Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A Book of Wishes

Yesterday Adam told me tearfully that Caleb wouldn't let him play with his silly putty because he wanted to play with it.  I gently told him that the silly putty belonged to Caleb, and that maybe he would let Adam play with it when he was finished.  Adam threw his head back and wailed until he was red in the face, "I want to play with silly putty!"
When he was finished I told him that it is always a good idea to write down wishes and I asked him if he wanted to start a wish list.  He dried his tears and agreed, only he wanted a wish list with "lots of papers."  So we made a mini book of wishes.

The first wish we wrote inside was, of course, for silly putty but Adam thought of a few more to add.  When we were finished Caleb and Dallin wanted one so I made them one too.  They got excited thinking about wishes to write down.  I was surprised at some of them.  Not only did they wish for toys as I expected, but other wishes and goals.  Dallin's included fly on an airplane, go to Seaworld, and catch a fish.  Caleb's wish list had two items on it: fix his watch and no more homework.

I encouraged them to keep their wish books handy (Adam totes his around the house with him) to write down anything else they think of because it's always a good idea to write down your wishes.  They're so much fun to check off.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Pain and Fanciness

Dallin: Mom, did it hurt to have earrings poked through your ears?

Me: Yes.

Caleb: Then why did you do it?  To be fancy?  Now I know how much girls like to be fancy: they have pain for fanciness.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

More Utah Pictures

We felt so lucky to spend time with loved ones when we went to Utah recently.

During our visit to Mitch's parents the kids spent a lot of time in the backyard.  

Grandpa gives great train rides.

Speaking of trains, we drove out to see the site of the Golden Spike, where the kids became Junior Rangers.

We drove out to see where Grandpa worked.

We had a great stay, and got to see most of the family there.

We also spent time with Grandma and Grandpa at their cabin.
There were tons of frogs and salamanders in the pond, and the frogs' chorus was really loud.  A must-do activity at the cabin involves catching as many frogs and salamanders as possible.

Just look at the size of that thing!

Here's one of the frogs Caleb caught.

Dallin wanted his catch displayed in his bucket.

Brandt was too young to join in the hunt but he had a great time on the swing instead.

We also got to stay with my sister Heather for a few days while Mitch went to CA for work.  One of the kids' favorite activities there was playing with this cornstarch/water goop called Oobleck.

It was fun just hanging out with my family.

We held a welcome home party for my brother, Matthew (back center in the photo below), who just returned from a tour in Afghanistan.  It was so good to see him and give him a giant hug.  I also got to meet their sweet baby.

Don't you love how, after I set the timer on the camera for the above photo, I just ran and stood directly in front of my uncle?  Sorry, Uncle Phil!

We also got to stay with my parents for a couple of days, but I forgot to take my camera with me so...there are no photos of us crafting, playing, or even going down the big water slide at the pool.  Cue imagination in your case, memory in mine.

I believe that one of life's greatest and simplest pleasures is spending time with those you love.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Mountain Man Rendezvous 2010

This year my family's reunion was at a mountain man rendezvous, which is a reenactment of the days when the mountain men of the old west would gather and trade with each other and with the Native Americans.  They would trade, celebrate, sing songs, tell stories, and enjoy a break from the solitude of their way of life.  My family attends a MMR every year.  They camp in the "primitive" area, where everything from clothing to tents to cooking equipment has to be authentic.  It's like you step back in time for a few days and leave the cares of the modern world behind.  We got to join in the fun for the first time, after hearing about it for years since they started going.  Here are some pictures:

This is a portion of the primitive area.  My family's camp is the two tents on the lower right.

It rained pretty much half of the time which made it really cold, but the scenery was beautiful.  And when the sun did come out, boy we were grateful.

There was lots to do, including a spear throw (this is in Trader's Row and you can see some of the vendors' tents in the background) and a candy cannon (not pictured).

This was my grandfather's leather working set.  Adam is putting it to work.

Here Mitch is using a piece of glass to burn designs in leather.  Yes, those are my sunglasses and no, they're not period.

Caleb is proud of the design he burned onto his sword.

Adam really got into these watercolors.  He sat and worked on his painting for a long time.

Brandt loved my nephew's dog.

Some of the group went knife and hatchet throwing.  This is Mitch nailing it.

We ate a lot of my mom's delicious Dutch oven cooking.  Here I am dishing up chicken noodle stew.

Despite all of that fun I think it's safe to say that, at least for Caleb and Dallin,
the absolute favorite activity...

...was sword fighting with their cousins and uncles.  I know.
It's not exactly period but it was a lot of fun.

Their uncles and cousins outfitted them with armor they crafted out of scraps of leather
(this is my brother Joshua).  

Divided into teams, they charged each other,

fought valiantly (taking proper time-outs if they took a death blow),

and if they got lucky the attacking army rescued the princess (my niece, Savannah).  Caleb was good at sneaking around the fray and escorting her to safety.

They had an absolute ball.

I think, overall, everyone did.


I often make a trip or two up the stairs after bedtime to get after Caleb and Dallin for being so noisy and to tell them to please, go to sleep!  They talk loudly, they laugh, they yell, they make other noises.  What is going on up there?  Today those two gave me a glimpse into what it is they're talking about so late into the night.

They tell stories.  Intricate, highly-imaginative stories.

We were sitting at dinner tonight and Caleb suddenly said to Dallin, "Hey remember, (in a funny voice) 'Lettuce.  Try saying lettuce..."  And then he busted up laughing.  Dallin giggled, repeated the phrase in his own funny voice, then giggled.  Mitch and I looked at each other like, I have no idea what these kids are talking about.  Maybe Caleb saw our look because he began to tell me this story about a man who loved lettuce, an alien and his particular way of speaking, some spacemen, a gold mine, big scary guys, a giant robot whose head extended into space, pockets full of gold nuggets, and some sneaky tricks.  They talked excitedly, interrupting each other to describe a scene, reminding each other of parts they left out, quoting lines of dialog, and laughing at the funny parts.  At one point Caleb stopped telling from the point of view of the protagonist, and began telling the story in first person.  They went on like this for half an hour.  I admit I got a little muddled with the story line.  But the point is...they lived this story.  It was crystal clear in their minds.  It was a story they had experienced.

When did I lose that?  When did I let go of the ability to lose myself in a world of "what-ifs", uninhibited?  The imagination is an amazing thing.  A gift that, if left on the shelf for too long, can get a little dusty.  Tonight my boys have made me want to take it down and dust it off.  So maybe I will.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

My Baby Turned One

Brandt is one year old!  He walks, plays peek-a-boo like a champ, loves splashing in the pool and gives fantastic, sweet-sloppy kisses.

You should have seen how excited his brothers were for his birthday.  They worked hard to decorate for Brandt's birthday party - blowing balloons, painting posters and hanging streamers.  They sure love their little brother.

Brandt reveled in the attention he received on his special day, and I think he liked the decorations.

You can see he's walking pretty well now, though he takes a spill once in awhile.

This is was Brandt's little birthday cake.  I decided it would be a dog because of the way Brandt lights up every time we come across a pooch.  He kicks, flaps his wrists, grunts, and pants with his tongue out.  And if we're holding him he leeeeans out toward the dog in hopes that he can pet it.

Brandt was pretty unsure about what to do with his cake.  It took a long time for him to get his hands dirty.  In fact, he never ate more than a bite!  

Despite all this, he discovered how fun it was to play in and made up for his lack of interest in eating the cake by destroying it with gusto.

Happy birthday, Brandt!  We love you so much.