Friday, April 30, 2010

Human Answering Machine

Yesterday I called the boys in from playing in the backyard to take a bath. (Actually, a shower--they were too dirty for a bath.)

"We don't want to!" they whined.

But they trudged upstairs anyway, grabbing toys along the way.

Harrison hopped in with his Lego guys. But Cameron "hid" behind the bedroom door.

"Cameron . . . " I warned. "I see you. Come on."

Then I heard him say this:

"Cameron Jones is not available right now. Please leave a message. Beep!"

Boy, did he have the timing and delivery right on that one! We all laughed and laughed.

(All the way to the shower.)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Beauty for Ashes

Yesterday an 8th-grader was killed while riding his bike to school. Our hearts go out to the boy's family and to the driver of the vehicle. It was truly and accident--but a tragedy nonetheless. Life can change in the blink of an eye.

Nathaniel was a friend of Tyce's. He even said to me, "It's weird because I just saw him in Friday. He said, 'Hey, what's up' and I said, 'Not much' in the hallway. I can't believe he's just gone."

Yesterday was a hard day at school for the whole student body.

Sometimes horrible events make you ask the big questions in life: Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going?

And that reflection can lead to something good.

Yesterday we had the missionaries over for dinner. I asked them to give a spiritual thought on the Plan of Salvation. We read some scriptures in the Book of Mormon about death and the promise of resurrection.

Later that night our next door neighbor boys came over. They are in 6th an 7th grades and have begun to come to church with us. The three of them went to "the jumps" to ride their dirt bikes. A while later Tyce burst through the door excitedly and said, "Mom, we've been talking about the spirit world this whole time! They had a lot of questions about eternal families and the gospel. I've been answering their questions the best I can and they want to come over on Sunday afternoon and read the Book of Mormon with me for an hour."

Well, how awesome is that?????

It seems that broken hearts can be the most teachable hearts.

How blessed I feel to have a son who can bear his testimony of the hope that comes through Jesus Christ.

In some small way I hope that through the tremendous loss of this classmate, the comfort of gospel truths will breathe New Life into three wonderful young men.

Like beauty for ashes.

Our prayers for peace and comfort are with these families.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Pretty Pretty Princess

Oh Harrison. Why are you Mary's favorite person to dress up?

Besides putting her new Easter dress on him, she also painted his nails and made him a foil necklace, bracelet, crown, and shoes.

Mary also taught him to sing like a princess. It was very . . . uh, nice.

Yeah, if "nice" is code for disturbing. Just kidding. I'm reading Bryce's mind!

This get-up lasted about 2 minutes. Then they were all back outside building mud forts (and they got so dirty you wouldn't even notice those pink-painted nails).

But I like those foil shoes . . . I may have to borrow those.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Super Mommy?

Do you do fun crafts with your kids? Do you make holidays special?

Um. No you don't. You are lame.

That's how you'll feel after reading this blog: Secrets of a Super Mommy.

I have never been so inspired and ashamed at the same time.

If you'll excuse me, I'm off to go recycle my milk cartons into a chandelier. Or put vinyl lettering on my kids' underwear. Something.

Actually, never mind.

(You know I'll be doing good to get myself a shower.)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Alex Boye Concert!

On Monday Tyce and I attended the Alex Boye concert. He's a singer, but more than that he is an ENTERTAINTER! He had us laughing all night. Alex is a member of the Mormon Tabernacle choir, in which he described himself as a piece of black licorice in a sea of marshmallows. This concert included a tribute to Motown (I believe Tyce's favorite song was "Ain't No Mountian High Enough") and many popular songs like "Billy Jean" by Michael Jackson. He also performed several original songs. We were lucky enough to have super-close seats and we could actually feel his energy!

He also told an inspiring story that really touched me, and I think also touched Tyce. When Alex was 18 he had a band. He and two guys played lots of gigs in his native London and Alex used the money to save up for his mission. He idolized MC Hammer and dreamed of one day opening for him. Alex and his band had one last gig before being schedule to report to the Missionary Training Center--and they were on fire that night. After the performance Alex started to pack up when his bandmates their manager started freaking out, jumping up and down with exciting news. MC Hammer's people had seen the group and wanted them to open for MC Hammer, and even manage their group!!! His friends said, "NOW I know you'll give up that silly mission idea!"

Alex couldn't believe his dream was coming true! He screamed and jumped and down with his bandmates, hugging and laughing at their good fortune. But then the words of his mission call came to his mind: You are hereby called to serve and leave all your worldly cares behind.

