Saturday, April 16, 2016

I Was All THAT?!

I was laying in bed last night thinking of how much I loved watching my kids perform in Peter Pan at the theater.  Then I started remembering when I was at the theater ALL the time.  It sent me down a road of all the things/phases I have gone through in the last 25 years of adulthood.  I thought "man, I've done a bunch of stuff!"   While doing each thing, I couldn't imagine anything else being so great.  Then I'd enter some other thing.  Anyway, it's kind of cool to think of all the things I've done and then also to think of what's still ahead!!  These events are not chronological because some things never change and I'm really not a detail oriented person so rearranging all the pics would have been too time consuming and then I'd no longer be sitting here.  Let me begin by also adding Once I was a Blogger!  I have no pictures to prove it, but you are here so it must be true. 

So let's start back to when I was 16 and loved to dance!  This was a dance to Keep Me Hanging On and I still remember some of it.  Right below is me at my 40th bday party...still groovin.  Some phases never quite end. ♥

Lets just say I spent the next 15 years doing this....mostly a blur, but I'm positive I loved it!!
Oh and let's not forget that I decided to run a preschool during all my "making babies" years.

Then there was that time I had skin cancer, yikes!!

Then there was the five or so years I spent at the theater.  Like...ALL the time.  Started by appearing in Hairspray and Annie, morphing into helping with a production of Glee, and then snowballing into Choreographing my first show Oliver and several others, to directing the Wiz. Oh how I loved those years!!

Then there were the cruise years.  Started on our 15th anniversary and that I can honestly say will continue to be part of what we do for a long time to come!  Cruisers...that's what we are!

How about the time I decided to become a runner?  Yep, Ran three Ragnars, the Redrock, 3 half marathons, several 10Ks and one mini triathlon.  I really really miss those days!!

There was a small period of time where we went to Diamondbacks games all the time, I love baseball and love being there, we even had season tickets once!  Below that, is a very old picture of me playing softball as a teenager.  There were several years where Glade and I played on a coed team regularly.  It's what we did.  And I loved it!

These I like to refer to as the "I was still clear headed enough to be the creative mom" years where we spent time and energy doing things like creating cool cow costumes for a free meal.  Now I cut up some paper, tell them to tape 'em on and get in the car.  

Oh how I love to can and prepare!  I still love this, but haven't done it in way too long.  For awhile, canning was all I could think about.  I tried canning....everything! Someday I'm going to revive this one.

We had great years where we camped..a lot.  We spent time and money gathering the best camping supplies and things to make it nice and comfortable.  We would go several times in the summer and I even took the kids by myself a couple of times during fall/spring break.  We loved camping!  Such great memories.  We still do this, but on a much simpler and way less frequent basis.  I can't say I miss this one as much, lol.

Now I've entered the Grammy stage.  I only have 5 kids left at home.  Two married, one on a mission,  and one serving some time elsewhere.  I have three in high school with one graduating in a month.  Babies have come and brought a whole new level of fun to my life.  It's a little tricky being a Grammy and still having little ones at home (9 and 11).  But seriously, look at those faces!!

Ok, I'm sure you'll all have to do some serious memory searching to remember that I LOVE Christmas!  No, really....I do!  That's never gonna change and is always one of my favorite things to look forward to, participate in and reminisce about.  Yep, pretty much lasts all year! 

So It got me to thinking...I've done so many cool things, what am I now?  Seems like all the fun is behind me.  Why don't I do really cool things anymore?  Wait.., I have this cool job of visiting foster kids, and I substitute as a school nurse on occasion and I own a DANCE STUDIO.  Hmmm, I guess I'm still doing some pretty awesome things, but apparently they don't seem that awesome till you stop doing them and look back at it.  Gotta try and remember that.  Kind of excited to see what the next ten years brings!  

Sunday, November 8, 2015

What it really means to be a Christmas Crazy

I have a reputation. Well, probably a few, but one big one is that I LOVE Christmas.  It's kinda my thing.  Some may use phrases like "Christmas Crazy" or OCD Obsessive Christmas Disorder (I had shirts made with that on it).  It's true, every bit of it.  I will own it loud and proud.  What I think some people miss in this whole picture of "full of Christmas", that's how Katy described me on a paper, is what it actually means to LOVE Christmas.  I mean, really, what's not to LOVE?!  The money? The hubub?  The busy-ness?  Guess what, you can LOVE  that too!  Let me tell you why I LOVE Christmas, for reals....

