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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Year End Rhyme

Our family keeps growing
They're all getting higher.
It's hard for us all
to fit 'round the fire!

But Christmas was nice--
we sang in the choir.
And with snow and some ice
we all sat round the fire!

Christmas Eve is exhausting
as all parents know,
but a looong winter's nap
our kids did bestow! (so nice!)

Hot chocolate and toast
for breakfast we had.
A big prime rib roast,
for dinner was rad! (do people even say rad anymore?!)


Our family and friends
are the favorite for sure
we love Christmas time
for the love that endures.

Merry Christmas 2014!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

20 years ago...

It's been twenty years since a cute pick-up driving boy entered my life. I thought it would be fun to commemorate our first date. 

Rustin and I met on a blind date. Rustin's cousin Leslie was a good friend and we had agreed to set each other up on a date with our cousins while we were all students at Ricks but the dates never happened while we were in Rexburg. I graduated and moved on to Idaho State University where I could work on a nursing degree. 

A few months later Leslie had moved back home to Pocatello. She had received her mission call and was preparing to leave when we ran into each other at the institute at ISU. We set up our dates for the next weekend. My cousin couldn't come until Saturday night but Leslie's cousin needed to come Friday so we found dates for both nights.
 
When Rustin arrived at my door to pick me up I had just barely walked in from a date earlier that day. The first thing I noticed was that he had a black eye (from playing murder in the dark the previous day...). 
We went roller skating. 
We laughed and talked. Rustin grabbed my hand and took off flying around the rink as fast as we could go. Just as we rounded the second or third corner our hands slipped and I went flying across the floor. Very graceful. 

We both remember that it was one of the most comfortable first dates we had been on. We laughed and talked. But--we lived in different towns and we were dating different people and Leslie was leaving in less than two weeks.  I didn't expect to see him again. 

Of course I did see him again. That's a story for another day! 






Monday, November 3, 2014

Snug like a bug



Watching these pups makes me want to go curl up with whoever I can coerce into snuggling with me. 

Actually I have pretty snugly kids. 

Jackson is the best. I don't think I can ever get enough of having that boy's little face pressed into my neck...

We had the most beautiful Halloween.  We had a full week of parties this year and the weather was a glorious 70 degrees. 

Then November hit and we slipped right into serious Fall.  I love the gorgeous colors but the cool weather makes me want to hibernate. I'm trying to reprogram my brain this year. I want to get out and embrace the seasons instead of hide under a {very fuzzy} blanket. Skiing? Hiking? We'll see. What do y'all do for fun when it's cold out?

In other news I am pleased to announce that our Halloween costumes took only 30 minutes and $0 to put together. Yes!

VanHelsing, bohemian lifeguard (missing his hair here), Boise State Bronco (pronounced "Stazy bronco"), hobo (first time he hadn't been a variation of a Hobbitt in three years!), cute purple witch and Achilles (two mild high ankle sprains).  




And...my hair can look like this with two minutes notice. I don't even need hairspray...bet you're jealous...

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Mamas

We have puppies at our house. They are adorable as always. 

We watched the sweetest thing with this last litter. Sadie had only one puppy for her first litter. Little fudge was four weeks old when Daisy had her pups. 

During Daisy's delivery we got to witness the sweetest thing. After a pup is born the mama is immediately attentive to cleaning the puppy (with some help from me) which helps stimulate breathing and gets blood flowing. The puppy then crawls up to the mom to snuggle and nurse and get warm. 
It's quite a thing to see a little deaf and blind newborn find and bond with her mother!
Once labor/pushing starts with the next pup the mom will stand up and start to pace and turn around so we move the already delivered puppy out of the way to make room for the next baby.

So, during Daisy's delivery we moved the pups into a dog bed just outside the whelping box where they started to whine and cry. 
That's where Sadie came in! 
She trotted over and licked the pups and then laid down in the bed so they could nurse and get warm. She stayed the entire four hours until Daisy was done delivering and we moved all seven puppies into the whelping box with her. So sweet! 
I love to see mothers helping each other. It reinforces my belief that we all need each other in this world.




Friday, October 24, 2014

Words.

Toddlers are funny. They just are. 
The kids are out of school today so we were laying in my bed this morning being entertained by Jackson. 

