July 28, 2008

Birthdays, Burgers, and Buckets

June and July are crazy months in our family, both immediate and extended, because of a plethora of birthdays, holidays, and Tom's and my anniversary. July especially gets hectic with 4 birthdays spread from the 9th through the 22nd. It has become much easier to just hold one big gathering rather than trying to celebrate each one separately. Maybe it's just because Lois and I, mothers of the two birthday children, are just too tired to plan better! This year we didn't even bother to try and come up with a fun outing such as swimming, a playland, movie, etc. - we just settled for a backyard barbecue for the family. I have to say, out of the past several years, this was my favorite birthday party yet!

My parents have an irrigation canal that runs through their backyard, which is conveniently located next door to my cousin and his wife's house, also with the canal. The kids (from ages 5 up to 15) started off with water guns, trying to soak each other. It soon turned into a full-blown melee' with buckets and super soakers, and Evan and Braden eventually ended up wrestling in the ditch. After completely soaking each other, as if on cue, they climbed out and came towards me, giving me a great big wet group hug. Just when you think you cannot bear to live through however many years you have left with teenagers, they do something like this which makes you remember how much you love them, and how fun they can be. Although at times I can't wait until they're grown up, and some days I swear that none of us will live through it, moments like these give me such hope and help me to see what fine young men they really are becoming.

One of the birthday's we celebrated was my very own - 27 again! Tom and the boys each picked me out one of those "talking" birthday cards. Their choices were hysterical (Tom's was Gilda Radner, one of my favorite comedians, and the boys' was a lesson in saying "I love you," which I will never hear the same way from them again). I have to share what Tom wrote on the envelope of his:

"Help wanted: Female, frequent shopper, firm, trim, (no gray hair - x'ed out), slight gray hair, patient, kind, dizziness okay, loves to read. Must be no older than 27 with 10 years experience. Please apply.

P.S. - comes with children

I thought that was so cute :)


Finally, I'm including a great photo I took on our camping trip this last weekend (which is at the top of the post now because I can't seem to make this program place photos where I want them - still learning!). I'm forever trying to perfect the art of taking close-ups of wildflowers, and I think this is my closest attempt yet! I'll write more and include more pictures of the trip another day...

July 11, 2008

How much for that doggy in the window?

This is Annie, the newest member of the family: 3/4 Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and 1/4 Shih-tzu. We've had her since February, but I swear that she gets cuter every day!

She is 6 1/2 months old, and just started into heat for the first time... Who knew dogs could hit puberty that young?!!! There is currently a slight disagreement about whether or not to try to breed her, so until then, I'm back to diapering... I don't know which of us hates it more. She has become quite adept at being able to wriggle out of it. Each time she does, I have gone hunting for it and put it right back on. Smart little thing that she is, she has started chewing them to shreds afterward. You can almost see the little glint in her eye as she thinks to herself: "Ha! Put that back on me!"

July 9, 2008

With Apologies to Anne

One of the many things that I love about my husband is that he wakes up EVERY morning with what we've jokingly refer to as his "song of the day." It doesn't matter how tired he is, or what's going on in our lives, but he always has something that he wakes up singing. In 13 years of marriage (Yay Us!) I don't remember them ever repeating either. Anyway, he always wakes up with a song in his heart. Some days I appreciate this, and some, not so much! There are many times that I will end up with some annoying little ditty looping non-stop through my brain. :-)

Today, for one of the first times, I woke up with a song of my own.

Back in the early '80's, Anne Murray (I know, not exactly one of the hit makers for someone who came of age in the 80's, but I still think she has one of the prettiest voices around) had a hit song called "A Little Good News," which I've had running through my head all day. Since I could only remember the main line: "We sure could use a little good news today," after about the 376th time, I decided to give my brain a break and look up the rest of the lyrics. It's amazing how much this song, written 25 years ago, still applies, almost word for word, to things happening around us now. I know that I'm not alone with getting depressed when I look at the world around us, and I'm almost to the point that I don't want to read a newspaper or watch the news on TV. Sometimes I think that ignorance would truly be bliss.

The last few days in our family have been crazy also, with many highs and lows... It's funny how life can make such rapid turns. You're cruising along, and things may even be dull, and then all of a sudden some small thing happens that changes everything.

