Monday, October 12, 2009

New Blog

Finally...I got myself a new blog:

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The End of Blogging?

I was happily going along uploading photos to the blog this morning (I've really fallen behind, how quickly a week goes by) when suddenly a terrifying message appeared. It says my Picasa/Google photo storage is full. They are holding all my blogging ability hostage until I fork over $10 per year. I tried to delete some pictures from the Picasa albums but another message popped up and said if I delete there it will also remove the photo from my blog. Pirates! That's what these Picasa/Google people are! Pirates! So this is my last blog until I figure out a way around this villainy.
Here we are around the fire pit at my parent's log home. We had a family reunion of sorts with my dad's sister, her daughters, their parents, and some cousins from Iowa.
Me, Ruby, and my Mom.
Birthday party at Gram and Pop's. "Everyone raise your hand if it is your birthday." But really this party was only for Gram and Tristan.

Tristan got tiny legos from Gram and Pop. I spent a precious hour of my life putting together "The Krusty Crab" only to have it fall apart when Sierra moved it. ARRRAAGGGJJJHHHHH!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

simple joys

Amanda Soule over at SouleMama just created a post called simple joys. She lists a few things that are bringing her joy this morning with incredible pictures to match. I don't have the camera or photography skills like she does, but I have plenty of simple joys in my life. Like...
Ruby, Ruby, Ruby, Ruby. She is such a smiler these days. Of course I couldn't capture said smile with the camera, you'll just have to take my word for it.
Here she is helping me fold laundry. This particular pile is a joy because Gram came over this morning when she knew I was trying to get out the door for a bike ride. She walked in and said, "Whose diaper can I change? What girl's hair can I brush? What pile of laundry can I fold?" I was nursing Ruby and she folded part of this pile of laundry and visited with me. At the very bottom of this picture you can see my slippers, those are a joy. And my black pants that I've been waiting for months to fit into and now I can, that is a joy.

This picture was taken a few weeks ago. We've been biking like this at least three times a week. We call ourselves explorers and we are in search of a new playground every outing. We've been to nine or ten different playgrounds, ones we'd never been to before. At this morning's park, a dad started talking to me while he pushed his 18 month-old on the swing. He asked if it was hard to have three kids. "Oh, I have four." I said as I pointed to Ruby's car seat in the bike stroller. We talked for a while, him saying that evenings are really tough for him and his wife with the baby and a 7 year-old, me saying that when all four kids want something at the same time (which only happens a few times a day) things get crazy but otherwise I love, love, love having a big family. Sometimes I think the more you have on your plate, the more you are able to accomplish.
A joy to me is to walk downstairs and find these two deep in imaginative play. A neighbor gave them a big box of barbies and other toys yesterday and they are so happy.

Tristan can play with blocks for amazing lengths of time. He loves to sneak off and create his own little world, which usually involves blocks and emptying out the DVD case. He'll bring me little block creations as gifts, I have a pile of them here by my computer. That is a joy. Here he is yelling, "Don't take a picture of me!" He also has purple frosting dye on his lips because he was "helping" me put away the cake decorating kit. Yum, cake....that is another joy.

I started reading "Surprised By Joy" by C. S. Lewis a few days ago. Last night I finally had to just tell myself it is OK to start a book and not finish it if you aren't enjoying reading it. Some parts were really good, very profound, but it was heavy reading and I felt pretty dumb for not grasping 90% of it. He says his definition of joy is "that of an unsatisfied desire which is itself more desirable than any other satisfaction...which is here a technical term and must be sharply distinguished both from Happiness and from Pleasure. Joy (in my sense) has indeed one characteristic, and one only, in common with them; the fact that anyone who has experienced it will want it again. Apart from that, and considered only in its quality, it might almost equally well be called a particular kind of unhappiness or grief. But then it is a kind we want".
See what I mean? I'll stick with my simple joys--which I define as things that make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Kaia is 5!!

Notice it reads "Kayak" not Kaia. It could have been Cake Wreck worthy, but my Uncle Steve admitted that because he didn't know how to spell Kaia he said to the worker "Well, you could just put Kayak." So she did. Kaia didn't seem to mind, and the cake was delicious.

New bike from Gram & Pop/Mom & Dad. Sierra sure wishes it was her birthday.
The five layer birthday cake I created over the course of 3 days.
Pool party with her friends from Joy School. A very low key party, all I could muster.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Collage Fun

click on collage to enlarge

Thursday, July 9, 2009

What do you do in the summertime?

"Oh, what do you do in the summertime?...

When all the world is green.

Do you throw your friend's dad in the pool?

To keep yourself cool

Do you run and swing?

Or jump on the trampoline?

Read lots of books with Gram?

Or eat slices of ham?

