Monday, September 29, 2008

We're goin' to the Zoo!

Not a life altering event, I know, but going to the Zoo is something we love doing. We have a season pass so we can go any time we want. The kids had school off on Friday, so I had a momentary lapse in sanity and told them I would take them. Any mom can attest that outings like this are never predictable, no matter how you prepare and plan. So, I prepared that we may see one animal and go home or we could stay for a while. Fortunately, the kids did great and we had a really fun day. I had never been to the zoo this late in the year or this late in the day (around 3:30) and it was perfect. We will definitely go back again this time next year. Here are a few pics of our zoo day.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Invisible Mom

My cousin sent me this email with this story attached. It had me in tears and really helped me refocus on the important, although often time unseen and unappreciated, work that I do each day as a mom. This is dedicated to all of you "invisible moms" out there who do great work each and every day!

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and askto be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?' Obviously not; no one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner,because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible; 'The Invisible Mom.' Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this? Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30,please.' I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude - but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going, she's going, and she's gone! One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down at my out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I could find that was clean. My unwashed hair was pulled up in a hair clip and I was afraid I could actually smell peanut butter in it. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.' It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: 'To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.' In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything. A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why areyou spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will becovered by the roof? No one will ever see it.' And the workman replied,'Because God sees.' I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.' At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree. When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My Mom gets up at 4 in themorning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, 'you're gonna love it there.' As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women. Great Job, MOM! I hope you will share this with all the Invisible Moms you know....I just did. The Will ofGod will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you. - Author Unknown

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Ahhh...the fall TV season has begun

I do love fall. I love the leaves changing color, the change in weather, school starting etc. But I must admit that another thing I love about fall is that FINALLY there are new shows on TV. No more reruns. It is my small guilty pleasure and thank goodness for TIVO! Here are a few I can't wait to start. If you are reading this, consider yourself tagged. I want to know what your favorite shows are!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Autumn Time...

I love this time of year and I love decorating for Autmn and Halloween. Rob still marvels at all of the holiday decor, but secretly I know he enjoys it as well. The kids get so excited when I haul up the boxes with the decorations in them, especially the haunted house. Here's a few pics of the Peacock Home in the fall.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Raingutter Regattas, Ear Reflections, and a dumb mom

Some days are kind of ho-hum and very routine. Yesterday was not one of those days. The 'tornado' hit as soon as I picked the kids up from school. We had pack meeting for Cayden and it was the big Raingutter Regatta. For those of you, like me, who thought this was just some magical fable that people don't really do, you are wrong. They do....we do. Cayden turned 8 last November and I am still getting my feet wet in the world of scouting. It is amazing how much I didn't know about this, especially since I have 3 brothers. But after being called as Primary President and then having my own scout, I now have been thrown into the deep end of scouting. Of course, Rob and I had a big "duh" moment and forgot pack meeting was this week and didn't remember until about 10:00 on Monday night. So, the rush to get the boat at least put together so Cayden could paint it was on. Now, anyone who knows Rob, knows that his engineering/physics brain goes into overload when it comes to things like this. (The Pinewood Derby was hysterical.) So off to the computer he goes to get the best design, style, etc., making sure it is all within the ever-important cub scout rules. So at midnight on Monday night, the masterpiece was built - it turned into more of a catamaran style and my awesome sail was pretty impressive. I'm not sure if it was exhaustion or the inhaling of too much spray paint, but we were downright loopy and headed to bed.

Fast forward to yesterday when Cayden then has to get home from school at 3:45, do his homework, and paint his boat all before 4:15 when he has piano lessons. He did a great job and did a Star Wars theme boat...shocking, I know. Then off to piano lessons we go. Meanwhile, I am trying to work, get dinner ready, etc. As soon as Rob gets home and Cayden gets home, they have the bath tub filled with water so Cayden can practice "blowing" his boat...apparently this is how they get the boats down the track. Who knew? It was pretty funny and cute to see the two of them practicing by the bath tub.

At around 6:00, Ashlee starts complaining of an ear "reflection" which is never good. She is getting her third set of tubes put in next month thank heavens. So add a sick child to the mix. At 6:30 I drop McKell off at dance, come back home so Rob can get Cayden to Pack meeting on time and at 7:20 I load Sadie up and head to pick up McKell. This is where the dumb mommy moment happened. As I pick her up, she looks very unhappy and says, "MOM, you brought me to the wrong class! My class is at 5:30, REMEMBER!?" Oh good laws! With the change in schedule, I had mixed things up in my head and thought her class was at 6:30. Nope. So she got to dance with another class which she wasn't very thrilled about. I apolgized profusely and we head to meet Rob at pack meeting where we are just in time to see Cayden do his final 2 "heats" for the championship. I quickly realize that Cayden's is the only boat that has any type of different design, and as soon as I watch him race it, I see why. He basically blew the competition out of the water. (HA! Get it!? Water!) After his taking first place at the Pinewood derby, I kind of felt bad that he was winning this too. But, alas, he did. He took first place and now has a Raingutter Regatta badge on his scout uniform. I'm not sure who was more proud and excited...him or Rob.

