Monday, April 21, 2014

Spring Break Surprises

Spring break ushered in a week of beautiful weather. All the neighborhood kids were home so we did minimal schoolwork. Warm weather and friends meant it was time to play a bit. I invited kids over to do water bottle rockets and share a treat. We had root beer floats and a blast shooting bottles up into the sky. The water is pretty cold from the garden hose so I added some hot water from the sink to take the edge off.

We also went to the park a lot and I caught this sweet little scene on the grass. Harry went to Noelle, who was on a blanket, and was holding her, cuddling her, and kissing her. She was pretty tired so she wasn't too keen on the kissing. But she sure loves her big brother Harry.

I just love this candid moment I captured of Zach with Noelle. He just loves her and slathers her with kisses and attention. Precious moment.

We got some last minute visitors Friday night. Nordel and Brooke came up with their kids to attend a funeral. Brooke's grandfather passed away. They left the kids with us and attended the wake. Our little kids had a blast playing with their cousins. When Brooke and Nordel returned, we were able to play some games and have a little bit of fun. It was also a lot easier to accomplish because we had all the kids in bed and asleep before they got home.

And then on Saturday I decided to organize a simple Easter egg hunt at our local park. I sent out the word and told participants to bring 12 eggs per child. Then all the parents went out into the field and hid the eggs. It was a mad dash for the goods. As you can see, Zach was especially exuberant about the awesome egg hunt. Lots of kids came, it was very laid back, and we were able to visit with our neighbors for a bit. It was a successful morning.

After lunch on Saturday we had the privilege of doing yard work. Wahoo!  I cut down my rose bush and some hedges and the kids pulled weeds. Rinar helped to get trash loaded up into the truck and we were able to check the sprinklers and fertilize the lawn. This can only mean one thing, summer is fast approaching.

On Sunday morning before we went to church, Rinar got a call from his other brother Lyf. He asked to stay at our house that night. He was taking Bryn on a rock-hunting expedition up our way for Monday. That was a nice surprise. After a wonderful church service, it was fun to have more visitors, including Mike and Catye for an Easter dinner of meatloaf and mashed potatoes. 

The week was fun and full of pleasant surprises.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

How to NEVER Fail

As an avid news reader, I came across a little tidbit about a famous actress. I don't really see the point of saying who it is. It is really not that important. But what she says, the headlines she makes, really bother me quite a bit. I couldn't really put my finger on it specifically until today. 

This was her latest quote... 'For some reason, we get into relationships and we expect one man to understand ‘all’ the parts of us and meet all of those needs. I think that’s where everything fails.' She goes on to advocate short-term relationships and has repeatedly expressed her negative views about marriage.

Besides the obvious annoying, detrimental crap that spews from her mouth, it was something more that really bothered me. 

The actress, gorgeous, successful, "amazing", takes such an incredibly selfish, narcissistic, egotistical view of what marriage is all about. Apparently, in her point of view marriage is something where the man is supposed to fulfill all of her whims, needs, and aggrandize her incredible fabulousness. And since that just is not possible, because she is clearly so fabulous, marriage is just bound to fail her.

Well, amen to that!  Yes, I could not possibly see how marriage would ever settle on her or anyone who takes such a self-centered view of it. Or even how someone with that kind of attitude has the ability to foster any type of lasting, true friendship.

How can anyone possibly expect to be successful at marriage when they expect to have a partner who is able to fulfill all of their needs? It is ridiculous. When I feel dissatisfied with people in my life or with relationships, I can't blame anyone but myself. A true relationship is where I can serve and give of myself. And amazingly enough, when I serve, when I give my best self, it is always reciprocated ten-fold. I see this with my husband and I especially see it with my children.

