Friday, December 31, 2010

Clever Words

Lincoln came up to me while I was working this morning.

Link: "Mom, can I have a piece of paper?"
Me: "You bet your biscuits!"
Link: "What are bik-skits?"
Me (pinching his bum): "These are your biscuits!"
Link (pointing to his nose): "No, this is my bik-skits."
Me (laughing): "No, silly. That's your pro-bis-cus!"

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other. ~Burton Hills

Monday, December 20, 2010

Inside his head

Lincoln asked me today, "Mom, does Jesus know we're moving?" Good thinkin', Link. Who cares about Santa these days anyway? As long as Jesus knows where we are...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A 6-Year-Old Performance

We just got home from Ethan's kindergarten holiday program. It might be the most darling thing I've ever witnessed. A stage full of children waving into a dark audience; Ethan squinting to find us, waving every time he thought he maybe he did, but never actually locating us. He did a lot of squinting and waving.

The program started at 7; my children's regularly scheduled bedtime. Ethan loves to sing, and he did so with vigor when he wasn't busy stifling back-to-back yawns. Little children are adorable. They'll boogie to any kind of music; boys poking; girls twirling; everyone enchanted with the spirit of performance.

Lyrics to the best song of the night:

Don't eat a
If you do
You'd betta
Get ready
To get a

It was not an especially spiritual program, but I am grateful for the excitement that comes alive in little children when the Spirit of Christmas settles in.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

A Love Letter

Dear Pinedale,

You have not seen the last of the me. You will stumble upon me again, a visitor to Sandy Beach during your perfectly temperate summers, an out-of-towner running in the Pinedale 10k/Half Marathon, a passer-through returning to visit a handful of the best friends I've had in my adult life. Don't forget me!

Love always,

Onward, Ever Onward

The rumors are true. We're moving - again. Greg is in Baton Rouge this weekend training for a position in Iraq and I'm at home with the kidlets packing, packing, packing. I must admit, we are really good at packing up and moving out; this will be our 13th move in the less than 10 years we've been married. However, of all the moves we've made, this will be the hardest for me. I love Pinedale. I am established here. I have fabulous friends. I love my ward. I love the schools. I love Sandy Beach.

But I'm also excited. This will be a fabulous move for our family, bringing me closer to my fellow Kemp women and my children closer to all their Kemp cousins. Oh, the fun we will have!

Monday, December 6, 2010

No more diapers

Porter is potty training. Well, really, I suppose he is already trained . . . and he basically did it on his own. We still use diapers at night - mostly because I'm a chicken - but he's been in underwear for well over a week and had only 2 wet accidents and none of the others. I have never had a child who wanted to sit on the toilet more than physically necessary, but he does. And he's picked up on all his big brothers' habits. When he's finished, he yells at me, "MOM, I'M DONE POOPIN'!!" And if you listen carefully and he doesn't know you're outside the door, you'll hear him singing or, most often, straining loudly as he chants , "I'm poopin' so we can have a jowy ranchah!"

It's nice to have a house full of underwear. Major milestone: Check.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Being the month of Thanksgiving, I decided to document 1 thing every day for which I am grateful.

Nov 1 - Ethan. He is smart and active and energetic and good. He loves to be everybody's friend. Happy birthday, buddy. You are a joy to our family.
Nov 2 - Recovering 1/2 marathon muscles and a strong body that allows me to work hard.
Nov 3 - Greg, who is supportive always encourages me to strive for more.
Nov 4 - My boys - all 4 of them - who give me reason to write, laugh, love and go crazy.
Nov 5 - Perspective.
Nov 6 - Rare weekends with Greg at home with me and the boys.
Nov 7 - To know truth and have the Gospel in my life.
Nov 8 - My parents; truly 2 of my dearest friends and greatest examples.
Nov 9 - My siblings who, in our adult lives, have become some of my favorite friends.
Nov 10 - Home. The location is always changing, but the feeling remains the same.
Nov 11 - The selfless service of my husband, brothers and all those who have given of themselves to preserve the sacred freedoms of this beautiful country. Happy Veteran's Day.
Nov 12 - Good health.
Nov 13 - Resilient children.
Nov 14 - Cold nights filled with good friends, yummy food and loud laughter.
Nov 15 - Little hands that love to hold, little lips that love to kiss and little bodies that love a good snuggle.
Nov 16 - Unsolicited apologies.
Nov 17 - Lincoln. He is sassy and independent and funny. He can melt strangers with a big, cheeked, blue-eyed glance. Happy birthday, turkey face.
Nov 18 - New adventures and opportunities.
Nov 19 - Small and simple things; they always make me the happiest.
Nov 20 - Rare movie theater nights with happy children who fall asleep before the final credits role - and washing machines for mornings after too much soda.
Nov 21 - To have survived the last 2 years with grace and guff, which would have been impossible without the love and support of family and friends.
Nov 22 - Imaginary play.
Nov 23 - To have work.
Nov 24 - Protection from the elements in a warm and comfortable home. It's -14 degrees outside.
Nov 25 - To know the value of being surrounded by good people.
Nov 26 - Porter John. He is warm and loving and resilient and funny. And he refuses to be left in his brothers' dust.
Nov 27 - My parents, again. Their wisdom, advise, guidance, friendship and love are invaluable to me.
Nov 28 - To have my tree up and the Christmas spirit settling in.
Nov 29 - Bedtime.
Nov 30 - For the diaperless family status that is looming.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Turkey Trot

With a looming forecast of -45 degrees, I decided yesterday to skip the 5k Turkey Trot. BUT, when I woke to clear skies this morning and warmer-than-expected temperatures, I couldn't resist. I ended up running in -2 degrees. I wore 2 pairs of leggings, 2 long-sleeve running shirts and my arm wamers under my favorite Lulu sweatshirt, 2 pairs of socks, gloves and a Gortex head sock. I couldn't feel my fingers or my toes and my nose quickly began dispensing ice cubes, but my numb legs ran strong enough, bringing me across the finish line in 27 minutes. And nearly an hour later, I'm still thawing.

