Thursday, November 24, 2011


It's 4:33 AM. I've been up since 3:34 AM.

Wake up times fascinate me. I find I wake up at exactly the same time every morning for several in a row then suddenly switch times. And, with each bio-rhythmic switch I feel a sense of loss, I'll miss 3:34 glowing red on the clock face like I'd miss a neighbor moving from my same street to the next town. It's not that I'll never see them again, just that the routine of waving each morning and again each evening will be a comfortable familiarity missed.

Back to 4:33 AM. I spent the last hour awake sending silly, sleepy text messages to the other graveyard clerk. (I work 7nights on/7 nights off as a clerk at a hospital) I rarely see the other graveyard clerk but randomly carry on conversations in the early morning hours when one of us is trying to stay awake and one trying to sleep. Love ya, Russ! At 4:33 AM I headed back to bed but found my half occupied by two warm sets of elbows and knees, their deep, peaceful breathing weakens my resolve to walk them back to their cold beds and the dog is snoring on most of the couch he's not supposed to be on... and so I write.

It's Thanksgiving today. Despite cold toes, I am touched with a profound thankfulness for those knees and elbows in my bed. Each of my sons has held that role at one time or another, though none more then these last two, and it ranks high on the thankful list. The peace of a warm boy body curled up against my back, the thrill of wondering if Rick will get the first elbow to the ribs or if it will be me? Call me strange, but I love it like I loved the growing awareness of each child wiggling in my womb.

There are Christmas lights and trees up here and there, I shake my head a little when I see lights up before Thanksgiving, and it's mostly not jealousy at others organizational skills. I really love Thanksgiving, wish I focused more on all I have instead of using the feast as energy to springboard into staying up all night consuming retailers into the black; and, yet I'm thankful for all the abundance around me, the ease of finding Kale after only two stores, the fist pump when I get an X-Box 360 for $50 dollars less then it priced out at.

I wonder if I'm attached to consumption, in the name of economic growth and progress like I'm sleepily attached to 3:34 AM glowing on my alarm clock. Have I become so familiar with retail-ism that I fear losing it more then I fear its over powering roll in my life? Am I watching to many YouTube documentaries?

Hmmm, that's enough deep thinking for one holiday. And now my Thankful List:

Husband, oh, my love.

Sons, nocturnal rib jabs, stinky sports gear, empty fridge and all.

Family, each one doing their part, sharing experiences that bless us all.

Friends, they see our best, know our worst and love us still.

Dogs, never have to wonder what they were thinking or what they think of you.

Nature, a constant reminder of God's intimate awareness of each detail, grand or miniscule.

Books, the best of traveling companions.

Chocolate Swirled Pumpkin Cheesecake, it's just that good.

Handicapped parking, those extra 40 steps each time I'm at the store remind me how good it is to move freely and to do it more often.

Bloggers, you share the little stuff the big stuff the good, bad and mundane, reminding me we're all human and all wonderful.

My job, I finally appreciate the leisurely years as a homemaker ;=)

Tank tops, they go under everything.

Jesus Christ, the Man who makes life with all my men a joy.

And now, some hand turkeys for your Thanksgiving viewing pleasure.

It started out innocently enough, I asked #7 for his hand to draw a hand turkey for his missionary brothers. They were traditional hand turkeys in traditional fall colors and are now on their way to Kansas City, Missouri and Athol, Idaho.

Then #6 wanted to make a hand turkey, things were going well until #7 became bored with the Autumn color scheme and gave his turkey some pink feathers and a green wobble (or whatever you call the thing that hangs down their neck).

He kinda looks like he's coming out of the closet just when he should be hiding in the closet.

Now, #6 is a quiet, traditional child and carefully drew a hand turkey that would make any pilgrim parent proud. Left on the cupboard overnight some older less conservative older brother added a, chain saw blade beak?


No one would own up to it the next morning over cold cereal and so the therapist appointment remains unscheduled.

Here's a close-up.

I dunno, maybe it's a sonic gobble ray, maybe he's a mutant turkey, maybe he'll make it into the next X-Men movie... X Men need pets too, ya know.

I know, time to go back to bed.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Down, Set, Hike!

This is not a football post, although I really need to do one of those.

