Monday, August 27, 2007

My MTC report

So it seems everyone else has blogged about the blessed event of Michael's MTC admission, so if you want to check back later I hope to report on the first day of school. BUT, (tease, tease) I do have different pictures and a clandestine video of the actual good-bye at the MTC. I'm pleading ignorance to the actual "rules" of MTC good-byes; I could have sworn I video taped Nate's, but this lady said "No cameras" and so I filed that under "No flash photography" instead of "No digital videos." You can tell from my cinematography I was trying to be all stealth about it, so the copy's not that good, but for those of you who wanted to be there, but couldn't be for whatever reason (ie., had to work, girlfriend protocol, don't even really know me but lurk on my blog) here's the final goodbye. The major players are Mike, my dad, Mackenzie, our family friends Dave and Hilma, Stacy, Nate, Sydney, and Erin. The voice is me, of course, which I am sure you'll be able to figure since I keep scolding Mackenzie to stay back. But before all that . . .

Mom, Dad, Mike, and I drove up Tuesday. It was a quiet drive. Really. Not much to report. I talked a lot and kept trying to get Mike to chit chat. Even as a missionary he didn't feel like chitting the chat. Sigh. Maybe when he gets back? Nah, I'm not gonna keep my hopes up. We got to Payson and had a lovely dinner with the Smiths. Then I went and had ice cream with Jenn (who was visiting from Texas) and Heather (who lives in Payson.) From back at my freshman BYU year, these girls (and Nancee and Moana) were my closest and bestest friends and I still try to keep them near and dear. They are amazing women. Really, I love the example of wives and moms that they are to me. Any time we get together it's like no time has passed. AND I got to meet Jenn's sweet baby Kate (too cute) and see Heather's home (also too cute.) It was a great divertion of the task at hand of dropping Mike off for two years to West Virginia (sniff sniff). So that was Tuesday.
And for the main event, Wednesday. This is Elaine Smith (you can't really see her), but she is 79 years old and one of my heroes. Seriously. She's amazing. She and her husband, Morris, hosted us Tuesday night and this is a picture of breakfast on the deck, which was REALLY nice . . . BUT I knew Stacy was chilling in Provo because the two of us had assumed (and we all know what happens when you assume) we would be eating out (after all, we are an "eating out family," as Erin explained) so that stressed me out a little. I really did enjoy the deck breakfast and Elaine demanding we eat more, and I couldn't figure out why Stacy was sure about not coming down to Payson until later in the morning. She didn't want to come there since she knew Nate, Erin, Mackenzie, and Sydney had driven through the night and were headed to meet us all at breakfast in Provo and surprise Mike. Oops, bad communication. Anyway, between Nate (who finally texted Mom that he was in Utah), me, and Dad (whom I told the surprise) we got Mike and Mom on the road and we rendez-voused with the other family at Arby's.

At first Nate and Stacy just met us. Then Stacy "had to go to the bathroom" so she went and got Erin and the girls. I took the next few pictures are as they were coming out:
Yeah, probably not so nice to my mom who was already feeling too many emotions. We all agreed Dave would have been the icing on the cake, but we're fans of plain cake, too. (Especially white milk cake, but that's another blog post!) It was great to have the more for the merrier. (Look how tickled Nate is in this picture above to have pulled off the surprise!)
Sydney and Kenzie were cracking themselves up. I think they were still a little sleep deprived even though they crashed the whole trip up through the night. Poor Nate and Erin were pumping the caffeine through their veins, though, to keep awake.
And the reunion. Not that I thought my mom was falling apart, really she was keeping it all together. A bunch of welling and silent tear drops that morning, but this was a doozie of a moment for her. I think she was feeling so badly for Mike that more of us couldn't have been there for him and also badly for Nate, Dave, and Erin who were going to have to miss it. Then, to see some of that sadness made better was pretty sweet.
Mike asked Nate, when we were leaving Arby's, if when eating at fast food restaurants on your mission, it was nice to listen to the piped-in music. It cracked me up how Nate was like, "Pshaw, Yeah, it's so nice. Unless there's a crappy song on and then you're, like, totally ripped." Nothing like a little practical advice. Nate and Stacy also explained what the rest of his afternoon would be like, from the best they could remember, before we left Arby's. Then we went to the MTC.
This is actually down one of the walkways of the MTC. I went with Mike to drop off his bags and he admitted he felt like he was on the cusp of a emotional meltdown where he just wanted to bawl. But he didn't. He kept it all together. Such a stud! He was holding up pretty well.
So were we, at least up to this part. We were all excited for him to get going, but not too excited to make him stop and take a bunch of pictures. Hello? Scrapbooking? He was kinda like, "Alright already," but we couldn't miss the standard photo ops like the ones below:
The family

The "FAMILIES ENTER HERE" sign is down a bit
There was this lady hollaring "Moms put the badges on." This other Elder wasn't listening and she kept repeating it, and finally, all exasperated, the lady said, "Fine, don't listen to me, then." Apparantly Michael was named District Leader once he got settled on Wednesday (We found that out in his first letter home.) Probably because of his astute listening skills (among other leadership talents) since he had Mom put on his badge, "Elder Garrard."
Awww, the dork dot.
Finally, we headed into the good-bye room where the MTC presidency speaks for a bit. Then they show a 1980's "Called to Serve" video, and BAM! it's time to say good-bye. This is where the video takes off, hopefully it works. Enjoy :) [Click on the link]

All in all it was a great experience. I told Mike that I was excited to see who he was when he came home. He has high expectations for himself and I'm anxious to see how he develops from the challenge of a mission. I think he's a great example to me and my family; truly a bright spot in our lives. I can't imagine having another end note to the kids in our family, even though I thought for so long a girl would be way better. There's no way anyone else would have endured and thrived the way Michael has as the youngest. He really is a stud! I love him and miss him, but not too much to cry about it too much because I know he will get so much out of this. Don't get me wrong, people, I've had my breakdown moments, but I just think it's awesome.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

100 posts!