As I wrote before, Josh had been at home for the last week and a half. We really enjoyed this visit home and did a lot of things together as a family. He left bright and early on Monday morning (on the road by 6:00 a.m. - ugghh!). By 7:00 a.m., I had a phone call from him. He had stopped at the scenic overlook near Bear Lake to take pictures and apparently two of our kittens had climbed under the hood of his car, unbeknownst to any of us. One of them sadly didn't make it, and managed to do quite a bit of damage under the hood. Because of this, he ended up spending a day and a half in Kemmerer, Wyoming getting repairs. The other kitty was crouched on his battery, and was NOT a happy camper. Josh has ended up keeping the kitty, which has yet to be named: sparky, lucky, and AC Delco are all in the running. I wish I could have taken a picture of him showing up for his first official assignment as a Special Forces guy with his little kitty in tow... We're just glad that he made it safely and are so impressed with how well he has rolled with the punches.

Tuesday evening my dad had another health scare. For those of you who don't know, he has been a diabetic for many years, and has spent the last several years undergoing dialysis to keep his kidneys functioning. He and my mom have had the rare opportunity to do a home dialysis program which they do 6 days a week. That evening he started having some heart problems, something that he's had several times here lately. Mom decided that she'd better get him up to the hospital. However, when she started to put him into his wheelchair to load in the car, he passed out and gave us all a huge scare. He has atrial fibrillation and will need an ablation procedure, which is where they go in and try to kill up the specific area of the heart that is misfiring. He should be coming home tomorrow, but will need to schedule this surgery. Please keep him in your prayers and prayers for my mom too...

On a brighter note, Evan and Braden have been at World Changers in Salt Lake City since Saturday, a program our church participates in where they volunteer on a work crew to help do housing repairs for low income, elderly, and disabled people. They'll be home this coming Saturday. There are 200 youth working there this week from all over the U.S., and we are so glad that our boys get to be a part of it. I have been checking the World Changers blog each day (
http://www.slcworldchangers.blogspot.com/) and was surprised and tickled to see Evan's smiling (but extremely grimy!) face as one of the photos for Tuesday. He managed to call home for a few minutes tonight, and was raving about how wonderful an experience they're having. They were also featured on Fox News (http://www.myfoxutah.com/myfox/pages/Home/Detail;jsessionid=959F438FC49DE500B9578FFAFC2F0364?contentId=6932507&version=1&locale=EN-US&layoutCode=VSTY&pageId=1.1.1&sflg=1). Check it out! I'm hoping, in the days to come, to catch glimpses of Braden too, who is apparently on a different work crew than Evan.

This type of story was just what I needed after the hard week we've had, and a great reminder that there ARE still good things going on around us. Tonight, rather than Anne Murray's timely words, I'm going to make an effort to go to sleep with the words from an ancient song, but one that is ALWAYS true, Psalm 23.

July 1, 2008

I figured it out!

You've got to start somewhere

Well, today is the first day of writing on this blog, which I've thought of creating for over 2 years now. Originally I had wanted to call it "Discovering Your Inner Disability" (thanks to a brilliant suggestion from a friend of mine as we commisserated about a co-worker over lunch one day) - a self-help tool for those of us who still take pride in a job-well-done. Where does that ever get you?!!! Sadly, that will have to remain unwritten as I figure that would somehow come back to haunt me. So instead, I offer up my humble ramblings...

Through this blog, I hope to hone my long-dormant writing skills, as well as keep friends and family current on the happenings in my own little corner of heaven and, I'll be honest, so I can have a record of all the fun things going on in my life and with my kids that I'll have forgotten by next Tuesday :-).

It looks like summer has finally settled in to stay (I was beginning to wonder if it would snow in July), and I have the plants in my garden all mostly planted. The kids are all out of school for the summer and, so far, we have not made any runs to the emergency room, and my phone at work hasn't rung off the hook with kids tattling on each other. I guess there are some good things about the kids growing older! On the flip side, with 2 teenage boys, I wonder what is going on that I won't hear about until they are safely in their 30's...

Josh just finished Special Forces training and is home for several days well-deserved R&R before he reports to his new base in Kentucky. Yesterday, he, Evan, Braden, Savannah and I all hiked up to the Wind Caves, a LONNNNGGGG, STEEP hike with a gorgeous view at the end to make it all worthwhile. It is 3.6 miles round-trip, but going up is a killer! This morning Savannah (who can run like a gazelle and never wears out) called me at work to tell me, in a sad little worried voice: "Mama? About that hike yesterday? Now I can't move." I would have done a victory dance to hear that I'd finally found a way to wear her out if it didn't hurt so much to move myself! I'll post pictures as soon as I figure out how.

Enough for now...