30 June 2011

A Different Saturday, A Different Temple

A week after the Saturday that we'd gone to the Provo Temple grounds, we found ourselves visiting the grounds of a different Temple.  A different Saturday, a different Temple - a week apart.  And about four hours away from each other. 
Adam and I had been trying to find a good time to travel down to St. George to visit Adam's dad for a few months now.  So, a couple of weeks ago, kind of last minute, we decided to just go.  We really feel it's important to give our kids as many chances to get to know their grandparents (and vice versa) as possible.  
It was a great trip.  We were able to spend time with "Gampa Kischun" and play, and then we walked around the Temple grounds too.  (It was at the Temple grounds when I remembered that I'd brought our camera, and that it'd be put to better use outside of it's carrying case!)  So, unfortunately, we don't have any other pictures than these to remember our time in St. George.

(Adam and Audrey strolling on the grass.)

Luke was less interested in walking on the grass and more interested in the pillars that line some of the pathways.  He was loving hiding behind a pillar, waiting for us to say, "Where's Luke?!" and then popping out from behind his hiding place!

Then he'd make his way to another pillar, giggling all the while...
and do it again.

I love how contagious my kids having fun is!

At about this same time, Audrey was noticing that the pink flowers near the grass were the same shade as the shirt that she was wearing.  And she wanted me to take her picture.

So I did.  

Then she said "Mom, you wanna picture wivf me?"  

And I said sure.  

I mean, how do you say no to that?
And, even if you knew the how, why would you want to?

Right after I took the photo of Audrey and I, Luke unwittingly stumbled into my arm's reach...

so I did what any other mom would do...

I grabbed him and made him sit down next to his sister so I could take their picture together....

(Apparently, I hadn't gotten over the sting of not getting a decent picture of them the week before and was determined to do better this time around!)


Well, it's not bad.  Definitely better than the previous week, but I'd love it if only Audrey's smile was facing the camera!  At least they're both smiling, that's something!

Heartened, I forged on, hoping try number two would be golden:  both kids looking at the camera with angelic smiles on their cute little faces.

Yeah.  Not so much.  Apparently someone (or something) of interest was happening just over my right shoulder.

Thwarted again!

Oh well!  The day was no less beautiful and fun.  It was great to have that time together.  Thanks, "Gampa Kischun" for the awesome visit!

A Beautiful Saturday

A couple of Saturdays ago, we decided to put the beautiful weather to good use and went to spend some time on the grounds of the Provo Temple.  It's so beautiful and peaceful - and secretly, I was hoping that I would also be able to get a few good pictures of the kids together... maybe by the fountain... or in front of the lovely flowers and greenery.

My prospects seemed to be pretty good.  Both of the kids had had good naps and were ready to walk on the paths surrounding the Temple.  Luke even gave us a mini round of applause:

And, Audrey actually asked me to take her picture in front of some flowers:

(I'm not really sure what made her do this pose, I was just excited to have a willing subject... I wasn't about to ruin it by suggesting how she should stand.)

Also, that's not dried ketchup around her mouth - she got into my lipstick earlier in the day and got her hands on one of the dark red ones that stains and it would not come off, no matter what I tried!  She had red splotches on her face for a day and a half!

Meanwhile, Luke was having fun exploring the perimeter of the grounds -

I'm not sure if he was looking for an opening in the fencing or trying to figure out how to climb it!

Or maybe he just wanted to look at the houses that are across the street... since he seemed content enough.

There's something about this picture that makes him seem so old all of a sudden.  He looks more and more like a little boy and less and less like a baby.  (And don't ask me how I feel about that.  I don't know if I would be able to tell you in any way that makes any sense - basically, it covers the whole spectrum of emotions, simultaneously.)

In the interest of fairness, I turned the lens on Adam and me.  So often, we chronicle the growing and development of our kiddos, and we neglect to document ourselves.  (If I had to guess what the ratio of pictures of the kids to pictures of Adam and I, it would probably be something like 500:1.)

We made our way from the back to the front of the Temple.  The kids got really excited when they saw the fountains.  We'd been outside for about 45 minutes and it was a warm day, so we let them enjoy sticking their fingers in the water.  They were so caught up with the water and the beautiful surroundings that neither of them wanted to look at the camera. 

 These were the best (and only) pictures I attempted; since it was so clear it wasn't going to work, I gave up and let them just have fun sans the picture-taking.

I can't blame them.

Too much.