Here's a list (it's my thing, right Nate?) to commemorate the 100th post on this blog. YEE HAH.
1. I love lists
2. They make me happy
3. I also love even numbers. That's why, if we decide to have another baby we'll be deciding to have two more kids eventually.
4. I did enjoy having 5 kids in my own family, though
5. Church was enjoyable today because I didn't end up in primary.
6. Not that I don't love primary, it's just frustrating that they have more subs than teachers in our ward.
7. And that my husband is the part-time nursery worker every week before he teaches the young men
8. And he's in charge of their activities (technically) as the 2nd counselor
9. And he put together a rockin' scout camp that you can see on YouTube (search for Bermuda Ward and you'll get the slideshow.)
10. There was a good lesson in Relief Society about watching our words.
11. I'm gonna work on being syrupy sweet and less sarcastic.
12. I was being sarcastic in #11.
13. Nah, I really am going to try to be more positive and patient with my kids.
14. That may not happen since I am instituting a new chore chart this week.
15. I'm excited for school to start.
16. Not sad one bit, except that kindergarten is only half day.
17. That's sad.
18. I got sad today thinking about my brother, Michael.
19. I missed not seeing him at church.
20. So did Caylee.
21. She told me so.
22. I started writing him a letter, but didn't finish.
23. My sister is a better sister.
24. She already sent him a package.
25. I think that rocks!
26. I saw Bourne Ultimatum and Haispray this weekend.
27. I enjoyed both.
28. Bourne Ultimatum gave me a migraine by the time we went home from the moving camera angles.
29. Nothing a little pain medication and a good night's rest didn't cure.
30. I took the girls to Hairspray with Sydney.
31. We loved it, except (according to the girls) the kissing parts.
32. Yeah right, I'll remind them about that in about 6 years.
33. I made out with my boyfriend during Hairspray.
34. I am so weak.
35. My bladder infection isn't going away as fast as I wish it would.
36. GOO!
37. I need to go grocery shopping tomorrow.
38. I'm having a hard time getting excited about that.
39. We're hosting a home teaching dinner tomorrow night for family night.
40. BBQ-style, shouldn't that count for two months worth?
41. I need to do laundry, too.
42. Again, not so excited.
43. And cleaning.
44. Ditto.
45. Today on the way home from church Caylee and Brevin were complaining that Kenzie got a toy for reciting the 9th Article of Faith.
46. I tried teaching Brevin and Caylee the 1st one so they can pass off their own next week.
47. They kept getting hung up on the last part, "We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His son, ____________, and in the Holy Ghost."
48. "Heavenly Father", uh no.
49. "Joseph Smith", not quite.
50. "Jesus Smith", closer.
51. "Jesus Christ." There we go.
52. I chaperoned another youth dance last night.
53. No real serious issues like last time excpet for some girls who snuck in.
54. In a mini skirt.
55. I'm thinking, wouldn't it make sense to not stick out like a sore thumb (or, in this case, a hoochie) if you're sneaking in to a church dance?
56. She was really nice, though, and not belligerant like the last time I chaperoned.
57. There IS hope for the future :)
58. We leave for Swiss days in four days.
59. I cannot wait.
60. I am sad about missing Elsa's baby blessing, though.
61. I have THE cutest nieces and nephews; pinky promise :)
62. Babysitting Erin's kids yesterday, mortifying Sydney while I danced throughout Hairspray, looking at Zoee's pics from Huntsville, pinky promising Conner at church today, walking Courtnie to nursery, making Elsa's announcements with Lexi, etc. are all blessings in my life.
63. Tyler's giving the kids father's blessings tonight before school.
64. I love that tradition.
65. Tyler has packed a hiking pack for Brevin and Brock to walk around the house and "practice" their hiking skills.
66. It's cute.
67. They take turns being the leader and the follower.
68. I have pictures from the Daughtry concert the other night at Red Rock that I'll post later.
69. But a shout out for Julie for the invite, the yummy dinner, the awesome friendship, and the example of strength.
70. Mackenzie has been saying she wants school to start all afternoon.
71. Tyler keeps saying, "You're weird," but I'm glad she's weird like that.
72. I'm gonna re-enlist at the gym.
73. Then I'm gonna remember this quote from RS today, "Nothing is that bad that whining won't make worse." (or something like that.)
74. I've got to finish my letter to Air France, too.
75. I keep putting it off cuz it's like picking a scab.
76. Has everyone read my sister's blog about "who's in your circle?"
77. It's freaking hilarious, so here are some further thoughts,
78. My circle includes: Tyler, my brothers (Nate, Dave, Mike, Kevin), my sisters (Erin, Stac, Mindie, Lexi, and Terry) my parents, Jer, Barb, and probably Chris J. and Daniel.
79. I have had others in that most inner circle at one time or another, but they (fortunately for them, probably) have merged into other circles where distance and less time spent together would dicate more decorum and/or etiquette.
80. Upon further thought and discussion, Mindie pointed out that the most inner circle (for those of you having a hard time deciding who makes the cut) would also mean you talk to them whilst using the bathroom.
81. Don't laugh, cuz you know those people have had to pardon your flush a time or two.
82. It may gross them out to know they're on your list of "people close enough to have an echo-y conversation with," but I think it's an honor to be that kind of friend.
83. This is how I am going to abruptly change subjects.
84. We're going over to my in-laws tonight to hopefully score some corn, tomatoes, and peaches.
85. One day I can go to Education Week and get my own goodies (or next week at Swiss Days, I guess).
86. I will be eating tomato sandwiches next week.
87. I guess I can cross off grocery shopping from my list.
88. When we took Caylee to meet her teacher on Friday, she was most excited that her teacher was beautiful and wore a hair scarf and high heels.
89. Who needs academics when you can get fashion?
90. I'm stalled with ten more things to list and Tyler just rolled his eyes at me when I asked for suggestions.
91. He really doesn't like blogs.
92. He does like asking the kids if they're ready to move somewhere.
93. Mackenzie says she'll move to West Virginia OR someplace with all the Garrard and Barlow family.
94. Tyler said she's missing the point.
95. He's just kidding, mostly.
96. I hope you all had a great Sunday.
97. I'm impressed if you made it through the entire list.
98. Here's to another
99. 100
100. Posts!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I've been having an affair

