Monday, September 30, 2013

Cute Sierra

She's a good auntie/cousin, sister/niece, daughter, friend, student, granddaughter, person, employee, example, kick boxer, artist, Mormon, driver, baker, high heel wearer, smiler, girl.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Family Day

Today was family day at Rob's work.  This is pretty special because usually we can't go there, I think this was only the 2 or 3rd time that I've seen his desk :)  First we went to work. They did a really nice job and had fun activities planned.  They had a bouncy slide and a dunk tank, hot dogs and snow cones and face painting.  Each family could take their picture with the F-35 and we got to see where the magic happens.  The weather was nice and it was fun to visit with the people I knew and the kids were impressed with his desk of course.

The cube farm is funny, it screams "nerds work here" in the best possible way. The funniest thing is actually Rob's. He has a little Ohio State Garden gnome that sits on the cabinet outside his king size cube.  Well apparently the little gnome has quite an exciting life.  He gets kidnapped and taken on adventures.  On the board under the cabinet are pinned home made books of his journeys, with photos and funny captions.  Some show him blindfolded and buckled into the seat of a car, he has travelled to Annapolis, to bars, to football games, to museums, worn Michigan gear and visited homes and hotels.  There is a little ransom note left from one time he disappeared.  No girl gnomes were pictured although he has met various other creatures and shared many a pint.
After the official fun was over we stopped at the beach and enjoyed some unofficial fun.  It was very nice out.  The water was chilly but Grace didn't mind.  The kids played in the sand and we sat in our lawn chairs watching them, watching the waves and talking.

It was a good day.

Friday, September 27, 2013

You know you're a grandma when...

The high light of your day is seeing pictures and videos of the grand babes on Instagram!  Tate has the CUTEST baking a pie video which I would have happily pirated if I had the skilz, which I do not:(. Luckily I do know how to get photos so I could get miss PJ in her apple picking overalls!

Thursday, September 26, 2013


When our boy was small we put him in tee ball. He looked so cute in his little baseball pants and hat. He'd swing the bat wildly and lope around the bases with his little hat bobbling on his head. It was 3 seconds of cute sandwiched amongst an hour of mind numbing torture. I thought I hated it because there was no winning or losing, no keeping score and no outs. What??
So 5 years have passed and the memory had grown dim so when we were looking for a 2nd sport to fill a merit badge req, and branch out, and try to avoid our Sabbath day conflicts, and Bub said how about baseball I said sure.  I have come to regret that. Baseball is torture, and the games last way too long. He still looks cute swinging the bat.
Today during the game a boy at bat got hit by the ball in the groin. He went down and the coaches from both teams ran over, they dusted him off and slapped his back. He limped back to the dug out but not out of the game. Men are interesting. Having a man child is interesting. They steal your heart so completely, I remember looking at his newborn hands and thinking they were boy hands. They quickly learned to grab a ball, or a handful of hair. As he has grown the balls have gotten bigger and now his hands grip pencils tight doing calculations for school, they expertly tap a computer, and they carry chairs and laundry and other things for his old mom and dad. Soon they will pass the sacrament, grip the steering wheel of a car and reach out to lace fingers with a date (instead of me). 
When that newborn boy steals your heart a tiny spark of fear nestles in there too. First the fears are small: is he breathing, sleeping, eating? Then they are bigger: will his teacher know how smart he is when he wiggles in his seat, will he make the team, the grade, the aim to the toilet? Then they get huge: how will he stay clean in a world of sin? Will he be safe when he's not with me? Will he live up to his potential?
And the biggest worries of all: will he grow up just to die in combat? will the failing economy sustain his efforts to be gainfully employed and to raise a family of his own? will his life be better than his parents?
A spark of fear and rush of pride, a lot of prayers and a lot of chilly nights watching baseball/soccer/chess/robotics.
Raising a boy , a man.

this and that

My back is getting better.  Yay.  It's been slow but I am happy to report that I can do chores again  Sort of.  The children have actually been quite helpful the last few days.  Well Ethan and Grace have been.  Ethan has been my laundry helper.  He puts  the load from the dryer into a basket and takes it to my bed and dumps it.  He takes the wet load out of the washer and puts it in the dryer and puts in a dryer sheet, then he loads up the washer and balances it and puts in soap and starts it.  All those steps.  By himself.  I should have hurt my back earlier...or faked it. He's done everything I've asked the first time.  Nice.
Lu has also been helpful..and she hasn't even asked me to pay her for her efforts.  Nice.
Hannah...well, she's not so good at chores.  We need to keep working on that I guess.

