Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Beach in December

I hate to brag, but SERIOUSLY. It's WINTER and we're at the BEACH. Ruby was a bit of a princess pea (obsessively washing the sand off her hands and holding them in the air until they dried), but Gracie wouldn't stay out of the water!! It was 80 degrees this week- should cool down to the 50's next week. I know, you all want to either visit me or kill me... No wonder all the old people come down here for the winter! P.S.-- They're really bad drivers. On the positive side, they take things slow, which is good in a small town.
A New Year is starting and we all feel a little bit fresh. Like, "let's give this another go, shall we?"

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!!

Papa Smylie came to us as Santa Claus and even the newborns loved it! When Papa Smylie came back in the room later dressed as just Papa, Grace was very concerned that he had missed the show and told him that, "the REAL Santa came here! He did!!"
We miss all our family that wasn't with us this year. Levi, Rebecca, and my family- too many to name, but you know who you are!!!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Hannah and Ruby

Below: Hannah, Me, Rachel
Below: Me, Hannah, Rachel
Below: Hannah, Me, Rachel (apparently I hadn't eaten sweets since my last birthday).
Ruby, of course.
This is only because my Mother-in-law and I have been in constant discussion/agreeance about how much Ruby looks like my little sister Hannah! I come from a monstrous family (not only in noise level, but in size). 9 kids. Rachel's the oldest, then me, then Hannah. Rachel's in Iraq, I'm in Florida, and Hannah's in Utah. But Merry Christmas-- we are all together on my blog! Here are some pictures. Take some time away from holiday-ish-ness and tell me if you think Ruby looks more like my sister than ever (it will make Hannah's week, month, and year).

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Ingrid Michaelson is coming!!!

So now I live in Florida, and all these great artists who would never think about showing up in Utah, and only seem to hang out on the East Coast, like to come to FLORIDA. Ingrid Michaelson is coming to Orlando on January 26th. This is your official invitation. EVERYONE is invited. You can stay at my house, only 45 minutes away from Orlando. We can eat salad and lasagna and hang out for a day. Swim in shark-infested waters. Go to Disneyworld. Ride some roller coasters (I can watch you since I am pregnant and can't ride). Then we can go see Ingrid in concert. Which will pretty much be AMAZING.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


Hm.... checking out the lake behind our building... let's see what today has in store for us. Mom wanted to "explore" and all, so maybe there's something interesting here...
Oh look! A sign! Come on Ruby, let's so see what it says... Looks like there's a picture on it which helps since we can't really read.

Next step, ask mom what this sign says. Maybe that's why we came in the first place. To look at a sign. Definitely not the funnest afternoon.
Wait a minute. Did mom just shout that there's an alligator on the opposite shore and then take a picture of it with her camera??? Aren't we in danger?? Shouldn't she be worried??
Well I'm worried. Come on Ruby, let's get the heck out of here. No one seems to be concerned for our safety, so as your big sister, I must take you under my wing. I'm here to protect. If it's in my best interest that is...

Thursday, December 13, 2007

So. We're here.

I think Grace and Ruby really like the warmer weather. The gleeful screaming coming from our backyard while they got their clothes soaking wet in the hose? Proof. Below is not our actual building, but it's where we live. There are lakes everywhere!!
The "forest" behind our house...
Our backyard (which is why I chose this community).
Here is what we left behind in Utah! A beautiful neice Kayla. A kind, understanding, funny sister Hannah, and a LOT of snow.

After a five-hour flight (much better than the four-day drive Jake had to take) to Florida, we stepped off the plane and the girls said several things. Grace: "That was a LONG flight!" (with a sigh). Ruby from the window of the airplane looking toward the Tampa airport: "I tink I see Daddy!!" Grace: "We are FINALLY in Florida, huh Mommy?" Ruby every day of the entire 12 days we were without Jake: "I really miss Daddy!" (with a super whiny voice). Ruby again: "I can't wait to go swumming!!"

So far we've only gone "swumming" in the faucet outside because of all the cleaning and unpacking to do. We plan on the beach in the next few days, the community pool, a walk by the lake, and lastly, a bath! We hope this finds everyone well and getting ready for Christmas! My holiday preparations so far? I bought a cinnamon candle.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Moving Again.. (I'm sure you're not surprised).