WHOA, not like that! I've written about my love affair with Coke and we rekindled our relationship last month when we were in France. Ever since I got home I have been SO bad about monitering our time together and it seems like, once again, it's part of my normal daily routine to have a Coke . . . or two . . . or three. Well, I think I am seeing a serious downside to this relationship. Not only has my tummy gotten a little more smushy the past few weeks, my replacing Coke with my normal (and healthy) water intake has seemed to have possibly given me a bladder infection.?! I'm still not quite sure about the official diagnosis, but I will quote Julina and say, "Goo." I JUST got home from a quick trip to Utah to drop off baby bro Mike at the MTC. Instead of blogging about all of that, I'm disturbed and bugged and "ew" (I think all this collectively means "Goo") because I am stuck in the middle of chills and pain and discomfort and a constant urge to . . . well, look up a UTI and you can see all the associated symptoms. They could also add onto the explanation that it even blogging isn't as fun when you have a UTI. So, yeah. Tomorrow me and the Coke, we're breaking up. Again. It stinks. And if I wasn't so hurt by the state in which he's left me, I'd probably be more sad about it. Goo.

Monday, August 20, 2007

California Dreamin'

So, my pity party was over a few days ago. I figured I should post again so y'all don't think I am having a complete meltdown. The good news, I guess, is that I am still just on the brink of breaking down . . . in other words, back to normal. I do find myself, today, super emotional, though. My brother Mike leaves for the MTC tomorrow. Somehow I think his leaving will open a floodgate of emotions I have been repressing all summer. BUT, that's a downer, and I don't want to dwell on that too much. [Total personal note on a public forum: Jenn, if you read this by before we leave tomorrow morning, email me your cell number ( and hopefully we can hook up once we get to Utah. We're staying in Payson, but maybe we can meet somewhere for late-night ice cream or something once your baby girls are in bed. We can pre-celebrate your 30th :)]

As far as what's been going on, I should post about the super fun cousin get-together we had last week at Pump it Up, but Erin covered it pretty well, so check out her post about that here. I got a few different pictures that hopefully I can post one of these days. I just have to say I have been very blessed in the family department. And I wish to offer a special shout-out to my in-law family. Some of these unsuspecting, lovely men and women have probably shaken their heads at our group on many occasions, but they still come around us for more craziness. It is a huge blessing in my life that Leah and Kristi and Stacy, etc. like us (or put up with us) enough to let all our kids be friends. And speaking of good in-laws, we can add another to the family group sheet. Friday afternoon my cousin Brandon married Anneke in sunny (and humid) San Clemente, CA. I knew it would be a crazy turn-around trip once I realized it was the day before Leanne's baby shower at my house. BUT, I am a sucker for a family party and I just love the Montoya clan, so I didn't want to miss out. So, I figured if I organized myself well enough I could "do it all."

I ended up calling the cleaning lady to come back to my house. That was a happy day, let me tell you. Honestly, part of my pity party was the solo pre-cleaning that I had to get done the next morning before Paula and her peeps came to dust my niches. Really, I decided, it's worth cutting back here and there to have them come every now and then to do the stuff I can't seem to get around to. Like this time it was my pot shelf niches that were thick with dust. The thought of bringing in the tall ladder to climb up to the high shelves hasn't appealed to me. I know that then I will spend the entire time I am dusting the knick knacks ALSO hollaring at my kids to stop climbing up to join me whilst I am perched ten feet up. Or, just when I get in some precarious position Brevin will call me down to wipe his backside. Needless to say, the dusting hasn't seemed fun enough to make the top things to get done this summer list. Of course having someone else clean my bathrooms and mop my floor didn't seem to shabby either. Once the house was clean my kids got the don't touch anything unless you want your fingers broken talk, and we made sure to be gone "shower shopping" for most of the day Thursday. It was bizarre Thursday night to be hooting and fluffing early. I was cutting and arranging flowers, setting out the plates, cups, etc, and rearranging the flowers with the same fervor that I have on the day of the shower. The whole time I am thinking how weird it was to still have a day in between that I normally would have procrastinated through until Saturday morning before the shower. BUT, since I was leaving bright and early for CA the next morning, it had to be prepped.

