Friday, July 31, 2009

Important Announcement

No I'm not pregnant.

No I didn't finally get caught up on laundry.

And I certainly did not finally start my diet (tomorrow....)

BUT...

I am taking a little blogging vacation. I don't know exactly how long...maybe a couple of days, maybe a couple of weeks, but however long it is be prepared for some serious awesomeness when I return.

Oh, and if you're interested in doing a guest blog post while I'm away just give me a ring...




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Day 212--Pin the Tail on the Giraffe


Our good friends, the Tippets, just got back from vacation and we all got to have a fun play date today. Me and the kids! This was the game that Emma and Hannah came up with...."Pin the Tail on the Giraffe". CUTE!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Day 211--Entertaining even at 3:30 in the morning

There's not a whole lot that will make me laugh at 3:30 in the morning, but somehow catching a glimpse of Glen on his way out the door to High Adventure totally cracked me up and drove me to get up to get my camera!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Day 210--Glen Who?

If it weren't for that cheesy grin we wouldn't have been able to recognize Glen after his spontaneous buzz cut in preparation for High Adventure.

Preparing for High Adventure



Spencer's been looking forward to this day for a LONG time--the day he gets to go on his first Scouting High Adventure. Our ward has amazing Scout leaders who help these teenage boys to have some fantastic opportunities.

This year it's a ten day trip up to Maine for fishing and canoeing.

For as excited as Spencer is about going, I daresay that Glen is equally if not more excited to go along. Not only does he get a week and a half off of work, but fishing is in his blood and he has felt deprived of good fishing since the day we moved out of the mountains more than 12 years ago!

We dropped Spencer and his and Glen's gear off tonight at the YM president's house, so they'd all be packed up and ready to go by 4:00 tomorrow morning. Glen, however, opted to enjoy one last good night's rest before heading off to a lumpy tent floor for the next several days.


Although all of his gear was already dropped off and ready to go, Glen had one more thing he was anxious to take care of before he left....

a maintenance free buzz cut....
the shortest he's ever had his hair in his entire life.

His reasoning for the drastic change?
  • No brushing or styling required
  • Little shampoo needed
  • Guaranteed not to harbor any unseen little critters
  • Because he felt like it (and to him that's the best reason of all)

Hehe--doesn't he remind you of Paul Hogan in Crocodile Dundee? Or maybe someone in Raiders of the Lost Ark? In any case it struck me as funny enough to get out of bed at 3:30 this morning to take a picture of him.



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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Day 209--Swimming Routine

I love taking the kids swimming because it's one of the few activities they all enjoy, but I hate going during the heat of the day. So almost every day we eat an early dinner and head to the pool at about 6:30 or so. I like not having to worry about sunscreen. I love that dinner's already done and I love that it gives them something to look forward to all day.

How I'm Starting My Own Trend...

It all started out simply enough.

I'd be going about my day cleaning, when I'd come across some little hair d00-dad lying around. I wouldn't want to go all the way back to the drawer where we keep them in the master bathroom to put it away, so I'd just clip it on my shirt or wear it around my wrist to return to its proper place later.

Kind of cute, huh? Pretty soon though I would get distracted by other tasks and before you know it I've got a nice little collection of doo-daddy decorations adorning my body and I don't even realize it.

Then the inevitable happens....

someone comes knocking on our door and...

VOILA! Lara the bow-clad woman answers.

My first inclination was to be embarrassed by the whole thing and to apologize at my goofy adornments. Then I realized I'm way too cool to spend my life embarassed , so I've decided to go with the flow and just open my own Etsy store to share the extreme awesomeness with everyone else.

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Here's a little sampling of my offerings: Lara's Ouchless Bracelets: Only $14.99 for a baker's dozen
They're simple, match with everything, and super convenient. While flashier bracelets can run you 20 bucks or more each, you'll find these an outstanding bargain for the price. Free shipping with an order of five dozen or more. Contact Lara for more info or to place your order.

Coming soon: Bow hemmed shirts and cute clippy charms to give your bracelets a little pizazz!

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Monday, July 27, 2009

Day 208--El Pollo Rico and New Windows

After spending the last month as the ghetto house on the block with our duct taped windows, we finally got back up to speed today.
Then, after a long, painful visit to the orthopedist for Spencer (where they told us everything was normal and fine) we met Aaron and Trish for an early dinner at one of their family favorite restaurants, El Pollo Rico. The food was simple, but excellent and the company was even better.