I have a true and faithful husband who loves me pretty and loves me ugly. Does he satisfy 'all' the parts of me? Well, no. But are you kidding me? I am a woman and hence I know I am a complicated creature. Could anyone do that? I seriously doubt it. However, as I grow and mature with him, we get closer. I know that it will never be perfect in this life. Yet, it is as perfect as I could ever hope. And does it get any more perfect than to know he will gladly change a diaper, get up in the middle of the night so that I can sleep, or rescue me from a bad night when I am so sick I vomit all over myself? 

And is the crying and chaos of a house full of children worth it when I get unsolicited hugs, dandelion bouquets, and hand-crafted works of crayon art?

This is my life and my joys. I know it is not for everyone. But what I do know is that if I walk through this life looking for what will satisfy my needs and how I will be fulfilled and look at everything from my own perspective, I will always be sorely disappointed. Joy and success in life come from the things that we do for other people. This defines true success.

And Ms. Actress lady, when it is not all about you and your needs, but what you can do for someone else, especially with the people you are the closest with, you will NEVER fail.

Monday, April 14, 2014

An Uneventful Post

Look at Noelle. See, she really can sit up. And today, I saw her planking, holding herself up like she wanted to start crawling. I am probably going to have to invest in some baby gates pretty soon. 

And the rest of the crew...oh boy. These kids are a handful. I especially enjoy how they all love to talk to me, simultaneously, and usually when I am on the phone or trying to get dinner on the table.  It really is uncanny.

Besides this,  I think I might just be the most boring person on planet Earth. Let me see...I woke up, went to the gym and then wimped out halfway through a yoga class. It was kicking my trash and I was not down for the struggle. I made lunch for my kids from a generic Hamburger Helper box, after I took a shower. Wahoo! I took a shower! Then we went to the park and I visited with my friend Melissa while the kids played. After that, we came back and I made a hot dog, potato salad dinner. I did venture to the grocery store with all six kids to get a treat for FHE. Then we did some Family Home Evening and I sent them all to bed.

Yep, pretty darn boring.

Oh, and I forgot. I updated my blog. Unfortunately, I still maintain the same level of boringness from the previous events of the day.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

A Quick Trip

This was a whirlwind of a weekend. Rinar decided to do a relay with Bart and Rich in Las Vegas, the RAGE triathlon, half ironman distance. Rich swam 1.2 miles, Bart biked 56 miles, and Rinar ran a half marathon. Rinar talked me into going down there with him. I was hesitant because we had just gone to North Carolina and I hated to be away from the kids anymore. However, it was a really quick trip and Jamie and Leah were willing to watch our kids. We left Friday around 10am and drove down with Bart and Monica. We then returned Saturday night. It wasn't so bad.

The drive down was fun and then we stayed at Rich and Johanna's house and were able to hang out Friday night. They are all so much fun, it was a pleasure to have this time with all of them. 

The boys headed out to Lake Mead super early in the morning. For us girls, we went to breakfast at Sunrise Cafe and had a leisurely morning. We eventually got out to the race course. I brought Noelle and thought it would be great with my nice stroller and everything. However, the ground was exceptionally rocky. Gravel would have been a blessing. Therefore, the stroller was like pulling an anchor around everywhere. But we were able to find Rinar and Rich as they waited for Bart to return from his ride. It took almost three hours for him to finish the bike ride. We probably got there too early because we had to wait a while for him to come in.

Eventually he did and Bart had a really good ride. We were concerned because it was a bit windy. But he still kept a good speed for the duration of his leg. 

Rinar took off on the course and it was brutal. It started to get pretty hot. There is absolutely no shade and portions of the course were extremely rocky or just gravel. Only a small portion of the run was on pavement. I am just glad I didn't have to do it because the absolute worse part was the 2000 foot elevation change.  Holy cow, 2000 feet!  Yuck.  It was not easy. But I am proud of Rinar. He was able to break two hours on his run. Way to go, honey!

Here is the gang waiting for his glorious arrival. I ended up walking the last two miles of the course while they kept a sleeping Noelle with them. Bart also ran back to find Rinar. I think he ended up running over five miles. The man is a beast.

