Tuesday, August 18, 2015

California adventure

We woke up at 5am the day after our arrival so we could head to the LA flower market. It was a beautiful sight and such a treat to go buy flowers for a wedding. 

Had to take a picture of the hydrangeas. (btw, the ones we bought were beautiful but they wilted. My mom's friend came to the rescue with hydrangeas from her garden on the day of the wedding.) 
One of the vendors we talked to said that her day begins at 2:30am every day and she's done around noon. A real My Fair Lady. It's always interesting to go behind the scenes. 

Pretty much a perfect day. Lindsey looked beautiful and fashionable. We expected nothing less. And having all the boys wear pink ties and all the little girls wear pink dresses was genius, so precious. I loved watching all the little girls twirl around all day. 

Laine and her cousins sharing a laugh outside the temple. 

Our family in front of the Los Angeles temple. What's amazing about this picture is that it almost didn't happen because we were all heading out to our cars, all of us were hungry, we almost didn't have anyone to take a picture but stopped my brother who was trying to corral his little boys. Families are Forever. 

First dance. The backyard was transformed into a magical place. Everyone seemed to enjoy the party which included a hamburger truck from The Habit burger parked out in the cul-de-sac outside the side fence. All the effort my parents made to make the backyard beautiful was worth it. Everyone stayed and stayed and ate and danced and talked. It was perfect. 

The clean up crew making their own bouquets. And my dad, tired, but happy, in the background. 

And then we went to the beach. Actually, we slept in the pop-up trailer we borrowed from Eric's parents every night we were in California. Even in front of my brother's house. Kind of white-trash of us. And yes, it's  more comfortable than a tent but also not my bed. I'm such a wimp. This is us on the first morning after we got to the beach. My brother and his family camped next to us. This would have been a perfect little RV park/campground except that it was right next to the freeway. Seriously, next door. Part of our freeway view was obstructed by bamboo but that didn't mask the sound. But by our last night I was already growing accustomed to the noise, or I was so tired I got to the point where I could sleep through semis driving by. 

A morning walk down to the beach, passed by the train tracks. 

Massimo was in and out of the water all day. He'd get knocked down by a wave and pop up again, no tears, just in and playing. Serious play. He really belongs on the beach, look at that tan skin and blond hair. 

Fun in the sand. Sommer constantly had sand in her suit. 

Laine and her cousin braving the waves as the tide came in. This was right in front of the beach house where my sister was staying. During low tide you could walk down the stairs and across the rocks and sand but then the tide would come in and splash up the stairs as the waves rolled in. 

Ridge tried surfing. Thanks to my brother and Eric's help out in the water he got up. 

Goodbye Ventura. It was a blast. 

Monday, August 17, 2015


A draft from several years ago. Reading it now I feel like I was telling my future self to chill and enjoy life. Also, this is too long for people to read now, I pin stuff on Pinterest and the quotes are decorated and charming. This is plain but I took the time to write it all out and I tool the time to read it again. All good stuff. I'm sorry I can't give credit to the source.

Past self above. What's she thinking? She should smile. 

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
 2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
 3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
 4. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
 5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
 6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
 7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.
 8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
 9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
 10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
 11 . Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
 12. It's OK to let your children see you cry
 13. Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
 14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.
 15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.
 16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
 17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
 18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.
 19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
 20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.
 21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
 22. Over prepare, then go with the flow. 
23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.
 24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
 25. No one is in charge of your happiness, except you.
 26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: 'In five years, will this matter?'
 27. Always choose life.
 28. Forgive everyone everything.
 29 What other people think of you is none of your business.
 30. Time heals almost everything. Give time, time.
 31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
 32. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick...Your friends will. Stay in touch.
 33. Believe in miracles.
 34. God loves you because of whom God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.
 35. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now. 
36. Growing old beats the alternative--dying young.
 37. Your children get only one childhood. Make it memorable.
 38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
 39 Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
 40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.
 41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
 42. The best is yet to come.
 43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
 44. Yield.
 45. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Fancy Shoes

For Christmas my husband put a Gap giftcard in my stocking. I was browsing all the Gap stores online, especially Piper Lime, and I saw the greatest pair of heels. They spoke to me, "Paige! See how beautiful we are? Wouldn't we look lovely on your feet? You'd be 3 inches taller and look like a movie star." I put the shoes in my cart and then continued shopping for something more practical. I was shopping for a wedge, something with a small heel, a small attempt to help correct my horrible posture right now. Sit-ups would actually be a better help but that required me to exhert my exhausted body and browsing online requires minimal movement.

Then I was interrupted and forgot my shopping.

