Friday, September 30, 2016

RIP Percy

Our handsome kitty boy passed away while we were gone. He was sick before we left, but we really thought he would get better. I don't know if things would've turned out differently if I had stayed home? I guess I will never know, but I think I will always feel bad. He really was a super awesome amazing cat. He was smart and funny and energetic. He knew how to open doors, that was his newest trick now that he was finally big enough to reach the bathroom door and let himself out through the dog door. He could sit on command, pop up on a stool when asked, and sometimes come when we called him from outside. Everyone loved to sleep with him and to make him purr by cuddling him.
some favorite Percy photos
Hannah came home yesterday  afternoon to check on him and she was the one who found him dead. This was, as you can imagine, super traumatic.  After she called us crying we tried to decide what she should do.  At first we thought she could just put a towel on him and we would take care of him when we got back..although the thought of a dead cat laying on the floor for 2 days was kind of gross.

Finally she called friends and they rushed over and problem solved together.  Madi and Hannah made a coffin and everyone wrote nice sentiments on it, things Percy liked were mentioned like: ear plugs (a favorite snack) the feather duster, cheese and ham, eating lizards and hamsters, Ziva, running, outside, the rock, etc.  They didn't mention hiding behind the curtain but he did love that too.  The boys in the meantime were to pick him up and dig a hole to bury him in. Several boys showed up to help.  You know what that means? One boy might be a help, a group of boys, with girls to rescue, become significantly less able to actually help.  Many tools were employed and a small trench was dug.  Comfort was given and finally a boxed cat was lovingly placed on the kitchen table, (not my first choice of where to leave him) with flowers to mark the resting spot.

You can picture the scene in your minds eye I am sure.  The bravery, the tears, the rummaging in the garage for every sharp instrument we own, the ice cream bowls left in the sink (part of the mourning process I am sure).

Add caption
The bottom line is it was super sweet for the kids to come and help and I know that helped Hannah in a difficult situation.

When we got home and told Grace she was very sad and she and dad took him to be cremated. 

I am sad.  I will miss that guy.  He was a little ball of happiness. 

Provo City Center Temple


We got up really early so that we could go to the temple before we started our drive. The temple is gorgeous. The endowment room is my new favorite. 
It is always a wonderful respite for me to go to the house of the Lord.

Rob Black was in the same session and after we got to visit with him and Tori for a little while. It's always great to see them!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Provo

Sierra picked me up this morning and we went to Dani's house.
I brought a giant pumpkin filled with surprises! Penny looked so adorable in her little bopeep costume!!
I was worried that Marshal's costume wouldn't fit but it was perfect. While Dani took Penny and Reese to preschool Sierra and I took Marshall to storytime at the Provo library. It was super cute and I was so impressed with the Provo library it is just like a Library should be and so so darling!
When we got home I went to pick up Tatum from school, she was so surprised to see me! It was fun to surprise both her and Penny.
When homework was done the little girls and I went out for an afterschool treat. It was super fun to sit and chat with them and hear about their day and things on their mind.
Papa and grandma, Val and Ryan, Sierra and Dani, Rob and I went out to dinner and had a fun visit.
It was, of course, a really good day. Being with family is the best. Spending the day with Sierra and Dani and just talking and doing regular stuff together is my favorite.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Bullet points

 Rob is recruiting at BYU tomorrow.
We drove up together and I am going to surprise the grands tomorrow.
The kids are staying with friends! Thanks friends!
Percy is sick so we are worried about him. I almost stayed home but everything was in motion and I didn't want Rob to drive alone.
Ethan had a soccer game tonight and his team won! Noah, who he is staying with, is on the other team. Bummer.
We stopped in Vegas at Mesa Grill, owned by Bobby Flay. He wasn't there and the food was good but not awesome. Disappointing.

