“Hello, There!”

aka “What I say when I see a new plant popping up in the garden.”

This garden has been one of our worst EVER. We’ve planted and replanted, only to have our garden sabotaged by wind, rabbits, wind, heat, wind, heat… the list goes on. In the past few weeks, we’ve had a welcome reprieve. The summer monsoon season finally found it’s way to us, dousing the last of the huge Wallow Fire and bringing what’s left of our garden back to life. There will be produce! Enough to can? That’s debatable. But we won’t quibble now. We’ll just be grateful for the rain.
My garden has been too muddy to step into for the past couple of weeks. Yesterday was completely dry, so this morning I ventured out. I pulled some massive weeds and found some beautiful blossoms.

It’s a great way to start a Thursday.
Only wonderful things can happen from here on out.

(Laundry counts as wonderful, right?)

Kids’ Choice

Lacy stays up late.
Lacy wakes up late.

I break the cycle once in a while, but lately I haven’t really bothered. Maybe I’m too tired. Maybe I secretly like late night company in the form of a talkative 4 year old.

Which reminds me: remember a few posts ago when I said something along the lines of hoping my belongings didn’t get smashed?
Remember our candlestick friends?
The taller one is no longer with us. I thought about proving it with a picture, but I want you to remember her like she was: tall. Regal.

Lacy’s sorry about it. She’s told about 50 times, “I’m sorry about that breaking accident, Mama.”
It’s really not THAT big of a deal since the whole thing only cost about $3, and I can buy another candlestick. Keep your eyes peeled for one, readers.

Anyway, the minute Lacy woke up yesterday she asked for a cinnamon roll. After she’d eaten it, she asked if we could go to the park.
I said, “Sure” and immediately decided that the KIDS would be the Masters of the Day. It was drizzling, sure. I had things to do, sure.
But something compelled me to just go along with what they wanted. It took a couple of hours to get out of the door (what? like it’s never happened to you…) and as I pulled into the vicinity of the park, I saw a crowd gathered around the cafeteria. I remembered that they serve free lunches to kids during the summer, so I decided to give it a try.
The kids LOVED it, but we were the last ones there. It took us longer to get our food because they ran out of little pizzas. My kids aren’t the fastest eaters anyway, so I was gently prodding them along.
“Take the biggest bites you can!” I said, brightly.
“Mom,” Lacy would say, “Look at all of this pineapple. We had pineapple before like just yesterday! I love pineapple, do I!”
“Lacy, Mommy needs you to use your mouth for eating and not for talking right now.”
“But -but I just saw the pineapple and I am so full about it!”
“Lacy. EAT with your mouth, okay? They need to clean up and they need us to move.” I said, trying to explain.
“Mom? What does that picture say over there about the guy?”
“Lacy. EAT.”
“But -but -”
She sighed, cast her eyes down on her plate and softly said, “As you wish.”

I burst out laughing.

Once we got the park, I tried telling the kids to be very careful because it had been raining and everything would be wet.
Including the slides.
I guess I forgot that kids don’t care.

Lacy ran to the bridges and tried to keep from falling into the “water.” I remember pretending those same bridges were made out of water. or lava. Touching them would mean sudden, instant, and even immediate DEATH (can you name the movie?).

There were monkey bars that Lacy insisted on hanging on even though she couldn’t stay hanging without help.

And there were more slides. And more slides.
I told Trent, “Turn around and let me take another picture of your butt.” So he squatted down and pushed his little butt out. I was giggling so hard I could hardly snap the picture.
Pretty soon, Lacy told me she HAD to go potty. That meant we had to go home. We went home and the kids watched a movie for “rest time.”
Pretty soon, Trenton fell asleep. That meant it was girl time.
We played dress-up, puppies included.
There was hair and make-up:

Even the puppy was honored with some hair and make-up.

When I finished Lacy’s hair, I teased the HECK out of her teensy pony tail so that it would froofy and full. When she looked the mirror, she was thrilled.
“MONSTER HAIR! I love it!”

When we were done, I told her just as soon as we tidied up the house, we could make cookies. She was thrilled, and we went out into the living room to pick up her toys. Just then, tragedy struck: Trenton woke up.
“I just wanted him to stay asleep!” Lacy said through her sobs. This came from the girl who told me that morning that, “I decided something. It can’t rain today, so we may go to the park.”

