Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Little Kids' Turn to Perform at MCC

The two little kids looked forward to their MCC experience the entire time the big kids participated.
Once it started, however, Evie ran hot and cold about it.
Some days, she sang and danced on the coffee table in the family room at the top of her lungs.
Other days, she begged me not to make her go back. She told me she didn't want to do the show one day, and I agreed. "You don't have to do the show, but you still have to go to rehearsal, ok?"
The next day, while swimming in the pool, she asked me if it was ok to change her mind and be in the show. "Of course. I think that's a good decision."
On the day of the show, time couldn't pass fast enough for her. "They said I should take a nap and be well rested and pull my hair off my face and I can even wear makeup!"
At 6:15, I took her upstairs to do her hair and makeup. Not ten minutes into it, she began melting down again. "I don't wamt makeup! Take it off! I can't do the show! Tell them I won't sing my solo!" We all mobilized to try and convince her--Micah even offered to buy her skittles if she would sing.
She was still upset when we arrived at the theatre, but she walked in by herself and I didn't see her again until, she appeared on stage bubbling and singing.
That girl. I don't know about her.
Hyrum, on the other hand, had a great time singing and dancing and having fun and making new friends.

I am so grateful my kids have this experience every summer.

It truly is the highlight of their activities, and we plan family reunions and vacations around it.

Thanks, Aubrey, Lindsay, and Jenn for all of your hard work.

I can't beleivde they can practice with dozens of 5-9 year-old kids for eight 2-hour practices over two weeks.
And come up with a high energy show like this one.
No tears. No meltdowns. Just 50 minutes of great entertainment.

One dad I saw said, "That was the most entertaining hour I've spent all month. No. Probably all year."

I agree.

Now that our theatre experiences are over for the summer, what are we going to find to do?

Tuesday, June 30, 2015



They aren't very smart and get into trouble.

They can be picky eaters and picky sleepers.

They can make trouble and make messes.

And we found out they can get mean.

And I found out that I care about them more than I thought.

This is a chicken story, in two parts.


Our feathered girls have always been nice around and accommodating of kids' attention--except for once.

One hen decided to establish a clutch of eggs in the top right roosting box. Every time someone would go out to feed or check for eggs, she would noisily inform the seeker to mind their own business, thankyouverymuch. I knew we needed to get to those eggs before they rotted, and when I consulted the work chart, I asked the child whose weekly assignment was the chickens to get the eggs out of that box.

To say that Lily detests the chickens is putting it mildly. She's a little afraid of them and mostly annoyed by them. They smell and they take time and they tangle your steps when you upend the feed bucket. Reluctantly and loudly, she protested all the way out the door and back again. She tried, but that hen would not move, and Lily was done trying.

Hyrum is our chicken whisperer, and he quickly volunteered for duty. He disappeared out the door, but in less than a minute, his shrieks could be heard by those around the dinner table. I could tell by the cry that he was really hurt, not just pretending to be. He rounded the corner to the kitchen from the back door and blood was dripping from his face and he was gasping for air between his deep, painful sobs. I quickly grabbed a rag from drawer and tried to determine where all the blood was coming from and to piece together what happened.

Hyrum had tried to move the chicken, but she had fiercely defended her nest with her most powerful weapon--her beak. Before he had a chance to react (or to even think that he was in danger, since they had always been his pets and receptive of his affection), the chicken pecked his face. She made contact with the inside of his nose, leaving only a small mark inside one nostril but aggravating the inside membrane, like an unknowing child who picks until blood replaces booger.

He was lucky. I knew that. No lasting mark and no lost eye and no permanent damage. Except--fear. Now he is afraid, and that makes me sad.


Our feathered girls have a new enclosure. Six-foot tall rebar-enforced screen and latching gates have finally foiled their escape plans. As long as the kids remember to latch the gates when they finish their chicken chores, chickens can't destroy Brad's yard any more.

At least, that's what we thought, until the irrigation came down the first time.

When I closed the side gate on that irrigation afternoon, headed to kindergarten to read to the kids, I saw Sista (of our five chickens the only one that isn't red, so I know it's her) in the alley behind our house. How did she get out??? I thought she must have gotten through coop's gate without Brad noticing during the whole irrigation thing. I didn't have time to put her back in the coop, but I quickly chased her through the gate into the yard, where she was waiting after kindergarten story time.

And I promptly forgot all about the escape until two weeks later when irrigation day came around again.

This time, the irrigation came down in the night. When we woke up, the yard was blanketed with glassy water, and Sista once again was missing. I had the boys check the alley for her. She was nowhere to be found--only muddy chicken prints desperately left all along the back fence.

All day we searched for her, and she never appeared. It surprised me how much I cared about one lousy chicken. I mean, she was just a chicken, right? With her gone, that meant no more green/blue eggs mixed in with the brown, and that made me a little sad. Why?

