Thursday, October 23, 2014

It's all beautiful...

 I've been doing a lot of avoidance strategies lately: facebook, netflix, reading blogs. I realized I was so busy for a while, it gave me a great sense of purpose. When things slowed down a little bit, I had a hole I needed to fill. Add to that a scare I had the other day (well, it hasn't gone away yet really) with a friend's health, and I found I was trying to escape my own life. 
 I was reading John Scalzi's blog, and ran across a post that really resonated: It's all beautiful and nothing lasts.   He talked about a dream he had, and this is something he says in the dream. What struck me, was that it wasn't defeatist, it was motivational: it doesn't last so enjoy the heck out of life while you have it --whatever it is. 
 I went to my daughter's choir concert last night, and they had a mentally handicapped girl there participating. At the end of the first song, she screamed "more more" so the choir sang her favorite song for her. She was so over-stimulated that she kind of lost control, and was rubbing her face and shouting, and flailing, and I thought --her parents! The pain they must feel right now! The pain they feel every day! But I looked at the choir, and those kids just saw that they were making this girl happy. They saw beauty. I realized that you could see the moment in two different ways. I've been looking at things wrong a lot. 
 Excuse the clichéed simile with autumn and death. Each week I see more and more leaves fall, each week the beauty moves down the mountain. At first the brightest colors are the furthest away, but as winter and death gets closer, the color moves down towards the valley, toward my own front yard. Soon the aspens by my driveway will be bright gold; then they will be dead for winter. 
 With more intense feelings, even bad ones, come more beauty. I valued my friend more as I feared for her health. I mourn the loss of having little babies in the house, and passed a mom with a 6 month old in the grocery store yesterday, and said "you are so lucky!" I saw the beauty in the little baby girl precisely because my baby days were over. I don't remember if I knew how lucky I was when I had babies. I hope I did, but there is beauty in the remembering and yearning too. 
 So I run up the mountain, and enjoy the beauty even of the leaves that have fallen. When winter comes, I will no doubt exclaim over snow and ice crystals. I hope I can stop and enjoy listening to Ari and Kai's chatter after school today. Tia still thinks I'm funny sometimes. I hope I appreciate that now -- It won't last!
 To see the beauty, I have to look for it in each moment. Remember with fondness, and not block the pain --there is beauty in the fallen leaves too.

Sunday, October 19, 2014


 Fall. Oh my goodness. It's gorgeous around here. Jeff and I took our Friday night treat up the mountain with lawn chairs and just enjoyed the sunset and beautiful valley. We talked about how it seems like since we started spending more time outside, we've gotten to really love where we live. We are so spoiled. 

We are NOT good selfie takers! 
 The sky is a deep, deep blue.
 The bushes look like flower arrangements.
 We did steal one frame of honey from our bees, maybe next year we can track down a spinner we don't feel dumb paying to rent. With only 7 frames full we couldn't justify renting a 9 frame spinner. Next year...
 I just cut and slow -melted the one frame's worth of honey. 
 I love my babies more than I love running and autumn trees, but it seems like I never post pictures of them. I have three little readers. I wonder where they got that from? 
Kai has a few good buddies I'm really grateful for. All of our kids are very settled in our little town. Here they are on another mother's roof --probably good I wasn't around, but I'm glad they had a little adventure. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Halloween Party 2014

There are four of us in our neighborhood. Every year, one (or two of us some years) hosts a Halloween party. Sometimes kids are invited, sometimes it's a couples thing, but there needs to be at least one party in our neighborhood -- it's tradition. I was really not feeling up to it this year, one of us just had a baby, the other is going through some allergy stuff, so I somehow bamboozled Kelli into hosting in her backyard this year if I helped. Awesome is what it was. Because the yard is huge, we could invite as many people as we wanted to. Door to door fliers were... I wasn't willing to do that, so we decided to put it out on Facebook and specify that people tell their neighbors who weren't on there about the party. There were people who swear they knew nothing about it until they drove by, which was crummy. I told my carpool kids to tell they families, --at the last minute we almost sent out an email to the Relief Society group, but at that point it was only two days away. Anyway next time maybe I will recruit kids to do the fliers. I don't want ANYONE left out EVER! Anyway a big load of people came. 

 We supplied hot dogs and hot chocolate, and asked everyone who came, to bring a dish to share. We also specified that you had to come in costume or you'd have to sing karaoke. One of my more brilliant ideas. Not really. Great costumes showed up! Recognize the guy in red (you won't if you're younger than 40 apparently -I  thought it was great. I'm 42)?

