Thursday, July 31, 2008

My Stomach Ache

The last few days before camp, I had a raging stomach ache. No, I was not sick, just a bit stressed. I told Jeff that I was really looking forward to not having that stomach ache any longer. He helpfully offered this, "You'll still have a stomach ache, it just won't be a camp stomach ache. You will have a Ryan-is-going-to-Chile stomach ache."

I have it today.

We are trying to take care of last minute details, since he leaves tomorrow. It is a strange day. I never like the last day before a transition. I'll miss him, but I don't want to talk about that all day. I'm excited for him, that's for sure. I wouldn't keep him home if I even could. I hope we are tying up all the loose ends.....

The biggest loose end was handled earlier this week. Ryan has been working on getting a student visa for months. He had to have a federal background check, medical tests, letters, etc. He did it all. He was to pick up his visa at the Chilean Consulate in Los Angeles on Tuesday.

Jeff and Ryan were there early Tuesday, only to find out that Ryan's passport was not acceptable. Okay, it had been through the washer and dryer. It was still legible, just not in perfect condition. The woman at the consulate said they would never let him into Chile with that passport. Ryan had to go apply for a new one, at a nearby federal building. He was told it might take days to get it.

Even the earthquake that they experienced in that federal building that day (5.4) didn't rattle my guys as much as the possibility of Ryan missing the Friday flight. My cell phone was ringing a lot with updates and complaints all that morning. The girls and I were out school shopping. We were planning to shop into the afternoon, but I had a strong feeling that I should go home before lunch. (I'm sure my girls thought I was making it up, to get out of shopping.) The minute we pulled into the garage, Ryan called to say that he needed me to fax over his flight information. I was able to send that within minutes of his call, since I was home. He had a passport by the end of the day!

Jeff and Ryan had to spend another night there, because by the time they received the passport, the consulate was closed. Believe me, they were waiting at the consulate before it opened the next morning, and had Ryan's student visa within an hour.

With all that behind us, my stomach ache should be history also. My jobs have been easy. I went with Ryan to buy a few clothes, and some Imodium. I think all we have left to get is a memory card. Maybe I will feel better after he actually gets on that flight. Or possibly relief will come when he lands, and lets us know that things are good. Or....maybe I will have a stomach ache until Christmas when he comes back.....

(I really don't think so...but I can't tell right now.)

Monday, July 28, 2008

Sunday, July 27, 2008

What a Week!

I lived with this group all week....

We lived in tents, and dealt with outhouses. (Some dealt better than others.) The range of activities was almost as wide as the range of emotions.

My limp and sunburn should pass pretty quickly, but I hope my good memories, and love for these girls will not!

Monday, July 21, 2008


Ryan is home for a few days, between semesters of school. Even though he is exhausted from his semester, and a couple of days of driving, he brings a different energy into the house.

His new semester starts in only two Vina del Mar, Chile.

Ever since Ryan was in high school, he told me he wanted to do some type of foreign exchange program to study Spanish. I wasn't sure that would ever really happen. I thought he might serve a Spanish speaking mission for church. Those two years were actually spent in Mongolia. He has been home from Mongolia for 15 months, attending school, and still actively pursuing his goal of studying Spanish.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Ally and Mandy

Ally flew from Utah on Thursday, to the Phoenix area to be a bridesmaid for her friend Mandy. We drove over yesterday, to attend the wedding reception. We have known her family forever...well, since 1988. It is very likely that we would have gone over for the reception, even if Ally hadn't been able to be there, but her presence sealed the deal.

I took this picture of her when we got there, hours before the party. I told her she looked great, and she said, "It is because they did a good job on my hair and makeup." I had to quickly correct her, "No...I think that it is because I did a good job of giving birth to you!"

It might take ten entries to write all that comes to mind looking at this picture of Ally and Mandy. I wish for time to write all ten right now! This picture was taken in 1988, when they became friends.

Here they are, 20 years later. No less cute....just bigger....

"Can I Get a Blanket and a Pillow to Go?"

This picture is of Riley at the end of the wedding reception last night. It's not that she is upset, or in trouble. She is sleeping. It was the end of an exhausting day. Well, it was the end for her. Jeff and I had about five hours yet to go at that point. It was a long day, but it was worth it.