So Friday morning I got the kids up and out to my sister's house. [Personal note on a public forum: Thank you so much for being willing to watch my kids while I went and played. I know how much you love yourself a family get-together, too, so it had to be doubly hard to watch my kids AND miss the party. You really are the best sister/friend I have and I'm grateful for you. Your willingness to sacrafice for your family (immediate and extensive) impresses me and I really owe you more than the gallon of milk and corn pops I brought to you Friday morning. Love you, Sis.] David and Michael joined me for the quick road trip and while David slept the entire time, Mike and I had a good chat. Sometimes it took a while to get going as Michael definitely has a handle on the one-word answers. Ah, boys. It was nice for me (probably more painful for him) to spend the time together before he heads to West Virginia. Here's some pics of the drive, which was uneventful until we missed the toll road we were looking for and ended up driving through Irvine. Not too bad, though, we were able to get back on the right freeway after the brief tour.

David sleeping. Gotta love Dave who strips down to his underwear when he sleeps, even on a road trip. He wouldn't eat with us at Del Taco in Barstow (where I seriously had THE best chicken burrito I have EVER eaten at the Del to the T. And they had pellet ice. Does it get much better than that in the fast food world? - Not counting the good Burger King posters, right Jer?) because he was too content to stay in the 100 degree heated car with his heavy comforter.

Michael enjoying the CA traffic. Not so good at navigating. I kept asking him to read me the mapquest directions and he couldn't ever figure out which directions to read to me. Let's all pray for an easy bike area first. Or on-star services if he's in a car area. Could be scary is all's I'm sayin'.

Focused. I thought a ton of times about Tyler's post about driving to California. I can't wait to read the Idaho/Utah rant. I kept thinking things like, "Soo true. Amen, Tyler. Thanks for hogging the only available lane fat slow truck driver!" Oh well. We ended up there just fine and I could always use extra excercise in my right leg with the extra break tapping to kick off my cruise control.
When we got to CA we went straight to the Montoyas to check out the wedding action. We didn't want to get in the way of the hustle and bustle and were pleased to find Mark and Rick just hangin' out at the kitchen table. Their cool demeanor didn't really exude the internal panic as they were trying to figure how to play the reception DVD on the LCD projector. I offered to help (HA HA) and called some people who actually know something about computers. I ended up calling my GO-TO guy and let me toot his horn once again (no sick jokes needed here, sheesh), but Daniel totally saved our bacon. After he could quit laughing as I located some of the simple icons he was referring to her talked me through the hook up and playing of the DVD. Seriously, he was the hero of the afternoon. And not to say you saved the reception, but it was a definite highlight. Mountain Dew Slurpee fo sho! The whole Montoya clan was breathing easier once we got to the church for the wedding. Whilst all the other wedding prep was going on Moana (one of my best girlfriends from BYU) met me at their house and we hung out with her new baby girl, Ocean, for a couple hours. It was such a pick-me-up. I love 'em to pieces. I can't believe I didn't get any pictures of the three of us together, but take my word for how beautiful both Moana and her baby are. Cuz they are. Just great.
The wedding was nice. Different from what I was used to, but I was ready for the interactive Catholic ceremony. However, I kept missing my cue and wouldn't realize it until the other side of the room repeated their congregation's part. It was great to see the Tanner bunch and all the other family. Having never met Anneke, it was interesting to me to figure out who was who from her family, etc. She's one of nine kids. Isn't that amazing? And her mom (well, the whole family, actually) is just beautiful and young looking. Anyway. Here's the new Mr. and Mrs. Brandon Montoya:
Oh, and baby boy due in October. They seemed really happy and it was great to be there to be part of the wedding. Not that you can tell in this picture, but later notice their amazing smiles. More wedding pics:

Julie's my cousin and Mark's her hubby. And they're the parents of the groom. What? I know. It's true. Even though they don't look like it, they actually have a kid old enough to be getting married. They are beautiful people. Inside and out. I always have such a good time around them and appreciate and love them SO much.

The wedding party.

Mark, Julie, Brandon, Chloe, Alexa, and Morgan. Beautiful parents, beautiful kids, beautiful day.
After the wedding we meandered to a beach-site club-house thingy for the reception. There was great food, drinks, and music. I had a great time. It was totally muggy (I can appreciate "dry heat" all over again), so with all the dancing and happiness we were a sweaty, sticky bunch by the end of the night. Brandon and Anneke seemed thrilled and relaxed and totally in to each other while everyone else was having their own good time. I did introduce myself to her since I kept taking their picture and didn't know if she was like, "Who's that woman I've never met all up in our space with her camera?" Here's some party pics:

My Aunt Cloadella and Uncle Chuck. I think my Aunt Clo is one of the cutest ladies I have every met. Plus, she gets spunkier the older she gets. I love her. And Uncle Chuck is practically my grandpa on that side of the family. It was nice to see them a couple times this month since months (or years) can go by before we get to visit with them. They are still sweet on each other, even after all these years. At the end of the wedding, though, I thought it was funny cuz Aunt Clo totally took off back up the aisle at the church and then realized she had left Uncle Chuck in her dust, so she turned back to wait for him instead of going solo. It was one of those, "Oh, wait a minute, I'm supposed to have someone with me at this part" kind of moments.