In the end, their relay team came out on top!  We waited there for quite a while for the results to come in.  They were able to get their plaques a little bit early so that we could leave.  Then we all headed back to Rich and Johanna's house and they all cooled off in the pool. And then it was time to leave.

We hit the road about 3:45pm. After we got out of view of the Las Vegas valley, traffic came to a standstill. And then we would drive about 5 mph. It was horrible. The trip to St. George took twice as long as usual. Bart and Rinar were starving and Noelle was not happy. I ended up taking her out of her seat and holding her and letting her roll around on the floor. That saved us all from hearing loss.

We stopped in St. George to eat dinner at Frostop. Rinar's mom met us there as did Monica's parents. They were able to have a nice visit with their family and we did also. It was fun to see Linda and talk to her.  And then it was time to hit the road. We didn't even leave until well after 9pm. It was going to be a long night. I made Bart play stupid car games to keep all of our minds active and make sure that he stayed awake. It worked and we limped to the finish line at 1:30 am. It was a long Saturday but I am grateful for the memories.

Good times.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

A Delicious Dinner Menu

Rinar bought a small dry-erase board for our refrigerator. He meant for it to be a place to write down stuff we need to buy at the store. But that type of system does not work for me. Then I had the brilliant idea to put the menu up there so I can remember what to cook and the kids can know what is for dinner.

However, I left a few days blank because I couldn't think of what to make that far ahead. I  mean, how do I know what I want to eat two days from now? It is such a commitment.

No worries. The days started to get filled in by my little elves. They took it upon themselves to make a menu: Pizza, lasagna, waffles, Danish rice. The kids were ever so helpful in planning the week.

And then I started to think of even better things. I filled in Friday-Sunday and Rinar finished up Monday-Thursday.  We like to go gourmet at this house.

What can I say? My kids are spoiled rotten!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

No Tears in Heaven

A few days ago, I was listening to the radio and heard Eric Clapton's song "Tears in Heaven". The song starts...

Would you know my name
If I saw you in heaven?
Would it be the same
If I saw you in heaven?

The song really struck me and it took me back a couple of months ago when I had the privilege of going to the temple. It was a ward temple night, so there would be many people there from my neighborhood that I know.  As I walked into the dressing room to change into my beautiful white clothing I came upon a group of women. They all turned and looked my way. Each of them was dressed in white. They saw me. They recognized me. All four of them smiled at me, waved, beckoned me to come to them and visit.

I realized in that instant that heaven will be this way. Someday I will die and this mortal existence will come to an end. I will pass through the veil, that barrier that keeps us from remembering where we came from. But I will pass through that veil and enter into a space where there will be heavenly beings. And these heavenly beings will be the people that I know. I will walk toward them and they will turn and look at me. They will smile and beckon me to them. At that moment in the temple dressing room, this image was so clear to me. The Holy Ghost testified to me of this truth. I am an eternal being. This earth life is but a moment. Soon I will return back to the place from where I first came and I will not be alone.

This is truth.

So, I wanted to answer Eric Clapton and tell him with the deepest conviction of my soul that YES! When we die, we will go to a heavenly place. And the relationships that we have here on this earth can and will continue in the next life. My name will be known. Eric's name will be known. And the family that I have here on earth will be the same in heaven. It will be exactly the same...only better.  I feel that it will be even more familiar and real than I can even imagine.

I am so grateful for temples and that they dot the earth and that I can live in the shadow of one. The temple is a beautiful, holy, sacred, happy, joyous place. I hope that my children will come to know this and do all that they can to go there when they are ready. It is worth every sacrifice to make it so. When I go to the temple, I can see even more clearly what heaven is...and it is magnificent!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Noelle is 6 Months

Noelle is really starting to become a little person. She has passed the 6 month mark. She laughs, rolls, grabs her feet, grabs my hair, grabs my phone, grabs my jewelry. Noelle is starting to get super wiggly and now gets bored. She gets sad if people leave the room and is alone. And she even has a little sense of humor. Just yesterday, Zach was playing with her and she would spit out her binkie and then laugh hysterically. He would do this repeatedly with her, and she would keep spitting and laughing.