After her tears became contagious and HE started bawling… I sent them both to bed. When they emerged happier, we set to picking up. Lacy picked up a copy of “The Friend” magazine, flipped it open to a page and said, “I want us to be like this, Mom.”
I told her I’d try.
After cleaning up, the kids weren’t in the mood to make cookies. They were playing happily together to I let them. Around 9 pm (yikes!), I asked them what they wanted for dinner.
It was her job to clean the table off. She’s always been very “outside the box.” I might have to try cleaning my table this way:
I let him mix the ingredients, but I had to be sure and teach him that you have to HOLD the bowl with one hands while you stir:
But everyone’s favorite part of pancake making is my old school egg beater:
After dinner and clean-up (during which the kids’ favorite of my alter-egos came out to play, Auntie Hilda, a loud woman from the deep South), we got the living room ready for a sleep over.
I have to say: the kids love Auntie Hilda more than they love Mom. Whenever Auntie Hilda comes out, the kids are all “Yes, ma’am, Auntie Hilda” and “We love you, Auntie Hilda.”
When Mom comes out, all I hear is, “I thought you were Auntie Hiwwda.”
I might make the change permanent if Auntie Hilda’s roll wasn’t so exhausting.
As I tried to drift off last night, I thought about that. My kids love it when I pull out my fake accents and pretend to be someone else. In fact, I heard Lacy playing yesterday and she was speaking in a BRITISH accent.
“Impossible!” She said, “Take this man immediately to Castle Greyskull!”

After dinner was cleaned up, scriptures were watched (Thank you, LDS scriptures on youtube) and prayers were said, our sleepover commenced. We all cuddled up on the futon that had been laid down into a bed and watched a Disney Movie about the Princess Protection Program. The PPP. Every time they said “PPP,” Trenton would giggle.


Lacy hates the flash.

After the movie was over and Trenton fell asleep, Lacy was all energy.
“Let’s draw cinnamon rolls on paper!” She said.
“Lacy, it’s 12:12. That means it’s WAY past your bedtime.”
“But -but I thought I wanted to really bad,” her bottom lip started quivering.
I finally talked her into getting her blanket off her bed. She came back out with her little flashlight from grammy. She shut all the lights off, and we made shadow puppets in the dark. I made one that looked like a dinosaur.
She made one that didn’t look like anything, but it talked!
“I’m going to take some money and give it to people!” She said, using her shadow puppet to talk in a higher voice.
“Who are you going to give it to?” I asked.
“Lottsa people!” she said, her voice still in character, “Just Me and EVERYONE!”
“Where are you going to take the money from?” I asked.
“Wal-Mart!” She didn’t miss a beat.

Someone call the cops. My baby girl is going to embark on the greatest heist of her life.
Wal-Mart? Lock your door. Bar your windows. You have no idea what you’re up against!
Be very afraid.

Just before we fell asleep, she apologized one more time for breaking the candlestick. I pulled her close and told her story about when I’d broken something of MY mother’s when I was her age. I don’t remember what it was exactly -Mom does -but I do remember that it had a beautiful heart locket on it, and how I YEARNED to just hold the locket. I told Lacy about the heart necklace and how badly I had wanted to touch it.
“I didn’t obey my mom, and I broke her special present.”
Lacy’s eyes were as big as saucers.
“I felt yucky inside,” I said. “Did breaking my candlestick make YOU feel yucky?”
“Mom,” she said seriously, “I will GO to the store and BUY you a heart necklace.”
Now if you’ll excuse me, My Very Own Modern Day Robin Hood is finally rolling out of bed.


Pictures are Perfect

I told you about my new nephew. I love him. What is it about nieces and nephews that just… makes you want to take a bite out of them?
My little KyKy, for example, has a way of scrunching up her nose that melts my heart every time.

There’s something about catching personality on film. When KyKy outgrows her little nose scrunch -which she will (I know I did) -we’ll always have that picture to remember it by.
We’ll always remember the way Elly insists on holding her brother, and we’ll always laugh when we remember how she wouldn’t let anyone else hold him for very long without her getting a turn.
That’s what we want to remember.
Isn’t it great that we can do away with stiff family photographs taken in front of a patterned whatchmacallit? My mom has a few of ours taken that way. They don’t have many memories attached to them, except the one where the photographer at Sears asked that my brother and I not smile on account of our smile ruining the picture.
She said they were too big.
What kind of meanie-head tells a kid to smile less? To make their smile smaller?
So WHAT if it scrunches up their little face?
Let their little light shine through! Natural pictures are the best kind of pictures, but any pictures are better than no pictures.
My brother and sister-in-law make it a point to have pictures taken often. When they got the news that their 4 week old baby had a failing heart, they took every opportunity to take pictures. They had several photo shoots set up, not to mention all the pictures they took at home. Though she may not be “with us” with us, we have her smile. We have her bright, crystal clear, blue eyes. We have her expressions, her happiness, and her pretty baby skin.
Now we have her brother:
And what do we do with brothers? We love them!
And we photograph them, of course.

