Wednesday, October 19, 2016

A Short Walk

We haven't done a great job at getting out and enjoying nature this year. Our weekends have filled up very quickly, and our yard has taken priority over hiking and exploring. But when the last session of general conference ended a few weeks ago, I told the family to jump in the car. It's been a bumper year for fall leaves and darn it all if we weren't going to see some of it!

We initially headed toward the Alpine loop, but along the way I googled some trails and discovered that one of the best places for fall leaves is up South Fork just a few minutes from the mouth of Provo canyon.

We had just pulled into the parking lot when it started to sprinkle. We sat there for a few minutes, hoping it would pass. Eventually it did let up a bit, so we got out and started walking along the trail to Big Springs. The clouds were looking ominous, but we crossed our fingers and hoped for the best. For a few minutes, the weather held, and we were able to take in the stunning beauty all around us.

But then it started to rain. The kids were a wreck, especially Savannah who announced 2 minutes into our walk that she needed to pee and by this time was an accident waiting to happen. They were all freaking out about getting wet, and I knew we really should just head back. But it was so gorgeous and we hadn't been out on a family nature walk in ages, so I put Isabelle (the most cheerful of the bunch, at the moment, at least) in the lead, and told her to walk for 5 minutes, find a turn around, and then start leading us back. She eagerly led the troops, and a wet ten minutes (yes!) later, decided it had been long enough and turned us around. It was a beautiful trail that I can't wait to explore again, with better weather and more time. And hopefully happier kids. (Don't let the pictures fool you. They are ALL whiner pants.)

The Lightning Bolts

The older Savannah gets, the more I realize she is a very different child than I was. I thought raising a girl would be more relatable. I thought we would share common interests and passions. And we do. On some things. But on other things, she completely surprises me on.

Like soccer. I didn't want anything to do with team sports at her age. They were boring, I wasn't any good, and I had to run (gag). Now, that all changed for me in middle school, but at 8? Forget it. Savannah, on the other hand, loves soccer. After playing in the spring, she was willing to drop all other activities if it meant she could keep playing soccer. So we signed her up for the fall season, and I waited for the other shoe to drop when she would tell me she didn't love it anymore.

But that other shoe never fell, and she never stopped loving it. Stranger yet, I never stopped loving it! Her team went undefeated for the season, and the games were so much fun to watch. They play on a full size field at this age, so suddenly there are actual positions and even a little bit of strategy. The field locations made for a more enjoyable season, too. We played at two different parks, each with just two fields. So the games were never crowded, and with such a big field we always had plenty of room to spread out with our gazillion camp chairs.

Savannah is not the most aggressive player, but that didn't stop her from getting ball time. She made sure any free throw remotely near her was hers to take. I think it's safe to say she mastered free throws this season.

The most exciting thing about this season is that both Savannah and Isabelle scored their first goals ever. Like I said, we're not super aggressive in general, so scoring goals does not come naturally. Both girls now have two goals apiece to their names.

Savannah didn't know anybody going into the season, but made friends quickly and was pretty upset at the last game when it came time to say goodbye. They were a cute little team with a couple really promising players. I am so impressed with the mad skills some of these kids have at just 8 and 9 years old.

Our coach was terrific, and his wife made these cute little keychains and goody bags for all the girls. Savannah is already asking when she can play again.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Cub Soccer

Soccer season has been over for three weeks now, and I am just barely journaling about it. That could have to do with the fact that soccer season is unusually short here (not complaining), or it could be because between four games and a practice or two a week, there wasn't ever a chance to blog or do anything other than load and unload camping chairs every evening for 7 weeks.

Nevertheless, I really enjoyed this season. My usual complaints -- weather and boring games -- were not factors this year. We had a mild late summer/early fall which made for perfect game watching temps, and our teams and leagues made for more entertainment than in previous years.

Isabelle was a riot to watch. Her coach was terrific with the little guys, and would frequently pick kids up out of the grass (where they were napping or meditating or looking for ants) and fly them down the field to rejoin the team.

This shot is classic for this age group. They all run straight past the ball before even realizing it had stopped 5 feet behind them.

