Monday, September 29, 2008

Ally's Weekend

Ally decided to get away from school for the weekend, and went to visit my parents. They are really not that far from her this time of year. I thought it was funny that I wrote a little message to her that I saw apples and deer in her future...before I saw the following picture:







My dad loves to see if he can coax deer to come to the car. I think they watch for him now...:)

My parents took Ally to Bryce Canyon on Saturday. I think it was the perfect getaway for her. She has always loved the outdoors....and her grandparents.











See, my dad believes that the world is his own personal petting zoo...;) This picture really makes me smile.

I appreciate my parents so much for taking such good care of Ally this weekend!!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Ryan's Spring Break

A few days ago, I wrote that Ryan had been on a "Spring Break" in Chile. He and four friends went to Northern Chile for the break. They even crossed over into Peru for one of the days...that's about as northern as you can go in Chile.








He actually does slow down sometimes....:)





This is at the top of a mountain in a geyser fed hot spring.
Notice how warmly the people are dressed...those who are dressed, that is...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

She's Just Bein' Riley.......

Six is a fun age. I love the "reading explosion" that is taking place with Riley. She has finally discovered how to sound out words, and use context to figure out what they are. When we read stories together, I often have her read the page on the right, and I read the page on the left. She still reads slowly, taking her time because she doesn't like to get things wrong. When we read scriptures as a family, Riley reads one verse. She LOVES surprising us by knowing more words in her verse than we expect her to know.

In the pool, Riley gives us long lists of rules we have to follow in order to be in her pool club. We don't have too many rules in the house, so this is funny. (In the house, we just have one big one: Do what Mom says. That about covers it.) It is right on target at her developmental stage to want to have these complicated rules, each with its attached penalty. Sometimes we go along, and often we just do what we can to change the subject!

Riley and I have funny conversations too. This morning she was in her pajamas for a long time.

Me: "Are you wearing those to school?"

Riley: "No, I'm not allowed to wear these."

Me: "Why, because it is against the dress code?" (I don't like the uniform policy, just so you know.)

Riley: "We aren't allowed to wear anything....." I interrupted before she could finish.

Me: "You aren't allowed to wear anything??!" We laughed...:D

Me: "What if you really weren't allowed to wear anything?"

Riley: "Then we would have to wear skin colored clothes."

Yesterday we had a funny conversation about what someone else in our family wears. She told me that if her daddy writes himself a note to remember to wear his suit to church, he better remember that he means his church suit, so he won't actually wear his swimsuit. (??) If he ever starts writing notes to remind himself what to wear to church, I guess I might start to worry he won't know which suit he means!



(This picture is from our summer vacation. I just chose it, because I wanted to show her being a NUT.)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Random Update

Last week my parents were here. It was nice to catch up a little. It will be a month or more until they are here for a longer stay. They brought bags of vegetables from their garden. We devoured the corn and tomatoes immediately. So good! They brought so much that I may notice the difference in my grocery store receipt this week. I cooked the smallest (read: the easiest to deal with) squash yesterday and I really liked it. Now I have to figure out what to do with a zucchini that is as big as Riley.

My mom and dad say that the zucchini is really good in pancakes. I do believe that, because I know it is good in bread and cake. I just can't see getting excited about it enough to actually do it. Yesterday Jeff and Riley made pancakes, and well, they put an extra ingredient in....but it was accidentally chocolate chips, instead of squash.

Emilee and I have continued to read Midnight Sun. We only seem to be able to do a chapter or two at a time. Since we have a fun picture of me and Kaitie reading "Breaking Dawn," I thought it would be fun if Emilee and I had a picture as well. I gave Riley the camera, and she started snapping away.

Notice that there is not a picture here today? Emilee and I could not agree on a picture. If one of us liked it, the other didn't...and no amount of cropping, fixing, or repositioning could change that. We had Riley stand on a chair, stand behind us, stand close, and far away. She loved it. Emilee and I were sick of it, and Riley will still ready for more. "I will take as many as you want," she stated. No matter what we did, we couldn't get our picture to look natural and cute. (ha ha)

Speaking of getting a picture to look better, we worked on a different picture of me yesterday. I was scrolling through pictures to choose one for a profile. I liked one okay that Emilee had taken, but I said, "I wish I had some eyeliner on in this picture." Before I knew it, Emilee had drawn some on my left eye (photoshop) and was anxiously working to dress the other eye. When she couldn't get it, Kaitie took over. They got it looking decent! It was really funny. I told you before, that sometimes they are like little fairy godmothers....:)

Ryan was on "Spring Break" last week. Doesn't that seem funny, on our first day of autumn? He and four friends traveled around northern Chile for their week off school. I walked around with my cell phone in my pocket all of Friday, and Saturday waiting for him to call and tell me he was back, and that everything was good. Finally on Saturday afternoon I got the happy, and exhausted call. I'm so glad he has these awesome opportunities right now in his life. I'll post a couple of his pictures in the next day or two.