Then, just as we were about to leave, Audrey spotted a smaller water feature.  It's hard to tell from the picture, but water cascades down the tile-like granite that's just adjacent to the larger fountain - and she wanted me to take her picture in front of it.

And I was more than happy to oblige. 

24 June 2011

California Trip (another one...)

I've mentioned before that I am the youngest in my family.  I have five older brothers and two older sisters.  All of us are married, and all of us have children of our own.  Not surprisingly, eight couples can produce quite a few grandchildren for my parents to enjoy.  By extension, this means that there are quite a few special events that my parents do their best to be a part of.

In April they went to my brother, Danny's, house and stayed a few weeks - first to watch their five children while Danny and his wife, Leslie, were able to take an early anniversary trip together to Costa Rica, and then they stayed for a while after Danny and Leslie had returned to celebrate Danny's birthday, Lauren's birthday (their youngest), and Katie's and Maddie's (their third and fourth children) birthdays and Katie's baptism at the beginning of May.

After Katie's baptism, my parents left New Mexico and headed Northwest for Utah.  One of my other brothers, Mark, was having a big event that my faithful parents wanted to attend:  his oldest son, Jacob, had earned his Eagle Scout award, his Court of Honor was scheduled for May 12.  My oldest brother, Jamie, also had two of his oldest sons scheduled to receive their Eagles and they had intended to have their Eagle Court a few days later, on the 15.  Well, it didn't work out and Jamie's sons had to have their Eagle Court on June 5.  Meanwhile, my parents (who had already been away from home for a month) had responsibilities that needed attending in California; but they also didn't want to miss Jamie's boys' Eagle Court.  So, they decided that they would have to return home for just a couple of weeks before having to turn back around and travel back to Utah/Idaho to be able to attend Levi and Isaac's Eagle Court.

Well, all of that was just too tempting for me and my kids not to hitch a ride with my parents for an impromptu visit to California.  We've done it before:  crammed ourselves and our stuff into my parents' Civic for a visit, but usually I have to buy plane tickets back home to Utah - the notion of an absolutely free trip for me and my kiddos, coupled with the promise of a lot of time with my sister Megan and her family was simple too much to pass up!  (Even with the consideration that our last trip to California was in February!)  I just didn't think that that kind of opportunity will present itself again - when my parents will be in Utah and have to return again in a couple of weeks - so we took advantage of the opportunity, tried to pack as lightly as a mom with two young children can, and smooshed ourselves into the car for the 13ish hour drive across the Nevada desert.  (It's about as relaxing and peaceful and fun as it sounds.)

I liked how one friend put it:  "That trip is even boring in an airplane!"

Can I just say that, for the record, it was worth every second!  We had a great time!

One of the biggest inducements, for me, was giving Luke a chance to interact and play with his cousins that are so close to his age.  Really, his only playmate is Audrey (and me and Adam, of course).  So, I was anxious for him to get some peer play in.

Ben, Luke and Hugh - playing with the ball popper.

Luke and Ben sharing.  Yay!

I love this one, Hugh is so stinkin' cute!

Speaking of Hugh, our trip was pretty fortunate timing:  we got there the evening of the 14th of May and Hugh's first birthday was the 17th so we got to celebrate with him!

One of Hugh's presents was this little motorized quad bike.  Ben was more than ready to try it out - while Hugh was still occupied with his slice of birthday cake and ice cream.  It didn't take long for him to figure out how to push the button that activated the motor that made it go.

Ben's light (and very blue) eyes kill me!

Hugh did get a turn, and he figured out what and where the activating button was even faster than his older brother!  Here he is waving to his adoring crowd as he makes a pass on his new bike.

The quad was a big hit with all of the kids.  In fact, Megan and I used it as a centerpiece tool for trying to teach how to take turns and share - setting the microwave timer for 2 minutes at a time, rotating through each child.  The kids loved being together (except when they didn't - which thankfully wasn't too much of the time).

One of Audrey's favorite things to do was go outside for short little walks (to and from Megan's and my parents' houses, mostly).  And nearly every time she went outside, she returned with a handful (literally) of flowers.  She especially loved the cheerful golden poppies that my parents have encouraged to grow along their walkways and near their patio.  My mom even enlisted Audrey's help in removing the poppy seed pods that were ready to be plucked.
Some of the poppies were almost as tall as Audrey, so we had to have her pose for some pictures.

It was a bright morning!

I couldn't neglect to include the handsome little Luke in our impromptu photo shoot - even though I couldn't get him to stand still next to the poppies.  (I suspect he thought it wasn't very manly to pose in front of a bunch of flowers....)

