Thursday, April 26, 2012

In Other News

I have a new favorite song: He Loves Me, performed by Katherine Nelson and Jessi Osmond. It is the first track on "Live What I Know: Honoring the Values of Young Women" and the 10th on the CD "Shine: Songs for Youth 2012". I'd like to get Mary to sing it with me but the song may be a little difficult for a first performance. Sometimes I wish Tyce were still a child-voiced soprano instead of a manly bass. (Remember when he sang the descant on "Beautiful Savior" when he was 11? That went all the way up to the A above the staff!)

Also, as part of my initiative to change things up I signed up for a yoga class. However, I really disliked it; the teacher was just okay (she didn't model the poses, which I found strange) and the classroom was the dance room--hardwood floors, lots of light, and a full wall of mirrors. The last thing you want when the mantra is "let go, don't worry about how you look" is to see a full-length reflection of yourself twisting awkwardly in the mirror. I was hoping to have the same awesome teacher I'd had before in the same dark, padded room as before. Bryce said, "Well, you tried living life to the fullest. Too bad it didn't work out."

He is so funny.

So instead I'm going to Old Navy.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Team Building Exercise

Bryce had the twins pick out outfits for each other to wear to church. They were very excited to find the necessary components but then embellished their ensembles with hats and various weaponry.

Cameron outfits Iron Man for the Sabbath. Harrison prepares a ninja to get his religion on.

When it came time to get dressed they were a little disappointed to not get to wear the "accessories" chosen for them but I will say, they did look quite handsome that day.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Do Blondes Have More Fun?

Ask Tyce.

He bleached his hair just to do something different. Every time I look at him I do a double take even though I'm the one who lightened it. That's quite a change, right? He couldn't stand to keep the bleach on any longer so a more accurate color description may be "yellow." I think he would do well to shave his head and then try the blonde again. But he likes it, and as Bryce and I keep saying, "It's just hair." Besides, what can Bryce really say about self-expression since he's still sporting his ginormous beard?

Friday, April 20, 2012

What I'm Thinking About

Had a great visit with my friend Denalee about life and what to do with it. She is an amazing person--so full of energy and light. I still don't know exactly what I want but I have resolved to do one thing--earn my Young Woman medallion again. In doing all of the value experiences and ten 10-hour projects I'm sure to find personal fulfillment in forward movement. Denalee was one of the ladies honored for earning her medallion last night (as were several exemplary young women, and two lovely "old" women--one of them was 82!) and I was inspired to work on the program with my 12-year-old Mary.

Here are some things I am pondering:

•  Getting a masters in social work or counseling psychology
•  Becoming a street performer (like at the Venetian)
•  Hiring a personal trainer
•  Moving somewhere exotic
•  Getting a reliable office job to build up our savings, OR
•  Running up a huge credit card debt to do whatever the heck I want


Part of me says, "Be responsible, live within your means, and save for a rainy day. You could live to be 100."

The other part says, "Live your passion, throw caution to the wind, and take a risk! Who knows how long you have left?"

If I could meld those two voices into one super mantra I'd know what to do. Probably.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Sometimes I just want to shake things up, make a change, see/do/make/be something different. Do you ever feel that way?

Had a great visit with my brother from California yesterday. I think talking to him made me kind of see things in a different light and from another perspective. He got me thinking about myself and life and how I want to live it, who I am and who I want to become. Just normal conversations but he's got a way of making me think. He's a pretty wise guy for a little brother.

Also, he took me to lunch at Fausto's. Word.

David came to Tyce's volleyball game. He's an awesome uncle.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Friday Confessional

After I teach seminary I am beat. But I have two hours between my return home (7 a.m.) and the boys' start of school (9 a.m.) When the twins start their morning squabbling and bickering I think I must feel like someone who's spent a hard night partying. My head hurts, the sun's too bright, the voices are too loud, and every little "Mooooom!" chips away at my sanity. More than once I have threatened to take them to school super early and chuck their shoes out the car window as I drive away.

Today is one of those days.

Even though Bryce substituted for my class (since my team teacher is out of town). I was not surprised to hear him report that my class was a challenge. He said, "If they had any interest in learning or had anything germane to contribute, it would be easier." Ah, indeed. I thought my morning would be a piece of cake in comparison just getting the big kids up and off to school but I have a new appreciation for what Bryce does while I'm gone. That Mare....she is a challenge as well.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Peter! Peter!

On Saturday we got a most pleasant surprise. Our friends Dan and Toni called to say their family was staying the night at the Hard Rock and invited us to swim at the hotel pool. Since they live in California we don't often see them but when we's our own version of a family reunion.

Peter was among our very first foster kids when we moved to Casa. He was the 2-year-old cutie who was Tyce's buddy. We were so happy when Peter found a forever family in Dan and Toni, who are wonderful parents and just awesome people. Amazingly, a few years ago the boys met up at Scout camp which reignited their brotherly bond.