A few days later I logged on again and there in my shopping cart were the same beautiful shoes and the clunky cloggs I also added to the cart. I looked at both pairs up close again. The cloggs were sad looking. The heels were still beautiful and I loved to look at them. I deleted the cloggs and kept the shoes in my cart along with a pair of jeans since the ones that fit me now have huge holes in the knees and I'm freezing every time I wear them. Also, I need hole-less jeans for the family photo we'll be taking in Utah.

So. The packages arrived the other day. The girls helped me open them and both oohhed and ahhed at the beauty and height of the heels. They both paraded around in them before I did since I was feeding the baby.
Laine's remark was,
"I didn't know you liked fancy stuff mom."

I said something like, I do like fancy things but fancy things don't usually go with the jobs I have to do. Which reminded me that I broke one of the shoe-shopping rules that I usually ask myself:
Could I wear these to the park?

Because if I can wear the shoes to the park that means that I could also wear them while cleaning toilets, doing dishes, folding laundry, playing games, making beds... all those things that constitute the better part of my day right now. It also means that they'd be comfortable enough to wear all day. I usually wear shoes all the time, I don't like to be bare-footed or sock-footed. Maybe in a warmer climate and with cleaner floors I would be.

See, what got me was that the reviews said the shoes were "so comfortable!" One gal even said that she wore them all day and then into a night event and her feet didn't hurt at all! So I was sold. And the shoes had gone on sale.

addendum: I wrote this a long time ago, like maybe four years ago? Piper Lime doesn't even exist anymore. I think I've worn these beautiful shoes a handful of times. I just wore them again at my sister's wedding -- for the ceremony and pictures part -- and got compliments and admirations from many people on my lovely shoes. And then I went back to my parent's house to help with the reception and I changed into my sensible shoes that I knew I could walk around in for hours without killing myself or someone else. Granted, the heels are beautiful and the leather is supple and soft and for three inch heels they are comfortable to wear, and it is a treat to have them in my closet. I am not sad I didn't get the clogs even though I probably would have worn them out by now. Another shopping thing I do that's kind of weird when something is more expensive is that I say I pay off a dollar of the item every time I use/wear it. At the rate I'm going, even though the heels were on sale, I might never pay them off. Good thing I can't remember how much they cost.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Sommer's 8th

It wouldn't be Sommer's birthday without a batch of sugar cookies. Cousins were here for a few days so there were 9 kids helping with the frosting part. Sugar cookies and frosting do not a clean kitchen make. But it's worth the mess and ratcheting up my patience levels to make them for her. 

We braved Build a Bear for her birthday, her request. She named her bear Ella and dressed her like a rock star. And left very happy with her new friend. (And left our bank account much emptier. Sheesh.) 

Ella the bear accompanied us to Claire's for ear-piercing. Her choice again. (I didn't get mine pierced until I was sixteen but maybe if the wonderland of glitter and accessories that is Claire's existed I would have done it sooner. Actually, it probably did exist but I never went in the store.) Sommer has cute little pink hearts in her ears for the next six weeks. I'm happy to report she's cleaning her ears on her own and I'm glad she's responsible about it. 

After swimming at a community pool - it wasn't a very warm summer day but we swam anyway - it was time to eat cookies. And make wishes. I hope Sommer's all come true. 

Her actual birthday was Sunday. Before church the girls were ready early and went out to jump on the trampoline. It sounded and looked very happy. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Life. It goes on.

This picture is ironic because it's of the island of San Michele, the cemetery island near Venice. 

Even though I haven't blogged in a very long time life has gone on anyway. Undocumented. And while there have been a lot of good things and happy moments, they've been hard to focus on because I've been depressed and had anxiety. I'm not clinically diagnosed and not on medication, though I probably should have been last winter, and maybe the one before that. I've felt myself feeling better, understanding happy again. Sometimes. But a lot of the time I'm still reminding myself to find the happy and the joy, enjoy the journey. Not be worried, remember that life goes on, things work out. Sooner or later, eventually, eventually.

Moving is hard. No, we're not moving again. Yet. But we'll have to, eventually, since this is another rental house. It is a perfectly fine place to live but something in my brain will not turn on to make it be home. This would be fine except that I have a transient attitude that I know hasn't helped me with all of this over the past few years. I've thought, in the back of my mind, we'll be moving again, these people don't want/need my friendship. They have each other. And my old friends, they have each other, they don't need me. I'm gone. It's not a good attitude to have. It sounds petty and selfish almost, and insecure. I used to be different. I'm getting back to what I used to be and feel but it's a process. And really, we don't get ourselves back, right? Because we are the sum of our experiences. So we gain something, have to let things go, and piece ourselves back together the best way we can with whatever glue or paste or Lego bricks we have to use. Sometimes it sticks, sometimes we fall apart again and build anew.