We are planning our family photo shoot for fall with Brushfire Photography (who took all of the above pictures). We’ve gotten together and tossed around ideas, props, spots, outfits…
And HONESTLY: We’re not trying to lose weight. We’re not buying perfectly new outfits. We’re not planning pictures around whether or not I’m pregnant. We’re not waiting for the right price or the right sale or until our hair grows or gets cut.
None of that matters. NONE of it. What does matter is that we’re taking pictures. In a few years, no one will care what they looked like. They’ll just be glad they took the time to pose and be captured.
On film, I mean.
What truly matters is right there.
Nothing can compare to eternal families. Nothing is worth fighting harder for. Nothing can come close to what they have.
I should know.
I have it.
(all images courtesy of Brushfire Photography -used with permission.)

Here’s a link to one of her latest shoots -I am in LOVE with the twinkle lights and the woman’s naturally beautiful face!

And last but BEST is my favorite maternity shoot! I go back and look at this shoot over and over and over! I swear, if I can’t ever get pregnant again… I’m strapping on a belly and getting a maternity shoot anyway! The second to last picture with the balloons and the sunset… SWOON!

Speaking of swooning… have I told you how I feel about nieces and nephews?


All her life, my daughter has wanted to break things. I don’t know what it is that drives her to smash, tear, and demolish -and that makes it really hard to fight against it. I feel like I’m fighting an invisible black night.

We’ve always been able to keep it in some sort of check, and Lacy’s never really ruined anything too huge. I mean, she made fast work of my glasses (twice) (and, yes, they were out of reach… so I thought), but that’s been the worst so far as I can recall.

As she grew up, I noticed a gradual decline in her mayhem. She became more interested in dress-up clothes and less interested in ripping pages out of books. We’ll still find the occasional broken toy, but for the most part I thought she’d grown out of it.

And then the last few weeks happened.

I’ve been wearing lipstick -something I’ve never really done because I’ve never found a good shade for myself. Well I found one. It was roughly $18, but worth it.
The first day I was gone to girl’s camp, Lacy ruined it. I came home to find it demolished. My brand new expensive lipstick. Gone.

While I was in Flagstaff with my sister, I went into a beauty supply store -something I’ve NEVER done. I bought a few little things like GOOD bobby pins and a GOOD file and some really pretty nail glitter.
I told Lacy that when Trenton took his Sunday nap, we would paint our nails and put glitter on them. After Sunday dinner, she laid down next to him in bed and the SECOND he fell asleep, she reported to me.
“Trent’s asleep, Mama! He’s asleep!”
“Go to Mommy’s bed and get the black bag and bring it to me. It has our nail polish in it.”

A few minutes went by and she reappeared.
Covered in glitter.

My brand new, bought at a beauty supply store… glitter.
I made a quick dash to my bedroom to find glitter spots just about everywhere.
“Where is it?” I asked Lacy, who had followed me in. I pointed to the glitter spots and continued asking, “Where is it?”
“I don’t know.” She shrugged.

I finally found it, mostly gone, on the floor in my bathroom.

And even though she’d only been home about 24 hours and I swore while the kids were away that I’d temper my temper… I lost my cool.
She knew what she had done was naughty… just like she KNEW what she had done with my lipstick was naughty. I sent her to bed telling her, “We will NOT be painting our nails!”
“But I just WANT to, Mom!”
“Then you should have listened to me!” I said.

I sat down at the couch and wondered- just as I’m sure EVERY mother wonders -WHY DO I BOTHER BUYING ANYTHING FOR MYSELF?!

And then I got the kids ready to go to grandma’s house.
We had a nice, long visit with Grandma -an hour of which was spent skyping cousin Kourtney. When it got time to leave, the kids were fussy.
He didn’t want to leave without taking another turn on Grandma’s stationary bicycle!
She didn’t want to leave grandma’s and go home! She wanted to leave grandma’s and go to “regular” grandma’s house!

