Monday, August 29, 2011


The youth speaker at church yesterday was the picture of loveliness. A confident, beautiful, 16 year old girl, speaking from the heart on being a "guardian of virtue." You couldn't watch and listen to her without feeling joy.

#3 must have felt the spirit radiating from this girl but wasn't quite sure what to make of those good feelings. So she did what any 4 year old would do. Just as the youth speaker said "Amen," #3 said, in an excited and loud voice, "Daddy should marry HER!"

And in case any of you are worried, Spouse has chosen (so far!) to stay with his plump, not so radiant mother of his children.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Sign Says

Dear Bugs That Live Around Our House:

I know that it's really hot and muggy outside and you're probably dying for a cool dry place to rest your weary wings and your thousands of eyes. But unfortunately your presence will not be tolerated in our place of residence.

Specifically we do not welcome any:





and certainly not any flies.

If there are any questions or if you feel unfairly targeted, please contact #3, second bedroom on the right.


The mom

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Back to School Fashion 2011

Tomorrow is the big day. Are we ready?

Or click here to view the movie in higher quality. I recommend you do.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Chapter Five, in which few words are needed

Would you like to see why I go to Utah for a month every summer? Of course it's good to be there for family activities. But here's the main reason:

Arizona is HOT and Utah is NOT!

We fly north so we can do things like this:

without sweating profusely.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Chapter Four, in which we climb every mountain (or just one)

One of my favorite hikes in Logan Canyon is the Wind Cave trail. It's not a long or strenuous hike. It's steep, but short. The view at the top is amazing and the caves themselves are fascinating and a little scary.

I can't count how many times I've done this hike. And I think I've hiked it with everyone I ever knew before I was 21.

When I hiked the Wind Caves with my family in July it had been quite a while since I'd hit that path. It was like meeting an old friend after a long separation. Nearly every turn inspired a unique memory. I remembered first dates, friends, my family, emergency situations (of both the funny and scary kind), old family dogs and of course Spouse.

Now my kids are part of my Wind Cave memories too. How #2 and I decided to take a "short-cut" that was more of a "long-cut" and how when he stopped to go to the bathroom we watched a mother deer and her still-spotted baby pass by without their noticing us. And how I drove #1 crazy with all my frantic warnings, "Don't get so close to the edge!" "#1! Stop! You're too close!"

Here is a glimpse of the famous Wind Caves:

That's Brother Brig on the top.

Slowly but surely, she made it to the top! Now, if I can just get her to step away from the ledge!

Just before this picture, Brother Brig had borrowed my camera thinking that I would have a high-zoom lens like his fine art photographer wife and he could get a better view of some creature down below. After a minute of fidgeting with my lens, he handed the camera back to me with a dissatisfied sigh.

#1 down inside the cave.

Me, #1 and #2 from inside the cave

Mom, littlest sister, Brother Brig, #2. Not pictured, Bra and baby S.

Have I hiked the Wind Caves with you?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Chapter Three, Big Toe, in which a wimp equates watching with doing

For me "living on the edge" means starting a movie at 9:30 pm instead of going to bed. Or painting my nails something other than pink or red. OK, I'll admit it, I'm a wimp. A non-daring, rules following, creature of safe habits. And since I retain a high level of influence in our family's domestic decisions, our family follows behind me on the path to wimpy living.

So when members of our family display daring tendencies it always surprises me. "What?!? You're not a wimp?! We are supposed to be wimps!! Who's child/spouse are you anyway?"

Such a scene unfolded one day in Utah whilst boating with my family. Bra, my brother in law, noticed a rocky ledge at the west end of the lake and inquired about it. In my typical know-it-all way I explained, "That's Big Toe. Sometimes crazy, drunk people jump off of it. But only in years that the water is high. Like this year."

Then Brother Brig piped up, "I've jumped off of it and I wasn't drunk."

You can bet your bottom dollar that within the minute our boat was speeding west towards Big Toe. Brother Brig cut the motor and we watched a few people make the jump. The boat rocked a little as Bra dove off the bow and swam towards Big Toe. Then the boat rocked again and I heard another splash. In the water was Spouse, my Spouse!, swimming towards Big Toe.