Exposé on Bad Drivers (NEW PC VERSION)

I started off writing this little rant about bad drivers, but then it was brought to my attention that perhaps I was being a little rude and judgmental in my accusations. To acquiesce any of you that may feel similarly I am changing the post to reflect a little more political correctness...

Completely ignore the following:
Where are the worst drivers in the USA?

My sister will tell you that the worst drivers in the US are right here in DC. Apparently we're all aggressive and there's just too darn many of us clogging up all the roads. Both are true statements, but I'd like to give a big cheer for predictability. You figure out the DC driving method and you're good to go.

Glen says the title goes to any and all cab drivers who drive in NYC.

And my opinion? Utah. Blinkers, compassion, and rear view mirrors all seem to be optional accessories there and if you don't own a truck or SUV I'm pretty sure they'll kick you out (especially if you live in Utah County).


New super politically correct post:
I like turtles and think they are cute and, um, green and if everyone drove as thoughtfully and carefully as turtles then the world would be a better place. The end.


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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Day 207--Feeding the Masses..

25 people at our house tonight for dinner meant:


Boatloads of food...BBQ Chicken Salad with Cilantro Dressing, Oreo Truffles, Lemon Soaked Poundcake, Pretzel Rolls(coming soon), and Jell-o Pretzel Salad (coming soon).



Breaking the rules with cousins, uncles, and kids playing catch in the street...



and a boatload of sand dumped all over the bottom bunk my the "little ones". Oh joy!

Our guests:
Mika (sister-in-law) with her three girls, Lauren, McKenzie, and Bridgette
Aaron (cousin) with his 9-month-pregnant wife Trish, and their kids, Jakob, JD, Lily, & Sylvie
Bobby (uncle visiting from Oklahoma) with his wife Mary and 2 of their kids, Adrien and Garret
Matt (brother) with his wife Karey and cute little baby Lincoln
AnnaLisa (sister)
+ Glen, me, and Spencer, Cami, Emma, Adam, & Ellie

=25 hungry people!

I'm a Big Show-off!

When I was a teenager I got paid a buck an hour for babysitting. One kid or six kids it didn't matter. That's just what we got paid in Blaine, Minnesota in the 80's and I didn't mind a bit. I was just happy to have a little spending money.

Now I have a daughter who is just entering the realm of babysitterdom and I'm quickly realizing that babysitting is a little more lucrative than in the olden days. She's twelve and two weeks old and often comes home having made as much in one hour as I'd made after a whole day of babysitting six bratty kids in a house without a TV (of course I'm not bitter after all these years).

Granted I happen to know that Cami is very responsible and totally loves children,
but I'm feeling just a tad bit guilty for those hefty wages. Is that normal? What is the going rate these days anyway? Should I just smile at her bulging wallet then garner her wages to pay us back for her outrageous orthodontic bills?

And while I'm on the subject can I just brag a little bit about how glad I am to have a couple of in-house babysitters in the family now?

I tell you, it's a liberating feeling the day you can go to the grocery store on a weekday in the summer and know that you don't have to take any kids with you.

Lib-er-at-ing...with a capital L.


I go to the store and get a regular cart--not a car-shaped one, not a two seater--just a plain full-sized cart. And then no one begs me for anything. I engage in no behavior bribery. I absolutely do not chase anyone down the aisles. And in a total state of purposeful amnesia I have completely forgotten where all the public restrooms are. Oh, and my shopping list?

Check, check, check.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Day 206--Pioneer Day Breakfast

Our ward celebrated Pioneer Day (a day late) with a good old fashioned Pioneer Breakfast and bike parade.

Emma was so excited to have an excuse to wear her pioneer clothes in public that she woke up at the crack of dawn to put them on. Both of these dresses are ones that I wore when I was a little girl. The blue one Emma is wearing (and its matching doll dress) was one of my favorites. I wore it to church and to school when I was Emma's age. Either my aunt Valerie or Marva had made them for me and I just adored them. Emma's bonnet was a souvenir she picked out from Amish Country.