His jumping slowed. He told the guys he was still serving a mission for the Lord--and he was leaving next week. He wouldn't be doing the show. As you can imagine, his friends were livid. They screamed that he was blowing his chance and that this opportunity would never come around again.

Well, Alex did serve his 2-year-mission. When he returned he had a very successful career with the British band "Awesome." After several years he left that life and changed his focus to gospel music and moved to Utah.

In 2007 Alex got a call from the events coordinator at Utah Valley University. A big-name performer was coming to do a concert and wanted Alex to open for him.

It was MC Hammer.

Almost 20 years later he finally opened for MC Hammer--and had the time of his life.

Sacrifice is giving up something good for something better, Alex said.

Going on his mission was the most important decision he'd ever made. And how much sweeter it was to have his dream come true knowing he'd done what the Lord wanted first.

An MC Hammer-signed concert shirt hangs in his house now so he can tell the story to anyone who asks.

How cool is that?

That is one of many reasons why I love Alex Boye.

A great singer, an awesome performer, and a role model for my children: we love Alex!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Talent Show with Special Visitor

Ohhhhh boy. I'm here. I haven't gone AWOL, so don't worry. I've just been busy (mostly the good kind of busy).

Last week the junior high had a talent show, and Tyce was in it! I admire anyone who can get up on stage in front on their peers and do their "thing," don't you? There were singers, dancers, and instrumentalists (and even two cute boys who did animal calls). Tyce's friend Spencer played a classical piece on the piano, and Azure played the guitar AND sang an adorable song I'd never heard before. Such talents at such a young age!

Tyce sang the Chris Brown song "With You" and he did great. I miss his high voice though . . . he had to sing this song an octave lower! I guess I'd assumed he'd be a tenor but it looks like he's shaping up to be a bass.

This is the only picture I took, because my camera doesn't fare well in low-light settings. He got his fedora back (after it being confiscated by a teacher) just in time for the performance.

My brother had a conference in town (where he delivered a mighty fine presentation) and he was able to make it to the talent show!

Since it was late-ish when we returned home the twins had a snack and were off to bed. Dave showed me the wonders of his new camera (Canon s90). It does well in low-light settings. I am officially jealous. It also takes really great up-close pictures, and the older kids had fun with that.

Great job on the talent show, Tyce! I love you, Dave! Thanks for visiting us!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Birthday Redux

I had a birthday, shout hooray!

The weird thing is I don't feel older. I mean, it's been 18 years now since I've been 18! Are you kidding me? I'm pretty sure that's not possible. I feel like I just finished up my senior year last week.

Do you ever feel melancholy around your birthday? Like you don't want all the attention on you? Part of me wanted to snap out of it, and part of me wanted to wallow in it so I could sing, "Crappy Birthday to You." (Mostly for pun's sake.) But then I was like, What is your problem? You get yourself out there and have a good day, missy.

So I did.

Bryce was kind enough to take the day off so that I could do what I wanted. I ran some errands, ate lunch at Jason's Deli, got a massage at Massage Envy (courtesy of my sils Kim and Heather!), got a pedi, bought some cute glass eggs at Pier 1 . . . and just did my own thing. I can't remember the last time I had a whole day like that. I needed time to recharge--alone. Serenity now.

Good thing I'd enjoyed my quiet time because the moment I stepped into the house I was bombarded with a party-licious party!

Cameron really wanted to get the same cake that we had for baby Xochi's blessing. Just so you know, those  star-shaped candles couldn't even stay lit from the counter to the table. But they sure look cute, eh?

 I got these gorgeous flowers from the kids!

A wonderful gift I received was a journal with special birthday messages from Bryce and the kids. That pretty much made my day!

I felt very loved from the family, and also from my wonderful extended family and my friends. Thank you for making my birthday so great! Here's to a great year for us all.

Monday, April 12, 2010

New Recipe Blog

The title says it all.

You should come check it out!

Do you like cooking blogs? Would you read mine if I updated it every once in a while?

I have recipes for two of my Easter dishes posted.

And that's pretty much my big news of the day.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Spring Break

You know when you wait a little too long to write, and then when you have to catch up it seems overwhelming? You do? Awesome. We will muddle through our life's chronicles together.

Spring break was the week before Easter and to be honest, I was dreading it. Time off for the kids means big time work for the mom, at least at our house. And when I say work, I mean more emotional than anything else; my roles as police chief, banker, mediator, and psychologist overshadow the "funner" role of cruise director. And I am a fairly good cruise director, if I do say so myself.

