Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Going courtin'

"Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" came to Hale Centre Theatre and we were able to go in early April. I LOVED it.  I was smiling from the first bars of music.

JB and I took Max and Ben with us, and left the three others in the care of our wonderful neighbor. We rushed out of there at the end to get back to them, or I would have taken a picture with the cast to show Millie her namesake.

Max and Ben were at first skeptical. They have been to The Lion King, and Mary Poppins at the Capital Theater but they were very young. And sometimes their classes go to field trips to special daytime theater productions at the U of U, but nothing like this. Hale is in the round and you are close to the action, and boy oh boy was the action fun.  My boys liked the dancing and stage fighting and hilarious antics by the seven brothers.  Though there was a lot of kissing and Ben finally leaned over and said, "Is that real? Are they married?"

A couple of fun notes for you -- in a college communications persuasive speaking class, I gave a presentation on why this musical is the best ever.   When JB and I were dating, my sister Bekah was in a production of the play, and JB flew back to Kansas City with me to see it. That's when he met the family and asked my dad for my hand.  Though he could have carried me off along with the parson, am I right?

Monday, April 24, 2017

The Hayward

Ben has strongly desired the Gordon Hayward haircut for months.  He's one of our favorite Utah Jazz players, and his hairstyle is greatly admired among the elementary school-aged boys around here.

During the first week of the playoffs, three barbershops were doing a promotion where you could get the Hayward or Gobert haircut for free. We waited in line for a long time (James had a meltdown and JB had to come switch places with me). But Ben was very pleased with the barber whose chair came open for his turn. He had been watching all of their work.

He loves it.

I think he wants different hair products like the barbershop to make it keep that perfect swoop up, because he spent quite the amount of time in front of the mirror before church.

Meanwhile I was out in the living room trying to spit-smooth James's hair down after he had some sort of night:

Max's hair is getting long and the wavy curls are showing again (which I love), but it is time for him to get a haircut, too. He had basketball practice during Ben's haircut or he may have been next in line for the Hayward that day.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Spring Break-Legoland Discovery Center Kansas City

All too soon it was Tuesday morning and time to pack up. Here is the last picture we took at my parents' house before loading up the rental van.

I can't believe our trip is over and we are so far away from my family again. I had such a good time with them. Granted, the scent in the laundry room and the sight of Carob Chips in the pantry sent me zooming back to the stresses of tween-dom, but the rolling green hills and big blue sky and laying in the grass with my children, and laughing with JB on the long drives, and talking with my sisters, brothers and parents was just....nice. So nice.

Tuesday before our flight we drove back 1 1/2 hours to downtown Kansas City, where I had media passes to the LegoLand Discovery Center. This I knew the boys would love, because they had been in Lego withdrawal for 5 days.

It has several rooms and stations of different Lego activities. Design and build your own, Batman, car racing, Endor, etc.  Even bins of Duplos for Millie-girl:

These old friends greeted us first.

The boys with some of their creations in the first room.

JB and Ben left dueling creations behind on the display wall.

There were two rides you could do over and over, and more. The boys could have spent much more time here, but we had to get the rental van back, then ride the shuttle back to the airport (I told Ben about being a cute baby on the shuttle from our trip in July 2009) then we had to get checked in then go through security etc etc.  Flying is a lot of hurry up and wait.

Our flight out of Denver didn't leave til 10 PM, so we had a LONG layover there. But, WiFi streaming and a headphone splitter jack meant movies and music could entertain the boys. And our girl crawled around and practiced pulling herself up on everything.  We didn't get home until midnight, complete with a full-on screaming meltdown from James who I guess woke up mid-REM cycle when we landed. The loud crying lasted from the plane until his bed.

In the middle of all that crying, JB told the other boys, "Wasn't that trip fun? We'll never do it again!"  But all in all they were wonderful travelers and I am so grateful they could get to know my family and Missouri better.

Spring Break: Northwest Missouri

I really wanted to go to church at my old LDS branch in Chillicothe, so despite our rough night, off we went that Sunday morning. Since the last time we were there, my parents have moved into my brother's old house town.  No more long drives to church!

There was one other child in sacrament meeting, when we trooped in with our five. They were being so great and so quiet -- then James threw up on the floor. JB scooped him up and rushed him out, where he fell asleep in the hallway.  Everybody saw it; it's a small room, and we were sitting just feet from the speakers.

