Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Love'm. Love'm all - Part 4 (The Final one...I promise!)

Sorry - I got a bit sidetracked with what I like to call 'my life' and haven't finished up our Utah vacation. :) Here is a sample of our last two days in pictures and a couple of words.

Our last day in Yellowstone

McKenzie and her cute cousin, Sofia

And, our last day in Utah:
We went back to Midway to spend the final day with my family. First we went to the Heber City Fair where Carson loved the rides so much that he wasn't very successful in trying to hide his smile behind his lips:

And, what an awesomely creative name this one has: The FUN slide! Oooooo, I bet that's fun.

That night, we went to the Heber Valley Rodeo. I haven't seen the kids enjoy themselves that much in a long, long time! My little sister happened to have two cowgirl hats lying in her bedroom...so we gave the less-girly one to Carson, and they wore those hats the entire night!

Doesn't she kind of look like Jesse from Toy Story 2?

The End

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Of Silly Bandz and Bananas

My stomach growled.

It was 5:00 on Monday night, and McKenzie and I were still 30 minutes away from home. I wandered up and down the isles of the craft store with McKenzie in tow - I, looking for a nice shelf to hang on the wall, and McKenzie begging for just one of each treasure she passed. We were both discouraged because neither of us could get what we wanted, and as my stomach gave one more protest of it's emptyness, I decided to call it a day. "What?!" McKenzie exclaimed. "We're not going to buy even one thing?"
"Nope." I said. "They don't have the thing that I need."
"But, we've been here forever! We can't walk out without buying something!" she glanced to her left at the glittery-pens, "Can I get one of these?"

Being the awesome mother that I am, I said no to the glitter-pen and jumped on the teaching moment. "Kenz, I came here to buy a shelf...I didn't come here to by something. And, since they don't have the shelf I want, I'm going to save my money so I can buy it later at a store that does have it. If I bought something else here, then I wouldn't have any money left to buy a shelf when I found it." It was evident that she didn't appreciate or understand the lesson when, seconds later, we passed the packs of silly-bandz near the front entrance. With a jump in her step, she ran, "Oh! But can I get one of these?! Please, mom? Please?" I thought of the 59 silly-band bracelets she had at home and it was easy to say no. I turned around the corner to exit through the front doors as she stood admiring the packs of plastic bracelets that are unfathomably popular right now, and just as I was about to walk through I turned around to see that she still hadn't caught up with me. "McKenzie? Come on, dear. Let's go." "Kenz? Come on." She popped out from behind the kiosk with her hands in her pockets and a funny look on her face. "Okay," she said. "I'm coming." She passed by me quickly and walked out the doors without another protest.

I knew. I just knew. Not because of McKenzie's personality . . . in fact, I was shocked . . . but I still knew.

"Hey," I called after her. "Hey, do you have something in your pocket?" She kept moving quickly toward the road and I stopped abruptly - no question left. "McKenzie! Come back here, right now." The stern tone of my voice surprised me a little.
"What, mooooom?"
"I said come here."
She walked back, her eyes rolling so hard that her head became involved in the circular motions, "Whaaaat?"
"Do you have something in your pocket?" I repeated.
She pulled her left hand out of her pocket and unclenched her fist to reveal one, yellow silly band.
"Did you take this?" I asked.

Busted. And she knew it. The frustrating thing for me, though, was that the only remorse I could detect was coming from the fact that she was caught... not that she stole.

"I'll go put it back," she huffed. "I know exactly which pack I took it out of, so I'll just put it back." We walked silently back into the store and my mind raced through the different options I could think of on-the-spot. I wasn't sure which option was best, so I guessed. "I want you to get the whole pack of silly bandz that you took that one from and bring it to me." I went to stand in the long line, and when she brought the pack to me she complained again, "Mom, why can't you just buy this for me?"

I crouched down to her level and looked into her eyes. "McKenzie. Do you understand what is going on here? You just stole a silly band. That is unacceptable, and I'm very disappointed in the choice you made. There is no way I will buy that pack for you. When we get up to the front of the line, you will explain what happened to the cashier and give the pack back to her."

When we reached the front of the line, McKenzie looked at the cashier and said, "I accidentally....um. I took this," and handed the pack across the counter.
"That's okay," the cashier said, "as long as you brought it back."

We walked back out of the store, but I still didn't feel settled about the whole thing. Returning the band was too easy for McKenzie - - - I felt the consequence hadn't fit the crime yet. Once in the car, I explained to her that because she had taken a band out of a 12 pack of silly bandz, she would have to give me 12 of her silly bandz once we returned home, and tell Daddy what had happened. There... this consequence fit the crime a little bit better.

I didn't have to ask her again to give up 12 of her silly bandz - she did that as soon as we arrived home - and I finally saw a little remorse when it came time to tell Daddy what had happened. It took her 40 minutes, with the privilege of dinner being held hostage, before she worked up enough courage to come into the dining room and, in her own words, explain what happened.

Her confession was met with love and understanding from Brian - I love him so much - as he praised her for fixing her wrong choice and helped her understand that the bad feelings she had felt were coming from the Spirit because he was trying to help her see that she had made a wrong choice.

