...and they all lived happily ever after...

...and they all lived happily ever after...

Thursday, December 29, 2016

In case of Emergency

So I've been behind on things.

That may have something to do with moving (changing homes does strange things to a person).

But one of the yearly chores I missed out on while we were muddled in a move was our exciting annual evaluation of our 72 hour kits.

Ooooh, hold on to your hats, this one is going to be F-U-N!!!

Yup, every September about the time the kids head back to school, we hold a fake family emergency where we come home all aghast and pretend there is a big doomsday type disaster (we go over the top enough for the kids to know it is fake, but they are well trained enough to play along) and we all have to rush to grab our emergency backpacks and hustle to safety.

It's good prep, even if it is done with a side of laughter and joking.

Anyway, this year our fancy preparedness bags were packed away in a fancy storage unit which made them difficult to access so we decided to pass on the practice.  But the job of digging through the bags to be sure all the stuff inside is still good still needed to be done, so one lonely afternoon I did it.

I thought about telling myself there was a disaster and running through the house in a panic, but decided against it.

Anyway, I pulled out all the goodies.  Each pack has food for three days each day divided into a zip seal bag (we will NOT eat like kings, but we won't starve either).  We also have water, thermal blankets, spare clothing, paper, a few dollars cash, some tools, flashlights, and other emergency odds and ends.

I discarded everything that had expired (or would expire soon) and replaced the items that seemed like they were on their last legs.  I added a few things that I thought we might be missing and then I packed it all back up and stashed it away for a real (or invented for our practice) emergency to come.

At least I know we are prepared for the new year.

(yes, I know here're isn't a real word...but when did that ever stop me before)

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

On With the Show

 Wanna know a secret?

I love watching my girls perform.

Actually, that's sort of a stinky secret because, well, it's not that hard to figure out.

One of the things I love about the holidays is seeing my two princesses traipse around the stage while singing their little hearts out.  It makes my heart happy.  Take a quick look at what I mean.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Crohn's-ing through the holidays


That is often the start of it.  

And as much as I love them, the holidays are pretty much a guarantee of stress.  Add to that moving to a new house (are you tired of hearing the tales of a new house yet?) and you can almost bet on a flare.  Actually, I don't have to bet, I can tell you for sure.

Yes sirree, sure enough that means my corrosive pal, Crohn's Disease, has waltzed his way back onto the already semi-overloaded stage of my life.  He isn't my favorite.  And his timing stinks.  Like REALLY stinks.  He is vexatious to the nth degree.  What a turd (not a word we use freely around here so you know I mean business)!

Anyway, yes, my so called "friend" has been assaulting my gut lately and that is, shall we say, inconvenient.

However, whatever irritation and torment he laughingly plops into my intestines, I will not be swayed from celebrating one of my favorite times of year with a whole herd of my absolute favorite people.  

There's is just too much that is beautiful in life to be derailed by one ugly pester-pants who can't keep his negativity to himself.

And so, I will enjoy the snow (enjoy may be a strong word here, but there's something about kids bundled in puffy attire throwing frozen stuff at each other while breathing out clouds of laughter and fun).

And I'll love the post-frozen moments in front of the fire (thanks to our new house...which we just moved to...ha ha, you thought I was done with that subject).

And I will love being snuggled up next to this guy no matter what the weather is like outside.

And I'll try to revel in all the energy and spirit this crew of crazzies has to offer.

But most of all I will work to remember a Savior who lived and died for me so that one day I can home home to Him in heaven, clean and pure and Crohn's free at last.  And then suddenly a little bit of mortal abdominal pain doesn't seem to carry much weight after all.  

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas and all the other greetings.  I hope it is the very best season for you and everyone you love (and your intestines as well).

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Color me pleased

Sometimes life hands you small favors.

Like, this for example.

Now, to you this probably looks like your run of the mill Ikea spice rack which we have conveniently installed on the wall of our baby DeMoux so she can keep track of her books.

And you're not wrong.

The bit you missed (it really isn't your fault, I didn't tell you yet) is the fact that said spice rack/book shelf happens to match the paint on the wall perfectly.

Now, I can see that you still aren't impressed, and that's ok because I didn't lower the boom yet.

You see, we painted those book racks at our West Valley house when we last painted Ellie's bedroom there almost a year ago.  And then we moved and the paint in Ellie's new room just happens to be EXACTLY the same color.

See what I mean, BOOOOOOM!!

Happy color-coordinated reading to my little princess.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Them Magical Moments (the ones you almost miss)

Sometimes life is bit like a giant bowl of chaos.

