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Uinta for One, Uinta for All

Woo threw in a surprise, last minute trip to the Uintas before school starts. And that's when I realized my no-toil-nor-labor-fear testimony from the week before was actually just for me (Okay, let's be honest. They've all been for me.)

Of course, Christine dropped everything and joined us. If it hadn't been for her last experience, I'd have said she'd walk through fire to get to the Uintas.

Every time we go, we learn a few things to make our trip easier. I was luckily armed with Lyndy's cookie s'mores idea, which made serving s'mores to a giant bunch of impatient kids 2,000% easier and 300% tastier. (I also bought some more exotic cookies I thought would be fun to try, but somehow those got eaten long before any marshmallows were ever roasted.)

And when I saw Christine pull out her paper bowls which she immediately burned after meals I thought: Why have I ever packed in dishes that I also have to wash? WHY???

Ruby was still sick when we left, but she was a trooper, hauling her load in without complaint. She did complain of a headache when we got there, and had to lie down in the tent as soon as we got it up. But after about 1/2 hour, she was out again and fine for the rest of the stay.

Oh yeah, and Ruby and I had an accidental latrine encounter, which Ruby thought was hilarious, because maybe it was. But the best thing she said was several minutes later after sitting in silence when she asked, "Mom, did you ever see your mom's bum?"

Herbie was the only kid who wanted to hike up the rock mountain next to our camp (everyone else was busy playing Rangers Apprentice), and he was rewarded with a bunch of pictures and unhampered time alone with adults.

Moses caught this little frog I found on the way to Mohawk. There were actually two, but Moses was the only kid who caught one. He attributed it to his quick snake-catching skills, which impressed his cousin Isaac when he heard: You catch snakes?! Moses (reddening and looking away): Yeah.

He wanted to keep it as a pet, but we had him release it.

Linus was the crankiest kid there. He had a giant meltdown the second afternoon. I can't remember what for, or how it was resolved. The first evening fishing was really windy and he hooked himself while casting about 17 times. Luckily, 15 of those were into his thick jacket and 1 was into his pants. Only 1 got him in the finger.

Nellpea sat right down in the smoke coming off the fire and started to complain about it.
Moses: It's because you're a girl--smoke follows beauty, Nellpea.
Nellpea (not flattered at all): I'm NOT pretty right now! Because I'm wearing NOT a dress!

While packing up to go, I passed Archie kneeling in the dirt, his arms folded. He was praying to find his hat. We looked for a few minutes, but it was Archie's hat--it could've been anywhere, he couldn't remember anything about where he'd lost it. We hiked home (hitting rain and sleet about halfway through and downpour by the end), drove home, unpacked, put kids to bed, slept, woke up, etc. Woo walked out the door, on his way to work, and called out my name. There was Archie's hat, lying on the grass.

Woo slept poorly the first night, waking up every hour. He woke up early our first morning and took Herbie, Moses and Linus fishing. Woo caught one fish while they were there, and it was the only fish anyone caught the whole trip. Which was a good thing because somehow no one had packed tinfoil. Woo resorted to roasting it over the fire with a stick. We didn't get a picture (too dark), but he was pretty proud of his survival skills.

I seem to have discovered the secret to sleeping well while camping, for me at least. I just have to sleep on my belly. It's padded enough and comfortable enough that I don't notice what's under me. It was all that side-sleeping I'd started during pregnancy that was making me miserable in a tent.

Well, that's it. Hope everyone has a good start to school (if you're going)!


Boogers, Swords and Underpants

I was woken one night by Archie screaming my name. I jumped out of bed, through the living room, up the stairs, and to his room. I placed my hand on his back, but he wasn't awake. It's then that I realized I'd gone through all that for a whistle booger of Woo's that sounded a lot like Archie screaming "Mom!" from a distance.

The front screen door has been Archie's nemesis all summer. The handle's just a little too high for him, and he has to get someone else to open it for him. I remember one time watching him run after all the older kids, who were running through the front door. It slammed shut before he could get there, and he dissolved into tears, because now he was separated from them forever, trapped outside.

