memory grove park

 we met up with some friends at memory grove park downtown- i forget how beautiful it is there in the fall. we've never ventured far, but this time, went a little deeper along the path. elle loved throwing rocks into the creek... jude liked anything that made me nervous. so i just kept feeding him in hopes that he wouldn't run off/up/down any embankments. you know how it goes. i'm not sure how anyone with a small toddler "hikes" or does anything of the sort without being a nervous wreck every second they are out. not to mention, my kids inherited my "lack of grace" gene, and fall over everything that may be in their path.
fall is just, so good, isn't it??
jude thought sitting backwards on the hill was wise. it made my stomach hurt just watching him! speaking of stomachs... why do kids always need to go to the bathroom once you leave the house? elle finally gave in and went to the bathroom for the first time outside, ever- this is big news! (sorry to any "hikers" in the near vicinity.)

keep it coming, fall weather.    2014 has been mighty fine thus far.

(last years visit here.)


on functioning, forgetting, family, failing, fitting in, and funerals.

i tend to err on the side of OCD. i literally cannot function without a sense of cleanliness, organization, and balance. i function better when i'm busy (needed). i have a lousy memory, so i track things by writing them down. i hate being late. i am a stickler for rule-abiding and keeping commitments. i struggle with grey. i struggle with inconsistency. now that i think of it, i must drive most everyone in my life nuts.

i got home from work the other day and cracked open my planner- i immediately realized that it had been far to long since it was opened- there were a handful of things i had forgotten entirely. elle's dance class days before? never took her. i totally forgot it existed. picking things up, dropping things off? spaced them. i don't remember the last time i just missed entire events!

last week was completely crazy. i'm wishing there was a more fitting word, but i can't think of one so crazy will do. it was fun and uplifting and busy, all sandwiched between general women's meeting and general conference. all our international board members were in town- which was a pure delight! i worked 60ish hours in addition to celebrating (and missing part of) my daughter's 5th birthday. most work hours were long before the sun came up, or late into the night after the sun (and my family) were in bed. mike played mom, dad, cook, and entertainer. i may have skipped over the detail that he started his MBA this fall, in addition to working full-time as well. he's been super dad. i feel like somewhat of a failure as a mom.

in addition to the (good?) stresses and life's exciting moments, there was also bad news upon bad news. 2014 will go down in my personal book as just plain hard. because i dyed my hair the first week in january, 2014 will forever be the year of being blond aaaaand being a struggling mess. mike and i have talked more times than i could ever count about how lucky we are, but just how taxing this year has been.      take this past week for example- it's been so good- the outside has been busy and fun and uplifting and positive, but man was there a lot going on behind the curtain. the most explainable being loss. we found out mid-week that mike's grandma was nearing the end of her long but sweet life. she passed away the following day. i think death is such a beautiful thing- i've said it before- it's such a fascinating thing to me. that being said, 5 others also died within 48 hours. it was almost creepy the wave of death that seemed to wash over those we know. the circumstances range from peaceful, to tragic, to completely overwhelmingly heartbreaking. i've attended 2 funerals in the past 3 days, and others i wish i could attend. my heart is heavy.

one of the hardest concepts i've been trying to wrap my brain around lately is this idea of being yourself, but being someone for others as well- i have responsibilities as a human being, a wife, mother, daughter, friend, employee, neighbor... i could go on and on. i feel like i never know who comes first in that list, and when that order gets skewed, how i then rearrange my life since all those "responsibilities" are perfectly reasonable and necessary. who i let down first. who i attend to last. my own life and my decisions are intertwined with a lot of other lives. or at least a small handful. for someone who struggles with control issues, i am still very much in the initial stages of learning how to do this. placing my marriage first, but my children first at the same time. oh! and myself. don't forget to sleep and eat and exercise and by all means, be happy!     *sigh*     it's very bewildering. 

i actually googled "synonyms for confused" and feel remarkably comforted that at least a thesaurus understands me, likely, better than i understand myself:) 


5th birthday recap...