(I hope I get time to get this all written in the next day or two, before I switch Girl's Camp.)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Night Pool

In some places, although summer days are hot, the nights still cool off. That is not really the case here. Even when the sun goes down, the temperatures often stay up. This fact has kept us indoors on most summer nights.

For the last week, we have been out in the pool almost every night. The swimming part is fun, but it is also great just being outside, under the stars...or clouds.

One of my favorite things so far, has been daring Emilee to swim to the deep end, when the lights were still off. The dark pool set the stage for her imagination to switch into over active mode. She braved it. It wasn't easy, but it was hilarious.

I told Kaitie about a game that Jana and I used to play when we were kids. We used to go under water together, and play a version of name that tune. One of us would sing, and the other would try to guess the song. Kaitie got all of us playing that the other night, and it was fun. It wasn't a big deal...just different. Sometimes different is very good.

Riley usually doesn't like me to follow her around in the pool, but a couple of nights ago she invited me to follow her. "Try to keep up," she instructed. As we went to the various parts of the pool, she informed me which new place in the world we were visiting at the time. See, the imagination part is not restricted to sharks and other creatures. Something about the night makes it easier to imagine wonderful things as well.

Last night, Emilee and Kaitie were each with friends, so Jeff and I just swam with Riley. I got out of the pool a little earlier than they did, to answer a couple of phone calls, but I did that outside. It was sweet watching the Riley and Her Dad Show. I think it is my new favorite.

Emilee's imagination took a turn for the dramatic the other night...something about the night pool, I guess. She was creating various scenarios for her future. If certain things happen, she ends up happy and successful. However, if things don't go as she plans, she said she might end up living in her van, and hiding from the police. I decided that maybe I need to keep a few more lights on out there.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Keeping a Deal

I took the girls on errands this morning. We came home hot and tired. Kaitie and Emilee got into the pool immediately. I'm trying to keep Riley in a little longer. She has one little spot on her face that could stand some indoor time.

One of our stops this morning was Target. Riley loves the $1 shelves in the front. She had three one dollar bills in her wallet, and she was ready to shop. She looked at the very important, Hello Kitty ice packs, but passed them by. She examined scrap booking stickers. She is forever wanting to buy those when we go to a craft store, but they didn't seem to do it for her today. She finally decided on a heart shaped box of pencil erasers. You just can't have enough of those.

Usually when Riley wants to spend her own money, I let her have to joy of handing her money to the cashier. Today, we got anxious to get out of there, and we just bought everything together. When we got to the car, Emilee dutifully paid me for a couple of things she picked out in there. (No, the girls definitely don't buy all their own stuff, but there were some things she was buying for herself, that were tossed into the overflowing cart.) Riley asked me if she had to give me a dollar, and I answered yes. She cried, because she could see that my wallet had more dollars than her three dollars. Riley no longer wanted to pay her dollar.

I wanted to make the crying stop, and it would have been so easy to tell her never mind about the dollar. I couldn't do it though. We talked most of the way home about keeping the deals that you make. Eventually, a rolled up one dollar bill hopped up into the front seat with me.

I kept a deal at Target too. And it was not easy. I told the girls that they could each pick out a new pool towel....any one they wanted. When Riley brought me her choice, I so wanted to say, "Except THAT one!"

But I kept my deal.

Here are Kaitie and Emilee, happy that the water fall is working now. I'm getting tempted to concentrate a lot of sunscreen on Riley's face and get out there.....bye....

Monday, July 14, 2008

Distinctly Different

We have tried to raise our family to observe Sunday as a Sabbath Day. We believe it to be a day of rest. We try not to make it a big list of "do nots" because that doesn't seem to be a good way to approach it. And even within people who believe the same as we do, there is a wide range of interpretation on how to observe a Sabbath Day. But there are a lot of things we don't do. We don't do business, or shop. We don't do big recreational things. I'm afraid that the kids see it as a big "do not," so I guess it is my job to help them increase their appreciation of Sunday. I love Sunday. I love the other days too, but I think it is nice having a day that is distinctly different.

The reason I am thinking of this more than usual, is that one thing we aren't going to do is use our pool on Sunday, and the pool is the new exciting thing. We aren't using the Wii on Sunday either, and I think that the pool and the Wii were on Riley's mind a lot yesterday.

