Sunday, August 7, 2016

Slumber Party in Tahoe

I married a guy who will never grow up- and with every passing year I appreciate that more. He makes me laugh so hard- like how he describes the size of our lot by saying "When I fart in my backyard- my neighbors can smell it." He's a problem solver- he got tired of me complaining about how no one would work in the church nursery with me so he volunteered himself- even though he already had an additional calling. He totally get's my need for unconventional presents- this year for Mother's Day he learned to bake bread for me, a gift I have taken advantage of since! 



For his 29th birthday, he requested a sleepover with his childhood BFF and I was more than happy to oblige. These two are our people- the ones who get it. Birthday festivities included catching up on all of life's details, beach volleyball, karate poses at sunset, reliving way too many teenage stories, pizza and live music at a hoppin place downtown, a constant flow of movie quotes, Heavenly Donuts on the pier, and solving most the world's problems. Tahoe is the definition of dreamy- we hadn't been back since our honeymoon but in my dream world I own a cabin there and visit it at least 3 times a year.









Hike.

When the tiny seed of an idea that we might be moving away from these Rocky's was planted in May, a song started blasting in my brain- CLIMB EVERY MOUNTAIN!


I'm pretty pleased with all the hikes we accomplished, sometimes my kids indulged my fancy and soaked up the wilderness, sometimes it was a fierce struggle that ended in blood and tears, and once I left them behind and hiked with my favorite guy instead. I desperately want my miniatures to appreciate the glorious world God has given them and so I will continue to inoculate them with regular doses of sweet pine needle smells and surprise deer sightings until they are convinced as I am that mountains trump media. Here's our list if you're looking for some good ones!


Big Springs Hollow- Provo Canyon
This hike is up past South Fork and Vivian Park, its actually a trial that Evan and I mountain biked several times back in college but it was an awesome trail for littles. We took Ashely, Parker and Chloe along with us on this hike and the kids were most excited about crossing little bridges.






Scout Falls- American Fork Canyon
I can't be sure we were on the right trail for this hike, its supposed to be the first leg of the Timpanooke trail which is where we started but we never made it to the falls. My kids favorite part of this hike was that there were still big patches of snow along the way and they could throw snow balls and eat handfuls of the cold white stuff in the summer time. I know, giardia right? Listen they cannot be stopped, I have tried.



Rocky Mouth Waterfall- Sandy
This is another super short hike with a big waterfall payoff. Winston loved the caves he got to explore on this one although I have a little bit of a bitter taste in my mouth after his exit tantrum left me with a bleeding stick wound. Kirsten was our hiking buddy this trip- I'm definitly not brave enough to do hikes outnumbered by toddlers 2 to 1!



Y Mountain- Provo
Because you just have to before you move away! We actually only made it to the third switchback- the watermelon and veggie straws were not enough to sustain those short legs. It's okay though we still got to point out campus and the temple and take in the little city views.




 Grotto Falls- Payson
This hike is toddler perfection. It's like half a mile round trip with all kinds of tree bridges over streams and a big waterfall payoff at the end. Mimi tagged along with us this day which was a special treat!










  Timpanogas Caves Trail- American Fork Canyon
 Did this one sans kiddos which was an excellent decision on our part. It is steep and would have been no fun to carry them up that thing. But holy! I can't believe we have lived here for so long and never hiked it! Breathtaking views looking out of the canyon and a fascinating tour of the caves inside. One of my favorite summer activities by far.









