Saturday, October 31, 2015


poison apple cookies
We had two soccer games this morning and the girls had play practice.  We won the 1st game and Ethan scored twice! Yay.  The second game was against the "VIP" team, made up of special needs players.  We didn't win (by design) and the boys had a wonderful time cheering and helping the opposing team.  The did accidentally score a few times but it was a great game.  How do you accidentally score?  Well, for example, Ethan kicked the ball next to the goal and their keeper ran up to stop it and kicked it in with his foot. lol.  Seriously though I didn't know there was such a team and it was really nice to watch the boys play so kindly.  Each team in the league gets a chance to play against them so they have a full season.

After all that Sawyer came over and we all made cookies.

Then R and I left for stake conference.  (and Sawyer left, of course) The conference was packed and really good.  I was a little surprised.  Not that it was good because the adult session of stake conference is one of my favorite meetings, but that it was packed. There were a couple of really great talks and it was edifying.

We had fully celebrated and even trick or treated so no one was upset to stay home and pass out candy. (phew)

My favorite part of Halloween this year was seeing all the babies in the family and their cute costumes.
Tatum, Marshall and Penny


Noah and Reggie

Tal, Malachi and Jakob
not dressed for Halloween but don't they look darling in their fall finery?!!
Deo and Joneaux

Friday, October 30, 2015


Tonight was the was the school Halloween carnival. It was nice. Lots of people were there and there were lots of things to do. I got to work a couple of booths, the gate booth and Grace's class booth and we got to donate to the ballroom dance booth. 
Grace worked at the GATE booth too.
Today I also wrapped the first Christmas presents of the year. Yay! Now if I die at least each of my beloved children will have one last wrapped gift from me.
Hannah carved this cute pumpkin.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Trunk or treat

Hannah 2006, Grace 2015
two little bats
Today was our ward trunk or treat.  It was a lot of fun.  We had a chili cook off and I won third place for my vegetarian black bean and squash chili.

Amanda, Grace and Catherine
Grace invited two friends from school and both of their families came.  It was really fun to get to visit with them.  I hadn't met Amanda's family but she and her mom and brother were really nice.  Catherine and Grace have played together a lot and we like her family.

Belle loves her books
Hannah wanted to be Belle.  I made her dress and apron today.  I think it turned out really well and she looked spot on!

there must be more than this provincial life

Belle and Robin Hood

Meanwhile all the way across the country Morticia and Gomez won first prize at their ward party for their costumes!

Monday, October 26, 2015


Today was a pretty good day.  I went visiting teaching this morning.  I am enjoying getting to know my sisters.
In the afternoon my visiting teacher came by.  She brought some really cute cookies and yummy caramels.
Then tonight we invited the Pincocks over for dinner.  We haven't had anyone over yet.  We've wanted to but it's actually hard to find time and blahblahblah.  Anyway we had a fun time.  I made pioneer woman spaghetti, which actually wasn't as awesome as I had hoped.
Grace prepared FHE and gave a good lesson.
Brian showed us a new app that was fun to play.
We also had to kill flies, randomly we had like 5 flies in the house.  They appeared tonight and drove us crazy.
Brian is Ethan's scout leader and Brittany works with Hannah in YW.  They are an awesome young couple.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Oh my

Today was the last primary program practice and it was wild! I am sure the actual program will be wonderful but today was crazy!!
Yesterday was busy. We had an early soccer game. We won against a team that hasn't won all season. It's always sad to have a bad year like that so it was a little hard to watch. I wanted them to at least score.
We did more garage work, Dad took Lu fishing, Han had fun at the priest/laurel activity and...
We bought a couch! Which I am super excited about.

Friday, October 23, 2015


It was 8o degrees outside today.  The beginning of a frigid CA must be, look at all those flannel shirts!
Hannah texted me today saying she was sad and wanted to go home.  I was subbing so she was stuck.
The evidence shows that Hannah is making friends.  See exhibit A above, and B below.
But the fact is even though everyone is adjusting and making friends and finding their way, we still just miss MD.
Everything here is different.  Even the sun looks different.  This is because it's diffused  differently (as explained to me by my rocket scientist hubby).  We don't like anything better here than there.