The primary was happy for the rest of our kids.  After church and lunch, we drove about 40 minutes away to Adam-ondi-Ahman, and found the rock where JB and I got engaged 14 years ago this August.

We went round by my parents' old house in Jamesport, where they lived my senior year of high school and where I would go home from college and where JB met the family. It doesn't seem occupied now. The drives are long in that area of Missouri, and after their rough night, Andrew and James fell asleep and their heads kept lolling onto Ben, as I tried to capture in this picture below:

I was glad for the peace and quiet. 3 year old James and 6 year old Andrew are sometimes quite the stinkers in the car, being loud and joking about burping and pooing. Max and Ben never did that when they were that age! Where did these rude boys come from, and how do I stop it??

On to Monday morning.  My dad brought out a crossbow, and the boys were enthralled. They set up target practice in the yard.

Then my dad took the three oldest boys and JB out to a shooting range. Just look at this darling cute little gun my dad got especially for a child Andrew's size!  I can't believe I used the words "darling" and "cute" to describe a gun. Normally they make me rather anxious. But I knew they would be safe at the range where they could show proper gun safety handling and stuff.

Our children normally just don't get opportunities to go shooting (or fishing or LARPing or long drives for that matter) here in the big city.  My dad asked if we wanted to bring that little gun back with us in our checked bag, but I thought more grandkids could enjoy it at his house.

On Sunday on our drive past Jamesport, the Amish were all at home or in church, so the boys didn't see any buggies and horses. But on Monday's drive back from the shooting range, my dad took JB and the boys to H&M Country Store, run by the Amish, and Andrew apparently fell in love with their hats for sale.

Cute little farmer, right?

Later on Monday we all went to see the new Beauty and the Beast at the movie theater. It was the second time for my parents but my mom loved it and wanted to go again. And I loved it, too.  I think the big boys really enjoyed the battle at the castle at the end, and recognized some of the actors from Harry Potter and other movies.

The next post is the last one, about visiting Legoland Discovery Center before our flights home.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Spring break-Missouri

Saturday morning we drove the 40 minutes or so to the Liberty Jail historic site owned by the LDS Church. This is where Joseph Smith and four other leaders of the early church were imprisoned for 5 months.

The jail floor is original but the rest is a replica. I remember coming here as a tween and later a teen (two different stints where my family lived in Northwest MO), because our stake center was down the street. It's where some of my siblings attend Stake Conference now, but my parents have since been split into the new Far West Stake.

Then we took a picnic to Penguin Park in the neighboring city of Gladstone where a big chunk of my siblings live now. My younger sister Emily met us there with her two little girls and my brother Stephen and his wife Sarah came with their brand new baby boy. This is an awesome park.

Lots of animals to climb on and through. 

After this park, we went to Emily's house.  Her baby is two weeks older than Millie but larger and able to sit up much more strongly. My boys adored Havala. Ben took her up and down the park ladders and slides.  I would love it if we lived closer!

So, for the time being, my youngest sister Sarah (20 years younger than me) lives there with Emily and Josh, and now Stephen and Sarah-in-law are living in the basement after their new baby.  My brother Seth and his wife Caitlin live 10 minutes away and are in the same ward. The Deardeuffs are taking over Gladstone, MO!

My parents drove down, and Bekah and James came over from the Kansas side, and we all had a make-your-own Sushi night dinner.  This is becoming a more regular thing, thanks to our evolving culinary tastes, and my big boys and JB liked it, too. We are a big group all together.

Emily's backyard is nice and big and perfect for LARP: Live Action Role Play.  She and Josh are quite involved in the local LARP scene.  They have big (foam/harmless) weapons that our boys were loving.

Then my brothers all jumped up and joined in but I was too busy laughing or visiting to take a picture of that. I think boys remain boys at heart, even when they are grown married men. 

That night we drove the 1 1/2 hours north to my parents house. And Andrew threw up in the car and then four times that night and I did twice. Some sort of fast-acting tummy bug! 

Next post- Chillicothe and surrounding area with my parents.

Spring break-Kansas

We are back from a wonderful spring break vacation in Kansas/Missouri, and we wish Utah had my parents/siblings, more BBQ, and all the fun things we did out there: fishing, shooting, sightseeing, LARPing, and being with my side of the family. I will outline these adventures in the next few posts.