It often feels like we just run from thing to thing to thing without much breathing room (I'm sure you know just what I mean).  From school to work to dance to scouts to shopping to birthday parties and homework and doctors and holidays and everything else -- sometimes things feel pretty wild.

So, when a moment makes me slow down and remember the magic that always lazily encircles my home and family I think it is something worth noting.

The other night I was making dinner.  Ellie kept asking me how to spell the names of friends from her class because she was practicing her mad letter/sound/spelling skills by building the names in letter tiles on our table.

She was kind of frustrated with me because I wasn't giving her as much attention as she wanted (cooking does require at least a modicum of my focus).  I had a hard time hearing her through the clank of pots and the search for spices and she had a hard time hearing and understanding me for the same reason (Ellie: Did you say 'e' Me: No, I said 'p'...repeat ad nauseum).  We were two ships passing verbal letters to each other across the noisy night.  It wasn't exactly pretty.

Enter the 16 year old.

Bryce noticed that is baby sister looked sad and that I was on the prickled side of frustrated so he sauntered over to the table and sat there with my seven year old beauty for nearly an hour helping her sound out names and figure out how to compose them into words.  It was SuPeR sweet.  He was really patient with her and helped her think through the sounds and maneuver the letters into place.  He helped her sort through tiles to find right pieces and laughed and smiled with her all the while.

Seriously, what kind of 16 year old boy does that sort of thing?   I was pretty proud of both of my babies (the biggest baby and the babiest baby).

Not every moment in our house is this full of enchantment.  We have our squabbles (and our full blown fights), we deal with drama, and grades, and hurt feelings, and messes, and misunderstandings, and all the other sticky stuff.  But that makes it all the more important that we slow down enough to notice the tiny un-troubled times when they bubble to the surface unexpectedly.

See, it really was a little sprinkle of magic.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Winter in (or not) the doghouse

It's winter 
(ok, not technically until later this month, but there's snow and cold outside and actions speak louder than words so let's just say winter.)

And this is our dog's house.
It has been his house for a good long time.

We recently moved and we brought the dog's house to our new house (see how nice we are).  Finn spends a fair amount of time inside, but he needs a nice spot to repose when he is outside during the day.  We installed his abode in a little nook in the yard where is it semi-protected from the weather and is close to the walls of our home to give him some warmth and block the wind and stuff.

But our pooch has absolutely no interest in his house.  He hangs out AAAALLL over the yard, but NEVER in his doghouse.  (See, here he dragged a sled over into the snowy corner near the fence and settled down for a long winter's nap.)  
 I've scoured the doghouse out inside and out and I can't find anything offensive about it.  He USED to like his house before we moved.  I don't get it.
Being winter (just go with it) I also brought out a fleece blanket to give the pup something warm to snuggle with.  I tucked it into his house and hoped it would be a benefit for our canine pal (and also hoped it might entice him to remember that his house is a nice place).  

But, no.  Over and over and over Finn yanks the blanket out of his house and stashes it in various places around the yard where it gets dirty and crusty and frozen.  UGH!!!

I know he doesn't hate this warm snip of fabric because once in a while I catch him cuddling up to it.
But NOT if it is in his house.

Nutty mutt.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Nutcracker 2016 (dancing into the holiday)

This past weekend was our annual Nutcracker performance with Miss Margene's dance studio.  

Although they are very different people with very different preferences, both of our girls love performing with this studio.  We were ThRiLlEd to spend the weekend supporting them (ok, I'll be honest, I am more thrilled about that than Josh is because the full production is three hours long and Josh doesn't love watching dance for that long...but he was more than happy to watch his girls).

Anyway, this year Elinor was slated to dance a Forest Fairy and Aubrey performed in the Mice and Soldiers medley and the Scottish dance.  I also got to see some youngsters from a couple other of my favorite families perform in this presentation.  My heart smiles when I get to watch them share their talents.  Awwwww!

But, enough gushing, It was really fun to watch all of the work these kids have done for the past few months come center stage.

What's that, you want to see how they did?  Well, I'm just the sort of mom who likes to show that stuff off so here you go (warning: the first two videos are pretty dark so I'll forgive you this one time if you don't watch them).

Nutcracker, for me, signals the start of the holiday season, and there are few things I love more than watching my girls shine so it sets a lovely tone for the season ahead.  Happy start to your holiday, however you get it going.

Take a taste of our way below.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Thanksgiving -- and all the leftovers

I'm a little bit slow, but Thanksgiving was wonderful so I thought I'd tell you all about it.