We are moving to Florida! Jake has a job there and we will be living in Lakeland... halfway between Tampa and Orlando. It's sudden, I know... we've been thinking of making that move for a long time and finally things came together! Jake's family lives there, so we'll live by great people, and I am planning on my family visiting from CA throughout the summer (did you hear that, family??). We are sad to leave our great friends and family in Utah (especially my sister Hannah)!! I apologize for not telling some of you more personally, but I have run out of time! We are very excited and I couldn't be more thrilled to live in such a great climate. I'm wondering what kind of experiences and adventure this next chapter of life will bring.

Jake has already driven our stuff out there and has started work this week. I am staying behind with the girls to put our townhouse on the market, organize everything, tie up loose ends, etc. (and if you know anyone that is looking to buy a place in Lehi, let me know!!!). The girls and I fly out this weekend.

We are so blessed to have such an adventurous life and honestly, I LOVE MOVING and going to a new place!

Ruby asked, "Are we moving to Forida?"


"Is Daddy in Forida awready?"


"When are we moving dair?"

"We are moving there in a week."

Very, very concerned, "CAN I GO WITCH YOU GUYS???"

As if we were leaving her behind...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


["Your baby is now 5/8 of an inch long, about the size of a kidney bean. New this week: Webbed fingers and toes are poking out from your baby's hands and feet, his eyelids practically cover his eyes, breathing tubes extend from his throat to the branches of his developing lungs, and his "tail" is just about gone. His arms have lengthened, too, and his hands are now flexed at the wrist and meet over his heart. His knee joints have formed, and his feet may be long enough to meet in front of his body. In his brain, nerve cells are branching out to connect with one another, forming primitive neural pathways."]

This is the update, people. The baby's "tail is just about gone". We are very happy about this in our household, and it seems to be the only news to speak of. The weather has gone completely awry and walking into the mall today the cold wind rendered me unable to breathe for 1.5 seconds. Not the winter that I know and love, this is the time of year when things get ugly...
For Thanksgiving, we're having my sister and family over for dinner and some friends. Dinner and pie, tomorrow should be a GOOOOOD day.
Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

7 weeks pregnant.

Due July 1.
And it's official: I cried during a Dodge Caravan commercial.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Music and the Soul

Do me a favor. Listen to my song on the top of the list over on the left. Let it be your blanket for a minute. Debussy's, "Au Claire De La Lune", has been in my life for a long time. I wanted to learn it really well in 9th grade. My piano teacher started me on the sheet music and I just never finished learning it. The first page: Beautiful. Second page: a train crashing into several parked cars. Throughout High School, I [had] to play the organ for a couple of wards and accompany the school vocal jazz ensemble (which they gave away my vocal solos so I could play the STUPID piano parts, which I promise I'm not still angry about), so I still did not have time to sit down and learn this beautiful piece.
I still have this intense love affair with La Lune, it sings to me, makes my bones soft, and can bring tears to my eyes any time of the day. Sometimes I sneak 1 minute 30 so I can just play the first page and pretend that's all there is.
I think the reason we have these intense feelings for certain pieces of music are because they remind us of our wonderful past. Or wonderful parts of our regular past:) I remember being 7 years old, and of course having nothing to do in a family of a thousand children, we improvised. It was a rainy day in the summer, and I remember as if it was in slow motion, jumping on an exercise trampoline with my sisters in the living room to The William Tell Overture blaring on the tape player. And playing my cello for the school orchestra at the age of 13, looking up into the flourescent gym lights and thinking I could someday play on a stage in Carnegie Hall. I used to listen the beautiful melody float into the air as my older sister Rachel played the Bach Double on the violin and in that moment, I thought she was some kind of goddess.
Ah, the more music in our lives, the better. Without it, where would we be???

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Time for Family Pictures

This is us cracking up, but there are some better ones on
It's been awhile since I made a list, so...
Things I look forward to:
1. The time of day when it's late enough to change into pajamas.
2. Wrestling with Ruby (she seriously hurts).
3. That look that Jake gives me when he walks in the door from work, "Hi, the mother of my children, you look like you've worked hard today and I appreciate it", and the look that I give him, "My poor baby husband who works so hard into the evening and spends his leftover energy on us".
4. Using a clean bathroom.
5. Cooking with fresh ingredients in a clean kitchen.
6. Checking my email.
7. Squeezing my daughters' bums.
8. Laying down in my bed, or any other surface that allows me to be horizontal.
9. Downloading photos onto my computer after a long photo shoot.
10. Listening to my girls talk to eachother when they don't think I'm listening.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Halloween is tomorrow

