes it difficult to use that toilet. And so it never got used. And so it began to stink. A lot. It smelled a lot like the sewer in his room, really. I think that had a huge part of why he never felt comfortable in there. And so, the girls got to talking on Friday after school. Keith was at a friends house. The girls were discussing and scheming, and it was decided, without any input from Keith, that the girls would share his bedroom, and he could move into Faye's room, which was Keith's old room in the first place. And since we were moving everyone around, I had always intended for Kip and Vince to share a room. They are so close in age, I think it will be good for them. So I moved the crib into the newly vacated spot from Beth's bed.

And all that moving around left an empty room.

A room with no one in it, and just a bunch of old baby things that we really no longer need.

A room that really, just wanted to be lived in.

What could I do?

I am so excited that I now have an office! I have been dreaming and planning what I am going to do to this room to make it completely mine! The blinds have been drawn, possibly for the first time since living here, and for the first time ever, the blue of the walls doesn't look dingy and horrible. I don't know, there was just always something about this room that was dreary and off putting. No one liked it, not even the babies. But I have pulled 2 lamps in here, my reading chair, a few book shelves, and a desk, and it is simply lovely! When I eventually get around to painting, this room, it will be my sanctuary. Already Faye is trying to weasel onto my turf. She asked me if she could set up a desk in my office. Silly girl.

But really, her room isn't finished. See, when I was a kid, we lived in the same house my whole life. My parents are still in that house. Its a great house, truth be told. But we all were born with a bit of wanderlust. We don't like to sit still or be in the same place for very long. I think we get it from my mom. That exploratory Scandinavian blood. My mother would (and still does) rearrange the furniture often. There are decorations that come out for every season. She is the only person I have ever met who actually decorates for Flag Day. With that restless blood in our veins, my siblings and I would often trade bedrooms. It would take 3, maybe 4 hours tops to move out of one room and into another room and be fully settled. So when we started on Friday, I thought it wouldn't be a big deal, and we would be done by dinner.

Boy was I wrong!

We started on Friday after school. When Keith got home and we told him the plan, he was not happy about it. But Faye was tired of him trying to sleep in her room, and I was tired of him being up in my room when I was trying to go to bed because he was scared. And so he was getting booted from his room, and plans were already underway.

Guess what?! They STILL are not completely moved yet. It is Sunday afternoon. Granted, I did have a massive migraine yesterday. I wasn't able to get up and help them until around 4 in the afternoon. It was pretty severe. Ugh! Regardless, they are still not finished and I am tired of helping them when they are not really helping at all. And so, I decided to focus my efforts on my own little haven.

It still isn't finished. I have a lot of baby things to move into the boys' room, and I have a lot of things to bring up that have been in boxes for the past year, but I am so happy with it! I have my planner things out and ready for my weekly planning I have my scriptures and journal ready for when I need to sit and do some journaling. And best of all, I have my books, and my reading chair, and blankets, and candles, and it is so very hyggelig that my heart is just bursting!

However, no good deed goes unpunished, as they say. No productivity goes without its setbacks. While I was working so diligently to get everything moved around, Vince and Kip were being just as diligent with their chosen form of sabotage. They had found a new bottle of maple syrup and carefully applied it to the kitchen floor, themselves, the oven, the cupboards, and even some on the dog. While I was throwing them in the tub, I asked Keith to please clean up the syrup. He is nearly 11, after all.

He threw a blanket over it and called it clean.

Sigh.

I had to stay home from church because my migraine from yesterday has not fully gone away and it keeps resurfacing in waves. Except instead of resting my head, as I should have been doing, I got to mop the kitchen floor (which had not been swept yet, so there was all kinds of gross dirt that I either mopped up or smeared), and wipe down cupboards and oven. Kip was napping during that time. He is now awake and ready for his next destructive assignment. Because that is his favorite thing to do right now, disassemble and dismantle.

In other baby news, Kip has begun to walk, which really adds to his chaotic wake, if you can imagine.  He started about 3 weeks ago. The silly little monkey just gave up on crawling one day. He decided he had had enough and has been bipedal ever since. It is the cutest and sweetest thing ever. I love to see his chubby little legs and his excited careful steps. I am so sad that he is our last baby. Of course, 5 kids is a whole lot of kids, and we are barely keeping it together. I am going to miss so much his belly laugh. Of course, he will still have a belly laugh, and be engaging in other ways, but there is just something so special about a baby laugh. It is how fairies are born, you know, from a baby's first laugh. I am going to miss how he snuggles into my neck, his head settled perfectly between my chin and collarbone. I am going to miss those little chubby hands, and the cooing. Kip loves to sing along to music when he hears it and I become just the biggest gooiest puddle. It's a sad thing, really. I love babies too much, and I know that my sanity can't handle more, but my heart wants to have babies forever. It could be the sleep deprivation talking, though. I don't think I've had a decent night's sleep in about 3 years. Not since I got pregnant with Vince, anyway.

