Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Surprise Party and a Wedding in less than 24 hours.

With Parker turning 10, McCall informed me that it was a family tradition to throw a surprise party when you turned 10. I explained that you can't have that as a tradition because then it isn't a surprise if the person is expecting it. She countered with the fact that the only people in the family that would know it is a tradition are those who have already turned 10, but no one younger. I couldn't argue with that, so I caved and Parker got a surprise party.

I have to admit he was pretty surprised too. I love a good surprise (as long as I'm not the one who is getting surprised!) He didn't have a clue and even asked me the day before the event, "So mom, do you think I'm going to have a birthday party this year or not?" He was pretty bummed when I explained that things were too stressful this year (which I still feel like they are) and that I couldn't pull it together. Frankly, if it hadn't been for McCall and the Millett girls I wouldn't have been able to pull it together they saved my bacon.
Devry (one of Parker's best little friends since birth) was in charge of distracting him and keeping him away from the house for 1 hour. She did a great job of leading him into his bedroom where 14 of his little friends couldn't wait to yell and scream in his face.
Of course we had to do the mixed up dinner(another tradition I was told) which got a bit stressful for me and I didn't take another picture the whole evening. I even forgot too sing Happy Birthday to him (I know, total mother of the year, but I was very sleep deprived). We played the much loved Candy bar game (thanks Mooy's for introducing us to that one) and a few Minute to Win It games. In the end, Parker had a wonderful evening which is what matters the most.
We quickly cleaned up from the party and started preparing for the next day. We were lucky enough to have the Millett kids stay with us the past week while their parents took Lacey to BYU (huge sob, don't even get me started on how much we are going to miss her) and my dream of being a mother of 8 came true! I seriously could be a mother of 8 and love it if those three kids could be mine. They are the best and mesh so well into our family. They are so flexible and well they need to be to survive in our crazy house. Just like our kids, they are active, so we had 5 soccer tournaments to plan and prep for the following day. To complicate things just a tad bit, we had to be to the airport at 4 a.m. so I could fly to Utah for the day for my sweet sisters wedding, thus leaving Mark alone all day long. He deserves a serious gold star. Along with our friends who got Parker down to Danville for his game.

But it was all worth it to get to see these two so happy!

My older brother Mitch and I (ignore the bags under my eyes in this picture, but I was on my second night of no sleep and was seriously sleep deprived) surprised the rest of our family by flying in for the big day. Mit came from North Carolina and we landed about 2 minutes apart of each other at the SLC airport, did a quick change in the airport bathrooms, got a rental car and headed down to American Fork for the big surprise. It was a great surprise and so FUN to see everyone's reaction when they figured out we were there. It was great for me to get that fun time with him too because he totally makes me laugh.

Here are my cute nieces and nephews that my kids were dying to see, so I had to take pictures of them to appease them.
I can honestly say I have never seen my sister this happy or peaceful ever before! It was such a perfect day.
My mom and dad were on cloud 9 too! My dad had a huge smile on his face all day long.
Here are my parents with their 9 kiddies. Of course, we can never get a normal picture because someone is always doing something to make everyone else laugh (sorry Mind, I know you wanted a normal one, but I guess that isn't possible with this group).
It was a special treat for me to be with my sisters(Lisa escaped before we could get a picture of all 6 of us darn it). Four of them live in SLC and one in LA, so it is a special treat when I get to be with them.
I'm so grateful to these two for getting married and creating such a happy memory for all of us.
It all went too quickly, but I didn't want to leave Mark in the trenches too long by himself. Bret and Denise Millett came and picked me up after the wedding luncheon in American Fork around 4:00 and we all drove home to California together. It was great to get that time with them to chat. We made it home about 2:30, where I found everyone sleeping soundly...Mark survived.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Soccer by the Bay

McCall and I had the best day together on Saturday. It was one of those days that you wish never had to end. She had another tournament down in San Francisco, so we headed down there together early on Saturday morning.

Parker had a tournament all day as well at Cherry Island and it was opening day for our younger kids, but with some good friends to help us out everyone made it to their commitments. Mark got a special with Parker, I got a special day with McCall and Carson, Gracie and Bay got a special day with their friends.

McCall's first game was great. I felt that her team dominated the other team, but the score did not reflect this as they lost 1-0. Our girls must have shot on the goal 50 times, yet they came up shy every time. It was quite frustrating to watch and probably more frustrating for the girls. The other team only shot on the goal 3 times and on one of those that they shot a goal high into the goal.

McCall and I got a kick out of their coaching staff, a young hispanic man about 22 (think Menudo), who yelled at his team in spanish even though only 3 of the girls appeared to be hispanic! I seriously don't think the other girls had a clue to what he was saying. The other coach was a 75 year old grandma (think Betty White) with her hair teased 8 inches off her head. We couldn't stop laughing at the odd combination, but who are we to critique what works since they beat us 1-0!
Does this girl look like she speaks spanish to you?
McCall puts forth so much effort when she is playing, it is great to watch!