When I told them both “no,” there was a community melt down.
Just as my older brother asked me if I might need help loading my kids in the car, I yelled at my kids to get to the door OR ELSE.
“But.. but..” Lacy said, (“but” is her new favorite thing to say) “MY FLASHLIGHT FROM GRAMMY!”
I loaded the kids in the car, fully aware that I had just lost my temper in front of my entire family.
I was embarrassed and I was tired. Worst of all: I was chuck full of hormones.

I drove home on the verge of tears. I was frustrated with myself and my kids. I’ve been frustrated with my daughter because I feel like she’s taken steps backward, but it turns out… I have to. I thought my temper had been getting better with my kids.
But it turns out I’m quicker to yell than I’d hoped.
Once home, the kids ran circles around me while I told them to go get their PJs. They didn’t listen. They DID acknowledge me, but they didn’t listen.
I watched my demolishing daughter put her hands in my beautiful $10 heels, and I asked her to please not play with them and to please bring them to me.
She looked at me.
And she continued to play.
Still feeling the shame of my shouting at my children in front of my family, I calmly asked her again to please bring me my heels.
“But… but…”
“Please.” My voice kept calm, “Bring those shoes to Mommy.”
She simply moved out of sight and kept playing with them.

So I got up. TOOK the shoes away from her and sent her directly to bed.
No PJs. No drink.
Her brother followed her.

5 minutes later?

We were all just overly tired.

So here’s to today. May it be filled with a longer temper on my part and a nice streak on my daughter’s.
And may all of my belongings make it through unscathed.

Goodwill for Men. but mostly women.

As I said, my sister and I spent a big chunk of time in Goodwill on Friday. What is it about thrift stores that I really love? The originality. The idea of junk-to-jewel. The prices. The fact that whatever you buy already has a secret story it refuses to yield.

I’ve been on the prowl for old wire baskets… the kind that look like they never used to look nice, even when they were new. And while I would prefer something bigger, older and a little more driven over by a tractor, these vintage office baskets do just fine:
I only wanted one for my cookbooks, but I had to buy 4. I didn’t mind much because I was able to get 4 wire baskets for $3. Anyway, I needed somewhere to put the giant old school ladle AND canning jar grabber thingy.
That’s what they’re called, right? That’s what my mom calls them.  Either way, I only paid $2 for each of them.
My current paper towel holder is faulty. Every time I go to pull a paper towel from my roll, the entire roll falls from it’s place. So our paper towels have a new place in that basket. My husband insists we need one of those standing dowel thingies (to match the canning thingy, no doubt). I told him “no.”
I like it THAT way.
He shrugged and decided he didn’t want to fight. Because I WOULD have. No dowel! Not today!

He’s getting on board (that might read better if I spelled it “bored”) with my junk, probably because he sees how happy it makes me.

I bought plates.
Again, $3 for 4 of them. Then I bought a bunch of candlesticks and painted them white.
Then I married them to each other, and made a toast to the happy couples:
When I find my E6000, I’ll seal them together forever.
Don’t you hate it when you see something in a weird place (like your E6000, for example) and you think ‘hey, that’s weird. I don’t remember putting that there. I should put it away.’ And then your phone rings or your kids cries or a mouse jumps out at you, and you forget all about it. Until you need it and you can’t find it.



Goodwill. Eet’s for fun.
I found this sweater:

It was brand new. BRAND new! Ann Taylor LOFT. Their sweaters are normally somewhere around $40. I got mine for $3. Boss!
Bully! Bully!

And because they’re my favorite and I want to wear them with everything, including my PJ’s…

I paid $10 for these beauties at a yard sale. They were also brand new. Cancel that… they’d been worn once, and Linda (the buyer and first owner) said they hurt her feet. She also told me she hated to part with them. I empathized. I would hate to part with them as well. Whenever she sees them on my feet, she turns fairly green.
The power of those heels is… absolutely amazing. I plan entire outfits around them.

And I’m not really a “shoe” person unless we’re talking about red tennis shoes.

There’s something so darn satisfying about a really good deal in the form of something you can’t live without.  Like classy heels or rusted old ladles or vintage office baskets.
My church outfit today (that I’m wearing in the picture up dair) cost a whopping $13. And $10 of those dollars were my heels. The skirt was a gift from a loving Auntie and I can’t remember where the lacy undershirt came from or what it cost. All I know is that it has a giant stain on the front and it NEEDS the sweater as much as I LOVE the sweater.