He was telling us stories about "when I was a little guy..."

Jackson tends to pick up on everything the big kids say. For a while he kept saying "oh my Gosh" which I don't like. So I've been trying to get him to say "oh my goodness" or " holy cow." 

This morning he kept saying 
"Holy Gosh." 
Fail. 

For a while Jack was saying "what the..." Whenever he was mad at something. While he wasn't saying anything bad it sounded very suspicious. So Benson taught him to say 'cheeseball.' 

It has morphed into a weird meaning where if Benson says 'Jack! Cheeseball!' Jackson will cry 'don't say cheeseball.' 

A few other weird ones:
When Jackson thinks it's time to do something he'll grab my face and say "mom, it's 6 o'clock."
Like in church he wants to go to nursery--'it's 6 o'clock.' 
Or he wants to have a snack 'it's 6 o'clock.'

When he wants my attention in general he puts his hands on both of my cheeks and smashes his forehead against my forehead so we can only see each other. 

When he gets super tired he'll say 'mom I'm too wiggly.' You know like those times when your head keeps nodding...

Right now Jack loves all racing. He has all his cars in a bucket and he races them down the slide or any of the ramps he has built. He and Benson also race all over the house--Ben on roller blades, Jack pushing his car. He cries whenever Ben beats him so one of the big boys will swoop in and hold Benson back so Jack can 'win.'  Just one of the many ways we are surely spoiling this boy. 

Man we love this kid!




Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Homecoming 2014

The kids has a great time at the Homecoming dance this year. Thankfully the dance was better than the football game! We lost in overtime. Ouch. The Bruins have had a rough start this year... Hopefully they will find their feet and get going with future games. Landon isn't playing--he had three major surgeries during his sophomore year (all different injuries) and his shoulders need more time to heal. He's hoping to be able to wrestle later this winter but we'll see how things are going then. This fall he is running in cross country. It's totally different for his body which has been conditioned to perform repeated quick bursts of speed and strength rather than long slow endurance. He gives it 110% every time which we love about him. His first 5K ever time was 22 (very painful!) minutes. Good job Landon!

Dallin's doing great this year. No injuries. We are going to put one of those #of-days-since-our-last-accident clocks on the wall and do something awesome if we can reach one year.  He plays football (of course), right guard and middle linebacker. He puts his heart and soul into everything he does. Which will be a blessing for him forever. 

                   Dallin and Annika. 
 Gorgeous pictures by Kerrianne Burch

             Landon and Ashlyn

Thanks to the awesome girls in both of these groups. 
Cute. Modest. Fun. Happy. 
And next year we can win the game and have a perfect week altogether!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Call me Miss Beetle

All right. 
Here goes. 
We are home schooling this year!
Ahhh! (Think of father of the bride when the daughter announces she's getting married...)

There is quite a steep learning curve to get this all going but I have some awesome friends and suburb mentors that are holding my hand. 

I should clarify that only Jenna, Benson and Jackson are home every day. And Dallin is taking one English course through the local common wealth school. (Which is awesome.)

We have always loved the idea home school but honestly never ever thought we'd actually take the leap. And then this last spring something changed and here we are. 
And we love it! 
And we are terrified!
And then peaceful!
And then terrified!
And then excited!

We have a huge support system here in Twin Falls. We meet with 66 other kids and moms once a week for really great classes and lots of support. And we have a mix of online and traditional curriculum. We are still working out some of the kinks but I honestly feel myself stretching and growing. I have that warm gentle burning in my heart on a daily basis which always surprises me and is what keeps me going with confidence. 

I realize how blessed I am. 
I sure do love these kids. 

Jenna got to pick the quote of the day. Clearly we are going for literary excellence here...  :)


Making automobiles from Wind in the Willows. 

The rest of us are keeping busy: football, church etc AND I am thrilled to report that we are now going on four months without an injury or surgery. Fingers crossed!



Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Alive!

I just figured out this new blogger phone app! How have I missed this all these years!  This just might change everything in blog land for me. How awesome to write in the comfort of my bed!

We had such a fun summer! I enjoyed every second! There are a thousand things to write about. Swimming, popsicles, cousins, horse back rides...I'll get to it. 