My friend, Suz and I have decided hiking is our new passion.

And that means our 11 sons, 1 daughter, 2 husbands and 1 dog have a new passion too.

They're thrilled!

Our first hike this year was Little Wild Horse Canyon a beautiful Utah slot canyon.

Wait, is compartmentalizing a good or bad thing??

Next there was Calf Creek falls.

I think a good camera and longer bangs that will stay put is a priority for this hiking thing. Our trail companions sure are cute!

Then we hiked up to the Alpine Sliding rock, not much of a hike but, the destination was great.

Now so far none of these hikes was really demanding or challenging, then Suz got a Hiking book so we bumped it up in a BIG way.

Grove Creek to Battle Creek 9+ miles with an elevation increase of 2,300 feet. Ack! Way off in the distance... Way down there... That is the valley floor.

It was a tough hike; but, I gotta say, this was the most amazingly beautiful hike this year. The leaves had all turned to glorious shades of yellow, red and brown, the grasses were waist high, the weather was perfect. We even drank from a spring and no one got Mad Deer Disease. Buwaahaha, ha, errr...hmmm.

The weekend before Halloween we hiked Stewart Falls.

We found a Leprechaun hiding beside the trail.

Turns out the Leprechaun was just #6 really excited to be the Notre Dame mascot for Halloween. Darn! I could have really used that pot of gold.

There's always a moment on these crazy adventures of ours where the kids are far enough behind or in front that we can take a moment to quietly talk arm in arm. It's as renewing and beautiful as the scenery and the exercise.

So, if you haven't got a thing better to do next summer...




Saturday, October 22, 2011

Were On Our Way...

When #1 was a little guy he had a thing for a big purple dinosaur. We only had two Barney videos and we watched them each twice a day. I can still sing most of the songs in my sleep, "We're on our way. We're on our way. On our way to Grandpa's farm..."

It wasn't Grandpa's farm it was Uncle Wilbur's farm, Uncle Wilbur is a giant white pig with the most enormous set of, ummm...daddy pig parts that ever got patted by hesitant, unwitting pig petters. But, on a gorgeous fall day what could be more fun then petting pig bits, hay rides, catching squealing baby pigs, and eating kettle corn while wandering a corn maze with 5 wonderful kiddos, 2 cute husbands, and the best girl friend a Boy Mom could ever have.

Sky, the definition of azure blue. Corn, high as an elephants eye.

Adorable Hubby (lives up to his name, huh?) and Suz headed into the corn maze.

Lilly! Adam! Look at the camera!

Ummm, yeah, that's better?

#7, Lil and Suz enjoying kettle corn and the hay ride.

This little piggy escaped his pen. This little boy caught him. And, this Boy Mom said ewww, ewww, ewww, you touched a pig, all the way home.

The farmer, complete with a hat, gun and holster full of bullets, insisted this was the best way to catch a pig. I thought it looked cruel and only made him re-catch it twice so I could get a good picture.

Shudder, there was a lot of pig touching going on. I really, really don't care for pigs. They get their pig wrasslin' genes from their daddy.

This picture really doesn't do justice to the pig experience, the baby pigs were kinda cute and almost as big as the daddy pigs junk. I really did watch some hesitant little boy work up the courage to reach in and pet the pig, I figured that not having 4 teenage brothers the little guy had no idea what part he patted and that it was best he leave with his pig-petting-pride intact.

After riding a train of 50 gallon drums fashioned into different animals our little ones spotted a bunny and the chase was on. For 1/2 an hour they ran around hay bales in a big field, never intended to be part of the Uncle Wilbur's farm experience, until they successfully caught the sweet, soft little bunny and turned him over to the farmer for a free popcorn which they ate with their piggy smeared hands. I had to distract myself with thoughts of farmers living to a ripe old age and bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches to keep from tossing my kettle corn.

And, as the sun sank over the hay ride we headed home to pork taco salads and anti-bacterial soap.

Ahhh, Autumn, how I love thee!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Slip, Sliding Away

At the thoughts of warm summer breezes slipping into fall you may...

Grit your teeth,



look around dazed and confused,

or grab a pair of shoes, cuz it's gonna get cold up in here.