Monday, November 22, 2010

What Am I?

It's 6:20 a.m. All 5 members of my little family are packed into my queen-sized bed like sardines. Appendages are like tentacles, nobody goes untouched. Feeling silly, dad asks, "If momma were an animal, what would she be?"

In order of response:

Lincoln: A hunkback whale
Ethan: A stinkbug
Porter: A booger.

It's good to be loved.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Happy Birthday, Link!

If you ask Lincoln how old he is these days, he will put up his fingers one at a time and tell you, "One, two, phree, FOUR!" He asked me the day before his birthday how old he would be when it wasn't his birthday anymore and when he wasn't 3. After a long discussion, I think we've finally got the concept of being 1 year older for a whole year. Lincoln loves to imagine. His life revolves around Go Diego Go these days, and you can frequently find him bossing around his Baby Jaguar (played, most of the time willingly, by Porter). He loves to draw and to sing when he thinks no one is listening. He is an independent little bugger, but for all his sassiness, he always gives double the love.

4-year-old favorites:

Color - Pink (hey - I'm just the messenger, people)
Food - Dry cheerios
Song - Angel Lullaby
Movie - Little Mermaid
Activity - Playing and jumping on the trampoline
Friend - Samantha
Thing to do with daddy - Build with Lincoln Logs
What he loves most - His stuffed puppy

Happy Birthday, Link! We love you up to Heavenly Father's power (which is, for those of you who don't know, Lincoln's catch phrase for the ultimate one-up; no one can trump it).

Monday, November 8, 2010

Happy Birthday, Ethan!

Okay, so I'm a week late, but he's still 6! Ethan really is a light to our family. He's smart and funny and goofy and handsome and full of love. I quizzed him last week about his 6-year-old favorites and this is where he stands:

Color - Brown
Food - Sandwiches
Song - Theme song from Ben 10: Ultimate Alien
Movie - How to Train Your Dragon
Activity at School - Recess
Friends - Luke and Mandy
Thing to do with Dad - Play with Boone

When I asked him what he loves most, he said, "Um . . . mommy and daddy . . . but PUH-leez don't add that on the blog!" Too late, buddy.

Another year older, smarter and, of course, sassier. We love you, Ethan!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Words To Live By

"Happiness does not depend on what happens outside of you
but on what happens inside of you;
it is measured by the spirit with which you meet the problems of life."
~Harold B. Lee

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Halloween 1/2 Marathon

Things 1 and 2

13.1 miles. I survived. But only by the skin of my teeth. Shelle and I got up just after 4 in the morning, dressed up as Dr. Seuss' "Things" and were on the first bus out of the parking lot at 5:30, shuttling us up to Aspen Grove where we proceeded to wait over 3 hours for the race to begin.
Obviously, we weren't the only "Things" on the mountain. I think there ended up being 5-6 pairs, but we definitely had the best hair!
The first 5 miles were straight. down. hill. And they flew by. At least until mile 5. I believe someone then proceeded to drop a brick wall right in front of me. It really was a beautiful run, full of panoramic views of Mt. Timpanogos and trails winding through canopies of aspens shedding golden leaves. Admittedly, though, my eyes were usually on the cement right in front of my feet. Second only to natural childbirth, this was definitely the hardest physical accomplishment on my bucket list. But totally worth it!
Awful picture, but squinting without my glasses, I'm pretty sure I was screaming silently, "WHERE IS THE STINKIN' FINISH LINE!?!?"
When we finished, we guzzled water, gobbled oranges and tried our hardest not to fall over and die. I ran on Saturday. 3 days ago. I am JUST beginning to feel less crippled and am finally regaining my ability to walk almost normally. When the race ended, I thought to myself that I would never put myself through it again. But now, 3 days later, I'm already planning to participate in next year's Halloween 1/2. Anyone want to join up? I'm already brainstorming costume ideas . . .
I hoped to finish in 1:55 minutes, thinking that was totally optimistic, best-case scenario. I ended up running 13.1 miles in 1:49:48, taking 58th place in my age group (24-29), 265th female runner and 588th overall. Considering there were close to 3000 runners, I'm feeling pretty accomplished! And Michelle beat her time from last year by 9 minutes!
Oh, and just because it deserves mentioning, the 1st place runner crossed the finish line at 1:05. Seriously? I'm pretty sure he's superhuman or something.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Moose addendum

I walked into my kitchen to work get the boys a snack, alerted to a movement outside the window above the sink. I looked and found myself no more than 3 feet away from the baby moose, standing on our deck, munching on our trees. 20 minutes later, the boys are still running from room to room to follow baby moose as she moseys around the perimeter of the house, munching on leaves wherever she goes...

