Friday, August 9, 2013

Utah Adventures

Last Wednesday, Paul and the kids and I came over to Utah for his annual West Family Reunion (really, Grandma West's birthday celebration. She's 97 this year.) We spent some time with my sister Jennifer's Family first.  My kids always like hanging with their cousins. Then we did the family reunion thing on Saturday. In the afternoon, we drove up to Rexburg to see Rachel and the BYUI campus.  They've done so much work there and finished a lot of things that were in the works when we left five years ago (wow!). The new I-Center is really impressive, and the campus looks beautiful. And of course, it was great to see Rachel.  We crashed on her floor since it's between semesters and all of her roommates are at home or elsewhere. It's always good to see Rachel. I really miss her!

I miss this girl!

We drove back down to Logan Sunday morning, and Paul hitched a ride back to Reno with the Stamps family, and I went back down to Jen's house for the day and one more night. Monday morning, I gathered up my stuff and my kids and went down to Cedar City to hang with Melissa for awhile.

And we've had quite an adventurous week! Monday, we mostly just hung out and kept life simple.  Tuesday, we took the kids to the reservoir and let them play in the sand and swim and have fun. And they did. They surprisingly didn't even want to leave. Very unusual for the little ones. Then we came home, cleaned kids, prepared dinner, and headed up Cedar Canyon to Cedar Breaks. It's kind of hidden back there. You wouldn't really stumble on it.

It was cooler outside than I expected it to be, and raining (sprinkling really), which the kids really didn't like, so we didn't stay very long unfortunately. I would've really enjoyed exploring the area, but we had to get back for a reasonable dinner time anyway. 

Wednesday we met up with some of Melissa's friends from her ward, and drove up to Navajo Lake. The kids had a great time playing in the water there, and I had fun skipping rocks. :)  I even got a few 9- and 10-skippers! It was a very serene lake.

Between us and Melissa's friends, we counted 18 kids from the six families, and all were seven and under I'm pretty sure. It was quite a group!

This is another area I would love to explore on foot or kayak/canoe. It goes back quite a ways there.

One of her friends, Heather, did Alexa's hair "Tangled" style. She, of course, really liked it.

I lowered many a child down into this ice cave. Like I said, they were a young group. One poor little boy got stuck in the mud down there and I had to rescue him. His crocs had almost completely disappeared beneath the mud, yuck. So, of course, he shared some with me when I picked him up on my legs and hands.

Nate took the day off on Thursday so we could all go up to Zion National Park, the one request I had when I came down here since I've never been and have always wanted to see the red rocks. At some point, I would love to come back and do The Narrows Trail. We went up Kolob Canyon, which had amazing views, then continued on to the main area of Zion. It was gorgeous in there. A place I would love to go back to over and over to explore all the different areas. So much to see!

Melissa is the queen of the photobomb. 

The kids were troopers! Kolob Canyon was about a mile hike round trip, and then we hiked the lower Emerald Pool hike which was a mile and a half from start to finish, and they all did great. I carried each of the twins for very short periods, but they walked all the rest of it, and the three bigger kids didn't even complain at all about being tired or wanting to go home. It's always more fun with cousins, right?

Silly faces!

Whole group photo. Everyone's looking!

It's been a really fun week! I'm not looking forward to the really long drive home tomorrow on The Loneliest Highway in America, but it will be good to be home too. I miss Paul and I'm ready to get back to regular life and normal schedules. But, I'm so glad we got a chance to make these memories.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


well, we made it. and in so many ways, it was actually my easiest, and by far my favorite move yet. because melissa and nate did so much work while they were visiting, i easily completed the rest of the cleaning by myself, minus floors and the refrigerator. seriously, those two were rock stars, and because of them, i actually felt really on top of it by the end. i wasn't stressed out at all and i was itching to get out of there!

carolyn and frank got in thursday evening to help with the move, and let me tell you, it was so nice to have them there! poor paul took the greyhound from reno to medford through the night thursday night. i went and picked him up in the morning. sarah also came to see us before we left and spent the day with us friday. i'm missing her already!

actually, i was so on top of it that instead of spending the day moving things around and packing, the three of us women went to costco to get some stuff, and then carolyn couldn't help but stop at the sportman's warehouse and get some ammo and a few other fun things. then we went to lunch.