You may be one who throws their arms up and goes along for the ride.

Whatever it is you do...

Love it!

Because so many of you asked, this is the sliding rock in Alpine. Suz and I took the boys and Lil a couple weeks ago. It's a gentle hike up and lots of fun, COLD though! I recommend a warm summer day rather then a cool autumn evening. And thanks to the random guy who took pictures of us, there were a couple shots of me with significant skin showing significantly, poor guy!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Lost In Translation

We live in the Information Age, anything we want to know on any topic can be had with the click of a mouse or by opening our mouth and asking, with Discovery Channel, The Learning Channel, Food Network, and the Internet someone has heard something about almost everything. And while much of this information is remarkably accurate it never hurts to check your sources and verify your data.

Sometimes though, what means one thing to one and something entirely different to another rears its connotative head and even between speakers of the same language something gets lost in translation. A little clarification just to be sure the information giver really meant what the information receiver got is always a good plan. And, If you don't clarify you may find yourself wishing you had insisted on a better translation before acting on the information you thought you heard.

For instance:

If your kids tell you just as you're drifting off to sleep for the 3rd day of a seven day work rotation, "Mom, the dryer won't dry our clothes!" And you, knowing the dryer is old and has to be propped shut and is missing one of the tumblers, metaphorically jump for joy because you'll take any excuse to put off doing laundry for a week or two, think a sad goodbye to an old friend as you drift to sleep wondering how the budget can stretch to cover the repair bill or a new dryer and how you'll survive not doing any laundry until you're off graveyard shift and can take care of it all.

May learn, a week later when you make it down to check out the situation, that what your kids meant to say was, "Mom, we packed a huge batch of jeans, a batch of towels and a batch of blankets into the dryer so tightly that the barrel can't tumble and even if it could no air would circulate through the soggy mass. Now, strangely enough, our clothes aren't drying."

Then you would avoid sending kids to school in clothes that make your eyes water if the breeze hits them and having 3 days to do two weeks worth of laundry.

Or if you invited three families over for Sunday dinner and your boys told you, "Mom the backyard is looking marvelous, toys, socks and shoes, garbage, rock and stick collections and doggy droppings all cleaned up and put away, chairs placed in comfortable chatting circles and birds chirping happily". You might think you can squeeze in vacuuming behind the couches, washing down the cupboards and showering in the 15 minutes before guests arrive put the finishing touches on a lovely salad and never think to check the backyard just to be sure.

To late you'd translate what your boys said to, "Duh, we're boys, we think piles of dirt make great center pieces that will delight and entertain our dinner guests".

Then as you walked out to join your guests with a plate full of spaghetti goodness you wouldn't find a huge pile of potting soil in the middle of the patio with chairs carefully arranged around it.

And perhaps, if you get an email from a football coach, who you think has a little too much time on his hands because he's sending stats on 9 and 10 year old boys after each game, saying, "Here are directions to the football game in a town 40 minutes away tonight." You might hit delete thinking, "Buddy, you put the O in OCD, I've been attending games in that town for many years and directions are for sissies" assume you know the way, plan your evening down to the second, only to have a husband and son gone with both sets of car keys, end up leaving 30 minuets late, fly up the canyon at 20 miles over the speed limit where you discover that the old field has been converted to a soccer complex and then have to get directions that start with, "Ya know where McDonalds is?" from a teenager in a golf cart full of grass clippings, spend 25 more minutes searching frantically for the McDonald's while your 10 year old says things like, "Even if I miss the WHOLE GAME it was nice to drive up the canyon and see the waterfalls and autumn leaves with you, Mom."

You may learn that what the coach meant to say was, "I realize that many coaches don't keep stats on 9 and 10 year old players and that you probably won't care about stats when they're playing college ball at 19 and 20; but, the location of tonight's game is new, useful and handy information for a sleep deprived Mom with 4 football players and a busy schedule."

Then you would avoid wondering if your Doctor could prescribe a pharmaceutical cocktail of caffeine, anxiety meds and Valium in an easy to swallow tablet.

And, if a busy Mom tells you, "I love blogging and I'll be getting posts out a bit slower than usual but I won't miss all the fun and exciting things in my life and the lives of my Bloggy Buddies." You might roll your eyes and say ha, like we'd even miss you say, we know you'll be back soon, take a few more days between posts. Just keep up with reading our blogs so you aren't overwhelmed when you come back in a week or so.