Do you ever go a-thrifting?
Then you understand why I’m so tickled over the whole thing. My sister is a grade A thrifter. Watching her go through thrift stores is like watching Picasso paint.
“I like these shoes,” she’ll say and turn them over to see the price, “$8?! Forget it.”
My kind of girl.

Our Day of Food and Fun. But Mostly Food.

When I found out we were going to leave girl’s camp and come home for the night, I immediately called my husband who was packing to take the kids away with him for the week. I explained the situation to him, telling him I’d be home that night.
“I’ll spend all day Thursday at the Stake Center, but I’ll be home that night,” I said.
“Hmmmm…” He thought for a minute, “I think we’re still going to go. The kids really want to see their Grammy and Papa.”
“Ok,” I said, feeling a little sad. I said my goodbyes to my husband, hung up, and then it occurred to me that I’d have the house to myself for three nights.
And Friday?
Friday I didn’t have ANY plans. Or kids.

I picked my phone back up and dialed my sister’s number.
“Wanna go to Flag on Friday?” I practically yelled into the phone.
She did! So we went!

One of our favorite things to do it leave early and eat at IHOP. We’re passionate lovers of breakfasts.
We waited patiently for our stuffed french toast and cinnamon roll pancakes, passing the time by playing with Ju’s change.
“We need to get a picture of us today,” I told her.
“Okay,” she said.
She’s such an agreeable little sister.

Our food was amazing as always.
Please note the third plate in the picture. The plate in the middle.
That, sirs, is The Community Plate. Every sister’s get together should have one. We started our meal by first depositing half of it onto the community plate. We ate our own food on our own plate, pushed it aside and each delved into whatever we wanted on the community plate.
And we were so fully satisfied with ourselves that we didn’t eat lunch until 3 pm. In the meantime, we hit up Goodwill.
I came away with a bundle of junk an joy. So did she. And I’m leaving Saver’s for Goodwill. Amen.
We spent a couple of hours walking around Downtown -easily one of the BEST parts of Flagstaff. I always love to stop by a vintage book shop and peruse. I took the opportunity to read some Dorothy Parker poems to my sister, and she found an empty journal.
“Is this one of those journals you write in and someone writes back?”
We are but mere muggles, so we didn’t try it. Also, the shop keeper was keeping a wary eye on us.
We stopped by Sally’s Beauty Supply for bobby pins and came out with bobby pins AND all of the supplies to make glitter toes.
Then lunch.
There’s a tucked away MAGICAL Greek restaurant that my sister introduced me to yesterday. We each were served a lunch special of lamb, greek salad, lemon potatoes, and cucumber yogurt (for dipping). The lamb was succulent, probably because I expected it to taste like cruddy-crud.
Just after our food was served, I saw a man walk in and had to do a double take… he was one of my good friends from 6th grade. He’d walked right by and hadn’t seen me, so as we were getting ready to leave, I stopped by his table to say “howdy.”

Thank goodness he remembered me. His exact words were, “Your face looks the same! It’s just… older.”

After lunch we hit up Coldstone.
Have you ever watched two women try to make a decision over ice cream?
“What are you getting?”
“I don’t know.”
“Well if you get THIS… I’ll get THAT.”
“Okay, but I don’t have to get THIS. I mean, if you don’t want it we can totally get something else. It’s fine. I don’t care.”
“Well I don’t have to get THAT. Whatever YOU want…”

I won’t even get STARTED on how long it took us to come to a final conclusion on stir-ins.

We worked these three in a rotation.

And then we watched people outside while we ate. People watching is a hobby of ours. And our mother’s.
And THAT is the best picture I got of “us.”

We laughed a little at how we had eaten so much and pretty much only taken pictures of the food we ate, but that’s okay. I haven’t ever had a day like that since I had my kiddos! I didn’t have to BE anywhere or DO anything! There was no timetable, and we just drove around in the sweet, sweet rain and did whatever we pleased.

And I really, really appreciate that.
Because we came home and I made a guess:
Ju’s mission papers are IN! We’re all excited, but there’s a small (okay, big) part of me that is sorta blind sided by it all. When did she grow up, anyway?
I cherished yesterday… cherished it.
We capped the day off with glitter toes (we also happened to glitter the toes of our nieces) and a half of a Jimmy Stewart movie.

Oh, and hot dogs.
Although, I didn’t think to photograph our hot dogs. Fairly uncharacteristic of me, I know.