I saw the surgeon this morning.  He doesn't think I need surgery.  I have some weakness in my right foot so we are going to watch that and hope for some improvement in the next couple of weeks.  If not I'll get an epidural steroid shot.  He said that this kind of problem often resolves itself in 6-8 weeks.  So there you go.  I have been so surprised by al the people I have learned of who have back problems of one kind or another.  And at the vast variety of advice I have been given regarding back care.  See a chiropractor, what ever you do do NOT see a chiropractor, see a surgeon, DON'T see one, eat egg shells, stretch forward only, stretch backwards only, apply heat, apply ice, wear magnetic brackets, walk, swim, bed rest, etc.  Crazy.

While I've been down I've been about to read a lot, and watch more TV than I'd like to admit. I read one great book called "Global Mom".  Really loved it, it was so beautifully written and smart, and so engaging.  It's about a family that has lived extensively abroad.  Read some not so great ones too.  I watched Thor for the first time, and Now You See Me and I don't know what else

Grace has been doing lots of crafts by my side, which is fun.  Ethan's working on scouting and science fair stuff (somewhat reluctantly), Hannah has been on line shopping.  We've adapted to a more at home pace..I am looking forward to more activity.

When I get bored I go onto Royal Caribbean's website and browse through the excursions available on our cruise.  Can't wait to go with A&K, V&R.  So looking forward to that.

I can't believe it's almost Oct.  Can't wait for General Conference.

Sunday, September 22, 2013


Yesterday Nana and Abba took the girls to the Air and Space Museum.  They all had a good time.  Ethan refused to go, his loss.
We had what ended up being a bit of a stressful weekend.  This morning before Nana and Abba left they counseled with us about some things they thought we should do to help our little ones behave better.  Their input was welcome as we know that Grandparents are an invaluable resource and no one else has a greater desire for the children's well being, or a greater love for the children than their parents, and grandparents.

Tonight we had a family council and presented the "new" plan to them, which is really a recycled old plan, or Rev Q as I like to call it.  It's a daily effort with many ups and downs, this parenting gig.
Becky went to stake council for me this morning.  I didn't go to church although my back is eeking it's way back to health.  I am anxious to learn what I need to do to make it strong and healthy and to avoid future problems.  In the meantime I am, with humility, accepting help and trying to heal and hoping to do things differently in the future that will make life better for us all.

That is all.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Fair Day

Today is the first fair day since we moved here that I have not taken the kids with Colleen to enjoy all the fair fun.
Hannah went with Chelsea though.  They were there all day and rode rides and ate funnel cakes & ice cream and had a great time.  Hannah came home pink cheeked and tired.
Grace also got to go.  Abba took her.  They started with her Brownie duty which was to be a display hostess for a half hour long shift.  Then they ate pizza and funnel cake and rode rides and played games.  Lu had a fun time.
Ethan didn't want to go at all so he stayed home and played soccer in the backyard.

I had my MRI this morning.  I have two bulging disks.  L2 and L5.  This stinks.  I have an appointment with a surgeon next week, this does not mean that I am having surgery though and in fact my back continues to make improvements each day.  I don't know how this will all turn out but I am happy that the pain is less each day and am looking forward to good health and the ability to serve my family and in my calling and community well.

Meanwhile I have been very grateful to Nana.  She has come to help out and is here every day doing the things that need to be done.
Also last night we were able to have our presidency  meeting by telephone.  We have lots of good things planned and I am grateful for the ability to press forward even from bed.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

