Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Instagram Clean Out

Since updating my iphone, I've practically forgotten all about my other "nice" camera. The iphone camera is just too light, easy, and convenient NOT to use for everyday pictures. So to keep my mom happy, and to keep me occasionally tuned in to the 'ole blog despite currently being a chicken with my head cut off, I thought I would just do another instagram clean out post. (Mom, do you even know what Instagram is? I didn't think so. It's okay. The No. 2 pencil is a marvelous invention too.) 

Tasty Valentine dinner at the eccentric Tin Angel Cafe up in Salt Lake:
Dominoes and a breakfast smoothie:
Elizabeth sewing Rachael into a homemade shirt:
The best public restroom idea anyone ever had at the new outlet mall near our home. I would bet my life it was a woman who came up with this:
Behind the scenes at Studio 5:
Chocolate Night for the monthly "Food Network" group in my neighborhood:
A fortune I opened shortly before our trip to Meheeko:
One of my favorite Dwight Shrute quotes (and Will) at Jump On It:
Me sweating to death but having a great time with my kids at Jump On It. (And just happy I'm not wetting my pants while doing it. I can't help but think of these things being married to Brandon.) 
My new iphone case. Don't you love it?
Elizabeth getting brave with the kids cookbook and making crepes all by herself:
She did good!
Will getting in on the action:
The gas gauge as I pulled into the gas station:
At puppy training class for Yuki. Rachael had a thing for this St. Bernard named Elvis:
Dr. Suess's birthday at school:
That glorious time of year when the Girl Scouts come around:
Typical Wednesday afternoon now that Kate's on the golf team. Cello on golf clubs:
Weather warming:
A neighborhood in Salt Lake that I found while taking Kate to a harp workshop. I'm in love and want to move in tomorrow. The trees! The trees:

Celtic harpist concert after the workshop:
A funny campaign poster I spotted at the middle school one day:
At the Children's Museum with Rachael's preschool class the other day:

One crazy morning that we all had to leave early together I asked the kids to pack their own lunches. I'm always adamant that they pack a fruit and a vegetable and some sort of protein. Not only did Elizabeth forget her lunch, but THIS is what I found in her lunch sack: a whole Roma tomato (she doesn't even like tomatoes), one slice of ham, and a bag of fruit snacks. (Head shaking . . .)
One last snow. It really was pretty while it lasted. Knowing that winter is coming to an end soon anyway (and because I've been taking about a million milligrams of Vitamin D all winter long), I didn't even mind:
Favorite snack of the moment is Triscuit, cream cheese, and spicy jalepeno jelly:
Finally put some eggs up on the tree branch from the backyard:
Impromptu before school concert:
Kind of psyched to find out that Deseret News took one of my online blog posts and put it in their print edition last week. I didn't even know until Aunt Marsha emailed and said how she had enjoyed it. My peeps over there were kind enough to mail me a copy when I asked (because I have no shame):
Kate's "No-Face" sculpture before it went into the trash:
Pretty sky:
Unicorn and dog:
And why not end on that note? As random as this entire post . . .

Monday, March 25, 2013

Holy Week

Going to try to make it feel like that, anyway.

Right now I'm blogging from my phone during opera rehearsal. I didn't get a shower this morning because I've hit that lovely time in my cycle when I get middle of the night insomnia and can't fall back to sleep until about ten minutes before I need to get up. Elizabeth didn't get her book report finished on time, I got everyone late to school because we were waiting for jeans to dry, I get to start and finish Rachael's "Star of the Week" poster for tomorrow as soon as we leave here, and the house is a big mess from the weekend.

HOWEVER. Even though we had a rather busy day of the usual church-a-thon and an evening spent with Brandon's brother's family who recently moved to Orem to celebrate their son's birthday (probably should have been working on the dumb book report at that time), I was happy I spent a few hours in the morning (in between working on my Sunday School lesson) to map out this week leading up to Spring Break/Easter/Will's 12th birthday (on Easter Sunday this year, just like his first birthday) which I will be hosting for some of our California family who are coming up to ski for THEIR spring break.

