30 April 2010


So, I am now the mother of a 7 year old. Yes, SEVEN! It seems like just yesterday I was carrying him around in the Bjorn and rocking him to sleep. No one ever told me how fast time flies when you are a mother. Okay, that's a big, fat lie. Everyone talks about how time flies...blah, blah, blah... and as much as I dislike writing the obvious, they're right.

If you know me well, you know I like to keep things fairly simple. Or, at least I like to think I keep things simple. Jack's birthday was no different. I decided [since Jack had been talking about it since his last birthday and already told his best friends all about it (and how do you back out from that?) that] this was the year to have his very first friend party. Jack is very into gadgets and spy stuff right now, so the theme to the party was obvious. Plus, Jeff and I were completely inspired last fall by the "missions" the kids loved at the Epcot Center, so we had some ideas we were excited about.

He invited a cousin and a few friends from church and school over for food, games, and a secret mission. I was thinking we were keeping it really low-key with five friends, but seriously, my ears were ringing afterward. These boys are as loud and obnoxious (hello, they're SEVEN!) as they are darling and sweet. Luckily, that turned out to be a good balance.

The highlight was definitely the MISSION where they went from clue to clue through the neighborhood and school using keys, cell phone messages, and decoding clues, which ultimately led to a video message from the head honcho of SI (Spies, Inc.). Thanks Grandpa!

These boys were NOT messing around. Once they heard where their "field agent supplies" were located, they took off, missing the last few seconds of the movie entirely.

They loved their supplies and it kept them going until the sugar high wore off on the way home.

Speaking of sugar high... we did the birthday food a little non-traditionally this year. I'm a big fan of decorating fun cakes each year, but in the spirit of simplifying we opted for cupcakes for the party, and guess what? No one even missed my hours of hard work that just gets slaughtered once the candles are out! It was great!

Jack also wanted an ice cream bar and was happy as a clam that he made this beautiful creation all on his own.

Although, let the record show, he made it, got distracted somehow, and the majority of this huge dessert is still in our freezer, one week later! I guess there are advantages to having a seven-year-old's attention span. Maybe I should stop getting frustrated when I can't keep his attention, because ice cream can't even do it!

Oh, the age of wearing extra underpants to keep warm (three pair yesterday to be exact) and having the status symbol in your crowd being who can make the best armpit noises. We'll enjoy this simplicity as long as we can!

I love this picture of Jane and Clark. Seriously, cousins are the best, right?

This was a big birthday for myself this year. I know I'm getting old this year because I started doing something only old people do. Reflect.

I was remembering where I spent my 20th birthday. I was on choir/orchestra tour with Rick's College in the North West (seriously one of the most beautiful parts of our country). I spent my birthday cruising Pike's Market in Seattle with dear friends and putting on a concert that night. It felt weird to not be with my family, but I enjoyed the change, because as I've said before, I do love change. There was one thing that wasn't allowing me to feel completely happy. I missed my "friend" who I'd spent hours and hours with the week before graduation, and just left, with no definite plans to meet up once we were both back in UTAH. Somehow on that very trip, I got up the nerve to just call to say hello. I'd never even called him before. We'd always just happened to run into each other and have a few free hours to chat. I got up the guts (thank you roommates) and called the boy. We talked for longer than I dared admit to my host-mom the next morning (no, it wasn't on their bill) and planned to go out once I got home. I was elated.

So, that was the beginning. The week of my 20th birthday was the start of my best friend becoming much, much more. 10 years later, he's still my best friend and everything else. I look back on my 20's and he was there through everything. Being 20 was fantastic, but I'm excited to see where 30 takes me!

How could the years not get better when I'm married to someone who wraps a present this well? (seriously, I'm not showing this to make you all feel bad that you don't look this super-hot in the morning, but to show off Jeff's mad wrapping skills).

Some people might consider buying kitchen things for your wife a little lame, but I was SO excited. My first good pan, ever! Now to learn to cook...

A good chunk of the day was spent at the doctor's office and pharmacy trying to figure out Alice's severe eczema. Luckily, we're on our way to getting my poor girl some relief, and her happy disposition seems to be returning. I was happy to spend my day helping my baby because when the baby's happy, mom's happy. And when mom's happy... you know the rest.

We had a crazy evening with two soccer practices across town from one another, but Jeff still had time to prepare (read: unwrap) my FAVORITE kind of cake and we all snarfed it before we ran out the door!

My 30th birthday was a bit different than my 20th, but I'm right where I want to be, and that feels pretty good. I'm a regular old mini-van driving, three-kid hauling, snot wiping, diaper changing, homework helping, violin practicing, book reading, laundry folding, dinner making, bargain hunting housewife. Isn't it great?

22 April 2010

Spring, please stay!

A few weeks sure make a big difference in the weather here.

This was not too long ago...

and just last weekend...

It seems Mother Nature is as indecisive as I am.

Seriously, what's better than a lazy Sunday afternoon in the backyard?

Trying to get a picture of these two monkeys is a circus! Although looking at the way they're holding each other, I realize I've got nothing to complain about.

In the spirit of what we hope is soon to come, we've been pretending the weather is good no matter what it looks like outside.

Jane's been loving her swim lessons this month and has made some good progress. More than anything she's just enjoying the water, even if she has no idea what she's supposed to be doing.

Her teacher even took her class off the diving board last week and Jane was thrilled at first, nervous at the moment, then so excited when she finally did it. The 2nd time was all fun though.

The girls and I spent a morning with Grandma and Grandpa Ottley and as usual, it was hard to leave. My goodness, I love them! My heart melted when Grandma started singing "A, You're Adorable" to my Alice, the song I have fond memories of her singing to me when I was little.

We spent Saturday at This is the Place Heritage Park, where we'll be volunteering a bit this summer. The kids loved learning pioneer songs, playing games, and being out in the beautiful sun. No doubt, the highlight for Jack was finally finding a good climbing tree. Can you say "heaven"?

Jeff's been busy, busy, busy at work and I'm getting excited about the next project for the orchestra in May, and we're ALL getting excited for school to be out. Can't wait for that summer flexibility, and more time with my boy.