The happy couple.

Garret, Dave, and Mike at the top of the beach trail before the reception started.

Jer, Katie, and Maggie. You can't see in this picture, but Jerolyn had some DARLING red shoes with her ensemble.

My cute dates for the evening.

I loved this one of cousin Frankie with his baby Landon. This is the "please just go to sleep" moments all parents are familiar with when you're at a party and your baby starts to get fussy. Really, though, Landon's a partier at heart. I thought he was so good and sweet . . . all the kids were. Now, mine would've ruined that impression, so it was good they stayed home. But everyone else's were great, I thought.

Have I mentioned it was muggy? Mike's solution to the humidity.

Jodie, Riley, Kris, Rick, and GOOD FOOD. Kudos on the yummy meal that came with your very own bib. After dinner they showed the video (a success, as earlier mentioned) and started dancing. One of the most touching parts was the father-daughter dance with Anneke and her dad, and then the DJ invited all the fathers and their daughters to dance. I LOVED THIS PART! It was so sweet to see all that, especially the young dads with all their girls. I couldn't resist catching all my cousins and their kids:

Cousin Julie with Uncle Chuck.

Cousin Dustin with his three girls, Page, Madison, and Karley (sorry if I mispelled that?!)

Cousin-in-law Mike with two of his five girls, Heather and Alyssa. I still can't tell the twins apart, so one is Heather and the other is Alyssa :)

Cousin-in-law Darin with Ellie, Katie, and Maggie. I loved this one of Katie who is looking SO grown up, but not too grown up to dance with her dad and sisters. Yes, Jer, I'll get you the copy of that :)
And then they did the same thing with the mother and sons, which totally made me miss my boys for 1.5 seconds. Then I was over it to capture these photos:
Cousin Julie with her son, the groom, Brandon.

Cousin Kourtney with son Bradley (I think Frankie was still trying to put Landon to sleep at this point)

Cousin-in-law, Kris with Dustin (and Page)

Cousin Jodie with her sons, Garrett and Devin.

Aunt Clo and Rick. I'm just realizing I didn't upload Rick and Riley's pic from the father/daughter dance, but that was another precious moment. Ahhh, they all were. Of course, the other precious moments came after the reception when we stayed up way too late talking. Considering Dave, Mike, and I left at 6:30am Saturday morning, it seemed kinda like a blur of a wedding once we came back to Vegad, but SO worth the blur. It was good times.
And Leanne's shower was a hit. I don't have any pictures of it, but I had a good time and I think she did too. She said she did, soooo, unless she's a lier she was satisfied. She got a lot of stuff and I'm anxious to hear what she got on her spending spree the next day. I'm sure she'll get all organized and ready for baby Cole ASAP. I finished this paper bag album for her out of the cute invitation paper, so hopefully she can get some pictures and keep it forever and ever. I copied my friend Sarah's idea for the book instead of a card and it was a hit (Thanks Sarah!)
The day didn't end at that point, but this post is already ginormous, and I have to go to bed now. Tomorrow we leave for Provo, so I'll have to write in the morning or when I get back. Later.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Pity Party

You're invited to a . . . PITY PARTY
Who: Me
When: Right Now
What: A freakin' pity party, which is a party where I feel sorry for myself even though I tell myself I should not be so selfish and whiney and grumpy
Where: My house
Why: Really no good reason. I have tons of reasons why I shouldn't throw this pity party, but I have already started the preparations, have worked myself into a decent funk and I am partying with my pity right now. Actually, don't come. Pity Parties are better by myself.


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Family Reunion Pics

Thought I'd share some pics from weekend before last:

Brock eating his millionth sucker at the carnival. There were SOOO many treats and junk. Needless to say my kids were in heaven.

Courtnie, Caylee, and Conner posing after the games. The crowns were bought at the "Kid's Store" that Grandma Dodie opened for all the kids. Between the store and the gallon-size baggie of treats from the carnival, we were overloaded with treats. But they look happy, right. Trauma ensued when Kenzie accidentally sat on Caylee's crown when we got home. How is it my kids can lose it over a 99 cent crown as much as they can a $10 polly pocket car. The drama over losing a MacDonald's Happy Meal toy is just as devastating as the entire toy bin. Why do I bother purchasing the good stuff when they're just as happy with the junk? I mean for the same amount of tears and issues, I'm just saying I could be saving me a boatload of money. But, I digress.

Tyler's cousins: Liz and Amanda. Liz was our babysitter while we were in France. We love 'em both.

Every year we hold a dance to boogie woogie. Courtnie and Brock were dancing, which turned into ring-around-the-somersault. It was quite a routine. Tyler's Mom's family is very into music, so we can look forward to the dance every year. This year there were about 75 people, old and young workin' out The Twist and The Chicken Dance on the lawn. It was great.