Part of mapping out the week was figuring out when and how to incorporate (simply) Holy Week commemoration. There were some great things done at church as well, but I was happy we spent a few minutes as a family after our yummy brunch to talk about Palm Sunday. I put up a few Easter decorations, and then decided to put our pictures of the events of Holy Week up chronologically one day at a time as we talk about them. Here's how it looks after Day 1:

(Haven't quite figured out this blogging by phone thing. All the pics posted at once and I can't figure out how to write in between them. Even so, isn't technology amazing?!)

Pic 1: Easter mantle
Pic 2: Brandon's sinful breakfast that I piled up into one delicious "sandwich".
Pic 3: The little girls fishing before church
Pic 4: One of Elizabeth's "Market Day" treasures. I should have let him wear it to church!

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Many Faces of Busy-ness

So....this may have been one of the craziest weeks I've had in a long, long time. I just need to download some of it onto my blog for memory sake. Yesterday was probably the craziest:

6:30--Brandon and I drove my car into the shop for some work. We left early so we could be home in time to get everyone ready and out the door for school on time. He rearranged his surgery day so I would have some form of transportation, because I pretty much live in my car and couldn't afford an entire day without it. (Aren't car things such a pain? I wish we could have an extra one laying around just for times like these. That's funny.)
7:30--20 minute Jillian workout.
7:45--Made breakfast and lunches.
8:00--Brandon took Kate to school and I got myself ready to go.
9:00--I took the carpool to the elementary school and stayed for opera rehearsal in Elizabeth's classroom. I'm accompanying on the piano. There is an AWESOME children's opera program through Utah State University and my daughter's teacher puts a new one on each year with her class. They come up with the storyline, the words, etc. and then some magical person somewhere puts it all to original music. Then they learn it (complete with choreography--no easy thing), and even paint their own set. It's pretty impressive! (Rachael was back at home having a rare morning alone with Dad.)
10:45--Back home to work on today's Deseret News post. (Not crazy about it. I'm starting to get bored with my own writing. I need fresh topics, BAD!! Last week's post was a bit more interesting, I think.)
11:30--Also a very rare lunch date with Rachael, Brandon, and I together at Kneaders. Or Leaders, as Rachael likes to call it.
12:30--Brandon dropped Rachael and I off at the preschool and took Yuki to the groomers at PetSmart. I sat in the lobby of the preschool with my laptop working on my boring post until 1:00.
1:00--Monthly volunteer hour in Rachael's class doing "centers". Hard to believe there will only be a couple more of these before she will be a kindergartner. Yikes!
2:00--Brandon picked me up and we met with someone back at the house about yard stuff.
2:30--I kept working on my post and Brandon went to get Kate from the middle school to take her to golf practice. She made the high school team and had her first tournament the other day. They have the 9th graders from the middle school playing with the HS team's spring season because it's the only one of the year. No fall--bummer! Brandon spearheaded the whole thing so he loves being able to go to practices sometimes. He's a golfer who feels too guilty to do it alone or with "the guys" since he has so little free time, so he's just turning all his kids into golfers--brilliant! I took this Instagram pic of Kate getting on the bus for her first tournament a couple of days ago. She would NEVER pose for something like this:

3:40--I remembered that I had a child I was supposed to pick up from preschool at 3:30. (This is what happens when I suddenly have help in the form of a second parent.) I went to pick her up and made it home just after Will and Elizabeth.
3:50--(Yes, that fast.) Brandon and I took all three younger kids with us to drop off Will at the middle school for the advanced math placement test for 7th grade. After getting him settled in, we dropped the little girls off at gymnastics and went to pick up the car.
5:00--I picked Kate up from golf, and the girls from gymnastics. Brandon picked up Yuki from the groomers, and some lettuce and tomato from the store for dinner. Freezer meals have saved my bacon this week. I made a bunch for my mother-in-law to use while we were in Mexico, but there were still leftovers. Hallelujah.
5:30--Started putting together the taco pie and fresh strawberries for dinner.
5:50--Brandon went to pick up Will, and I went to pick up ice cream, cones, and ice for Elizabeth's "Market Day" that was this morning. Why couldn't she sell something cheap and lightweight like the Chinese finger traps the girl next to her sold? Because her mother didn't have the foresight or energy to steer her enthusiasm in another direction at such late notice, that's why! Here she is this morning:

6:30--Sat down together as a family to eat leftover taco pie smothered in lettuce, tomato, and salsa. (Most Mexican-ish dinners taste great if they are simply smothered in lettuce, tomato, and salsa.) Forced the children to practice acting like humans at the dinner table because some days they can just be SO BAD!
7:00--Called in to cancel my attendance at the monthly "Food Network" meeting--too crazy of a day! Cleaned up together and celebrated Kate's half birthday with a half a cake and a half of a birthday song. (Thanks for the idea, Tiffany!) 15 point 5 years of motherhood, right here:

8:00--Scriptures, prayers, and "bedtime". (Hahahahahaha . . . . we try.)
11:00--Finally finished my mind numbing post, and finally got everyone in bed. (Why, oh why, do I always wait until Thursday to write the entire thing???) Well, Super Dad got the last of everyone in bed. So much for his day off! It was actually probably easier than a day at the office/hospital . . .

Today I was out the door with everyone (and a 500 lb. cooler full of ice cream and ice) by 9am again, and after helping Elizabeth set up for Market Day, I headed over to the Gateway Children's Museum up in Salt Lake where I met up with Rachael's preschool class. Here she is in the playhouse telling me she's the mom (hence, the leg crossing), and a few other cute moments:

So let me just reiterate that I, Allyson Reynolds, was actually in my children's classrooms doing active things no less than FOUR TIMES this week. That's a record for me. (I don't consider myself one of those "school moms" who makes it a part-time job to be in the school 10+ hours a week. Not bagging on that AT ALL, it's just not me.) It's especially surprising (to me, anyway) since this week I was also doing major paper work and bills at home, not the least of which was gathering medical payment records for our taxes, getting Rachael squared away for kindergarten (the paperwork is ridiculous!), checking Kate out of school at weird times for random practices, pictures, and the first tournament (this full time golf team thing might be like the younger kids' gifted program stuff--too much for this lazy mom!), and one entire day of cleaning out the little girls bedroom and the playroom. (Don't even get me started on that. Why did I purchase all those toys and stuffed animals? And why are they all still in my house? I got rid of some that day . . . ) Then there was the day Yuki was constipated and I took her on like five walks to try and help her out. And there were all the "usuals" like piano lessons, orchestra, homework, LAUNDRY (had a wet bed one night), etc. etc. Kate has been end-of-term-ing (which is kind of like PMS-ing) so that's added a special flavor to the whole mix. Oh, there's just too much to write about!

I would have never believed in a million years when all my kids were little that I would be busier now than I was back then. As everyone always says, it's just a different kind of busy. I would say much easier and more gratifying than dealing with diaper blow outs, temper tantrums, and crying jags, but way crazier and stressful. Babyhood busy-ness is more frustrating than stressful, in my opinion. Older kid busy-ness has this level of stress that comes from external deadlines, grades, teachers, coaches, and expectations that "need" to be met in order to raise people who won't become a menace to society. When they are babies and toddlers, you are in your own little bubble of a world and everything can be excused away because of their age and their cuteness. You don't worry at that point about wether or not their friends are having a good influence on them, if you're teaching them the skills required to survive and thrive in the adult world, or if they are even happy for crying out loud. Once they hit the school years, there is such an external pressure for them to find their way, match up, do their best, meet the criteria for "success", and on and on. You can try to stay out of the rat race and resist the current, but it's very hard to do--and what does that really mean anyway? As a parent, you WANT to help your kids find out what they love to do and what they are good at, but that takes A LOT of time, money, and effort over many years. But how much should you push them, and how much should you just let them work for things themselves (knowing their default is to sit in front of a computer screen chewing on sour gummi worms)? What extracurriculars do you do and when is it overkill? Not just for the individual child, but for the mother who is carting all these children all over tarnation which effects the entire family dynamic.You also want them to succeed in school. What decent parent doesn't want that for their child? And that also takes an ENORMOUS amount of time, effort, and attention from you as a parent if you really want to help them maximize their abilities and figure out what is best for them. And if you are Mormon (or some other religion that has a high level of activity), you also spend half your weekend doing church stuff, and all your kids are being asked to prepare "talks" for church, and participate in weekly youth group programs, and seminary classes for the high schoolers, and pretty intense goal programs that span many years. And you, the parent, will have significant responsibilities that take a good deal of time and energy, too. Just last Sunday, I taught the women's class, Brandon taught our usual 11-year-old Sunday School class, and Will gave a "talk" he prepared on his own to the kids 12 and under. It's no small feat being Mormon! And then there's the matter of keeping your home relatively put together and teaching your kids how to take care of their things, work together as a family, as well as keeping them all healthy and looking like they didn't just walk out of an orphanage. And how about just having fun together as a family? Oh, I'm just getting started! Easy it is not. (I was waxing so philosophical, I couldn't resist throwing in a little Yoda-ese.)