After her first game we had a 5 hour break! Of course, we were cold with the cool San Francisco morning air, so our first item of business was Starbucks for hot chocolate and vanilla scones. We were suppose to meet her team for lunch at the Subway down the road, but no one knew their were 6 along the way and we all ended up at different locations. McCall and I were okay with that because we just wanted to hang out together anyways.

We were going to head into the city to hit a museum for a few hours, but then we saw a giant Barnes and Noble and asked ourselves, "How often do we ever get to just sit and read together?" So reading won out over the museum and we had the best time chatting, reading and snacking together. The time flew by before we had to head to our next game.

The second game was a great game too, but tougher. The opposing team had fantastic foot skills and a lot of speed! They were a stronger team. It took the first half for our girls to get their groove and then they came on strong, but they were still defeated 3-2. I felt bad for them because you could see the disappointment on all of their faces. We were going to head back home since it was already 7:45 p.m., but then McCall really wanted to stay for the team dinner(I really wanted to support her in this since she has chosen to not play on Sunday's, so she feels like she misses out on a lot of the team socializing.) It was off to Chevy's we went for a yummy dinner and great conversations with our soccer friends. There are some great families on our team and these dinners create a unique opportunity to get to know each other better. We rolled out of there about 9:00! Luckily, we told the waiter we had to leave because the rest of the team was still waiting for their food when we left.

The best part of the day was our drive home. She had a lot to say, a lot to tell me and it was fun to just listen. I learned a lot of things I didn't know before. McCall is a great conversationalist, so she kept me awake the whole ride home. She has another tournament in San Francisco in a few weeks, so I look forward to another great day with her.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sleeping Beauty

On Monday it was time again for another MRI for Bay! We have got to keep an eye on what's going on in that brain of his and make sure everything is behaving, so at 6 a.m we headed down to the hospital.

We were the first patients, which was nice since he has to fast because of the anesthesia. Those sweet nurses did a great job keeping him nice and comfy. He was pretty annoyed when they blew his vein starting his IV, but they got it on the second try and the anesthesiologist had him fast asleep in less than 10 seconds...I'm not kidding. It still freaks me out. He was done with the MRI by 8:15, but little sleeping beauty didn't want to wake up. The doctor explained to me that she gave him the smallest dose possible, but at 10:00 he was still stacking zzzz's. I was laughing so hard when they had to kick us out to the waiting room because they needed the room. At 10:30 after rubbing his back with ice, I finally got him to wake up, so I got the go ahead to leave and we high tailed it out of there. I loaded him up and he was fast asleep again until noon.

The best part was I got to cuddle him the whole time, maybe MRI's aren't so bad.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Parker is 10!

On Thursday Parkerman turned 10. I didn't quite get to listing my top ten of Parker because let's just say his special day didn't turn out quite as planned due to a bunch of crazy stuff including Mark's car accident. He did finally get his birthday dinner at 9:38 p.m. and responded in his usual positive manner with, "This has been the best birthday ever!" From this comment you can see why it is so easy for me to come up with ten things we love about Parker.

1. He is positive and looks for the bright side of almost every situation.

2. He makes great "creepy" eyes which make us all laugh hysterically. He made those creepy eyes tonight as we were playing a game to try and distract me and kept us all laughing.

3. He is a gentleman. If I'm carrying something in my hands he ALWAYS asks me if he can carry something for me.

4. He is SUPER easy going. I actually have a love/hate relationship with this quality, but I must say it is good for this "let's get going" mom to have a child that helps me slow down at times and appreciate the world around me more. (However, if we ever have a house fire I must admit I would be concerned for his safety because this boy does not move quickly.)

5. Because of number 4, he is very observant. He notices everything and thinks about things so deeply. He loves to share these ideas with me and thinks of things I have never ever thought about before. For example, a few weeks ago he was explaining to me about how bad he felt for Noah and how hard it must have been loading all of those animals on the ark. He wondered how he kept the predators away from the animals they would prey on and if he brought a few extras just in case, how did he figure out how much food they would all need and what about those animals that were only carnivores, etc... you get the idea. He has very deep thoughts and is always eager to discuss them.

