Friday, December 3, 2010

Fall Sports

 Fall sports are over (have been for quite some time now...)both Maggie and Ashlee played soccer, and Maggie ran for the cross country team at her Middle School.  I love soccer and hope they continue to play.  I do not love hyper-competitive parents / coaches.  Sometimes they are funny and entertaining (the coach in the green in the background is an example of this) but mostly they are bothersome and make me uncomfortable and even a little angry.  It's the only part of youth sports that I don't like.  Best memory I have of Ashlee this season (even though I didn't personally witness this, I was with Maggie at her field): While waiting for the game to start, Ashlee dropped and started doing push-ups.  She loves soccer and is always excited to play - I am smiling thinking about it right now.
Maggie's back during a race - I am really proud of her - she worked hard at cross country and improved her time by about 1 1/2 minutes during the season.  What makes me more proud is the fact that she showed up to try-outs/practice without a single friend (new school, only a few friends).  I would not have done that in a million years in school.  I played sports in high school, but I always knew someone until my senior year and  I probably wouldn't have played that year, but my dad found out about the off-season team for my school and got me to try-out, thanks Dad!   Anyway, Maggie is awesome.

So, there you go - one update down, several to go. . . . 

Saturday, October 30, 2010

All Hallow's Eve


Peace Out - Flower, Bride of Frankenstein, Nerd!
(p.s. I will try to post some other updates soon)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Over Labor Day Weekend, we took a trip up the North Coast to see the Redwood Trees.  On the way up, we stopped at  Glass Beach - so named because it used to be the city dump, now all the glass (because it is heavy and didn't get washed out to sea) has been buffed/polished into little pebbles.  Christopher says that the thing embedded in the rock in this picture is the rear differential of a  pick-up truck.  I have lots of thoughts about this beach -
The rest of the pictures:
2. Redwood Grove - the trees were AMAZING.

3.  Blurry picture next to the base of a fallen tree - Paige was done with: walking, smiling, using her nice voice, being happy.  She had been sick and was a little out of sorts.
4.  Christopher trying to re-create a picture he remembers of older brother Michael jumping from a Redwood into his dad's arms.  We did this shot with both older girls, twice with Ashlee.  I have a hard time pulling the trigger at the right time.  These were the instructions he gave - "Mom's going to take a picture of you jumping to me."  If you tell Ashlee to jump, if you tell her that you will catch her, if she trusts you - she will really jump.  I guess her jump was a little bit too authentic - he meant for her to sort of lean and fall - not jump.  The five minutes after this shot were filled with jumping around, rubbing a kicked leg, saying "I didn't mean really  jump" and lots of laughing.
5.Maggie being silly, I like that you can see the tree's dimensions in this picture.  I don't think this was the biggest one we saw, but read the numbers, they are impressive.
6.They are singing.
7.  Beautiful coast line on the bluffs above glass beach.

We had a great time on this trip - this area of California is so beautiful.  I just scrolled back through the pictures - I think the theme is blurry....

Back to School

The Girls are back in school - week 4.  How old does Paige look in jeans?  She begged to have them, I bought them, she put them on once, for 10 minutes to have this picture taken and hasn't looked at them since.  Does that sentence sound familiar?  It does to me. . . every year at back to school time, I buy them clothes they won't put back on, clothes they insist they love.  Paige proudly continues the tradition.   We took a whole bunch of pictures for their "back to school" fashion show.  I was going to send them to their dad in the desert, but I just downloaded them 5 minutes ago.  Anyway, it is fine with me that she doesn't want to put those jeans back on - she's looking a little bit too grown-up for me in that picture.
The transition has been the roughest on Ashlee - as you can see in the picture above.  She is not hanging her head just to avoid the camera, she didn't know I had it out.  That is how I left her, waiting in line on the first day.  She came home much happier (see her smiling above , after school!), but she still has a few days of crying in the morning, not wanting to go.  The whole first week, I reminded her to just take things one day at a time, that things would be better, easier as time went on.  She is settling in.  I am proud of her for struggling through.  It helped that Chris came home the Friday of their second week, he makes everything a little easier for all of us.  Maggie is in 7th grade - she has been really excited most days about the new school and new opportunities.   Middle school!!!!  I can't believe it.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Dinner Group

One more item that I intended to blog about, but haven't yet - dinner group.  A friend from the ward started a dinner group with 4 other ladies some time in the fall of last year.  In March, one of the families dropped out and I got to be the replacement.  I had heard about the group and was really excited to participate.