Is that what you do? So do I..."
Sing along with this song HERE

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The 4th

We sang The Star-Spangled Banner in sacrament meeting today and the third verse really touched me:

"Oh, thus be it ever,
When free men shall stand
Between their loved homes
And the war's desolation!
Blest with vict'ry and peace,
May the heav'n-rescued land
Praise the Pow'r that hath made
And preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must,
When our cause it is just,
And this be our motto:
"In God is our trust!"
And the star-spangled banner
In triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free
And the home of the brave!

We went to the Purcell's last night for a wonderful 4th of July party. They spent the day slowly grilling ribs and they were divine. Marisa toiled over the desserts (I'm so glad I didn't have to do the work, yet got to partake in their deliciousness). Eric bought fireworks in WY to entertain us all. The kids had a blast in the pool, on the trampoline, and with their friends.
God bless America.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Bread of the Month

I made bread this month, several times, even experimented with my old stand-by recipe. But I never did take any pictures and nothing turned out well enough to blog about. But check this out:

Someday, oh just someday, I'll have some of these prepared for summer BBQ on the back deck.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Enforced Silliness

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Marty vs. Melman

Last week when I was packing for our camping trip I felt myself thinking "I can't, I can't, I can't". A while ago my grandparents took my kids to McDonalds and in their Happy Meals were little Melmans that talked. For months I had three Melmans saying "I can't, I can't, I can't" all over my house. I finally got rid of the toys, but sometimes the phrase sneaks back into my mind. Yet, I'm determined not to be a Melman. I want to be a Marty. Marty wants to live in the WILD and he creates "the fun side of the island". Henry David Thoreau has a essay titled Walking and Adam has a copy in his truck. I read it this weekend and felt inspired to "live in the WILD" more often. Thoreau says things like:

“How near to good is what is wild!” Life consists with wildness. The most alive is the wildest. Not yet subdued to man, its presence refreshes him. One who pressed forward incessantly and never rested from his labors, who grew fast and made infinite demands on life, would always find himself in a new country or wilderness, and surrounded by the raw material of life. He would be climbing over the prostrate stems of primitive forest-trees.
I want to be wild. I'm sure any family/friends/associates reading this would laugh out loud at the thought of Mindi Bennett considering herself "wild". But perhaps Thoreau and I share a different definition of "wild". I don't want to be the mamma at the playground with tatoos and black lace Harley Davidson tank-tops (although I have one of those--not a tatoo, a Harley tank-top). I want to "make infinite demands on life...[and be] surrounded by the raw material of life." I want to be like my MIL who says she decided she was going to do more than just maintain, more than just barely stay afloat while raising 6 kids and running a household. I want to 'homestead' some land with my family; have goats and bees and gardens and orchards. But even here in my suburban house where the neighbors hear me shout: "Are you kidding me! Glitter all over the kitchen floor?!" or "Seriously, Sierra?! You can't stand on the couch while holding Ruby!!!" I think I'm surrounded with the wildness of life. The wildness of children, time management, nourishment, and self preservation are all mine. I am living in the WILD, the fun side of the island, even.

Monday, June 22, 2009

'09 Camping Adventure #1

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Happy Father's Day, Adam (early)

Saturday, June 13, 2009


In December Adam heard about a guy who decided to not buy anything he deemed unnecessary for an entire year. No frivolous forms of entertainment, no new clothes, etc. We decided to try it. There was a car in our old neighborhood that had a bumper sticker that read "LESS STUFF MORE FUN". That has become our family motto. Kaia had to create a "family flag" for Joy School and we put that motto on there, along with our family scripture: "Wherefore, do not spend money for that which is of no worth, nor your labor for that which cannot satisfy. Hearken diligently unto me, and remember the words which I have spoken; and come unto the Holy One of Israel, and feast upon that which perisheth not, neither can be corrupted, and let your soul delight in fatness" (2 Nephi 9:51). That last line, "let your soul delight in fatness", is a favorite of mine. Jack Johnson has a great song (Gone) where he says:

"Look at all those fancy clothes
But these can keep us warm, just like those
What about your soul?
Is it cold?
Is it straight from the mold and ready to be sold?
Cars and phones and diamond rings, bling bling
Those are only removable things
What about your mind, does it shine?
Are there things that concern you more than your time?"

Souls that delight in fatness don't get cold.  Minds and souls that shine don't waist their time on tv, movies, music, entertainment that dull them.  I'm teaching a Sunday School lesson tomorrow on the courage and faith of Joseph F. Smith.  The following story has made an impression on me:

Joseph F. and his company had stopped to camp one afternoon when a band “of drunken men rode into the camp … , cursing and swearing and threatening to kill any ‘Mormons’ that came within their path. … Some of the brethren when they heard them coming had cautiously gone into the brush down the creek, out of sight. Joseph F. was … gathering wood for the fire. [He walked up to the campfire to deposit his wood. One drunken ruffian with a pistol in his hand said] that it was his duty to [kill] every ‘Mormon’ he should meet. … In a loud, angry voice [he demanded from Joseph], ‘Are you a … Mormon?’ [Joseph ignored the gun aimed at him,] and looking the ruffian in the eye … boldly answered, ‘Yes siree; dyed in the wool, true blue, through and through.’