Mama moose is in the neighbor's yard again. Boone spent a long time barking at them. But when baby moose could not clear the fence to get to mama and decided to stare down Boone instead, he quieted and is currently sulking in his dog house. So, when is it safe to go outside and feed the dog?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Don't Feed the Animals

I had to bring the Link and PJ in from playing in the back yard yesterday. I hate doing that, taking them out of the sunshine and fresh air and all, BUT . . .

The chain link in the foreground is the end of our yard, standing about 4 feet high. Now, if I know nothing else of wild animals, I know not to mess with a moose. Despite their gangly, placid appearance, they can be very aggressive, and at that size, I choose to avoid confrontation. This mama and baby spent the better part of 6 hours in our neighbor's yard, lounging and munching on his aspen tree, finally clearing out around dark. I love living in the wild, wild west.

Stitch-free for over 6 months? How unnatural

I'm a little behind on this post, but it is definitely blog-worthy, even if its documentation is a bit late. Last month, the week after my parents left, we went to dinner and a birthday party for some friends who lives about 20 miles south of Pinedale. Amy and Cheyenne have 2 little boys who my children adore and as soon as we arrived, all the little people disappeared to play together. They have a lab, too, so I drove Greg's truck and took Boone along for a play date of his own.
Right as we were wrapping up inside and people were beginning to filter out and head home, I heard some screaming coming from out front. As I was heading to the front door, one of the other adults carried Lincoln inside . . . his face and shirt covered in blood. Hmmm.

Turns out that when we arrived, I let the tailgate down to let Boone out and then didn't put it back up, figuring I'd have to load him back up later. The little boys were all playing outside when Lincoln came running around the truck and proceeded to partially scalp himself on the tailgate. My bad.

This is the only picture I have of the injury, all cleaned and stitched. Unlike Porter's injury, which was smack in the middle of his face, you'll never notice Lincoln's because it was right in his hairline. He's fine. No permanent damage. I suppose it was his turn for stitches since he was the only one able to avoid them so far, but I'm really hoping we've had our fill for a while. Oh . . . and I'm being more conscious of closing the tailgate these days.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Rusty Bucket Photography

So there's this girl I know. She married my husband's brother and her name is Michelle. She is one of my best friends in the world; truly my sister, if you will. And if you haven't heard about her photography skills by now, you have obviously not been paying attention. She has a little business called Rusty Bucket Photography and is absolutely fabulous.

Shelle came up to run the 10k with me last weekend (she's the rockin' gal with me in my last post) and we did a whirlwind family photo session while she was in town. She took our pictures almost 2 years ago to the day when she hadn't really started as a photographer yet, used a semi-functioning point-and-click camera and took the best family pictures we'd ever had . . . until now. This is the only picture from that photo session that I've seen - a teaser. But my whistle is wet and I'm dying to see more!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

My First Race

It's official. I survived the 10k - my first race ever! My final time was 52:49, by far a personal best! And there is definitely something to be said about the race mentality and just pushing yourself to catch one more person, and then one more. I finished 16th in the women and 34th overall, with over 250 runners! Now, I don't even pretend to imagine I'll ever win a race like this . . . but I feel great for being a newbie!

Goofing off before the race. Thanks for coming to run with me, Shelle!

Sweet success!

Sweaty and proud. Amy, Ashley (giver of the fabulous armwarmers in photo #1) and me. These are the girls who talked me into running in the first place!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Granny and Grandpaw

It's a constant in my life that wherever my parents are, I feel more at home . . . even in my own home. Mom and dad drove up last Thursday for a long weekend visit. We wandered Pinedale like tourists, ate, ran and walked the 10K route, ate, spent time in the Mountain Man Museum, ate, went to the Bar-J Wranglers show and played outside with the little boys. Yep, even Granny got on the trampoline for awhile. Oh, and then we ate some more.

Remember Porter and the banana? Well, here's the sequel.
PJ versus cantaloupe. He wins every time.
Grandpaw went with the boys to feed the horses -
but of course, he's behind the camera
Dad created portions of Michelle's and my costumes for the Halloween Half Marathon (photos to follow in October), we stayed up late playing cards and laughing hysterically about stupid things - the way you do when you're deliriously tired (which delirium sets in any time after 8 p.m. for mom and me) - and read books which led to afternoon naps on the couch almost every day. It was glorious.

Lincoln and PJ listening to silent stories at the library
I feel relatively certain that, with a little more effort on my part,
this could have been an excellent photo
As soon as the door closed behind them on their way out at 6:10 a.m. Tuesday morning, Lincoln said, "Awww. But I wanted them to stay for longer, longer." Ditto, buddy. Come back soon!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

At long last . . . Kindergarten!

I kid you not when I say that Ethan was awake and in my room at 5 a.m., ready to get dressed, eat and wait for the bus . . . which of course would not arrive for over 2 hours. Ethan has been ready for kindergarten for SO long. I even showed up after his first day to drive him home, only to have him roll his eyes at me and exclaim, "Aw mom! I thought I was riding the bus home!" which he then proceeded to do while I went back to my car and drove home without him. Nope, definitely no anxiety issues with this kid.

So many moms told me I would stand around and weep after he left. I didn't. I kept telling them I was the mom who would slow to 5 mph and tell him to jump, tuck and roll. I didn't do that either. I watched him climb, excited and ready, onto the school bus and wave at me until I was out of sight. What a happy day.


