Thursday, March 29, 2012

While daddy's away (Episode 1)

Last weekend while Ben was down in Utah, doing important work things....
and getting to listen to this guy:

Me and the boys practiced being daddy-less.
We've gotten pretty good at it. A groove of sorts.

So here's how we did it, this time.

First, we ignored the giant bag of Cheerios spilled in the playroom  (easy-access snacks, right?)

 Then mommy spent the evening watching her latest TV love. Not exactly Ben's first pick:)

In the morning (think I only got up 5 or 6 times) we rolled outta bed,
into the van and ate oreos for breakfast on the way to  Grandma Bowen.

 with only a few picture stops along the way.

Me and my dad ran into the Temple. 

While the boys did fun things at Grandma's,

like line up chickens???

After lunch we popped in on our friends the Oviatts, who have the most amazing little basket of toys. Always seems like there's something "new"(lots of the toys are older than me) to discover in it.
But the castle is still the undisputed favorite.

McKye discovered Sheldon's acting skills and giggled with delight watching him dramatically die a couple dozen times, from his "pew pew" gun shots.

 Then it was off to the Glenwood school hill for some sledding!!! (and picture taking, of course )

His ski-hill-"smoulder"

Until everyone was just tuckered right out
                                       No really, REALLY tuckered out

 It was a good day. 
After hugs and thank you's to grandma and stoping in on my good friends birthday party
we were on our way home, ready for daddy to return in the middle of the night, excited to tell him of all our adventures in the morning.

On the drive I kept looking back at my kids in the rear view mirror and lyrics from a Josh Groban song kept coming to my mind.

...sometimes it's more than just enough
When all that you need to love
Is in front of your eyes.

Right there in that mirror was reflected back my world. The three little things I love more than anything in this world, all strapped in ready to go with their mamma wherever she decided--trusting me to show them the world, one Saturday of sledding at a time.

Monday, March 26, 2012

"Red kites"

I few weeks ago now, I went and saw "We Bought  Zoo."

It was such a great film, one that made you just wanna live life more, and especially love better.

I would be lying if I didn't say I wasn't an emotional mess through the whole thing; imagining myself dying, and Ben and my boys having to go on in life without me.

The dad in the film is so wonderful at trying to keep the mom "alive" for his kids, in helping them remember things about her or things she loved. 

Like red kites. 
Opening day of the zoo (opps spoiler alert) 
they fly red kites. Loved it.

Now seeing as Ben's total left brainess 
(logical, sequential, rational, objective) has to compensate for my total right brainess (random, intuitive, holistic, synthesizing, subjective). Opposites attract, and we're a both kinda extreme--at least together we kinda get a "whole" brain.

So while my Benny loves me to pieces, 
he's far from the "gooshy" type (believe me I've tried).

Where am I going with these ramblings?

Basically, I'm not sure Ben could identify my "red kites". 
As much as he loves me, that type of subtle detail can allude him the way numbers jump outta my brain. 

So incase I die kids(yup, I'm going there!), 
these are the things your mamma loved:

-Your dad. He was the love of my life. He taught me I was worth obsessing over, worth pursuing, worth having.  He was my security, the calm constant in my world of ever flowing feelings and never-ending thoughts. He was my comfort and my quiet reassurance. He filled in my lacks, so very well. And I may have helped a bit with his. He was my place that I was known  well enough, there was no need to hid or pretend. He's the only one who knows the secret of how to elicit a certain out-of-my-control laugh that makes me feel ridiculous but oh so free. He made me realize that eventually two people can be so much a part of one another it's unimaginable that you could have ever existed apart, nor would you ever want to.  He was my Benny, and even writing that in past tense makes my heart plunge.

-I loved my kids. Was nigh on obsessed.
My senses craved you: your cuddles, the way your ever grownign bodies would always find ways to settle into my own elbow nooks and softer spots, moments where we'd just look at each other and both knew you belonged to me. My hands could never feel enough of your perfect skin and pudgy thighs. My lips could not resist covering your cheeks and ears and foreheads, noses, eyelids, belly buttons and toes with kisses, determined to transfer my infactuation from my brimming heart through your little bodies into your souls.

But then those are the obvious ones. Daddy could tell you how much I love you because he loves you too, in that crazy God endowed mommy-daddy way. 
Back to the red-kites...

I prefered rocky shored lakes to sandy beached ocean fronts, anyday.

I loved little flowers from pasture ditches more than elaborate bouqets. 

I loved berries on snowy branches. 

I loved tree leaves that turned brillant red then deep purple in fall. 
But I loved the yellow ones too. 
Spring and Autumn were always trying to teach my the subtle beauty of change, and for their persistance they were beloved best.

I loved lying under Chirstmas trees (especially grandma Bowen's because she always had coloured lights)

I loved the stars in Glenwood (there different-- trust me)

I loved the love that lingers in graveyards. 

I loved cookie dough but hated baking cookies. Hello! it ruins perfectly good dough!