So I hope kids and animals are all fine and that we have a good trip.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

YW Night

I love these girls! It takes no time at all to get to know and love these crazy girls!
The Mia Maids made freezer jam! The Beehives and Laurels made blankets for the painted turtle.
It was a fun and productive night!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Politics

Today was the first presidential debate. I am not terribly interested in things political, I do feel it is my civic duty and so I try to pay attention and keep up. This election year in particular is so lacking in a desirable candidate, and the political climate is so discouraging that I feel more inclined to try to make an informed vote. So I sat down to listen. And as best I could I tried to have an open mind. One thing that helps me have an open mind is that I have good friends on both sides of the debate. Friends who I consider to be smart, fair, with values that are like-minded to mine, and who are good upstanding members of the church.
After listening to almost all of the debate I have to say that I thought both of the candidates had some good points, but I didn't like either one of them.
I especially do not like Donald Trump.  I think he lies and is arrogant.  He said that his temperament is more presidential, but I think his temperament is the biggest strike against him.  I will not vote for him.
I thought Hillary said some things that I agreed with and although I read a lot of comments criticizing her choice of outfit I thought her red pants suit was patriotic and I thought it was just fine that she was in pants.  Frankly I can't believe people would bother to comment on that.  That said, she also lies and there is the whole treason thing so I can't vote for her. And I don't like her either.  I just didn't hate her pants.
Ugh.  It's so sad. I fear for our country.
my vote
On the plus side I made a yummy dinner and we took a treat to the Reed's because Chad has helped Rob so much, and Ethan had soccer practice, and I went visiting teaching, which went well. Today was national pancake day but we totally missed it and I made texas lasagna & texas toast.
something I can get behind
Why can't we have a King Benjamin, THAT would be awesome.  Or even a cute little prince George, he'll probably be a good monarch.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

women's conference


from Ramona's class
Today was a very good day, for me.  Not so good for Rob.  I had women's conference at the stake center.  It was nourishing and wonderful.  We had many good classes full of encouragement and doctrine and advice.  Plus we had a nice lunch, beautiful musical numbers and the joy of gathering together as sisters.
love this picture of Abe and Clayton
In the middle of the day I got this cute photo from Jenna.  They are camping and little Abe got tired on the hike.

Meanwhile Rob went jeeping with the jeep squad.  They went out to Kennedy Meadows and took their jeeps up some "easy trails".  So easy that he broke the motor mounts and had to be towed down the mountain and rescued by a bunch of good men.  It ended well, in that he is home in one piece and got the help he needed.  Not so well in the $$ of the repair and the frustration of the day.

waiting for our food
When I got home from conference I took the kids to chili's.  We had a fun dinner and visit.  I love my family.  I love the gospel. I love the Lord.

FYI the children pretty much fended for themselves all day and they did fine.  (read: house is standing, no one bled:) )




At the end of the day Hannah and I watched the general conference women's session and that was awesome as well.  I love Pres. Uchtdorf and the sister leaders who spoke.  We are so blessed to hear from God's servants.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Crazy cat lady

We really like this silly cat. I'm not sure who's the most crazy about him.
Also I think he thinks that he is a dog.
Where we are, he is. It doesn't matter if we are folding the clothes or playing a game he likes to be in the middle of the action.
Turns out he is also a cheat, he kept moving our game pieces trying to give Grace the advantage.
Handsome boy

deception


city walk

fun pink wall in ET parking

trying to do a handstand

trying to do a handstand

photo booth fun
If you just looked at the pictures you would think we had the best Friday afternoon ever.  My kids sometimes accuse me of putting a positive spin on life, and on my record of our life.  When I ask them to find something that's not true they can't, they just say I make it sound more fun than it was or is or whatever.  It's all about your perception I guess.

Today, like many days the children claimed illness and wanted to stay home from school.  I haven't let them yet.  

Around mid day Ethan texted that he really wasn't feeling well and would I come get him? So I did. He looked fine.  20 minutes later Hannah comes home with off Friday Dad. Also looking fine and dandy.  As a punishment for missing the end of school I decided it was the perfect day for some forced family fun.  At universal city walk they have lots of shops and restaurants and a movie theater and it's fun and busy.  Last time we were there Hannah and I checked the menu and saw that lunch at the Brazilian BBQ was only $15.  So I talked to Rob and we agreed we'd get Lu, drive down, go to lunch and a movie and do some shop-seeing then come home.  Festive Friday Fun.

We got down there with little mishap and only a little grumpiness from Ethan.  Then disaster struck.  We found out, once we were seated that the $15 lunch was for the "vegetarian" offering.  And the regular with meat lunch was $35. That fine print has been biting me in the behind lately. So we left.  $200 for lunch is a little too rich for our blood.  Also who goes to an all you can eat Brazilian BBQ for the salad bar only?? 
We walked around and decided where to eat, a fun Mexican place that was yummy. Then went to get tickets to the movies where we discovered that no one wanted to see the same thing and some people didn't want to go at all.  Shop hopping was vetoed and we trudged back to the car and headed home.  Spoiled children.