Glass House



This house has a secret- that window behind us is fake. Behind those blinds you'll find drywall and a staircase. You can't open the window at all! The quirks are what make your place a home- our first apartment had a toilet inside our bedroom closet- affectionately named Closet John. Our next place had glitter ceilings and if you stood in the right spot when you opened the fridge, the metal strip on the floor and the metal handle on the mustard appliance would connect and send a shock through your body! This pretty place mostly speaks for itself- its quirks are few as its new and beautiful but it's been home nonetheless. Living in a show worthy house with two toddlers however is not on my list of favorite things to do. They could feel my stress level raising as they fingerpainted their yogurt on the kitchen table every morning, so we spent a lot of time anywhere but here. We would try and do mornings like normal- then the kids would watch Sophia the first while I re-cleaned everything and packed up our lunch and swimsuits, then we hit the pool for 3-6 hours depending on how many people texted me that day to say they wanted to come look. we invaded the Provo Fox house way too much, took naps in cars, ate dinners out or at Grandmas, most of their toys packed up- the best way I can describe what it feels like to have your house on the market with babies- it's like reliving the final days of a pregnancy over and over and over. Make. It. Stop! It's funny the things you take offense to when people don't want to buy your home. Out of 21 showings, most people said nothing, some said its just too small, and our favorite comment was "we smelled a hint of vinegar- not interested." We laughed about that for days. (I make my own cleaning products because hi grocery budget and I like knowing what chemicals I'm slathering all over since my children lick the floors.) After a month we finally got the right offer and we're under contract. We hope this new family loves the place as much as we have! We hope they stop to pet Fritz when he comes out for a walk, and they wave to Wyatt as he pumps his bike around the neighborhood 8 million times with super human leg strength. I wonder how long it will be before they discover our hand prints in the back patio or if they'll ever figure out a good way to handle the penny tile on the shower floor. Most of all I hope they like salsa because here come the peppers!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Salamander Flats

It's always so helpful for me to do a "practice run" to prepare for our big Fox Family camping trip at the end of July. This time the four of us drove up American Fork Canyon and snagged a downright breathtaking spot at Salamander Flats. It's the first time in two years we have dared to go camping with our babes and it was pretty much my favorite day of Winston's life to date. He was such a doll, putting his arms up in the air and yelling "I made it to the summit!" at the end of our hike, thanking Daddy over and over and over for bringing him camping, telling us how excited he was to see the stars because "they are so beautiful!" Man he's a gem.

Things We Forgot:
- Pull ups
-Allergy medication
-Roasting sticks
-Hand sanitizer
-Memory Card


Things We Remembered:
-Hot dogs
-Marshmallows
-Hiking Boots
-Curious George Goes Camping book
-Baby wipes
-Bug spray
-Sunscreen


Things We Found:
-51 dandelions
-A lucky horse shoe
-A snake
-ALL THE STICKS
-Lots of places to wear dirt
-The first star of the night













Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Memorial Day


 Evan suggested we go visit some of our ancestors' graves this year for Memorial Day and I thought it was a really sweet idea. He gifted me one of these family history charts for Mother's Day a couple weeks ago and as I was typing in the names to order mine I was again overwhelmed with the excitement of geneology research. Who were all these people, really? What happened during their lives? I've got a plan. I want to hang one of these fans in each of our children's rooms and I want to be able to tell them at least one story about every single name on the chart. These people are our roots, drink it in deep.


We headed down to the Springville City Cemetery to see the graves of Thomas Martell and his wife Eliza. As it so happens, they were pretty instrumental in establishing the city way back when. There was also a Memorial Day service going on which gave us a cool opportunity to talk to our babes about this country we call home. A couple days later, Winston went to the movie drawer and pulled out Evan's copy of Captain America. He placed it on top of the entertainment center and said "This guy died for our country, mom." Haha! Close enough, kid.



 Intently listening to dad's story: Thomas C. Martell was promised in his Patriarchal blessing that he would have power over the elements. On his way to Europe during one of his many missions, the ship they were sailing on got caught in a vicious storm and was about to be lost at sea. Thomas was sleeping but his companion woke him up and asked him to pray for their lives. Thomas hit his knees and asked God to stop the storm and in response to his prayer the seas calmed and they were able to continue their journey safely.

