May 31, 2012

survival skillz

It's the last day of May. My kids don't even believe me anymore when I tell them it's not officially summer yet.To them summer is no school and heat, and we have both... so I don't try to fight them on it anymore. The crazy month of June is on our doorstep and the last thing I need is more fighting! Especially considering Elliot seems hell bent on driving me to infanticide this morning. This little guy, I tell you... when he gets his mind set on something, or wakes up in a bad mood? There is no fixing it. Well, unless you give him a bag of m&m's (you think I mean those kiddie sized ones don't you? Cute.) and set him free in the park to run off wherever he sees fit. I shouldn't even have vocalized that because now I'm tempted.

The three months have begun. Triple the time, triple the fun, triple the crazy. We're not planning anything huge as Sander doesn't have a ton of vacation days yet this year, and our house in Holland seems determined not to sell which putting us in a tiny financial pickle. Nothing major, so long as we stay in the parental basement... but I don't think anyone will be surprised when I say that's not anybody's preferred course of action right now! I mean, we're totally comfortable here and we're all getting along... but a family of six needs their own space.
So, how do I plan to survive the summer? Or wait, I can phrase that more accurately. How do I plan to have my children survive the summer? I plan to not worry too much. I plan to stay on top of housework. I plan to be outside a LOT. And I plan to keep exercising because Lord knows, I am in need of those endorphins and the extra energy. Of course I also plan lots of little fun excursions and extra things to do with the kids. There's Lagoon, the Dollar Theatre's weekly kid's film (only $10 for the whole summer!), the Dinosaur Park, Treehouse Museum, the Splash Pad, Children's Museum in SLC, the Waterpark, etc etc.
There you go, my plan of action. Nothing shocking, nothing too invasive, but hopefully it'll see us through. Any other ideas/tips/ways to tie up a small child are all greatly appreciated!

May 23, 2012

i do love a new toy

I am loooving my new camera. Thank you mom and dad for pitching in on it! Nothing beats having the kids in school/bed and going out to play with the settings and learning my way around them so I can stay away from auto. Expect picture heavy posts from now on! Here are some I took around the yard yesterday as I was experimenting with aperture in close ups.

May 22, 2012

little indian girls

Most of you probably won't know this about me, but I have Indian blood. My great great great grandfather, Joseph Brandt, was a Mohawk chief and is featured on WikiPedia as such. Kinda cool right? Now that you finally know this vital piece of informationg about me, you'll understand last Sunday afternoons shenanigans a lot better. I felt a need, you see. I heard the call of the wild, nature beckoned me to come and introduce my offspring to it.
Church was over and all I could think of was getting home to find the best place to take the girls for a hike. I asked a few people if they had any tips, and one of them mentioned something called the Indian Trail. My interest was piqued. I looked up the details as soon as we got home: 4.2 miles one way, medium difficulty, through mountains and canyon. It sounded like heaven, and let me tell you: It was.
We put on our good shoes, shorts, tshirts, sunscreen (not in that order), and packed backpacks with the essentials. Water, apples, granola bars, camera, phone, and treats to be enjoyed upon completion of the hike. We felt ready and pretty cool. We are women! We can do this!

It took us only 30 minutes to realise what on earth we had gotten ourselves into. People ahead of us had turned around because 'they were too out of shape'. Well, I've been going to the gym, and the girls have their youth! We'll be fine, I thought. 30 minutes later we were all panting and sweating profusely. We had already taken 3 breaks and the questions had started.
'Are we almost theeeere mommy??'
'I want to sit dooown!'
'Are we going to go up much longer??'
You see, we've gone for long walks before and it's never been a real problem until maybe the last 20 minutes or so, but I didn't think about the fact that those walks had all been in Holland. Holland is flat as a pannekoek. And mountains.... are not.

There were parts where the path went up so steeply that we could barely get our footing. The path also got narrower the further up we went, often presenting us with a staggering drop into the canyon right next to us. The two things that kept me from turning around at that point, were the drive of wanting to show everyone, especially ourselves, that we could do this, and the fact that we met several families headed the other way, also with smaller children.

Well. We made it to the top. It took us 2 hours, but we got there... and what a view. I don't think I had ever seen anything quite like it. There was another group there, resting before they started the second leg of the journey, going the other way. They asked us twice if we came all the way from 22nd street (where the trail begins), because they just couldnt believe us chicks had walked all the way to the top. Yeah, we felt cool.
From there on things got easier. The path was mostly shaded and (glory hallelujah) downhill. It still took us another hour and a half, but we really enjoyed that bit. We saw some cool things along the way too, like a stick teepee, a bridge over no water, and the very beginning of a mountain stream. We also came across lots of pretty flowers, beautiful songbirds, lizards and cool climbing rocks. Mostly though, the views were what kept us entertained.
When we finally heard the familiar rush of traffic we became a little ecstatic. We were near the end and we were still alive and not even in that much discomfort! Sure we were tired, and looking forward to the dinner awaiting us at home, but we were mostly just incredibly proud of ourselves. I was especially proud of my ´little´ girls. They toughed it out, folks... they´re going to grow up to be amazons. Lara never complained once, and told us storied of how and where the Indians live all along the way. Julia continued to find ways to struggle through her obvious discomfort and, at times, fears. She really overcame herself, and her prize at the end was probably the sweetest of all three of us.

Despite all this, my girls have informed me that this was the first, and the last hike they will ever do with me. I say, give it time.... muahahaha.

May 18, 2012

tiny graduation

Julia graduated from Kindergarten today! She has been learning so much in the few months she's been going to school here. She can say her ABC's, write her name and lots of other words, sing a bajillion amazing songs, color in the lines, do jumping jacks and count to a hundred and back. It was so much fun going to see her class program this afternoon - extra fun because I didn't have to take any of the other kids with me. Extra extra fun because I got to take pictures with my birthday present (ok ok, a little early, but when you happen across a great deal you don't mess with fate): a beautiful DSLR camera. It's a Nikon D5000 and came with a 18-55 AND a 55-200 lens. I'm going to have some fun with this baby, Ogden had better look out. The only thing I have left to whine about picture-wise is that my favorite online editing program,, has been eaten up by google and taken off the air! If you know of any other good and reasonably priced photo editing programs or websites, pleeeaase let me know.

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