So, attempts thus far have been unfruitful in trying to get an autumn bear for Dale, BUT we've sure had a lot of fun going out with Greg occasionally to check the bait site. See if you can find all 3 boys...

Yup - Porter's favorite hiking spot is inside Greg's full-sized hiking backpack. The boys do pretty well hiking in but come time for the hike out, the little ones are pretty fried. When PJ and Link get too whiny, I monitor Ethan and Boone and Greg takes both the littles on.

I'm only occasionally disappointed that there's not enough room on his shoulder for me, too.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


I was using scissors to trim around all the little boys' ears before bathtime tonight and Lincoln was reassuring Porter that "it doesn't hurt at just tickles a little" when Ethan interjected with, "Actually, the best part is if you're real still, she won't cut your ear off!" Hmm . . . maybe I'd better trim my threats some, too.


The little boys and I went to a friend's house for dinner last night. It had rained hard earlier and PJ kept trying to escape out the back doors into the yard. To try and deter this effort, we told him that moles come out when it rains because their tunnels are flooded and if he went outside, they would nibble his toes.

He looked at me and then at his feet and then back at me and said, in his sweet little 2-year-old voice: "But I have shooooes!"

Now, it seems to me that such logic shouldn't develop until at least 3 years of age. I have a feeling he's gonna give me a run for my money, but at least he never ceases to offer up a good laugh.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Jesus and Bears

Yup, He is Lincoln's favorite topic these days. Jesus is responsible for everything Lincoln sees, whether considering a lovely flower or a dead bug. The other day we accompanied Greg to set the bait for bear season (it's Grandpa Dale's turn to bag a bear this fall) and it took a while to get out there...the last 7 miles taking over 50 minutes on a very bumpy forest service back road. Lincoln was buckled tightly, bouncing along and staring out the window with 2 uneaten chips and a bundle of wildflowers and flowering weeds in his hands. Lost in thought. "Why did Jesus make the bears so far away from our house?"

I, for one, am very grateful the bears are far away from our house. And I absolutely appreciate his sweet faith in recognizing Jesus' hand in everything.


Before I forget, I have to document 2 of my favorite things from our trek from Tahoe through Utah and finally home to Wyoming. First off, we drove 600 miles in one day. Just me and the littles. We were prepared with snacks, stories on tape, cartoon DVDs and my iPod plugged into only one ear and turned down low (don't judge). And a miracle happened. I did not raise my voice at my children once. They did not raise their voices at each other. There was no hitting, poking, whining, crying, fighting or drama whatsoever. We stopped only once to go to the bathroom and have lunch. We never stopped on the side of the road so someone could pee. If the veil wasn't drawn over my eyes, I'm sure I would've seen angels packed like sardines in the cab of Greg's truck with 30 clowns in a clown car. It was unbelievable.

Second, the 4-hour, 250-mile trip from Utah to Wyoming was not as easy. The boys were vacation fried and ready to be home . . . and who am I kidding? So was I. But Ethan busied himself in the back seat for at least 1-1/2 hours whittling almonds with the broken off top of a plastic knife. Almond shavings were everywhere and he was so proud of his end results, which looked like, well . . . almonds.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

My other home

I love going home during the summertime. My visits are always full of laughing ourselves to tears, yummy food, endless days on the beach, 30-minute hikes (accompanied, of course, by cranky children) taking 2 hours, cousins bonding, restless sleeping, shopping, the exchange of knowing smiles or eye rolling. It's completely and utterly exhausting in the best way possible. I can't really explain how I feel at home except...well, home.

Meredith, me, Mom, Lindsey

Porter, Grandpaw and the banana

Nathan, Porter, Connor, Lincoln, Tyler, Joshua

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Grandpa Great

On July 21, Grandpa Great joined his sweetheart on the other side of the veil, just 6 months after her mortality was abandoned. I've been weeping on and off for a couple weeks now, but also have this overwhelming sense of appreciation and happiness to know that he and Grandma Great are reunited, dancing together again. Just like Grandma, Grandpa may as well have been my biological grandparent. They never made me feel like I was anything less than an absolute part of their legacy.

Greg called me a few days before Grandpa's passing as he was leaving Grandpa's house for what he was sure would be his last visit. He told me he felt like he had said his final goodbye to Grandpa. I've only been part of the Kemp family for 9-1/2 years and I feel like I've lost my own grandpa. But I know that, even though I know their history through stories, Greg's relationship with Grandpa has always been a huge part of his life. More than a grandparent, Grandpa was one of his dearest friends and valued mentors.

The little boys and I were planning to visit Grandpa on the way home from our summer visit to Tahoe. After talking to Greg, I worried we wouldn't make it in time. We didn't. But I had the chance to speak with him a couple times before he went, including the morning of the day he passed. He was weak and couldn't speak, but Elaine said he tried to respond when I told him how special he was to me and much I loved him...and when Porter yelled over the phone, "I yub you Gwampa-Gwate!"

It turned out that by postponing my trip home from Tahoe by only 1 day, the little boys and I were able to gather with the Kemps in Utah for Grandpa's memorial. It was only 8 weeks after we had all gathered with Grandpa on Memorial Day, visiting Grandma under the silver oak in Provo Cemetery and appreciating the epitomizing beauty of the headstone recently erected...just waiting for the engraved date of Grandpa's reunion with his sweetheart.
The memorial service was perfect. Grandpa was not only the strong and capable patriarch of a huge family, he was an example and mentor to hundreds of people whose paths he crossed in the Church or throughout the community. He changed lives. Not just those of his family, but anyone he came in contact with. He was that man.