“This [surprised] the man; and … he grasped [Elder Smith’s] hand and said,

“ ‘Well, you are the … pleasantest man I ever met! Shake, young fellow, I am glad to see a man that stands up for his convictions’ ” (Smith, Life of Joseph F. Smith, p. 189). The man seemed to be the leader of the group, for when he rode off the rest followed him. President Smith said he fully expected to be shot when he admitted being a Mormon, but he did it anyway.

I plan on telling the teenagers in my class that although they do not face mobs today, they face something equally dangerous.  They are battling against devils who seek to destroy their souls by dulling them, thinning them, and robbing them of intelligence through all sorts of entertainment and popular notions that hinder them from forming convictions.

This morning my Grandma's cat was meowing outside our bedroom window at 5 a.m.  I loaded Ruby into a baby sling (she was wide awake also) and headed out to visit Vinny.  We are taking care of him while Gram and Pop are in California (Gram had back surgery on Thursday and we are all praying fervently that it is successful).  I figured I might as well let Adam sleep peacefully until his alarm went off at 6:25 (he had a long bike ride to fit in before our busy Saturday of attending two wedding receptions) so I settled in at Gram and Pop's house.  I started reading scriptures, D&C 93 to be exact.  The Lord says, "I have commanded you to bring up your children in light and truth" (v. 41).  In verse 36 we learn "The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth".  I pondered that for a while. We are commanded to raise our children in light and truth which is intelligence which is the glory of God.  Now I just need to figure out how to nurture children with fat souls and shinning minds and convictions that are "true blue, through and through".

p.s. Check out Common Sense Media for great movie reviews and advice for parents.
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Friday, June 12, 2009

Picture Post

Ruby, Ruby, Ruby, Ruby is 1 month old.
The girls' soccer season ended recently.   Kaia told me before her last game, "Mom, I don't want to do soccer again.  I want to be a ballerina."  Here is Kaia with her buddy, Cooper.
Sierra on the other hand, loved soccer and was the second most competitive/aggressive kid on the team (she was only outdone by the coach's son).  
I almost posted a before/after shot of my new hairstyle but the "before" (after I cut my bangs myself) was so hideous that I couldn't bring myself to put it on this here blog.  But this is me "after", meaning after having a wonderfully professionally done hair cut by the talented Erica Niles.  She said I wasn't the worst self-haircut she has tried to fix, more of a yellow than a red (to use her words), but it took almost an hour and a half to get the desired result.  I like it a lot. So does Kaia, obviously.
I wish I could have gotten to the camera faster at this moment.  Tristan came in my room while I was nursing and performed a hula dance.  I think he saw his sisters dancing a few weeks ago and decided to give it a try.  I laughed till I cried.
Oh, Kaia.  I think she may have laughed till she cried when she saw this picture.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Mother Artist

I was listening to this song today in the car and it got me feeling all artsy.  I started daydreaming about getting back into painting.  When nap time fell apart I strapped the baby into the Hug-a-Bub and pulled out the watercolors. As expected, Sierra and Kaia were soon at my side wanting to paint too. There is a book that has been on my night stand for way too long (The Creative Family by Amanda Soule) and in the few pages I've read there was a statement about not separating your kids from the "good" art supplies. Essentially she's saying let your kids create with the expensive stuff, not the 2 for $1 water colors. Well, I just can't bring myself to do that, although it would have saved me an argument and having to get all the kid paint down from the closet. Anyway, I painted unproductively for a while then spent twice as long cleaning up the painting mess my girls made. And all this made me think of a conversation between friends last night. We were discussing the talent of one friend's husband who is amazing on the piano/organ. Another friend mentioned that she would sure like to have a talent like that. Another friend's husband piped up and said something to the effect of, "Your talent could be Motherhood." Those words really stuck with me and reminds me of the quote I have on my fridge: "She who can paint a masterpiece or write a book that will influence millions deserves the admiration and the plaudits of mankind; but she who rears successfully a family of healthy, beautiful sons and daughters, whose influence will be felt through generations to come, ... deserves the highest honor that man can give, and the choicest blessings of God." --President David O. McKay

So I'm going to share my paints (but only the dollar store variety).

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Things you just shouldn't do...

*Cut your own bangs.  Especially if said hair cut takes place in the wee hours of the morning and is performed by a sleepy (and insane) momma with a pair of sewing scissors.  The result will be a look from a husband that reads "that looks terrible, but I'm not going to say the words out loud". Always remember if you see a hair style in a movie, someone with a whole lot of training and talent created that hair cut.  I was trying to go for this:


I don't look anything like Kate or Zoe. Maybe I'll post a picture of myself someday. But probably not for another 6 months. I've confined myself to wearing a headband and a lot of hair pins for a really, really long while.