It is very hard not to be thankful when you are surrounded by such incredible people.  Not only do we have a new house this year (which is a perfect fit for our family), but we also have good neighbors, good friends, and good extended family, working cars, plenty-o-food, a ratty old dog, a heater, all the water we want and on and on and on.  And while Thanksgiving (to me) is much more about who you are (are you the type that is grateful no matter what -- something I'm working on) than about what you have (although those are probably the easiest blessings to recognize) it is still great to take a day and be reminded of all that is good and beautiful in life.

Besides, turkey is delicious!

Due to some odd circumstances, this year our family ended up doing Thanksgiving on our own in our new house and (spoiler alert) it was WoNdErFuL!!!

The kitchen table we had ordered on October 24 finally showed up at our house on November 23 (of course, the delivery types had told me they would arrive between 5-7 pm that day, and at 2:15 pm while we were at the dollar theater to see a movie I got a text telling me they would be at our house in 20 minutes so Josh scrambled out of the theater and barely beat the delivery truck to our house and only because they took a wrong turn in our neighborhood and lucky for the rest of us my mom lives across the street from the theater because Josh wasn't back when the movie ended and it was snowy and cold outside so we schlepped over to her place to hang out until our ride arrived...but at least the table finally came!!!).

TA DA!  Table!

So, since it was our first Thanksgiving with just our crew, we decided to try to make it, ya know, kinda awesome.

We pulled out the china (which hasn't seen light of day in many years).  We decorated the table all fancy like.  We cooked all kinds of great grub.

And then we invited in the crew.

Oh, there was much nibbling, some slurping, and even a little bit of gobbling (and none of it came from the turkey cause dead turkeys tell no tales).

The next day (after we dabbled in Black Friday leftovers at a couple stores), we loaded everyone into our two smaller cars (because I had to bring Aubrey home early for a dance event) and started toward Huntington for my Grandpa's 90th birthday party.

However, as often happens, things did not go as planned.  A little bit into our drive, the "check tire pressure" light came on in Josh's car.  He pulled over the fill up the tire only to find that something had scraped a big hunk of rubber out of the side of the tire and there was a big crack in the tire side wall as well.


Good thing we had another car sitting patiently at home.

We did have to take a side trip to the recycling center at the dump before we left (because the Suburban was loaded with tons of  cardboard left from opening and assembling our new table) but eventually we emptied the junk, moved all the stuff from Josh's car to the Suburban and then we were on our way for real!

And soon enough we landed in Huntington where we got to celebrate the life of one of my favorite people on the planet with a bunch of my other favorite people on the planet.

And here they are so you can see what I mean.

After breakfast, Aubrey and I headed back to Salt Lake while Josh and the rest of the kidlets stayed to enjoy fun with cousins and a little bit of shooting in the dessert.  Good times!

And the holiday, for me, was exactly what it should be.  It was a wonderful week full of sweet moments and happy memories (and a handful of laughs and snarls for good measure).   

Life is good.  Family is incredible.  And when it really comes down to it, what else really matters?  

Hope your Thanksgiving was incredible.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Lessons in the Leaves

(Watch out, she's gonna get preachy in this one.)

So, we have a new home (p.s. we love it).
Part of our new abode is an inheritance of trees which surround our yard.  Get a glimpse of some of them (and our camera happy dog who wanted to be in every shot) right here.

I LOOOOVE trees, so I'm kinda in love with our yard (except I don't really love the aspen trees that are butting up against the house as I'm not a huge fan of trees bumping the house -- they may have to go).  I love shade, I love birds, I love the rustle of the wind outside the windows.  Trees rock!

Until they decide to get naked.

A plethora of trees has also meant a plethora of raking leaves around here the last few weeks.  It's good work for a family, though, so I haven't even really been annoyed with it.  

And, another plus, West Jordan provides residents with a green waste container so we've had a quick and easy place to deposit our collection of falling friends.  We've filled this baby every week since we moved in (and we've also made trips to the Kearns Park on 4000 West and 5200ish South where they have dumpsters for bagged leaves during November).

But this morning as my elementary kids and I were raking one more time (it WON'T be the last), we learned a lesson.

We rake the leaves into a huge pile, then spoon them into garbage bags,  moosh the leaves down, fill again, and eventually dump the pulp into the green waste container.

It was windy this morning and became very important to have a person holding open the garbage bag so that I could get the leaves through the mouth of the bag.  The hardest part was when the bag was empty so it tended to flap and blow in the gusts of wind making it hard to maneuver my pile of tree droppings inside.