I once told my daughter not to get engaged around Christmas.  It might be tainted.  Why, you ask?  Because Christmas is LOVE.  In a million different ways, Christmas brings feelings of LOVE.  First and foremost, there's the LOVE of and for our Savior, Jesus Christ.  He is the reason for the season, right?  We celebrate His life every day of the year, but in December, we celebrate his birth.  Another reason for LOVE.  The miracle of life!  I have experience that exact same miracle and emotion of pure LOVE every time I gave birth to one of my children.  Nothing more witnesses to me that God is real and that He loves me than to bring a precious soul into my family and into my arms.  Children.  Not just the gift of them, but the world through their eyes is so beautiful and trusting and  innocent and magical!  Christmas brings that out in abundance and it's such a joy to watch a child experience all that Christmas has to offer.  Watch a sappy Hallmark movie or listen to the songs of the season, it's all about LOVE!  Ooey Gooey romantic and beautiful LOVE.  Makes you all warm inside.  Warmth.  I live in a miserable hot existance where a roaring fire only makes things hotter.  But, a glowing fire, twinkling lights, hot chocolate, cozy blankets...all provide warmth for your soul.  Guess what adds the big cherry on top to all the warmth?  Family.  Every aspect of Christmas revolves around the family.  Whether its gift giving, parties, baking, crafting, movie watching, light seeing..being with family brings the ultimate warmth to my soul.  LOVE.

Combine sparkly, pretty things, warmth, family, a Savior and ooey gooey LOVE...why wouldn't I want that to last as long as possible?  When you fill your holiday with things that matter,events that bond, things that bring warmth to your soul, the messy things like money, crowds and calendars become not so burdensome.  You unconsciously smile when you see a lit up tree, or hear a familiar song or smell your favorite holiday candle because you have filled your holidays with beautiful things that build and grow LOVE.  And every year after year, that big sleigh full of blessings and memories and warmth and LOVE comes jingling back reminding you why you LOVE this time of year!  Yes, I'm a Christmas Crazy.  My children are becoming the very same thing and I LOVE that they have felt and experienced the same warmth and love that I have as we've shared our Christmas' past.  So bring on Christmas in October or June or maybe even March....can there be too much LOVE?

On an awesome funny/wonderful side note...Whitley called me the other day to tell me that when she is older and has all the money in the world, she is going to have a Christmas room.  One that is Christmas all year round.  That way, if she is ever sad or just misses Christmas, she can go in there and sit for awhile.  THEN, she says, when I (me) get old and delusional and can't take care of myself, I can come live in her Christmas room.  I'll take it!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

First Day of School 2015

It's July 22, 2015 and the kids have just gone back to school for their first day!  This is a scary day because my two oldest just switched back to a school they have been away from for 3 years.  I hope they do ok, and find their friends from before and new ones that will help them to be successful and happy.  Dalin is starting high school this year, making 3 high schoolers!  Yikes for me.  Bo and Katy both got the teachers they were hoping to get and I know they'll do great.  Now, I'm not that mom that's all gushy like "oh my babies, I'll miss them so much!".  Nope, let's get real.  All day every day togetherness is not really good for anyone!  I love them to pieces, but we are all happier when we've had some time away.  Sincerely, my kids are so much happier when their brains have been active, their bodies moving and they've had interaction with peers.  This is healthy!  And I love being able to get stuff done and have my brain all to myself for a bit each day.  Then I'm way more ready to take on the rest of the day and the chaos that comes from homework, extra curriculars, dinner and bedtimes.  It's a win win.  As we were looking for classes at the HS, I saw this on the wall and was super excited that my kids school does not shy away from using scripture in their teaching.  I mean after all, what better book to get good advice from?

It's Our Song

Ok, Maybe this is weird, but it is what it is.  I kind of have a "song" with some of my kids.  You know, something happens and it just kind of becomes "your song".  Not all of them are even mutual, but just that that particular song makes me think of them.

 For Chelsey, it's Don't Break Even.  We were driving up to Flagstaff to get her ready for college and it came on and I hadn't heard it much and I don't know...seeing her in the seat next to me, her singing, me liking it, us doing something new and important together...It just kind of stuck.  I think of that moment every time I hear it.

I'm not really sure I have one for Whitley, but here are a couple that make me think of her for strange reasons.  Thunder is one, cuz she loved it and it was my ringtone for her.  Then there's Wanted.  That's totally weird cuz it's really something that was between her and her first boyfriend, Jordan.  But it was so sweet and then I was sad when they broke up and now this awesome song with a sweet experience was tainted, lol.  I'm not sad they broke up, just that it ruined the song.  Weird, I know.

Nick, well there's this song...How to Save a Life...probably self explanatory.

Stephen has two.  One is because we were driving and it came on and he cranked it and started singing along saying how much he loved it.  I'm not even sure of it's official name, but it was a country song about Rolling the Windows down.  He was so cute.  Then there's Uncle Cracker's You Make Me Smile.  That one makes me do a little gasp whenever I hear it now that he's been gone for so long.

Rhett's is probably the most "mutual" one.  Long story short, I fell in love with this song and wanted someone to sing it for auditions.  He readily agreed and when he sang it, it was so beautiful. Seriously, I wanted to punch him it was so sweet.  It's A Thousand Years.  So now that's our song.  We were skating one time and it came on and he yelled "mom!" across the rink and pointed at me.  Now that he's getting older, he's a little less "committed" to it, but he knows. ♥  The other day he suggested a new song become ours.  I can't even remember what it was, but it was funny.