But not anymore. He opened the door himself this week. He was very excited, calling each of us to come watch him, bouncing around the living room and saying things like, "Now I can be a dad!"

Oh also, this giant sword... it's Archie's. He'd sleep with it if he could. He threw in the tub for his bath before I could get there, and he calls it his "Lamanite sword!"

Linus asked me something--I can't remember what--but it led to me telling him how babies are made. His immediate reaction was a look of disbelief, followed by a "that's DISgusting!!" Then he spent the next hour, at least, thinking about the mechanics and kept coming back to me with some pretty hilarious questions that I'm not going to write here, but all showing that his mind was trying to figure out how he could still make a baby, but in the least disgusting way possible.

Archie took his little stool apart. I handed it to Ruby to puzzle back together and then got the wood glue. Linus was super excited for the glue, he even pulled on a rag t-shirt and sat carefully at the outside table in anticipation. But the glue bottle was all clogged up and we were on our way out the door, so I put it away and said we'd do it another day. Linus threw a tantrum with a lot of yelling and stomping up and down. I left him outside, but after a while he threw open the back door to yell, "WE DIDN'T EVEN SAY A PRAYER!" Before slamming the door and stomping off. When that didn't move me, he ran and took apart the stool again so he could say a prayer and glue it, but we still had to leave, so he hasn't gotten to pray over his wood glue yet.

Here's Linus helping Archie during morning scriptures by reading the sacrament prayers and having Archie repeat after him.

Ruby was getting over her cold, but then she was invited to a birthday party in town. Since we were down there, we spent the day running errands. It was a long day, and when it was over she was back to square one. So here we are today... Ruby's getting over her cold...

While we were in town Herbie got a new (to him) bike that he is very excited about (well, it is red--seemingly the most important attribute to him). He's spent the last day or so with the tools, placing the water bottle holder where he wants it, trying to work on the front tire, etc. The day we ran errands, everyone wanted dinner about ten minutes before we got home (always a stressful situation for me), but Herbie was awesome to help with the burgers on the grill and the other kids shucked the corn, and we were good to go.

Herbie was giving me a rough time the evening Woo was down to work. I said something about the way he treats his mother and sisters is an indicator of how he'll treat his wife, but I said it in such a way that it made all the kids laugh. Herbie immediately lost his attitude, but Moses, boy, I think he told me he loved me every 10 minutes the next day and gave me about a million hugs.

Herbie found us a few blueberries!

Moses was super emotional, sensitive, easily irritated, etc. I took him aside to tell him something was wrong; I didn't think he was getting enough sleep, but I asked him to pray for a solution so he could feel better and left him alone in his room. He came out about 10 seconds later to tell me he knew what it was. He had stolen something from Woo's office and was playing with it at night. He gave it back, got some hugs, told Woo he was sorry, and went upstairs to help a frustrated Penelope clean her room.

Penelope has done a lot of baby talking lately. I think part of it is her dealing with the excitement of going to kindergarten. She also lost tooth number two and acquired a new leopard print vest, which is also pink and also sparkly and also fuzzy. Pretty much a dream come true.

Woo has been trying to ride his bike everyday recently. As always, when you're trying to get back in shape the universe is against it. His seat broke on one bike, so he switched to another, but now he's super saddle sore with additional pains. The last ride (Friday) was one of the worst he's ever been on, something about eating a ton of salsa and fruit and not getting enough sleep and feeling incredibly sick and gross the whole ride.

Oh and then, I placed a tray of watermelon on the bed for him to eat while he worked, and he forgot about it and rolled over in it.

Hope you enjoy your last week(s) of summer!



We mostly hung out here this week, which was good. About half the kids were sick or feeling under the weather. I'm in the mood for a list...