She also is starting to eat solid foods and can even sit up for spells. Yes, time marches on and she will soon be marching, too.

20 Years...Whoa

At the end of March, I was able to take a walk down memory lane. I went back with Rinar to my hometown...Durham, North Carolina.  It was for my 20 year high school reunion. Has it really been 20 years? Holy cow. Time has just evaporated. Look at me now. I am almost 40 years old and I am the mother of 6 children. 

When I was in high school, I couldn't wait to get the heck out of there. I really hated it. It was almost like prison. My heart was in Utah. I think the whole time I lived there, my heart was in Utah. I knew it was where I belonged. I am so glad I am now in Utah, but it was still a nice thing to be able to say goodbye to my childhood. I don't think I will ever come back to Durham. But I did try to savor it for the few days we were there.

We first went to check out the new headquarters for Rinar's company. Amazingly enough, they have relocated from Boston to the Research Triangle Park. We toured the building and met some of his co-workers. That was an enjoyable experience. It was also fortuitous because we were able to secure a babysitter for Noelle for when I had my reunion party.

I made sure to drive through the old neighborhood. I knocked on our neighbors door and was able to have a lovely visit with Anthony B. When they moved in, I was in high school and he was just a little kid. Now look at him!

And here is my house. When we lived here, the shutters were green and there was a railing on the porch. But the essence of it is exactly the same. Albeit, the porch is a lot cleaner now.

We also took a look at Oak Grove Athletic Park. I spent all of my free time here. It was my second home. I played soccer on that field behind me. It was my very first organized sports activity. I was 10. I then found my love in the little blue building back there where I learned to play basketball.

At the high school, Rinar and I perused the trophy cases. I was taken aback when I saw this mosaic. I helped make that in Mr. Yehling's Latin class in 1993.

And in the sports trophy case, I saw several trophies from teams I was on. Aren't I impressive?

We also played tourist and visited the Bennett Place, where the Civil War ended. I had seen the sign for this every week of my life as we would go to church. I had never been!  Not until this past weekend.

I also was able to find the church where I was baptized. This building is near Duke and the Northgate Mall. By the time my family went to it, the ward had gotten way too big for the building. Soon after I was baptized, we relocated to a brand new building. Now this is a Jewish Synagogue. But it really was where I got baptized. I remember so clearly. I know that I will never forget.

Rinar and I also tried to hit some good eats while in town. We ate at Bojangles twice, the best fast food chicken place on the planet. And yes, it was still as good as I remembered it was! We also ate at a fancy BBQ place in Raleigh called The Pit. Then we went next door and tried some over-priced, locally sourced, organic chocolate.

We were also able to tour this plantation house that is in downtown Raleigh called the Mordecai House.

I made Rinar drive everywhere! I just loved revisiting all the roads I knew so well. I must say that the Durham area looks like it got a major face lift. It looks so much better and is now a pretty trendy, hip place to be.

The high school reunion was a lot of fun. I have to admit that I really only remembered about 40% of the people that came. I even think that a big contingent of the alumni were people that I never really interacted with at all. I was just in the nerd group and there weren't that many of us. Plus, only a couple of my nerd friends came. Of course, everyone remembered me. Or they at least acted like they did.  

It didn't matter. There was a really good spirit at our reunion. Everyone seemed genuinely happy to be there.

And it was especially neat to see that my 11th and 12th grade English teacher, Ms. Garrison came to visit. That was pretty darn cool.

I know my nerd group people have done some amazing things in their lives. I always knew they would. But as for the rest of us, we are just pretty average people living happy, average lives. And that is okay.
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