Ruby: "This one's goin out too all my peeeeople!"
Everything is purely fun until somebody's wand breaks...
I think we're going to have a cold Halloween.
I know there's been some negativity surrounding Halloween this year (I am not quite sure who from??), but we're all dressed up as princesses in Lehi. Our neighbors better be shopping for candy AS WE SPEAK because we're coming to get it tomorrow night. Actually, we had a Family Home Evening last night with a short lesson on how Halloween is all about "giving" (I know, so far from the truth) and we talked about how giving people candy makes us feel happy inside. Their eyes glazed over and I swear they were going to combust because when the lesson was over we were going to... wait for it... ... .... carve a punnkinnn!!!!

Sunday, October 28, 2007


The voice on the video is not mine, by the way. It was a bystander. Here is a video of Gracie snowboarding for the very first time! She did such a great job!!! I wasn't there, but this video and photos made me so mad that I missed it! The resorts aren't open yet, but there were a lot of parents and kids up there practicing. Jake said most kids were complaining but Grace just wanted to do it again and again!! Jake has been waiting for this moment for many years...

Friday, October 26, 2007


Today is a good day. It's October 26. Only a few days away from Halloween being OVER. I guess I am a long list of things, including a humbug. I've never really liked anything involving pumpkins... like all the gleeful hordes of Utah caucasians (all dressed up with that warm mormon grin) that harvest pumpkins at a REAL pumpkin patch like, maybe all of the pumpkins will be gone if we don't go to a farm and get one... oh wait, there are like a thousand at Walmart and they're half the price!!! And I'm not mocking anyone in particular (which I know about 20 people I'm probably directly mocking) because if you want to bring your kids to a pumpkin patch they're probably so much happier for it than my girls who sit at home and never know what it's like to have a hayride... but a blog is a blog. And this is mine.

The word "Boo" is also heavily used in this area teaming with do-gooders. We were "Boo-ed", which means some strange person knocks on your door, leaves a treat with a piece of paper with a Halloween poem and runs away. WHAT? A POEM? Hilarious. This is my translation of the poem: Dear neighbor, on this Satanic holiday, because I brought you treats, you must feel compelled to drive to your real estate office, make copies of the large cartoon ghost (which probably isn't anything like a real ghost looks like and who am I to give my child a sheltered version of what the dead really look like?) and pass treats (taking up more of your precious energy and time) out to two additional neighbors, including the cartoon ghost insert. Grace and Ruby: if you go to a haunted house, you will not find any cartoon ghosts. And don't go to a haunted house before asking me first, because then we'll have a lot to talk about. I just hate feeling compelled. If it's religously, then great. Let me be compelled to get my butt out of bed and go to church, but neighborly candy-and-ghost-sharing? Nah. Then I forgot to tape up the ghost in MY window signifying that I've already been "Boo-ed", so I got "Boo-ed" again. Double whoops.

My Halloween wish is that we will accidentally forget to turn on the porch light and accidentally turn on some great music loud enough to not hear any knocks. And then maybe my girls, just one more year, will be too young to know that TODAY IS HALLOWEEN and that we can't miss out and maybe we'll stay in and drink hot chocolate and play CandyLand and laugh really loud. And that the neighbor kids love me just enough to NOT mention Halloween. Or ring the doorbell.
But reality speaks to me loud and clear and I know that I'll have my Canon out ready to snap pictures of them in their princess dresses and $5 tiaras (such a rip off, but really jeweley and cute, pink and sparkly). And then we'll trick or treat against the bitter wind, exchanging smiles with neighbor parents accompanying their kids, with sympathetic "oohs and ahs" as the children pass by in their stiff jackets. We will all suddenly know how lucky we are to have children to bring us out of our self-composed shell and into the world that is spinning so quickly around us.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

hair, music, snow.

Ruby in the kitchen on a snowy Saturday after her father has hairsprayed her bangs Very Vertically (and placed a random rubber band at the top just in case the wind blows the 80's bangs). You know, just a normal day...
And. The Sara Bareilles concert (I'm too lazy to remove the red eye). She was amazing of course and called me out in the middle of the crowd as her "friend from high school" right before she sang, "City" about her moving to L.A. and missing people from back home. She hung out with us in the crowd during Paolo Nutini's performance. It was so great to talk to her. She is happier than ever with all of her success! My childhood friend Laurel is on the far left and she came down from Idaho for a few days and stayed with me. She's got two blonde kids who are in this picture with mine:
Now Grace and Alex are "best friends forever" (and that is a direct quote from them). Johnny and my Ruby on the other hand... sort of an abrasive situation.