I Lied, Unintentionally (Of Course)

I didn’t sign off for three days like I told you I would. I lied. I tried to ditch you -tried with all my might. We arrived at a beautiful family camping ground (complete with lodge and zipline) just before lunchtime this morning. We put together our tents and felt like pinning gold stars to our chests for our awesome-ness (we used a ROCK in place of a hammer to nail our stakes down. I mean… come on! We were practically SheGuyvers!). We wiped sweat from our brows and pulled our hair up to keep cool. The sun beat down on us.
When it hid behind a cloud, we all sighed in relief.
And then “a cloud” became about ninety.

And we remarked how refreshing it was to hear the sound of slow, rolling thunder.
And we breathed the fresh air in and remarked how wonderful it was to SMELL the scent of rain on the air.

The rain began to fall gently down, so we put on our sweaters and put our rain ponchos in our pockets. Just in case.

We walked casually to the lodge, fully satisfied that we’d zipped our tent up. Just in case.
“Oh,” said I, as we sat comfortably in the lodge, “I think we forgot to zip up the windows in the tent.”
I saw a few of my little 12 year old girls heading back up to our tent-area to get their sweaters, so I said, “I’ll go with the girls and zip the windows up while I’m there.”

In the meantime, the gentle rain turned nearly torrential. I made sure the windows of the tent were zipped up and then I hopped out to check on the 12 year olds and see that they were safely in their tent and then I hunkered behind a suburban.


Well what would you do if you were assailed by a violent MASS of marble-sized HAIL in JULY?!
I finally made it BACK into my tent where I was able to unzip my window a little and keep an eye on the tent next to me. It was, after all, filled with some poor never-been-girl-camping wee sweethearts. I knew that I should have been with my girls instead of safe in my own tent. I knew that just a few feet away five little girls were trembling in fear and my presence -the presence of a leader -would calm them down considerably.
BUT that assaulting, horrible, biting, miserable hail was between them and I. It took me about 5 minutes to work up the courage to brave the pelting putrescence.
But I did.
I peeked out only to bring you this:
One of my girls had her bag packed by her Daddy because her Mom was (is) camp director and had to be up to the campground early.
Her Dad packed everything.
Except closed-toed shoes.

“My feet are numb,” she said, smiling all the while. At least she had her sleeping bag and cousin:

The hailing finally stopped, but not before obliterating the campground and ALL of the first years’ dreams. Within the hour, it was decided that we would return home. Within two hours, the news was delivered to the girls.
We set to taking down camp after an amazing devotional and delicious snack.
Some girls were fine and dandy about the whole thing:
Some. Were. Not.
We assured the girls that we would meet at the Young Women’s President’s house in the evening for a few activities, and that the entirety of tomorrow would be spent at the Stake Center, having loads of fun together.
But if you can’t be out in the woods enjoying the marble hail… the best place to be is Cat’s Garden:
As we walked into her backyard, the sun was giving out it’s last rays of the day. They spread a golden light over everything from the creek to the girls.
Does the world deserve these girls? Absolutely not. But it needs them.
I love how happy they are -whether they’re holing up in a tent or soaking in a creek… their grins are a constant.
I’m thinking I might need to start handing out waivers wherever I go.
Something like…”Alicia blogs; therefore, associating with her may result in your picture being plastered”… with room for signatures at the bottom.
Dolly moved while I was snapping this.
She was leading us in song -a song she tweaked for us. We’re going to be singing it tomorrow at the Stake Center.
So I’ll sign off again.

I love not camping.

The Farth

Yesterday didn’t really “feel” like the 4th.  Probably because we celebrated the 4th on the 2nd, so when the 4th rolled around, I didn’t know what to do with myself.
We slept in.
Then we ate breakfast late.

Eventually, we made it to the store to get stuff for my camping trip.
That’s right. I’m going camping. You know what that means? I’m signing off for three days or so.

But back to yesterday… we did go see the fireworks display, which is probably one of the most 4th-ish things you can do. After the fireworks, my dad invited us over for eggs benedict.

I don’t know anyone who turns down eggs benedict.

So there were all were at roughly 11 in the PM, eating eggs benedict and trying to convince ourselves that calories just don’t count on holidays.
All of the pictures from last night are on my husband’s phone, so this post is almost nearly naked. And now I must get to packin’.
I hope you all had a safe 4th of July!

