Thursday, August 26, 2010

My alarm went off at 6:00 this morning. I hit the snooze and then laid there for a split second before realizing that I didn't hear Christian up and getting ready. I hopped out of bed and proceeded to be the mom alarm that I promised I wouldn't be this semester. Downstairs, I met with Gabe who was already practicing guitar and started making Christian's lunch. I sent Christian off with signed disclosure forms and checks for "extras" in several classes and then focused on Gabe. Breakfast, scriptures, hair,teeth, lunch, bed, sign that last form, listen to him proudly recite his phone number in French and remind him about his lesson right after school. As the door shut behind him I turned my attention to my now soggy cereal, pulled my book a little closer and giddily prepared to have a few minutes of solitude. My quiet and my enthusiasm was shattered as Jordan came downstairs and on his way out the door asked,

"What do you do all day?"
To which I promptly responded, "?"
"Maybe you should get a job," he said as he closed the door.

Okay. Is it just me or are "them's fighting words?!"
Of course as soon as he drove away I thought of about 20 really good comebacks. "What do I do all day?!" "How 'bout make your life easier??" So.. maybe not really good comebacks but anything would have been better than my blank stare and dropped jaw.
But, the moment was gone and I was left to think upon (or stew over) his question all day.

Allllll I loaded the breakfast dishes, tried to exercise, put away storage bags the girls left unused in their packing frenzy the day before, returned Christian's shorts to Old Navy, picked up Jordan's jacket from the dry cleaner, vacuumed out the car and made pesto from the basil in my garden. Then the boys got home and the real fun began. (No..of course I don't feel like I need to justify...)

I wondered what it was that really pricked that defensive nerve. Was it that I really didn't feel as though what I did all day was valuable or was it that I was upset that Jordan couldn't seem to see-let alone appreciate- what I did all day or was it...that somewhere in my psyche I believed that if you had a job and and actually ENJOYED it then you were somehow cheating? That for me to count this as time well spent then I would have to spend at least a portion of the hours in my day feeling somewhat miserable in order for my job, my life, to be considered meaningful? Because here's my secret...I love being home. I enjoy it. I would rather be home than on vacation (though I realize the value in those). And maybe, just maybe, I feel a little bit guilty about it. The truth is..I like hanging out with my kids. I like that I can be here if and when they bring friends home for lunch. I like that I had the flexibility to head down south to move my girls in on Tuesday. I like that I can help Christian come up with a way to ask a girl to homecoming or watch (spy) him interact with a cute girl out on the tramp. I like being around if anyone needs homework help, to be able to have my nieces or nephews over, to host a wedding, to chat with my brother while he does his laundry, to make bread, or pancakes or spend time discussing classes or boys or anxieties or trials. Let's be honest, though. Just because you enjoy doing something doesn't mean that it is always fun or easy. My head is usually swimming with thoughts or concerns about each of my kids and my husband. But I always come back to the same place....I enjoy what I do. I love being a mom,wife,sister,daughter,niece and friend. And I love that I get to focus on those roles from home. Deep down I know. This is where I should be. This is where I want to be.
And my overwhelming gratitude goes out to my husband-that very same antagonist- who has made it possible.

Monday, August 23, 2010

And they're off...

...from early morning...
(11th grade)

(7th grade) tomorrow morning...
(college freshman)
(college junior)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Thousand Peaks and my current valley

Gabe ended his last scout event of the summer at Thousand Peaks Ranch. Families were invited to join the celebration that included the most incredible setting imaginable and a feast that involved steaks and shakes. It would have been a near perfect evening if it hadn't been for the fact that the phrase "end of summer" catapulted me into thinking about things that I have been trying not to think about. Such as:

1. My youngest/my baby is starting Junior High. The very phrase "junior high" makes me shudder. I liked elementary school. I like things a little elementary. I liked class parties and recess and family lunch days and fieldtrips. Gabe is ready to move on. I have got to get with the program.

