Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Being Spontuneous

Yep, you read it right. "spontuneous."

It is a game that my brother Aaron and his wife, Chelsea introduced our family to at their Sunday Christmas party.

I mean, you really don't have to add much for our family to have a fun time, but add music and food and it's a riot.

There was a part of the game when my mom drew a card and she had to make up a rap... that was just funny... then her rap was funny... I only caught the last part of it on film though. Still worth a laugh, especially when I change the voice at the end a few times.

Tee hee!

MomRap from Rachael on Vimeo.

And did I mention there was food? Cheesecake even!

Well, there was...

and then there wasn't...


No part of the above video was re-enacted, it was all totally raw and unscripted... OK, that's a lie, but the first time was real and I missed it. So I made them redo do it. Isn't Yaya a great actress!

Monday, December 30, 2013

My Dr. Seuss Gingerbread House

So my friend, Elizabeth has this awesome tradition every year to make gingerbread houses as an activity for just us women... this year we invited the families for the first part or our gingerbread making party.

Sister was so looking forward to making a gingerbread house she could hardly contain herself!

Baby had no clue why we were trying to stick her candy to a box of graham crackers... "Why stick, when I can eat?" I am sure was her theory.

See look at Baby's cheeks... notice in the above picture the red and green m&m's are right in front of her and the next picture shows them scooted out of reach with a small pile being snarfed... ya, that was how much she enjoyed "making" her gingerbread house.

I was amazed at all the candy we had out for the kids. Most of it didn't even make it past their mouths to the houses!

And this is the picture from my last post! (See I told you I would tell you more, and here it is!) It was so fun to see the friendship between M and Brother as if they have seen each other every day for the last 2 years without missing a single beat. I love friendships like that! You know the ones, the friendships that survive no matter how much work you do or don't put into them, you just know you're friends forever!

Elizabeth is even so cool that she had giant gingerbread people to get pictures by! Brother was quite happy about that and very proud of the gingerbread house that M built for the both of them with Brother's supervision... OK, he really just ate candy the whole time and giggled whenever she came up with a great idea!
Here's their finished product closeup.

Then we ladies kicked out the men and children and we began making our ultimate gingerbread houses. You know, the ones you want to make when the kids are doing one and you have to refrain from controlling their creativity... Oh, is that just me? ...

Anyway, I thought there was a lot of candy for the kids' houses but we held back all the good stuff for us! Wish I would have had a picture of all the candy—we had to have two tables just for the candy!

I ended up laughing at mine though... I had this epic idea of how amazing my gingerbread house would be and it ended up looking like one my inner kid would do... hee hee! It was so much fun!

Let me show you a couple of the others' houses before I show mine so you can see how my inner child really did come out to play (smile).

I mean look how cute! Red, green and white themed with Santa at the door and the family gathered around the fire...

At this house we have a stone paved path, and a fishing stream for Santa...

complete with back yard shrubs and tree with the a traditional candy cane heart wreath!

And then there's this one with the scalloped, candied roof with brick walkway, welcoming snowmen and a fish pond in the back!

Oh and the family gathered around the fire here too!

Ya, those were the cool Christmas gingerbread houses!

And then, I came to play!
Tah Dah!!

I know, it looks like the candy factory blew up and landed on my gingerbread... but I had fun and I didn't have to fight any kids to do it my way. (smile really big)

Add caption

Every one had fish and I wanted to be included so I had santa roasting a fish over the fire... tee hee hee!

Yes, I am proud of my Grinch! He was made out of a green tootsie roll, and m&m and a slice of gummy star... but my favorite part was the tootsie roll dog with the gum slice antlers! And see that bear to the right? There's a few of those around and are those little bear-like characters from "The Lorax" story.

Here's my Lorax! He's made out of two orange tootsie rolls, a bite of licorice for the nose and to tiny bites of tootsie roll for the eyes! Ha! Oh, and I had to make a sign for the Truffula Forest so everyone knew what the tootsie pops were for!

And Elizabeth happened to have the Lorax book so we just had take a side-by-side!

