If there is one thing I learned from the movie Labyrinth, it is you never, ever say “It’s a piece a cake!”
Words of wisdom, my friends. Words of wisdom. What do David Bowie movies have to do with this post? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
All right, that being said, it’s time to catch up on some family events that should have been posted when they happened last year. The theme here: Cake. Birthday, to be exact.
Chunk #1 asked for a Lego Cake. That blue one is a single stud Lego. His idea and I loved it. (No, I don’t do fondant) (Yes, I probably should in order to make the cake look better) (No, it probably won’t ever happen because nothing beats homemade frosting.) (Yes, that’s what I said, Nothing).
Chunk #2 asked for a penguin cake. I’d like to point out the nest of chocolate rocks in preparation for this penguin’s babies. The Chunks’ idea. So funny.
El Jefe was down with me making him a Tres Leches cake. It was an experiment and it was bombdiggity. I should share the recipe. It’s here somewhere……..
While I look for it, here’s a better view:
This was probably the best cake I’ve ever made in my life. In my life. In. My. Life.
And let’s not forget the birthday boys and girl posing with the birthday cakes:
Chunk #1 trying to control his enthusiasm.
Chunk #2 loves her little friend (please note the added marshmallow/”egg”).
And “Sloth love [this] Chunk” 🙂
Good times…Here’s to a new year of actually posting these things when they happen….. XOXO …..
So, I haven’t given any indication on the blog about the latest schooling decisions, but we had some major changes. In August of last year I decided to homeschool the Chunks. Reasons: a) I’ve always wanted to and b) I felt good about the timing. Really. The timing felt good. This detail is very important in the history of my little family because well, so many things happened after that.
More on that later. I just want to focus on this girl:
So, we homeschooled from August to December. After Christmas, I decided it would be good for us if the kids went back to public school, at least for the rest of this year. The morning of the first day, this girl was up and at ’em, a clear indication that she was excited. I was glad because I mostly worried about the transition for her more than Chunk #1. She had only attended public school for kindergarten and never had a six-hour day. But her enthusiasm made me think she would be ok.
She was ok. Except for one little detail. You see, about a year ago Chunk #2 had a habit of sucking her lips so hard that the skin around them would turn red. She looked like she had lipstick on or a really strange rash. The habit stopped and I hadn’t thought about it again…..until she got home from school on January 3rd. It was back, along with a very clear light bulb. Ah, it’s a nervous habit! No doy!
So we talked. We talked about feeling safe, about being loved by mommy, about having her friends back (she was soooooo glad to see her old friend, let’s call her Guadalupe). I also made a joke – I said: “When you get nervous and start sucking your lip, think of Animal in the Muppet Movie. Just say ‘under control’ just like Animal.” This made her laugh (just go see the Muppet Movie for your reference).
The next day I picked her up and she updated me on her lip-sucking progress. “Mom, when I went to suck my lips I did what you said. I said ‘under control’ and I didn’t suck my lips.”
“Did you actually say ‘under control’ or think it?”
“I whispered it to myself” (lots of giggling).
“Did anybody hear you?” This was a casual question, really.
“No, I don’t think so,” still giggling.
This made me laugh. In my exaggerated motherly concern I imagined “the new homeschooled girl” off in a corner of the classroom whispering to herself “under control” in the voice of the most incomprehensible muppet. It was a great image. All she needed was a mouthful of paste. Aaaah the things I think about when it comes to my kids.
Oh well, she is like a Muppet. In any case, she seems to be transitioning well. She is still a little shy but has made more friends and enjoys all the perks of being a first grader (you know, P.E, Art, etc…..).
FYI, if you were wondering when the early morning enthusiasm would end, it only took about a week.