Maybe it will take until she is a mom herself for Riley to see it through my eyes. It was good for Riley to have a day indoors. Although I repeatedly applied sunscreen to her the last three days, I still didn't get it quite right, and she was pink yesterday. Today we will be back out there, with even more attention to blocking the sun. But the break from the sun is not the only refreshing one....

I like a rest from routine. It is a day off from errands, and from most housework. Regular activities are on hold. My kids don't do Sunday sports. That sounds crazy to some people, because Sunday is their big recreational day. Well, Saturday is that for our family. Sunday is a day of worship, rest, reading, family time....

Church is different for us right now, as the last two years Jeff has been sitting on the stand in front, instead of with us. It does present some challenges. However, I love sitting with my girls and watching them try to make their dad smile up there. His face tends to look grouchy when he is concentrating, or tired. The girls like him to look a little more relaxed, so sometimes they sit there like three Cheshire cats, and grin until they smooth his concentrated look.

I like the church meeting, because generally there is something I can pick out of a talk that is helpful to me. When that is not the case, there is always something interesting to observe in the congregation. My girls prefer to sit towards the back of the chapel, and I just go along with that. I like being able to see what is going on.

The first hour of church is the meeting with the whole congregation, and the next two are class times. I know that three hours seems so long to people who aren't used to it. I play the piano for the second and third hour time, for the children. I play prelude music like, "To Think About Jesus," and laugh to myself how many children are running around and playing. (The first words of that are: It shouldn't be hard to sit very still, and think about Jesus, his cross on the hill.....) Sometimes that piano bench gets a little hard for me toward the end of that third hour, but I enjoy it for the most part. I usually am reminded how much I should practice the piano during the week. I can play, but not with the grace I would like to have.

After church, I enjoy talking to my girls about what their teachers have taught them. I appreciate people who are helping me teach my children like that. My children help to teach me too. One day, I was in a bad mood on the way home from church. My girls suggested that when I got home, I needed to put on my pajamas and dance. It took me awhile, but when I finally did do it, it was just the thing I needed. See, they often remedy my mood, the way they try to soften their dad's look. (Luckily, putting on pajamas and dancing is not on a "do not" list.)

When Jeff gets home from church, we have Sunday dinner together. After dinner last night, we read scriptures together and had our family council. For some reason, Riley really likes these things. She always reads the last verse...with plenty of help still. She loves bringing me the big desk calendar, and a newly sharpened pencil, so I can write down all the activities of the upcoming week. It took a little while to accomplish that last night, because we paused a few times for phone calls and visitors.

I tend to keep it light when I write, so I haven't even gone into very personal feelings about worship and family, but they are there, and a part of why I love Sunday.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Same Song, Second Verse......

I took this picture about 9:30 last night. I was interrupting a game of tag. I was trying to get a good picture of the night pool, but my camera is just not up for that.

I didn't swim with them last night, but I had already been out there for some hours in the afternoon. Jeff was only out there for a few minutes in the afternoon, so he was anxious to get back out there.

We are overwhelmed with the novelty of the pool, and so it has taken over our lives for now. I know it will settle into its rightful place at some point. I don't think that time will come within the next three weeks before school starts.

Riley has had fun swimming with cousins a couple of different times. Yesterday she was funny to me trying to teach her slightly reluctant four year old cousin, Mason to jump into the water, far away from the edge. "Watch, and learn!" she proclaimed. I think since she is our baby, and forever trying to catch up with her sisters, she loves those times she is a little ahead on something. Riley is swimming better than I thought she would be able to by now. She seems driven to show she can do it. She doesn't want help, and she doesn't like to slow down out there. I'm good with it.

Kaitie and Emilee go back and forth between relaxing...or trying to, and competing in various contests. They are fun out there. Yesterday though, I gave a very deserved message to Kaitie. I told her to take this as a fortune cookie: You will be jabbed in the rear end under the water, when you least expect it!

Friday, July 11, 2008


Here is Riley's first time in the swimming pool. She went down the steps:

Unlike Riley, Kaitie and Emilee wanted to go in differently:

We ended up out there about 3 1/2 hours between yesterday afternoon and last night. This morning, the girls are up and ready to have their new breakfast of champions.....chlorine!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Maybe Today.......

We think we may get to use the pool later on today....