by the evening, we had a rather large crew of guys come help us load up the truck, which they did rather quickly, and by 8:00 or so we had pretty much done everything we could for the evening. we left mattresses on the floor and got some sleep. well, most of us did anyway. i might have stayed up chatting with someone far later than i meant to. :)

saturday was pretty easy, we just took a couple hours to get everything finished loading up and vacuuming, sweeping, etc. then we hit sportsman's warehouse once more (yep, more ammo), and headed on our way. it was an easy, enjoyable drive. at least for me it was.  i only had alexa, paul had the twins, and frank, who drove our suburban, had keith.

carolyn and frank had spotted a VW cemetery (yes, cars) on the way up and wanted to stop and get a few pictures on the way back down, so we did. we also found a pair of fire trucks for sale. 

paul was ahead of us, so by the time we got here they were already in the midst of unloading the truck. we had so much family here! it was so fun having my house so full of people that i love. david and christy and kids drove up from fresno just to be here to help, and they so did! lisa and jon and kids, of course, were here, and arlin and diana were also here getting ready to leave on a road trip with the stamps family. so with all those people, plus us and carolyn and frank, it was quite a full house! but this house is actually big enough to handle all those people. i rather enjoyed myself actually.

now, i'm finally getting my house put together, and i will put up pictures once i've got it done. i really like the house though! i think i like it more than any other place we've ever been. and there's so much space, i don't know what to do with it all! it's wonderful!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Mother's Day

We're on the downhill slope of this separate-living thing now.  It's just under 4 weeks left and I'm feeling the crunch.

Mom, being as totally awesome as she is, came to visit last weekend.  She thought it would be a nice Mother's Day present so come so I wouldn't have to be alone, and it totally was.  It was wonderful!  

They got in Thursday night, and came to my basketball game, which my team won with some amazing free-throw shooting and patience against a high school team.  Friday, Sarah came over, and it was so good to see her.  She and Chuck spent most of the day together shopping and then going to visit her current residence in Merlin/Grants Pass.  Mom and I played games and let the kids run around while Keith was at school.  Then, later that night we all played games.  It had been a warm day so we'd opened all the windows and even the front door (which there's a screen on) to let some cooler air try to make it's way through the house.  Around 11:30 I heard the screen door open.  I didn't say anything, but I was thinking "Did my front door just open?  Did someone just walk into the house?"  I thought maybe (hoped) that I was hearing things wrong and it was just a kid opening a back bedroom door and coming down the hallway.  And then I heard big footsteps in the entry, and I started to get worried.

Then, Paul walked around the corner. :D  It was pretty much the best Mother's Day surprise ever!  He was late because the suburban had been in the shop and didn't get done until late.  The four of us then stayed up until after 1:00 playing games and just enjoying each other's company. 

Saturday, Clint and Sarah took Chuck fishing early in the morning.  They ended up being gone all day, which would've been a real bummer for me and mom since we were going to do some shopping together, but since Paul had come home we fortunately weren't stuck with all the kids.  He stayed with the kids while Mom and I went to lunch and then did some shopping.  It was a lot of fun and something we haven't done for a long time.  

Sarah and Clint stayed for dinner after fishing, which was a lot of fun to have so many people in the house.  Plus, the kids love having them both around.  

Sunday was a nice day at church.  They go all out in our ward for Mother's Day.  We got a little basil plant after sacrament, and then third hour, we got a cute little boxed lunch and time to just chat and socialize.  Mom was really impressed. :)  Paul got me a necklace with the kids birthstones in it, which I just love (seriously, he's starting to really rock at this gift idea thing), and he also made dinner.  Sadly, he had to leave around 6:00 to get back to Reno, but mom and Chuck stayed for another day, and Monday morning we all, including Clint and Sarah, went to breakfast.  It was hard to say goodbye to everyone, but at least I have Melissa and Nate's visit to look forward to Sunday!

So, just as I suspected, the first five weeks have gone kind of slow, but now I'm realizing just how fast the next four weeks (less actually) are going to go. So much to do, so little time!  Well, not really, there's plenty of time, but having to stop what you're doing every 30 minutes or less to take care of a child can make the going slow.  What I need is for them to be out of the house for about two days.  Then I would just fly though this house!  Pipe dreams, I know, but hey, a girl can dream!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


today, keith is 7. since paul's coming home friday night we decided to do the family celebration, including presents and such saturday so daddy can be there too. we still had some fun today though.

my friend april has a little girl named payton, who also just happens to be a may day baby. so we thought it would be fun to do a combined birthday celebration with her extended family and let all the kids run free, of which there were quite a few. i'm really going to miss the blue family! being at their house is kind of like being at home. there's a lot of them, and they all sing and quote movies and have so much fun. they are super cool people!

blowing out his 7 candles.

trey, brother of baby payton decided he wanted to get in on the action and help keith blow out his candles.

i'm grateful for this dude.  he's a good helper and and he loves everyone.  my grandpa clark used to say of his dog "he knows two kids of people: friends he has met and friends he hasn't."  that statement is also true of keith.  and it's one of the things i love most about him. 

so happy number seven dude!  can't wait to see what this next year holds.