And I share this so that someday, looking back, I'll remember what it felt like to be sad and worried and hopefully I'll be able to look out at others with empathy and see who is putting on a really good face. And be understanding that sometimes you just can't snap out of things or gratitude-list your way into happiness. Sometimes being grateful to be alive is all you can muster and some days that has to be enough.

There are a lot of things I should document about the past year. Maybe I will to find the good and pad the memory of this time of my life with the best things that happened. Or maybe I won't and life will continue to go on. And that's okay too.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


These are for me, so I remember --- 
Cannon and his kendama obsession, the constant clicking and swinging of the wooden ball. 
Plus, in the background, Laine still little enough that I can do her hair on a Sunday morning

Massimo, somehow comfortable sitting in the Lego box, happy to be eating Cheetos while watching TV with his siblings. 

The girls, wearing matching pjs, little enough, and friends enough, to sit in a chair together while watching a show on a Saturday night. 

Massi, had an accident in Target, so much pee that it was up his shirt, but he didn't care at all because he was looking at the toys. (I grabbed this toy for him, since this happened just a minute after arriving in the toy aisle, and high-tailed it to the checkout, with a warning to a clerk that we left a puddle behind.)

This cute profile. So precious. And happy fall days, warm enough to jump on the trampoline together. 

That we got to dog-sit Marley for a few weeks and what fun it was for everyone to have her around, especially Massimo who treated her like a little sibling, his buddy. 

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Post Halloween

Cannon made his costume this year, mostly without help. He started over a month before Halloween researching how to make his costume, telling us the materials he needed. It was exhausting before he even started. But then one of the jobs Eric was doing had to get rid of their big foam mats in their exercise room, exactly the kind of foam Cannon needed, and that got him/us started. Eric coached him through how to cut the mats and then set him off on his own. Pieces of foam littered our house for a month and the glue gun was out being used or waiting to be used. Halloween day (no school) we went to Walmart to find cheap black pants for him to glue foam to and gloves that he could cut the fingers off the tips. Mission accomplished and costume complete with 4 hours to spare. It turned out great. 

Sommer was a cute leopard and got to wear her favorite pajamas. Laine was Dorothy from Wizard of Oz. Her costume evolved from the shoes up. She needed new Sunday shoes and chose this red, sparkly pair and then decided that she needed a costume to go with them. My idea to have her go as an 80s girl was not met with enthusiasm, especially when I showed her pictures of Cindi Lauper. We went to the DI to see if there was anything we could use as a Dorothy costume. I found a few mens shirts that had good color but that still meant I had to sew her a costume. Since my sewing skills aren't up to par with project runway contestants I opted to look on Amazon for something inexpensive. This dress was an excellent use of $20. Laine said that after the school costume parade she got 7 compliments on her shoes and 11 compliments on her dress which had sparkles all over the fabric. She felt pretty and happy, much more so than if I had tried to make her a costume and it saved me the stress as well. 

It was a wonderfully gorgeous Halloween day, mid-70s, light breeze, few clouds, incredible pink sunset. I needed a sweatshirt as I walked the kids from house to house but the girls were fine without extra layers. As we were out and about I mused that Halloween felt almost more neighborly and giving than Christmas. Here were all these houses full of people giving candy away to children, happy to see neighbors or strangers, happy to give. Several people were sitting outside on their driveways next to fire pits, passing out candy that way, talking to neighbors. My next door neighbor and I talked as we caught up to them about how each of us had spent $30 on candy and we were giving it away. For as much as I dislike the gore and the commercialism of this holiday, there is a happy aspect of sharing too and I felt lucky to be part of it in our neighborhood. 

Massimo had a major meltdown about 2 hours before trick-or-treat time when I made him come in to take a break from playing with the neighbor boys who are both 3.5 years older than he is. He was tired and cried and cried then fell asleep on my bed. We came back for him after an hour and a half of candy getting with Laine's friend Chandler, and he was ready to go. A few houses down the block he remarked, "I like this trick-or-treating!" Just as he was getting tired was when we caught up with our neighbor and being able to follow his friend around gave him a second wind so his candy haul was plenty. Ridge and Cannon went out with their friends. Ridge dressed up as a rice picker since he recently went to a Chinese market for culture points for his class and bought a traditional hat. 

Sorting and trading the candy is always fun. Massi wasn't interested, he was thirsty and drank lots of water and milk when we got back. Marley, the sweet black lab we are dog sitting for another week, patiently watched the girls without trying to steal any treats. She's a smart dog and just likes to be where we are sitting, happy to have company.