Tyler's Aunt Karen, his Sister Alexis, and her baby Elsa. We also hang out and talk a lot. It's nice to have such great in-laws who have wonderful families. It was a ton of fun and we're already planning on Park City next summer.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Fond Farewells

Welp, today wasn't just another Sunday, it was my baby brother, Mike's, mission farewell (that's not technically a farewell since they aren't supposed to officially have farewells anymore). So in other words, he spoke at church today and then we had a open house at mom and dad's. TOTAL shout out to my mom who had tons of food, to Erin who swapped me food assignments and dirtied her oven with two failed bundt cakes, and to Nate who brought the REALLY vital tortilla chips for my seven layer dip (I actually made them instead of buying it, sooo, shout out to me, too.) I'm excited for Mike to get a hustle on this whole mission thing. The sooner he leaves the sooner he gets home. Two years is gonna go by crazy fast. I was thinking about some of the things that would happen while he was gone, but none of it will really compare with all the things he will gain from his mission and the experiences he's going to have. Nothing like being broke down and rebuilt into a better person (which will be incredible since he's already an amazing guy.) Anyway, I'm due for a blog, he wanted to see the pictures I took tonight, so I thought I'd really put the effort into it and start a video thing for his mission-prep process. Enjoy, y'all. I'll update it and let you know when there's new pics.

View this montage created at One True Media
Mike's Mission

And, as if that isn't reason enough to celebrate a good Sunday, my hubby is back and survived the 50 mile hike with his Young Men/Boy Scout troop. I missed him SOOO much. I told him I decided I would re-marry quickly if he died, but not for rearing the kids, more for my sanity's sake when I needed to vent about rearing the kids all day. I puttered around and stayed up late every night and SOO napped like a rock star this afternoon (okay, so three good things about today). We had family naps this afternoon and Tyler's already asleep again, so I am sure he has some recovering to do after a week of sleeping on the ground. It sounds like it was pretty intense and a good experience for everyone involved. I'm really proud of Tyler in so many ways, but especially for the good leader he is to the young men of our ward. I know how hard he worked on that hike and the prayers and effort he put forth before they ever left (along with the shopping, planning, and prepping.) I hope the young men (and their parents) appreciate all that he willingly did that was above and beyond AND the sacrifice for our family. I have to think this experience was better than just a run-of-the-mill scout camp. It's funny to hear about the hike (cuz you know I made him tell me day by day) and have him talk about being a leader and having to tell the boys they couldn't hit each other in the [groin] anymore cuz it was causing problems. Yeah, boys are weird. How is that funny? Whacking each other in the manhood when you're carrying a 25 lb. pack and trying to walk up (or down) a hill at the same time? Really? Weird. He took a ton of pics, so I'll post some of those later.

Busy week this week, of course, but hopefully we can be productive and happy about it. This gal in our ward does a "day camp" that's 7 bucks for both Caylee and Brevin from 1-3 every afternoon. I'm all over that. I'm taking the girls for our girls' day on Tuesday, I think we're gonna hit the water park at the rec center (I've been promising all summer) sometime this week, I've gotta finish up the baby shower prep, go to a wedding in California on Friday, and then all the normal stuff. Really, though, now that Tyler's home it is all looking a little brighter, busy and stressful as it may be. I do have blogging on my agendas, so we'll see how that goes.

Thursday, August 9, 2007


I found this on the other Sarah's blog and thought it was a neat little glimpse into the now. So, yeah consider yourselves all tagged!

Yourself: sleepy
Your partner: gone
Your hair: in pigtails
Your mother: working
Your father: working
Your favorite item: my husband
Your dream last night: interrupted by Brevin falling off my bed and landing on Tyler's drum set that is next to our bed
Your favorite drink: coke
Your dream car: mini cooper
Your dream home: lots of rooms and space and decorated JUST right
The room you're in right now: family room
Your fear: losing one of my kids
Where you want to be in 10 years: hopefully shopping in preperation for Kenzie's freshman year of college
Who you hung out with last night: el kiddos
You're not: perfect
Wish list item: Disney cruise for the family
Last thing you did: worked on the letter to Air France
What are you wearing: black shorts and white shirt
Favorite weather: sunny and pool-a-licious
Favorite book: Sooo many to choose from, but "The Color of Water"
Last thing you ate: Mexican Pizza
Your life: summer vacation-y
Your mood: anxious (always)
Your best friend: Tyler is the safe answer here
What are you thinking about right now: finding a Charleston song to choreograph
Your car: Excursion
What are you doing at the moment: Enjoying the silence of naptime and Polly Pocket Play
Relationship status: married
What's on TV: TV is off, YESSS!
Last time you laughed: Reading Jer's blog a few minutes ago.