Oh it was fun!

And it even lasted a whole 3 days before there was nothing but the gum roof left...

(Oh, and if any of you are still worried about how tired I have been... I do have a doctor appointment tomorrow. But, I want to tell you all about Christmas first!)

Saturday, December 28, 2013

"Jesus Take The Wheel"

Have you ever heard that song, "Jesus Take the Wheel" by Carrie Underwood?

If not, take a listen:

or you can just skip it and I'll get right to my post.

I think I have told you before about how I have gone into the a few different doctors to let them know my concern of how tired I am all the time.

After I tell them about my life's situations they always reply something to the effect of, "Well, just listening to you talk about your life makes me tired... Have you ever thought that it's just because your life is stressful?"



So, I just go through my life tired.

Pretty much ALL the time.

So tired.

Can't keep my eyes peeled open.


I exercise, I take my vitamins and my thyroid meds, and I eat healthy.

So, I have just succumbed to my fate in knowing that I am just always tired.

Well, after yesterday, I've decided that I really need to do something about being tired.

I have about a 25 minute drive to my mom's house. Not bad. So when I get a chance, when the kids are home on holiday, I like to drive out there to spend some of the day to get some relief and the kids can have fun.

I loaded up my kids and we were off.

I was feeling OK as I got in the car, but, I guess, the hum of the motor, the droning of the music and the unusual quietness of my kids I started to realize how tired I really was. I did what I often do and started bobbing and singing to the music on the radio and pretending to have toothpicks between my eyelids to keep them propped open.

Maybe I wore myself out trying to stay awake because about 15 minutes into my drive I felt myself slowly wake up and see that I am drifting to my right into the lane next to me. I felt a certain calmness about me and I knew there had been angels protecting me and the kids—there was no one in that lane, no one close behind me in the other lane and I was able to safely and easily get back over to my original lane.

"OK, I'll be fine now," I thought. I had scared myself and I knew it wasn't gonna happen again after that, besides, I only had 10 minutes left... how could I possibly fall asleep again?

I don't remember to much after those thoughts other than trying to stretch my eyes open as wide as possible to keep from closing them at all... but, it must not have helped...

I slowly raised my head from leaning to my left side and groggily opened my eyes. I felt like I was seeing through a tunnel—everything on the outside vision was blurry and tunneled into a clear and narrow passage.

I realized I had fallen asleep again!

In the split seconds I had to react I was able to observe that I was to the left of the fast lane sneggled tightly between the cement wall of the overpass and the yellow line marking the edge of the freeway lanes. I am going 80 miles and hour and I see that a huge, white suburban has noticed what is going on and has backed off significantly to avoid an accident to a fuller extent.

There were no cars to my right or behind me for quite a few car lengths and I saw that there was a chance for me to get back onto the freeway safely.

I remember trying to turn the wheel to the right gently, but with the speed I was going and the grogginess I seemed to still be in I was starting to lose control of my car. The kids started screaming in the back seat, "What are you doing mom? Mom!!! Mom!!! What are you doing!!!??"

After a few wavy attempts to straighten out on the lane I was able to get it back under control.

It was like there was an awkward silence between me and all the other drivers as we thanked God we were all OK and it hadn't been worse than it was.

I sensed drivers giving me room to move over to the exit that was about half mile away.

It was the exit I was going to be taking to get to my mom's.

I was almost there and I had fallen asleep.

The kids' faces were white as the shirt I wore and my heart was racing!

I can't believe I did that twice! Twice! Within 10 or 15 minutes!

The entire way down the long country road to my mom's house I kept replaying the ordeal in my head and all the while knowing there was NO way I could have done all that without the help of divine intervention. We were saved by angels and the grace of God.

I was embarrassed to tell me my mom and dad about it when I got there but the kids were still pale/green and I still looked a little shocked and tired so I had to explain.

Needless to say they were grateful we made it there safely, but then proceeded to worry about me and getting me to a doctor to find out why I am so tired all the time.