It was hard to say goodbye to Grandpa. Hard to understand that he wouldn't join us at family dinners or at Christmastime or host family barbecues in his immaculate yard. But I think it was harder to say goodbye to Grandma in January. When she passed, we witnessed their separation. Him without her. At least with his passing, we know they are happily reunited again, free of their tormented mortal bodies.

From Elaine's obituary: "How fitting that as we think of Wars, Veterans, Independence, and Pioneers who sought for Freedom in this month of July, that we also pay tribute to Shirl's life. He is finally free from the ravages of lymphoma. Shirl is a war veteran in more ways than one: as a sub vet, as a battle scarred heart disease and cancer hostage four times, and in one other way, as a veteran of the War in Heaven . . .

In the beauty of the lilies, Christ was born across the sea
With a Glory in his bosom that transfigures you and me.
As He died to make men holy, let us live to make men free,
While God is marching on.

Some stand out in this eternal war to make men free. Shirl D. Kemp is one who is a Family Captain of Freedom. He has been transfigured to rest in the glory of Christ's bosom. His life is a witness to the Plan of Salvation. He has become a lily of beauty in the Plan, through faith and repentance and obedience and sacrifice. He has lived to make his family free. He has loved The Commander, even the Lord of Hosts, the Savior, Jesus Christ. We salute you and love, dad. You are top side now!"

When Uncle Keith had a turn at the pulpit during the funeral, he quoted: "Life isn't over for a faithful LDS member until they are safety dead, with their testimony burning brightly." Grandpa lit a fire in all of us. It is now our job to pass that light and love and knowledge to our children. And we've got some big shoes to fill.

Sunday, June 27, 2010


Lincoln saw my belly button today and was thrilled to discover proof that I am human too.

Monday, June 21, 2010

I love imagination

Ethan's newest pet is a pink plastic fish he found on the beach last summer. It has resurfaced and now lives in a glass Ball jar on his dresser. He fed it two peices of grass for dinner tonight. Apparently the fish isn't hungry.

Friday, June 18, 2010


There is seriously nothing cuter than going to watch littles play T-ball. While those in the outfield are busying themselves with dandelions and throwing grass, those playing infield wait eagerly for the ball to be knocked off the tee, and then race toward it and tackle each other in competition like they were playing pee-wee football. After peeling the kids out of the pileup, they take their positions again, anxiously awaiting their next opportunity to be star . . . and touch the ball.

By the way, the solo picture of Ethan above was a total fluke. It was a moment of thought captured between numberless photos of funny poses and monster faces. Thank goodness for rapid fire photography!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

changin' it up

There is a reason I don't post many pictures of myself on our blog. I, like many people, have a hard time looking at myself in pictures, finding that I never look the way I envision myself. But, in the interest of sharing my new rockstar 'do with everyone dying to see it, I have finally caved. Get your fill because it will probably be a long while before another picture of me surfaces.

I've been trying to get this look for a long time, but have been unsuccessful in finding anyone who could get me here...until now. I have a new hairdresser for life! The pictures still don't quite do it justice. If you want to get a genuine feel for it, get in your car and start driving.

Welcome to the mega-blonde me

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Our newest addition

Before Dakota had been gone even a week, we were looking for another puppy. We still miss her, a fact that Lincoln reminds me of often. I thought I would be fine without another dog - the yard would be easier to play in and care for, the boys could spend time outside without being accosted by a hyper puppy, etc. But it didn't take much convincing until I was sold on the idea.

Boone was the only yellow lab pup in a whole litter of jet black siblings. He is spunky and sweet and the boys (yes, and I) are already in love. We picked him up in Utah after a marvelous Memorial Day weekend with family and he rode home in the Durango with me and the boys, who absolutely delighted at his every move.

Trying to get 5 boys to sit still for a good picture? Never gonna happen...
And . . . Greg started a new job with Questar Gas last week which finds him leaving the house at 6:30 in the morning (instead of 5) and coming home at 3:30 every afternoon (instead of between 6:30 and 8)! Are we loving the new schedule? Yes we are. This is the most fabulous schedule we've had in the history of our marriage and we're eating it up. Greg can spend more time with Ethan at T-ball (as opposed to my time spent chasing the little boys while he practices and plays), has more time for family outings, and more time to spend training and playing with Boone; not to mention that I often find myself grocery shopping solo these days while the boys play at home with dad. Wahoo!

We are happy and settled again. We are blessed with solidarity, health and perspective. If only summertime would find its way to Pinedale, I would have nothing to complain about.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

A post about a dog

I didn't even want a dog, remember? I knew I would end up feeding it and being responsible for it entirely. But I conceded. The boys wanted one so badly. Greg wanted a duck hunting buddy and the little boys went crazy at the thought of having one.

So, Greg took Ethan and Lincoln down to Utah to pick her up. They were in love at first sight. She was adorable, chocolate, soft and hard not to love. I thought she made me crazy - the cleaning up after her in the laundry room, the chewing everything in site, the jumping. But now that she's gone, I remember it differently.