Just the other day Bo declared that he and I have a song.  Just randomly, the same song has come on twice recently while we were driving and he was in the front seat.  It was Separate Ways by Journey.  he was just drumming and air guitaring with all his might!  We talked about how some things are just always great, like Journey.  We sang it loud and proud.  The second time it came on, he lights up and says "Mom, this is our song!".  Sweet, we have a song!

That brought up the conversation with the other kids about "whats our song?"  I tried to explain that you don't just choose one, you have an experience and it all just connects.  So now sweet Katy is looking for something to be our song.  Right now she's going with Shake it Off, but I'm sure something real will come along sometime soon.  That just leaves Dalin and Brooklyn.  Guess we gotta keep driving places!!

The End of Summer

It's a bit misleading..that whole "end of summer" thing.  That would truly be delightful, but it's gonna be summer here for about 3 more months.  BUT, school has started so it's the end of summer VACATION. So here's what we rounded our summer out with.  

 Cow day at Chick Fil A!!  This is a tradition and when it started, there weren't many who did it, but now it seems everyone is on board so it's always a crazy busy day there.  The deal is that if you dress like a cow, you can have any meal for FREE.  What we won't do for a free meal.  

We tried to take full advantage of Pogopasses this summer, but I kinda waited till the end so we did lots of stuff the last week or so.  This is Laser Tag.  Chelsey and Spencer came with us as well as my Mom.  She is the sweet one to always sit out with Brynlee so the rest of us can duke it out inside.  This time we were all on the same team though.  And I'm sure I have to tell you that "I won the whole game!".  Ok, so there were lots of little kids in there, but I still won!!  Rhett took me 2/3 in air hockey games though.  

Before we played laser tag, we went to Happy Joe's for pizza.  This is a place that is big back in Illinois.  Many fun birthday memories here (or there).  So when they opened one in AZ, I was very excited.  But I must say, it was a bit of a disappointment.  First, it was really expensive!  Our very favorite place to go is Barros and it's like almost half the price.  Now, they don't have the taco or BLT pizza, but it was still a bit of sticker shock for me.  Plus, what you see in the picture is pretty much the whole restaurant.  Super tiny.  But, we went and it was good.

Sunsplash!  This one outing is what we say makes the pogopass totally worth it.  Last year was the first time the kids had been.  We had a blast.  This year, I don't know...they just seemed really bored.  Not sure why.  We left and got dinner at McD's and stayed till it closed, but honestly, it was a little "clouded" by the amount of nakedness there.  I know, it's a pool, but my kids had lots to say about it when we left.  Even Katy was uncomfortable with how many peoples boobs she saw that day.  That's a whole different post though.

 Three Days of Service.  That's what the youth in our ward did one weekend.  They were supposed to do as much service as they could find.  Dalin went all out the first day.  Brooklyn did tons of stuff too. Rhett, well let's just say he could have done a little more.  This is Dalin making rubber pancakes for everyone.

In case this is news, Chelsey is having a baby!  She is due the beginning of December.  She was lucky enough to have her ultrasound on her birthday so she found out what she was having that day.  Fun bday present!  So, she's having a girl.  I guessed it!  I know, it's 50/50 but I still guessed it.  She brought over chocolate cake and we sang to her and enjoyed celebrating her loveliness.

 On the last day  before school started, the little kids had meet the teacher, of which I took no pictures.  Both kids got the teachers they wanted and are very excited to start school.  After, we all went to Mod Pizza for lunch with Gram.  After that, the big kids and some friends of ours all went to the Temple to do baptisms for the dead.  I took them for ice cream after to finish out a fun last day of summer.  

This is Glow Golf at Fatcats.  Another pogopass outing.  I wasn't in love with this one.  This concept is cool, but it's really hard to play golf in the dark!  I can't tell you how many times I hit the ground before the ball cuz there's no depth perception.  If I wasn't so competitive I may have been able to enjoy it.  Besides that, it was really noisy and chaotic.  We'll go back and do their glow bowling another day.

Cherries!!   I always buy the 30lb boxes of fruit and then get in a panic and have to do something with them in a hurry so they don't go bad.  So we all pitched in and pitted them all and got them canned.  This same morning, I wasn't letting anyone on the "screens".  I had found an old bag of flower seeds in my closet so I gave them to Bo and Katy and told them to go find a place to plant them.  It kept them busy for about 30 whole minutes!  They each picked a place, raked it, threw down some soil and planted their seeds.  I'm fairly certain they won't grow or that they will even remember that they planted something, but at least they were up and doing something!

This is what I'm left with now that my big kids are moved out and I have Rhett as my lead.  Wrestling all the time!  Oy, I hate boy behavior.  Really, we can't sit and play barbies or dress up?  Its always something physical where I'm sure something is gonna break.  But look at those faces!