It wasn't awful but we definitely would not have driven an hour down and an hour back for enchiladas. Ugh!! 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

First day of fall


Rob had to take a quick trip to Fort Worth. Out yesterday, back today.

The kids begged me to make bread for dinner. I also made lentil soup which everyone but Grace liked.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Wednesday

FYI: Hannah driving to seminary is the greatest thing ever. I still have to get up and make breakfast and get the kids out of the door but then I get to go back to bed until 6:30!
Brody, Ethan, Noah and Jon Silva (Preston had already left)
Brody and Noah played in a soccer game against each other tonight. Preston and Ethan and Brother Silva all went to watch. Ethan really loves the boys in his quorum and also his leaders! They are awesome men.

Hannah has a big psychology project on the brain to do. I helped her while we watched some of the new fall TV shows tonight. I think we will have some new faves.

SaveSave

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

good news and bad

Yesterday Audrey and I met to talk about YW.  She's never served before but she is excited and I know she will do great!

Yesterday we went to "frostrock" for FHE treat, but we didn't have FHE, just the treat.
home made pumpkin donuts
Today I made these donuts and they were delicious!! Also Ethan had a soccer game and they won and we had our first YW meeting.  Audrey brought apple slices and a little crock pot of carmel and things to dip them in, like crushed oreos, marshmallows, nuts and mini chocolate chips.  It was super tasty and cute.  I did the activity, we made conference journals and played a game. I think it was a lot of fun. The girls were cute and fun.

cute towels mom sent me
Mom sent me these cute towels! It was so cheerful and nice and it came on the perfect day because I had a very frustrating morning.  We got our electric bill, which is no biggie because it's usually like $1.27 or $2.16 due to our fabulous solar panels BUT the bill this month was $1972. 67!! I thought it must be a mistake BUT NO, I called first thing and they said with our solar contract we pay the blah blah blah tax or fee or whatever and then at the end of the year if we have used less than our panels produced we get $ back and if we have spent more we pay.  What?!?!?! The representative very helpfully told me that this is explained on page 4 of the bill each month with a notice of if we are over or under.  Who reads page 4????   I was SUPER unhappy about that.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

sweet is the peace the gospel brings


who wore it best? LOL
I got a new dress, which I really like.  And then I was walking by the ironing board and saw that we matched! Crazy. I thought it was pretty funny.

Last week Rob and I got called in to visit with Pres. Silva.  I was released from my calling as a counselor in the stake YW presidency.  It was a huge surprise.  I haven't served very long but the Lord's timing is not always the same as ours. It was a good experience.  Our presidency was sort of a different one than most I have served in, we had more differences of opinion and some challenges that were surprising. I am most grateful for the time I spent with these good women and the things I learned from them, and the friendships we grew and fun we had.  

I was equally surprised when the next day we were called to meet with the Bishop and I was asked to be the new ward YW president. It is a calling I love but always feel ill equipped to handle. When I was a younger woman I thought by the time I was 50 (so I guess I have almost 2 years still to really become) I would have it all together.  I would be wise and kind and loving, generous and faithful and learned, I was be a mentor and a pillar of example and faith and virtue. I would be industrious and productive and patient, well read, soft spoken, multi lingual, insightful and have a servant heart.   On a really good day I am half of that, and there are not too many really good days.

Lately I have read a little about alchemy. It's come up here and there more than I have sought it out.  Alchemy is the process of turning something into gold. It is a long, tedious, exacting process that S.L.O.W.L.Y culls out all the impurities and imperfections until at the end you are left with gold.  Precious and pure and of great worth.  The Lord is the greatest alchemist around.  Only He works with people.  He refines us and changes us.  It's painful for us, and for Him I am sure. Why would He do that? Why would He bother? It's because He loves us and sees who/what we can become. As we serve we change.  As we face trails we change. As we learn we change.  Ever so slowly.  I am so grateful that despite the glaring flaws in my character, my behavior, my very thoughts He still takes the time to teach me and to guide me.  To trust me with responsibilities that are oh so precious and for which I am woefully inadequate.  I feel my Saviors love, His forgiveness and His grace as I serve and live each day.  What a tremendous blessing that is. What a gift. 