Now I remember packing her around in a laundry basket in the front seat of my car when she was little. Now I remember Ethan running to hide in the tall grass and then calling to her to come and find him. Now I remember loving how she would sit at the back door while Lincoln and Porter opened and shut it 1000 times, every time wanting her to lick their hands, and every time she would. I remember loving how Greg would come home boasting about how fabulous she was when they went horse riding, never tiring, always listening. I remember my kids hating the nasty weather that kept them from playing outside with her. She loved my boys. I'm pretty sure she loved me. But I didn't know how much I loved her until she was gone. She was a lifeline for my kids, for Greg. She was a good dog. She was only 8 months old. She only lived with us for 6. But we loved her.

I used to smirk at people who act like their pets are like their children. But now I think I've had a little taste. Dakota was part of our family. I'm not sure I'm ready for another member. She will be hard to replace.

I never wanted a dog. But my boys did. And I suppose it's possible to fall in love through the happy eyes of those you love most.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Greg . . . sigh

Apparently while Greg was trying to make a repair of some sort at work yesterday, he bumped or shifted into a plastic pipe fitting which in turn cracked or opened and shot 230+ degree "concentrate" up his back and neck with some spilling over onto his chest. He called me from the local clinic to tell me he had been burned. Two things flew through my mind: First, Greg doesn't ever go to the clinic for himself, so the burns must be pretty bad; second, the tone of his voice told me that his usually very high pain threshold had been penetrated. Thank goodness for girlfriends who come at a moment's notice. I was on my way to the clinic within minutes.

By the time I arrived, Greg had already been pushed some morphine and was feeling a very slight drop in his pain. He was covered in cold towels, trying to bring down the skin temperature and give relief before more extensive examination. The diagnosis is 2nd-degree burns covering over 75% of his back, neck and a small area on his chest - about 12-15% of his body surface area. They dressed and wrapped his torso and sent him home with p.o. narcotics to try a night at home with instructions to call if it didn't go well.

We made it through the night. Greg's bandages shifted a couple of times, but overall it was an uneventful course. He's feeling woozy and nauseated, eating only a little and staying in bed with the kids locked out for fear of accidental contact with his burns. We'll go into the clinic daily for a few days for wound checks and dressing changes. There was some blistering, but overall, we're hopefully that he will have a quick recovery without any long term effects. Trying to work with the 3 littles and Greg in the other room has proved unfruitful, but I can't complain . . . because even when he's supposed to be needy and dependent, Greg doesn't ask for much.

Monday, May 10, 2010

A Bear

Yesterday was mother's day. And the, um...let's say 'most unique' gift I received was...
Yup, the carcass of a bear. I am one lucky gal. Bear season opened last weekend and Greg has been doing his darnedest to bag the "big one" pictured on the trail cam photos. This isn't that bear (maybe he's saving elusive "big one" for grandpa), but he finally bagged a good sized black bear. He got back late last night when he and his friend proceeded to "clean" and "dehide" the bear in the garage (seriously, folks. that's the prettiest way I can put it).

Greg really wanted Ethan to see the bear so I gathered Ethan and his blankets out of bed and hauled him the garage. Ethan, who was maybe at best less than 3% coherent, had to be roused several times to look at the bear. When Greg help up the head for him to see, Ethan pried his eyes halfway open with some serious eyebrow effort and said, "Oh... Hi Dakota..." and then promptly relented again to dreamland. Elaine and I were just talking last week about how Dakota has kind of a "bear" face. I am very happy, however, that I have a chocolate lab in the back yard instead of a auburn-colored black bear.
Now we just keep him frozen until we turn him into Greg's long awaited bear rug. Maybe he will find his home on our bed, with his head nestled comfortably between our pillows. Not.
Happy Mother's Day.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Happy Birthday Porter!

While there is a small (perhaps very small) part of me that sighs nostalgically at the fact that there are officially no babies in this house anymore, most of me is celebrating. With Porter's birthday comes the realization of days past: No more baby car seats, no more diaper blow-outs, no more all-nighters with new babies, no more nursing (although admittedly I miss the figure enhancement that nursing brings). Like I said, a small part of me is sighing, but mostly I just love the fact that all my children are relatively independent, play relatively well together, can feed themselves at the dinner table (when they feel like it) ... and I can sit through the last 2 hours of church and actually listen to and remember what is said.

Porter is darling. He is funny and independent and sassy. He knows what he wants, won't let his older brothers walk all over him and hates to be left behind when the big boys get to do something he's still too little for. If the street is the negative pull, PJ has a positive charge built into his little body. He's really sneaky and if I don't watch carefully enough, he's in the middle of the road before I know it. He is a lover and if you find him in the right mood, he'll lounge and warm you with his charming affection. His favorite color is "gweeeeen!" and he loves to dance with me when there is music playing. And trust me - he can groove.

I have always said it's a good thing Porter was a surprise because I might still be wrestling with whether or not I was ready for a third child. He is a delightful addition to our family and we love him like crazy.

Now ... if I could just get him and Lincoln to stop their ritual of hour-long jumping on the beds at bedtime and just go to sleep ...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

More laughs from Ethan

This was from a few months ago, but the high-definition thing reminded me that I wanted to document it. We've been collecting VHS movies because they're cheap and easy to find at garage sales. Since there's no "menu" function like the DVDs, my boys have grown acustomed to watching all the previews. Regular comments from Ethan during these viewing experiences include such things as:

"Mom, is it already past the summer of 1998?"

and, my personal favorite

"Mom, we can get lots of great stuff just by logging on to!"