I'm excited to continue this tradition in our family. We are lucky enough right now to live in an area where we can visit family members' grave sites anytime, but it's something I want to make a priority no matter where we are. I was really proud of how these littles did in a busy cemetary too, so a picnic and pool day were in order to finish the celebrations.

Planted

I'm kind of gaga over these miniature peppers that have sprouted. We live on a mountain- the actual definition of stony ground. But I had a very specific dream involving hand delivered homemade salsa as neighbor Christmas gifts.... so hubs carved out and built up a spot of fertile soil for me, no small (or cheap😜) feat! At the risk of sounding like a total "preachers wife," I've found over the past month that I literally cannot put my hands in this dirt without thinking of Christ's parable of the seed and the sower.

As I was weeding this week, my mind went back again to Mark 4 and all its implications. I've done everything I can to supply fertile soil for my onions, peppers, and tomatoes, but the thing about fertile soil is... it makes it easier for ALL things to grow... Whether it's what you planted or not. The constant wind coming off the overgrown empty lot next door turns my garden into a hot bed of intruders. The fertile soil in my raised garden beds doesn't differentiate between bindweed and beefsteaks. I have to do that myself. How does that play in to the parable?

When it comes to creating fertile soil to grow our faith, what is the equivalent of building up garden boxes, hauling in compost, installing drip lines, deer netting, etc? I think creating the fertile soils of mind and heart means being well educated - having the knowledge and the skills necessary to provide the nutrients your plants will need. Fertile soil is open minded- ready to accept plants and nurture them to help them produce fruit. Fertile soil is dedicated- growing things (humans, plants, faith) is a long and slow process. In the past couple years I have watched some beautifully fruitful faith gardens wither away. I was thinking about how the things that made their faith so productive, their educated, dedicated, open minds, were the very things that eventually led to the overgrowth of weeds. New ideas get blown in from popular culture and media and everywhere else. Because your soil is fertile, they shoot up fast and you wonder- what could this be if I let it go?  It has disturbed me real deep two separate times now and I wanted answers.



I just finished the most amazing book- Planted by Patrick Mason (remember I blogged about his fireside here?). It is a beautiful explanation of the experience of having a faith crisis. It opened my eyes to the perspective of people who slowly or suddenly find fault with a belief system they've built their lives upon. I can't sing enough praises to this book- if you or someone you love struggles with questions and doubts about doctrinal or cultural or historical issues with the church- I'm begging you to read it. I loved every single part of the book- particularly the section on prophetic fallibility- but there is one quote that comprehensively  sums up my feelings on the topic:

"From the remoteness of the printed page, I am severely limited in the empathy I can demonstrate for those who face such difficulties. As a general rule,however, I am saddened when people give up their rich church culture, a culture that they are an integral part of. Those of us who are American don't always like what our elected leaders do in Washington, but not many of us choose to leave the country. We don't always like how our family members act, but we are not going to disown them. We don't always like our coworkers, but we don't usually quit our jobs over that. We don't always like all our teachers or what they teach us, but we typically stay in school until we earn our diploma. In short, we regularly recognize the limitations and flaws in the many institutions of which we are a part, but except in the case of egregious abuses we normally stay and try to make things better rather than washing our hands and walking away.... I don't question for a second that those who leave the church have their reasons, and they may be exceedingly good ones. But I hope if you feel you must step away for a time that you think deeply about your decision, that you have somewhere to go to rather than just flee from, that you remain connected to the good people and godly principles you have encountered in Mormonism, and that you keep the door open to come back someday."