Spouse and Bra used the rope dangling from the rock to assist their vertical climb up the cliff then they walked to the jumping point to have a look. Bra took a running start and jumped first. A clean straight legged entrance. 10! Then Spouse sauntered to the edge and cooly stepped off. And just to show who was boss of the cliff he clicked his heels two times in mid-air before plunging into the water.

Honestly, it was fun to watch him jump. I felt just as thrilled and exhilarated watching him jump as I would have doing it myself. So I guess, I too, did a little living on the edge, right? I mean, right?!?

Here they are, the daring cliff jumpers, peering over the edge. Bra is the red one. Spouse is the white one.

Heel click one.

Heel click two.



This one (#2) has a permanent exemption from our "family of wimps" status. He's been trying to drive something since he was two.

She's the king (queen) of the world!!

Aaah. wimp + daredevil = true love.

This is Bra and his family (my littlest sister and daughter). You'll remember that Bra is the creator of "Crustless Bread", which incidentally (ahem) can now be purchased on iTunes! Or Amazon!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Chapter Two, in which there is a lot of sand and water

In our house, the entire kid year revolves around two events, Christmas and Bear Lake. Starting December 26, we look forward to Bear Lake. And whatever date in July marks the end of Bear Lake is the day we begin our Christmas countdown.

As I mentioned in Chapter One, we pretty much do the same things every year: boating, dig in the sand, swim, eat. But it never seems to get old.

Here are some things that made this year different and extra fun:

1) For the first time in a long time Spouse was able to spend the entire week with us. This was a far superior arrangement than the usual situation in which I am solely responsible for our children's health and safety at a huge resort with multiple water hazards. This allowed me to relax more.

2) Our family has reached a new phase in development where 2/3 of our children are mostly independent and responsible. This means more relaxation for me.

3) The lake was unusually full of water, thus the shoreline and beach were significantly closer to our condo. Less walking = more relaxation for me.

So pretty much it was a great week because I got to relax a lot.

I just said relax a lot and now it sounds weird. Relax, relax, relax. Sit back and relax while you view some of my relaxing pictures.

#2, little cousin and #1 out in the tube. #2 was hoping for a bit more exciting ride, but it wasn't happening with these little ladies on board.

#'s 3, 2, and 1 in a dog-pile with some sweet cousins.

Sadly, we were without wind and that is pretty much as high as the kite got that day.

Ahoy matey!

Lean in, I'll let you in on a secret. I actually bought that hat for me. What was I thinking? So much better on #3.

#3 is a slave master at the beach. She gets a vision of the size and scope of the sand castle she wants and then she doesn't let her little cousins rest. She bosses and scolds and surprisingly they all obey her orders. This year in their digging they discovered a live snake!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Chapter One, in which we participate in an extreme sport

Late in the day on Saturday, after a long, weary day of driving, we entered the Valley of the Sun and were greeted by one of its famous monsoon storms. Lightning flashed, rain came down in sheets, the wind rocked our jeep. By the time we reached our driveway, it was over. It was our welcome home after our annual month-long sabbatical in Utah.

The past couple of days I've felt disoriented (and really sweaty) as I've attempted to wrap my head around reality again. In the past month I've spent a total of 10 minutes on a computer; I haven't kept up on my friend's blogs, I haven't read the news. I barely checked my email. So now it's back to dishes and laundry and trying to find ways to occupy my little ones while it's too hot to go outside.

Maybe going through my 340 pictures will help me make the mental transfer back to real life. Don't worry, I won't dump them all on you. At least not all at once.

I'll just start off with.... Go carting!

We spent the first week of July with Spouse's family in Bear Lake, Utah. Our children love to come to Bear Lake and do the same things every year: dig in the sand, play in the pool, ride in the boat and dig in the sand some more. But this year a new pastime was added to our Bear Lake traditions. Thanks to a spiffy new go-carting track, our kids got to enjoy the high-speed thrill of go-cart racing!

Buster and #1 weren't tall enough to reach their gas pedals, so the attendant propped them up with several big pillows. Even then they could barely reach! #1 was practically horizontal!

Buster with one of his favorite cousins and Grandma J.

Here is #1, with a couple of her awesome cousins, wearing the t-shirt she painted.

Come back tomorrow for more pictures from the land of green and mountains and Aggie Ice-Cream.