Here's how it worked - every week, you cooked five of the same meal on your assigned day, one for your family and four others to deliver to the other dinner group members.  On the rest of the days (Monday through Friday only) you made a salad, maybe cooked some green beans, maybe cooked some rice or pasta (to go with the main dish) and then waited for your dinner to be delivered!  I think the rules were - delivered ready to eat by 5, or ready to cook by 3.  It was so awesome!  We ate dinner at a decent hour every single week night, my kids tried new things, clean-up was a breeze!  This my sound like a bit of an exaggeration, but it was like a little Christmas gift 4 days a week.  The only drawback was on my cooking day, my kitchen was a DISASTER.  and it usually took almost 2 hours to clean everything up, but even then, because I had to have it delivered by 5, we were eating at 6 even on my days to cook.  I was really sad to give it up in May when we moved into the TLF.  It was one of the best ideas EVER.  I took the picture above on one of my cooking days.  The kitchen doesn't look too bad in that picture, but that is just at the very beginning of the cooking... by the end, that stack of towels would be down by 4 or 5, those bowls would be at the bottom of an extremely large stack etc....

I would love to do it again here, and I am sort of keeping my eyes open for potential members.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Family Reunion Recap

Since I have pretty much given up on are some posts about things that happened in the last six months.  First up - Family Reunion Recap.  My family gets together every other year - the even years for a Reunion.  Each time, one sibling and their spouse (if they are married) is in charge - meaning booking the place, coordinating activities, meals, etc...Two summers ago it was our turn, this year it was Geoff and Kristen's turn.  They did a great job.  The most difficult part is deciding where everyone is going to sleep.  Families with babies generally get priority - we are having another baby before the next reunion for this reason alone.  (Ha, ha ha)  Once everybody is assigned a room, switched rooms and finally settled in, the rest is easy. 
First, a  picture of Daniel getting injured during the picture scavenger hunt.  Geoff and Kristen ran this activity, it was a lot of fun.  Our team probably should have won, but I think they gave it to Daniel's team out of sympathy or something. ;)  We were supposed to get a picture of our team carrying another team member (Daniel).  Too bad for Daniel that he arrived at the reunion with a serious bruise to the ribs and we (Christopher) did more damage.  We thought he was teasing, but as his face clearly shows, he was in a lot of pain. Chris and I were talking later and remembered that when we saw his brother and kids at Bear Lake (same location) a few years ago, he broke his brother's ribs also.  Hmmmm....  Better watch your back, it might be you next time.

Daniel and his family - Miriam, Eva and Alexander.  Miriam is due next month, but they think the baby will come any day now.   Their activity was World Cup related - we watched a lot of World Cup while we were there, the kids loved the word search with Daniel's color commentary. 
Grandma and Opa with all of the kids.  Paige loved Garrett and still talks about him.  Cute kids, right?  Grandma and Opa were in charge of Family Home Evening.  
Geoff is getting ready to catch a baseball (distraction method) not telling us to stop taking his picture.  Is Cameron getting ready to catch the ball or hit his dad?  I think Kristen has run like 300 races this year and my mom said the other night that she is doing a triathlon this weekend.  Go Kristen!  They were great planners and I think when our year comes around again, we'll just pay them to do it for us. 
Andrew, Carly, Beckam.  I have been bribing Maggie to braid her hair on the side since the reunion thanks to Carly.  She didn't believe me that it was coo, but you know if Carly does it, it's cool.  Carly and Andrew planned a game -kind of like Jeopardy.  It was really fun and reminded me why sibling relationships are so important to me - we have a lot of history and I really like all of them and now all of their spouses.  Plus, how cute is Beckam?        