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Walking Advertisement

One of my girlfriends, Mandie, watched my boys while I went to spin class today. When I picked them up, she related this amusing story about Ethan, who is indeed a walking advertisement. If you want something spread, just plant it in his head, and he'll be sure to get it out.

Mandie turns on movie for the kids
Ethan: "Mandie, is this in high definition?"
Mandie: "Yes, Ethan."
Ethan: "Oh good. Because everything is SO much better in high definition!"


Saturday, April 10, 2010

house #15

It's official. We're moved in and settled. Actually, it was official almost 2 weeks ago, but we've happily adjusted to living in town again. Barring the electric fence we set up for Dakota, which worked for 2 weeks and then became obsolete yesterday (only because Greg was out of town, I'm sure), things have gone perfectly. The heating works. The water works. Nothing leaks. The internet is fast. I'm blocks away from my closest girlfriend, not to mention the rec center and studio where I've fallen in love with hot yoga. I feel settled . . . for now. Probably, we'll end up moving in another 3 months, but it's okay. I've got my boys, they've got their dog, and we're all happy. 15 homes in nearly 9 years. awesome.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Ready for kindergarten

Last week while we were moving, I spent about 10 minutes inside the local burger joint waiting on our dinner while Greg sat in the car with the boys. When I came out, Ethan announced his newest accomplishment. He could spell "missionary." I thought to myself, awesome - i'll bet he needs a little prompting, but that's a great start. I was wrong. He spelled it out for me with NO help, 2 letters at a time. While I was inside, he told Greg he wanted to know how to spell it, so Greg told him. It took a couple of minutes, but now, a week later, he can still recall and spell it on command. In fact, he knows it well enough that he can put it on paper. Yup, I'm pretty sure Ethan and kindergarten are going to get along just fine.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Moving again

Sigh. We're moving again. Truth: We are thrilled to be getting out of this house with its chronic leaks, faulty furnace, freezing floors and foreclosure status. Yep. You heard right, folks. The owner signed our lease when the house was already in foreclosure. BUT . . . the bank has been pretty accommodating. We've got a new place . . . back in town! I'm thrilled to be closer to girlfriends and summer fun. Greg is already counting the days until we move back into the outskirts of town with land for roaming. But for now, I'm determined to make the most of my time in town. And with 5 bedrooms, there's still PLENTY of space for visitors!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Gospel Perspective

During our trip to Utah, Lincoln went running towards the end of the driveway and nearly into oncoming traffic. I snatched him back (he's giggling, of course) and told him frantically: "Link, if those cars hit you, they'll smash you and you won't be alive anymore!" Lincoln looked at my sweetly and said, "Yes huh, mom. When Jesus comes again, he will fix me so I can be alive again." Perspective . . . check.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Boys will be boys

So . . . this isn't really new news, but I'm a little behind.

At the end of February, Porter was running around like a chicken with his head cut off (which is so normal) when he tripped on our terra cotta style kitchen floor. The tiles are old, rustic and not entirely flush. He face-planted and caught the 1/2" raised edge of one of the tiles. I stood to help him and saw that his nose was split wide open. Luckily, one of my girlfriends was over for dinner and she was able to help me roundup the bigger boys and get everyone down to the little clinic in town (where you have to call 911 after hours to make sure someone will be there to meet you).

After a quick assessment and Greg's arrival from work, we bundled Porter in a sheet like a burrito and held him while he screamed. He got 4 stitches and handled it like a champ.
THEN . . . 5 days later when the nurse was pulling them out one by one and his nose split open again. They applied Steri-Strip tape to his nose and told me it would stay in place for 5-7 days. Porter had other plans. He pulled 7 strips off in 2 hours. The doctor who met me at the clinic later that night was less than helpful and suggested knocking him out with anesthesia to restitch or driving to Jackson the next day for a plastic surgery consult. Seriously?
Instead, we had a brief phone consultation with a plastics doctor in Jackson who said to just watch the scar and keep ointment on it. I'm not sure if Porter's future will hold any kind of laser treatment for scarring or not, but his nose seems, at least for the time being, to be healing nicely. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Testimony: Take 2

Fast and testimony meeting came around again today . . but we were ready this time! We've been reading every day in the illustrated Book of Mormon together and talking about what a testimony is . . . and Ethan has been practicing a LOT! I told him just to say the things that he KNOWS are true. The only intervention I had to do during his practice runs was in response to his knowledge "that monsers aren't real." Try to keep it aimed towards church, kiddo.

From the moment we arrived at church, he was itching to get up for round 2. Finally, when it was time (any after I made him put his shoes back on), off he went . . . solo again.

"I'd like to bear my testimony. I know this church is true. I know President Monson is a real prophet and Joseph Smith was a real prophet and Nephi was a real prophet, and I'm trying to be like Nephi. I know that Heavenly Father and Jesus can do anything in the world. I know that my mommy and daddy love me. InthenameofJesusChristamen."