AND, to answer the rest of y'alls previous tag:
4 Jobs I've Had:
1. High school English teacher
2. Waitress
3. Mortuary Receptionist/Secretary/Obituary-Writer/Insurance Claims Specialist/Hair-doer
4. K-Mart Cashier

4 Movies I Can Always Watch:
1. Clueless
2. Any musical
3. Shawshank Redemption
4. Independence Day (you laugh, you cry)

4 TV Shows I Enjoy:
1. The office
2. Grey's Anatomy
3. Friday Night Lights
4. Brothers and Sisters
**Reality TV is a guilty pleasure of brain-less-ness that I also enjoy, but some would argue it doesn't constitute TV.**

Favorite Places or Things to Eat:
1. Cafe Rio (pork, smothered burrito)
2. Sushi
3. Katherine's Steak House
4. At my mom's house (fried chicken and potatoes, chicken manicotti, red pepper stew)

4 Websites I Visit:
1. blogs
2. you tube
3. my space
4. one true media

4 Places I Love to Be:
1. With my family
2. With my friends
3. On vacation
4. Sleeping in bed
**Just about any combination of the above is enjoyable (not in a dark and perverted way!)**

4 Places I have lived:
1. Las Vegas
2. Cedar City, Utah
3. Provo, Utah
4. Burley, Idaho

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Mark your calendars

I'm going to go finish my France video to post later, but couldn't resist this blurb on my "headlines" when logging on. Family Home Evening is looking up come the end of September :)

Southern gentleman Brad Womack is ABC's newest Bachelor, the network has announced.

Starring in a reality series about romance – the 11th edition of the matchmaking show – is a drastic change for the Atlanta-born, Texas-reared 34-year-old, who spent his 20s working in the oil fields of Louisiana, North Dakota and California.

But perhaps it's not so different from tending bar, which is how he began his rise to success. Working with his brothers Wesley and Chad (his twin), Womack saved enough money to purchase his first drinking establishment in 2001. He now co-owns four bars with his brothers – both of whom are married – and resides in Austin. (He and the brothers are featured on the MySpace page for one of their bars, The Chuggin' Monkey.)

Already, the show has dubbed him "The Bachelor's own McSteamy" and claims he is "sincere" and "optimistic" about finding his wife.

Womack is set to wrangle his perfect match among 25 eager women he'll meet in the Monday, Sept. 24, premiere (9:30 p.m. ET).

On another note. We have a yard guy who's supposed to be helping us keep up on our foliage issues and it's not working out. MEANING . . . he never shows up. Does anyone have any suggestions of a replacement company that's good with desert landscaping, or even a good website to figure what I could do so I can do it myself. I am SO sick of looking at our dead plants and/or overgrown weeds and plants. It's driving me crazy and I can't get my kids on board to work out there with me (in the heat) for a couple hours at a time, EVEN if I promise we'll swim afterward.

Brock has bit through his last binky. I don't know how many little bits of silicone bink parts he's swallowed cuz I have thought it sounded weird when he sucked on it for the past couple days. Upon examining it, sure enough, he has bit two holes into the sides. Now he's been in bed for 40 minutes and I can hear him farting around and then stopping to whine for his "BIIINNNKKKK." I figure this may be a great time to break the habit since he knows it's broken (he even threw it away himself.) However, I am more attached to the bink sometimes than he is as it's an instant soother/go to bed aide. So, we'll see how long my resolve lasts. I may be taking a stop at Walmart tomorrow morning before naptime. I guess it's a sign that my baby is really not so much a baby anymore. I'm not really sad about that; I mean he's nearly two. It's exciting, but a little bittersweet as I've enjoyed having a "baby" to the family, but don't want him growing up as "babied." I am trying to teach him to tough up a bit and not be so quick to listen to his squeals and blame the other kids; he's smart that way. Also, I need to encourage him to speak a little more clearly. The loss of the bink should help that, I figure.

Alright, off to video.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

So, where have I been?

I can't really figure out why I haven't found the time to sit down and touch the daily blog, except for the following 14 reasons (one for each day that I didn't blog.)

1. PORTRAITS - We were SOOOO overdue for our semi-annual picture adventure to the local photo places. I try and go every May/June (for the girls' birthday pics and four-kid update) and then again in September/October (for the boys' birthday pics and our family holiday picture.) So, it HAD to get done before we left. I headed to portrait innovations and got pics of the girls in their Easter outfits, Mackenzie's baptism dress, and some of the kids and me for Tyler's birthday this week. They turned out cute, and since I spent enough on the "packages" I got the CD, so I'll post the pics soon.

2. CLEANING MY HOUSE - SERIOUSLY? AGAIN? and again? and AGAIN? I think I have put the same toys away fifty ba-dillion times, and the same shoes, and the same sippy cups, and the same EVERYTHING! I HATE coming home to a dirty house, but HATED worse leaving it un-perfect for Tyler. He's so wonderful, though, and it was SOO much cleaner when I got home.

3. MARTENSON FAMILY REUNION - Tyler's family reunion in Park City was enjoyable, as always. We always have the reunion in Park City, Utah and I drove up there with Tyler's dad, brother, and my kids, but no Tyler. Due to Tyler's time-off for France and his super commitment to our ward's Young Men (he had planned a "practice hike" to Mount Charleston to try on their hiking packs.) So, I took the kids and went by myself . . . well, if "by myself" you remember how much my in-laws helped me with my four kiddoes! We did some fun things, and I even managed a late night chat fest with Tyler's aunts (and an uncle). We also went to the ALPINE SLIDES - Part of our reunion trip and SO MUCH FUN! Jared, Mindie, Wade, Brandon, and I took all our kids for the new rollar coaster ride on the alpine slides and it was rockin'. It really zipped and the little cart thing you ride is right on the track. PLUS, for those of you who've hiked your sled to the slides after the ski lift, this coaster ride carries you up the rail right to the start of the coaster. I rode with Caylee and we went as fast as we could, until we caught up to Mindie and Courtney and we paused before we ran into them. Then we finished. It was fun, AND, the snow cones were a nice refreshment. Then there was a KID CARNIVAL - I was supposed to do cute gift bags for this kid carnival the reunion put on, but I didn't, so that's not a huge excuse for not blogging. I did, however, participate in the festivities by eating the yummy BBQ, watching the boys and men play football, tye-dyeing 7 shirts, and holding the crap-load of junk my kids won at the various games. AND, I finished the family history we were asked to do and donates some fleece blankets, burpies and bows, and a scrapbook to the auction.