Here they are in the bike/scooter parade. As you can see my kids were a little overdressed for the occasion. :)

Even little pioneers get all tuckered out running around in the hot sun!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Typically Crazy

Here's a little glimpse into a typical summer day at our house:

She's:

* Wearing her swimsuit at the dinner table
* Drinking fruit smoothie from a canning jar because all the cups are dirty
* Totally making a mess
* Totally showing off her "SMOOSH" (what the kids have termed a "smoothie mustache")
* Refusing to smile for the camera
* Hogging the Afro-- The object of the kids' fighting throughout the day.

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Meanwhile, I'm:
* Still wearing my pajamas at noon
* Wiping up puddles from where the kids came in from playing in the hose
* Trying to do dishes
* Cleaning our house in an ever moving vortex of messiness
* Attempting to keep the peace by confiscating the Afro
* and trying to stay sane by embarrassing myself in hopes that it will make you laugh just a little...

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Day 205--Staying Sane....

Sometimes I just need to let out a little silliness in the name of staying sane.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Day 204--Don't Ask....

Here's a little glimpse into a typical summer day at our house:


She's:
* Wearing her swimsuit at the dinner table
* Drinking fruit smoothie from a canning jar because all the cups are dirty
* Totally making a mess
* Totally showing off her "SMOOSH" (what the kids have termed a "smoothie mustache")
* Refusing to smile for the camera
* Hogging the Afro-- The object of the kids' fighting throughout the day.
* I'm totally exhausted and haven't taken any photos at all, so I take this without any thought to lighting or composition

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

My Trip in NUMB3RS

After a VERY long day yesterday with more than 12 hours spent in airports and airplanes, Ellie and I are finally back home again. I have a whole list of blog ideas that I'm busting to write, but I really wanted to get this summary of the trip down before I forget everything.

So, in an effort not to bore you with too many pictures and boring descriptions you don't care about, I am trying out an idea I did a few years ago....


My trip summary in NUMB3RS:



10
years ago (or more) since I'd last seen most of my Hepworth cousins.

9
times a day that Ellie and her cousin Andrew tried to turn on the TV each day.


8 decades young: I was so happy to be a part of the surprise party for my Nana's 80th birthday.

7--$20 bills plunked down at the BYU Bookstore for new Cougar paraphernalia indoctrination for the kids.
6
straight days away from my family....hip hip hooray! (for the first day or two anyway)


5-hour lay-over in the world's worst airport. Do you have a guess (or vote) at which airport earns this title from me? I was grumpy enough about our flight being delayed two hours on the third
leg of our trip that I didn't actually take any pictures of the experience (this picture is from our trip out).

4 hundred pictures that I took while in Utah and Wyoming.


3
out of 4 sisters and our Mom...talking, cooking, cleaning, reminiscing, and laughing together.


2 sweet grandparents finally reunited after almost 26 years apart.


1 very tired, VERY happy lady ecstatic to be back home surrounded by her sweet husband and rambunctious kids. Oh yeah, and to be sleeping in her own bed again.

Day 203--Summer Fun

Sometimes I swear it seems like my kids would live in their swimsuits in the summer. If we aren't at the pool, they're begging to go to the pool, or running around outside pretending they're at the pool.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Day 202--Good-bye and Hello!

Ellie and I spent 12 hours in airplanes and airports today, between the three separate legs of our journey. It was sad to say, "Good-bye" to my family in Utah, but I was only too excited to sleep in my bed again and see Glen and the kids!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Day 201--Alma Mater's Sons and Daughters

Of course I had to take the opportunity while I was in Utah to visit my Alma Mater--BYU!! Ellie and her cousin Andrew had a great time in the Bookstore warming up for the upcoming football season. I also took them by the Bookstore Candy Counter where I worked 15 years ago or so.

GO COUGARS!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Things I've Learned the Hard Way on this Trip:


  • I am not a country gal. After 24 hours in the tiny towns of Grover and Afton, Wyoming I definitely have decided that I much prefer big city/suburban life ( I think I need to do a separate blogpost on this topic).

  • I need a regular night's sleep to function properly. Of course I already knew this fact, but it got reaffirmed to me in a big way when I reverted back to my teenage days one night when I started crying and yelling at a family member after they said something I took the wrong way. Nothing like feeling immature and stupid.

  • I need to eat healthy food on a regular basis or I get grumpy and sick to my stomach. Oh yeah, and ice cream is NOT my friend!

