Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Water Playground

The Water Playground

ORANGE you glad its Wednesday?

I stole the title from Curious Bird, the creator of "Week of Color". Tristan in his orange shirt was the main subject this morning. Gram and Pop found this great water playground at a new mall in their 'hood. Luckily, I was prepared (mostly) with a change of clothes for all three kids (Gram and Janelle took care of getting the kids changed into dry clothes while I went to three different pharmacies trying to find the best price on a prescription).

T was timid at first, but by the end it was all we could do to drag him away from the water!

Gram considers it a good day when she does not see an orange vehicle. I think it is ironic that "orange day" happens to fall on the day of the week we spend with Gram. She doesn't hate the color orange in and of itself, just orange trucks and cars (even orange stripes are unacceptable). She watched my kids while I took a 45 min. walk to the post office. Along the way I saw this beauty. I'm glad Gram wasn't there to witness the solid orange beast.

Here is my Gram, wearing a lovely orange necklace she made. She is very talented in many, many ways. One of which is jewelry making. She has thousands and thousands of beads and used to sell stuff at craft fairs. Her company name was "The Bee Charmers". I love Gram.

Here is a closer look at the necklace. It is hard to tell, but the charms are all Halloween themed.

For Young Womens tonight we had a service activity. The janitor who cleans our church building is out on sick leave (knee surgery) so the ward is taking over his responsibilities for a while. Tonight was our turn to clean the chapel and the kitchen. Afterwards, Kayla suggested we hit Baskin Robbins for $.31 ice cream night. Even though I had Ben & Jerrys last night, I was up for another scoop. Three girls came with me: Kayla, Brianna and Essence (we had a small turn-out tonight, we usually have about 10 girls). The line was monstrous. There were several fire trucks there, which made it all the more exciting.

Well, to be perfectly honest, we didn't actually get the $.31 ice cream. The line was just too long, so we ran over to Good Times and I bought them New York Cheesecake custard (we'd planned to get some orange sorbet at Baskin Robbins, but Good Times didn't have any orange options). A perfect ending to a delightfully orange day.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Self Portrait Tuesday Replaced by YELLOW Tuesday

Tristan started the day with a yawn and his favorite fruit, a yellow banana.

There is a bit of yellow here in my treasured quilt. Made with love and mad skills by my mother-in-law.

We took a walk up to the park. The girls picked dandelions all the way there. It didn't show up well in the picture, but Kaia had rubbed dandelions all over her hands to make them yellow.

Another mom at the park noticed that I was trying to get the kids together for a group shot. I think she saw that we were all wearing yellow shirts and thought she'd help out with our family photo. Dorky, I know, but it is "yellow" day.

Here is our local library. It is called the Smiley branch and the building's architecture is awesome. It is one of our favorite places and so conviently located one mile from home.

Our iris' have yet to bloom so I was excited to see some yellow iris' on our walk. Sierra took this picture.

Here is Adam on the job site. We took Lourdes with us (one of my YW), picked up Adam and drove to Boulder for...

"Free Ice Cream Cone Day" at Ben & Jerry's!! A dream come true, really. We'd drive 40+ miles to get our hands on some free ice cream, although it probably cost us more in gas than it would have to just buy the stuff from the store. Naja, I've decided that I need to find more excuses for going to Boulder.

Lourdes took this shot for us. Tristan didn't get his own cone and demanded most of mine.

Yellow flowers everywhere!

This homeless man was quite a character. His sign said something about him being a homeless veteran. I heard a Boulderite mock him by saying "I'm a homeless draft dodger, can you spare some change." Adam was kind enough to talk to him for a bit. Notice the chariot. Adam got it at an REI garage sale and it is my new best friend. Luxury of luxury's as far as strollers go.

The tulips are phenomenal. I tried to make a comparison to Temple Square but Adam shot it down. OK, Temple Square is better, but Pearl Street is my next favorite.

There are BoulderBoulder signs everywhere. I had to take this shot, just to prove we were really there. It was a wonderful day. I'd go as far as saying it was a perfect yellow day.

Week of Color

Here are a few other bloggers who are participating in "Week of Color". I just spent all the time I should have been using to do dishes looking at these beautiful sites from all over the world. Just pick out a few and brows through. You'll be happy you did.
Mary Beth

Monday, April 28, 2008

FHE/Week of Color

I keep track of a few blogs (now that I found out about GoogleReader it is much easier to do so). There is a group of women (whom I've never met, but I'm sure they don't mind me lurking through their blogs) who are very skilled in the art of photography or quilting or some other art and craft. I don't want to take the time to learn how to do what they do, but my life seems more fulfilled when I look at their beautiful pictures and/or artwork. There is one site called Curious Bird and she does "Week of Color". With my limited photography skill, I'm going to attempt to copy her idea and incorporate it into our day-to-day routine. Monday's color is green.