Anyway, after all this I just kept thinking of how often Jesus has taken the wheel and gotten my and my family back into a safe and loving place to be.

Especially with all my thoughts of our amazing Christmas Season and all the little blessings we had.

Like when we got this card on our doorstep accompanied by a mound of gifts.

I know it's side ways... tilt your head and stop complaining...

A warm and gentle reminder of how blessed we are and how no matter how down or defeated we may feel, we are always being watched over.

Because of our special Santa our kids had an amazing Christmas, but more than anything, I was truly humbled by the circumstances of our gifts.

I love what the card says, "A favorite moment, a treasured memory, a simple tradition, a family's love..." That is exactly what our Secret Santa experience will be—a favorite moment and treasured memory that I hope will one day be a tradition we can pass to others that can strengthen a family's love.

I have also had the privilege of "Jesus taking the wheel" in my life with the simple things like Kris Kringle coming for a special surprise visit to lift our spirits and bring holiday cheer to our kids.

What's more American that Santa Claus? Tee hee!

Or when I am reminded of the special friends Brother has had even since he was little, and to see how Heavenly Father has helped him through his struggles by sending him such wonderful friends his whole life. This is life saving to me because I sometimes get so discouraged that I will never be able to give my kids all they need to live as normal life as possible and then I am reminded of all the people in our lives that help raise our children.

 This is Brother with M, one of his friends from before our move to Orem. We had the privilege of having a "making gingerbread houses" party with old friends and it was as if the connection had never been broken with Brother and M were together that night. (I'll write more about night later.)

Now, I know Bryan has a beard like Jesus (insert laugh here), but he was just the tool in His hands to make Sister smile from ear to ear on a day that I was ready to crawl into a cave and hide away. This small, simple gesture cheered her up for the rest of the day and helped me come back to sanity.

It doesn't always take a life-saving event like steering me back on the freeway without incident to "save my life."

And it isn't always heavenly angels who save me either but the earthly ones too.

Like when grandma Lynne takes the time to snuggle with Baby just to make her smile.

Those are life saving moments too.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Tree of Tribute

Have you ever heard of the Festival of Trees?

It's pretty amazing. I haven't been in about 20 years and this year I made sure to go because my mom and her siblings donated a tree to the Festival this year as a tribute to their parents, my grandparents!

They did such a good job! My mom was very proud of the pedal-car firetruck she found, the chair and window she painted and the old stocking she found.

My grandma Ruby loved "Gone With the Wind" and my grandpa Fred loved to have every Christmas be a very memorable and special one with toys and goodies.

You can read an awesome story about him and his family in his childhood below. I couldn't find a link to it online so I hope it's OK I have the scans here that my Aunt Rosanne had…

I love that story, one of my Christmas faves! I thought of it the whole time I admired the tree my aunts, uncles and mom had done.

Here's me trying to get the 4 of us who went together in a "selfie" shot… I really am not good at those!
Holy cow,  it looks like my neck and my chin have joined into one… sheesh!
Why do I post pictures like this? Ha! Oh ya, because they're funny!

Marc is much more talented at that…

I love this man--I mean he is great at taking selfless of us, what would I do without him… tee hee!
To end off with I just have to show my mom in her Grinch shirt with the Grinch in the background (smile). It makes this posts title a little funny because now I keep hearing the line from the Grinch movie with Jim Carrey, "The Chair of Cheer?!"

Ha ha ha ha! Laughing all the way…

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

There's a Little Girl in the Corner of my Heart

I've clicked "New Post," I don't know how many times over the last few days.

I think, are they ready to read a real post no matter how "blah" it is, or should I just stick to the fun stuff showing our updates?

Then I remembered that Our Life is real.

All the time.

Even if the real may not interest you, you don't have to read it all. I usually post some pretty fun pictures to look at so you can check those out instead.

I have a lot on my mind and I am going to try to put it all here in one post…

I sat down the other day and wrote down all the things I loved as a child between the ages of 5 and 15.

It was interesting because I really started to miss that little girl I once was. How did I lose that little girl?