Monday, April 29, 2013

getting anxious

there's a lot to do in the house.

a lot.

pack things, sell things, give things away, take things off walls, scrub everything in sight, find and reserve a moving truck, find somewhere to live, visit with friends and family, and of course, do all my regular stuff.

does that sound like a lot?

hmm, guess i should be doing something and not blogging.

but, here i am anyway.  i like to record the goings-on in my life.  i like to look back and read things that i'd completely forgotten, things that don't even sound familiar.  plus, i think i remember some things better just because i wrote them down.

so, i've got six weeks to go.  i know once i hit four it will be all downhill from there. but still, even at six i know it's going to go quickly.  

but i'm ready.

mentally at least.  physically, well it's a work in progress. 

paul and i were talking about me coming to reno to visit, see him without him having to make the drive and possibly house hunting.  and as we talked about the weekends coming up, i realized suddenly that somehow every weekend between now and when it's time to go has gotten filled.  an i'm not sure how that happened.

paul comes home this weekend, which is great 'cause it's been almost 3 weeks and keith's 7th birthday is wednesday.  next sunday is mother's day. yeah, for real.  the sunday after that, melissa and nate are coming to visit, YAY!  they will stay for the whole week, so they'll be here through the following weekend of memorial day, which paul may or may not come home for.  the weekend after that, the 1st and 2nd, well that's the weekend before we move and i'm thinking i should probably be here to be getting things done.  hard to say how much will still be left to do at that point. most likely, plenty to keep me busy.

so, here we are, on the countdown.  i'm super excited, and ready to get out of here.  and i've got some summer plans brewing (sans kids!), which gives me something to look forward to.  i'm ready for the next adventure.  this will be state number four we've lived in since 2007  i would've never believed that i would've lived in 4 different states before i was 30.  pretty cool.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

"i think i can..."

well, week one of single-parenthood went well.  but i also had the weekend to look forward to an knew i only had to make it through five days really.  paul came home and we had a nice weekend.  he spent some time with the kids who were stuck like glue to him for the first day.  but then, sunday came and he had to leave to go back to reno.  and the kids took it like little troopers. seems they're getting used to it.  it probably helped that we had just done a week-plus without him in california.

but now, here we are about halfway through week two and it feels like it's all coming down.  sigh.  i love my kids, but man, are they a handful!  several, in fact.  it doesn't help that they're all so close in age and only one can really do everything for himself.  i'm going to make it, i am, but i swear, by the time june 8th rolls around it will probably be just about all anyone can do to keep me here long enough to help load the truck.  it's finally hitting me just how much stuff has to be packed or junked. 

which is the other thing.  the best part about moving, for me, is the purging.  the throwing things away.  getting to the things you keep saying "at some point we'll get rid of that."  and while it's great to be doing it, it sure draws the packing process out because you can't just throw everything you see in a box.  at least, i can't.  if i'm going to go through the energy of packing it up and making sure there's space for it in my new place, i want to make sure i actually want to keep it.  and there's so much stuff i don't want to keep!  so much.

anyhoo, on a different note, for some reason i keep expecting it to warm up, and mother nature doesn't seem to be getting the memo.  monday it started to rain, which is typical weather, but then i started to hail. it was decent sized hail too.  so, i took a picture, because you know, it was kind of fun.

so then i sent the picture to my friend carolyn and she responded, "the calendar says spring. does medford weather know that?"

and i kid you not, less than 30 seconds after she texted that, it got worse. a lot worse. pea-sized and quite fast. it covered the road in just a couple minutes.

don't worry, i wasn't out there very long, plus i was at the end of a killer workout, so i was pretty toasty.  but you can see how big it was.

anyhoo, it's not much better in reno.  paul said it snowed there the day it hailed here. so i'm going to colder and hotter. what a win, hahaha.  

well, wish me luck and maybe throw up a prayer or two that i and all my kids make it out of these next 7+ weeks alive, haha.