2. Christian is taking his driving test tomorrow. (Do I need to elaborate?)

3. Christian signed up for early morning seminary. (Again. Any need to elaborate?)

4. Brittney is starting another semester with classes outside of her comfort zone with a new roommate, a new apartment and the top bunk of a bunk bed.

5. Hailee moves out. Starts school. New everything. Leaves me.

6. It will be me and the boys. I love them. I love being with them. But lets be honest here...they're not real good at doing my hair.

7. My kids are growing up. I can't stop it. I wouldn't really want to.

...But couldn't we at least slow the pace?

Thousand Peaks Ranch is Kim's family ranch. She has graciously shared it with me and others many times before. Kim is one of my favorite people-even if she does mock anyone that blogs.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


I have a confession. I 'strongly dislike' theme parks. (Notice how I avoided the 'H' word?)
I very much dislike the heat and the long lines and the fact that a bottled water costs like 12 bucks and how everything feels grimy and all I can think about is getting in the shower and I really, really dislike all of those twisty, turny, throw-upy rides. And try as I may, I cannot seem to convert the rest of the family to my right way of thinking. So..approximately once a year I get over myself and accompany the crew to Lagoon: Utah's largest theme park. As luck would have it, Lagoon discount day fell on Gabe's birthday this year and suggesting we all go made me eligible for 'mother of the year.' Or at the very least, 'mother-willing-to-take-her-kids-to-Lagoon-once-a-year.'

Since the only real enjoyment I get is watching my kiddos have fun-and since I knew that my boys would ditch me the first chance they got-I convinced my girls to hang out with me and for Jodi to bring the kids. And whadda ya know...? It was enjoyable.

I think I've mentioned how much I love boys. Case in point...I told them I wanted to grab a quick group photo before they took off for the day. They obliged but just gave me some boring pose. Or so I thought-until I downloaded this photo and got a better look and realized...with a group of boys, there is no such thing as a "boring" pose.

Pat and Jodi in the moment
Jordan met up with us later that day. Unlike me, he is a big fan of the throw-upy rides.

Pat and Jodi

Friday, August 13, 2010

Going on a PAIR hunt

One of my kid's favorite books for me to read to them when they were little was the classic, We're Going on a Bear Hunt. They loved the sing-song prose that would repeat each time a challenge was encountered during their adventures in trying to find a bear: "Can't go over it, can't go under it, got to go through it."

For much of my little sister's adult life she has been on a hunt. A hunt to find that person who would take her from individual "Jodi status" to a Pair. The perfect pair. Certainly it has been quite an adventure. An adventure with twists and turns and challenges that would make anybody want to "go back." But as is often discovered with all of life's challenges, you "can't go over them, you can't go under them. You've just got to go through them." And go through them she did....

Ick! Divorce. Heartbreaking, painful, divorce. Can't go over it, can't go under it. Got to go through it.
Oh no! Single parenting! Exhausting, challenging, single parenting! Can't go over it, can't go under it. Got to go through it.
Yikes! Financial concerns! Scary, hairy financial concerns! Can't go over them. can't go under them. Got to through them.
Uh oh! Dating. Awkward, yucky dating! Can't go over it, can't go under it. Got to go through it.

And so it went. Through the hills and valleys, highs and lows, of trying to find her match and make that perfect pair. All the while getting stronger and smarter and more determined (and beautiful) with each challenge she plowed

Until finally: She found one! A loving, tender, honest, faithful, gem of a man! Also a father. To
his three beautiful children and then to Jodi's two as well.

Last Thursday, Pat took Jodi by the right hand, looked her in the eyes and promised to be by her side forever. And in that moment their joyous family witnessed Pat and Jodi go from strong, incredible individuals to a strong, incredible pair. Who, with their children, Madi, and Issy and Miles and Caleb and Sophie, make a strong, incredible family.

