Thursday, December 27, 2012

Naughty or Nice.

Christmas was so fun this year.
Jackson was a blast.
In a naughty sort of way.
He could not leave the Christmas decorations alone on the tree or anywhere else in the house.
I found the wise men hanging out in his castle in his room a few times.

And we could have used the tree as a growth measuring stick.
There were no decorations within his grasp.  Our younger parenting selves probably would have worried about teaching him not to touch the tree.  The older and wiser parents that we are now just made sure all the ornaments were not breakable.  And we smiled knowing that it is not often that a home gets to have a  half-decorated tree for Christmas.

I had such high hopes for my organization skills this Christmas.

Organization doesn't come naturally to me but I really want to be organized.  It's a terrible catch 22.
I have been doing so much better lately.  Mostly because of my new cyber friend the Fly Lady.  I don't think I have ever written about my recent discovery of the Fly Lady.

It is possible that the Fly Lady and her organization method may very well change my life.

This year, with the dear Fly Lady's guidance, I was determined to have everything completely done for Christmas by the first of December.  I was sure that this would be the year I would not have to wrap a single gift on Christmas Eve. I was totally planning on spending the day playing in the snow and watching movies while drinking hot chocolate.

If you are one of my sisters stop laughing.  I was seriously optomistic...

I did have most of the shopping done by my self-imposed deadline.  I had it completely done until some mean-hearted Grinch stole my purse at Wal-Mart.  Of course I had a couple of important presents in my purse. And cash.  I never carry cash...

Anyway, a couple of stops on Christmas Eve fixed the present problem.  But then I had to wrap.  I decided that next year I am going to have some boxes and bags and anything not wrapped by Christmas Eve gets a bag.

The kids favorite activity this time of the year is our annual shopping day.  The kids all trade names and we go to the mall where they pick out each other's presents.  It's a lot of fun.

Jenna is the official gift wrapper.  She's so cute.

She would not rest until every purchased present was wrapped with bows and under the tree.  She said to me, "Mom I want to have the red wrapping paper with the blue ribbon for my present.  Last year I had the gold paper but this year I want red."  

Austin employed his computer savvy-ness this year and he went in every morning and opened my computer browser pages to the gifts that he wanted.  We bought all his presents by the week after Thanksgiving so I just sat back and watched him sweat thinking  that I missed all the awesome cyber sales.

We are enjoying the giant snow storm that rolled  in today and we love all the time off from work and school.
We hope everyone is safe and happy!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Monday, December 17, 2012

A birthday

Austin turned 13 on December 27th.  Having a birthday so close to Christmas has some benefits (if he doesn't get exactly what he wants for Christmas he just asks for it for his birthday...) but it also has some downfalls.  Most noticeable--we are almost never home on  Austin's birthday.  We like to spend Christmas in our own beds so we don't head out to visit Family until after Christmas.  We have spent Austin's birthday at the Hatch family Christmas party almost every year.  Last year we realized that Austin has never ever had a 'friend' birthday party so this year we decided to invite  some friends over a bit early.  They had a blast.  They played with Air Soft guns and practiced their tough guy poses and ate a lot of pizza  and treats dipped in chocolate.

We couldn't be happier to have Austin in our family and he is reaffirming our belief (and experience!) that teenagers are the reward for surviving toddlers.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Ho, Ho, Ho

I just read an article that made me laugh until my cheeks hurt.  
In fact my laughing made Jackson laugh right along with me.  
Have I mentioned that this child is attached to my leg lately?  
When the kids leave for school he stands by the door and cries pitifully "go, go, go..." then he runs into the kitchen and does his "hot chocolate dance."   
Once we get our hot chocolate we get to work recovering from the daily morning tornado.  
Except for the last two days when I have been running from one appointment to another.  Which means that today I have three tornadoes to clean up after.  
I am going to lock the doors, shut down the computer and go restart the pilot light on the water heater {again--hopefully it will get fixed today...} in preparation for the Mt. Wash-more pile of laundry that is ready and waiting for a long hot bath. 

Until then I highly recommend a visit over to the pioneer woman for a good hard chuckle.  

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Look who's grown up!

I kind of think it's awesome to be forty.  I can't really explain it except that it feels like a new beginning.  Maybe I only say that because I still have another year in my 30's...

I called Rustin's office and got his Friday afternoon schedule cleared and I whisked him away to the Sun Valley lodge.

It was beautiful.  So nice to see some snow!

