Monday, July 21, 2014

My job

This kid.  This kid right here.

She pushes my buttons and exhausts me, but she and her sister make everything I do better.  Every day is more delicious.  Every accomplishment more pronounced.  I'm raising humans.  I'm shaping them and they are shaping me.  I feel fulfilled every day.  I don't know what I was doing before that I thought was so important, but it pales in comparison to the time I spend with my daughters.

When I was a teenager I thought it was so unattractive to be the "Mormon Mom" who got married and had a posse of kids and spent all of her time raising those kids and doing not much else.  Because I thought anyone could have kids, those moms must not have been good at much else.  I cringe now to think of that former mentality.  Having children is the best, most fun, amazing, and hardest thing I could possibly do. It takes guts, it takes inspiration, it takes hard work, and it takes every brain cell I have and all the ones I don't. All other careers, hobbies, activities, and callings are just so incredibly temporary when compared to having a family.  My family is forever.  The experiences and fulfillment I gain is forever.  I may not be able to travel as much as I want, or get as much sleep, or read as many books, but nothing else will compare with the feeling of tiny little arms around my neck.  The smell of my baby's cheek.  Cheering on our kids on fields or in gyms or at pools, celebrating their wins and soothing their losses.  Teaching them the importance of a promise and the enormity of God's love for them.  Taking photos for dances and weddings. Jack and I will have a full table at Thanksgivings, stacks of pancakes and gifts on Christmas mornings, and sugar highs after walking the neighborhood on Halloween nights.  Movie night traditions with bowls of popcorn, reading my favorite chapter books aloud at bedtime and experiencing all of my favorite parts through my children's eyes, and teaching them to sew, cook, and play the piano.  When I have experienced all Father in Heaven wants me to experience in this life and I am an old lady sitting in my rocking chair trying to offer people hard butterscotch candies and petting a decrepit cat, I picture my sweetheart sitting next to me, but also a room full of the children I took such care with, and their children.  All looking at me with love in their eyes.

I never considered myself a maternal person, or someone who was great with kids but right now the more kids Jack and I have, the more our lives are just filled with love; and even this early on God has qualified me in ways I couldn't even imagine.  And just when I think my heart is so full it could possibly explode, we will have another baby.  I'm excited to make room for however many spirits God sees fit to bless us with and will cry and cry when I get to the point where I feel like we have finished adding to our family.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The time we were mistaken.

Saturdays have become seriously great this summer.  Jack started a tradition where he takes the girls out in the morning so I can sleep late and then always brings me back an egg white delight from McDonald's and a doughnut from Lehi Bakery so I can eat them in the tub and read a magazine.  We spend the rest of the day chilling in the back yard or doing fun, summery things with the girls (hikes, snow cones, farmers markets..).

Yesterday we thought it would be a fantastic idea to take the girls up to Salt Lake on Frontrunner/TRAX because Liv loves trains so much.  She was stoked.  I packed up a bunch of snacks, we paid $30 for tickets and boarded.  It was literally one of the worst trips of my life.  The girls were thrilled with the concept for about 10 minutes, and then Olivia felt cooped up and wanted to run up and down the aisles and stairs.  Berlin was mad that we wouldn't let her crawl on the dirty floors and put her mouth on the rails.  It took about 45 minutes to get to Salt Lake Central and then we had to switch to TRAX to get to City Creek.  We had to sit outside in 100 degree weather for 25 minutes and wait for the next train.  Got to City Creek, and Olivia had a meltdown.  It was so crowded that we had to make her hold our hand the whole time and she was not having it.  Berlin was done with the stroller so one of us had to hold her while still pushing it.

We did stop at the Disney store and had a great moment where Liv got to try on some dresses.

But then we were hot and tired and had to catch the train back home.  We took TRAX (which was packed with people who didn't seem to know what soap was) back to SL Central, then had to wait another half an hour for Frontrunner.  These wait times weren't our fault, the only train to frontrunner arrived half an hour before Frontrunner got there.  I was done.  I hit my wall so hard that I was afraid of the path of destruction I would leave.  Jack, bless him, kept a great attitude and helped me not lose it completely.  We took the train another 45 minutes home and somehow kept the cranky girls from annoying the other passengers too much. Olivia was climbing all over us like a monkey, swinging from the bars and mauling everything in sight.