6. He loves chips and salsa as much as I do.

7. He is a great soccer player and works hard to improve upon this talent.

8. He is a great friend and reserves the best for his siblings. They always come first in his eyes.
9. He still loves babies! We are trying to make some tough decisions about our house right now and the fact that we are bursting out of it. We wanted to talk it over with the kids to get their feed back and ideas regarding different scenarios...move, build an addition or get rid of more stuff and deal with what we have. Part way through the conversation Parker said he had another idea and went onto say, "Could we move into a smaller house and have another baby instead?" Of course this got all of the kids out of focus and they were all on board for this idea which was never one of our original options. I had to refocus them all and say,"That wasn't one of the choices guys!" Parker responded, "Too bad, because I would totally move to smaller house if it meant we could have another baby." Let's all pray now that he marries a girl that will give him lots of babies.

10. He is sweet. This boy doesn't have a mean bone in his body and he gives everyone the benefit of the doubt.

He is a great example to everyone in our family and we are so happy he was born and that he chose chocolate chip bundt cake for his birthday dessert! We love you Parkerman.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Back to School

I can't believe that it is August 9th and that my kids are starting school, but sadly it is true. I, for one, really wasn't ready to go back and I think my kids would have enjoyed a few more weeks off too. Nonetheless we dragged ourselves out of bed this morning to become more educated.
Our traditional front door pose.
McCall will be entering the 7th grade this year (just for your info McCall doesn't have a perspiration problem, her hair was soaking wet when she got dressed.)
Parker is entering 4th grade and has the wonderful Mr. Gex in room 23
Carson is entering 2nd grade and following in Parker's footsteps by having the fantastic Mrs. Gateley in room 25
And the day Gracie has long awaited...Kindergarten (gasp and sob) in room 2 with the lovely Mrs. Mays.
Thank heavens for Bayden who will be smothered with hugs and kisses by this mama who hates to see her kids grow and start another new school year. He will continue with his little speech class for 90 minutes twice a week and will spend the other 40 hours on my lap reading books.
Here is the little man on his bike leading the way for the kids to school.
Carson with Mrs. Gateley
Parker with Mr. Gex (this guy gives Jay Leno some serious competition. He is laugh out loud hilarious all day long.)
I hung on to Gracie a little too long this morning, so she was late and I was unable to get a picture with her and her teacher. I was able to drop her off without crying though until I made it to the privacy of our home.
Gracie with her good little friend Truman, who is also in Mrs. Mays class.

Canada Wrap Up

I will quickly try to condense and wrap up the final days of fun in Canada. We have a lot of great traditions that we do as a family when we gather each year. They are things that our kids look forward to each year with great anticipation. Probably one of our kids favorites is, Gigi's Fishing Pond. It is so much fun for every child and this year Gigi and Aunt Jen did a great job picking out the perfect prizes for the kids.

Gracie, being made beautiful by Abby with Liv on the sidelines. Beauty supplies was part of Gracie's fishing treasure.
I love the fishing rods that have been created over the years, this one in particular was great.
Bayden was old enough this year to remember the fishing pond from last year, so he honestly asked about it 20 times a day for the entire month before we left for Canada. I was so happy when the day finally came for the fishing pond, so I wouldn't have to listen to him ask about it.
River rafting is another fun thing we do each time we visit Canada. I know Bayden has never seen Titantic the movie, but the way he stood at the front of the boat the entire trip made us laugh as we recounted that scene in our minds.
One cute boatful of kids. This was a wet boat, we were a dry boat.
The kayakers in our group.
Another cute boatful of kids.
Preparing to launch to boats into the river.
Another bear and cub spotting on our way up to Cameron Lake.
One of my all time favorite places...Cameron Lake. The views are spectacular, but the flies are out of control. This is another tradition that we have to go canoeing and paddle boating at Cameron Lake each time we visit.
Taking a break from our Bear Hunting up Red Rock Canyon. Another fun tradition is hunting for bears up this canyon each night. The wild flowers were so beautiful, so we yanked the kids out of the car for a quick picture.
Mark and Bay
In front of Waterton Lake. We always get a family picture taken at the exact same spot each year.
It always ends up being somebodies birthday while we are in Canada which means we always have a pinata. The kids love this because everything Gigi does is over the top...including her pinatas. This year's pinata was the biggest seahorse you've ever seen and it took three bags of giant Costco candy to fill it. To give you an idea of how much candy my kids got, they still have a few pieces hanging around.
Yes, it was bigger than Carson.
The birthday girl this year was sweet Eliza. McCall loves this girl so much and they hav so much fun together. Here is her birthday hot dog!
Somehow this picture got out of order, but one more from the river run.
Something new we did this year was a scavenger hunt around Waterton Village. My kids hope this becomes a tradition because they loved it. Aunt Jen and Uncle Steve did a great job putting it together and divided all of the grandkids into 4 groups. They raced and ran around Waterton for about an hour before a victor was announced. Here are pictures of the four teams.

It was a great trip. Our only complaint is that it went too fast and that we needed more time there. Luckily we still had a fun visit to Salt Lake to look forward to.