One of the greatest feelings in this world is holding a baby. Whether in my sling, or strapped on my back, or sitting on my hip….I loves me a baby. This is my nephew. He used to like me more than he does now. But that’s ok, people change and he’ll change back. In this picture he liked me. I had him in a backpack while my sister went down one of those big slides you see at a state fair (though we weren’t at a state fair). I like his face as he seriously wonders about his Aunt La who is telling him stories while we wait for his mama.
I adore this picture of my family. This was almost two years ago at the wedding of my niece, “Chuck”. As we stood around waiting for the big family picture, I yelled for a look in my direction for just one shot. I’m pleased with the outcome. It looks like all of our other gatherings: unorganized happiness. Look at all those amiable faces. Have you ever seen a friendlier bunch of people?
I like weddings. Whether I am close to the person or not, I can generally be moved to tears. I cheer for them deep inside and then, well, I just get on with my life. But for some reason, Chuck’s wedding was different. I don’t know if it was the stage of life I was in, or if it’s that Chuck and her hubby are extra special people (cause they are), but it seems like after their wedding, I was pondering marriage for weeks after wards. My thoughts could easily be a few blog posts. I’ll spare you (for now), but my realization was that I needed to do better and be better, that my marriage is my most important work on this earth. It is my Great American Novel, my Masterpiece, my Piéce de résistance. Yeah, when I put it that way, I have some work to do.
Why the slide show? Click here.
El Jefe took some pictures of my sister’s family over the weekend (actually a lot happened this weekend but I’m too lazy to write about it so I figure I’d show some pictures so that I could feel like I’m actually contributing to this here blog….but I digress)
There were a lot of nice ones, but here are just a few of my favorites:
Those last two make me want to go run in the sunshine.
Have a Happy Wednesday.
I have a lot of catch up going on. Not just on my blog either…….my house, my body, my hair, my calling, (uh, not necessarily in that order but it certainly does say something about me, don’t it?)
El Jefe’s birthday was Monday….which was also the start of school. His birthday also kicks off what I lovingly call Birthday Month (or Cake Month, mmmmmm cake). We also just celebrated our anniversary (uhhhh, ya, if you’re wondering, that was in JUNE) and we had another fun filled adventure to Idaho. So I have a lot to report here.
But not today.
Last night I read to Chunk #1. He’s been reading the first Harry Potter book (a moment I’ve been excited for since he started to read “cat” and “ball”). He made a tent in his room, brought in a lamp, and we curled up together to find out the next exciting news in the world of Hogwarts. It was a great moment. I love reading to my kids.
Our latest favorite author (besides J.K. Rowlng) is Mo Willems. Check out the Pig and Elephant books, there are a bunch of them. They are soooooooo cute.
Catch ya later!
Is there anything better than this?
(perhaps but just soak this in for a second)
A whole lot of sun, gallons of freezing cold water, a long sheet of visqueen plastic, and a grassy hill is the perfect combo for wrapping up the summer.
It was a bit cold….
but totally worth it…
Grass stains and all, baby!
How is your summer wrapping up?
51 years. That is crazy.
They have 66 people who are here on this earth because of them (well, I suppose 10 of those are in-laws and aren’t here on earth because of them, but they are able to be a part of our family because of my parents) (did that make sense?) (I don’t know.)
Here they are, carefree and innocent, before having ten kids. Would they do it all again? I hope so, seeing as how I am the last one in the bunch and had they stopped before me I probably would have been born into a family that I would end up just hating and I would live a sad and lonely life not knowing the love of a large and crazy family. Just sayin’.
…this little guy. Let’s call him Loolie.
He watched the show, like this, almost the whole time:
Sometimes he walks around with his hands behinds his back, just like a little man.
I like this shot of Chunk #2 taking his picture.
As you can see, this little guy has plenty of experience with the camera…
If you follow my blog, (so, like, all three of you), you know that I wanted to make a Christmas card last year. I tried. I tried real hard. But alas, either you are thinking, “Hey La, where the heck was my Christmas card? I thought we were friends you big jerk!” or you realized that I did not, in fact, complete my goal. Which one was it, do you think?