Usually having our kids with us makes every experience better.  Not in this case. If I was traveling by myself or with Jack, it could honestly be a nice way to go.  Maybe. But basically we spent 4 hours traveling, and 1 hour at the mall and let's be honest, we spent about as much as we would have in gas and nobody even checked our tickets.  It was a great learning experience though and maybe helped the girls for the flight we are taking soon to Washington; but you couldn't pay me enough to repeat that trip.

...also, we got to put the girls to bed and eat the huge zucchini from my garden and fresh cherries from the farmer's market that morning so it was a great end to the day.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Summer Hiking List- Dry Creek Canyon

This hike was a hidden gem of a trail! (haha I just sounded like an old man).  I really loved it!  We went on a gorgeous overcast day and it was so close that it made for a nice little jaunt.  I carried Ber on my back again and Olivia walked.  It was a nice.
To get there you get off exit 273, head east on 1600 N for 1.7 miles, turn left to take N Main for half a mile.  Turn right to take 200 S for 1 mile, then turn onto Dry Canyon Drive for .6 miles.  Take the trail at the entrance to the parking lot on the right side as you are going in.  There's another trail to the left of this one that goes uphill on stairs, but they both meet up and the bottom trail was easier for Olivia.
The trail itself has a drop-off on one side so if you have littles, keep them close.  There is tons of vegetation and it's gorgeous.  Also, some weird pipes coming up through the ground that you can hear running water through.  Jack and I had some fun hypothesizing the reasons and uses of these pipes.  I got a little creeped out :)  We didn't want to take too long of a hike, so we actually just trekked on for a while and then turned around and came back.  I'm not sure how long the trail goes, I think it may take you to an overlook.  Even with no destination though, I really loved this trail.  There were up and downhills so it wasn't strenuous at all, especially since we only hiked for about 45 minutes.  I'd highly recommend it though.

See our whole summer trail list here.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Our Summer Hiking List- Battlecreek Falls

Whew!  I'm finally getting around to posting some hikes :)  our first hike this summer was to Battlecreek falls.  You just take the Pleasant Grove exit and then take 200 S up to Battle Creek road (about 1800 E). The trailhead is marked from the parking lot in Kiwanis Park.

It was a dirt road uphill most of the way there.  I carried Berlin on my back and Olivia was totally fine to walk with only one rest break.  There was a little cave on the way up so this is where she stopped to sit.  We reached the falls in about half an hour, walked on stones to get across the river at the bottom of the falls, and sat and ate some snacks while the girls stuck their feet in.  It was a pretty short, fun little hike and good exercise.  I was able to work up a sweat packing Berlin uphill in the heat.  There isn't shade on the trail so it's best to go in the morning or evening.

For our summer trail list, look here.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Happy Independence Day

I love the 4th.  I love celebrating our country and  freedom and those who fight for it with friends and family.  There's such a feeling of unity all day long as people across America celebrate with barbecues, fireworks, and togetherness.

We went to the Provo Freedom Fest parade at 9am.  I always forget how crowded it is there until we are trying to navigate the clogged sidewalks and find a spot.  People rope off their areas as early as a week in advance, and some super intense people camp there the night before.  The Provo parade is my least favorite because of how rude and proprietary people are, but for  some reason we venture out every 4th.  Sometimes we find a great spot and enjoy the parade and sometimes we I leave disappointed at humanity.  It's nothing like the friendly, fun small-town parades of the further-north cities (Lehi!  Orem! Pleasant Grove!)  This year we ended up standing on the road at an intersection.  It was fine.  My little sister, Brittain, met up with us after participating in the pre-parade (she is a cheerleader at Timpview).

We had our traditional breakfast at Village Inn with Jack's mom, his sister Pam and her kids, and my sisters Brittain and Taylor.  There's nothing like breakfast and pie after a parade :)

Berlin fell asleep on the way home since she had missed her 9:30am nap, but was up and ready to play when I carried her inside.  So instead of putting her right down we filled up our little pool in the backyard and continued to bask in the sunshine.

Jack and I relaxed for a couple of hours while the girls napped and I made s'mores bars.  When Liv and Ber woke up we went and picked up a few boxes of Popeye's fried chicken.  I don't love fried chicken, but man is this stuff good.  We took that, a watermelon, and the s'mores bars over to Jack's mom's for a big barbecue with Pam and Jenny's families.  We stuffed ourselves full on tons of food, sat in Carol's cool basement and talked while the kids played, then lit a bunch of fireworks in the church parking lot next door while sitting in the grass under the shade trees.  We thought about taking the girls to the city fireworks show, but it didn't start until 10 and we thought the girl's wouldn't make it.  Maybe next year!

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