We are at the time of year when it's freezing in the morning and roasting in the afternoon.  I always go into mourning when summer ends but this year hasn't been bad at all! This might be the first time in many years that I totally look forward to chilly mornings and colorful leaves! I'll have to write more about that layer. For now here is my favorite moment if the day. 


Monday, June 23, 2014

Grandma Geisler 85th!



Grandma Geisler just turned 85!
We all gathered at Darren and LoaLee's for a little celebration. 




Isn't this cake gorgeous!  Jamie (Jotham's wife) made it.  Cami did the beautiful decorations.  
What talented girls!

Handsome Hatch Boys!

After we had a little party and lip sync talent show we drove over to the 
Riverdale cemetery to Grandpa's resting place.

We drove up this little road.

Isn't it beautiful?!

I had never been to the Riverdale cemetery.  
It is idyllic.  
Quiet and peaceful, it is tucked in the side of the mountain and still surrounded by little family run farms just like it was when Grandma grew up just up the road. 

Most of the Grandkids...

 and Great-grand kids.

I love this sweet grandma.  LoaLee's mom.  Grandma and Grandpa Geisler were our hosts clear back in the days when Rustin and I were dating and Rustin had to come up to Pocatello to see me on the weekends.  We ate dinner with them often and spend many hours in their living room.  Much of our falling in love happened at Grandma's house!

There are a thousand more things I love about Grandma G. 

*Grandma taught me to love fruitcake (seriously!) and to set a table with beautiful lace tablecloths.
*We went straight to grandma and grandpa's house when we found out we were having twins.  
*We had dinner at their house after blessing our babies. 
*I have done a million loads of laundry in Grandma's basement and if I ever left before finishing all the loads I would always find the clothing neatly folded and put in a basket. It was a life saver when I had baby twins.  Hauling them and loads of laundry to the laundry mat was un-bearable... 
*I have spent many a sunday afternoon reading old copies of Reader's Digest in Grandma's living room.  It brings such peaceful memories. 

Those beautiful lace tablecloths grandma puts on her table?...she crochets them all herself.  She is a true artist and craftsman.  We still use two blankets that she made Rustin and I when we were married.

Grandma has always demonstrated faith and perseverance.  I will never forget one afternoon in my living room  just after Grandpa was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.  I've mentioned this before.  It had a powerful impact on me.  The spirit with the two of them was one of the strongest I've ever experienced.  We talked about the future and the fear they both felt at the impending disease-induced mental separation.  Grandma held her hand on Grandpa's knee so tenderly knowing the pain and fear they were both facing.  Both of them showed such faith and grace.  Such an example to me.

Grandma has never missed a single birthday of mine or Rustin's or any of the kids.  Not a single one. She sends a card and some money every single year.  So thoughtful.

When the boys wrestled in the State wrestling tournament in Pocatello we stayed at Grandma's house and she attended all of the matches with us.  Every one.  And she loved it.

Last year grandma talked a friend into buying season tickets to the ISU home football games.  How fun is that!

My grandparents died many years ago.  In fact I can say that I never really had a chance to develop a strong relationship with either of my own grandmothers.  Grandma Geisler has filled that role for me in so many ways.  I'm so grateful.

Happy Birthday!




Sunday, June 22, 2014

Catching up--Puerto Rico part two


After we returned from Viegas island we went to my parents' apartment.  It is a nice little three bedroom apartment with a swimming pool.  We thought the temperature and humidity were sweltering but my parents have obviously acclimated.  They kept commenting about how we didn't even need to use an air conditioner because the trade wind breezes were so nice.  
Whenever they weren't looking we were all huddled in the bedroom with the wall air conditioner!  Ha!

We spent Monday at Old San Juan.  My dad had to go in to the mission office to help with some projects but my mom was able to sneak away with us.  The other senior couple in the office were able to cover my mom's housing related tasks for a couple of days.  We caught a little trolly and rode around the peninsula.  There is a huge old fort that defended the island because it was the major port and the first accessed port (because of the way ocean currents run) accessed by all travelers in the Caribbean, especially before the Panama canal was finished.  

We flew kites on the big huge lawn in between the fort and the ocean.  Our string broke--those trade winds are seriously strong!