I was going through the archives, looking for some new photos to freshen up my walls and I just had to giggle at how this was the ONLY picture that was close to looking good. They look cute, but don’t be deceived, it was a rough night.
But then we took some individual shots that, now that I see with fresh eyeballs, actually looked decent, lovely in fact.
I like the feel of this next image. Just try not to be distracted by the fact that Chunk #2 appears to have had a terrible accident regarding her hands.
Perhaps this year you will get a Christmas card. It has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with me.
Well, we’re all excitement around here.
But before I tell you the reason, let me ask, don’t you think she’d make a good big sister?
And we all know that Chunk #1 has been a great big brother.
are you ready for a secret?
Our third installment of Chunk will be arriving sometime in October. Yea!
If you need proof, see picture below. If that grosses you out, don’t look. Ah ha ha ha ha ha……
The following picture represents how we all felt last night after our attempt at taking a Christmas Picture:
That’s right, I am diligently working to fulfill #21 on my Larry Bird Bucket List (click it for an explanation). But by the way my children were acting, you’d think they’d never had their picture taken before.
We promised them In’n’Out as a reward for their cooperation. We gave them three chances. I don’t think one picture turned out. When the jig was up, Chunk #1 asked why they couldn’t ever have four chances. I told him we do it like in baseball “three strikes, you’re out.” His response was, “Well that’s why I hate baseball.” I never knew.
Look me in the eye when you answer this question: How are your Christmas Cards coming?
My in-laws are in town and last night they took us out to eat at the Cheesecake Factory. In spite of the novella which one has to read when choosing what to eat, I like that place. The company was even better. As we drove away El Jefe made a sharp turn and I could hear our boxed up food shift in the back. I heard El Jefe jokingly cry “Oh no, the cheesecake!” to which I quickly responded and unbuckled myself to scramble through the seats and over the back to check. “Not my Key Lime Cheesecake!” I thought. And no, I wasn’t joking.
The food was fine, so I plunked myself between my two little chunks in the back seat.
“Mom, are you gonna sit with us?” came the excited voices.
“Yes!” I smiled.
I nestled between them and immediately felt one warm arm slip around my left arm and one cold hand holding my right hand.
I propped my bare feet on the arm rest between the seats and listened to the tunes of Jeff Buckley on our car stereo. At each stop light El Jefe reached over and gently tickled them (I know I have previously mentioned my “feet touching” issues, but with El Jefe they don’t exist).
After awhile Chunk #1 took a rare moment to actually tell me about things going on at school. Then Chunk #2 sang another rendition of her song “Mommy, I la-la-la-la-lo-o-ove you! Do do do do.”
Perhaps it was the music, perhaps it was the warm little bodies of my favorite boy and girl sitting next to me, perhaps the Cheesecake Factory injects something “special” into their food… but I noticed myself pressing pause on life and just feeling the moment and loving the fact that I am a mommy and have a wonderful husband.
So I spoke: “I’m having one of those ‘It’s good to be alive’ moments.”
Chunk #1: “Ya, me too, but sometimes I wish I were a dog.”
Judging by El Jefe’s laugh, I think he agreed with me.
For about 7 years now my husband’s family has had a family photo contest. I’ve never come out the overall winner, though I have won some categories. I just enjoy it. We had a contest at the reunion and these were my entries:
There is nothing like homemade bubbles. So fun.
Luly especially liked them.
Bill Nye the Science Guy (ok, it was my nephew) gave us a a demonstration in bubble science.
That’s right, his hand is inside the bubble. Everybody oooooh, and everybody aaaaaaaah, cuz that’s just cool.
