Friday, May 27, 2016

Princess Games with Lil' Bro

Sawyer often gets roped into whatever games his older sisters want to play. Today it was the Princess Cupcake game. He does love cupcakes, so it didn't take much convincing. I would blame it on being the youngest, but Logan has been playing dress up and house for many many years, so I think it's just a woman's world. At least in our house.

Happy 30th, Byron!

My baby brother is 30. Stop the bus.

Byron has been the greatest uncle and brother to our family. He's always been the first to get on the floor and wrestle with the kids. After spending an afternoon showing Logan how to make his own app, he definitely won a spot in that kid's heart. And when I suggested driving to Arizona and back in 48 hours, he jumped right on board and we had some awesome conversations during our 20 hour drive. He's a great dad and husband, too, and definitely undeserving of the ridicule I bestowed upon him in our early years.

It was a treat to host his family for dinner the Sunday before his birthday. We sure love being close(r) to them and look forward to many more dinners together!

First Hike - Escalante Cross

We haven't hiked nearly as much this year as we would have liked. Jeff's travel schedule, a rainy spring, and lots of work to do on the house and yard have kept us from getting out much. One weekend we had to be out of our house for 24 hours to let our floors dry (they needed a new coat of sealer), so we decided to cram a quick hike in on a Friday night. Escalante Cross in Spanish Fork is just a short hike from Jeff's parents house, so even though we only had an hour or so before sunset, we set out.

The kids did great and even Sawyer walked most of it. We reached the crest right as the sun set. We still had to walk along the ridge to get to the cross, but since it was getting dark quickly and we had all the views we could want from that point, we decided to turn around there. By the time we got back to the reservoir at the trailhead, it was pretty much dark, but the kids still played on the playground for a minute before calling it a day. I know this will be a light year for hiking in our house, but it is still my favorite family pastime so I'm crossing my fingers for a few more!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

4th Grade Utah Program

It was anyone's guess where we would end up for Logan's 4th grade year, but Utah state history won out! He had to dress up as a pioneer, so it seemed appropriate to take a picture next to the pioneer trail markers left in our yard. My favorite line from their state history program was: "This was just the place the Mormons were looking for, a place no one else wanted." Ha! But true.

Grandma's Grandkids

As part of Jeff's mom's Mother's Day gift, we took new pictures of the kids for her grandkid wall. Sometimes overgrown and un-landscaped lots have their advantages (such as good photo backdrops).

Mother's Day

Mother's Day is not necessarily all about Mom. Given the chance, most mothers would probably choose a quiet day (preferably in isolation), a clean house, and a simple meal where they aren't required to do any dishes, but what we end up with is children climbing all over you shoving crayon drawings in your face, the smoke detector going off three times while the bacon cooks, flour exploding everywhere, and a delicious, multi-course meal that leaves your husband exhausted and stressed out. Multiple potted plants are delivered from schools, leaving trails of soil throughout the car and house, and you will probably find handmade coupons stashed between every couch cushion for weeks to come. But you know what? I wouldn't have it ANY other way.

This Mother's Day was perfection. My kids really seemed to catch the spirit of the holiday, and for the entire week preceding I overheard many not-so-whispered conversations and was quizzed on all my favorites. After the fact, I found this list made by Savannah to help her remember everything she was going to do.

The whole day I was pampered and spoiled by my children and husband. Waffles with strawberries, whipped cream, and bacon for breakfast, and a gorgeous steak dinner filled my stomach that day. The kids even appeased me with a picture of me and them, something I don't get very often. Their cards and sentiments were so uniquely them that I couldn't help but love and treasure them. Jeff made good on a Mother's Day IOU from years ago and forced me to pick out a patio set. I was being my usual indecisive self and bought and returned two sets before I found this one. I love it so much and can't wait for summer to hit so we can spend every night on it!

If that wasn't enough, he also surprised me with a Fitbit! I've been watch-less for awhile now so I was thrilled to finally have a watch again, but I was surprised how much I love having a "smart" watch! I've never cared much about my daily step count before, but now I actually have motivation to walk places rather than drive whenever possible. My all time favorite feature is a toss up between the call/text notifications (never miss a call again!) and the silent (vibrating) alarm. Being able to get up in the wee hours of the morning without waking up my family is heavenly.

My calling as a mother is one that I always wanted but have realized does not always come naturally. I've been blessed with the absolute best trainers and role models in my mother, mother-in-law, grandmothers, sisters, and other women in my life. My husband is my advocate in everything, but most especially in this. And most of all, I'm so grateful for these patient souls that call me "Mom."

Monday, May 23, 2016

Logan the Webelo

Somehow, despite changing scouting troops mid-year and missing some key den meetings, Logan (and I) managed to compete his bear with an entire week to spare! He became a Webelo at the May pack meeting. I got to test his bear skills by tossing swedish fish into his mouth (eh... we had better keep working on that) and then I got pinned by my favorite 10-year-old.

I have a love/hate/kind-of-want-to-pull-my-hair-out relationship with cub scouts. I don't love pack meetings. I don't love the crazy strict rules and regulations. I definitely don't love sewing the patches onto Logan's overpriced shirt. But I do love that Logan loves it. He has had fabulous scouting leaders all along the way and has made some good friends through scouting. For a kid that prefers to be sitting at a computer, by himself, to almost anything, cub scouts is a great change of pace and scenery. Just look at that smile on his face as he leads the crowd in a cheer. Just one more year before boy scouts!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Running with Friends

There are two things I never say no to: (1) a chance to hang out with my best friends and (2) a race. When these two combine, it's like having a birthday and Christmas all at once! I've been having Meg withdrawals for the past 5 months, but for a couple hours on a Saturday morning in early May, we laced up and ran a half marathon together and it was as though everything was right again in the world.