I loved brown sugar. Held the magic of a sandcastle right in your kitchen. White sugar had "no scope for the imagination".

I loved Anne with an "e". She informed my girlhood in such lovely ways.

I could never believe how many people don't like tomatoes! 

I loved moving to music (I think I always wanted to be a dancer, but I was never brave enough, so I ran, drove and cleaned to music instead)

I loved songs with electric guitars mixed with soaring strings.

I loved taking photos. I could never really enjoy anything until I had a camera in my hand. 
I loved how it helped me see life.

I loved pearls. So much more than diamonds. They're the "brunetts" of gems. More classy than flashy. I know I need to start buying some "real jewellery" but the cheap stuff's seems just as pretty.

I loved walking barefoot. Always have. It's best on squishy melty roads (again found in Glenwood, where they'll never splurge for real pavement) or wet long grass in the rain, preferable under drippy leaved trees.

I loved GOOD friendships. And was very impatient waiting for potential friendships to move through all the preliminary stages before you could get the good deep, comfortable, close ones.

I loved learning. Nothing gave me quite as much joy as reading a well written passage or phrase that made me think of something in a whole new way.

I loved the gospel. I could write pages (and much of these very blogposts and my other journals attest to the fact) of my gratitude for the gospel of Jesus Christ in my life. There was very little I would encounter in life that I would not trace back to a gospel principle or doctrine. It connected all truth, no matter where I happened upon it. I came out of many a movie with long metaphors for the gospel and I'd ask your dad, "Didn't you think about that." And he'd look at me life "of course I didn't...I was just watching a movie!" I knew the gospel had ALL the answers if I could just study it out enough. And it does. 
It is everything. Anything worth anything is a part of our Heavenly Father's plan for His children. Frustration and grief crept in the moment I tried to live life not solidly planted on that foundation. Peace and hope flooded in the moment I turned back to the Lord and asked Him to come with me on my journey.

I know God lives. I know He loves us. I know He can make "all things work together for good" as we love Him back.

Pages. I could write pages. 

But instead, I'll shift gears and jot down a few of your dad's red-kites.

He loves opening a fresh bag of chips as we start out on a road trip. 

He loved people relating funny stories and would often laugh so hard, little tears would squeeze out the corners of his eyes... watching your dad laugh at something made you enjoy it even more.

He hated holey socks and detested mildewy towels.

He made the best mash potatoes in the world. I'm not even exaggerating.

He loved him his meats. Like your mamma loved her veggies. We had pretty different tastes (he did get me up to medium salsa:)

He ate cornflakes as a snack...not sure if he loved it...he just wanted anything crunchy. he loved corn nuts. The harder the crunch the better.

He loved to sing. Although he didn't care as much for performing. When he was a teenager he'd harmonize with the vacuum cleaner. He'd also use the family karaoke machine to put songs in higher and higher keys to see if he could hit the high notes without falsetto. On his mission, his companions would always think their voices "blended so well together!" Heck, I thought that..but really it's just him. 

He loved his friends. He is so extremely loyal and rarely saw the need for new friends, because he always made sure his old friends were close by, ready to entertain him and make sure he didn't get too serious about life.

He loved doing our fianances. Planning and researching different options to help make your futures full of opportunity.

He loved getting things done. 
Was so organized and efficient. Diligent. 

He didn't like it, but I always made him call customer support because he just could make it work...he wasn't smoozy but he just made people want to find a solution. 

He was so good at coming up with solutions 

He was so willing to sacrifice and give to his family(us and his siblings), it was just automatic in him. He grew up giving and doing for others, putting their needs before his own. It was the first thing that attracted me to him.

He loved the gospel too. In his always diligent way. I'd have stacks of church material all over-- Ensigns, manuals--he preferred reading out a simple blue Book of Mormon. It seemed like he was always finishing up Moroni and headed right back into 1 Nephi again. He knew the names and chronologies so much better than me. I always knew if he'd gotten distracted from scripture study, he wasn't himself. I believe the calm, quiet strength of your father was partly a gift for his diligence in studying the Book of Mormon.

His testimony was clear and direct, just like him. The Lord would sometimes help him embellish a bit when he gave me Priesthood blessings, gave him words to communicate to his complicated, convoluted wife. But he always help me get back to the simplicity of the gospel and the doing (when I'd be tempted to just talk about it).

He loved me. I know I was a challenge for him. We thought so differently. But he demonstrated his love in his service to me, and because of that, when he told me he loved me, I believed him.

Oh and how he loved you. 
The saddest I've EVER seen your father was when he imagined us dying and Aaron not understanding where we went.

I think he sorta thought, having been such a "father-figure" for his younger siblings, especially the three youngest girls, that fatherhood wasn't gonna shock him, that he kinda already "got it"  having experienced it to a degree. I read in his journal (cuz I'm snoopy like that) a few weeks after Aaron was born where he described how overwhelmed he was by how much love and joy he felt being with his child. 