Speaking of Vince, he seems to be having a hard time with his brother. He is constantly pushing Kip down, for no reason. He will walk up to him and shove, and then walk away. I think there are some feelings of jealousy harbored in his little heart. It makes me sad, because I know how well they are going to get along soon, and how great of friends they will be. And so, I just try to make sure Vince knows he is absolutely loved and hasn't been usurped by his little brother.

Beth has started Kindergarten. She is in heaven with it. There are only about 15 kids in her class, and they have a class tortoise named Simon that she adores. The day she got to go to school with Keith and Faye was one of the happiest days of her little life. It was so cute, that first week of school, to see her sit in the back seat and look so confused and at the same time excited, like someone had just given her the best gift ever, when I told her she needed to get out of the van, too. Gosh I love that girl! She is so special! She has become quite the fashionista. She loves to fix her hair, and wear stylish clothes. Sometimes the clothes are only stylish in her opinion, but she is always quite proud of it, and so I let her rock her style hard. It makes her so happy.

Faye is now in 3rd grade, can you believe it? She loves school, but is still struggling with being flighty and focusing. She is the sweetest girl, though, and my right hand. I would be so lost without her help. She seriously is a little mommy, and loves that title. She helps me with the babies, and helps me get things I need to do, done. Just not cleaning her room.

Keith is surprising me. I look at him sometimes and wonder where the years have gone. He is nearly eleven years old. He is turning into a young man. He has mellowed out a lot, for the most part. He is still incredibly stubborn, but that is a good thing for him, and will take him so far in life. I have never met a more determined person. If he decides he wants something, nothing will get in his way for him to get it! I love that he and I have conversations that last for hours, just talking and sharing ideas. He is so big now. Shoe wise, he is about a size smaller than me is all. I think he is going to be a tall boy.

Onyx is doing well. He has adopted me. I keep trying to get him to latch onto Keith, and to sleep with Keith, but he just follows me around, and only wants me. I love it, but it makes me a little sad because Keith really wants that little boy and dog bond. But he is a perfect fit to our family. I just need to figure out how to train him so he doesn't bark at and lunge at other dogs when we go for walks.

And that about sums it up, I think. We are all doing well. I am excited to have my own little place where I can actually sit in peace and let my thoughts flow.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Accidentally Onyx

Last week the kids and I had a whole day with not a lot going on and so on a whim I decided to take them for a drive to the animal shelter.
We had been talking for a long time about possibly getting a dog. We wanted one that was already trained, young enough to play with the kids, but out of the puppy chewing on everything stage. It would have to be gentle enough with the babies and not be a super slobbery dog because that just grosses me out. We knew we had a tall order to fill and we planned on it taking us a couple of months to find the dog we were looking for. We were not in a rush. Anyway, we don't even have a fence up yet so a couple of months would give us a chance to get the fence up so our plan was perfect.
What is it they say about the best laid plans?
I woke up that morning, it was a Tuesday. I had energy and big plans to tackle the day. I was going to go to the store and get caddies, cleaning supplies, and get serious about the messes in my house! Also, we had no bread or milk so we needed some food staples anyway.
We got to the store, got our supplies and...
...I just didn't want to go home yet. Have you ever felt Like that? It was hot and I longed for the cool mountain breeze. I had a sudden memory of when we went to the animal shelter four years ago to get Faye's cat. It was a grey overcast autumn day, a whisper of rain hung in the air and as I drove up the mountain face to the animal shelter I noticed the grass had been kissed with frost. Of course that had been in the middle of November, and good gracious it is August right now! But that memory, and my longing for cool air is what drove me up the mountain side that sweltering, dripping, melting day.
It did get a bit cooler as we drove through the shadow of the mountain, so that was happy. The kids begged to have the windows rolled down and I acquiesced. That slight coolness that seems to always be with the mountains just made my heart smigh (smile sigh. A happy sigh).
We got there and we walked through the kernel looking at the dogs. It seemed all the ones we wanted had already been adopted out. But we were just looking and we weren't worried or disappointed because we had our plan.
Best laid plans always something, right?
As we were about to leave, a little black lab caught my eye. He was smaller than most full grown labs. I asked the volunteer there if we could look at him.
There is a play yard in the back and we met her out there. The dog was perfect! He ran around with Faye, he followed commands, and he was such a good dog!
Actually, he was sort of perfect in terms of our want list. He was so good with the babies, sweet, trained, and no longer a puppy. As I watched Faye playing with him, the delight in her face, I realized, I understood. This dog was going home with us.
Fail. The best laid plans always fail.
We signed all of the adoption papers and took our new dog. In the lobby where I signed everything was a cat and a bunny. That beyond good little dog didn't even care! He didn't lunge at our even bark at those smaller animals of prey! We walked outside and I opened the Tardis doors (that's what we named our van. Did I mention that?) and the sweet little dog just climbed on in. He loves car rides apparently.
We drove straight to Petco or Petsmart or whatever it is called and stocked up on necessities. Feeding dishes, food, etc. I planned to get a wireless fence but they actually doesn't have any in stock so that didn't work out.
We also discussed names for him. We didn't love the name his previous owners had given him. They named him Titan. It didn't suit him at all because he is so mellow and laid back. As we discussed all possibilities of names, I remembered a creature in the book The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles by Julie Andrews. He was a slightly despondent fuzzy black creature whose purpose was to distract the children from their goal of reaching the palace of the Whangdoodle. His name was Onyx. It was perfect! Keith and Faye loved it because that is the name of a Pokémon. It is also the name of a shiny black stone. We were all sold on it.
While at the animal shelter they told us his history. He had one owner who could no longer care for him. Then he was spotted by a family who brought him back after a few days because he was too lazy. They wanted a hyper pup. Onyx's calm and lazy personality is exactly what we wanted in our family.
The babies walk on him, poke him, and do all kinds of baby things to him, and he just doesn't care at all.
He just lays there and looks at them. He is a lazy dog and we couldn't be happier! The children all adore him, and he seems made just for us.
Plans. Wow. They never work out how you expect. It really blows my mind to see how much God has a part in even the smallest details of our lives. Like picking out a dog that will fit in with our family dynamic.
And so, unexpectedly, accidentally, we now have a dog.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Arthur "Matt"