And the next day..............

Target was ridiculous.

It took most of my concentration to push the red shopping cart through the mobs of people preparing for the start of school: elementary school kids grabbing pencils and glue, high school kids grabbing binders and pens, college kids grabbing bookcases, beanbags and futons - it was seriously a madhouse. I needed a total of four things, and finished my shopping quickly...which was good, because Miles was trying to climb out of the front of the cart and into my arms, Carson was complaining about having to share the basket of the cart with a big box, and McKenzie was walking along beside me getting distracted by everything (which was a big issue because of the people, people, people! And, she almost got run over once by a high-school student going crazy with one of those motorized wheelchair/cart things). It's quite possible that I have never been more grateful for the express checkout lane, for while it was about 10 customers long, at least everyone only had a few items.

As we pushed our cart out into the parking lot, I vaguely heard McKenzie and Carson arguing as I tried to keep everyone with me and away from all the cars while we made our way to the van (which was parked clear in the back of the parking lot because of . . . you guessed it, the crowds).

Carson: "Yes there is."
Kenzie: "No, there's not!"
Carson: "Yes there is."
Carson: "Yep."
Kenzie: "Mom, are there bananas in the cart?"

This is a common conversation in our house right now. Carson will start riling McKenzie up about something ridiculous and she falls for it every time. We all knew that I hadn't even approached the food side of Target and that I never even came close to the bananas. I've told McKenzie time and time again that she should just ignore him when he says things like that. And, this time, I decided to take Carson's side to try to show her the silliness of it all.

Me: "Yep. There are bananas in the cart."
Kenzie: "Moooooom! No there are not. We never even went close to the bananas!"
Carson: "See! There are bananas here!"
Kenzie: "Are there really, Mom?"
Me: "No, McKenzie. You know there aren't. You saw everything that we bought, and did you see bananas?"
Kenzie: "No."
Me: "Okay, then why are we arguing about it?"
Kenzie: "Cause Carson said there were."
Me: "Do you think he could be playing a trick on you?"
Kenzie under her breath: "See Carson. I told you there weren't bananas in the cart."

We made it to the van, and I buckled Miles into his seat. I started lifting Carson out of the basket and he handed me one of the bags and said, "Here are the bananas, Mom."
"Carson, that's enough," I said.
"Really!" he insisted. He shaped the bag around the item inside, and I had to do a double-take because it did look an awful lot like bananas.
"What?" I said. I grabbed the bag and looked inside. Sure enough, two bananas sat snuggled at the bottom. "Where did this come from!?" I said. It was a rhetorical question, of course.

So, what do you do?

Well, I'll tell you what I did. I threw the bananas in the car with the kids and the other bags and I drove home. It seemed too monumental a task to get Miles back out of the car, take everyone through the dangerous parking lot again, and brave the long lines and crowds again just to return two measly bananas that seemingly jumped into my cart after they were bagged anyway.

I kind of stole two bananas - but I strangely don't feel very guilty about it. Sure, I wish it wouldn't have happened, but I really don't feel compelled to make the 75 minute round-trip to Target to return them today.

Sigh. Am I living a double-standard here?

And, please tell me you've had children who have stolen something - - -

Monday, August 23, 2010

Love'm. Love'm all - Part 3

You know, I've never really been to a family reunion before as an adult. I have a few scattered memories of family reunions growing up (unless you count the annual Christmas Eve party...then I have some pretty solid memories), but I was always, of course, playing the role of the grandkid. Being an adult was actually quite fun! And what was more fun was to see my kids having fun with their cousins.

I have a lot of cousins. Like, a lot. So many that I wouldn't even be able to give you an exact number even if I thought about it for a while, and I certainly couldn't name them all. My dad is the youngest of 8 children, so most of my cousins are quite a bit older than me. Not so with my own children. They only have three cousins, and they all live in Sweden. So when they came to America for a visit, my mother-in-law jumped at the chance to plan her first Alder family reunion, and we were thrilled to jump on a plane to see them.

And so, driving up to Yellowstone, began the first reunion. It actually started out a little rough, with a trip to the emergency room with Carson. He was screaming (literally screaming) for two hours because of abdominal pain, and I thought for sure his appendix was rupturing. Turns out it was constipation... so that was fun to take care of.

But, we made it. And Yellowstone was beautiful. Absolutely, gorgeously beautiful. From the tiniest flowers growing wild and free in the forests..

...to the perfectly pillowy clouds fluffing along in the sky.

I seriously cannot believe I came home without a good picture of the clouds. I should have taken thousands! How could I have not pointed my camera up at those clouds? Every time I'd point another one out, Brian would roll his eyes..."you and your clouds," he'd say. It's true. I have a weakness for clouds. Always have. And, I don't get to see many in North Carolina. First of all, they don't have awesome clouds very often...and when they do, you can't see them very well because of all the trees that are blocking your view of the broad horizon. *sigh* I guess I'll just have to feed off of the pictures my brain took...

We rafted down the coldest river in the history of rafting down rivers -

Brian's little brother, Dave. Too chicken to let the water touch his skin...

Miles was out on this raft with Brian. He had a good time.