We came home and were up until midnight with Ashlee and her ear 'reflection' and hope she feels better today. I am letting them all sleep in a bit before I wake them up for school. Sadie apparently didn't get the memo that we were sleeping in and was up at 6:30 like normal. I will be getting a Diet Coke first thing this morning to keep me functioning today.

So that about sums it up. And that was just an average Tuesday...don't get me started on what my Wednesday looks like!

Monday, September 15, 2008

The brave haircut award...

So on Saturday, I decided it was time for a change. So I headed to Kaysville where my wonderful sister-in-law and best friend, Juliann, did my hair. She does such a great job and is worth the drive to Kaysville for sure! She cut off about 6 inches and colored it as well. I haven't had my hair this short for a long time and it feels great! Juliann said that she gave me the official "Brave Hair Award"...I am waiting for my trophy please.

Here's a before and after:

Multitasking...a must for mothers

I have decided that multitasking is an artform, perfected mostly by mothers. Sure there are corporations around the world and boardrooms galore that have high paid executives that do multiple projects...but I dare any of them to try to multitask better than most mothers I know.

Case in point...this morning my kitchen still needed to be cleaned up after breakfast, dinner needed to be started, Sadie needed to be entertained, and she was in need of a bath. So, what better way to multitask then give her a bath in one side of the kitchen sink while I used the other side for dishes. This kept her quite entertained and happy, got her clean, dinner is started, and my kitchen is now done. Whalah...multitasking at its finest!

I've been quirks

Okay, so Juliann tagged me.
Tell about unspectacular quirks of yours.Tag 6 fellow bloggers by linking them.Leave a comment on each of the tagged blogger’s blogs letting them know they’ve been tagged.

This should be interesting...I am quite quirky as it turns out. I'm sure I could write a lot more, but here are the ones that come to mind. If you think of any more, please comment.

1. Diet Coke is ten times better with a straw, fifty times better with lemon, and a hundred times better when it is NOT from the can.
2. I take forever to get to sleep. No matter what. And I have to have at least 3 pillows and usually earplugs.
3. For some strange reason, I would rather watch reruns or older movies on TV than to rent new movies. Thank heavens for Tivo.
4. I separate my eyelashes with a safety pin or earring...Rob especially loves this when I am in the car.
5. I MUST kiss my kids and tuck them in before I go to bed after they are asleep. And I always start with Cayden, then Ashlee & McKell and end with little Sadie.
6. I do not enjoy going to new restaurants. I have certain dishes at certain restaurants and that is where I like to go. Too much pressure at new places!
7. I am incredibly impatient when it comes to projects. I have to do things quickly.
8. I hate to wear shoes. Always have and always will. My feet are horrible.
9. I enjoy mowing the lawn.
10. Ketchup is an essential part of most any meal.

I tag whoever would like to join in.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Looking back 7 years ago...

As I was driving the kids home from school today, I asked them what they learned. For the first time, they brought up the attacks from 9/11. They spoke about it somewhat non-chalantly like they were just talking about another topic they learned in history. And then it dawned on me that this is how they will always know about this horrific event. When I speak of the Vietnam war, it really isn't with any personal emotions because to me, it is a piece of history I never is the same with my children. I am grateful that they don't remember that awful day. But it saddens me that they live in a world that is post 9/11 because everything changed that day.

I realized that I have never really documented what that day was like for me. I will do my best to remember.

On the morning ot September 11. 2001, I woke up feeling like it was just another normal day. It was a beautiful clear autumn day in Meridian, Idaho. Rob had gone to work and I was up with Cayden and I was getting ready to teach preschool. Cayden was watching Teletubbies just like every morning. He was only 20 months old. I kept looking out my window waiting for my preschoolers to come, but oddly enough, no one had shown up yet which I thought was strange. The phone then rang and it was my friend Angela Webb who's son was in my preschool class. She asked if I was still having preschool that day and I told her I didn't know why we wouldn't. That is when she said, "Marci, have you not been watching the news? The United States in under attack." I immediately switched the channel and saw those horrific images of planes crashing into buildings, etc. I remember that there was so much confusion and as a few of my preschool moms showed up, we were all so concerned and shocked. No one knew if there were more attacks to come. No one knew if we were safe. I immediately thought of Rob's safety. I figured that if Idaho was going to get hit, that Micron would be a pretty optimal target. After a lot of discussion amongst us very worried moms, I decided we should do preschool and keep things as 'normal' as possible for these children that had no idea what was going on. So we did.