Gavin, my 11 year old, noticed this and commented on it while trying to control the bag.  "Mom, when this thing is empty it is a nightmare to try to keep it still.  It moves all over until you start to get some leaves in it, then is settles down and it goes a lot better."

And that's when an object lesson fluttered down on us all.

It occurred to me that the trouble with the bag and the wind is just like us in our lives.  We are the bag, and when we are empty, when we have nothing to keep us firm and grounded, we flit and flicker every which way pushed by any opinion or idea that blows by.

However, if we start to fill ourselves with truths -- even small ones -- piece by piece we build a foundation that will hold us solid and keep us from wafting helplessly in the worldly winds of doctrine.  On top of that, the more we fill ourselves with goodness, the more our base is set.  As we become steady and strong it gets easier to add even more principles to the gaping mouth of our container.  The more we fill, the better it goes.

I shared my new insight with my kidlets (who responded with various levels of interest or eye rolling), but I wasn't so much the teacher this morning as the teachee.  It was a good lesson, and something I want to do better.  I want to seek out all the best leaves and plop them into my sack one by one until I am firm and founded and no longer affected by the winds of judgment and attitude and arrogance and drama that blow around me (and hopefully, I won't bet adding to that wind either).

It was an unexpected lesson, but one that I'm glad I got (even if not all my babies felt the same way about it).  Who knew I'd be learning from leaves today.  

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Coming Home

This past few months has been a whirlwind of events and emotions.  It hasn't exactly been easy or comfortable, but most worthwhile things in life really aren't either of those.

It was unexpected when we felt so strongly that our family should move from our home of nearly 15 years.  It was unexpected when our West Valley home sold quickly and we hadn't found a new house. It was unexpected when we moved in with my brother and his family (they could not have been kinder) and lived with 14 people in his house for six weeks.

But after walking through more than 60 houses, we finally found one that was what we wanted for our family (honestly, there actually had been a few others, but the market is a little wild and several times we came to find that homes were under contract when we attempted to put a bid on them).

Josh kept reminding me that we needed to look at everything that was happening as an adventure so that we (really, just me) wouldn't get depressed and frustrated.  He is always so good to keep me focused.  No wonder I keep him around. 

Anyway, FINALLY, we found just the right fit.  

So after all the paperwork and market mess and ups and downs of a ghastly process, we were able to bring our family home.

We moved into our house on October 28, just in time for trick-or-treating in our new neighborhood.  Our four youngest children started in new schools on November 1 which has been a difficult adjustment.  However, they are doing well, making friends (there are a lot more kids that live nearby), and learning to love it here.  

This change has, overall, been a beautiful thing.  I feel so very blessed.  Our new home is a much better fit for our plus sized family.  The living spaces allow us to breathe a bit and not be quite so cramped (although we were always cramped and happy before).  In so many ways this house is exactly what we hoped for and it gives us many things we didn't even realize we wanted.

But not everything has been a perfect fit (because in life that nearly NEVER happens).  We needed more storage than the home provided so we assembled loads of storage shelves for the garage and storage room.

And our couches simply could not make this turn at the bottom of the stairs.  Oh did we ever try (the proof is in the nicks on the walls).

Sadly, in the end, it was not to be so our previous couches went to a wonderful new home (where they will be very very happy) and we spent time in quite a few furniture establishments before we found the newest lumber and fabric member of our family and brought him home.  This tender, cudly gentleman comes to pieces and can maneuver even our tricky staircase and so he now resides in our basement (where he loves company and crime shows).

Along with a wonderful house, we also inherited a wonderful yard which boasts many wonderful trees which (in turn) drop their wonderful leaves all over the place (it being fall) so our new home has an instant supply of work for our children (and, to be honest, that doesn't make me sad).

Thankfully, they've had a good attitude about the whole ordeal and have made the best of it.  Who knew they had closet raking skills?

It warms my heart that this place is quickly becoming home.

Our children have added their touch to all the nooks and crannies.

Ellie's room would not be complete without her mail box.

And our family personality (which can be fairly energetic and maybe a tiny bit raucous) still manages to shine through.

You know the boys feel right at home because they've already become comfortable enough here to forget all about the importance of tidiness (to my eternal chagrin...sigh).

All in all, things have gone very well.  We have been blessed by good friends, good neighbors, and amazing family to help us make it through this entire process and support us when we needed it (and a HUGE thank you to ALL of you, you don't know how much we appreciate you).

In truth, this is an adventure that I thought would be over when we finally found a place to live.

But I was wrong.

When we found a place to live, that was really when the adventure began.

Welcome home, DeMoux family.

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