life of leisure...stinks

It was just last week that I was dusting the stairway with my fluffy extendable duster and thinking to myself "my life is pretty sweet".  The house was coming together.  I had even cleaned out some of the air ducts and organized the mud room, things were getting crossed off my list.  I was walking the dogs a couple of times a day and enjoying the sunshine, fresh air, quiet and exercise.  I was visiting with the neighbors, I was working on my calling, reading the scriptures, keeping up with the laundry, getting along great with R and feeling happy and energetic in the afternoons taking the kids from place to place and making dinners that they didn't want to eat but that were tasty.  I was visiting teaching and thinking about having a hobby.  Honestly it is so much better not to work. I was telling Becky that when I worked it consumed my day and then the rest of the time was burdened with chores and it was exhausting, I really feel like I am a better mother when I don't work.  I should have known better...
Grace walking Z this morning, she thinks fall is here and Z hates her snowsuit.
The last 4 days I have been stuck in bed with horrible back pain.  I have been to the chiropractor twice, gotten xrays and have an MRI scheduled later in the week.  We are hoping that I have a bulging disk and nothing worse.  Will know more at the end of the week. I miss my burdens and want them back.  I am getting better, I think, it's been slow, much slower than I want.  Now when I am laying down and drugged up I am mostly without terrible pain, which is a sad improvement from the first days.  I am sure it will get better soon.  Thankfully Nana flew down to help.  Rob and the children tried but really were not keeping up.  I noticed a real difference as soon as she came in the house, having a mom up and running things is a blessing and joy in a home.  There is cheerful chatter, meals cooked and things being looked after.  It is a huge weight off Rob's shoulders and mind as he was so worried and also off of mine.  Grandparents are such a blessing to families.  I really wish (here we go again I know) that we lived closer to family.  I miss my children getting to have regurlar contact with their grandparents and I miss being a good influence, helping presense in Penny and Tate's life.  Well, it is what it is and it's our job to cheerfully make the best of it.  So we are grateful when we are together.
Penny and Tate at a birthday party for their cousin last night.  So cute!

I've been thinking lately of the blessings I enjoy.  Laying in bed gives you lots of thinking time.  So a list:
  • the stars, I love looking up and seeing them bright and shiny on a clear night.  First thing in the morning too when I take the dogs out I sit on the bottom step and let them do their business and I always look up and find my favorite ones.  It's so beautiful.
  • cell phones, I am so happy to be in touch with my sisters and girls and Rob through out the day.  Val and I talk every day, which is so great. I love getting updates for Si, J and D about their lives and what's going on.  Jenna and Clayton are super busy with a packed schedule, they are happy. Dani is all unpacked in her new home.  She's a hard worker! She made a friend already with three little kids named:...ready for this?  Bear, Phoenix and Lion.  How do you not feel silly yelling out in the back yard Bear! Lion! stop fighting!! ?
  • Fishing, Rob and Grace love to fish together.  I am so happy that they have a great activity to do. Sometimes it's annoying when it feel like he's fished a super a lot, but mostly I am glad for it and the fish he brings home is yummy!
  • glasses, I can read so much easier with them on :)
  • the Lord's gentle tutoring.  The last few blessings I have gotten have been interesting.  When we were set apart as a young women's presidency the Stake President had us all come and talked with us for quite awhile before hand.  He counseled us not to murmur, counseled at great length.  I thought that was interesting as I didn't consider myself a murmurer, or the other sisters.  However there have been times when I have had to bite my tongue and times when I should have and did not.  So don't murmur.  Important.  Then last week when I got a blessing for my back I was told, as I knew, that the experiences of our life are to teach us lessons and that I would learn about humility.  Again a surprise because I didn't think I was particularly not humble.  I have been studying humility and trying to learn it better.  I am glad for corrections and opportunities to grow and be more like the Savior.
  • a comfy mattress.  We've been spending lots of time together my mattress and I and even though it's pretty ghetto and has duck tape on the sides it's still comfortable and big with room for lots of peeps.  

Sunday, September 15, 2013

sabbath day of rest

This Sunday I am actually getting a lot of rest.  I am still laid up with a bad back.  Ridiculously frustrating.  Yesterday Jared came over to help Rob give me a blessing.  He got to come all the way upstairs into the bedroom where I looked so lovely.  Vanity aside it is amazing to have the power of the priesthood in your life and I am very grateful for those good men.  I had a nice blessing and am confident I will be up and at em soon. Actually today it has been a little bit better.

Jenna got some pictures from her photographer. They look amazing.  How fun to look back on that special day.  I can't wait to get some nice prints.  In the meantime here's a sneak peak!
Had a fun chat with Sierra.  She was on her way to her third sacrament meeting of the day.  She went to her new ward, then she went with her room mate to her Polynesian ward and then she was going to her old ward since some of her friends were doing  a special musical number.
Funny story to illustrate how things fall apart when mom is out of commission.  Lu went to her first, and maybe only, sleepover of her young life.  They slept for one hour, she came home in a good mood and spent the day sitting on my bed with me.  Around 4 things were hectic.  Hannah was leaving for a temple trip and R was running around being Mr Mom and she slipped off.  A short time later R was leaving for the grocery store and was checking on the kids and couldn't find Lu.  He checked "everywhere"and called her name. He noticed that her bike was gone and we panicked.  Did she leave.  She wasn't anywhere.  I quickly called her friends and sent Ethan to knock on doors of neighbors and R drove through the neighborhood.  I hobbled out of bed and walked to her room and found her sleeping in her bed.  So I hobbled back, called off the search and shook my head.  FYI she slept from 4pm until 6am the next morning.  Tired girl.