She was just a chicken.

The next morning, after the kids had gone to school and I was taking out the trash, guess who wandered into the yard through the front gate, acting like nothing was out of the ordinary after having spent a night away from home?


Guess who was strangely relieved and happy at her return?


I saw myself in these two chicken stories.

No matter how ornery we are or how lost we get, God still loves us and wants us to stay safely in the coop with our family. Sometimes we peck back and think we know best, resisting His efforts to convince us our way is not best for us. I can't imagine how sad it must be when we wander off and can't get back home. I'm a lot like these chickens of mine. Ornery and lost sometimes, but nothing makes me happier than getting back to my own bed in my own house where I have my family and I'm safe.

Weird to learn life lessons from chicken parables.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Retreat in the Pines

The primary reason I busted my backside getting the cabin finished and furnished was so we could hold our Relief Society retreat there. I had the fixed deadline of June 19th, and I wanted every detail to be in place before all of the ladies came.

It was a great weekend. I had the best intentions to get a formal picture of everyone who came, but that never happened. They were too busy doing puzzles and playing cards and visiting with each other to be bothered with a silly picture.

Instead, I took a few as we all talked about our favorite talks from April's General Conference.
I think we had 25 women there that night. Even though it was 115 in the valley that day and 96 in Pine, it cooled off nicely that evening--open windows, open hearts.
I have lived in this ward for fifteen years, and many of these women I have learned to love and count on like they were my sisters.
A few carloads had to return to the heat that night (one of the best reasons to build where we did--it's only 90 minutes home and totally doable to return the same night), but the rest found beds and couches and mattresses and floor space.

Late night. Early morning.

I sneaked out of bed early to hike up the rim and watch the sunrise.

Worth it. Even woke this guy up. He stared me down for a few minutes before darting down the wash. Can you see the cabin in the background? I love how easy it is to see wildlife right on our own property.
Some got up and walked. Some slept in.
All gathered to chat and prepare for heading back to our families that afternoon.
Thanks for coming, ladies. Thanks for being my friends. Thanks for sharing my dream with me for the weekend.

Here's to many more.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Summer Schedule

We are at the halfway mark of summer.

I can't believe how fast it's gone. Here are some of the things we've been up to:

One of my kids' favorite things has always been summer movies. I took a few years off after Hyrum was born, but we are back at it this year. It's a great way to spend a few hours in the cool, dark movie theater.

One day, Hyrum and Eve approached, beating their cardboard-covered chests. Can you guess which movie they're from?
Evie's new name was "Milk," and Hyrum determined his name was just "Brown."
We've had to miss a few this year, but the ones we've made have been fun.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Micah's Birthday, Part 2

I inadvertently planned a retreat to our new cabin on Micah's birthday (photos coming of the entire cabin soon!).

When I was asked which weekends in June I would be available, the best one for everyone was June 19-20. I agreed to the dates, and promptly put it on the back burner of my brain. Two days later we were sitting in church and Micah was reading the announcements.

"Mom, are you going to the Relief Society retreat?" 

I didn't even look up from digging in my bag. "Of course I am. It's at our cabin. I have to go."

He was suddenly silent, and that caught my attention. I looked up for a moment, and I could see a tear form in the corner of his eye and roll down his cheek.

"What's wrong, buddy?"

"That's my birthday."

Bad Mom moment. Very Bad Mom moment.

So what is a mom to do? I began to comfort him by letting him plan any birthday party he wanted (hence, the food fight), and reassure him that I would be home in time to open presents and go out to dinner as our family on his actual birthday. He seemed suspect, but let it go.

Usually for birthdays, my kids tell me a few things they think would be good, but this year, Micah didn't say anything.

And I surprised him.

Big time.

When you turn eleven, it's important to perfect your "cool" face. He's still working on it.  (I love how Hyrum is looking at his big brother. He idolizes him.)
 Ten bucks from the maternal grandparents. Good. New Boy Scout shirt, patches, and manual. Ok.
 But what was in that big box?
Wish my camera had been on a different setting, because once he discovered what was inside, he couldn't sit still.

I love this picture, even if it's blurry. Such surprise and joy.
 Neither of my older boys had a BB gun, I don't know why.

 He knew exactly how to hold it . . . the box, anyway.
After opening presents, we still had time to go out to dinner--and share the biggest ice cream sundae.

And since he's eleven now, I let him choose a movie and start it after 8 pm. With age comes a few privileges.
 Even the most venerable Smaug and Bilbo Baggins couldn't keep him awake for long.
He may be getting big, but he's still my little boy. Too big for Brad or I to carry him to bed, but still our little boy.

Love you, Mikes!