 because her birthday falls precariously during a terribly busy time of year for me at work, we made quite the extension of elle's 5th birthday (like we don't do that every year anyway). since we're going on a big trip next month for "elle's birthday" (also, my birthday, mike's birthday, christmas... you know how we roll), we told elle she could pick 1 special birthday present, otherwise, the trip was her gift. 
my big almost-5-year-old little baby decided she wanted her ears pierced, so like 3 weeks ago, we went to in-n-out, and then to the mall to get the job done...
...when we got there, another little girl her age was in the chair. elle tends to be... dramatic (don't know where she gets that from), so i thought it may be wise for her to be forewarned what this was going to be like. bless her, she was great until that little girl SCREAMED. elle's face turned white. "are you sure you want to do this?" "yes... i... i want to do it." 
and she did. 
i have it on video- it's terribly heartbreaking, that moment of impact, but she laughs everytime she watches herself jump, then burst into tears. 
two workers pierced her ears simultaneously so it went faster, and she was so obedient to their "hold still" request that when it was done she just sat there, frozen, shaking, and crying until they told her she was fine to move, at which point she collapsed into a heap of tears on their stuffed bear they let her hold.
thankfully, 60 seconds after it was done, she was fit as a fiddle, thrilled with her new purple earrings. 
before she went to sleep on her birthday eve she reminded us at least 10 times, "don't forget, it's almost my birthday, and all i really want is surprise decorations like 'hawaiian-luau-hula-girl-beach-y' ok?" she woke up pleased. so did jude. (balloons are totally his thing.)
 mike & i both took the morning off, and after getting bagels (her chosen breakfast), going to preschool, then grabbing quesadillas at cafe rio, mike & elle had a tea party just the two of them. following their tea party, elle and i went got pedicures. since we were the only ones in there, elle got the royal treatment (so much for cutting back on gifting)- the nail lady just kept bringing her treats. (i just sat there, praying she wouldn't spend the rest of the day sick.)
the night of her birthday i had a really special dinner at work- there are pretty much 2 people on the planet for whom i would leave my daughter on her birthday, and this was one of them. after asking elle if she'd rather have mom & dad home, or have nana come over to play, she chose nana without hesitation. it's no wonder when nana brings over a birthday cake like that  ^^  !!! (thank you, nana!

i repeatedly heard, "mom, this is the best birthday ever!" which i call a good day in my book:) hooray for being 5!


happy 5th birthday, elle!

happy 5th birthday, sweet elle!
i love every ounce of your fiercely awesome, amazing self.

this past year has been a blur. it scares me how fast you're growing up. it makes me angry that the influence of the world is starting to trickle in on your innocent self- it makes me want to hold you even closer, and make our home a happy, safe refuge. your innocence is the most beautiful thing to see- you are so pure and good!

i love your sweet heart. you are always kind to your baby brother- always! you are sensitive and gentle. you are always ready for a song and dance. your imagination is nonstop. i love your long hair and long, wiggly body. i love your beautiful eyes and unlimited expressions. 

thank you for being our girl, elle belle. we love you! happy 5th birthday, darling baby.


dinner in park city.

mike and i spent our saturday morning apart, running all over, and by late-afternoon we just wanted to get away as a family for a bit. mike suggested an impromptu escape to park city for dinner at our favorite spot, main street pizza and noodle. (i say "favorite," but it's really just the only place we go- ever. when i was in college and visited park city with my roomies the pattern began; when mike & i were young and in dating-love we came here; whenever we go to sundance to people watch we hit it up... we're serious creatures of a pizza habit.)

elle & jude were their typical crazy selves- musical seats, flying forks, eating an equal amount of snacks from my purse as they did the food we ordered, catsup with a side of chicken nuggets, and lots of leftover pizza crust for me to enjoy. after dinner we walked up & down main street just long enough to tolerate jude's refusal to be held and walk independently (of course we forgot the stroller). then a little rocky mountain chocolate factory, and finally, home again, home again, jiggly jig.


a "peace out, summer" night at cherry hill.

utah has been all over the place lately with weather- i mean, utah is a desert.      summers are hot and dry.       the end.     well, i feel like july was august, and august was october. i'm not sure what september will turn out to resemble, but the fact that summer is "over" according to the 3-day weekend bookends of memorial and labor day, depresses me. 

friday night we headed to cherry hill for one last hurrah, even though i hope to high heavens it's not over yet! last a little longer, summer! you faked me out with that whole "unusually cool and wet" spell for most of august. don't go yet! and please, get rid of all the added mosquitos while you're at it. thanks!
^^ jude watched elle swing from the railing as we waited to get in. he then copied her.
jude ate our favorite yogurt. so did his body.
^^ uncertainty, turned delight via the slide elle repeated 100 times. 
also noteworthy but not pictured are mike and my rides down cardiac canyon- this river run where we basically swirled like we were in a toilet bowl, and ended up on dates with other people- me with a 7-year-old boy, and mike with a bunch of 12-year-old girls- after mike ditched me in hopes for a faster route down the "rapids." basically, we just kept getting stuck and i about peed my pants from laughing. i haven't laughed that hard in ages!
thanks to my parents for partying with us and all the other high school kids who filled the park last friday night:)

so long, sweet summer.


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