It's fine.  I do not want to be one of those people who complain about where they live and always pine for the place they left.  That's not right.  We must bloom where we are planted. We must find joy and be of service.  I know this.  Yet I am constantly running an inner dialogue that sounds like this:
"don't be a brat.  It's nice here.  You love going to Disney.  It's wonderful being close(r) to family. Rob loves his job. You are not suffering. Stop hating on the desert, and the rude californians, and the cost of living and the drought, and the ...."
Also I subbed today. Third grade.  At best it's a slow and unpleasant day in the classroom.  At worst torture.  Today was a mix. I wish I could find something else to do between 8-1:30 that pays as well. The truth is I really think it's important to be home for the kids and I also really want the extra $ so (sigh) I go.  I couldn't do it every day.  A couple days a week is all I can stand.  I like kids, but as a collective they are more borg than anything else.

Exhibit C: seminary shenanigans with Sawyer
Well it's Friday.  So yay! Ethan has a soccer game tomorrow and Hannah has play practice (for principals only) and also a tri stake priest/laurel activity.  Tonight we are going to the movies with some friends and I am making cookies for the ward halloween party coming up. So fun stuff planned.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015


hats hats hats
The high school had a day off today.  I don't know why but that is not the kind of thing we question. Also it was a go day on our passes to Disneyland so go we did.  Grace wanted to come.  Ethan did not.  Great and great.  He walked home from school, the first time...ever.  It went well.  He didn't stop and talk to big bad wolves, he didn't accept candy from strangers and he was able to get in the house and find food and do homework.  I am calling this a new milestone reached.

Anyway we got out the door a little later than I wanted, by about 45 min. but made pretty good time getting there.  This was largely in part to waze leading through angeles crest forest hwy.  We had 2 carsick girls but a quicker trip.  (not worth it for the record).  Our plan was to get there early, play play play and then leave by 3ish.

The weather was perfect, 85 degrees and sunny.  The crowds were light.  We rode lots of fun rides. I think I enjoyed the haunted mansion best because it was all redone in "nightmare before Christmas" theme and was really fun and whimsical.  I also loved Pirates, Thunder Mountain, Indian Jones and whatever else we rode.

We spent a lot of time in shops looking at the fun things and trying on hats.  Something we do not do when we go with the boys.
and more hats
For lunch we had a great spot at the cafe New Orleans and we had a great lunch.  We have a bucket list of Disney food we want to try eventually and  we knocked a couple off the list today!
After lunch we went over to California Adventure and saw the Aladin show. It was amazing! Flying carpet and all!

It was hard to leave the park on time because we were having a great time but we made it to the car a little before 4:30, which I thought was awesome.  The traffic on the way home was tiresome but what can you do?
treat, poison apple
Hannah said it was the best day ever!  Grace was happy and cheerful.  I loved it.  The boys did fine foraging for food on their own.  And we can't wait to go back again next month!
big thunder mountain

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

long day

It was a long day.  Not really a bad one but just long.  I went to bed at a reasonable time last night, it's one of my strengths.  Knowing when to go to bed.  Not everyone in my family shares this talent so don't judge it's a real thing :)
But early in the night, like 11:3ish Rob woke me up with a bad dream.
Then sometime around 2am Grace came in. She wanted to use the computer and ended up staying for a visit.
Then around 3:30ish Rob dreamed another dream.  This one required a lot of talking about and actually I thought it was rather insightful and good, just not awesome timing.
Then the alarm went off at 5 and so it began.
I subbed today, middle school art. It was fine and also kind of interesting.  A boy at the school died this weekend and the kids didn't really know what to do with that.  There was a little crying, a lot of writing on their arms of his name and RIP and other tributes. Also unlike in elementary school substitutes are thought of as kind of dumb and kids have no problem with snark.  In elementary you are a super hero.  I don't mind a little snark, I am well trained to tolerate it.
Tuesday is our busiest day after school.
And tomorrow is no school for the high school so that means a group of teens went to the movies tonight, at 9:10.  That's what a 16 year old girl should do but (yawn) not happy  news for this tired mom.
Today while driving to Hannah's school we saw a closed road, with  multiple fire and police vehicles as well as other cars.  Last Thursday, during the storm, a car was pushed off the road by the storm.  Someone saw and called the police but by the time the police got there the car was mysteriously gone. Today they found it buried under 6 feet of dirt, passenger and all.  How awful. That storm was crazy.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

The visit is over

The little black suv filled with snacks and suitcases, babies and bottles, memories and one feverish boy pulled out of the driveway at 5:30 am for the long drive back to Utah. It sure was a great trip. We had lots of fun. On our last day the girls and I went out to sushi lunch. It was yummy.
We grilled and ate outside, watched football, sat in the hot tub and some brave souls even jumped in the cold pool!
Now the house is quiet. Rob and Ethan are out helping a family in our stake dig out from the mudslides. The girls and I are home alone.
We couldn't get up to our building for church as all the roads are still blocked so we met with the Sierra Ward. There were a lot of people and just passing the sacrament took 20 minutes but everyone was reverent and it went just fine.