I called Rob a lot that day to make sure he was up to date and safe. I remember being on the phone with him when the towers came down. I was horrified. I made sure all of my family, especially those who traveled a lot, were safe and sound. I checked to make sure that some friends that worked at the Pentagon were also safe, which they were. And I cried. A lot.

But the most memorable part of that day came from a 20 month old little boy. Cayden was one of the most carefree, happy, sensitive, sweet little babies you had ever seen. He was the definition of "happy-go-lucky." It was very rare for him to be in a bad mood. I purposely kept the volume down on the TV that day but kept it turned on so I could follow the latest news. As the day went on, I noticed Cayden getting more and more out of sorts. He became very unsettled and grumpy and irritated. I honestly began to think that he was sick. At age 20 months he couldn't tell me what was wrong and I didn't know how to help him. This went on for quite some time. I was trying to snuggle with him and console him but he wanted nothing to do with that. I finally just put him down on the ground. He immediately crawled over to the TV, pulled himself up to it, and started hitting the screen with his little hand and crying. It hit me like a ton of bricks that this sweet little spirit knew exactly the evils that had happened that day. He didn't need to hear the news reports. He didn't need to know the details. His little spirit was in distress because of the pure evil of the acts of that day. I quickly turned off the TV, scooped him up in my arms, and he immediately was calm and fine. I didn't turn the TV back on until he had gone down for his nap and made sure it was never on when he was in the room. It was one of the most memorable experiences of my life.

In addition to this, I was also pregnant...with twins. I remember feeling so conflicted that day about bringing children into this world that was so unsettled and tumultuous. In the days and weeks following the attacks, I became more and more anxious about it and what the future would hold for me and my little family. One day, I was sitting in church and we sang "We Thank Thee O God for a Prophet." which I had sung a thousand times. But this time was different. As we sang the second verse, I realized that this was the answer to my prayers asking to feel at peace. Since that day, I have remembered the words to this song whenver I feel unsure or worried about the world in which we live.

Here are the words:

When dark clouds of trouble hang o'er us,

And threaten our peace to destroy,

There is Hope smiling brightly before us,

And we know that deliv'rance is nigh;

We doubt not the Lord nor his goodness,

We've proved him in days that are past;

The wicked who fight against Zion

Will surely be smitten at last.

Back to School...

Another school year has started. I thought I would be so excited for school to start, but in many ways it made me strangely sad. I think it is because it represents my kids growing up way too fast. Cayden is now in third grade and the girls are in first grade. I think first grade is one of the toughest transitions because it means school all day. After the HORRIBLE start of the last school year, I was having serious anxiety about the whole thing with Ashlee. Going to "meet your teacher day" didn't help much as we decided this year to put the girls in separate classes. I have now decided that rocket scientists and CSI's have nothing on parents who have kids with autism. Trying to decipher what they need or want or what is causing them stress is sometimes close to impossible. It is times like this that I look around at the other parents and wonder what it would be like to go to a function like this without some sort of issues arising. Rob gave all of us beautiful Priesthood blessing the night before school started and we spent a week trying to calm Ashlee's concerns about being in a different class. We know it has been a blessing that things have gone as well as they have. They have all done remarkably well and although Ashlee still prays every night that sometime she and McKell will be in the same class, she seems fine with it. She of course tells me weekly that she hates "freaking stupid school" but I don't believe it for a second.

So school has now started at Navigator Pointe Academy and Sadie and I are at home together. Poor Sadie didn't know what to do with herself for the first week with all of her "entertainment" gone. She kept crawling around looking for all of them. She is adjusting now and getting used to just being with mom, although she gets SO excited when she sees them get in the car.

I love seeing my kids get excited to learn. I love hearing them share what new things they have learned that day. Cayden, who is studying mammals, informed us that a giraffe has four stomachs and that gorillas can communicate. Ashlee tells us often about the human body and McKell comes home singing new songs every day it seems.

So here's to another great year at 'freaking stupid school.'

"God sure must love us...."