We flew out last Thursday. This Millie-girl is a plane-riding champ. Nursed, napped, and didn't wiggle too much to get down. She just kept rattling the metal tray table and smiling at the people behind us. James and Andrew didn't do too bad, either. JB and I switched off who sat by whom on each leg of the journey.

Our first stop when landing in Kansas City is always this BBQ place on Mission Road. Formerly Oklahoma Joe's, it is now called Joe's Kansas City BBQ. Millie sucked on the rib bones and was in hog heaven.

We met my brother James there, and I didn't even get a picture with him!  He lives nearby.  We checked out his beautiful house and cute new Corgi dog Sybil, and he taught the boys how to play Zelda (we have no video game systems at our house). Then we drove not too far to Olathe, where we stayed with my sister Rebekah for two nights.  

The boys really enjoyed her house, first because she is so nice (our Jamesy said he wuved her) and second because she has two desk top computers and Minecraft. Big boys were allowed to play as long as they wanted.

On Friday we went with Bekah to the Deanna Rose Homestead, just 5 or so minutes from her house. A huge petting zoo, farmstead, baby animals, all kinds of stuff.   Ben and Andrew fed bottles to baby goats.

And Max caught a fish! 

It only took 45 minutes and every single worm he had, haha. He was down to the last bit of worm on his hook. My brother says that is a Bluegill. He released it and tossed it back in.

James loved this digger. He did that while Bekah helped me with the fisher-boys. She is the one who put worms on the hooks, and for that I am forever grateful.

It was cool enough for jackets but sunny enough that I got some sunburn at the fishing pond. Millie in the frontpack got a headband sunburn line on her head.

That night Bekah and I went out to dinner to celebrate her birthday, while the boys watched a movie at her house. She suggested RCs on the state line, and WOW. I regret not eating even more fried chicken and mashed potatoes than I did. Millie liked the green beans, too. That may need to be another restaurant staple on our trips. OH, and the cobbler. Sigh.

Next up, the Liberty Jail, LARPing and sibling sushi night.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017


For Family Home Evening last Monday, we took a look at different things in our lives ("All good things, all good things" -Olaf), and listed them in order of top priorities.  Andrew put TV at the top, I was really tempted to put sleep at the top of mine...but the point was, we were trying to talk to the boys about putting God first and everything else will fall into place. 

We had a follow up last night that I think went well. James held off begging for a snack until the end, and no one dive-bombed off the couch.

I remember a talk in BYU Womens Conference a few years back, where the speaker said that saying "yes" to one thing can mean saying "no" to another.  This morning, I also read an article about the new humblebrag of being busy. We pride ourselves in having tons to do. These are good reminders for me in setting and keeping priorities in check around my home, family, work, church, hobbies (and sleep).

Speaking o' the zzzs:  You all know that for years I have nursed-napped with our babies every day, and often co-slept with them at night.  But I may need to sleep-train Millie sooner rather than later, though, and hope it doesn't lead to weaning yet.  She is just so squirmy all over the bed. Like when she took off her headband and whipped me with it:

Cross fingers she sleeps ok on our upcoming trip to Kansas/Missouri to see my family. I told JB I would prioritize getting her into the crib when we get back. 

Monday, March 27, 2017

Separation and anxiety

This Millie-girl goes where I go.  Even on dinner dates with her daddy.

That binkie on the table is just for show. She chews on it.

In the mornings she is glued to JB's side. When I am home, she likes me within view, or holding her. It's the separation anxiety phase babies all go through.

(This is at the school for arts night)

Anxiety in babies - normal. Anxiety in kids and adults - let's talk about that.

I have some level of worry already that I think comes with motherhood (like this post from when Max was 3 and Ben nearly 1 year old). Worry can protect us and our kids.

But on the other end of the spectrum are things like anxiety attacks (which I went through for a period of time in 2015). I didn't realize what was happening until it was spelled out for me in therapy. And I remember talking with my sister-in-law last April briefly about anxiety after her last baby. Giving it a name has really helped me recognize when it happens to me, and how to work through it. It also has been great to teach my children skills to handle the times when it seems "the worry-monster" is taking over their thoughts about something.

I highly recommend this article in the Ensign this month about it. I find I can talk more easily to myself about a fear versus reality, about truth versus deception, etc. Our ward theme this year is "Look unto me in every thought, doubt not, fear not."  JB gave a wonderful talk on this for ward conference that people have told me they loved. God is so great and we can trust Him that the future will work out.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Spring soccer better beat swimming lessons

I would like to say soccer should go better for James than swimming lessons did, but then again, he liked swimming on the first day. He also really liked soccer on his first day, last Saturday.