I just HAD to show my wicked bruise from tubing. Unfortunately, El Jefe’s battery died in the middle of our water sports. This is sad indeed because I cannot show you the punishment I endured behind my brother’s boat. We hooked up the hot dog and the inner tube. It was my sister Amy, my brother Guy, and me. Guy carries two helmets in his boat for events like this. He put one on, then gave Amy the other one. Excuse me?! First of all what are you planning on doing that would merit a helmet? Second of all, why don’t I get one?
(This is because I’m the youngest isn’t it?) (Jerks.)
In my family you don’t just ride the inner tube or hot dog. No, there must be some sort of challenge involved. Which is fine. I’m up for the challenge. It’s just that I’m getting up in years and my trips on the boat are more spread out. So we jumped from hot dog to inner tube and back and forth. If I wasn’t fast enough, Guy would pick me up by the life jacket and throw me where he wanted me to go. At one point, while alone on the inner tube I was charging back into the hot dog but taking some pretty wicked waves in the mean time. I smacked hard against the water but hung on for dear life, yes for “dear life”. Finally, somebody flew off (Was it I? I don’t remember) I sat on the hot dog and then looked at where my leg (just above my knee) smacked the water. It wasn’t just bruised, my veins were raised up on my skin. I showed Amy, the physical therapist. “Those look like varicose veins.” I’ve never had varicose veins. I told her what happened and this is what she described.
“Your wet suit is tight enough that your circulation is low. So when you hit the water the blood just pooled up in your veins right there.”
POOLED?! Sick. I don’ t like that description. Blood, pooling up in my veins. I couldn’t even touch it (yes my own leg).
I spent the rest of the ride (when we had breaks) pulling at my wetsuit so it wasn’t so tight and lifting my leg up so the pooling blood would move on. Move on pooling blood! Sick.
By the end of the day the veins had gone down and I just had a nice purple and blue bruise.
Here is a picture of it two days later:
Yes, I am so stinking behind in these posts. But, for the sake of posterity and sharing, I feel I must keep updating the Summer Adventure 2009. So take a look at some more of the 4th of July.
Here are a couple of the face-painting artists.
See their work?
Chunk #1 especially liked the face painting.
And now, the fireworks!
This next picture is my favorite…
(These most excellent photos were taken by the one and only El Jefe. He just started a photo blog. Would you like to see it? Click here.)
At the end of the evening the kids were all tuckered out.
This is how he looked when I put him to bed (notice the increased amount of face paint). It was a long day.
A good parent would wash this stuff off before bed. That’s all I’ll say.
Now, what did YOU do on the 4th of July? Do tell.
The 4th of July was a big day for the Foutz Clan.
The most important event was the big celebration– not of our nations birth, no no, of our family’s beginnings. Since we would all be together we figured it was a great day to celebrate our parents 50th anniversary (which actually occurs in August but why don’t you try and get ten brothers and sisters, their spouses, and their children all in one location on the same day more than once a year. Yes, you get my point).
This day became extra special because on the way to our reunion, my parents got into a car crash, and, quite frankly, we are happy that they are still on this earth with us. My father had a nice cut on his hand from it going through the windshield. My mother had a wicked bruise on her face and a fractured sternum. Dad was sore in his sternum but Mom pretty much got the brunt of it. We love airbags. Yes we do. The car they were driving is no longer with us (R.I.P. Goldie), but my parents are in one piece and it is a miracle for which we are all thankful.
They spent most of the week with my brother and his wife (angels) and then headed up for the par-tay on Saturday.
If you are wondering why they are seated so far a part, it is because once we got them to their seats, there was no way they were moving. They were quite cheery in spite of the events earlier in the week.
My sister who organized the event (props to her) asked each of us to bring a special item that represented a memory of our parents.
I brought the big set of scriptures that you see before you (underneath the gold “50” centerpiece). I will not bore you with all the details of my message, but the summary is: A) My parents gave us a solid foundation in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, B) They were always a “United Front” when it came to teaching us, and C) if you have a quiet sister who is very angelic, do not trust her….never trust the quiet ones.
Those all relate. I promise.