Okay, so anyone who knows me, knows that one of my all time favorite places on this whole earth is Fish Lake. I have been going there every year since I was a child and the tradition has carried on since then. Now my siblings and their families all go and we have a great time. It is a Labor Day tradition that I look forward to all summer...and now my children do as well. This year was no exception. After the long 4 hour drive, there is nothing more beautiful than coming over the hill and looking down and seeing beautiful Fish Lake. I've been there over and over and it never gets old. We always cheer and roll down the windows to breathe in the wonderful fresh air. We always camp at the Frying Pan campground and as soon as you hear any car come over the cattle grates, everyone looks to see if it is someone from the family. As soon as anyone comes in, everyone comes to help them set up their campsite. It is great! For the past few years we have taken my parents' old old trailer. I can't believe it is still in one piece, but it has been in the family forever and we enjoy it. One discovery we made finally this year is that our kids are horribly allergic to sagebrush, especially this time of year in Fish Lake because it is in full bloom. I had always just thought the kids were always sick this time of year...DUH! Thank heavens for Nasonex and made for a much more pleasant time. Our biggest concern was Sadie and how she would do on her first real camping trip. I am happy to say that she did great. A few issues here and there, but overall it was great. Her favorite part was being with "aye aye" aka Uncle Jay. She would pick being with Uncle Jay over any of us any day of the week, and that is no lie. She adores him! Probably because he dotes on her and spoils her rotten. So, here is a rundown of the Fish Lake Trip 2008 THURSDAY: We pack up and go. The kids do great on the ride down and I only have to sit in the back with Sadie for a little while. Thank goodness for DVD's in the car! We arrive to Fish Lake and get everything set up including our screen tent over the table, our big tent for storage, and the trailer. I then take the kids out fishing with Aunt Miki and Uncle Jay. They all have their own poles this year which they are excited about. Because I grew up going fishing, I must admit I can do a pretty good job getting the poles all put together, baited, etc. Unfortunately, we didn't catch anything, especially Ashlee who decided she would rather BE a fish, than CATCH a fish. By the end of it, she was sitting in the water with it up to her shoulders. She is our little fish. That night was a little hairy, as the first night usually is. We always have to have that first night to see what will work best sleeping wise etc. Sadie didn't sleep great, but did okay. I slept awful with Cayden in bed with me. I believe my last words before going to sleep were, "We are SO getting a bigger trailer next year!" FRIDAY: We had a yummy pancake breakfast outside and then got ready to go fishing. Sadie and Rob stay behind so she can sleep and the kids and I ride in the back of Dad's truck which is a long standing tradition (if you can't tell yet, Fish Lake is steeped in many traditions). We had fun singing and eating birdseed in the back of the truck. (Birdseed is a must-have Fish Lake snack consisting of Lucky Charms, M&M's, Peanuts, and Raisins). Today we went to Blythe Reservior. Cayden caught the only fish and it was a whopper - a Tiger Trout we later found out. And although we didn't catch a lot, we still had fun. After a day of fishing, we headed to Loa, a booming town outside of Fish Lake, to get some dinner and shakes at "Maria's Grill". Just as a heads up, if you plan to go to Loa, get there before 8:00...after that, it is a ghost town. We drive the poor waitresses nuts with all of our orders, but it is yummy! That night goes much better sleep wise. SATURDAY: By Saturday, everyone is usually at Fish Lake. It is fun to see everyone. My kids are in seventh heaven with all of their cousins. Today, after another yummy French Toast breakfast, we head to Mill Meadow Reservior to fish. One of the highlights is definitely seeing Brandon, my sweet gypsy nephew, use McKell's pink fishing pole to catch a fish. Definitely NOT a whopper, more like a goldfish, but still funny all the same. Today was a much better day of fishing. Definitely not for the size of the fish, but the quantity, which is all that matters with my kids. Miki decides to buy some worms and that has the magic touch! We catch a ton of perch and have a great day. Unfortunately, by the time we get home, it is raining which negates any idea of a hot dog/marshmallow roast. So instead, we roast marshmallows in the trailer over the stove. Saturday night, much to Rob's dismay, is bath night. Alert..another tradition...all the kids bathe in this old silver bath tub that has literally been around for years! It is the tub we took baths in as kids. So, we bathe the filthy kids so they will be clean for church tomorrow. Before we go to bed, we let the kids look at the breathtaking view of the stars. You will never see the stars like you do at Fish Lake. As McKell put it, "It's like we're in outer space!" SUNDAY: It is very cold this morning and we feel so bad for our 'neighbors' Justin and Elise who are in a tent so we invite them in for some homeade sweet rolls and hot chocolate. They are so fun and the kids love them. We get ready for church but unfortunately have the wrong time so we only get to about a half hour of it. Church at Fish Lake lodge is a staple in the Fish Lake trip. Nothing like it. Later that day, we have our yummy combined Dutch overn dinner and desserts...YUM! That night we roast marshmallows and sing by the campfire. Dad and Mom take some of the kids our "spotlighting deer" which is yet another tradition. That night, a HUGE storm hits with lightning, thunder, wind, etc. We are grateful to be warm and dry. MONDAY: Always a sad day as we pack up and head home. It doesn't matter how long we stay, it is always sad to go home. It holds so many dear memories and as we honk as we go over the cattle grate to head home, I always cry a little and the kids always wish we could stay longer. To me, Fish Lake is more than just a family vacation and more than just a place to visit. It is a spiritual experience going there. I think Ashlee summed it up best when she said, "Mom, God sure must love us a lot to make this beautiful place!"