We bought some fun souvenirs.  Of course the boys were all fascinated with some big "awesome" knives.  I totally don't get that.  I was excited about the hammock Rustin picked out! Jenna and I picked jewelry.  Of course.  It's so fun that I have someone to share cute things with!

We talked with some local people on the trollies.  It was fun to hear their perspective on the island.  There were more tourists in Old San Juan than any other place we visited.  We are glad that we got to visit the less tourist-y parts of the island.








It is impossible to capture the beauty of the blue colors with the cool breezes in the warm tropical air. Just stunning. 




We ate traditional mufungo (smashed plantain seasoned with lots of garlic and stuffed with different meats) at an awesome little restaurant that had the wait staff dressed in the traditional 1800's clothing.  We loved the mufungo but the frosty fruity drinks were the biggest hit.  



On Monday night we had some people from my parents' branch over for dessert.  It was so fun to meet them.  What a sweet spirit of conversion they have! I love hearing the testimonies of my fellow brothers and sisters.  It reminds me that the gospel has bigger meaning and purpose.  Sometimes its easy to get stuck in my little corner of life.  The spirit of missionary work really is refreshing. 



On Tuesday before we had to leave, we walked through the little Children's Park near my parents apartment.  The park there had a swing set for children in wheelchairs.  It is really cool!  There is a platform big enough for a wheelchair to strap on and then swing.  The whole park is filled with statues of children playing.  I love that people put so much time and energy into making things beautiful and enjoyable.  


The patio at my parents apartment looks like a tropical oasis!



Finally we  boarded a plane and said goodbye to a beautiful corner of the world.



We love you Puerto Rico!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

We're home and we're home to stay!

Dallin used to yell that phrase every time he came home on Fridays.  I kind of miss it.  
I love it when the kids are home.
Okay truthfully sometimes I don't love it.
Sometimes I want to lock myself in my room and pretend like I have nothing to do all day.
But mostly I really, really love having the kids home.

This week has been our first week of summer.  The kids got out last Thursday.  It seems like a year ago... Summer was a looong time coming this year.  Maybe because we had such an early warm spring?

This year especially reinforced my belief that May should be banished from schools.  Testing is finished in April so none of the teachers or kids really care what they do (because of course test results are the entire purpose of school right?).  It seems like the kids just get a bucket of projects.  
I am the worst May mom around.  
I don't sign papers or check for homework.  I just feel good if the kids get out the door wearing socks that are no more than two days old! Not having to worry about socks is one of the very best perks of summer.  
Not having to find socks almost makes up for having to make lunch every day!

Dallin and Landon were the winners of the 'worst month of May students' ever this year.

Sheesh.

Landon had surgery on his shoulder.  Again.  The right one this time.  He is right handed so finishing up a million days of missed projects was a pain in every way.  My sympathy for his un-fun task forced me to break my "I don't do homework in May" mantra and pitch in to help out.  I started having flashbacks to fifth grade when Landon broke his right hand and I almost went crazy with fifth grade math homework!  
I must confess I helped the boys with their mounds of homework in part to avoid the frightening possibility of having my offspring live in my basement for time and all eternity.  A little bit selfish.  And I don't entirely see the point of making a 17 year old color worksheets.  Landon has been hiring Jenna to do his worksheet coloring since she was four and could color better than him...


Dallin had his fair share of catching up as well.  His struggles are still going back to almost a month of school missed with his terrible concussion in January.  We don't feel like we have really seen the old Dallin come back all the way.  He is easily frustrated but he stuck it out.  Rustin had to remind him a few times that all those cute girls he likes are going to go to college so if he wants to have the best pickin's he better get working!  He did a good job. 

 Landon's surgery recovery has been going well.  He had three surgeries this school year.  Poor kid! These kids of ours are keep my nursing skills up to date.  Shoulder surgery is definitely one of the most painful.  And I speak from experience! We have had abdominal surgeries, back injuries, head injuries, broken arms and legs and collar bones and ribs, torn shoulders and more stitches than we can count.  I'm sure I'm missing something. The most painful were definitely the ruptured appendix (Rustin), Benson's first multiple break collar bone incident and Landon's shoulder surgeries.   Shoulders hurt.  He is still sleeping sitting up in a chair but he is recovering quickly.  He will be out of a sling soon and will get serious  about physical therapy.