At the end of the eating and talking and partying, my niece presented a gift to my parents. It was from all of us, but really, Lauren did all the work. And you know, it is a really good gift when you make Mom/Grandma cry. Good job everyone!
Lauren took on the assignment to make a book for my parents with pictures and a dedication from each family unit. The book is beautiful and thank you so much to Lauren for doing all the layouts and getting it all organized (If interested, see Heritage Makers. No, I’m not one of their representatives, I genuinely love the book).
Words cannot express how grateful I am for my parents. Words are especially hard to come by at 1:06 am. Instead please relish this picture from their wedding day.
p.s. See those lovely pearls which my father so lovingly places on my mother’s neck? I got to wear those on MY wedding day…in case you were curious…
Today is July 24th
and it struck me that I should write something in honor of my pioneer ancestors. The first one to come to mind was John Rowe Moyle. I think he is my Great-Great-Great-Great-Grandpa, but the number of “greats” gets lost on me.
I love his story. I love visiting the Salt Lake City Temple and knowing that his talented hands help carve out some of the intricate details of that building. I love looking at the granite plaque “Holiness to the Lord, House of the Lord” because not only did he personally carve it out, but…well he was one-legged at the time.
Now rather than re-invent the wheel I’m just going to throw you a link to another blog that summarizes his story because a) this blogger does such a great job writing it and b) Chunk #1 just came in to tell me that he needs me. Oh, and c) I liked the comments at the end of his entry, as well.
So here you go. Read about John Rowe Moyle. It is an honor to know that a tiny bit of his blood flows through my veins. Frankly, I need to be more like him: Faithful, Dedicated, Hardworking … you know, like a pioneer.
This post will be short. Why? Because they are pictures of the Talent Show. My family is very talented, but nobody really likes to perform.
These are the highlights:
I took it upon myself to excite the group with a rousing rendition of “The Shark Song. “
Then Isaac and Mad showed us how they can kick it old school. Word.
(Yes, Sweet Madeline, I am aware that you probably will not like this picture 🙂 )
Then we had our favorite family tradition where my brother and his son try to beat each other. Last year it was wrestling. This year it was just arm wrestling.
That’s it as far as talents go. Oh, wait! Chunk #2 has a talent:
Notice how her parents neglected to put sunscreen around her eyes. Poor little raccoon.
Wow! See how she made them disappear!
Now, imagine these two singing the song “Sisters.” There, that’s their talent.
Stay tuned for more exciting episodes of the Bear Lake Reunion….
This year my family reunited at the lovely Lake of Bear. Or as normal people call it: Bear Lake, the Caribbean of the Rockies. I come from a large-ish family. Would you like to meet some of them?
Check out this natural poser. What a beach beauty.
(I bonded with this kid for one week of our lives. He will never remember, but I always will.)
The Engineers. This is serious business.
Everybody’s favorite person — The One with the Boat.
….oh dear, that makes it sound like we only like you for your boat, dear Brother.
We’ll have to ask these guys what they think.
That’s it for now….
Chunk #2 wants me to read to him…yes, he is up that late. 🙂
My mother is an amazing woman. Not only was she an air hostess in the 50’s, but she was an LDS missionary in the Tongan islands. Later, she married an incredible man and had ten kids. She often says she is grateful to my father for letting her have ten kids. It used to bother me when she would say that. He “let” you? You should be able to have as many kids as you want. It never occurred to me that most men would say “enough already!” Thankfully he didn’t say that since I am, after all, number ten. She now has 5 daughters-in-law, 5 sons-in-law, and 44 grandkids with 2 on the way. All of us owe so much to this singular woman. She is our rock. “She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her.” (Proverbs 3:15)
When she had this picture taken, did she have any idea what lay before her? That she would soon meet the love of her life? That she would get a brief adventure in Japan? That she would soon have five children in the space of five years (or something close to it) and then five more? That she would demonstrate the utmost patience while raising 9 children in a three bedroom house until the dream house was finished? Did she know what a wonderful kingdom she would build? Did she know how many people she would influence and who, in turn, would have incredible respect for her?