Not just a family but a team! An energetic, willing TEAM! Ready to take on this adventure called life. Certainly there will be challenges. Messy, crappy challenges. But they know by now that you can't go over them. You can't go under them. You just have to go THROUGH them.

you may now kiss the bride

sophie mae

The new and improved family
Jodi noticed Issy was crying. Because she "was so happy," she said.
Pat's brother, Kelly brings color and flair to this family

Miles; Pat's youngest
Dang he's cute!
Madi, Pat's oldest, is autistic. She is absolutely lovely and so easy to be around. Every day she takes on a new persona. Everything from animals to Disney characters like "Chip" the little teacup in Beauty and the Beast. On this day- the day of the wedding- she was Pig. Something that she very loudly reminded the Bishop of during the ceremony. Madi can usually be found "tapping." Anything that she can find that will make noise on the ground. Today it was plastic silverware.
Cousin Brooke and baby Eli
The Brothers D: My dad, Doug, and his twin brother, Dave. Can I just tell you that when these two get together they are a whirlwind of productivity? One call. That's all. And these brothers showed up at my house and cleared out dead tree branches, moved trampolines and BBQs and had my pavilion looking so pristine I considered sleeping there.

I think I've mentioned that Pat is tall. Apparently tall people attract other tall people (which would explain why my family doesn't see too many). Pat played basketball in college. He has kept in touch with some of his teammates.
My aunts Vicki and Diane. Vicki, her daughter Michelle, my sister Kelli and Hailee spent an entire day at my house tying ribbon on everything they could see.
Jodi's Caleb is probably the most tender, loving boy you'll ever meet. He has made it his mission to take good care of his mom and sister for these past years. These two have a special bond.
Jodi thanked Pat's cousin for taking her color scheme so literally. What amazing support.

From L to R: Uncle Dick, Kelli's hubby, Brandt and cousin Tina's Brad. These guys are my favorite. Dick spent 3 days power washing my driveway. Twice. And as is apparent here, he also has a nutty sense of humor.
Hailee's friend, Sara, Hailee and Kate. They glow. It's crazy to think that there will weddings for them in the not so distant future.

Brides have to eat too, ya know!
To my beautiful sister: I hope you know how thrilled I am for you and how much I love you. I am so grateful for your example of strength and perseverance. It has been so fun for me to see your happy glow these last several months. And I know that even those haven't been easy. But as we said, "happy doesn't mean easy." But we'll take it. I love you.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

HOT Dogs

Lake Powell with the in-laws means Lake Powell with the in-law's dogs. And like many dog owners/lovers these animals are more like children than pets. And if we were being completely honest here I would say the dogs are treated better than most people's children. And even though I wouldn't necessarily put myself in the category of 'dog-lover' I admit I get sucked in. I think what really gets me is watching how usually normal people get all gushy when these dogs are around.
But then really...look at this face.

This is Maddie's Baby. No, really. The dog's name is Baby. Or sometimes it's Little Baby or...a myriad of other names that I could not for the life of me keep straight.
This is Bryan's baby. But his name is "Little Boy." It doesn't exactly roll off the tongue. Bryan tries to masquerade as a tough guy but these dogs totally blow his cover.
My niece's sister, Sara, is always one of the first people to ask if she can help. I love that she does the Lake thing with us.

Maddie's husband David has been completely indoctrinated with the dog loving culture since marrying my niece.

My sister-in-law, Bronte, loves that she has a strong, sturdy man at her side.

Since Emi's fiance couldn't make it this year, she was chrushing on another boy. Brittney's got her favorite standby on her lap. (How many times have you read Harry Potter, Britt?)

This boy's got it made. He stands ready to swim his girls to safety if needed.
Haley, Little Boy, Emi and Hailee

Something happens to my brother around these dogs. But especially the Baby. Maybe he should have one of his own. A dog, that is.
Oh my...

See what I mean? Are you feelin' the love?