It is such a joy to see Peter doing so well. He's the same little guy in so many ways, just grown up.

Peter's in 9th grade and Tyce is in 10th.

Dan and Toni also have a really cool foreign exchange student from Rome. I didn't get a picture of him but he was really nice. So the three boys swam for a while (until Tyce couldn't stand the cold) and then they played pool, as in billiards. Our other three kids braved the chilly water and then buried themselves on the sandy "beach."

Handsome boys.

It was so nice to catch up with fellow adoptive parents about the unique challenges we face. There's no judgement, just validation and understanding. As much as I value and appreciate my friends, there's nothing like being able to open up to people who really know where you're coming from.

Afterwards we all went out to eat at Sweet Tomatoes. Tyce had planned to do parkour at the gym with some buddies and he invited Peter and Jacob (the exchange student) to go with him. Jacob was sore from hiking but Peter was game to go.

Tyce introduced him to his friends as his brother--"because it just seemed easier that way." I think that's really how he feels about Peter, that he's his family, his brother.

The boys loved parkour! Tyce even took a video of Peter doing a backflip into the foam pit (which Tyce posted to facebook). What a great evening it was all around. I'm so glad we got to spend time with this fine young man and his dear parents. We love you, Peter!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Spring Break in Utah

We went to Utah from Saturday till Wednesday. It was a blast!

1. General Conference with Lauren
Tyce met Lauren at his first EFY two years ago and they've been good friends ever since. She lives in Colorado but spent her spring break with friends and relatives in Utah. Since our vacations overlapped they were able to spend a little time together.

It rained/snowed on Sunday afternoon!

Tyce and I before it started.

It was a great session.

There they go after Conference!

Even on a very gray day the Angel Moroni shines through the branches.

I'm glad I got to meet Lauren--she is a very sweet girl.

2.The Aquarium, City Creek Mall, and ice skating
Lauren was able to spend the next day with us as well. She got quite the introduction to our family--Harrison and Mary were particularly focused on impressing her.

Petting the manta ray.

Hey hey! Cam's taller than an emperor penguin!

Tyce and Mary liked the tree frogs.

The otter habitat.

Super cute kids.
We went to the new City Creek mall downtown when it was just a week old. That place was packed!

Harrison is so cute--I said I wanted a picture together and Harrison reached up to smooch me!

As we left Lauren was escorted by two of the finest young gentlemen around.

None of our kids had ever ice skated (except Tyce when he was a toddler) and I was super impressed by how well they did.

There go Lauren and Tyce!

When they got tired Mary and Cam just plopped down on the ice to rest.

It was a pleasure to spend time with Lauren and she's welcome to hang out with our family any time!

3. Easter Egg Hunt
Grandma Judy always does a great job in preparing this fun activity for her grandkids.

Kira, age 5.

Kess, age 9.

Natasha, age 1 1/2.

They got lots of goodies.

Cameron and Harrison.

Betsie had to be fast to catch a good shot of her speedy toddler!

Bryce and Katie--she loved running after the kids. We even found her sitting with a blue egg between her paws!

Kids in the garden.

Katie "helped" Mary find stuff.

We sure do love Grandma.

The Jones grandkids....Holla! All we were missing was Ben.

4. Quality time with Grandpa Al
Mary and the twins planted seeds for the garden with Grandpa, and also hunted for shark's teeth.

It was so nice to spend part of spring break in Utah. Other activities included Tyce seeing Wrath of the Titans with Uncle Andy; Grandpa, Bryce, and the big kids eating at the Bombay House; and going to the BYU Bookstore, where Mary declared that this is where she wants to go to college(!).

Sunday, April 8, 2012


Christ the Lord is ris'n today! Allelujah! I love the hymns we sing of the Resurrection. I am so grateful for the hope we have in Easter--that promise that we will live again after we leave this earth.

We had a lovely day at church and at home.

Easter baskets at the breakfast table.

Egg casseroles, blueberry muffins, and grapes.

The table set for dinner after church. Too bad we had to eat and mess up this arrangement.

The kids after church--Cameron, Mary, Tyce, and Harrison.

Watch out, girls.

Cameron has the power.

Gorgeous Mary and our beloved Katie. I love this picture.

Salads on the table.

Our Easter feast.

Cupcakes for dessert.

We dyed Easter eggs on Saturday. Tyce doesn't like hard-boiled eggs (and let me finish coloring his allotted dozen) but the other kids acted as if they had been deprived of the delicacies all year. They each tried to eat three on Saturday--I stopped them at two.

We got 12 dye tabs in our PAAS box!

Taking a blue bath.

Cam counting his finished product. Yep, there are still 12.

Harrison loved making 2-toned eggs.

Mary named each of hers, of course.

Tyce thinks he's a little old for this but I say you're NEVER too old!