 (Pretty much, Mom.)

Speaking of trying to get Luke to stand still (for anything, but especially for pictures), on our last Sunday in California, as we were walking to church (which is just around the block from my parents' house) I wanted to get a few pictures of Audrey and Luke, all cute in their Sunday clothes.

Yeah, they had other ideas.

I tried to enlist Audrey's help - asking her to catch up to Luke and stand next to him so that I could snap a picture or two...

He's getting faster, apparently!

She caught up to him and this was the best that I could do.  Not great, but pretty illustrative of our lives right now - who has time to pose for pictures?  There's places to go, people to meet, and things to explore and discover!

We had a fabulous time in California!  We can't wait until the next trip! 

(Our deepest thanks to Gamma & Gampa, and Megan & Marc, and Ben & Hugh for such a wonderful time!  We love you!)

22 June 2011

Field of (Hoop) Dreams

The park that is near our home is actually part of the property of an Elementary school.  The school is on the southwest of the property, and there are two different playgrounds, one to the east and one to the north of the school's buildings.  Then there are four tennis courts to the east of the eastern playground, a couple of baseball diamonds and large grassy areas that are to the north and northwest of the tennis courts.  The grassy areas are alternately used for soccer, lacrosse, rugby, football and another game that looks similar to cricket, but it's not cricket.  Anyway, along the northern border of these grassy areas, where the school property ends, there is a long row of chain-link fence that divide the school property from the residential houses of our neighborhood.

During one of our trips to the school's playground(s), Luke and Adam were chasing each other and playing around when something grabbed Luke's attention.  Just on the other side of the chain-link fence, clearly viewable from the fields of the school, was a huge (to his perspective) basketball court.

And it called to him.  And he obeyed it's beckoning. 

Like a starving man to food, or a thirsty man to water, Luke went directly to the gate of the fence, just aching to play basketball on a real (albeit half) court.

I could almost hear the angelic-heavenly music that was no doubt playing in his mind as he walked over to the gate.

He tried and tried to get that gate to open.  Without success.  The gate was locked.  (Not that we would've let him go into someone else's yard had it been open...)  It was just funny how the look of excitement on his face had changed to disappointment and dejection.  after it was clear he could not get through the gate, he leaned his forehead on the fence for a bit before giving up and rejoining the chasing games that Adam and Audrey were playing.

But, as he walked (rather sulkily) across the grass towards Adam and Audrey, something else caught his eye.  It was another chain-link fence.  But this one was a lot taller and sorta funny shaped.

It, too, called to him.  It's call was just as profound and just as demanding - he was pulled to it like a magnet. 

He stood at this new fence for a long time, unable to tear his eyes off of the field that lay just on the other side of the fence.

After awhile of what seemed to be fairly intense daydreaming of his future of sliding into home plate, or pitching no-hit innings, or being an enviable catcher... or all of the above...

he walked around the bend in the fencing and stood there for another long while.  No doubt, this slightly different view held further visions of hitting home runs and stealing bases.

Finally he was pulled out of his sports fantasizing and was thrust into the real world - where he is still a little...

well he's still a little little. 

I tried to explain to him that we needed to teach him some of the basics first and that, maybe in a few years he'd be big enough to play an actual game of baseball...

and basketball on a real court, too.

He didn't really want to believe it... but something in my words rang true and he knew that I was right.

At first he was none too pleased about it.

But then he seemed to buck up a bit and walked off with purpose in his step... looking determined to remember the feelings he'd felt at both of those chain-link fences today and make those daydreams come true.

And we hope all of his dreams come true... or at least most of them!


A Total Blog Slacker

Ok, I admit it.

I have been a total blog slacker.  I can't believe it's been almost 2 months since my last post.  I guess it's a good thing that I don't have too many admiring readers who wait with clenched fingers for each post - because then I'd really feel guilty for not being more on the ball.  As it is, I think my readers are completely comprised of my parents, my siblings, a few cousins, and some close friends - people whom I assume will readily forgive my blogging faults.

I hope.

We have been quite busy lately.  If that's any consolation.

Picking off from my last post (near the end of April!)... our tulips bloomed:

We took a few more trips to the nearby park:

Sliding on slides,

Kicking balls,

Chasing dad,

Chasing mom,

And occasionally pausing long enough in the fun for me to be able to snap a picture or two!

Oh, and another thing that happened during the month of April...

That's right!  Audrey is officially potty trained and we are all so happy!

Hooray for Audrey!

More coming soon...

I promise!