It was fun to get together and see everyone.  It takes some serious coordinating and some sacrifice (Geoff's kids missed school, Miriam was pregnant and uncomfortable, Carly's parents had just left town etc....) but it is really so  worthwhile to get everyone together.  We had some structured activities and some unstructured time and it was all good.  Some other highlights:

* riding the boat around the lake - the water was still sooooo cold - it wasn't really swimming temperature yet.  But almost everyone still jumped in off the boat - including Maggie and Ashlee.
* the guided tour of the nearby caves - we lucked out and got an accidentally hilarious  guide.  We will still be quoting him and talking about it at the next reunion. 
*seeing Andrew, Carly and Beckam be sealed in the Salt Lake Temple before the reunion...

Time always goes by so quickly, I am already looking forward to the next time we get together.  Sorry, no pictures of Jennifer and Heather - I didn't take very many pics...

Saturday, July 24, 2010

San Francisco

My mom sisters are here and we spent the day in San Francisco yesterday - it is a beautiful city and we had beautiful weather and I am so lucky to have family that will come and visit!!!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A list....

I can't find the chord to hook up to the camera. .. so no pictures yet, but I wanted to make a list of things to remember about this move/summer before I can only vaguely recall  the things I never imagined I could forget.

1. For a brief two to three week period of time this spring, Paige called me mother almost exclusively.  She said it with just the right amount of sass and charm to have me hoping it would a permanent thing.  It sounded like mudder, and my favorite phrases included:  Oh muddder.  Mudder, you're silly.  MUuDder - holding each syllable a little long and giving me some look when she was mad.  Now she will only say mudder if I ask, and if the fancy strikes. 

2.  I was reminded how good it feels to work really hard at something physical while we were packing and loading the truck - Christopher was in a great mood all of our packing and loading days, I think it has something to do with "by the sweat of their brow"  and  also a little bit to do with not being professional movers, so the challenge was finite.

3.  It was fun to be all together in the car for those days - we only stopped to sight see in Nauvoo, but I still loved having all of my family together with nowhere for anyone to go but where we were all going together.  (3A.  I still don't like hearing "This would be a good time to die." from my husbands lips.  He says it almost every time we are all together traveling because in theory we would all go together and no-one would be left behind- of our immediate family. )

4. Ashlee and Maggie both had great years at school - they worked hard and I was proud of them.  Maggie left school on her last day crying.  Ashlee's tears came after we were here in the new house and the reality of a new school, new church friends, new everything moved into her little heart with all those boxes coming off the truck.  I felt all those emotions with them. .  . and hope they have many more happy days than sad coming up.

5.  I can see and feel some of the growth that has occurred in our marriage as we make this transition - and it feels good.

That's it for now.  We have traded beautiful green New Jersey for beautiful golden California. . . I'll try and get it together and post some pictures soon.

Saturday, May 8, 2010


Paigie turns three on Monday and she is happily anticipating her big day.  Ashlee and I went shopping for gifts today and when we returned home, she came running out to the car asking "Where are the presents?"  I told her we couldn't find anything we really liked so we would have to go shopping another day.   That was a lie - I don't have time to go shopping another day and there were indeed gifts for her in the back of the car, but also true - I didn't find anything I really liked.  There is a big, green moving truck in the driveway and Paige's big day unfortunately falls in the middle of moving week this time, so we only bought small gifts that can be taken in the car without a lot of thoughtful planning.  Luckily I had some chocolate covered strawberries back there and those made her forget about the gifts. 