But I was oh, so happy to be wrong. I guess the blustery March winds brought good attitudes with them, because this was the best spring break I could have imagined with an 8th grader, a 4th grader, and two preschoolers.

I had two main agendas: to have a one-on-one outing with each child, and to do Easter devotionals and activities every day. Then we'd fill in with friends, swimming, and stuff like that. And for the most part, things worked out. And people were happy! It was an Easter miracle.

1. Outings with Mom

Cameron accompanied me to the car wash and then out for frozen yogurt. He is my little Ninja.

Tyce had breakfast with me at IHOP and then went to the grocery store, where he was most helpful.

Mary chose to go to Subway for lunch. She talked to Bryce on the phone about legal matters and really wished he would sue somebody (anybody).

Harrison got gypped because I wasn't feeling well on our special day, so we had to move it. However, this meant that Cam came along since the older kids were at a movie (Clash of the Titans). Harrison was a good sport and didn't mind sharing--I guess sharing is built in when you're a twin. We went to Whole Foods.

And then rode the carousel!

I really enjoyed my (mostly) one-on-one times with the kids and appreciate that they were all willing to spend time with me.

2. Catapult

Tyce and his friend Gonzalo built a catapult from plans Bryce downloaded from the internet. They worked hard and spent pretty much all day on it. They launched golf balls at the park, because what good is a catapult if you can't launch stuff?

While the boys were perfecting their aim, Mary and the twins hunted ladybugs.

3. Movies

We saw "How to Train Your Dragon" with the Marchant kids. I thought I would just endure the film but I actually loved it! The kids were very well-behaved. It could be because I supplied them with candy. When I took the Marchant boys back home they sing-songed, "Mom, can we have a dragon? Pleeeeeeease!" just like I told them to. And then I quickly ran back to my mini-van.

4. Easter festivities at the park

I like doing Easter baskets on a day other than Easter Sunday. We went to the park and I thought I might be clever and even hide some eggs there. Yes, I know. Not clever. But I promise, when I started hiding them there was no one else around! One little boy became our best friend for the day, as you can imagine.

It was a nice day to hang out, though some of us do not like our pictures to be taken by the parental paparazzi.

5. Jerusalem Dinner

This is something I was really excited about, and it turned out well. On Saturday night (after Conference and before the men left for Priesthood) we had a meal with foods that Jesus might have eaten: fish, olives, grapes, unleavened bread (matzos), goat's milk cheese, and cantaloupe. We sat on the floor and talked about customs of the time, and why some people recognized Jesus as their savior and king, and why some who were looking for an earthly king to free them from bondage, did not.

6. Easter Eggs

While the men were gone on Saturday night, the kids dyed their eggs. (Tyce did his after he returned.)

7. Easter Feast

After General Conference on Sunday we had our special meal: ham, potato/sweet potato bake, green salad, deviled eggs, and fruit pizza. The best thing was the fruit pizza . . . oh my deliciousness.

So that about sums up our spring break. It was a lot of work for me but good attitudes and pleasant people made it all worthwhile! I love you, Tyce, Mare, Cam, and Hare!

And now . . . off to school with you.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Rebecca's Birthday!

Today is Rebecca's birthday!  She is taking the day off to recharge, and boy does the engine that makes our family go need some rest after Spring Break.

She does a great job of making every day special--that's big work when they are home all week and in each other's business.

I asked Cameron what he loved best about his mom:

Cameron:  She has good care!

Me:  Do you mean good hair?

Cam:  No, she takes good care of us, because she has a loving heart.

I had to take a different approach with Harrison to get an answer:

Me: Harrison, when mom isn't home what do you miss the most?

Harrison: Feeling safe...

I don't know what that says about me, but since this is Rebecca's day I won't go there.

Easter must have put Jesus on the boy's minds, because when I told them that we would be getting Rebecca's cake today, Cameron said, "Yeah, a Batman Cake!"  But Harrison corrected him saying, "NO, not for mom, she would probably like a Jesus cake." Then when we talked about gifts, Harrison suggested a Jesus picture.

I think that it's great that they know how important the Savior is to Rebecca.  Leading up to Easter (which was Spring Break for our kids), Rebecca prepared and did a devotional every day for the kids.  I thought that they (particularly the big kids) would be resistant, but each one participated and enjoyed the lesson or activity.

I know that Rebecca is so much more than a mother--she's a humorist, a blogger, a wife, a sister, a daughter, a mad chef, a best friend, a Young Women's President, and so much more--but having children who feel loved, safe and know the value of Jesus Christ says depths about her character.

I love you Rebecca!