Tonight we have stake standards night and then it's the start of another week.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Aquarium of the Pacific

Tatum and the seals
There is a wonderful aquarium in Long Beach.  We met Anna and the boys there today for some sea life fun :)

The morning was rough, we found some post storm issues around the house and had to take care of that before we could leave.  It put us out the door a little behind schedule.  The pool over flowed and Rob's car got some hail dents, that was the worst of the problems we had.  Around the valley people had a lot bigger problems, with mudslides, being stuck in their cars, losing power and water and roads and businesses closed.  We are supposed to have an el nino winter and after the drought and the fires I suspect this will not but the last of this kind of thing we see this winter.

Anyway, we finally made it out of the house and headed down the road.  The drive there was smooth and we were excited to get there and start the fun.

The aquarium was great.  It had lots of interactive displays and lots of opportunities to touch the animals.  They had wonderful keeper chats.  Did you know that sometimes sea otters turn purple from eating too many sea urchins?
fun at the aquarium
Basically we had an awesome time!  We did lose Deo once, but the security guys found him quickly.  I did get pooped on by the lorikeets, twice.  They had a handy sink and soap so that was okay too.

We got to watch the sharks be fed, and the seals and sea lions.  We saw dragons and jellies and fish fish fish.  We got to touch sharks and rays and jellies and star fish.  The cafe was good and the weather was perfect.
Lorikeet feeding

more fun

taking a nap
After the aquarium we walked up to this cute little light house (in honor of our light housing friends in MD)

taking a break
Long Beach was delightful.  I am looking forward to going back.

Unfortunately our trip home wasn't so awesome.  It took forever, the traffic was horrible, we took some wrong turns and did some unintentional francising.  Ugh!

We got home around 8, started making dinner and then watched Inside Out.  

All in all a really good day, with some big hiccups along the way.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

I love to see the temple

Dani had a project in mind for today. We redid Grace's room and it looks much better. She put up (with help from the in house muscle) a shelf for the herd, moved stuff around and organized the closet. It looks great!
Sierra and Hannah babysat this afternoon/evening so we could go to the temple and to dinner. It was wonderful to go together.  I'm so happy for the good people Grani are, and for how they live their lives serving God.

While we were gone our little valley had quite the rain and hail storm. Maybe the drought is coming to an end.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

middle of the week, it's going fast.

the cuteness kills me.  Marshall is such a nice baby.  He's happy and good natured and sweet.  It's such a treat to have them here visiting this week.

Greg arrived today.  Yay!

The Brandts and Sierra spent the day with Gma Joyce and Mark.  Our friend Shawn came over and helped Rob in the garagemahall.  The kids went to mutual.  They had a pumpkin carving contest.  Hannah's team won and she brought home a big box of candy.

Tonight we hopped in the hot tub.


Apollo park is a family favorite. Dad took us there a lot growing up. Every time I post a pic on fb of us there now all my sibs comment "I remember going there! It was awesome"
So we took the kids. It's been pretty hot still (like in the low 90s) so it was pretty sweaty but everyone had a good time. We fed the ducks and walked around the pond and stopped at all three playgrounds to play.
Ziva liked all the fowl and the walking and sniffing.
Mr Moe kickin back with a snack!
When we got back the girls wanted to swim. I am not a fan of swimming unless it's pretty hot outside and the water isn't freezing! One great thing about being the grandma is I don't have to. I let the mom go and I stayed inside to clean up a bit. When moms are gone grandmas have to fill in and do all the things they may not want to do, but when moms are there then grandma gets to do the fun stuf only, if she so chooses:)

Tuesday afternoons are our crazy busy days. Grace just started a ballroom class. They meet 2x a week for the next 16 weeks and will learn several dances as well  as have lot of fun. 
Right after ballroom I take Ethan to soccer. Then I take G and H to piano/voice lessons, pick up
E, pick up girls, have a quick dinner and then it's back out for Cats practice. Hannah got cast as Victoria! We at are super excited about that!

Despite limited time and with the help of S and D we made french onion soup and French dip sandwiches for dinner. It was Yum-y

At the end of the day a trip to the hot tub was in order. 

Good day.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Pumpkin carving

Today we carved pumpkins. Grace made a really cool one that looks like a panda. It was messy and fun.
After pumpkin time we went to the movies and saw Hotel Transylvanian 2 and then to Hawaiian Island Grill. It was a good night!