I am happy to have a three year-old who is happy and strong and healthy - both body and mind.  I am grateful for it.  But I am a little heartbroken that she is three, because it means she is no longer 2, or 1, or just arrived.  She's just growing so fast.  She is a daddy's girl, just like her two sisters.  When she is hurt or offended, she comes to get her daddy and has him beat up the offender, even me,  if I have given offense.  He started it when Paigie came to him one time over some offense and he asked "Should we go beat her up?"  Right now it's all jovial fun - hopefully she doesn't start to take it too seriously.  She is very particular about clothes (only dresses, please, unless it's her favorite green skirt.) and shoes and hair.  She likes to do tricks for us and color and write us notes.  She has vivid imagination often plays very elaborate games with inanimate objects given voices and personalities.  She needs a nap, but hates to take one.  For the past week she has been sleeping on the floor with her sisters and loves it in there.  She still loves her blanket.  She loves carrots and broccoli and lettuce, but really no other vegetable.  She loves to help - especially if the task seems like one only an adult can do.  She hates to pick up her own toys.  We love her and are so grateful to be a part of her family.  SO grateful.

Here is a picture from last year on her day - because that big green truck isn't exactly going to pack itself.  Oh how I wish it would.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Because, that's why!

Sometimes, when Christopher dries her hair, it looks like this.  FRIZZY, the picture doesn't do it justice.

Some funny things she says lately -
I'm being serious.
Oh Shasta (learned from me - woops)
Because that's why.  (If we ask why about anything.)
today she was singing "I Am A Child of God"  - her version is -
I am a child of God, and he has set me free....,
which is just as true as the regular lyric.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


We went to Boston a couple of weeks ago - somebody had dressed the Make Way For Ducklings  ducks in Easter Bonnets.  It was very....charming, that's the only way to say it.  I was also completely charmed by the city and daydreamed a few hours away about how GREAT it would be to live there. 

Here are all the ducklings, following their Momma, wearing their Easter finest. 
In the pictures above: Ashlee listening intently on our walking tour of part of the Freedom Trail.  She is so great - she raised her hand to answer almost every question, always stood near him so she could see/focus - I love that about her.  She also got a sucker for volunteering  to demonstrate what it was like to stand in the "blocks" on Boston Common.  Our guide easily consumed 10 Blow-Pops during our tour.  After Ashlee was given her sucker, she immediately turned it over to Paige, which kept Paige occupied for nearly 30 minutes.  When we were about an hour in, Christopher leaned over and whispered "Look at Ashlee"  She was standing very near our guide, looking intently at his satchel.  "She's trying to burn a hole in the bag with her eyes to get another sucker."   After we walked to our next stop, she came up to me and said "I wish I could have another sucker."  He knows her pretty well.  She's so sweet to just hand that sucker over to Paige, no questions asked.

We also spent a few hours across the river in Cambridge...we walked around part of Harvard and the girls rubbed Mr. Harvard's shoe for good luck getting in.  (Although apparently it's not really him, because all of his likenesses were burned in a fire....just a little something we learned while eavesdropping on a guided tour.)  So, we'll see in a few years if it works...:)  If it does, it will be Ashlee who gets in, Maggie barely touched it.

Anyway, I liked Boston.  I am not that excited about California.  Its bonus - closer to family. And even then, it's still 1 entire day of travel to Utah family, and 2 days to Denver family, so it's not super close.  That's about all I can think of.  Christopher is looking forward to it much more than I am.  When we used to talk about future assignments, if  California ever came up, it never seemed great.  It still doesn't.....  I will try to adjust my attitude about the "governator's" state soon.  In the meantime, I am looking forward to de-junking some more and living for a couple of months with just a few of our things - we have way too much.  (Although I have already packed a mason jar full of popsicle sticks - that can't bode well for the de-junking part of the packing.)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Her Expressions

Paige was a big contributor to Family Home Evening last night.  She was reading to us from her "scritshures." (The mini-hymnal that I took on my mission with me.)  We had to keep reminding her that other people might like a turn to talk.  We were also surprised to learn that the "scritshures" contain references to cookies, oreos, and candy.  I love how Ashlee was laughing at her/ listening to her/ encouraging her. 

Monday, April 5, 2010

An Easter Picture

Our girls on Easter Sunday - Chris was in charge of taking a picture while I got dinner ready in between sessions of conference, this is the best of 2. 
We are having GORGEOUS weather after what felt like weeks of snow and weeks of rain.  I love these girls.  With all my heart and then some, probably.  I was so glad to listen to General Conference - it always helps me see things better, more for what they are and less for what I wish they were or imagine them to be (in both good ways and bad.)