I wouldn't want Ally to feel left out on all this updating. If she is reading, she will be happy to know that I am putting a Halloween package together for her, that just might contain some things she has mentioned. I know I wrote a long time back that she would be graduating in August, which she could have done. She is back up there taking a few more classes, that will eventually smooth her road for graduate school, or whatever else she decides to pursue after this year.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Wavelength

A few days ago, Emilee came home from school, and told me that she heard that some of Midnight Sun was available to read on the Stephanie Meyer website. She was excited, because she had recently finished reading Breaking Dawn, and was missing the characters...or something like that. I was aware of the Midnight Sun draft, and the issues surrounding it. (Draft leaked into cyberspace...may not be fully written now...) I just hadn't sat down at the computer to read it. There is something about reading at the computer that is not quite as fulfilling as a book. Well, that's what I thought.

Since Em came home so excited, I showed her where it was on the website.

And we started to read....

We didn't speak much, as we each tried to let the other take it in. Well, we couldn't help making comments once in awhile, "Edward is sure not having the same thoughts about Mrs. Cope that she is having about him," had to escape my lips. I had the mouse, and was in charge of scrolling, but we silently came up with a signal for that too. Emilee would raise her head a little, and shoot me a quick glance when she wanted me to scroll down. We didn't discuss the plan, it was just understood. That was the beauty of it. We were on the same wavelength. You can't plan a thing like that, it just has to happen. When it does, you have to give it full attention, and appreciation. I wanted to give it more than 20 pages of appreciation time, but that's about all we had.

I loved it when a day or so later, Emilee suggested that we read more. She didn't just plow ahead without me. I told her that I would understand if she did, but was glad that she wanted to keep reading together. We scrolled through about 50 more of the pages.

Last night, she invited me to the computer again. This time, she got the comfortable chair, and was the control-freak-with-the-mouse. I didn't keep my signals as subtle as her glances. We had a few laughs about my anxious signals. I didn't want to leave the computer as soon as I did. I am looking forward to our next chapter together....

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Three Cups of Tea

I just finished reading this very inspiring book. It is the true story of a failed mountain climbing experience and its amazing detour.

I will be thinking about it for a long time.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Sweet Home Arizona

One afternoon last week I sat and talked with a friend in her car. We were looking over an improving part of our imperfect town. I can't remember the exact conversation, but I said something about the fact that she doesn't like it here very much. "I like it now!" she exclaimed. A convert! Yay! It happens sometimes...but not to everyone who passes through my town.

Where I live, I have seen many people come and go. It was definitely my plan too...to go, I mean. When Jeff and I landed here in 1993, we thought we would stay about two years and move on. Kaitie was just learning to walk then, and soon she'll be learning to drive. I would never have imagined staying here for that kind of span.

I am grateful we are here. I actually love it. Like every other place in the world, there are things to endure, and things to embrace. I adore the sunshine. (And the sunsets rival those I have seen in Hawaii.) I am comfortable in the casual atmosphere. I enjoy hardly ever having to get on the freeway. The desert is beautiful in its own way. For example, just look at the picture that tops this blog. Emilee took that picture here. That's just the beginning of the list...

I know that some people really miss the traditional changing of the seasons. I understand being nostalgic about things like that, but I look forward to the way our season will change. The sun will stay out, but turn the heat down just enough for us to enjoy being outside. The lettuce fields will be bright green.

I'll be singing Sweet Home Arizona, all winter long....:)




Sunday, September 14, 2008

Kaitie

So I mentioned to Kaitie a couple of days ago, that I had posted pictures of her four sibs lately, but not of her. She wasn't overly concerned. I asked if I could include one of her "curly" pictures, and she graciously consented. Here she is after having a little makeover by one of her friends....


Friday, September 12, 2008

Wednesday's Rain

On Wednesday, when I went to pick up Emilee and a friend from school, the southern sky was darker than usual. I thought it must be raining down there somewhere. About two drops fell on my windshield while I waited for the girls in the parking lot. "I hope it rains," I said to them when they got to the car. As we left the parking lot, I noticed the wind was swirling the dust in odd patterns. It traveled across the fields in a way that brought to mind the creepy destroying angel in the old Ten Commandments movie. I told the girls about that, and they were pretty unimpressed. I know, that movie was even old when I was a kid, so they really had no idea what I was talking about.