So back to my garden. God's word must grow in fertile soil that's true. But even the most fertile soil must have a gardener as well. Short of the Garden of Eden, fruit producing plants are not going to sprout spontaneously. I've never gone out to my flower beds to weed and surprise! Found a bunch of blueberries. The good stuff in life has to be put there on purpose and nurtured with hard work- so you'll have to decide what's worth it. As you tend your plants, if something new blows in and starts to bloom, something so exciting and different and beautiful that you simply cannot pull it out, consider moving it over a little bit. Perhaps you don't have to choose one or the other- for quite some time even. Maybe let the two plants grow side by side, the one you planted on purpose and this new one. See which fruit is the one you're really seeking. I'm willing to bet when it comes down to harvest time, the wind didn't blow you blackberries. But if it did, won't you be glad to have both.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Winston: 3 1/2













Whirlwind Winston! The past six months with this little boy have given me a whole lot of opportunities to stretch and grow. Winston feels everything passionately, has an insatiable need to move, and a photographic memory that continues to surprise me. Sometimes I'm at a complete loss as to why God sent him to our family first when he has such a constant need to be entertained, but then again it's catapulted me into a world of research to learn how to be his best mom and I'm just on the brink of finally appreciating that. He started Primary this January and luckily has two awesome teachers-one happens to be named Moses and I'm pretty sure Winston believes he's the same man who parted the Red Sea. He continues to adore reading (and memorizing) books and he likes to grab one and set it open to a page to match whatever activity we are doing (playing basketball, roasting marshmallows, etc.) We go on a lot of "bball walks" as he calls them, we walk around the entire neighborhood and he shoots on every single basket we pass to see which ones he can make it in. Every morning during breakfast we have scripture study and he is completely fixated on swords so we only learn about the Armor of God and war heroes, but hey that's something. One day we were learning about "faith", I explained that faith means that even though we can't see Jesus, we still know that he's real. Winston just looked me in the eye and said  matter of factly, "I've seen Jesus." I was speechless, he definitely taught the lesson that day! He is happiest when his extended family comes to visit, continues to be an excellent eater, and absolutely must have his sleep to function. I'm loving that he still takes a solid nap daily because I need the break! He was diagnosed with asthma this winter, he just had a constant wheezing cough and the inhaler has helped some, but we are hoping he will grow out of it eventually. He's very sensitive to other people feelings, when Evan gets animated about something while we're driving the car it stresses him out so much. He continues to be the family DJ and dancer, and looks forward to his Friday night movie like its a national treasure. We attempted chore/behavior charts for a few months and we need to get back at it because even though he didn't care much about the reward (a week was too long to wait), it helped him learn some independence and to get along with Cosette better. He is always making me laugh with his ridiculous antics, like randomly stripping his shirt on the play ground to drop and "do exercises" (pushups). It is baffling and magical to see the world through his eyes and I am really looking forward to watching him grow.

Stats:
Size 4T
Height
Weight 36 lbs

Firsts:

Dentist visit- We found out Winston is allergic to amoxicillin in the strangest way... it turns his teeth brown! We went back to the dentist two months after his first visit and got that stuff polished right off. But then a couple months later he was messing around with his cousins at Kneaders and went teeth first into the concrete so now one of his front teeth his dying and permanently discolored. Thank goodness for baby teeth!


Favorite things
Amazon foam swords- this was a cheap Santa find last Christmas and this child has played with them every single day since.
Children's Foam Toy Medieval Joust Dual Dragon Sword & Shield Knights Set Lightweight Safe for Birthday Party Activities, Event Favors, Toy Gifts by Super Z Outlet®

Raising your spirited child book- I literally think this book has saved my life. The first chapter had me crying and laughing at the same time. So much validation. So many practical solutions. This book has me feeling totally empowered and really revealed to me the beauty and potential in my little mans  crazy temperament. The past 6 months were like a constant failed parenting experiment for me, so I'm really looking forward to putting these theories into practice to see how much we grow!


Adventure of a lifetime- Winston named this Bochy's song because they used to chase each other around the house to it every morning, he still adores dancing with Cosette to it as well.



Sibling moments
Love, hate, love. The running stroller has become a sore spot, it's tough for them to ride in such close quarters and get along for 45 minutes. Winston adores when Cosette will go along with his shenanigans though.