We also did some games for the kids --pin the bow-tie on the skeleton, bean bag toss, some card games, mummify your friends with T.P.  There are probably some great pictures floating around about now of the Bishop mummified. The toilet paper started getting thrown all over the yard, so that game ended a little quickly...

 Audrey, the friend who just had the baby, overachieved as usual, and sewed costumes for almost her whole family of 8 (of course the older boys wanted to do their own thing). Adorable melty Olaf.
 Frozen was of course a huge deal this year. 
 I loved seeing this costume on this girl - if you know the story, it's the younger sister, the one without the showy talent -who actually ends up being the great hero of the story. You love both sisters, but you're glad the younger one gets her moment.
 Ari knew what she wanted to be -- every year she has a very strong opinion of her own. This year it was an elf princess. I made her a Lothlorien broach for her cloak (and the cloak actually).

 I loved that the older kids dressed up too.
 Another little Elsa.
 Kai was a ceiling fan. Notice Thor on the left? He's from a  "Whole family of Supers! Looks like I hit the Jackpot!" (name that movie) --you'll see his parents in a minute.
 This is Audrey --remember her from Frozen?

 Youngest in the Superhero family --he had a late nap and didn't want to wear his Clark glasses.
 Here's the fourth friend --half of the superhero parents. She loves Wonder Woman. This is a fabulous role model for girls actually --wait --I have an article. This is actually part of why I was Merida this year. I'm OK with her being a tomboy, know that's not all I have to be --it's not a choice between tomboy and princess! 
 Kelli has a great fire pit that came in handy when it cooled off later. We were sweating as we set up, but I was glad for the fire later.
 Tia was "The seven seas". But her "C's" got a little munched soon.
Anyway, we had a great time. Now I need to talk Kelli into hosting a hoedown. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Harvest fair and Girls' weekend.

 Every year our Stake (a group of neighborhood congregations in our church) does a Harvest Fair. In the past my girls and I have really had fun competing in the cake decorating, canning, and produce competitions. It's fun to say in passing  "my prize winning tomatoes"...""my prize winning chocolate cake"..."my prize winning daughter"...
 This year was a hard year for us. We all had a million places to be that day. Ari had been planning a flower arrangement though for a while, so she made that, I threw some tomatoes on a platter, and we rushed over -just her and me. We were too late to be in the judging, but I was still glad we went.

 My friend entered his wood sculpture. He designs them on a computer, and then, as he puts it, uses "every woodworking tool and machine known to man" to make them become a reality. This is him with his daughters.

 I have another friend who enters a metalworking project every year. Pretty impressive --last time it was chain mail.
 There were pony rides for the kids. 
 These ponies --only as big as large dogs!
 Face painting and kids crafts,
 A one family bluegrass band. I'd heard these guys before at a park concert and they never disappoint! 
 I was so excited to hear "Devil went down to Georgia". Been a while!

 Gardening demo ladies.
 Chick loving girls.

 Here was my tomato platter. Fancy. Ish.
 Ari's flower arrangement. She bought the water crystals, and a flashing color changing LED light for the vase with her own money.

We didn't stay long at the Harvest fair, because I was due up the canyon for a girls' weekend. Oh my gosh I needed this! My friend was moving back to California, so one of our group borrowed a cabin for us to stay in for a night as a going away thing. I was so excited to get up there, I drove without thinking right into BYU game traffic and was stuck an hour in Provo. I was not happy. I hated BYU, football, the entire city of Provo, the guy in the car in front of me (you were lucky you weren't a passenger in my car or you wouldn't have escaped my wrath either). 

But I finally made it, and it was worth the wait. I have to give you a tour of the "cabin". It was like going to a parade home. The bathroom was the cutest. In fact we wanted to take the group picture in the bathroom because we all loved it. Weird I know, but do you see that tub and tile? 

 Cutesy bedroom.
 Adorable kitchen with our plethora of snacks.

 Cozy living room.

 We ate (of course), and then furiously played games for hours.
 and I mean furiously!
 We talked and talked, and I loved it. So many stories. I was chatting with one of my friends later, and she commented on how cool it was that the conversation never dragged into gossip and criticism of people. These are nice girls. Of course we didn't go to bed until like 3:00, but it was worth the missed sleep. My sister always says, that talking and talking about your feelings (and listening and listening to them) is not a husband's job, it's for girlfriends. 

 The next day my fantastic friend made crepes for all of us, and we ate them with hot chocolate and herb tea. 
It was raining as I drove back down the canyon for church, but it only made the canyon more beautiful. A great memory.