Sadly you'd learn that what the busy Mom meant to say was, "I'm going to run around like a crazy woman and take on more projects then ten woman could handle and then in the few minutes of computer time I do get I'll become addicted to Angry Birds, and suddenly it will be 2 months since I've posted any thing and I'll be overwhelmed with where to start on mine or yours."

Then you could avoid endlessly clicking on her blog in the hopes that Blogger was wrong about it being two months and that she is once again lifting spirits and changing live with her witty and insightful posts...long awkward pause.

Hmmm, I guess this means I'm back.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

This boy, #2, football stud, adventurer, intellectual, sweetheart.

And, in my favorite picture...

Received his mission call today!

Mexico, Leon

He'll be leaving us December 28th for two years of studying and preaching the glorious message of God the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ to the people of Mexico.

Our hearts are full to running over with the goodness of God and his beloved Son...and our beloved sons!

Sunday, August 7, 2011


Just as my house was about to sign a contract with Better Homes and Gardens to appear as the centerfold in their, "Decorating with SWIMSUITS" issue... it's two weeks from school starting. Acckk!

Just as we were diving into the first page of those summer workbooks.

Just as my skin has gone from blinding white to...traffic stopping red, sigh!

Where did the summer go?

Maybe if I share some summer pictures with you I'll remember a few of those glorious, sun filled days...

Ummm, this is it! My one summer picture, a bunch of scouts at day camp, pretty sure my kidlette isn't even in it.

Feel free to nominate me for Lame Mom of the Summer!

off to take a few pictures!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Just in case you didn't have a marvelously, fabulous Forth of July Holiday, mmMMWahh!!!

Nothing a couple of BIG Forth of July KISSES can't fix!

Happy Forth

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

WANTED: A Wedding (But I'd Settle for a Good Camera)

It's June 21st, Summer Solstice! It's my favorite day of the year. The day of Greatest light.

It's also the day my backyard screams, begs, whines, and cries for a wedding. One of those celebration, of an impossibly beautiful romance fraught with drama and angst, weddings, a really big wedding, amidst the roses and clematis, the columbine and ferns (think the meadow where Edward and Bella shared their first kiss (Yeah I've read 'em all, don't hate!).

For years I've pleaded with couples planning marriage, or couples who had enjoyed a first date and may potentially marry one day or random strangers who would look good in white; but, yet again, the wedding begging wondrousness of my back yard is unused...sob! Is it because I don't have a water feature?? (I watch too many garden shows)

To make me feel a little better I wandered through my back yard in scrubs and a tank top soaking in the sights, sun and scent. I took a few thousand pictures for you to enjoy only to realize that my camera is on its last pixel and that I desperately need a new one. #1 son's camera broke, #8 needs a camera for his mission and #2 son needs a camera too. So if you're listening, God...Cannon...I'd really like a wedding; but, I'll settle for a camera.

Blue sky, roses, sunlight and solstice! Ahhhh!

Adam and Eve started the whole naughty gardening thing, I'm just keeping with tradition.

So delicate. I think these are my favorite roses.

Clematis and Columbine.

Can a garden ever have too many bird baths???

Or enough frogs??

Shhhh, he's my favorite!

These flowers come up every year, they get me tons of compliments, yet I have no clue what they are nor do starts grow for people I've given them to.

A cluster of flowers amongst the grape leaves.

I heart Hostas!

This is a picture from earlier this spring. Love the mix.

This picture is me trying to capture the pollen on the legs of the many bees that were buzzing madly in these flowers. Ummmm...ok, if you look closely you can see the bee.

Even if it is my camera giving each picture an Edenesque glow you should still be impressed.

I dare you to not smile!

I ask ya, where's a bride and a cake when you need one? Maybe I can find a sparkly skinned, bare chested vampire to lip lock with...;)

Wrought iron and flowers, sigh!

This picture is my favorite, love the bird house in the back corner. Thanks for walking through my backyard and sharing a bit of solstice with me. Feel free to send brides and or cameras my way.

Our Family

Our Family