Samuel was exhausted after sitting in the cold water for a little while.

The first night we were there, we saw a mouse run underneath the stove...and the next morning found these inside the slightly opened marshmallow bag:

Yes, I'm pretty sure that is a mouse hair wrapped around that first marshmallow...

But the Alders didn't let that stop them from diving into the rest of the bag for the games that night

*Photo courtesy of my brother-in-law, Chris*

Miles had a fantastic time playing outside and spitting in Grandpa's face

And one morning I woke up at the middle-of-the-night hour of 5:30 to go into the park early to see something beautiful. I was not disappointed.

I would like you to meet the buffalo that almost chomped my ear off. I was leaning slightly out of the window in the cab of the truck, trying to get a picture like this:

When this nasty buffalo came right up to my open window without me noticing (because my eye was behind the lens....) and snorted in my ear. I was much too scared of him to try to get a good shot, so I clicked the shutter button once, and this is what we got:

Man, if I ever start feeling down about the way I look, I'm just going to think of this nasty buffalo.

We met the rest of the family at Old Faithful to see the famous eruption. I must say...it left me quite lacking. That was it? I must be missing something.

I know I've said it before here on the blog, but I really do have wonderful, wonderful in-laws. The kind that you would hand-pick if you were given the choice. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Alder family for making the reunion so much fun!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Love'm. Love'm all - Part 2

Day 4: Loving the lake!

This is McKenzie's 'just before the boat started' picture. She was quite excited to go tubing with her Daddy, but as you can see in the next picture:

she didn't enjoy it very much. As the boat started, the tube submerged completely under the water (yes, with them completely submerged as well) before it popped up again and I think it scared the dickens out of her! Which made me sad. I love boating. I'd forgotten how much I loved it until I got out there again. It brought back so many awesome memories! Maybe we can convince her to try again next time. :) She forgave us a little once we let her drive the boat...

MILES, on the other hand, was in heaven! After he got used to the fact that we were not going to take the life-jacket off of him, he allowed himself to have fun. He giggled and giggled and giggled every time we went over a wave (which was quite frequent because it was especially choppy that Saturday afternoon). Oh! he was funny!

Here's the fam. Man, I love them! I had the zoom lens on my camera, and once we got out on the lake I was too chicken to change the lens for fear of water splashing inside...so I was pretty limited in what I could capture. I wish I had a picture of all of us in the boat together...but individual shots will have to do. :)

My Fun Dad:

My Perfect Mom
No, seriously...she's perfect

My Witty Sister, Michelle:

My Hilarious Brother, Brian:

My Incredibly Unique-in-an-Awesome-Way Sister, Amber:

And My Happy, Thoughtful, Teaser Husband, Brian

And, of course, no picture of me... I couldn't turn the camera around on myself with the zoom lens on, and everyone else was taking care of my children, so you'll just have to imagine how beautiful I looked all windblown. :)

Like I mentioned, the water was super choppy, and just after we'd been out on the water for an hour, we saw lightning in the distance and decided to call it for the day.

Day 5: A Sunday of sickness and family

I didn't get my camera out much on Sunday. McKenzie was running a fever (as weird as it sounds, this always seems to happen when I let her eat whatever she wants for a few days...weird and seemingly unrelated, I know) and my mom's brother came up to visit with his wife, kids, grandkids, and new dog. I had a great time reconnecting with them! I love my cousins, and my aunt and uncle are hilarious.

As I was walking past the front door just as the sun was setting, I saw (what I thought was) a beautiful patch of light outside. So I grabbed a little chair, my baby and my camera and took a few shots. I realized that the light was actually kind of harsh instead, and I think I had Miles in the wrong spot to catch the light anyway...but I liked just a couple of the pictures anyway. :) I shared one with you last post, but here's the other one I liked:

I love how his curly hair is almost the same color as the lilies in the background! Such a handsome little guy. :)

Day 6: Back on the lake!

A much, much more beautiful day as far as clear, smooth water goes! We couldn't get Kenz to go back out on the tube, but Miles gave it a try and loved it. Those sweet little cheeks are going to kill me, I think.
Brian got out there and skied. He did awesome! You'll just have to take my word for it, though, because my camera battery died right after he got up and before I could get a good shot. So, this is all I have. :)
I got out there, too - but the bad news is that after a nasty fall off of the tube, I jacked up my shoulder and couldn't ski. I seriously couldn't even move my arm for a few days. I even needed help getting dressed! You know, I'm still actually a little concerned about it, come to think of it... It's been, let's see, 16 days and it's still not back to normal. Kind of funny story about it: last night I knelt down by my bed to say my prayers and rested my folded arms on top of the mattress. As my prayer got longer and my body got more tired, my arms stayed on top of the mattress but my body started slouching so that by the end of the prayer, my elbows were directly over the top of my head. When I stood up, my hurt shoulder wouldn't let me lower my arm back down! It got stuck for a full minute and I'm sure I looked like an idiot with my armpit exposed to the world (or my dark bedroom). Do you think it's normal for an injury like this to take so long to heal? Should I get it looked at, or just give it more time?

Next post: Yellowstone!