Friday, September 13, 2013


Rob got back from his week long training.  We missed him.  He said it went well and he enjoyed several, but not all, of the presenters, the food was good and the hotel was nice.  He got back earlier than we thought he would so was able to spend most of the afternoon at home and also go to Bub's baseball game.  Unfortunately the game got rained out in the first inning.

Today I woke up and my leg and buttock were on fire.  Crazy pain.  For about a week my back has been tender and yesterday the pain moved to my leg but it was bearable. Today not so much, it really hurt no matter what, if I was standing, sitting, laying down, everything hurt.  I went to the doc and he said I have a bulging disk.  I don't know what caused it and am hoping it will go away soon.  We did electro shock treatment, and ice treatment and heat and an adjustment.  After all that it pretty much is not hurting when I am laying down and if I am current on the 800mg ibuprofen.  Of course no day is a good day for debilitating pain but this day was particularly not.  Ethan and Rob have E's first scout camp out.  I was planning on helping them get everything ready this morning.  Didn't happen.  Instead they had a stressful getting themselves ready, which may or may not have included a bit of swearing and a lot of whining and that is why instead of a nice picture of father and son in their handsome scout uniforms we have a cartoon graphic.
Grace is going to Maggie's birthday party.  I was planning on buying a cute gift.  Didn't happen (instead we had to give the always welcome but not so cute gift of cash).
Hannah and I had planned a date night :(  That is the saddest part.  Instead it's pizza, popcorn and net-flicks on the couch.  I was really looking forward to going out with her.

Tomorrow we have dinner plans with some friends.  I am hoping to wake up tomorrow with pain that is manageable so we can be back to "normal"
Also have an important calendaring meeting on Sunday..really want to put that to bed.

In other news Dani and Greg closed on their house! They are home owners!!!

And.....said with a squeal of joyful anticipation!...Alec & Kelly, Ryan & Val and Rob and I are going
on a cruise in April!!  Can not wait.  We are stopping in Haiti, Jamaica, Grand Cayman and Cozumel.

It's going to be Ah-maze-ING!!! Val and I have been looking at the excursions. I know I want to swim with the dolphins again, I'd love to horse back ride on the beach, Ry wants to go to Tulum and Rob wants to fish, so many fabulous things to look forward to.

Thursday, September 12, 2013


This about covers it. luckily another monday is around the corner. What is wrong with me (face palm)?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


Little Grace has been waiting to get old enough to play a string instrument. You can start in third grade. You can start younger if your mother is nice enough, but if your mother has already lived through a couple beginning violinist she might not be nice enough.
Yesterday Grace had her first lesson. We thought we had rented a cello from the school, but it turned out that she was only allowed to use it at school. So today right after school we went to the music store. It took us three stops at three different music stores to get everything that was on "the list". 
We got home, and of course she had to try it out right away. It was just as I had remembered.
End of story.

Monday, September 9, 2013


R left for a work conference so I am a single mother this week.  We had a busy day.  This morning my alarm didn't go off, or it did and I turned it off, I'm not sure.  In any case I woke up to John ringing the door bell a little after 6, quick got Ethan up and drove him to school.  Luckily R was packing to leave and Lu didn't have to go with.

Not a good way to start the day since it takes about an hour and 15 min to do the round trip drive.

After school Hannah had theater try outs.  We had a mix up in the days and times so I wasn't sure where she was and she didn't answer her cell phone, of course.  It turned out fine.  I went to pick her up and she was there...disaster averted.  We need to work on our communication though.

Then we went to the barn for Lu's first riding lesson.  Today she rode Ginger, a cute little pony.  She probably won't ride her again but she was a sweet old thing and Lu was happy.  The farm is very nice and I think she will learn a lot.
After that we went to Ethan's first baseball game.  His team won 9-4 and he got a run.  He had a fun time.  It's not really a fast paced thing, watching baseball but he had fun. and that's the main thing.
After the game we went to Red Robin and the food was tasty and we laughed a lot, which is a fun night.  We got home and homework done and showers taken, prayers said and kids tucked into bed before 9:30.  Not bad.


Little Penny Jane is 1!!! Happy birthday sweet girl!