No, she had no idea. And I think she still likes to downplay her place in this world. But while those of you who know her, reflect on what a wonderful woman she, just look at that beautiful face.
At the beginning of this month, my wonderful niece got married. As I sat through her wedding and all the festivities, I could not get over
a) how beautiful she looked,
b) how incredibly happy she was.
Actually, I got a little bit emotional, and I couldn’t figure out why. Perhaps it was because I knew it was a long journey for her and she wanted to make the right decision. Perhaps it was because I could see that she was sure about her decision. Perhaps it was because the white dress suited her. Perhaps it was because I knew she was going on to a wonderful new adventure.
It was mentioned that, when two people get married, you are not just starting a family, you are building a kingdom. Here’s just a small part of my parent’s kingdom at Chelsea’s wedding. Wow.
They got married almost 50 years ago. What will Chelsea’s and Brandon’s Kingdom look like in 50 years?
So, since the party earlier this month, I have been thinking about Marriage. I’ve met some girls who think that they will only be happy once they reach their wedding date, that all their troubles will be over. That’s a nice thought, but so unrealistic. The fact is, once you get married, you drop off your bag of “single-life troubles” and pick up a new bag: the “married-life bag”. Your troubles aren’t over, you just get new ones, different ones. But, to match those you get new joys and different joys. Just like anything else in life, it has its contrasts. It is wonderful, but it’s not the end of your troubles.
As much as I love a good “happily ever after” story, I don’t like that most of them just end with the princess getting married. It’s not the end. After the wedding, there is a whole new story to tell. It’s definitely a step towards “happily ever after”, but it certainly isn’t the end.
Today I was reminded of this: God gives us families to make us be a better version of ourselves.
And yet, since I started my own little family, I have my days where I am the worst version of myself.
The mountains and valleys I encounter seem to be higher and lower than any other part of my life. Marriage and motherhood are a refiners fire, forcing me through the worst versions of myself to find the better version. And in this refiners fire is also my husband and children for whom I am so grateful.
I’m so grateful that my hubby will still be my friend even after I’ve gotten mad at him. He knows it totally bugs me that he can crack a joke and make me laugh after I’ve been grumpy or annoyed. Sometimes I don’t like that he gets away with it (let me be grumpy why don’tcha!), but I adore him for putting up with me long enough to know that he can get a laugh out of me.
I’m so grateful that my children are so forgiving after I’ve lost my patience. They still give me a hug at the end of the day. They still want a story or to just snuggle. Somehow they have the power to create moments where they make me stop, look, and see that I’m incredibly in love with them.
Chelsea’s wedding brought out a lot of emotions in me. I’ve thought of my own journey since mine and El Jefe’s wedding date, and how absolutely wonderful and crazy it has been.
So, after these two left…
…I was happy for them. I cried a little, because from here on out it’s a new journey towards the “happily ever after” ending. And it is such a fun and crazy adventure.
El Jefe posted our family photos on his website. I could post them here but I’m in the kitchen finishing up dinner with the chunks. Am I lazy or practical? Yes.
My friend took those shots before Christmas. Then her computer and camera were stolen! Can you believe it? All her shots were gone. And I’m not just talking about her photo shoot with us. I’m talking about her family shots. Baby pictures, birthdays, special events, GONE! Luckily the thief sold it to a Pawn Shop. It was on alert to the police and they got their computer back! I love that story. Funny thing, the thief actually took a picture of himself on the computer… and he left it there. What a dork.
Anyway, speaking of dorks, go check out our pictures. My favorite is the second one because Chunk #2 looks like she’s trying to figure out her “Spiderman fingers”. You’ll see why when you see the pictures.
Have a happy Wednesday.