I know we all have to grow up, but, trust me, growing up doesn't mean we need to be a totally different person conforming to what everyone wants us to be.

Growing up just means we find better ways to make mud pies, build forts, plan adventures, play night games (no giggling on that one people… I'm not referring to that) or roller-skate in the driveway singing "Xanadu" at the top of our lungs.

No, really, I mean it. We don't have to give up who we are, just change our way of doing things… a little. When you're 19 mud pies may give way to playing sand volleyball or drawing in the sand at the beach, planning adventures that may go beyond your backyard and actually to another state or country, and at night we may build a fire in the canyon park and roast marshmallows with a group of friends (hey, I live in Utah… that's how we roll).

Then when you're 20-something you may build homes instead of forts, mountain bike instead of roller-skate and get married and have kids instead of just playing "house."

And then when you are 36 you may have children by then and teach them how you used to make mud pies, play night games, roller-skate and sing simultaneously, and while doing all this just have the excuse that you are teaching your kids how to have fun, but, deep inside, you are reminiscing about your childhood and enjoying every moment of reliving it.

But if you have completely changed from when you were growing up, molded yourself into someone else in order to please another, well, the things you did as a kid are not a grown-up part of you, but instead a lost key to who you really are.

I've done that.

When I wrote my list of things I loved to do as a child I cried a good cry. I don't even know myself anymore. How did that happen? I thought I was doing all that I should and maybe that is the problem. I was doing all that I should without adding in the things that I want or love.

I lost a part of me while growing up. Not the parts I wanted to lose, like stinky feet, pimples, awkward walk, over anxiousness… nope, I lost the things that made me really happy once.


Just to conform to the norm.

Now I watch our kids.

They'll always have their childhood.

I don't know if they will ever really lose site of who they are.

They are genuinely themselves and really don't care what others think or want of them.

A child their entire lives.

And then I regret being upset about the childhood I left behind…

I have the blessing of learning from my past, my mistakes and my choices and still choosing to move forward.

I can learn a lot from my kids.

A lot.

I think I am going to start by having Brother teach me how to sing my heart out when I need to relieve stress.

I want to have Sister teach me how to laugh and giggle out loud without worry of who may judge me for my obnoxious laughter.

And Sister will teach me how to seize someone by the hand and show them what I need from them… OK maybe that would be a little weird, I'll learn from her how to seize a moment for myself so that I can relax and recuperate.

My mom stopped by for a visit the other day and she must have sensed what I was going through because I didn't tell her how I was feeling. I'm weird that way, can't tell some one face to face what I'm going through and then I can write it all down in a publicly read blog… I don't know, I'm still trying to figure me out, remember?

Anyway she started to write one line of a song for me. I loved it and had to record it so she wouldn't forget it and then we started being goofy and I was laughing and happier then. I just have to share it with you and I even put some pictures with it… not because I am cool or anything, actually quite the opposite, I couldn't figure out how to get the audio file to load (smile).

Hope this made you smile!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The beginning of many wonderful Santa sightings!

Our sweet neighbors have a tradition every year to go to this site little Stringtown Polar Express every year at Christmas time, and they invited us… twice.

Our kids went last year and loved it.

We got to go this year with Brother and Sister. The train is a miniature train and makes you feel like a kid again when you're seated...

Sitting in our spots on the train. It was FREEZING!!

It was so fun to see how happy they were. 

I wish I wouldn't have had to sit in the back because I wasn't able to get pictures of the kids, but from the way things sounded, it was a great ride!

Then we got to Santa's Workshop and I thought Sister was going to pop a gasket, she was so excited to sit on his lap and tell him she wants a Pokemon card. She was frozen, but happy!

Brother was quite proud to inform Santa that he wants a new iPod… 
yep, I'll write more on that another time. He was happy!

Everyone enjoyed being at Santa's workshop!

 And, of course, we had to get a group shot at the end.

P.S. Sorry to any of you who really enjoy reading my blog… it's been pretty bland. I mean Our Life is exciting and all, and I'm sure you enjoy the pictures of our crazy and happy family, but I haven't written from the heart in a while. Not really sure why, other than just haven't really made the time.