Another side blessing, something small but so sweet.  We have lived here a year and it's taken time but today I was hugged by friends.  Some were excited that I would now serve with their daughters.  Others sharing a vote of confidence.  Others just because. I know my sisters in the QH ward and I love them. It is a tender mercy and a joyful gift to be sisters in Zion.

And lastly today was the primary program, a favorite week of the year.  It went so well.  It was Grace's last and she sang sweetly and spoke clearly and looked pretty.  All the children did a darling job. 

weekend

This weekend we saw a good movie on Netflix, it was Finest Hours with Chris Pine.  Rob and I both liked it a lot.
Grace had a robotics thing.  Here she is with her friend Grace.  Cute girls.
new glasses
I have taken a lot of trips to the eye doctor this week.  5 to be exact, and I haven't even had my own eyes checked yet.  Hannah got some glasses for driving at night.  Ethan got new, stronger glasses, his eyes are the worst in the family.  Rob got some bifocals and Grace has xray vision according to the ophthalmologist.

Ethan's fav spot, by the xbox
What else?  We went to the mall.  Ethan hung out with Noah. We did some cleaning time.  Rob brought home a lot of work to do, he also jeeped.  Rob and Grace went to choir practice.  We have church today.
.  

new glasses crew
Lots of the same stuff most of the time but it's all good. 

oh wait! there is something else new Clayna got a furbaby.  Abe:)  He's sooo cute!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

first world problems, or when I was a brat. I can't decide which title.

We have three cars in our family.  Today I drove all three.

Hannah got her license this summer.  We knew for a long time that the day was coming and we knew we needed wanted a third car.  We wanted her to be able to drive because a) it's convenient but also b) because we don't want to send her out into the world without some experience behind the wheel.
I wanted to get a junker car for her.  Rob wanted a new jeep.  We compromised somewhere in the middle, he got a jeep that was more than I wanted to spend but not nearly shiny and new like he'd have loved.

On Thursday's Rob works at the temple.  This is another blessing with complications.  We are so so blessed to live near a temple.  We are blessed to have a car, or three, that can drive back and forth 41 miles each way.  We are blessed to have the money to afford the gas.  We are blessed that Rob's job has enough flexibility that he can work extra on other days and get off a little early on Thursday so he can do a whole shift. We are blessed that our family is happy and healthy and can afford the stress of a parent out of the home.  I really count my blessings that I have a husband who is a worthy priesthood holder, who honors his covenants and sacrifices for his family and to serve the Lord.  That was the quality I wanted most in a husband.  That said, and most heartfeltly meant, it is a little hard to have a weekly commitment at the temple.  Hard for him, and hard for us.

So, he doesn't like to drive his jeep to the temple.  Understandably.  He also doesn't like the transfer of stuff from car to car that he has to do to drive little blue.
Hannah wants to drive every day and doesn't like to give up "her" car on Thursdays.  Somehow today we thought it would be easier if everyone drove their own cars and then I swapped them during the morning.  One thing that might make this appealing is if this meant that Hannah did the seminary drive.  BUT no, she did drive herself.  Like she has done all week.  I however got to drive Ethan and Noah and Collin because Noah's and Collin's dads both were out of town.  I am "happy" to take them.  I love to serve my friends really really I do.  At 5am it's a little hard to remember that. So she drove and I drove.
Then later in the morning I drove to the HS.  Waited for H's break and traded keys with her.  Then I drove little blue to the mall (that was a side stop for me) and left her the flex.  I did a little shopping (new white shirts for the hubs being the item that brought me to the mall) and waited to meet up with R.
Then I drove to Rob's work and traded keys again and drove the jeep home and left him little blue.  This was way more convenient than everyone leaving in their own cars in the morning.

When I met R he said oh BTW, bad news,  I am almost out of gas, you might want to fill up on the way home.  I did not.  I don't enjoy pumping gas, which is why I usually make E do it.  Furthermore I specifically made sure to have the blue car filled up the night before so R wouldn't have to do it. I also don't particularly enjoy driving the jeep and wanted to go straight home. I did tell him and it's not like he's on "E", but if I was nicer I would have stopped.

Tiger mom I am not

Grace quit swim. And then she cried. Last year she wanted to be on the swim team so we signed her up and all went well. Summer came and we had a busy summer planned and I didn't want to pay $80 a month when I knew she'd only make it a few days here and there so we took a break, and then the team took an August break and then we started back up.