The only good thing about having been a little sick the last three days, is that the last three days are over now. I want to swim with the kids, instead of wanting to go back to bed.

There are so many guys still working in the back yard right now. Although we appreciate the great work they have done, we can't wait for them to clear out and let us play!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

A Text Message.....

Yesterday was not the best. I didn't feel very well....kind of migraine-ish....

This text message from Ryan was a bright spot:

I blame you for the success in my life right now.

That was it. That was the whole message. I liked it.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Seven Things....

It has been nearly a month since I was tagged by Channon.
I didn't mean to put it off for so long. Anyway, today is 7/7, so what better day to write seven random things about myself. Except....I don't know what to write. I have decide to write my list of seven things I was never going to do......

When I was a teenager, I had some pretty solid ideas about how things would and would not be in my future life.

1. I was not going to go to Brigham Young University. My parents and grandparents went there. It was too churchy, too expected, too traditional....

2. I would not major in education. Again, my mom and grandma were teachers. I wanted to do something different. I loved psychology, and thought I might pursue that. I planned to get a PhD, for sure.

3. I was not going to marry anyone from Utah. Utah is beautiful, but there was such a stereotype in my mind. I was afraid if I married someone from there, I would have to live there. The only place I wanted to live even less than that can be found next.

4. I was not going to move back to the town where I went to high school. I was sure it was too hot, and too boring!

5. I was NEVER going to be a stay at home mom. In my observations, I felt that women who worked were happier than women who stayed home. I was going to do it ALL...all the time.

6. Now I knew I couldn't control this one, but I didn't imagine myself with daughters. I didn't think I would be a good mom for girls.

7. I was never going to gain weight. Why, oh why did I put this on the list? I guess it is like everything else on the list. I have learned from each thing that I was too harsh of a judge. Except this one is not quite like the others. In the others, it was good to be wrong. Life has humbled, and significantly changed me.

In a conversation with my teenage self, I would have a lot of explaining to do!

(If she would speak to me.)

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Catching Up....

I haven't written anything since last Wednesday. Here are the brief highlights...

Last week, Kaitie asked if we could make a turkey dinner soon. I told her we could tie a dinner like that into our July 4 celebration, but that there was no way I was going to make it on the actual fourth. So that is what we did on Thursday, the third. Kaitie did a lot of the work, which was awesome. We didn't invite anyone to share it with us. We didn't put "company" effort into it. It was kind of a learning thing. Riley had us playing Mario Party during the end of our preparation. It was my first time to make gravy between mini games.

We had hoped to be swimming by Friday, but the pool is not quite finished, so we went to the movies in the afternoon. We went to see Wall E. Riley really liked it. I didn't care for the movie itself....too much lecture. That is a funny thing to say in a movie with so little dialogue, but that is how it felt to me. What I did care for, was seeing Riley's happiness sitting between cousins at the movies. Cute. Friday night we went to a great party. Everything we needed for a great party was right there: delicious food, good music, and the secret confessions of a blog stalker....;) (That was one of the best parts of the evening right there.) It doesn't get any better than that!

Yesterday, Jeff took the girls to lunch and on errands for hours. I spend a lot of time with the girls, and it is good for them to have dad time like that. Anyway, I had been wanting to dig into the corners of Riley's room without her objections. It is crazy how much I took out of there that she will never notice. Kaitie and Emilee were nervous because they knew what I was doing. I don't do that to people past a certain age. Well, I may have to take that back. I don't do it between certain ages. I wouldn't do it to my older kids, but maybe a couple of Jeff's things went for a long ride....

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Fun in the Pool

Something is still missing, as far as our new pool is concerned....but the missing thing is not Emilee's imagination!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


So yesterday Emilee asked me what we were going to do. I answered, "Nothing." Since that was the goal we set, I felt good about it when it was accomplished.

Today was a little like yesterday. Well, I had a long lunch with a friend. The kids were still kind of working on yesterday's goal.

I like the lack of structure right now. It is a good change. Usually by the end of a break like this, I welcome the return of structure like a long lost friend. We'll see how it goes this time. It seems like the vacation is too short this year.

I have some house projects, scrap booking, and tons of girl's camp stuff that I want/need to do. These are all things that my girls should be able to help with. They will even like most of it. We checked "nothing" off the list, and we will be moving on now.....