Sunday, Rainy Sunday

We had a party.
In honor of this guy, who could have cared less:
I did happen to hog him for about 30 minutes. Granted, I had to be last in line to get food, but a woman does what she must in matters such as these.
In fact, by the time I got out of the house and in line for food, most everyone had started making their way under Grandma’s ginormous balcony.
Dad’s hay -for those of you who are in on the joke -was actually cut, bailed and IN THE BARN. This is some sort of record. No rained on hay this year!
Not everyone took shelter.
Those CURLS!
Rain is such a novelty for Arizona girls.
Lacy got her Easter dress completely soaked. More on that later…
True to her nature, KyKy found a puddle:
Trent did his share of running in the rain:
I went inside and coaxed my cousins into clipping buttons to their ears.
I called him Aunt Bea.
I found out after taking this picture that Lacy was supposed to be playing hide and seek with her cousin. Her cousin went and hid… and Lacy snuggled up with Great JuJu.
Have we ever explained the JuJu titles?
Lacy has a great grandma and a grandma that live in town. She started to differentiate between the two by calling one “great grandma” and the other “reg-gul-er grandma” (the pronunciation is important. It makes us all laugh).
Our aunt julie lives with great-grandma.
My sister, Julianne, lives with reg-gul-er grandma.
Hence, great JuJu and reg-gul-er JuJu. My sister quickly grew sick of being “regular” and trained my kids to call her “super JuJu.”
We’re still working on a title for Aunt Julie Strong…
Grandma’s backyard is a reg-gul-er Eden:
We all sat outside and enjoyed the rain. Our entire state has been SO parched. Our little garden has been completely sabotaged by the wind, replanted, and is barely holding on. The land has been SO dry. Wildfires have run rampant, and the thunder and rain was more than welcome.
Oh, how we’ve been praying…

Eventually, we came home. My son fell asleep quickly. Rain running apparently was all too much for him. Lacy, as I’m sure you’ve predicted, stayed awake. She snuck into my room and pulled out a BLUE permanent marker. She drew pictures with it and got the ink all over her Easter dress.
The pink one.
I made.

I was so irritated. She knew what she had done was wrong, and she didn’t care. AT ALL. I sat down on the couch and said something like, “I don’t know why I even bother sometimes.”
Because really. I MADE that dress for her because we couldn’t afford a froofy dress. And I was surprised that it turned out at all, but it did. And I was proud of it.
She might as well have taken that blue marker to my heart and drawn a big fat X.
Okay, that’s being dramatic. But maybe you can feel my little heartache?
This guy did:
And he worked at that permanent ink stain until after MIDNIGHT. I kid you not.

He also asked me to stop posting pictures of him doing saintly things. Says it’s not painting a true picture of him.

Except that it is.
And the stain is nearly gone.
Before going to bed, Lacy gave me a palace:
I wonder when I can move in.

Off to a Smash Bang Start!

After a day like today, what I want to do most is sit down and write about it.  It feels so good to just sit.  and write.  and tell you about it.  I get the same satisfaction out of typing that one might get out of doing crossword puzzles, which I’m hair-pulling awful at.  I cheat every time.  Cheating makes me feel yucky inside.  Therefore, I don’t DO crosswords.

I blog instead.

Now that we’ve got that settled…
I bounded out of bed today. Our little town celebrated The 4th of July by gathering at the park for festivities. The blazing heat put a damper on things, but my mood refused to be tampered with.
Bliss! Joy! The 4th of July has always, ALWAYS been my all-time favorite holiday. You can’t go wrong with a holiday that wreaks of hot dogs, oreos, lemonade, root beet, gun powder, sun, and water.

Once I got to the park, a friend mentioned that she dresses her kids on The 4th of July. As in: SHE chooses their clothes. “There’s only a few days out of the year that I dress them, and today is one of them.”
Smart woman, that.
I dressed my kids this morning.
She wanted a long-sleeved red shirt to go over her hot pink short-sleeved shirt.
He wanted cowboy boots with his shorts and that blasted purple flower in his hair.
I ruled with an iron fist! Sort of!
Right before leaving the house, my husband downloaded a song and played it. and played it. and played it. AND played it.
“I like it.” He said, when I asked why we were listening to it over and over (I asked nice, just so you know), “It reminds me of you.”

Ahhhh…. no amount of make-up or hair products can make me feel as beautiful as when he talks to me like that.

The first of the attractions at the park was, naturally, Jens.
I held that baby and smelled that baby and SOAKED him in. Then the REBS invaded.
And I surrendered. With my whole heart. Holy Moses, the things a man with a baby in his arms can DO to a woman’s heart.
We retired to a shaded area next to the volleyball tourney which my buddy Lindsay and her team took by STORM. I was proud. After the tournament, my kids took the court.
And then we hit the bake sale. Cookies for 10 cents? Cupcakes for 25 cents? Yes, please!
It really was blazing hot. SO hot that after I finished off my water bottle that came with my hot dog lunch, this guy drove to the store and bought me a big, fat water bottle.
I rike him.