Monday, April 1, 2013

grand adventure pictures

freddy and baz figured out they could crawl through the doggy door.

the door looked so big i had to test it out to see if i would fit. who needs keys?

 one of my very favorite people in the whole world.

alexa and keith with uncle frank

 gio's not shy at all. only 3 months younger than my boys, i would take him and make him a triplet any day!

brunch on the deck. beautiful day.
 natalie, carolyn and me

 sittin' in the freight container opening with my kids and a couple adopted's.

baz, freddy and gio
baz brushing lewis

hanging out in the barn, 'cause you know that's where all the cool kids hang.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

a grand week

 i am kind of cheap by nature...or maybe nurture. i'm really not sure honestly. but one of the things that i've learned during this period of never having enough money coming in, but somehow always having enough money to get by, is the importance of taking the opportunity to visit family and friends when you can. when i'm old, or even just older, i would rather look back and see great memories and an empty bank account than a full(er) back account and no fun memories. i've also learned that Heavenly Father seems to agree. every time we've had to make a decision about "going" or "not going" i've always felt strongly that going was important, after praying about it. family is important and those opportunities are too few and far between to miss them because we would rather not spend the money on gas.

so even though i was here at the beginning of the month for a funeral and a retirement party, i decided to come down for spring break anyway. and i'm so, so, SO glad i did. this has been the best trip i've ever taken in so many ways.

saturday i went to breakfast with my kids and my mom and step-dad. they're always fun to hang with and they love my kids. and of course, the kids love them.

sunday i got to go to see many old friends from the ward where i spent my youth. and it always feels like coming home, even though half the families are now the families of the kids i grew up with. and then i got to go to a sacrament meeting without kids! i'd forgotten what that's like. and then i got to see a very, very dear friend when she came over with her son for dinner.

monday i spent a day with mom, cleaning, organizing, shopping, just being with her.

tuesday i went to fresno, and got to see some friends from our old ward. it was great to see them again and catch up for just a bit. then, i took my kids to my in-laws and LEFT THEM THERE! when i came home i went to my friend carolyn's house to spend the night. and what a gorgeous night it was. an almost full moon was giving off so much light that i couldn't resist the urge to take a hike up a near hill and just spend some time reconnecting with myself, my spirit, my heavenly father. it was the first time in a long time i got to forget about being a wife, a mom, a friend. i didn't even realize how much i needed it until i was experiencing it. i didn't realize how wrung out i felt inside until i felt a healing taking place. my heart was just overflowing with gratitude and love. i was just overcome by the blessings in my life. then after that much needed experience i got to spend a few more hours just talking with my best friend.

wednesday morning i took a long jog/hike back into some beautiful green hills also all by myself. again, just wonderful. then, a little later i got to take a drive up towards balch park enjoying the wonderful sunshine with windows down and fun tunes. went to dinner with mom and carolyn. we talked and laughed and enjoyed each others company.

i thought the night couldn't get better. i was wrong. later that night, my husband called me to tell me he was offered a job. in his field. after almost exactly four years of searching. wow. after that long, it almost feels like it will never end. as much as i was wanting to hear it, i almost didn't believe i would, possibly ever. it still doesn't feel quite real. ask me how it feels in about two weeks though.

thursday i spent some time with mom at work, then we did a very little bit of shopping. then, my kids came back. and i missed them. but i sure enjoyed and so needed some time away from them. after they got back, we proceeded to drive back up to carolyn's house for a party. and i got to enjoy another fantastic evening of talking with her when we spent the night.

friday we had quite the adventure. carolyn saddled up two mules and we packed in some food to the back 40 (acres). there was another woman and her 4 little ones with her. her littlest child is the same age as my boys. all three of them were on one mule at one point. somehow, we're unsure how, lewis got spooked . . . and all three boys proceeded to fall. but they were definitely protected because all three, though crying and shaken, i'm sure, were totally fine. they hit a hill, which i think helped take out some of the impact, because they didn't just smack they ground, they kind of ended up tucking and rolling. and they didn't get flung into the barbed-wire fence. they just sort of rolled into it, but with their long jeans and shoes, they were pretty protected. the worst of it was a couple bruises (not immediately apparent) and a couple small scrapes on a belly. they got over it relatively quickly and enjoyed the rest of the picnic.

today has been really mellow and relaxed. i'm looking forward to tomorrow and especially monday when paul comes. i've really missed him this last week. fortunately, we've both been pretty busy so it hasn't been as tough as it could've been, but i will be happy to see him again, and so will the kids.

keith has 9 more weeks of school when we get back and then, i guess we move on to our next city and our next adventure. i'm excited for the possibilities, though not anxious for the actual move and starting all over with friends again. fortunately, the church makes those things much easier than they could be.

all in all, life is grand. life is sweet.

and god is good.