 The lodge wasn't busy so we sat by the fire...
 And remembered one of our first dates--almost eighteen years ago!  We skated and twirled and held hands and laughed and talked for hours and hours without ever running out of things to talk about.  We can still do that today.  Except we aren't so good at the skating and twirling part...
 We went window shopping at all the little shops in the Village.  I'm serious about the window shopping part... This lovely coat and handbag cost over $6000!  Whew.
 There were lots of cute toy stores and fun Christmas window displays and Christmas lights in the Village Square.

 We ate one of our most memorable meals ever at the Ram at the Inn.  Delicious. Food. 
We climbed under the covers and watched Sun Valley Serenade which plays continually on the TV's in the lodge rooms.


It was a great weekend and reminded me of how lucky Rustin and I  are to have found each other. And how lucky we are to be able to do all the great things in life together.  With many more still to come!
Happy Birthday.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

non-verbal communication

It starts with a cute face and a little dance under the living room fan... 

 Then "up-a up-a up-a" (most words these days end with "-a-")...
 And he tries to throw the little dog...

 Then sweet siblings interpret the sign language/body language and put the dog on top of the fan for him...
 to watch it fly off...

 Which makes Jackson laugh like crazy which  makes his siblings happy!
That pretty much sums up our entertainment for the night!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


This fall has been beautiful.  Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of the year.  This year it has been impossible to keep any kind of decorations on the table.  Jackson climbs up and throws everything off.  So I cut up a skirt that I made out of linen  (the skirt was terrible so no loss there...) and made these cute little pumpkins.  I love the linen with the black.  They are weighted with rice in the bottom.  It has been perfect.  Jackson can throw them on the floor and they are no worse for the wear.   

Just before Thanksgiving we made some pies.  I haven't hosted Thanksgiving by myself for years so I haven't made pies for a loooong time. I kind of stink at pies but it wasn't as bad as I feared. In fact I would say we had delicious food the entire weekend.

Pie day.
Quality assurance by Jackson who 'helped' make the apple cranberry pie--
when he wasn't taking a nap with Beau! 

We had Jotham and Jamie and their kids over.  They are the best house guests.  Our kids all get along so well and our lives are so similar that I never worry about what they will think of us and our craziness.  And they are super helpful with meals and games and cleaning up.  We were so laid back we didn't even take any pictures.  Darn.  We put the leaves in the table and we were able to seat 12.  We put Holly and Jackson and Gavin at their own little table. 
It was a great weekend and I  am ready for the Christmas season to start!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Home can be a Heaven on Earth

We went to the Boise temple dedication via satellite here in Twin Falls on Sunday.  Benson was baptized just a couple of weeks ago so it  was so great to have five of our six kids with us at the dedication.  Jackson went to a friend's house.

While we were waiting for the dedication to start, I had some time to sit and quietly think. I remembered another dedication we attended years ago.

We moved to Memphis Tennessee in 1999 and we were lucky enough to live just five minutes from the temple construction site.  It was during the spring of 2000 that the temple was completed and ready for dedication.   When the day finally came, we arrived at the stake center next to the church knowing that there probably wouldn't be room to accommodate everyone inside the temple for the actual dedication ceremony.

As we were ushered in, our friends were seated in the front row of the gym and we were just a couple of seats behind them on the second row. As we waited I started to feel anxious.  Somehow the knowledge the the familiar face of  Elder Faust was so close and yet so far away in the temple next door made me feel left out and slightly homesick.  After a few minutes, the ushers came in and escorted the first row of the gym out of the room.  We soon realized  that there were some empty seats inside the temple and they were going to take some of us from the gym to fill the empty seats.  I felt a rush of happiness and a thrill of anticipation at the prospect of actually entering the temple.

A few minutes later the ushers came in and escorted the guests in the newly filled front row of the gym out to the temple and another wave of just-arrived guests filled the emptied seats.

This happened several times.

Each time the ushers came in I hoped and expected that they would take our row into the temple.  Each time they took only the front row.

By the third time the row in front of us emptied my face felt flushed and I could feel my blood pounding in my ears.  I couldn't even hear the beautiful music being played and I certainly didn't feel any peace.  I was just mad and squirming in my seat as the late arrivals in front of us kept being escorted into the temple.

Finally the ushers took the first two rows out of the gym.  I sighed a breath of pent up frustration and un-fairness-induced anxiety as we walked up to the steps of the front doors of the temple.  As we paused to put foot protection over our shoes one of the ushers came out and told us that the temple was full and we would have to return to our seats in the gym in the next door.  When we returned to the gym our second row seats had been filled and we were seated at the back of the room.  I had hot tears pouring down my face and I finally turned to prayer in desperation.