Isabelle revealed her instincts as a natural defender. Anytime the ball would start to head towards her goal, she would sprint all the way down the field and plant herself right in front of the goal. If there are future soccer seasons in her future, I'm thinking we should sign her up as goalie.

Cousin Fun

We have two of the sweetest, bestest cousins ever just a few minutes down the road. We hadn't seen them for awhile, and Sawyer was begging for a playdate, so we invited them over one morning for some fun. They were playing great with no help whatsoever from me, so I just went about my business until I turned around and spotted this: Teacher Isabelle with her three little students! She had brought down some of her Bob books that she can read independently and was having story time with very captivated class.

Of course, once I pulled out the camera they immediately turned around and hammed it up for me. Hudson's pose is completely his own, fists under his chin and all. Man, I love these faces!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Silly Sawyer

Sawyer has had some lines for the books lately. My favorite is when he calls me a "silly boy." Look who's talking!

Last week I had ordered some wings from a local diner to pick up for take out. I asked Sawyer if he wanted to go with me to pick up the chicken wings. We arrived and picked up our food, then he carried the bag out to the car. As we walked, he asked, "Are we going to put the wings on the chickens now?" Um...

The other day Sawyer walked into my bathroom wearing just underwear and his favorite socks. This is totally blackmail material and I intend to save it for his wedding video one day. What a silly skinny kid!

Chicks, Take Two

A few weeks ago I went crazy and ordered some chicks online. It would probably be much more logical to wait until spring and pick some up at the local farming supply stores, but I bought a coop on a whim and suddenly couldn't wait another winter to fill it with chickens. I ordered them from mypetchicken.com, and right on schedule I got a call from the post office telling me my chicks had arrived. It still blows my mind that you can ship live animals through the mail! They arrived in this small cardboard box stuffed with hay and a heating pack. They had basically lived in that box since hatching, so we rushed them home and got them some food, water and heat pronto.

We ordered 6 chicks -- the legal maximum for our city -- but lost one during the first few days due to pasting up. The one we lost was an Americauna and seemed to be the only one with lighter coloring, so it was sad to lose her, but the silver lining is I had happened to order two Americaunas (all the other breeds I just ordered one), so hopefully we will still have a blue egger. Here is the cute little thing that only lived a couple days.

This is our other Americauna, who is significantly smaller than the other chicks, but thriving.

The other four chicks are an australorp, a barred rock, a silver-laced wyandotte, and a silver cuckoo maran. I couldn't figure out which was which as day-old chicks, but as their feathers started to grow in it became more obvious. Unfortunately, I didn't document the change very closely, so I can't match these pictures with the pullets they have grown into! Chicks seem to change dramatically every day. None of them have names yet, but we'll start brainstorming now that we can see what they will look like as adults.

The chicks hatched on September 7, so they are now just over 5 weeks old. We have moved them from a box into a large dog crate and from the kitchen down into the basement, but even there they smell so bad I am about ready to kick them out altogether. (Well, at least to the garage.) If all goes well, we can move them to the coop between Halloween and Thanksgiving, and they'll start laying eggs around the end of January. It's a little strange to be raising baby animals in the fall, but this way we'll have eggs 6 months sooner than we would have otherwise. I'm so excited to have my flock back!  

Monday, October 10, 2016

Sawyer Turns Three

Oh, Sawyer, my funny little man. Are you really three? Is it possible that somehow time has passed far quicker than I could have ever thought possible, and you are no longer a baby but a true and honest little boy?

Ready or not, my baby boy turned three this month. This year has been a big one for Sawyer. He has ditched the diaper, transitioned to a real bed (the bottom bunk), and is becoming more self-sufficient every day. His vocabulary is growing by leaps and bounds, although he still can't say certain sounds which makes me smile every time he tried to say, "Logan." ("Wogan.")

At three years old, Sawyer loves trains, horses, dinosaurs, and "caterpillars" (construction equipment). His train table has been a staple in his play regiment for over a year now and it never gets old. He has quite the horse collection and has been earning more for not crying when I drop him off at daycare. He has a lot of separation anxiety and still struggles with nursery, but has been doing great at daycare for the past two weeks which gives me hope!