Nothing like a good glare from a girl wearing a CTR ring, which ring is worn DIRECTLY on the knuckle. I tried to make it more comfortable, perhaps above or below the knuckle bone, but she insisted, as usual. She is really good at insisting. She was actually born insisting and hasn't stopped since.

Not much else is new except it snowed like three inches and I had to use a SNOWSCRAPER this morning. Maybe Thanksgiving has come and gone and I was unaware?? But seriously, the snow was MAGICAL. I opened the window to hear the snow last night because you can't hear it and I wanted to hear how silent it was.
The Report: it was very silent. Photo on the way to church this morning:

Oh ya know, just a GAP ad.

Sometimes I wish I could spend a day as a two year old boy.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Family, etc.

My brother Jared, sister Bethany, and brother Isaac with Dad.
Below: My dad and Ruby.
Among other things, Gracie prayed this week that "Jesus could please stop dying" and that we could "help Jesus not die anymore" and several other deep and pressing issues. We often play a game called "thumbs up" that Jake made up. We say something and then the girls have to give it a thumbs up or a thumbs down.

Jake: Helping Mommie with the dishes.

Grace: thumbs up!

Ruby: tumbs up!

Me: Reading your scriptures.

Grace: thumbs up!

Ruby: tumbs up!

Grace: Jesus dying.





Ruby: tumbs up!

My parents left on Saturday. They stayed in Utah a week and now they're back in Northern CA. I was ok until we put on a primary CD today and I heard the song "Love is Spoken Here", more specifically the line, "I see my mother kneeling, with our family each day, I hear the words she whispers as she bows her head to pray". Then I lost some tears over a bowl of oatmeal cookie dough. I miss my dad's jokes already, I miss his great attitude, his willingness to, at age 50, ride a longboard down Provo canyon with his daughter and sons. As for my mom, I miss the very essence of her. The rhythmic way she OWNS a kitchen. The look of concentration as she tries to fit four people's belongings in the back of a 1995 Volvo sedan. The blue knitted head cover/scarf/hat thing she's had for ages.

My grandparents visited for an evening. My Grandpa calls me "kiddo" and likes to talk about electronics and rocks. And I love him for it. And my Grandma doesn't have to say anything, she can just sit beside me and touch my hair or my hands and no words will have to pass, only the silent language of her having loved me for 28 years. I can almost perceive part of myself reverting back into a child. For an evening.

Monday, October 08, 2007

What I've been up to...

The "daddy always likes it when I smile like this" smile.
Just two suburban chicks in a big mountain valley.

Ya wanna mess with this? I don't think so.

We went on the hunt today for some photo locations, and we found one or two. The field was a combination of side stepping gopher holes and carrying a camera bag, with the camera around my neck, holding Grace's hand, and carrying Ruby on my hip because there was "pokie grass" poking near or around her shoe/foot general area. We ran across a busy street, scaled up a small muddy hill, and were farm folk before we knew it. When I finally set Ruby down, her waryness had not worn off, which worked well for me because she didn't move a muscle.
Our second find was just a patch of red leaves behind the shiny sun. This kiss was all I could hope for after the long dead-grass-field-with-pokie-grass hike.

My lovely parents are in town this week and we are loving it!!! I wish I could be close to them all the time. They have to go back home to California on Saturday. There is a photo of them plus some other sessions I have done this week here: .

My day feels like a hurricane sometimes, with two daughters it feels like, "Bits of emotion, flying through the air. Anger, frustration, denial... " (-Chicken Little). Sometimes there is so much crying in my ear I feel as though my brain will either melt or turn to stone and I better leave the room before it explodes. My girls are wound up tight and so carefree in the same moment.

But when they're asleep. When they're asleep. That's when the magic happens and I feel the way I felt when they were newborn babies and I was staring at them wrapped up in a blanket by the low light of a 2a.m. lamp. They were so beautiful they would float, while the world lay so silent. It amazes me how beings so magical can suck every breath from me sometimes, so that I can barely push through to the part of life that needs me next, yet can absolutely give me the breath that keeps my suspended existence intact. These girls are the greatest blessing I have ever been given.