  • I need my personal space. Even just 10 minutes of being quiet and alone does wonders for my state of mind.

  • I need to go on a diet. When both my mother and my grandmother divulged that their weights were lower than mine, I decided it's time to get my rear in gear.

  • Checking my email is just not as fun as it usually is. Where have all my blogging/commenting friends gone? Vacation or something? :)

  • Packing for an overnight trip is just as time/space consuming as packing for a week.

  • Forgetting your toothbrush for an overnight trip is NOT cool and it's even worse when every store in town closes at 8pm.

  • I have so many cousins that I don't even know some of their names.

  • Laptops are good...and bad. I like that I haven't had to give up my blogging, but I do find it a little sad and humorous when four of us will be in the same room all mumbling to each other from behind our laptops.


  • I miss my family more than I ever thought I could. I'm glad Ellie is here to keep me company or I think I'd go crazy. I may be surrounded by sisters, brothers, a niece, nephew and my parents, but I really, really miss Glen and the kids.



  • Oh yeah and I hate the automatic formatting on blog posts. Stupid extra bullets.

Day 200--Grandma & Grandpa's House

Here's Ellie and her cousin Andrew hanging out on the 200th day of the year with Grandpa Crain on their deck in Alpine, Utah. I love sitting on their deck enjoying the beautiful view of the mountains and peaceful, bugless surroundings. We had just returned from Star Valley after spending the night in a hotel there and the kids were happy to be back in familiar surroundings again.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Day 199--Until we Meet Again...

On the 26th anniversary of the day my Grandfather Hepworth passed away, his eternal companion was buried next to him in the Star Valley Cemetery in Afton, Wyoming.


The cedar casket was just beautiful and seemed just perfectly fitting for Grandma.

Her eight remaining children gathered from far and wide to pay their loving respects to their angel mother...


and a whole host of Hepworth cousins came to say, "Good-bye" to their wonderful grandmother.



Friday, July 17, 2009

Day 198--SURPRISE!!!




SURPRISE!!!




Make a wish!

Happy Birthday Nana!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Last Grandma

I flew out to Utah/Wyoming to celebrate the long and happy life of my Grandmother Hepworth, but little did I know that another important celebration was also taking place here this weekend...the 80th birthday of my Nana Crain (the last of the kids' great-grandparents).

While calling the death of my beloved grandmother convenient sounds a little sacrilege, I am feeling quite blessed at the serendipitous timing. I came out West to honor the life one grandmother and while I'm here I get to honor the other in person.
My Nana Crain is the very epitome of a true southern lady with her sweet "Okie" accent and generous hospitality. Like my Grandma Hepworth, she never forgets a birthday, even with dozens of grandchildren and I am still surprised at how quick she is to answer each and every letter my kids send her in our weekly letter writing. And wow what a writer she is! My kids are enthralled hearing about her days with her cute little pug named Lucy and even I love reading her detailed, well-written descriptions about her life. I couldn't brag about my awesome grandmother without talking about her amazing cooking. She is legendary in the Crain family for her delicious and HUGE meals. I only wish I could cook and entertain half as well as she does.
For as sweet and kind as Nana is, the thing for which I am most grateful for is her faith and courage. Living in the Bible Belt of Oklahoma, her decision to embrace the Gospel of Jesus Christ was not a popular one in her community, but embrace it she did. When I think of that fateful stormy day more than forty years ago when she let the missionaries in to teach her family the Gospel, I am forever grateful for the legacy of faith that began that day.

Happy birthday Nana! I love you!



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Day 197--Nana Crain


While I am out here in Utah/Wyoming mourning the loss of my grandmother Hepworth, my last grandparent left living, Nana Crain, is celebrating her 80th birthday. Not that death is ever convenient, but I feel blessed to be able to share in both of these special experiences while I am here. One a celebration of a long happy life come to an end and another celebration of another happy year to be.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Day 196--Long Day!

After arriving into Utah at 1:30am (Virginia time), Ellie and I were a little bit on the exhausted side. We are happy to be here with my Mom and Dad and have already seen more aunts & uncles in the half day we've been here (I post dated this entry) than we normally see in an entire year. I'm hoping that tomorrow Ellie will sleep in past 6:30am.

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