Sawyer is a good head taller than most other kids his age. I am crossing my fingers that he will be the one to get some of Jeff's height, since it doesn't appear anyone else did. His feet are pretty big, too. In fact, he and Isabelle wear the same size shoe.

Sawyer has an unnatural fear of dogs. I don't understand where it came from, but he will come running into the house in a terrified panic attack if a dog on a leash appears at the park 100 yards from our house. He even gets nervous if we pass someone walking their dog while we are driving in our car. I really hope this is just a phase, because I'm not super excited at the thought of getting a dog just to break his phobia.

Sawyer is a total peach. He has his moments (I am a firm believer that three's are way worse than two's), but he also has our entire family wrapped around his finger. I can see now why babies of the family are so easily spoiled. They never lose the cuteness factor since no one ever comes along to usurp their place as most miniature. This kid may require counseling later, but for now, I am going to take every squeeze and kiss that I can get from him, including the three he gives me every night before bed: one on each cheek and one smack on the lips. We love you, baby boy!

3-year-old stats: 31.75 lb (48%), 39 in (81%)

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Izzy Funnies

I have a continuous note saved in my phone whose sole purpose is to keep track of funny quotes that are too good to forget. 99% of them are from Isabelle. Some of these are two years old, I've just never gotten around to blogging them! Here they are, in random order.


We bought some school shirts this year for the kids to wear on spirit day. I bought them a little big because the PTA lady told me they run small. As Isabelle was trying on her shirt, we had the following exchange:
Me: It's a little big now, but it will shrink.
Izzy: No, Mom. It won't shrink. I will grow!
Touché, Izzy.


Sometimes while driving in the car, we listen to a CD with the Articles of Faith songs. One day, I got completely blindsided with a slew of questions from the girls, such as...
What is a transgression?
Why didn't the Holy Ghost have a body?
Why did we have to come to earth? Why couldn't we just stay in heaven?
What is an organization?
Some serious questions from some pretty young kids! It made for a good discussion and made me grateful we had been learning the Articles of Faith, even if they are hard to understand sometimes.


At the mall bathroom:
Izzy: Mom, the toilet flushed before I was done pooping!
Me: It's ok, just keep going.
Izzy: Even though it's really small? It's ok, I'll just save that one for later.
Me: No, just finish up.
Izzy: [Grunt] Ugh! I can't get it out and it won't stop flushing!
To all the other mall patrons using the bathroom that day, you're welcome for your afternoon comedy sketch.


One day I was one my way to visit teach and so I told Izzy we were going to my friend's house. After we were done she said, "That was a big friend. You need to find me a little friend."

Izzy: When is first grade?
Me: After Kindergarten.
Izzy: When is last grade?
Me: Izzy, you know we don't hit.
Izzy: I know I'm a five-year-old, but sometimes I do four-year-old, or three-year-old, or two-year-old, or one-year-old, or zero-year-old things!
Izzy: Jesus made everything, right?
Me: Yes.
Izzy: So does Jesus build houses or do builders build houses?
Izzy: I don't really live with you. You are just borrowing me. You are borrowing me because... (thinking)... I needed to be a little kid.
Me: [speechless and totally baffled that she would say something so profound]
Izzy: ... And to have a birthday... and play with Sawyer... and...

Here are some Izzy-isms from 2014, when she was 3-years-old.
Upside backwards. (Upside down.)
My mouth is empty. (I'm hungry.)
I'm so sad she outgrew these funny sayings! But so relieved our little comic relief is very much still in action.

Broadway Reviews

Between my two trips to New York City in August and September, I saw seven Broadway shows. They were all wonderful and I enjoyed every single one, but there are definitely some that stood out. Here are my reviews of every show we saw, in order or my favorites, with the best ones first.

