Sunday, August 22, 2021

Scrambled Thoughts

1. This is one loved puppy.

Part of me wonders whether or not we'll ever have another scrambled thoughts post without a bullet point devoted to her.

2. Digital Concerts are complicated.

On the one hand, let's be honest, it's amazing not to have to spend a whole evening putting on pants getting ready, rushing traveling to the concert, attending the concert, taking the family out for ice cream, traveling home, getting in bed late, etc. All we had to do was click on the TV, hook up the computer and push play. And once it was over, it was back to life in a second. It is also amazing to be able to send the link to all the family members who wanted to see it but who otherwise wouldn't have been able to.

On the other hand, most of my heart truly missed the excitement that comes along with all of those things up there. Halfway through their second song I even started choking back tears because of how sad it all felt. McKenzie and Carson had put hours into preparing for this concert, they were being directed by Ryan Murphy, the assistant director of the Tabernacle at Temple Square, they sounded so amazing, they were all dressed up and sparkling in their matching polo shirts (🤔), and their eyes were so proud. But at the end of each of their numbers there was an echoey silence in place of thunderous applause. And at the end of their performance, no one was waiting in the lobby to give them hugs and flowers. Covid has stolen so many moments. 

3. If you are looking for a good pediatric dentist, drop all of your other recommendations and go here. Right now. 

I've loved this dentist for my kids for years and years, and last visit solidified my loyalty to him and his staff forever. The dental hygienist picked up on Eliza's anxiety and she jumped in and took her in like a mother hen with a chick. At one point she even had Eliza be her assistant by holding the little mouth vacuum (uh... please tell me that's not what it's really called) to suction out McKenzie's mouth while the hygienist cleaned her teeth. Equally amazing was McKenzie, who tolerated a pre-schooler suctioning out her mouth.

4. Sometimes we wish we could just live at Nana and Poppy's house. 


Riley and Eliza are becoming friends, but it hasn't been fast. They are both a little possessive of their own opinions and spaces and ideas and... everything else. Miles helped facilitate a bit of a bond by playing the game 'Lock Miles Out of the House Over and Over and Over Again'. Riley and Eliza really had to work as a team on that one.

4b. But if you're not going to share your nerds, be prepared to hear about it for a long time.

Two months after this trip I got a text from my sister, Michelle: I want you to know that Eliza is in trouble around here. Last time you were in Midway she had a box of candy that Riley wanted. And Eliza didn't share. For some reason that is big news today. 

4c. The two main reasons we went to Nana and Poppy's:

To see my sister in a hilarious play called The Play Where Everything Goes Wrong (or something like that), and to count all the coins in a giant glass bottle that has been collecting pocket change for ... decades?

Okay, so that wasn't one of the real reasons, but we did it anyway. It took us four hours and, any guesses on the grand total?

$1043.48. That's one thousand forty-three dollars and forty-eight cents. And it's so incredibly heavy I'd love to watch a burglar come in and try to steal it.

5. Carson has music in his soul

A few months ago, 86-year-old Ethelyn Peterson walked into our home and offered to teach Carson to play the organ. This is maybe more shocking and impressive than you realize because, not only is Ethelyn Peterson 86-years-old, but she is also a highly disciplined, world renowned organist who does not teach just anybody. You have to be invited by her. She has heard Carson play the piano a few times and she can hear what I have always known. Carson has music in his soul.

He will start in August, after Ethelyn has fully recovered from her most recent heart procedure. She playfully and good-naturedly hopes aloud that she can get at least three good years of teaching into Carson before she finishes up life on this Earth.

6. Brunch with the ladies

I have ladies, guys. Changing the way I think about my life is liberating. I've decided to stop thinking that I don't have any friends around here and start thinking that I have lots of friends around here. It's working.

7. Chariots of Fire Sweep Through the Sky

Clouds are massive. 

8.  Oh, Covid. Thanks for forcing us to figure out how to throw a baby shower over zoom.

Since these pictures were taken, Brian and Cassie have had the most adorable little baby!

But before she could have him, we needed to celebrate.

Michelle was really the MVP of the event, planning, researching, figuring out how to connect all of us digitally when what we really all wanted was to be together in person. 

9. McKenzie's Not-a-Boyfriend is the Sweetest.

He put together a scavenger hunt for her to collect puzzle pieces which, when put together, asked her to prom.

And right as she finished putting the last of the pieces together, he showed up with a bouquet of flowers and a hug. They really are so cute together. But also they're not together, sooooooooo...

Recently she said about their connection, "... it's not just a friendship, but it's not really a relationship, it's a situationship."

Whatever. They're cute, and I love them both.

Eliza's 4th Birthday

This beautiful girl on her 4th birthday.

All things princesses. All things puzzles. All things books. She asked me the other day if I would teach her how to read.

All things puppy. Maisy fits in her arms so perfectly, and Eliza doesn't take that for granted. I think Eliza likes to have someone to carry around and to mother. 

She asked to go boating for her birthday. And we are so grateful that we did because even though it was the first time we'd been out on the lake for the year, it would also end up being one of the last because of the low, low water levels.

