Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Sunset on top of the world

I'm feeling so behind right now, and once again, the blog seems to get last priority when my life is full.  I really do want to do more writing, and I have a post in the works with ideas about designing and building a house for a large family (I have a couple of friends who are in that exciting process), but I seem to end each day with a to-do list longer than it was at the beginning of the day.

Not complaining, mind you, especially since one of the reasons I'm behind is that my husband and I took some time out and flew to Maui with Allison and Benjamin.  It was a beautiful trip, and I'm sure someday I'll get through all the photos we took from it.

In the meantime, here are some photos of one of the most amazing sunset spots on the planet.

Mount Haleakala, Maui's highest peak, is 10,000 feet above sea level.  Most of the clouds hang out at around 8,000 feet, so the view is out-of-this-world amazing.  

Most travel guides tell you to wake up early (like 3:30 a.m. early) and drive up to the top for sunrise, where you and a couple hundred of your closest friends can pack the viewpoint like sardines and ooh and aw like it's a fireworks show.  

We did that, too, and it was amazing (pictures to come). 

So amazing, in fact, that we chose to go back for sunset on our last day in Hawaii.

Instead of the busy overlooks, we drove to a small pull-out at the side of the road, where we watched the sunset with just one other person.  

On top of the world 

 As the sunset progressed, we drove down the mountain, pulling over a few times to take a few more photos of the view through the mists.

So yeah, not complaining at all.  :)

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

One a Day, Week 42

Two Birthday Buddies.  Joey was so excited when he was six years old and Eliza arrived in time to be his birthday present (they are just a few days apart)

(Missed a day here, but insert mental picture of me taking Joey out to ice cream for his birthday)

This monkey is getting too big too fast.

Ready to head off to her preschool Halloween party!

Four of the girls ready for school parties, plus two of our friends.

Happy Halloween!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

One a Day, weeks 40 and 41

Playing football in the backyard, Joey and Allison

Love this smile!

Chasing light and color on the Nebo loop

Joey caught this little turtle while fishing in the river.  We let him go at the same spot a bit later.

Sarah loves crafting.

Crazy Hair Day at school, with two neighbor friends

After the game

Headed off to a Halloween Pumpkin Parade and Trick-or-Treating a week early.  Not pictured is Cami, who got ready and joined us soon after this was taken.  Harmony was thrilled to have two bumblebees in the family.

Love all of his cute expressions!

Halloween is in the air!

Sam, in the middle, spoke in Church on Sunday and is headed off to England on a mission this week.  He and Joey have been friends for almost a decade.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Quick Takes: Daddy Trip, Home Alone, and (Not) Doing All the Things Edition

1.  Daddy Trip Time.  

We love our family tradition of Daddy Trips, where my husband takes a large group of our kids somewhere far away while I stay home and enjoy the peace and quiet and wonder why I didn't appreciate how easy taking care of just three or four kids was back when that was all I had?

Last week, the trip was to Phoenix and included all the kids but Lillian, Joey, Allison, and Benji.  It was originally planned as a family trip, but then Lillian had to take the PSAT and had a retreat, Joey had two football games, and frankly, I didn't much want to have to drive two cars for 10+ hours with a new baby I'd need to stop and nurse every two hours.  So Daddy Trip it was.  Allison stayed home to earn work hours for an upcoming adventure -- she's going to come along on a trip with my husband and I to Hawaii.  She's been diligently working away to earn the 120 hours we required of her to pay for half of her plane ticket, and wanted to do some additional ones to have more spending money.

2.  Twelve Hours Driving

I find it ironic that I didn't go on the trip partly so I could avoid having to spend all day the car. Because, well, I ended up spending all day Friday in the car.  My husband was working in St. George, so to save him having to drive all the way home and then back down towards Arizona, I drove the 3.5 hours down there, met him at the long line for Costco gas (What is it with the St. George Costco?), transferred a few important items (my camera, Benjamin and his carseat; DH's clothes, etc.), switched my van for his car, gave him a kiss, a "good luck!" and headed back home.