Beautiful! All it takes is a little discussion and understanding. I'm so proud.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Love like Crazy

So there's a relatively new song out by Lee Brice that I absolutely LOVE. Yes, I am a hopeless romantic at heart, but I try my best not to let it get the best of me. This song, however, I couldn't pass up. I don't always - or even often - get things right, but I do try. I'm officially adopting these lyrics as my new personal motto:

Be a best friend
Tell the truth
Over use "I love you"
Go to work
Do your Best
Don't outsmart your common sense
Never let your prayin' knees get lazy
And love like crazy

Saturday, February 27, 2010


Ethan was looking in my cupboards while I was getting ready this morning.

Boy: "Mom, when will I get to wear deodorant?"
Me: "When you get older your body will start to change. You'll get taller and stronger and hairier your voice will change. And you'll start to get sweaty and stinky for more often, which is when you'll need deodorant. It's called puberty."
Boy: "But when will that be, mom?"
Me: "It's different for everyone. Sometimes in middle school, sometimes in high school . . ."
Boy: "For me it will be in the fifth grade. Because that's when I want to get tall and hairy."

Sigh. He seems to be in much more of a hurry than me.

Friday, February 12, 2010

All you need to know about Greg, you can learn from Lincoln

Greg was holding Lincoln yesterday and Link was yammering on about something Greg couldn't figure out. He asked for my help in translation.

"Daddy, you neck is big like a giant and like Pete [from Mickey Mouse]."

the end.

Monday, February 8, 2010


Yesterday during our ward's fast and testimony meeting, I pointed out to Ethan that one of his friends from church was standing at the pulpit sharing his testimony. Ethan's eyes lit up. "Can I go, too, mom?" He was so eager, the only thing I could do was send him on his way. Since Greg was working, I stayed on our bench with Lincoln and Porter. Ethan went and found a chair next the bishop and waited for his turn. My friend in front of me turned around and said quietly, "You're brave to send him up alone!" I smiled and whispered back, "I guess this will be the test."

When his turn came, he bravely stood behind the microphone and started fantastically: "I'd like to bear my testimony. I know this church is true . . ." He looked down at me and I could see a moment of panic. He stalled and seemed unsure where to go from there. I nodded encouragement . . . and he ran with it. "My name is Ethan. I have two brothers. Their names are Ethan and Lincoln. Oh wait. I was mistaking. Their names are Lincoln and Porter. I go to primary. I have a new teacher. Her name is Michelle. And another teacher. He's a daddy and his name is Travis. I've been to their house before. They have a cat . . . no wait. They have [with finger props] TWO cats . . ."

By this time I was dying and tears of laughter filled my eyes. He was so cute and everyone was chuckling. Of course, he loved the attention. I was trying to catch his eye and get him to wrap things up, but he continued to ramble on, entertaining the congregation. I finally stood and walked to stand in front of the podium, whispering to him to close his testimony with the things he is grateful for.

"I'm grateful for church and for primary and for my family and for Jesus and for the prophet. InthenameofJesusChristAmen." What a proud and anxiety-ridden moment. I spent the rest of the day laughing with people who came up to tell me how adorable and brave Ethan was to get up by himself. I think the next time we sit down for testimonies, we'll have a brief chat about what they really are. He does have guts, though. You have to give him that. I'm so proud.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Family pictures

We hired Michelle to take our extended family pictures over the Christmas holiday. She packed up her gear and headed up to Aspen Grove for the huge undertaking. Just a couple pictures below . . . for your viewing pleasure. If you want to see more, go to Rusty Bucket Photography. More than anything, I love having updated pictures of my kids . . . especially ones that show off their individual personalities so well. Thanks and we love you, Shelle!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Woman Among Women

Barbara M. Kemp, more familiarly known as Grandma Great, passed away last Sunday. It's taken me about a week to gather my thoughts and emotions enough to formulate a meaningful tribute. I never knew my dad's parents; they had both passed before I was born. My mom's parents lived in Texas when I was growing up, and while I knew them, they were not a hugely tangible part of my life. Grandma and Grandpa Great, however, from the moment I met them, stepped into the role of grandparents to me and offered me love and encouragement as if I were truly one of their own. There is an enormous part of me that constantly wishes my childhood, too, had been filled with their presence.

In only the 9 short years I knew her, Grandma Great has been a thorough example of the woman I should be - always full of love, never quick to judge, and as mentioned by so many, she had the rare gift of making each individual who crossed her path feel like the most important person in her life.

As said by Michelle: "A wife who sang and danced with smiles and laughter...a mother cheering and supporting all the days of her life...a grandmother full of empathy and understanding...and never afraid to get a little dirt under fingernails...a great grandmother...tenderly coddling sweet newborns...yet spunky enough to chase 10 giggling toddlers at a time...a rock...a spiritual giant!"

As said by Elaine/obituary: "The sunniest peach to be harvested from Dixie's red soil . . . Barbara was hand-picked, fully ripe and sweet, and gently carried back to her heavenly home . . . [She] has plowed on through many sorrows and nurtured her husband through four near fatal illnesses. She has watered, nourished, and cultivated all who knew her till the Father, the Master Gardener, said, 'Come home.' To Barbara, a 'tree of righteousness, a planting of the Lord' and from those of us still hanging on the tree, we say, 'We love you forever, we honor you eternally, and we miss you enormously till our own harvest brings us home.'"

Grandma Great, my greatest desire is to become a fraction of the woman you were on this earth. Thank you for setting the bar so high and enriching our lives beyond understanding.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

It's such a shame . . .

that when you're 5 years old, absolutely nothing in life is fair. It must be tough.