The rain was steady, and the wind had picked up force by the time we said goodbye to Emilee's friend in her drive way. It's amazing how fast a storm comes up in the desert. When we got home Emilee bolted to the backyard for a shower.






In the last picture, you can see that the sun is already impatient to return, after only about a ten minute absence. What Emilee was doing, was getting as much water as she could into her hands, and then whipping around to splash me with it. I felt bad that Kaitie and Riley were still in their classrooms missing the short adventure. When I went out later to go get them from school, I was surprised by the steam that hit me. Steam! My sunglasses were fogged by it. It was already so hot, that the water could not hold it's shape....crazy desert elements cannot seem to make up their minds sometimes!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Just Take the Picture Already!

Emilee just handed me her school picture. I love it. It captures her beauty and it also captures what I affectionately call her "twelveness." Apparently a smile will have to be captured some other time.....



Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Another Entry From Years Gone By.....

This is part of an entry I wrote two years ago:

September 13, 2006

We are at that time of year when Riley is not so sure she wants to venture down the aisle at the grocery store. There is a nine foot inflatable skeleton presiding over frozen food. A trio of ghosts guards the chicken nuggets. Black cats lurk where you least expect. At four, Riley is not a baby anymore, but there are parts of Halloween she is still not going to be very fond of. She is going to dress as Cinderella. If only everyone else could just play along, and be princes, horses, ball attenders....even mice...life would be good.

Emilee, at ten, just wants to be something that fits the following categories: not too immature, not too mature, not too girly, not too boyish, not too pretty, not too ugly, not like everyone else, and not unlike everyone else. Got that? We looked at costumes on line last night. She was in awe, when I told her that some moms-the really good ones-actually use their creativity and lovingly create homemade costumes for their children. It was like I was telling her a story of days gone by. It's something she hasn't seen much of in her own home.

We looked at this one: Spiderweb Gauze Ghost Child
Don't worry...she doesn't want to be that. I can't even imagine saying it. "What are you going to be for Halloween?" "Oh, I am going to be a Spiderweb Gauze Ghost Child, and you?"

I can't believe we are thinking about it this early...but the nine foot skeleton is looming large....



(I hope I have a Riley-as-Cinderella picture around here somewhere. I don't have one on this computer. If I find one, I will add it here. We still have the costume. It is still one of the favorite dress up outfits around here.)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Plan B

When Riley came to me, "ready" for church with this hairstyle, I knew it needed to be changed. I should probably give her more freedom, but I just couldn't deal with the every-barrette-I-own hairstyle.



Since I couldn't roll with her plan, I offered her a different one. I let her choose my shirt, shoes and earrings. (Well, each one of those choices was between two items.) It was kind of Plan B for me, but it worked with no stress. I have a feeling I will pay later, when she tries to make a lot more choices for me....but for today, it's all good...

Friday, September 5, 2008

Not To Be Confused with Laa Laa

This quote is from my blog about three years ago:

We arrived when the cocktail hour was almost over, and it was time for dinner. We were seated at a table with three of my husband's associates and their wives. At this table, I was Wilma Flintstone.....the only one home with children, and the only one not making as much, or more than my husband. I'm telling you, it used to scare me, but it doesn't anymore. I had a nice conversation with the woman next to me. I know how to ask questions, and that's all you have to know.

When she started talking about some $2,400 Louis Vuitton bag, I actually started my next sentence like this, "Well, speaking as someone who bought her last purse at J. C. Penney...." She laughed hysterically, and seemed to float closer down to the earth, where the conversation is a little better than in La La Land.


That turned out to be a nice evening.

I have been reading some things I have written in the past, while I decide what I am supposed to do next in my life. I'm looking for something between "Wilma" and "La La." (Not to be confused with Laa Laa...I've been there, and done that.)

For now, I have some Wilma-ish tasks right in front of me. I intend to plow through them as quickly as I can, so I can view the variety of possibilities more clearly.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Thank You.....

Thanks for the Happy Birthday messages. They did make my day....my weekend, in fact.

I got messages here, in my email, and on my phones. Awesome.

It almost makes getting older worthwhile.

Well, okay, I did get this pix message from Ally that I had to ponder for a minute. She sent me a picture, and the caption was, "Read the Hat." Well, I couldn't read that hat. I thought my new old age might be the problem, but my kids couldn't read the hat either...thank goodness!

I emailed the picture to myself, so I could get that message. Here it is:




Don't you just love my cute girl? I do! Of course I did have to send her a threatening text message back.

The truth is though, I'm not over the hill. I'm possibly right at the very top of it.

I just want to say that the view from here is fantastic....:)