We offered to pay the boys (i.e. bribe) to practice piano and voice this summer.   The reasons are obvious.  All three boys are in Brigadoon.  Austin is a bar tender, Landon is the town elder Mr. Lundy and Dallin is Harry--the heart broken boy who meets with a tragic end when he can't get over the fact that his love marries someone else.  Dallin says it's typecasting.  He relates to Harry. Ha. 

Jackson is in heaven with the kids home.  
He is running Jenna and Benson all over the house to play this or that.  Right now the favorite is 'pillow land' which is Benson's big bed piled with every pillow in the house so they can jump off the dresser into the soft pile.  They have quite a repertoire of dives...  I should probably be nervous but they have so much fun I can't bear to stop them.
We finished our books (The Princess Academy books--actually really awesome!) and I couldn't find anything to read so we started on some old Nancy Drew books.  Ha.  They are totally entertaining.  And they put everyone to sleep which is a huge plus!
We have lots of fun things coming up.  
Rustin has an extra week of vacation for the first time in five years since he isn't taking an entire week off to go to youth camps.  
What will we do with the time...!!
Here's to an injury-free, music-filled sock-free summer!




Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Up. Up. Up.



This kid had a birthday.  He is now THREE!
or so...



He just started wearing BIG BOY undies!
For the first day he would say "I'n not big, I'n little!"
Having Five potty training helpers is seriously the Best! 
I had them all here for the first four days and he was pretty much completely dry all day and night by the time they went back to school.

"Go put your undies on Jack!"

Maybe we will escape nighttime pull-ups! 

Actually I'm trying out a  theory that pull ups prolong bed wetting.  The bedwetters that I've had (three out of five so far...) have not been able to stop wetting the bed until we finally just stopped pull-ups and lived with the wet bedding for a while.  Like months...  Maybe the subconscious doesn't get tuned in to staying dry when there are pull-ups?  
I don't know.  
Truthfully there are probably just some kids who wet the bed and some who don't.  
I gave up thinking any amount of brilliant parenting can change the nature and abilities of my kids a long time ago!  I have just learned to enjoy the strengths and let them work out the weaknesses.  

A few things about Jack--

*He sleeps with Benson (and whoever else decides to join them in their bed) every night. 
*He stopped taking naps LONG ago
*It isn't unusual for him to go to sleep at 6 at night.
*He never really slept well in a crib.  He didn't start sleeping through the night consistently until I put him in bed with Benson at 13 or 14 months. 
*He loves The Goofy Movie. 
*He talks a. lot. and he pronounces his sounds really well.
*He sings. Currently "Let it Go..."
*He loves to hang out with Rustin.  Sometimes he wanders around the house calling "Dad-dy..." Rustin used to put him to sleep every night when Jack was tiny. 
*He will choose to be comforted/snuggled by Dallin or Landon as much as by me on many occasions.
*He has the cutest dimple and big blue eyes--ever.    
We LOVE every second of childhood with this little man.  




Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Jennas trip to Puerto Rico. (says Jenna!)


 Puerto Rico!!
We took our first ever real family vacation this spring.  At least our first ever non-camping, go-to-the-beach sort of vacation.
I want to write all about it because it is not likely to happen again for a looong time.
Today I'm just going to write about the first half...
Mostly because it would be a million pages long if I try to put everything in one post!


My Mom and Dad have been in in Puerto Rico on a mission for the last eighteen months.  
(They will be home tomorrow! Yea!)
In March we took advantage of the opportunity to fly down and say hello!

This was the first flight in many years for the kids. 

We left at midnight...

 and had a layover at three in the morning (our time...)

 We were quite a sight in the middle of the abandoned terminal.
I discovered I can't sleep on airplanes or in strange terminals.
I guess I'm kind of the watch dog. 
So I was the only one who got to enjoy the beautiful sunrise over Charlotte, North Carolina. 

Once we arrived in San Juan it was time to play!
We stayed at an awesome little condo right on the beach.
The completely empty beach I might add.  
 The water in the Caribbean is like bath water.  It honestly isn't cold at all.  
So Fun!
We splashed in the waves and snorkeled around the shorelines. We had a blast.
We have a new understanding of what color 'Caribbean blue' really us.
Gorgeous and serene and vibrant.  The pictures don't capture it at all.  