The current trend is to poo-poo over scheduling kids and "busy-ness" in general, and to praise this elusive slower paced life, but what does that really look like in suburban America 2013? I feel like in order to live that life we would need to move to Bolivia or something! You can't just drop out of everything and expect your kids to somehow know how to navigate this face-paced, competitive world when they suddenly enter it as adults. Unfortunately, it's just not the culture we live in.

And so I sit here on my computer blogging on a Friday night at the end of a very long work week. The kids are vegging out as well. And we will re-group as much as we can this weekend despite different types of work and busy-ness . . . like a special women's conference at the church tomorrow morning for Kate and I, and a piano recital in the afternoon for the girls, and a desperate need to get some spring clothes and shoes for everyone in the evening. Notice I didn't include Sunday, because Sunday is a wash when it comes to getting most things done. And I wouldn't have it any other way. Keeping the sabbath day holy is probably more of a blessing now than ever before. We don't shop or go to any places of business. We try to limit housework as much as possible. We keep our recreating, if any, very chill. (Think hike in the mountains at most.)Yes, we are busy with church, but just like the busy-ness of babyhood and the busy-ness of older childhood are very different, the busy-ness of Sunday is more rejuvenating than the exhausting busy-ness of the weekdays. And we do seriously chillax for about half of the day.

Ahhh, don't know where I'm going with all of this. Just enjoying the vent-a-thon!

I hope to get a little more blogging in, too. I've got those pictures from Mexico, after all. Yes, Meheeko, the un-vacation. (I'll explain more later, but we came home kind of exhausted and learned a lot about what to do and not to do the next time we get an opportunity like that.)


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Happy St. Paddy's Day 2013

My mother may be in the hospital by now (I haven't talked to her in a few days, and she didn't answer the phone the last two times I called her, and she threatened something like this might happen if I didn't put up another blog post soon), and I'm really sorry about that, but doggone it, life can get really busy sometimes. I'm thinking I need to give myself another blog-every-day-for-a-week challenge, both for her and for me, because (as always) there is SO SO SO much to catch up on. (Not the least of which was a trip to Mexico alone with my honey! I may not have been blogging, but I was having a good time with Facebook and Instagram, let me tell you.) 

But I may as well just start where I am, which is the day after St. Paddy's day. For whatever reason, Brandon is a NUT for this mini holiday, so we had a good time with it. 

First, the kids got decked out in the random stuff from our St. Patrick's Day box:

Then I convinced everyone to go ding dong ditching and leave a family size box of Lucky Charms on the neighbors porch:
We all wore green to church (thankfully, many other families were equally nerdy), and then we had my bro-in-law, Brent, and his girl, Camille, over from BYU for a St. Patrick's Day meal:
I tried to get rainbow Twizzlers for this little bag with a pot 'o gold and a rainbow in it, but they were sold out everywhere. I settled on rainbow Skittles:

All the recipes were first time tries, and they all turned out to be delish! Irish StewIrish Wheaten Bread, and a not-at-all Irish, but still green and yummy dessert drink:
More rainbows and gold . . .
While listening to the Celtic radio sation on Pandora, Brandon gave everyone a little history lesson on St. Patrick (because he's cheesy like that). And then, among other topics of conversation, we fought about the difference between guy movies and chick flicks and why he will never watch chick flicks with me but wants me to go with him to see James Bond/Mission Impossible type of movies:
Another St. Patrick's Day in the can . . .

Related Posts with Thumbnails