I prayed that I would be able to hear the music being played.    I prayed that I would be able to find some kind of peace.  I explained to my Heavenly Father that I was homesick and wanted to see and hear and feel the familiar presence of someone I had grown up watching and listening to with my family.  I explained to my Heavenly Father that I desperately wanted to feel the spirit in the most holy of all places on the earth.

As I prayed a had a rush of peace and a clear answer;  "You don't need to enter the temple to be in one of the most holy places on earth, your home is just as holy."

This was new doctrine to me.  With two-year-old twins and a six-month-old baby, my home felt exhausting and cluttered and somewhat frumpy.  At the time I had never really considered the sanctity of the home.

 Home is where covenants are kept.  Home is where families become bonded and truly sealed.  Home is where prayers and love and work are offered to the Lord.  The hymn Home can be a heaven on earth has  new meaning for me.

It has been twelve years since that time in my life and I can say I have never ever forgotten that important lesson.  Just last night Rustin and I sat down after dinner with our six busy, happy, noisy kids and Rustin said, "I am so glad we have six kids.  There is no one in the world I would want to sit around the table with more than our family."  I agree.

I am so glad that  I was reminded of a lesson burned into my soul long ago.  While I love and attend the temple often, my home really is one of the most sacred places I know.

Thursday, November 1, 2012


 Just to catch up...
 We were lucky enough to have the perfect Jack-o-lantern smile just in time for Halloween.

 Seriously.  Benson's teeth couldn't have been more perfect for a freaky pumpkin carving template.
Along with a dirty faced baby.

We had a great Halloween.  Perfect 70's-ish weather (we have had snow in some years...)
And happy kids.
And of course lots of spicy pumpkin seeds. 

And the all important costumes--
Jenna was a witch, an Egyptian Princess and a 50's girl--all this year. (can we say indecisive?) 
 Austin is a Rasta man, Dallin is a vampire bat, a random friend is a pirate, Landon is Rocky and Benson is Bilbo. (As opposed to Frodo from last year... no complaints from me!)

 And Royalty!
We tried putting Jackson in a box. { Jack-in-the-box...}  He didn't go for it.

Friday, October 26, 2012

A favorite

I have to admit I have a favorite in the upcoming election. 

This election year has been interesting because Dallin and Landon have watched all the debates with us.  They have lots of questions.  Mostly thanks to a super liberal teacher at the high school.  Dallin has a speech teacher who is unabashedly  anti-Romney and she showed parts of the second debate in class and proceeded to slam Romney, pausing every few seconds to make comments and point out Obama's side of the issues.  

I don't mind the teacher pointing out and discussing debate tactics but it really bugs when  teacher doesn't at least try to discuss both points of view.  Or at the very least make sure the students know that she has a one sided opinion...

So we sat down and went back through the debate and talked about each of the questions they had.  They took notes so they would be able to intelligently discuss the situation with the teacher.  

It's so interesting to switch the channel from FOX to ABC to MSNBC and see the blatantly different opinions.    I guess that's what free press is about right?  We get to hear everyone's different points of view.  The most important thing is to recognize that everyone reports from a bias.  I don't actually think there is such a thing as neutral reporting.  So that's where it becomes important to listen to all the sides and make it a matter or prayer.

And I'm glad to see I'm not the only one praying.

Sunday, October 14, 2012


Sometimes it is just nice to get out of town.  We don't do it often enough.  There seem to be a million things that keep us here but last weekend we left all the unfinished projects and bishop duties and went to Franklin.

There is no place more beautiful than Franklin in the Fall. And the Spring, Winter and Summer for that matter...
Landon and Darrin and Sam went on an early morning ride.  Morning temperature? 22 degrees.
By the afternoon things were warmed up to the 70's.  Crazy Idaho weather...

We got to spend the weekend watching and listening to General Conference--one of my favorite weekends of the year.  We took a break and went for a walk in between Sunday sessions up Crooked Canyon.  My favorite fall walk just 5 minutes from the Hatch home.

On Saturday we loved the perfect fall weather.  
Austin helped clean Starglow's hooves.
 Jen and Ben helped get the horses saddles and brushed.  Beau ran around like a city-slicker with a goofy grin on his face while eating horse hooves .

 MissQuito took Jen and Ben for a ride in the cutest buggy ever.

What a great weekend.