They got their own ball this year, and my big boys were bleating: "Not fair, a free ball!" No, not free, this year the program costs more than when they were in soccer. (By the way, one of my favorite posts of all time is when Max was 3 and I was his co-player)

James was pretty excited about getting his turn to be on a team, after seeing older brothers be on sports teams for years.  He secretly drank all the Powerade beforehand that I had brought for him as his own special drink for after his game. Every time I turned around he was sneaking another sip.

This year's program has 3 weeks of clinics and short scrimmages before real games. I mean, is there anything cuter than little kids warming up? 

An hour after James's time slot was Andrew's time slot, and he got his uniform and ball. This is his third spring season.

I think this year promises to have less nose-picking and more running and kicking. Hope springs eternal.

Our jungle kitty baby wanted to crawl around, but that artificial turf in the field house is nasty. It makes our hands and clothes all black.  Max and Ben are such sweet big brothers -- they each wanted to carry her around the field and show her things and show her off.

My big boys also ran alongside the little boys. Seeing this, I settled down on my side-line blanket to have a nice chat/gossip sesh with the other moms. But then I got chastised by my big boys for not paying enough attention to the littles.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Eight months

JB: "I tried to do an 8 month photo shoot with Millie, and it was a spectacular failure. She kept rolling, eating grass, crawling away..."

Me: "Bahahahahaha"

Right after her 7 month mark, Millie started crawling like a little jungle kitty stalking her prey and carefully placing her paws through the underbrush.  Very deliberately placing each hand one after the other on the floor. Now she is getting faster, and starts to leave her spot in the living room to come find me if I have left the room. And she wants to get down and crawl everywhere, like church or the basketball gyms where she spends a lot of time.

Two teeth on bottom are all the way in; four are almost all in on top within some rather rough days for her. OUCH

She says almost all of her consonants, though JB keeps trying to teach her "P" so she can say "Papa" and hopefully make him delighted by the trick.  Lobbying for favorite grandbaby has begun over here. She also gurgles and growls.

I think everybody should have a baby like this one. Make your fifth baby your first -- you get the experience behind you,  but you also have the joy of all the milestones for the last time. We are enjoying this baby and all her sweetness, but also look forward to not worrying about her choking on small Legos!

People ask how she is sleeping at night. She sleeps by me until I have to leave for work in the wee hours. On the weekends, when I can stay up later, she has gone down in her crib around 10 or 11pm and slept for 8 hours. But when I have to go to bed so early, I just stick her in bed so she can nurse when she needs to.

It's basically what I have done with all of our babies, and we just sleep-train them when they wean.  I read a book (The Nursing Mother's Companion) before my first baby about how to keep up your milk supply when you work full-time, and it suggested nursing on-demand when you are together and at night, so, that's what I have always done.  I figure I have years ahead of me to have a smaller chest size and a child that sleeps in their own bed.

More pictures here at the end:

St Patrick's day headband and grapes snack (she eats in her diaper then gets a sink bath)

Millicent Mae and Millie Grace getting into the boys' games one Sunday

Eating her toes

Getting into trouble

Being rescued by a brother

And finally,

"How you doin?"

Monday, March 13, 2017

Some bragging-updated

The story I mention is here on this link where you can read it or listen to my radio version at the bottom.

And USA Today picked it up!


I had some highs in my journalism/radio reporting life this past week.

I haven't been caught in action on camera for a while, but there I am on the air with our main talk show host, during the radiothon for Primary Children's Hospital.  

I really enjoyed the opportunity. The volunteers were so great, and I have a fondness for the hospital and how it has helped me (2-day old baby Maxwell spent a night there) and neighbors and friends. Live radio is always exciting, but I feel like I finally hit my stride right at the end of my on-air shift!

I also feel like I made a difference with a story I worked hard on last week. It was on new locker rooms being built for homeless teenagers who go to a local high school.  

I produced an indepth radio report first (2 minutes instead of 30 seconds), and then the folks at ksl-dot-com asked me to write it up for them, so I did with added length and pictures. It has remained one of the most popular stories on the website for a week. On Saturday, I saw that it made the front page of our newspaper.

After those big moments, the stories I pitched this morning were all about how we should do away with the daylight saving time changes every spring and fall.  Am I right? JUST PICK A TIME.