Things that I noticed in this picture:
Paige's feet are getting much too big - that means that the rest of her is getting much too big, darn her.  Darn time that is speeding along whether I am ready for it to or not.
Ashlee's hair is getting really long.  She continues to be in constant motion. which is why it's hard to get a good picture of her. I'm sure that she is either mid-laugh or mid-joke or mid-dance move here.   We were in line at a store today and music was playing and she was dancing, she can't help herself and most times I love it.
Maggie is the only one posing - it looks like Paige is pouting.  I asked them when they came in if they got a good picture.  Maggie said "No, but we got a picture."  She is going to a baby-sitting class tomorrow.  She is excited to be getting more responsibility.  She has also started talking with friends on the phone, just to talk, not to make plans or coordinate things. 

We are on spring break this week.  We have hopes to travel somewhere at the end of the week.  Our list of places to visit/things to do is getting smaller, we are running out of time. 

Friday, March 19, 2010

72 Degrees

It is supposed to get up to 72 degrees today. . . . I want to pack us all up and take us "down the shore..."  I know it's not summer yet, but if it was, I would have some things done.  Things like - packing up the house, helping C. finish his master's course, going through and cleaning out and getting rid of lots of stuff before we pack up.
Oh, I am goind to miss the shore  and we are going to go lots of times before we leave.  I promise.  We will soak up the sun and the salt water, we will walk on the boardwalk, we will eat water ice,  and we will be so glad that we got to live in "The Garden State."

Saturday, February 13, 2010

2 Snow Day Pics

Some things to notice about these 2 pics:
1. Paige has some serious road rash on her face - she fell when we were at the park before the snow.
2.  After the tent came down we decided to put a mattress on the floor in the living room - for the snow day.  We had so much snow this week, we left it up.  C. hated the idea at first, but now we all sort of love it.  I have been looking around for ideas that assimilate this but aren't so trashy. 

3.  Maggie and Ashlee are both soaking wet up to their waists.  They have been having a lot of fun playing in the snow.

4.  Paige isn't wet because playing in the snow goes against her core values.  She stays inside and eats snow day food - cinnamon rolls, hot chocolate etc...  She is also air-born in the bottom picture.  The picture probably doesn't show this, but she is also the cutest 2 year old we know.

The Ski Lesson

Snowmageddon, Snowpocalypse . . .  the weather people in Philadelphia (and many other cities, I'm sure) are over the moon about this weather.  72 inches so far this winter "And it's only February!!!!."  I love weather people. 


Christopher took the two older girls skiing for their first time today.  On Friday night, after everyone had picked up their skis, he spent about an hour with the garden hose laced through a pipe, pulling them back and forth so they could practice a little bit.  All reports are they had a great time.  Ashlee wants to buy skis - ASAP.  C stayed with them all day.  He is not a perfect father, but, in my humble opinion, he is one of the best.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Late to the Party

Ashlee came into the kitchen today and said "40 days until spring"  and left.  Good news or bad?  Winter blahs have set in.   Ashlee also convinced us to put up the 4 man tent the other night.  Our living room is not quite 10 feet wide and the tent is 9x9.  We were working on putting it up when Christopher got home from work, he just shook his head over and over and said how dangerous it was.  But, we got it put up and let them keep it up for 2 nights.  That was enough.  It took up the whole back of our living room.  There it is - they got to sleep in it one night.  I'll admit that I did say to myself a few times "See, I am a good mom.  See, I'm fun."  Some days you just need a mom boost.  This gave me one.  Plus,  I would love to have a play room for them to put stuff like this up and leave it if they wanted.  One day we will live in more than 1200 square feet.

The girls have had a few tea parties in the living room.  I am really bad at picture taking - I keep thinking a shiny new SLR would help - I wish I could capture the joy on Paige's face at being included with the big girls for a tea party.  She loves it.  I love that Maggie is still willing to participate and talk in her tea party voice about imaginary things.