We ran the Provo City Half Marathon, which is a canyon run. (Interpretation: wake up at obscene hours to catch a bus from the finish line to the starting line, but enjoy a nice gradual decline the entire course.) Poor Meg had gotten the least amount of sleep, having spent the previous day at a wedding in Salt Lake (hence the reason for being in Utah). Amazing, devoted Kasey decided to come along because it sounded like fun. We all three met at the starting line at 5 am, rode the bus to the start up South Fork in Provo Canyon, then huddled around a campfire trying to stay warm until the race start at 7. Coming from Arkansas heat and humidity, Meg couldn't comprehend that it was still cold in Utah at 5 am up the canyon and was feeling a little chilly in her shorts and t-shirt.

Finally the sun came up and the race was about to start. Although those were a chilly 90 minutes waiting at the starting line, I was so grateful for that chance to catch up with my very missed friends.

The first few miles I was feeling great. That downhill was paying off, as were some running friends I've found that have really pushed my to go faster on my training runs. A few miles in, a girl started chatting with me and we decided we would run awhile together. It really helped the time pass more quickly and before I knew it we were out of the canyon! She is a college student at Utah State University and recently married. Her husband kept jumping out of the bushes to take pictures every mile or so. The first thing she asked me is if I was also in college. Talk about making MY day!

The last 8 miles were a straight stretch down University Avenue and it felt long. Especially on north University where I swear there are miles and miles of identical business parks. Eventually BYU's stadium came into view and I knew I was close. Despite some mental boredom, I actually felt really great physically this whole run. I was averaging faster miles than usual and I still hadn't hit a wall. When I could see the finish line a mile or so away, I found I still had enough energy to pick up the pace. The last two blocks were completely blocked off from traffic, and I loved coming in through cute downtown Provo to a cheering crowd.

My official finish time was 1:44:43, a new personal record! I was glad I had a good race, because this might be my last half marathon for awhile. I realized as I was training for this race that although I love running, I don't love spending an hour or two every Saturday on long training runs during prime family time. I think I will focus on shorter races in the near future, and save halfs for special occasions. (Although if a Ragnar is in the future, I may have to eat everything I just typed.)

We lingered at the finish line longer than usual, each of us reluctant to leave each other's company. As I drove home from the race, I felt that pang of having to say goodbye yet again, but it was less painful this time knowing that we can keep doing things like this in the future. I'm so grateful to have friends across the country that I know I can meet up with no matter how many months and years we've been apart and it's as though it's only been a day.

Savannah's Spring Soccer Season

How's that for an alliteration?! Savannah was the only one to play soccer this spring (Logan expressed no interest, and Isabelle's age isn't offered in the spring). It was nice to only have one team's games to put on the calendar. It was an abbreviated season, with no practices and a shorter playing season, which was just about right to me. A few practices could have proved beneficial, but we made some new friends and Savannah loved playing. She is already biting at the bit for fall soccer!

Savannah has such a silly goofball side of her that comes out when she's with her friends, or a little bit nervous, or trying to get attention, or almost any other time. She was constantly fist pumping, dancing, or making faces on the field.

We had a little team party the other night and let the girls loose playing with a soccer ball at the park. It was really sweet to see how much they love just playing with each other. The teams in our city are arranged geographically, so I'm hoping we'll see a lot of these faces again in the fall!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Logan Hits Double Digits

This kid turned ten last month. TEN! It's been an entire decade since this little 8 lb 11 oz squirmy boy with a personality bigger than life was placed in my arms for the first time. I don't know that I remember him growing up, and sometimes I'll take a sideways glance and not even recognize this young man in our home.

This birthday was a testament of his increasing maturity. The whole day he was so easygoing, so nonchalant about our celebration but still gracious and thrilled by it all. I let him open his present at breakfast because I knew he'd want to play around with it after school. He has been begging for a tablet for years so we finally got him his own. It has been pretty much glued to his hand since his birthday, even though it's limited to just digital books on schooldays.

In the evening we met Jeff at Malawi's for pizza and then the Provo Beach Resort to let Logan and Savannah ride the Flowrider. There was only one other couple sharing the wave during their hour so they had plenty of opportunity to ride. They both did really well on the body board.

Savannah was doing great and even caught on a little quicker than Logan did, but before I could get any good shots, she had a big wipeout...

And that was the end of that. Logan was such a sweet brother and ran up to comfort her, but she was pretty traumatized after that crash. She spent most of the remaining time on the bench.

As their time was coming to an end, Logan decided to try the surfboard. He never really got that down, but it didn't wipe the smiles of his face.

To reward the other kids who had waited patiently during the hour of Flowriding, we let everyone ride the carousel once. Logan was so happy to be doing anything that we offered and didn't complain once about not spending more time at the arcade.

Back home we made him an ice cream pie since he doesn't like cake. He helped me pick out the ice cream flavors for the pie, making sure to pick flavors everybody would like even though he wasn't fond of all of them. The whole day was filled with little instances like this. He was calm, collected, and put others first. These are all traits that do not come naturally to Logan, and though he still struggles from time to time, for this one day he seemed years older than 10.

Logan, you have raised me to be a mother as much as I have raised you to be a son. You are bright and thoughtful, and your keen observation forces me to live what I strive to teach. You have an insatiable curiosity and when you develop a new passion, it completely consumes you. I love that you love to read and are willing to try new books even when they are outside of your usual genres. Almost nightly we have to tell you to turn out the light at 9...10...11 pm because you have lost yourself in a book and can't put it down. I hope and pray every day that I can be the parent that will cultivate your boundless potential and support you on your road to whatever it is you wish to be.