Monday, January 28, 2013

summer fun ideas

my sister, melissa mentioned to me a few weeks ago about how a friend of hers made a list of things to do during the summer and each day the kids would pick something. I decided this was a great idea because trying to come up with something to do each day can be tough, but if you don't put some kind of effort into it you could end up sitting around a lot more than you intend do (maybe that's just me), and that leads to boredom and boredom leads to bad attitudes, cranky people and a multitude of other not-so-good things. so, today i started making a list. i came up with surprisingly quite a few things in a relatively short period of time. so, the plan is to print these all out, cut them up into little strips and put them into some kind of "fun jar" that we can pick from everyday. i'm kind of excited about this.


write letters/thank you notes (color pictures to send, etc) for family members, friends, whoever
movie day
park day
sprinklers/water fun day (water balloons, squirt guns, etc . . . maybe we will combine that one with "washing-the-'burb' day", haha)
fort making day
baking day
board game day
lake day
swim at a friend's
craft day
beach day
go on a hike
backyard campout
hike & seek/outside game day
library day (they really like going to the library)
play date (i may have to rig this one so they pick it on the right day, getting it set up with a friend)
have a picnic
go out to eat
bike riding day (we'll see about this one, since the two little ones can't ride bikes and i don't have a trailer...)
dance party
unbirthday party (we don't have any birthdays between may and november, so this would be really fun.)
art day (drawing, coloring, painting, sidewalk chalk, etc)
scavenger hunt
doorbell ditch day (thinking we could spend half the day making things and then deliver them to various peoples of the ward, or possibly something non-food. we'll see.)
service day (similar to previous, but something more thoughtful and directly personal that, hopefully, fills a need)
play restaurant day (the kids have a little kitchen that they love to "make" things in, so i'm thinking playdoh)

that is 26 things. not too bad, if you think about sundays and paul's days off so we'll do something different in there, plus trips to family and hopefully a camping trip or two).

tell me what you think, or if you have any other ideas. i would love to hear them!

Monday, January 7, 2013

mysterious ways, indeed

first, paul didn't get the construction job. he doesn't have the depth of experience they were looking for. of course he doesn't, the economy crashed less than 6 months after he got his degree. and he's been out of the field for almost 4 years now. and it doesn't look like he will ever get back in.

anyway, he did get another job. and a decent paying job . . . after the first three months anyway. i assume, since it's basically a line job, that there's a high turnover rate, so of course, they give people a 90 day trial before they start really paying them.

he had started the process of getting his contractor's license, which he clearly needs to complete. but when he didn't get the construction job i (and i think he, but i didn't ask, and we hadn't really had time to talk about it) took it as a sign that he needed to start focusing more on creating and trying to build his own business. i thought swing shift would be perfect for that. work from 3 pm - 11 pm, sleep and in the morning, before work he could start doing small jobs and building a name for himself. that sounded perfect, like there was a fix, though one that was going to take quite some time, obviously, to fix.

the problem is, they hired him for graveyard. i'm not sure how he can do small jobs between the hours of 4 and 10 pm. maybe he can. i don't know. i'm so very confused. where are we going? i just feel like we're wandering without a direction, career-wise. that's okay when you're young, but once you get older, it just feels dangerous. (and before you point out that i'm still in my 20's, remember that paul's halfway through his 30's. not old, but certainly old enough to be concerned with having a career.)

if my kids were all in school, it would be an inconvenience at best. but they're not. and they're loud. and he's a light sleeper. hopefully he'll learn to not be such a light sleeper. and fortunately, he does fall asleep at the drop of a hat.

mostly, i'm worried about him getting enough sleep, and about him making it past the first 3 months when we can actually receive the benefits of the job (i.e. enough money to pay our bills!) he will burn out, though knowing him it will take closer to a year. gosh, i sure hope something else comes in that time. 

this last year was the first time in our marriage that he didn't get up and out of the house before 6 am (and sometimes as early as 3:00). it was nice while it lasted.

this will be a new experience for sure.

wish us luck.