  • Woo and Herbie went to scout camp.
  • The missionaries dropped by for a spiritual thought.
  • We walked to a neighbors to pick raspberries, most of which were eaten on the spot.
  • After swimming, we took the kids to the skate park. The kids LOVED it.
  • We checked out a fun, new park near the temple.
  • Linus got stung again! In the foot this time. He was excited to get his otter pop to ice the wound and then eat, until the next day when his foot was super fat and itchy.
  • Moses gave up his coveted spot next to me during scriptures to a sad Herbie.
  • Moses gave Penelope a push on her bike and she rode the whole length of the street! She could've gone farther, but she came to a stop sign.
  • The day Ruby was sickest, she walked to the library to get herself some books and lay on the bean bag all day reading them.
  • Woo took Ruby and Herbie on a mountain bike ride. Ruby had the most fun on the climb. Herbie loved the down hill.

Me: Tomorrow's fast Sunday, guys. What should we fast for?
Ruby: How about Brother Jack Davis? (a neighbor currently in the hospital)
Moses, who doesn't know many elderly people, was highly offended: Why not someone we know?! Like Uncle Peter's back??
They both got a few prayers.

Herbie taught FHE. Everyone was telling stories of either a time they listened to the Holy Ghost or their prayers were answered. Archie kept raising his hand and saying things like, "One time I couldn't find my pants." Or, "Yesterday I couldn't find my shoes." I'm glad he recognized the problem part. On to the solution, I guess.

I got to Young Women's today to find I was teaching all the YW (instead of just my regular 16-18 year olds). My lesson was on the Law of Chastity, which is actually a lot of fun for me to teach. I had a ton of participation, even from Beehives and visitors. I remember so many frustratingly lame Law of Chastity lessons from when I was a teen. I'd like to think I learned a thing or two about how not to do them. (P.S. I got to quote you on romance novels, Mom!)

Hope you had a great week!

Testimony below:

Moses was my hardest labor. One hour of it in particular was especially rough. And in some ways it's still the hardest thing I've ever done.

Anyways... that first Sunday back to church I took Moses out during Sunday School to nurse, and nursing him was bringing back some of the pain and all of the memories, and I was praying in my head: I don't know if I can do that again. I don't know if I can have another baby.

So those were my thoughts when I went to Relief Society and opened the hymnbook and began to sing--Come, come, ye saint. No toil nor labor fear. (I'd never noticed that the song had the word "labor" in it before.) But with joy wend your way. Though hard to you this journey may appear, grace shall be as the day. 

And the entire song took on new meaning for me. I held on to that song for the next two years until I had my next baby and an easier labor.

The hymns of the church are inspired. They can speak the word of God to us personally, just like the scriptures. Our Heavenly Father loves us. He treats us with lovingkindness and nowhere do we have more evidence of His love than through the gift of His Son Jesus Christ. And through the grace of His Son, made available through His atoning sacrifice, there is enough comfort and strength for any of us.

Bonus story:

A few days after Herbie was born we discovered we had brown recluses in the house. Brown recluses are big, evil looking spiders and they're poisonous. (I don't actually know how often they bite people or how bad their bite is... all we knew was that they were poisonous and that seeing one scurry across the floor sure got our hearts pumping.)

We discovered the first couple just inches from our babies so I said a prayer that Ruby and Herbie wouldn't be bitten, and then, because I also like to ask and then let God decide what's possible/His will/etc, I also prayed that all brown recluses would leave the house. Somehow.

Then I forgot about it. A few days later, I was sitting in Relief Society listening to a lesson on trials when one girl raised her hand and said something to the effect of: sometimes our trials aren't taken away from us, but we're given the strength to deal with them. When she said it, I knew that was the answer to my prayer--the spiders weren't going away, but no one would be hurt. (I know, I know, to no one's great surprise :)

And no one was hurt. The spiders did not go away, much to my chagrin the time I was walking through the house barefoot, felt something tickle the bottom of my foot and shuddered as I watched a brown recluse sprint under the couch and out of sight.