My sister's kids are some of the best people to walk the earth. They are all grown up now and are simply amazing. I have always thought (hoped) if my children turn out half as good as hers, I will have raised some fine, quality humans.

In typical Aunt fashion, I have had reservations about her kids boyfriends and girlfriends. But Heidi and Genna picked some quality and perfect for them young men and I am so happy to have them in the family.

And then there is Matt. He goes by Arthur now, as that is his first name, but as a kid he went by Matt which was short for Matthias, his middle name. I love that guy so much and quite frankly I worried about him ever finding anyone who was good enough for him. That kid is salt of the earth, I'm telling you! I honestly couldn't imagine any girl would be special or amazing enough for my nephew. Not to mention the improbability of a girl being able to fully appreciate his amazingness. He is gentle and sweet and thoughtful and witty and funny and caring and humble and all kinds of crazy smart.

And then he brought Rachel to my parent's house for General Conference last April. I knew her from before his mission. They had been good friends since middle school so I had seen her and knew her a little from before.

She is sweet and funny and unassuming and quirky and so incredibly kind. They had both had a crush on each other since middle school but neither ever did anything about it. But last weekend was her bridal shower! Because yes, they decided they are sort of perfect for each other, and should get married!

What a fun shower it was. I love how happy and bubbly Rachel is and how that perfectly offsets Matt's quiet nature. There was a trivia game for how well we knew the couple and it was hilarious because both hers and his mothers were on the same team, and listening to them try to piece together the answers just made me laugh and remember how secretive teenagers tend to be.

Faye, Kip, and I had driven up to Idaho for the shower. Afterwards we went to my sister Gina's house and visited for a while. She has such a beautiful apple orchard and yard.

It is wild and tame in parts. It is perfect for children to play and run around in, and Faye had so much fun out there. She told me she is going to live in a place like that when she grows up so her children can have wide open spaces where they can run around and play.

And then yesterday was their wedding. Rachel and Matt were married and sealed for all time and eternity in the beautiful Provo City Center Temple at 8 am. (Jeffrey has since sent out a decree prohibiting weddings so early in the morning. We got married at 3 in the afternoon.) In order for me to get down to Provo in time, I had to take my kids (and our dog... but that's another story) to my in laws house by 5:30, and on the road by 6. Surprisingly all went according plan, and that never happens! Traffic was great ans i actually got to Provo around 7:10! Except I had had a lot to drink that morning so I needed a bathroom. I went to the nearest Macey's, did what I arrived to do, and grabbed a granola bar and water and headed back to my van where I proceeded to apply my makeup and listen to my audiobook.

At 7:50 I decided it was time to head over to the temple.

I turned my key in the ignition and a faint click. I tried again and all I could hear that time was the sound of my hope dying. I had driven all that way and to be only 1.5 miles away and unable to attend just was not fair! I screamed a quick prayer, "Help me!!! Oh please help me!" and headed into the store.

As I was going in I saw a young man going in.i asked him if he could help me jump start my van and he shrugged and told me he didn't have cables. Not a problem, I had cables. And so he followed me over to my van and we set about charging the battery. He had never charged a battery off that particular car and the plastic cap on the positive charge for the battery didn't come off enough to place the jumper cables. So he put the cable on the bolt connected to the battery and we went for it.

It didn't work.

I was broken hearted. I called the temple and told them not to worry about waiting for me. Try as I might, I couldn't keep the disappointment out of my voice.

The young man who's name i never caught had even called his father asking for tips. None came. He does suggest it wasn't my battery but instead was the starter. But I was confident it was the battery, only I didn't tell him that. He then offered me a ride to the temple.

Ride with a perfect stranger to the temple? Well it wasn't the first time I had done it, and we were in Provo after all. So i for into his car and he took me to the temple. I jumped out and practically ran. I was able to slip in just before they actually began.

It was perfect!

Just like them.