Friday, August 21, 2009

I Leveled Up!

This is what my boys call it if you've gained a new skill, learned to do something hard, or otherwise acquired experience points.

I'll let you in on a little secret. I used to be the wimpiest mom in the world. I wouldn't even take my boys grocery shopping by myself. For good reason. Little by little, I've gained confidence. Two years ago, I took my oldest three boys on an adventure to attend General Conference- that was huge for me. This week I did something that totally tops that: I took all 5 boys on a beach vacation adventure. All by myself. Monday, I got a wild hair. I thought to myself, "This has been a really lame summer for the boys. They should be able to have some fun." So I did some internet research, reserved a hotel room (camping is out of the question!) loaded up all the kids, and away we went! It was a solid 6 hour drive, and I only got lost once. At that point, I pulled into a Geico office and begged for directions. It worked, and we made it the rest of the way just fine.

I learned a few things. First, I have the coolest, funniest kids in the world. Sorry, but I took all the most interesting boys.

Second, I will never again try to fit 6 people on two queen beds. Ever. I thought I was saving money. No, I just purchased a terrible nights' sleep.

Third, I can do this. I can take the kids places overnight and still have so, so, so, so much fun.

Take a look!

We just happened to be at the best tide pools in northern Oregon at low tide. The boys climbed all over rocks, hunted crabs, played with starfish for hours.

Insert your own sound effects here: shrieks, screams, frantic calls for the brothers to come see the biggest crab of all time.

This was his first experience with the ocean since he was four.

This guy was fascinated by the sea. He had to explore every wave, every nook and cranny of every rock.

This guy had to test his nerve, out there in the freezing waves. How far out there could he go? I think he went under a couple of times. The big boys were wild men in the waves.

What's a boy outing without fire?

This is proof that I was actually there.

The scenery was amazing. We were at Ecola State Park. We're going back. We have to.

I begged, pleaded and commanded them to all get together for a group shot. This was all I got.

Logan buried himself in the sand, and Dainon came up and asked, "Does it hurt if I punch you right there?" As I recall, the answer was yes.

Doesn't the scenery just make you swoon?

Liam had a ball sticking his fingers into the little sea creatures. They're sticky and close around your finger. Are they anemone? Maybe.

The first day at the beach, I was pretty nervous, and lectured the boys on never turning their backs on the waves, and what to do if they got caught in a rip tide. I was sure someone would get nabbed by some freak wave and I wouldn't be paying attention and I wouldn't realize it until that night at dinner. If you know me, you know that could happen.

The next day, I just relaxed and enjoyed being with them. Like I said before, they were crawling all over some really sharp boulders. Even Liam, who the day before was nervous to get his toes wet, was leaping around like a mountain goat. I was with them the whole time, though. A couple who looked like they were in their 50s made their way over the rocks to me, and asked me if all those boys were mine. I smiled and told them yes, they were. They congratulated me on letting them play and really be boys. They told me they had figured they were brothers because of the way they interacted. That made me feel really good. There are so many things about mothering that I'm pretty terrible at. Letting my boys have adventures is something I really get. Having that noticed made me feel all bubbly inside.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


I've been home for a couple of weeks. For a while there, the jet lag worked in my favor. I blinked awake at 5am every day, as chipper as can be. I was tired in the evening, but it didn't seem to slow me down much. I'm over it now, perfectly capable of sleeping in until 9 if given the chance.
My oldest son went to his first stake dance. (!!!!!!) I was mastered by the urge to spy on him, so I went to pick him up 15 mins before the dance was over. What a flashback! They were playing the exact same Bryan Adams song that Lewis and I danced to at stake dances. Nothing against Bryan Adams ballads, but dang. They need some new music. Dainon was teased mercilessly about his mother skulking about the dance,but it just rolled right off him. "She was just there to make sure my shirt stayed on." Classic, huh?
My second son got to go to Uncle Gib's house and work bees with him. Yes, my husband's only brother is a bee farmer. There's a fancy word for it, but it escapes me now. Logan got to do some serious work for more money than he's had in his whole life. On the way home, we introduced the concept of saving for his mission. (yes, if I were more responsible, that would have happened a decade ago) There might have been a tear or two over that.
I've also been looking at my Ireland pics, and I thought I'd share some more. Some of the silly ones.

Here's one of me driving in the wrong side of the car, on the wrong side of the road with a sitck shift in the wrong hand. It was very late at night, and we were a little tipsy. I don't need alcohol to get tipsy. I just need to be with girls, late at night, listening to fun music, telling funny stories and feeling wild and crazy. We went out in search of an authentic Irish pub. Strictly for the atmosphere, mind you. They were all closed, so Kimberly pulled over and let me drive. I got the kph/mph mixed up and was going way too fast, but I thought I was going too slow.

Some people have no sense of adventure! We hit some bumps, avoided a collision, and I decided to pass the torch back to Kimberly. Just in time. We saw a bunny. We stopped to take pictures, and voila.
The cops. The Garda, as they're called in Ireland. They just stopped to make sure we were okay, but I'm sure glad I wasn't driving!
This one cracks me up. I'd been posing for a perfectly lovely portrait when I got caught in some one's wicked tailwind. A digestive disturbance, if you will. Our road trip was hilarious, because at some point we all had health ailments that hindered our progress. All three of us were pretty pathetic. Most of you know that I have a delightful condition that can make life interesting if I get a little dehydrated. In order to abate my suffering, I need to get fully hydrated, as quickly as possible. Alas, what goes in, most come out, every 5 minutes for over an hour. What fun! On a long road trip, that can add an extra spice to liven things up. Lets just say that I have christened the land of my ancestors.
I love this pic of my sister, she's so cute.

Good times, I tell you.