  Notice the floating hat in the above picture? Weird.

For the first two days we swam in the ocean and the condo pools, and we drove around the little shops of the town.  Think of shops in a vibrant, outdoors, slummy caribbean sort of way...
Some were nicer than others.
There were little stands everywhere where people would break down wooden pallets and use them to cook chicken on a stick (delicious!) and they made these sort of flat, fish flavored scone like things.  
Also yum.  
There were stands of fruit--tiny bananas, mangos, pineapple etc. all over the place.  There were men on the side of the road and when we stopped the car they would run up to the window and use a big machete to chop off the top of a coconut for us to drink.  For $1.  We thought that was awesome.  Benson discovered that he does. not. care for fresh coconuts.  His face was priceless.
But we all loved trying new food. 
We had a little kitchen in our condo so we made lots of yummy stuff.



One of the highlights of the trip for sure was kayaking in the bioluminescent Bay in Fajardo. 
There are little particles in the water that glow in the dark.  They don't just reflect light they actually, really glow!  It was amazing.  Really truly stunning. We kayaked late at night in the dark and the air was warm and earthy smelling.  It was really quiet with the trees and water absorbing all the noises.
We kayaked in through a mangrove enclosed canal and entered into a quiet little bay.  It was like paddling in glow stick water.
We've never seen anything like it for sure!
They said the bay is especially brilliant right now.
The beautiful stars overhead were as stunning as the water below.



After we left our little condo in San Juan we caught a ferry over to Viegas island. 

Our lack of sleep caught up with us and we all fell sound asleep on the 2-hour ferry ride.





We stayed in the most beautiful little Inn! A man there loves the LDS missionaries and he gave us a room and rental car for $100 per night.  He also gave us directions to a little beach.  
 We drove along a bumpy little jeep road through beautiful jungle.  
There are wild horses everywhere on the island.  
And there are no snakes (thanks to the mongoose population) or poisonous bugs in the jungle.  How's that for amazing!

When we got to our appointed snorkeling beach we were  in heaven.  
We were literally the only people there.  
The warm water was filled with beautiful colored fish and coral and big waving lettuce leaf-like plants.  
Other than trying to avoid the plentiful sea urchins, it was awesome.  We came home with some beautiful shells. 
We just needed more time!

 That evening we ate dinner in a charming, tiny rooftop restaurant.  The temperature was perfect and the food was delicious.  Next door the town was having a Nacho Libre-like totally fake wrestling contest.  The boys had to go check it out.  Of Course. Jenna and I went back (with Grandma and Grandpa) to our darling hotel for a swim in the lighted pool.  





Did I mention that my hair went from mid back length to mid-chin length with the humidity.  And my curls were somewhere between the size of a knitting needle and felted wool.  
Awesome. 
 And my hair is completely not-unique in Puerto Rico.  
I've never seen so many people with curls like mine! Very Fun.  
And a little strange not to have unique hair. 

On Sunday morning we went to the little branch on the island.  
What a treat!  The people were so kind and beautiful.
Maybe a dozen members?
They all hugged and kissed us.  Sacrament meeting was in spanish but one of the sister missionaries translated most of it for those of us that could hear her.  Rustin speaks spanish really well and translated for us most of the trip also.   Such a sweet spirit at church.  I'm so thankful that my parents have been a part of that for the last year and a half.
We met a family at church that just packed up their kids and moved from Tennessee to Viegas island.  What an adventure!
(Yep. I forgot Benson's Sunday clothes... No one cared.)

 After church we stopped by a humungous 400 year old Ciba tree. That tree has been around almost twice as long as the USA has existed.  Wow. My parents are standing in front of the roots! (more pictures in the collage above) The roots are big and strong and make sort of dish shaped collection areas for water and the tree branches have big vicious spikes all along them.  There is a good analogy there for family history and appreciating and using our roots and protecting our 'branches'  to really thrive.


After Viegas we went and stayed at my parents apartment for two days.  We visited old town Puerto Rico and met some great people.  More on that later!








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