In August however she decided she hates it and that it hurts her leg/foot/toes. Meanwhile in a seemingly unrelated topic Grace wants a bird. It is the ONLY THING IN THE WHOLE WORLD that she wants and if she gets one she will never want for anything again. 
Wait you say, didn't she say that about a cat not too long ago....and didn't she indeed get a cat??? And now she wants something else? 

So I thought I'd help sweeten the pot a little bit because I really do think swimming is a great sport, and she's a natural, and life long habits of good health would be awesome to start now, so I said "Grace if you swim from now until Christmas you can get a bird. 3 days a week at least, no complaints."
She agreed. 
But then every time she cries and complains and refuses to go. I remind her of our agreement, persuade her, cajole her, cheerleader her on. It is a huge pain. Frankly a daily drive to the pool and the subsequent wait there is not hugely convenient either but that part I don't mind. It's the crying and carrying on and hiding in the locker room.
So yesterday after I picked her up from robotics I said hurry and get ready for swim. And she cried and complained and laid on the couch. So I said "fine. Don't go. You can be done with swim team." Then she cried for a long time and said, " but then I don't get a bird! It's so unfair!"
And I said "yes."
the only thing in the world she would ever ask for
Here she is studying with Percy yesterday morning.
ditto
And here she is recreating with Peanut in the evening. (Not pictured Petunia swimming in her tank happily next to the bed, or Ziva who just got kicked out of the room for trying to make a snack out of Peanut.)

I would like to be one of those moms that really, really pushes her kids to excel at something. But I just don't have it in me.

I do have some helicopter mom tendencies however, and really worry when the kids are out of sight. Example a) from yesterday: Ethan wanted to go with some friends to the park to play soccer. I said yes and drove him there. He arranged to get a ride home with Sam. 

Let me set the scene; the park is 3 miles from our house. In an emergency I suppose he could walk home. It was 5:30 in the afternoon, 3 hrs before dark. There were no fewer than 5 teams practicing at the park including two teams of baby soccer players which means all their parents sitting on lawn chairs watching and their siblings flooding the playground. There were multiple soccer moms doing laps around the park enjoying their evening walks/runs. He is 14. His friends are 14. There were 10 of them....who would want to kidnap 10 stinky, sweaty 14 year old boys? The park is in the middle of a nice residential neighborhood and shares the property with the middle school. And last but not least I WANT him to go outside and play with friends. I worry when he doesn't. Too much electronics? Not enough friends? Cyber predators? Will he grow up and only know how to grunt and never move out and we will have to build a basement for him?? 
Yet the whole time he was gone I was worried and was thinking about driving around the school just to check on things and when he arrived home safely (I know surprise ending right) I breathed a sigh of relief.
Example b)...

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

LUAU


haka
Yesterday Hannah came home from school early beacaue she was sick.  She still feels poorly today but she still went to all the things she had scheudled.  She finally finished her "0" period class and now can attend seminary full time.  I know she is glad about that.  She's a good girl and really loves the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Yesterday I went to institute, it was good but not as good as the first time.   

Bub had soccer practice Monday night, as always.  He likes to go and loves that soccer ball.

Elias won the hula hoop contest
Today was taco tuesday at Cafe Rio.  We had 12 women there enjoying lunch and each other's company. It's a nice time to get together.
limbo
Tonight the youth had a luau for mutual.  Rob and I had a quick meeting with the Bishop at the beginning and so we got to go in a take a peek and enjoy seeing all the fun.
Grace, Shelby, Paige, Hannah, Jordan and Elias
Ethan and Collin

Sunday, September 11, 2016

weekend

Ethan and Brody at the dance.
cute girl in her birthday outfit!
It was a good weekend. Saturday we had our post trek celebration and dance.  We got together at the stake center and watched the video David made.  After the parents and younger siblings left and we had our dance.  The LV ward decorated and it was so cute! They also had fun refreshments, nachos and root beer floats.
We went to church today.  I enjoyed our RS lesson.  Cindy Fletcher taught and she does a really good job. 
helping again
Grace has been wanting to sew so today I am helping her make an AG doll dress.  Percy is, as ever, the faithful helper
We took the jeep from church to the stake center for a meeting after church.  Ethan and Hannah took the other car after BYC.  I was trying to protect my hair for our meeting.