Carson dropped a ski and stayed up on that slalom like a boss!

And Miles tried.

And tried.

And tried.

He came up out of the water laughing after every crash and asking to try again. Sometimes that kid is impressively resolute and confident in himself.

Eliza went out on the tube along with everyone else in the family (including Maisy (and excluding McKenzie who was staying overnight at Kaylee's cabin for Kaylee's birthday)).

Unfortunately she sub-marined, and while she didn't want to tube anymore after that, she bounced back to smiles impressively fast. Birthday feelings are powerful that way.

Boating is always a stress relief for me, and having Maisy aboard only made it more fun.

The boys are currently into 'trick-tubing', where we pull the tubes at a slow speed and let them try all sorts of tricks. Here's Carson trying to jump from tube A to tube B:

After a long, fun afternoon, we were halfway to the docks on our way back home when we got an SOS call from a friend we'd bumped into on the lake previously. They had hit a rock (low lake levels) and were dead as dead in the water. We were haaaaaaaaaaaapy to be on the helper side of this situation this time.

Our rescue mission pulled us into the night a little later than we were anticipating, so we didn't get to cake until after dark. But Eliza didn't seem to mind one bit. 

She lights our life, this one. Glues us together. She brings a softness and a sweetness which she mixes with humor and intelligence. Her smile will light a room every time, and when she has excitement in her eyes you can't help but feel excitement, too. Her hugs are the tightest, and her voice is so musical and beautiful that strangers comment on it when they hear it ringing through the air. She sits and composes melodies on the piano, and harmonizes with us when we're singing. 

She is magical.

But she didn't like the piñata. I thought it would be a fun way to end the evening, but it turned out to be a little bit traumatizing instead. 

Which, upon reflection, makes a little sense.

A lot of sense, actually.

Happy birthday, Eliza! Sorry for traumatizing you with the decapitated flamingo.

You're Getting to the Beach Much Slower than Lightning

It really is a favorite place. The favorite place.    

I read a quote this morning by Brigham Young that is making me think today. He said that in the next world we will "move with ease and like lightning." That "if we want to visit Jerusalem ... there we are ... We may visit any city we please that exists upon [the earth's] surface."


Move with ease and like lightning?! Any city we please?! Do we all agree that that sounds amazing?

There is more to the quote, and the whole thing explodes my mind with far more questions than it does answers, but let's just settle with the idea that it will only take me as long to get to the beach as the nearest lightning bolt. Which a quick calculation says would take 0.0019 seconds. 

And, please, let's not be misinterpreting here, because now I have my hopes up.

Heidi shares my love for the beach, so when she suggested that we go together and take our kids the answer was an emphatic yes. It was fun to see Eliza and Livvy playing together on the beach.

Which they did not do very often. 

Turns out they have some pretty interesting little personalities that run together a bit like oil and water. Livvy likes to be in charge, and Eliza doesn't like to be controlled. Livvy likes to play with others, Eliza likes to play by herself. Livvy likes to think 'what's yours is for sharing', Eliza prefers to think, 'what's mine is just for me'.

It will be fun to see how their personalities grow and develop.

I have a feeling that they'll figure out each others differences and become pretty good friends. We definitely saw moments of that. 

I love watching my kids react when they're placed in new situations. I saw some things come out in Eliza that I know she'll want to refine as she gets older. I saw some big strengths as well. My favorite: she knew what she needed and was not afraid to stand up for herself. She needed mom time? She made it happen. She needed quiet time? She made it happen. She needed alone time? She made it happen.

I was proud of her for turning inward and acknowledging her own needs and then for expressing those needs and working to meet them herself.

I'm sure she'll want to work on incorporating kindness and compassion and understanding for others as she grows, but for now it appears she's decided to focus on figuring out who she is and what makes her happy and fulfilled. Which is an important life-skill, too.

The other kids spent almost allllllllllllllll the hours in the water. In the past, they would spend a few hours in the water before walking out shivering and chaffed, saying that they wanted to keep playing but felt their bodies just couldn't handle any more. So this time we got wet-suits and, let me tell you, it was a game changer. They spent triple the amount of time in the water and came out happy every time. No chaffing, no shivering. We are wet suit wearers for life. In the Pacific Ocean, anyway.

Miles created a tooth-shaped shadow man that danced when he moved. It kept us laughing for an embarrassing amount of time. 

Once, when we were on our way back to the cute little home we rented, we happened to cross the boardwalk at the same time a skateboarding event was being set up so we decided to stay to watch. It wasn't quite as amazing as we thought it was going to be... it was mostly just a few locals jumping over ramps and falling on rails... but I love this picture that was taken as we watched.

The kids talked us into getting sushi that night. I'm not really familiar with sushi, but Heidi knows her way around a sushi menu, so she introduced us to some of her favorites and we had a feast. 

We never have enough time at the beach. Eventually the sun sets and eventually it's time to go home. But we leave with all the memories and all the pictures and plans to visit again so, so soon. And eagerly await the day when we can get there with the lightning.