1. The Waitress

Words and Music by Sara Bareilles. What more did I need to know? I adore Sara Bareilles and was super excited to hear what she had composed for this show. I vaguely remembered the movie (I have since rewatched it and it's pretty terrible) but couldn't recall much about the plot. Basically, it's the story of a waitress with a talent for baking pies who ends up with an unwanted pregnancy with her deadbeat husband. So she has an affair with her doctor, but (spoiler alert) ditches him at the end in order to avoid ruining his marriage and instead focuses on her new life with her baby, whom she now adores and couldn't imagine life without (but not with the deadbeat husband). But let me tell you, the actors in this show could have been reading out of the phonebook for all I cared because the music-- !!! I cannot say enough about how much I loved the music in this show. Sara Bareilles absolutely nailed it. Go here and just take a listen. Don't miss She Used to Be Mine. Then head over here for the most beautiful love song ever. And my kid's favorite, the subplot songs revolving around the control freak Dawn and her persistent admirer, Ogie. (This and this.) The cast of this show is perfection. Every single person. Jessie Mueller is now on my watch list, and the supporting actors were incredible in their roles. If you get the chance, see this show.

Side note: this is the only show out of the seven that I bought tickets for in advance. Everything else came from TKTS, lotteries, or same day rush tickets. But The Waitress has none of those options, so we sprung for $85 nosebleeds, and it was still great.

2. Finding Neverland

My friend, MarKey, put this show on my radar several months before our trip and I couldn't wait to see it. I knew it had rush tickets, but I was super stressed that we wouldn't get any and I'd miss seeing it, which was unacceptable because it left Broadway to go on tour the week after we were there. So I dragged Jeff to the box office Saturday morning and we waited in line for an hour but scored second row seats for $37!

Finding Neverland had all the elements for a theatrical treat. Beautiful sets and costumes, a good mix of beautiful and catchy songs, a stellar cast, and a bittersweet plot. I am bummed that we missed seeing Matthew Morrison perform as the lead, but our guy was pretty good, too. The highlight of Finding Neverland is unquestionably the duet between J.M. Barrie, playwright of Peter Pan, and Peter, a young boy he befriends and helps through a difficult time. My kids have fallen in love with the soundtrack and are now begging me to take them when it comes on tour.

3. School of Rock

This show deserves a top billing just on the basis of the kids in the cast! It followed the movie pretty closely, but with a fresh set of music by Andrew Lloyd Weber. All the kids in the cast played their own instruments and they were dang good. I couldn't believe the energy in this show! It was so loud and intense and awesome the whole time.

4. Kinky Boots

I really didn't know what to expect with this one. I'd heard it was pretty good, but not from anyone I trusted. I was worried it might be a little raunchy, but we won the ticket lottery so we decided, why not? As it turns out, this was the cleanest show we saw! (With the exception of An American in Paris.) The story starts with a man who has recently inherited his father's dying shoe factory. After a chance meeting with a drag queen, he has the idea to manufacture womens' boots for men. So fun and funny. We loved it.

5. Matilda

Overall, I was a little disappointed with this one. I don't know why-- I should know to expect any adaptations of any Roald Dahl story to be a little dark and revolting, but somehow I was hoping the focus would be more on Matilda and Miss Honey and not focus so much on her horrid parents or the Trunchbull. The second act was better than the first (so don't leave during intermission) and there was one number involving swings that was so neat it redeemed the entire show. The audio on this is not super great and even the acrobatics seem less impressive than they felt live, but you get the idea. Here's a better audio track but without the video.

6. Fun Home

This was the very first show Jeff and I saw on my first trip. The worker at the TKTS booth said it was phenomenal, so we gave it a shot. We ended up with front row seats, which was cool, but the whole theater was only 15 rows deep (it was in the round), so there really wasn't a bad seat in the house. It was a very interesting and thought provoking play, and I cried at the end, but didn't really stick with me. It was more operatic, not in style, but the way the songs wove their way through the dialogue without really starting or stopping. It is the story of a lesbian girl and her gay father, so that gives you the initial set up. But the takeaway was more about their relationship with each other, and his inability to ever open up to her and how it ultimately destroyed him. Weightier than most of the other shows I saw, for sure.

7. An American in Paris

Even though this is last in my list, I still really enjoyed it. The actors were cast first for their dancing abilities and then for their singing and acting, so it was definitely a show you see for the dancing. And that part was awesome. If you think of it as a ballet with a little bit of singing and dialogue as a bonus, you'll leave much more satisfied. I was set up for failure, though, because I spent hours as a pre-teen obsessing over Gene Kelly's performance in the movie version, and there was no way ANYBODY could live up to that. A true classic, just a little slow and I wish the vocals would have been better.