I miss writing from the heart. It heals me to really put feelings into words that can make me laugh or cry and not just be updated.

I'll get there. Maybe it's the snow.

I don't know.

But I'm rhyming…

such bad timing.

Rhyming is a silly thing.

I was really trying to bring

about some deep thoughts…

now, we just need to lie on some cots…

Ha!! Ha!!!

Since I can't give you any deep thoughts tonight I'll leave you with a photo of Baby in deep thought in from of our Christmas Tree…

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Ramps, Quacks and Laughs

The Saturday after Thanksgiving Marc had a great idea to take the kids out for the day to some different parks. We even had the opportunity to have Fifi (I don't think I have a blog name for her yet, so that is what it is…) with us for the day so she got to hang out with us too.

I dare say that everyone had a great time.

The skate park was our first stop.

I felt VERY out of my element as I walked into the sea of cement ramps, bowls and jumps amongst a school of talented skaters and scooters of all types. I kind of laughed inside as our motley crew came galloping into the cement sanctuary with giggles, screams and more giggles.

The seasoned skaters were kind enough to let our little group have our own little spot in the park and our kids and Fifi had a ball on the scooters we brought. Brother, though, was on his roller blades. He was along the wall most of the time so it was very exciting to see him adventuring out into the middle of the park.

Sister, Baby, Fifi and me… yes me. Trust me it didn't last long. I'm realizing I'm no Spring Chicken… who in the heck came up with that term anyway? Ha! I don't know, but it reminds me of something my dad would say.

Two "pros" on the left and then Baby sitting down, Sister on top, me on the other side challenging Sister to ride up that high and Fifi and Brother taking a break.

Baby was so happy to have infinite hard surface area to gallop her little ponies on.
 Luckily we made it through the entire event without her being flattened by anyone.

Brother still getting used to his sea legs.

Yep, she played horses the whole time. We even brought her scooter but only
 Fifi got any use out of that… you'll see in a few pics.

Marc, Sister and Baby in the shade

This was one of those proud moments where Sister was trying the ramps with daddy
and Brother was venturing into the middle freestyle!

Marc even got on the scooter for a bit.
And in this pic and the one below you will see how Baby's scooter was put to good use...

This was just before we left he was wanting to venture over to be near all the cool kids on the other side of the park.

Then we went to another park and started off on the swings.

They were HUGE swings.

Usually Baby like to swing as high as she can… I think this swing, though, was asking a little much of her bravery… if you zoom in, you'll see the fear on her face…

Here, I zoomed in for you… she also has a mouth full of chocolate so it looks more dramatic...

Fifi was having fun with her Super Woman skills

This is Brother trying to be like Fifi… hmmm… close...

After the big swing we went across the park to the duck pond. Someone had a bunch of bread crumbs and had attracted all the ducks that were in the pond onto the shore. Our kids thought it was awesome, mostly Baby, she wanted to get right in there.

It wasn't long before Baby's antics herded them all back into the pond. Brother was a bit terrified as he stood on his, once safe rock, above and away from the ducks while they all swarmed toward him.

There were a lot and it was cool to watch so many of them all in one spot. I get excited to see 3 or 4 in one spot, so this will make all other duck sitings pale in comparison.

After the pond we played on the small playground that was there and just laughed and acted goofy on the playground equipment.

It's good to laugh with our kids.

We do laugh a lot.

At home.

It's neat when our kids can laugh freely outside of our home without inhibition to surrounding strangers they are usually nervous around. I love when we can get past the melt-downs and freak-outs and still push forward to do something together as a family that does not include our home or another family member's, just a good old public place.

P.S. I hope you read that above sentence right, I don't love melt-downs or freak-outs! I despise them. They're horrible. I love when they don't conquer our family.


If you haven't taken your kids to a park in while, you should try it! It was a lot of fun… and stress… but, mostly fun! And don't forget the camera so you can remember the fun parts.