4. FAMILY HOME EVENING CREPE NIGHT - Video on my next post. You'll see why that took me out of blog contention.

5. NAN's SHOWER INVITES - I had them ready to mail, but to sit down and address them, stamp, and drop them at the post office was a huge feat for some reason. I think they turned out cute, and I got to watch Moulin Rouge (which I had never seen) while doing so.

6. CHRIS'S PAINT PROJECT - SOOO, since we'd been in our house for more than three years all my major projects have been finished. So what's a friend to do when Chris casually mentions she'd like to paint her family room before moving her furniture back into her newly-wooded-floored room. Pshah, yeah, convince Chris we should re-paint her ENTIRE family room and kitchen. And, DEFINITELY bamboozle and pressure her by meeting her at Home Depot and then volunteer a bunch of other women to come and help paint! Love ya, Amy, Robin, and Annilee :) It was worth the two late nights (2am and midnight).

7. DANCE FESTIVAL - So, our stake is doing a youth dance festival. I'm choreographing the "Charleston" for the Priests/Laurels. Actually, I am copying a dance I learned on the dance team when I was a teenager. It'll be a ton of fun. Good thing I was born to dance.

8. MY COMPUTER AND I HAVE ISSUES - Sometimes we give warm fuzzies and fabulous props/results. Other times we trade insults and internet/word processing/printing problems. Thank you, Daniel, for talking us down and giving us therapy and instructions.

9. MICHAEL'S TEMPLE APPOINTMENT - My baby brother went to the temple and that turned out to be an all day affair. By the time we drive across town, went to the temple (we were there early, ya know, in case it was busy), drove through old Henderson to get to Cheesecake Factory (thanks for the detour, MOM!), waited forever, enjoyed a great lunch, and came home it was a 7 hour affair. It was really sweet, and kinda surreal since Michael seems so young to me, yet here he is all grown up!

10. BRYENNA'S BAPTISM - My cousin's little girl was baptized Saturday night, so we joined some of the family for that. It's so fun that there are so many girls my girls' ages. It was fun for Kenzie to go and remember her baptism not so long ago.

11a. DANIEL'S B-DAY PARTY - Add another into the 3-0 club. Stac and I went to the party for a unique and fun experience. It was great to put names with faces and meet Daniel's entourage. Brandi (Ms. Jensen if you're nasty) did a FFFFFABulous job coordinating everything for a surprise weekend for Daniel, and I am glad I could be a part of it.

12. SCOUT CAMP PACKING/PLANNING/SHOPPING/RE-PACKING/MORE SHOPPING - Tyler has been planning a 50 mile hike and this weekend he has been consumed by the preperations. He called me home from the birthday party because he NEEDED to go to Bass Pro Outlets at 8:30pm on Saturday night to get one more pair of hiking socks. WHAT? Whatever.

11b. NEVADA PALACE HANGOVER - I came home to get my kiddos in bed on Saturday and ended up going back to the birthday party to catch up with a mutual friend, Jaime. Me and Jaime (totally sober) ended up eating breakfast with all the partied-out party-goers. I hadn't been back to the hood for a midnight breakfast in a while, and I was feeling it after turning in at 3am after HOURS of catch-up with Jaime.

12. My cousins, Tyler and Christina, blessed their darling little girl, Kierston Ainsley, this weekend. It's hard to get across town too often (we've done better about it this summer), so it was nice to be there to watch Tyler bless his first-born. It made me remember all the times Tyler and played house and were the mom and dad. I can't imagine he gets as exasperated as we would when Erin and Dustin and Nathan and Kourtney were our bratty kids, ESPECIALLY since Kierston is so stinkin' sweet. I didn't hear her make a peep the whole day.

13. A repeat explanation, HARRY POTTER. It was amazing, and yes, I cried. I totally appreciated the epilogue. I don't want to ruin it for those who have yet to partake, but it is so worth spending a day in the jammies, rushing to finish the laundry, letting the kids eat crap all day, and/or staying parked in the bathroom til you finish the chapter. LOVED it!

and finally, 14. I have a to-do list of blogs and sometimes I get hung-up on how I can't blog other stuff until I get the to-do's blogs done. So, be careful about the to-do issues and blogs. SOOO, as a preview of coming blogs I am planning on posting our France video, a shout-out to Jenn for her 30th, several rants and raves, and a tribute to Jill (pa-lease, don't deny you check, just in case I've followed through with my threat!) So . . . stay tuned. Thanks for not dumping me as a dead blog.

I have survived

Dear Readers,
I have now checked off my to-do list the final requirement before I was allowed to blog. There's been several things on my list, and,YES, I have finally finished the last Harry Potter book. It was a priveledge and honor. Tomorrow, I will blog more, a real post, and finally be able to talk and analyze about the "Deathly Hallows."
Good night,