Here is the "green" dinner Sierra made. When I protested and said that we made it together, she insisted that my contribution was so minuscule that it was pointless for me to say I had part in the creation of dinner what-so-ever (not her exact words, of course). We made Garlic Zucchini (a recipe from CusiNeNie ) and she made her famous Cucumber Salad (Sierra loves few things more than chopping cucumbers in tiny pieces and squeezing fresh lime juice on them).
I also made beets (I'm saving those pictures for Thursday). Tristan didn't care for them too much but happily smeared them all over the table, his face and hair. Notice he is wearing a green shirt.
I made the terrible mistake of letting Kaia skip her afternoon nap. Thus she fell asleep on the couch right before dinner and woke up in a mood akin to a fierce dragon. I'm never going to let that happen again.
While I was trying to do the dishes Tristan was having a total meltdown. I put this green sock on his hand and he stopped crying for a few moments.
This is part of my beloved apron that Gram bought me a while back. Notice the two little feet ing the background? I love those little feet.
Here we are having family home evening. I took several photos and none turned out how I wanted them to. I downloaded some children's primary songs onto my ipod and we were trying to listen to the Articles of Faith. Kaia has the first three memorized already. It is almost scary how good her memory is. Notice that Adam is missing from all of our photos. He was at my sister's house fixing a broken pipe until about 10 p.m. We were blessed because he was out giving service.

Tomorrow one of the most exciting events of all time is taking place in Boulder! Stay tuned...

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Testimony Sunday

I went to King Soopers to print off 120 pictures last week. As I looked at most of the photos I thought, "Now that I have a blog that I plan to print into a book someday, I don't need to print pictures anymore!" It is difficult to explain how liberating that is. For some reason printing pictures and going to the post office with three children is beyond my mothering capabilities and so I've sworn them both off. Another liberation this blog has given me is the guilt of not enough journal writing on my part. I still plan to keep a journal of sacred experiences that I don't want plastered on the Internet (I don't want to say "casting pearls before swine" because I would never want to imply the readers of this blog to resemble pigs in any way!). Yet, I would like to record my feelings about Sundays here and call it "Testimony Sunday". To me, Sunday is a day of miracles. First, getting out the door with three kids in their "Sunday best" by 9:45 is a miracle. My calling as Young Women's leader brings many, many miracles. About a year ago I decided to get more serious about fasting. Up to that point in my life I always used the excuses of "hypoglycemia" or "pregnant" or "nursing" to explain why I never fasted. For a person who's greatest fear in life is starving to death, for whom even a hint of hunger sends me into genuine panic, fasting is a really big deal. But the bigger the sacrifice, the bigger the miracle. For example, one Sunday we had a true blue teenage girl nightmare. Two young women had been texting horrible, offensive, racist messages to another young woman. Parents and priesthood leaders sat these girls down and tried to talk to them about why this should never happen. I felt the Spirit so strong guiding me in what to say and do, far beyond any of my own abilities. I know that came to me because I was fasting that day.
Today I was the substitute teacher for the youth Sunday School class. Believe you me, they are a rough crowd. But I prayed to have the spirit with me and I think everyone in the room could feel it. They were rude and out-of-control at points (more often than not) but I was able to pull them back, make them laugh, and get my point across. The lesson was about prophets. I spent a lot of time on President Monson's message for April about treasures and in 2 Nephi. I had a home teacher once ask me what does 10 + 17 equal? Luckily I knew the answer, 27. He then showed me how in 2 Nephi chapter 5, verse 10 (which talks about Nephi and his people keeping the commandments) plus verse 17 (which talks about working hard and being industrious) equals verse 27 ("And it came to pass that we lived after the manner of happiness"). Those teenagers actually had expressions on their faces of "oh, that makes sense!" It was a really, really good feeling. Then I taught the Young Womens class because poor Sister Law was out with Strep. Again, the Spirit was in the room and I could tell the girls were happy to be there. That they could feel their souls being nourished.
Then I was able to spend a little time reading before bed. Our book club book this month is by Chieko Okazaki. It's called "What A Friend We Have In Jesus". The title comes from a song which bears the same name:

What a Friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!

Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
Oh, what needless pain we bear.
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer!

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged;
Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Can we find a friend so faithful,
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weary and heavy-laden,
Cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge!
Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
In His arms He'll take and shield thee;
Thou wilt find a solace there.

I have a testimony of prayer. The Lord has blessed me many times to know that He hears me and He is concerned about the details of my life. I know that if it be His will, He will grant my heart's desire and answer my prayers.

Thank you, Grandma Dana!

I think quilting is one of the most amazing forms of art. Purhaps it is because I cannot sew a straight line to save my life. My wonderful mother-in-law is a phenomnal artist. She's currently making quilts for all her mother's great-grandchildren (so her own grandchildren and the grandchildren of all her sisters). Tristan's quilt arrived last night. It is bright with a great design and little cowboy fabric. This makes me especially happy because there are some great family history photos on my grandpa's side of cowboys that I would love to use to decorate Tristan's room. I'll just design all my kids' rooms around Grandma Dana's quilts.