Sunday, September 8, 2013


One great thing about baseball season vs soccer season is that we have Saturdays free.  Watching baseball practice is very boring, I am hoping the games will be better.  I also miss our soccer friends, but we wanted Ethan to diversify and learn a new sport and he seems to enjoy it.  So anyway with our free season of Saturdays we will need to plan a couple of weekend trips.  I want to go to Philedephia, and also I'd like to go to Sleep Hollow and Monticello and I'd love to take Hannah to go see the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Extravagana.  Realistically we might do one of these things...but it's fun to dream.

So yesterday I had a stake dance and BBQ to throw and R took the kids to VA to pick up a new kayak and to go to a battlefield and to Sonic.  They reported having a pretty good time.
Hannah went with Alyssa to see "Potted Potter" in DC
and then she came to her first ever stake dance. I think she had a lot of fun.  I had fun having her there!
Hannah dancing!

Honeymoon report

Yesterday I had a fun chat with Jenna.  I got caught up on her life: school, apartment, honeymoon.  They had amazing time.  Seeing her pictures makes me want to go to Hawaii!

Friday, September 6, 2013

horsey love

After school Grace and I went to Wheatley's Saddlery to get some riding pants and boots.  She is starting riding lessons next week and she is super excited! Walking around the shop was super fun.  It smelled all leathery and horsy. They had Breyer horses and boots and tack and all the horsy things you could want.  It reminded me of when I was young and we'd go to the feed store and I would walk around dreaming of having a horse.  I bought a pink horse pick one time, and a curry brush another time.  Just in case I ever got a horse of my own (which for the record I never did).  Sierra and Jenna and Hannah have all taken riding lessons.  Now it's little Lu's turn.  Yay!!

Thursday, September 5, 2013


Thursday night, sitting at the playground, the temperature outside is just right. Ethan is at baseball practice, Grace and I are across the park at the playground. She has met a girl and the two of them have climbed to the top of the rock wall and are deep in conversation. There are quite a few kids here, taking advantage of the last long evenings before fall settles in. Oddly there is a little girl I know here, practice is not really in our neck of the woods so it's surprising. Her mom and step dad are in our ward and she's a cute little thing. Her dad has her every other week and its his turn. I feel kind of like I am spying on a secret part of her life, although of course I am not. Divorce is a hard thing. Last week Mark and I saw each other at Jenna's wedding. It's not hard to see him , but it is curious. It makes me think how things might have been different. It was hard for the girls..actually sometimes for the 3 younger too. Making a good, wise choice of a mate is SO important and has such far reaching consequences. I listened to thePriesthood  session of the last conference while I was painting the bathroom this afternoon. Lots of amazing talks. I was thinking while painting and listening about all the things we need to teach Ethan and the girls and about how righteous living spares us some of the trials and hardships around and strengthens us for the ones we are not spared. I am grateful for the Gospel plan, for the blessing and gift of the Atonement, for the balm it provides our hurts and the forgiveness it affords our mistakes and missteps and misfortunes, and the chance it gives us to grow and change and become Christ-like.

It's been a pretty good week. Ethan has played a bit of baseball. Chris had him over to his batting cage for some tutoring, he went to scouts and has worked on lots of homework.
Grace has been getting up at 530 with us this week since its our week to drive the STEM carpool. She had her first Brownie meeting of the new year. She loves Brownies and they have some great fun activities scheduled. Including an overnight to the aquarium to sleep with the dolphins!
Hannah had a theater meeting, is running for freshman class president, and never cleans her room... Typical teenage life.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Labor Day

We had a fun day planned and executed!  We went to Mt Vernon with the McCombs, one of our favorite families!  It was pretty muggy out but the kids had a good time and as you know I love Mt. Vernon.  They had never been so it was fun to take them and show them some of our favorite spots.
After Mt Vernon we headed to their house and had a BBQ.  We had 5 families and lots of tasty food.
I <3 their back yard, it's so fun.   They have a great big hammock that I would love to lay in and read.  The kids always love the trampoline and building fires in the firepit.
The only bad part of the day is Hannah was a huge stink and refused to go with us to either outing, now I have the sad responsibility of discipline execution.  I'd much rather she just obey and not throw defiant fits.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Millie's birthday

Millie is 10. She's a sweet ol girl. The kids wanted to have a party but we settled for a hat and a treat:)
Today was fast Sunday. The testimonies were touching and instructive. Loved it.
Michelle gave an amazing lesson! It was a good day.
Did some work for my calling. Made a dinner everyone liked.
Now Hannah and I are making cookies.