When Grandpa showed up on scene, I lost almost all control of my children:
And my sister got yet MORE experience learning about life with children.
“I want that drink, JuJu!”

I love my small town. Have I ever told you that?
I guess it would be more appropriate to ask if I ever HADN’T told you that.
I tried to slip a couple pictures of me in for posterity.  Apparently in this one, I’m pretending to be a brunette Jessica Rabbit.
In this picture, I kicked my foot up and my husband teased me for 5 minutes afterward.
Someone remind me to stay BEHIND the camera. Thanks.

We came home without children (see above: when grandpa comes, the kids are lost on him), and proceeded to finish watching an episode of “Sherlock.”
I highly recommend “Sherlock.”

It’s available on Netflix instant streaming right now. Aside from being British, it’s witty and fast-paced and mysterious.
Win! Win! Win! Win!

Once the episode finished, we went to pick up our kids, but there were three calves in our yard.

We put them back in like good country bumpkins should.
Behind bars!

And then we got our kids.
And then my husband and daughter laid sod while I sat on my rumpus and my son slept.
Lacy put the scraps on some dirt, insisting that the rocks needed a home. She also named the rocks. “Dace, Jace, Jace, Dace, and Ace. A boy and a girl and a boy and a girl and they are just pregnant!”
So now we know where rocks come from.
We stopped off at the grocery store on the way home to buy pasta salad fixin’s. And then we went to my little cousin’s birthday party.
The Birthday Girl is the one wearing the hat. She ordered a chocolate birthday cake with strawberry filling. And she asked if they might please put some banana slices in it. They did. Anything for The Birthday Girl!

Please note the tiny grill in the corner of the picture -it’s filled with fresh flowers.  I nearly died of cuteness when I saw it.  The local (well, nearly local) flower shop arranged a fresh bouquet of flowers in a tiny grill.  What woman could resist?!  I ask you!!
On the (block long) drive home from the par-tay, Lacy’s balloon flew out of the car window. Because it didn’t have helium, her Dad stopped the car and scoured the ditch bank for it.
A daughter’s tears have a way of moving a father into action. In the end, I blew up a spare balloon and gave it to her. We never found the other balloon. It’s lying dead in a ditch somewhere.

We ate a late dinner of grilled tilapia (recipe to be posted soon, it’s a Steve Specialty), pasta salad, steamed zucchini (thanks, Lisa and Rial!) and fresh corn on the cob.
“I need to take off the corn!”

When dinner was over, I cleared the table and asked my husband to please put away his shoes while I got the kids in the tub.
He walked 500 miles and then he walked 500 more.
O it is wonderful. Wonderful to me!

Just as I finished up the dishes (before bed. I hardly know myself!), I was thinking how great it would be to just sit and WRITE for a bit when the news came to me.

Before I go on, I must say that I mentioned to my friend Lisa (the sod owner, not the zucchini-giver) how much I cringe when people post their children’s potty training triumphs in DETAIL on facebook.
Karma heard, and now I’m going to proceed to eat crow.
My son pooped in the tub. Just when I thought all excitement from my busy was winding down into one pleasant evening with a freshly vacuumed floor…

I knew we were fresh out of disposable latex gloves, but desperation urged me to the cleaning bin anyway -in vain hopes of finding a stray glove. Do you know what I found?
A fresh, brand new package of 10 pair. Placed there by God himself. Angels sang!
While I cleaned, my husband put the kids in the OTHER tub. I went to check on them and found this:
My husband putting my son under oath.
“I, Twenton, pommise to never poop da tub again.”

I rubbed the kids down after their baths with a little extra virgin olive oil scented with lavender essential oils, and then we had our scripture time. Tonight we switched things up a bit and watched this youtube video:

A GREAT video with an even greater message.

After prayers, the kids went to bed and I sat down to write. I’d like to say it was a perfect ending to a perfect day, but that isn’t true.
I logged on and saw that I had a comment on my blog from my friend Laurie. She suggested, after seeing that I had posted a Julian Smith video, that I watch a particular one. I hadn’t seen this one, and I laughed my little buns off.

… and THAT, friends, is the perfect ending to a perfect day.