He always cared what each of you wanted. He was so good at not putting any expectations on any of you. He would just follow your lead. He would carry you as babies round the house letting you point which way you wanted to go. 
That was the type of dad he was. He would let you be you, uninhibited by pre-concieved notions of what you ought to be. That was a great lesson he was always teaching me.

Find a spouse you can learn from. Love and learning are both things that can just keep going!

Kinda like this here blog-post. 
Who knew all that was gonna come out of a night at the Movie Mill!

It's been strange writing this in past tense. Didn't even realize I was till half way through. 
Ben and I have been trying to arrange our will, which has proven not as straight forward with Aaron's special and likely on-going needs.

Ben'll make sure all the money stuff gets worked out. 
But I'm the words girl. I want to leave pieces of us. 

Just pieces. 

Little red kite reminders that love is all that really remains.

Skin! Washable Skin!

If you didn't sing that title to the tune of Oliver's Food, glorious food, go back and read/sing it again.

The laundry, due to McKye's continued potty training, has been rather hefty as of late. 
I detest unfolded laundry and try not to wash anymore than I'm willing to fold and put away. 
I'm a fast folder-- can fold a whole basket in the time my dear precise husband manages a couple towels ("bless his heart" would be the correct term to rescind me of any husband bashing accusations, correct? Hey, he takes out the garbage like a champ! I'll take it)
Okay, back to me being a wicked-fast-foldin-machine. 
Kids loads are the worst! They take forever!!! All those little articles of clothing that are so easily crammed into my accommodating front loader. 

I try to get McKye to "help" me put them away, which results in Levi "helping" too.  I've learned to reserve these trainings for times I'm feeling especially patient (aka not very often). 

Today, having finally got around to emptying my full to max iPhone of photos, I noticed a little trend in Levi's attire or lack thereof.

When did I stop dressing my child?

But then, to combat the encroaching mommy-guilt,  I quickly thought of all the benefits of his diaper claud galavanting.

Number one of the list? Washability.

God make skin marvellously washable. 
And for that, today I'm feeling very grateful. 

He had so much fun squishing the pudding in his little fist as it squirted in ever direction. 

Toothpaste doubled for body paint today.
I'm pretty sure McKye actually did most of the painting, he just framed his little brother by handing him the brush.

And so, for now, I think we'll just keep hangin' out in diapers.

Monday, March 19, 2012


Everyone was already loaded in the car. 
Ready to go. Except Levi, who was in his carseat shoeless.

I'd been in and out for the umpteenth (not sure what number that is exactly, but I' sure that's how many times Id gone back in the house for this or that) and still the missing shoe had not turned up.

McKye is calling out instructions from his cars seat throne, 
"Train li-BREE,  maw-MEE! Train li-BREE" 

(Doesn't it stinks that inorder to motivate kids to get in the car you hafta to tell them where you're going, and they're always seem so paranoid you'll forget. Every 3 minutes of the hour long car ride to mine or Ben's mom's the dictator in the five-point harness yells "Grandma's house!!!! Grandma's house!!!)

"We just need Levi's shoes, buddy, then I promise, we're on our way to the library to see the train." (and get mom's hold that she was unable to get last time because she showed up wallet-less)

The only problem I was out of places to look. 

"Then why dont' you pray." The Spirit gently suggested.

McKye gets that we pray-- as a mealtime preliminary, or a bedtime preamble--- but I've been wondering if he is grasping the whole concept of talking to Heavenly Father.

Perfect opportunity.  In my best story from the Friend voice, I say "McKye, why don't we say a little prayer and ask heavenly Father to help us find Levi's shoe?"

"Okay," whatever you say mom, as long as sometime soon I get to see a train.

I say a quick little prayer and then...

...I panicked!

I'm fine with the Lord not answering my prayers. I know enough about "according to His will" and other clauses, like my own lack of faith, that prevent our petitions from being granted exactly in the way or time-table we'd like.

But this was my child's blossoming faith on the line! What if... 

and there it was, the shoe. In the very closet I'd scoured only moments before
A tender mercy with Velcro clasps.

 Was it about finding a silly shoe?
Gee, nope. It was about me finding out more about faith.

Because I realized all the mind games of "Am I doubting?" or "Do I have enough faith?" only complicate something very simple.

Asking Heavenly Father for help and believing that He will,
because He loves us.
Trusting, just like a child.

He may not always answer our prayers in less than a minute, but today He did.
He must know that's about the limit of McKye's attention span.

Oh, and we made it to the library.

..some of us a little tired, but we made it.

PS I tried to have McKye help me tell this story at FHE tonight. Total flop. Took like ten prompts just to get him to say shoe. When I said "did we find it? "He said, with a super sad face, shaking his head, "Nope, we nevered." I was like, "Yes we did!" So much for our Friend worthy life.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Day light savings: Pro-Con

By the time we figured out it was day-light-savings, we had 15 mintues to get ready for church. We were only 10 minutes late. Not too bad, considering Ben and I both still showered.

We can start enjoying evenings at the park again.
(and by "enjoying" I of course mean taking instagram pics:)