I have a birthday coming up, and I have been feeling oldish.  All day today I have been mentally making a list about ways that I am late for the party and oldish.
1.  I-pods - Maggie has one, so does Chris, I don't.  I am just now beginning to see the beauty of it.  This morning I used Chris's to work out with and I loved it!  Podcasts seem like such a dreamy thing also.  I'm going to get one soon - or just hi-jack Chris's.  I just need to figure out how to download stuff without deleting everything else already there. (Because of that, Maggie won't let me touch hers)

2.  Coldplay - right?  2 years ago we were riding in the car at a family reunion and my brother asked if I knew who the band that was playing was.  Nope - but it was Coldplay.  We bought the Viva la vida on disc and lost it.  But just Saturday when we were cleaning the house, Chris played the previous album from his I-pod - I   So good.

3.  There is a fairly young, hip (do people still say that?) band that I kind of love.  As I was driving today, I remembered that they had a new album that was supposed to be released at the beginning of the year, so I came home to see if they were going on tour and maybe see if we could get tickets.  Guess what?  The album released almost a month ago.  And most of their U.S. dates, including the ones closest to us are sold out.  SOLD OUT! (Long before I ever thought of it.) Oh well, the thought of attending that concert and figuring out what to wear made me squirm a little bit.  Go to their website HERE.

4.  The fact that I just put a hyperlink in the above paragraph made me feel "hip".

There are other things (like the fact that I have said hip twice, and I'm not referring to my actualy hip.  I can't think of a better word!)...but the list is long enough.   Happy winter!  Only 40 more days till spring!

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Does she look like she could melt a hole in your head?  Because she can...

Here's a rundown of breakfast at our house this morning:
Paige, after being offered milk, her usual preference:  (Screaming) "I said a juice box," throwing herself onto the counter,all woe and misery.  For the record, she never said anything about a juice box, just came into the kitchen and sat down, ready to eat.  Me, ignoring the tantrum, juice box delivered, "What would you like for breakfast?"  Blank stare.  "Pancakes?" More staring.  "Oatmeal?" More staring.  "Cereal?"  More staring.  "Eggs?"  Yelling "I want popcorn!  I. don't. like. that. cereal!"
So, for breakfast she had: A juice box (the flavored water kind - is that bad?  Don't answer)  Popcorn (that she WILL NOT share).  And cereal (I'm not saying what kind - it has sugar as the second ingredient).   I'm not going to go into what happened when I was helping her get dressed, but it's worth noting that she was out of her favorite dresses and the leggings were "too dark."

Sometimes the only thing that keeps me from yelling at her is repeating these words over and over in my head "she's two, she's two..."  Not that we aren't trying to teach her to use her words, to speak politely, that the world doesn't revolve around her.  But, she's two.  And it won't last forever.  And it helps that Chris is home now and he always helps me see the humor. And she's cute, and we love her to pieces.

Friday, January 15, 2010


I'm just experimenting with picture sizes.

This little girl woke up sick @3:00 am on Sunday - so far 4 of us have gotten it.  I hope we are all close enough together on the sick-time continuum that it doesn't cycle through again. 
Those cookies are her favorite (the rest of us love them too.)

On an unrelated note - last week Maggie and I went to our local chain hair cutting store for updates.  (If you live in Utah, go to Heather's girl -worth every penny).  I think my girl maybe used to not be a girl.  Here's why - have you seen Star Trek?  The new movie?  You know that scene where James Kirk has an allergice reaction to the shots his friend is randomly injecting into him and his hands get really big?  Well,  when we watched that movie this week,we watched that 20 seconds of the movie 4 times - just so Chris could have a visual of what my hairdresser's hands looked like.  Not kidding - Mr. Kirk's were a little bit larger,but it was the same idea.   I keep wondering if that meant anything or if I was just being judgemental, or maybe just mental.  Maybe I'll take Ashlee back to verify.  I didn't get that movie - even if they went through the wormhole how, HOW, How are there 2 Spocks?  It's still bugging me.  Have a good Friday.