So that's around 7 hours of driving, in theory.  But then you add on the two hours I spent driving kids back and forth to the high school and the orthodontist in the morning, and a much-loved scenic detour through the Nebo loop, and I was in the car pretty much from 7 in the morning until 8 at night.

But that Nebo loop?  Oh, it was so worth the extra time.

I think I'm putting this one on the wall.

3.  No More Braces.

And those hours spent at the orthodontist in the morning?  Worth it, too, especially for this kid, who refused to go on the Daddy Trip if he would have had to miss his appointment to get these braces off.

Michael may need a phase two later, but for now, we are just celebrating that for a time, we will only have four kids in the orthodontist's care.  Allison and Sarah have had expanders on since July and are likely getting braces on this very afternoon.  Neither is very excited.

4.  Home Alone with Nothing to Do.

Because Lillian had her retreat and Joey had a camping trip, Allison was home alone for about four hours on Friday afternoon.  It wasn't until she started texting me every. ten. minutes. that I realized she had never ever experienced that before.  Not only that, but it was her first time being left with the phone.


5.  Speaking of Home Alone

The constant texts reminded me of when Michael was about 9 and didn't want to go with me and the other kids around the neighborhood to deliver invitations to something or other.  I left him home with a phone and 5 minutes later, I got a call,

"How are you doing?"
"Just fine, Michael."
"Oh.  When are you coming home?"
"In about fifteen minutes or so."
"Ok.  Bye."

Five minutes later, I got another call.

"Mommy, you said you were just in the neighborhood but I looked down the street and didn't see you!"
"We are in the neighborhood, but we're not on our street.  We are over by the Macdonald's house"
"Oh.  How are you doing?"
"Just fine."
"Ok.  When are you coming home?"

And so on.  It can be extra lonely being all alone when you're from a big family.

6.  Why 21 months is a better spacing than 3.5 years

See, here's the thing.  With all my kids spaced so close, I never knew before what it was like to have discretionary time or energy (the space between my kids is 18 months, 18 months, 26 months, 7 minutes, 28 months, 21 months, 21 months, 21 months, and 3.5 years).  I was never caught up on even half of the things I wanted to do, but I didn't know what it felt like to be caught up either.  So I didn't know what I was missing.  This time around, I had a good chunk of time without a baby.  I mostly slept through the night, and while my thyroid disease meant I still often needed naps, I actually got things done once in a while.  And now, while I love, love, love Benjamin, I feel like I'm constantly behind.

It's that gap.  It threw me off and made me feel like I should actually be able to do all the things!

Last week, I made what I thought was a short list of things I wanted to do before my husband got home with most of the kids.  I figured I'd breeze through the list and then decide what else I wanted to get done.

I'm sure you know where this is going.  I didn't get even 70% of the list done.

Then again, getting things done is overrated.

One thing I DID get done was a short photo shoot with this squish, who somehow turned three months old last week.

Love him!  

7.  Fall Photography

The past two weeks have been a photographer's whirlwind for me.  I decided not to advertise or solicit pictures for fall (which, for me, just means posting a "Please contact me if you want fall pictures" on my Facebook page) since, well, see #6 above.  But somehow, I still ended up taking a bazillion pictures.  In the last two weeks, I took pictures of fifty adorable preschoolers, four families, one newborn, and one three month old (see #6 again).  I also went on two scenic drives for landscape photos.  It's been so much fun.

All was going so well until the 6-year-old fell down!  Luckily, no one was hurt.

My friend Aimee has the most adorable little girls . . .

who grow up into beautiful young women.  (She also has two cute boys)

Allison was so happy to go on the Nebo loop with me last Thursday.  Every time we drove around another curve, one of us would gasp and say, "look at that!"

Aspens are my favorite.

The tree on the left is looking at you.


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