Our Weekend

On Friday we went to visit a school I'd like Sierra to attend if we stay in this area. It is called Magnon Academy. I like the school and I like their ideas and goals. There was one problem, though. The school is in a beautiful colonial revival style building with giant bay windows on the main level. Teachers are using the bay windows for storage of extra classroom supplies and it looks awful. I surprised myself and wrote a email to the director saying that they could make a much better impression if they would clean out those windows and put art work or something in there. He was very kind in response and said he appreciated the criticism. I guess you do silly things like that when you aspire to be on the PTA, yet your kids are not yet in school. On a whim, I decided to take the kids to the Zoo after our visit to the school. Unfortunately we were rejected at the front gate. I'd been ignoring all the renewal notices that came in the mail for our Zoo family pass. Somehow I imagined that I had until the end of the summer. I decided not to renew and we enjoyed a walk through City Park instead. This is a magical time of year when the Cherry Blossom Trees are in bloom and City Park has a great variety.

Saturday the kids and I went up to my parent's house to play and have lunch. Adam rode his bike up later (over 20 miles) and we met at my brother, Jay's, baseball game. After that we met up with Aunt Jane, her new beau, Bill, Ryan, Gram and Pop for Ryan's birthday celebration at a Mexican restaurant.

You can't see Kaia's hand holding Tristan's cup, but this is a live action shot of Tristan pulling the cup away and the straw entering his right nostril. Needless to say there was much weeping and wailing and everyone was looking right at me (Mindi).

Then it was back to my parent's for cake and ice cream. Here is Ryan with his Navy cake. He enters the Navy this July. He is one smart guy and is going to do amazing things. Tristan, Grace, Jay, Ryan, Sierra and Kaia.

Sweet Gram spent all day on a picture slide show (with music, even!) of Ryan's 19 years. It was wonderful. I love my family.

Ryan and his beautiful mother, Jane.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Mr. Squirrel

This is my nemesis, Mr. Squirrel. He has two desires in life: to eat trash and scare the tar out of Mindi Bennett. This evil master mind has discovered a way to "kill two birds with one stone" so to speak. He chewed a hole in our trash can lid so that he can access all our trash. Then when I walk out to the trash can and lift the lid, a screeching beast comes flying out. It happens 87% of the time and without fail I let out a bloodcurdling scream. I know the neighbors must wonder why I would scream each time I take out the trash. Curse that Mr. Squirrel.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Thursday by any other name...

The kids and I were eating lunch in the backyard, talking about this blog. We were looking for a good name for Thursday blogs. We have FHE on Monday, self-portraits on Tuesday, "Treasure Wednesday" on Wednesday, but no name for Thursday. Sierra suggested a few silly names, one of which was "dog bowl Thursday" (which I will later show was a self-fulfilling prophecy). Kaia thought it should be "rag on your head Thursday" and the rest of the day she put or tied things to her head.

Thursday is also a day one of my Young Women comes over. Today she brought some math homework and we worked on problems like: "Negative six plus an unknown number divided by two equals five." Please post a comment if you know the answer, if we were wrong I still might have time to call her before she goes to school :). While I was helping this girl, lets call her Sally, with her homework I tried to tell her that if she would just commit to turning in every assignment for the rest of the school year she would succeed. I told her that the things she learns in 7th grade are not always going to be applicable through out her life, but learning to commit and follow through with assignments will. She looked at me blankly like I had just asked her to walk to the moon. Adam was trying to keep the kids happy while I helped Sally. Tristan really wanted Adam's truck keys and Adam finally caved. A few hours later, we realized that the keys were missing. We searched high and low. Through every trash can, under the couches, in the toy boxes, ect. After a few prayers, Adam went outside and started searching in the dark. He found the keys in the bottom of Max's dog bowl (see photo below). I found Tristan in Max's dog run earlier, making a dog food soup with the dry food and water. I guess he thought some truck keys would add just the right flair to his exotic dish.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Tristan and Amri

Treasure Wednesday

We had a wonderful day at Gram's house today.

Tristan spent a few minutes stuffing a dry leaf into a hole in the deck.

Kaia spent plenty of time exploring in "aspen island".

This is Vinny Gurr. He is just as evil as he apears. He's been known to hide and attack Gram's legs as she walks down the stairs. He scares the tar out of the kids every time he walks by. Each of them has recieved a vicious scratch or swat from the beast. Yet, Gram loves him and makes a great effort to chase away foxes from the yard least they eat this little devil.

Most of Sierra's day was spent in the kitchen helping Gram cook and watching the Food Network. Thank you, thank you Gram for "Treasure Wednesday".

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Self Portrait Tuesday

Sierra took the first two pictures. I say when your 5 year old takes a picture of you, it counts as a self-portrait.

"If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there." Lewis Carroll

"Nothing will work unless you do." Maya Angelou

"Green is the prime color of the world, and that from which its loveliness arises." Pedro Calderon de la Barca