Thursday, August 20, 2015

Las Vegas Trip, June 2015 (NO KIDS!)

Darren's work sent him to Las Vegas the first week of June for an HP conference.  They gave him a room at the Venetian and paid for his airfare and his food.  How could I not tag along?  Mom came and watched the kids (she really is a saint) and off we went.  I loved the fancy room and the fancy bathroom and the fancy ceilings in the fancy hotel.  We walked around and saw other fancy things in other hotels and ate great food (hello Bellagio Buffet!).  But my favorite day was the second day we were there.  Darren had meetings all day, so I slept late, took a leisurely bath, picked up a fresh almond croissant and fresh squeezed orange juice from downstairs, and took my food and my book up to the pool.  Where I sat in the sun, ate my food, and read my book.  No one talked to me.  No one needed anything.  I did exactly what I wanted (which was not much) when I wanted (which was most the day).  I put on a shirt and shorts to join Darren and a coworker for lunch at a burger place in the hotel and went back out and did the same thing until it was time to get ready for dinner.  If I got too hot, I got in the pool and swam a lap or two without a child hanging on me.  Then went back to my lounge chair to pick up where I left off.  Pure bliss.  And hanging out with Darren when he wasn't in meetings was fun, too.

You know what that is?  It's a ceiling to floor chocolate waterfall.  That's what I need in my house.

This is so typical Darren on a vacation - taking a gazillion photos of everything, but only 1/4 of them have actual people in them.

This is the lobby of the Venetian.  Crazy beautiful.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Noah in the Night

I have to skip all the posts I still need to do for the summer and record what Noah said last night.  Noah is my nighttime mover and talker.  He gets up if his water bottle is empty or if he needs some company or if his bed is too hot.  When he is asleep, he rolls from side to side and shifts all night long.  Sometimes he laughs in his sleep, sometimes it's just mumbling, sometimes just noises.

He has apparently been having bad dreams lately.  Sometimes he will come into my room saying he had a bad dream, so I let him get in with me for awhile.  Then he tells me he is ready to go back to his own bed, and goes and gets in bed by himself.  While we were in Star Valley last weekend, all sleeping in the same room, I heard him talking in his sleep, saying, "Go away bad guy," and whimpering.

Last night, I was downstairs, up late watching a new tv show, and Noah came down and worriedly asked,
"Is my skeleton coming out?"  My show was a bit creepy (witches and vampires and such) and so I was taken back by his question.
"Coming out of where?"  I asked, trying to understand.
"Ummm, did you have a bad dream?"
"Yeah.  First there were fishbones coming out of here (he pointed to the end of his fingers), and then my bones started coming out."
He didn't seem too scared anymore, but I was a bit scared now.  So we walked upstairs, turning the lights off behind us and I laid in bed with him until he said he was ok and I could go get in my own bed.  Poor guy.  Weird dream.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Saturday "Projects"

Darren loves to do "projects" with the boys on Saturdays.  He gets them all excited to help him do things - clean the shed, fix a shelf, pick up the toy room, mow the lawn, empty the garbages, and other manly things dads and boys do on Saturdays.  Davis writes a list in the morning and they work their way down the list.  And then, the reason they go along with it all, he takes the boys to Maverik.  It's only about a mile away, but it takes them at least 30 minutes, sometimes longer.  He lets them choose a fountain drink and add flavor shots.  They browse the cool candy toy things with parts that move or light up.  No mom their to hurry them along.  They all love it.

One drizzly Saturday morning in May, one of their projects was cleaning the golf clubs (both Darren's and Davis's).  Noah was just there for the company.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Music and Dancing

We love music.  And dancing.  Often I turn on the songs on my phone, put them on the speaker we have, and we all rock out in the kitchen.  Our current favorites: Honey, I'm Good, Let It Go, I Like to Move It, Wagon Wheel (Noah calls it the horse song), Roar.  Even Eva dances.

Eva and Noah also like to play the piano with me, one on each side as I try to play an actual song.  It usually turns into a rather chaotic mess, but they love it.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Davis and Karate

In April, we signed the boys up for karate, twice a week.  Davis picked it up very quickly.  Noah did not.  He loves fighting "karate" style at home, but didn't love listening to the sensei and following directions.  So Noah quite after a month.  Davis, however, is still doing and loving it after 4 months.  Every class he gives it 110% and listens well and does his best to learn the new moves and remember the katas and combos they learn.  In June, he took his belt test and was awarded his yellow belt.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Memorial Day Weekend, May 2015

As I looked at and edited the pictures from this trip to Ferron over Memorial Day Weekend, I was very aware of the blessings that tradition and family bring.  I don't know when the Ralphs began gathering in Ferron on Memorial Day to put flowers on the graves.  We have gone down as long as I can remember.  Grandpa Max made sausage gravy at his house and Aunt Tauna made the biscuits at her house and we all crammed together at Grandpa and Grandma's house for breakfast.  I would eat as many biscuits with gravy as I could stuff in, then one more with Grandma's homemade jam on it.

I loved when my aunts and uncles went out to the old white shed behind the house and got out the flower baskets and started cutting irises and stems of green leaves from the lilac bushes out back and stems of small white flowers for filler on the side of the house.  I loved being given the chance to put a flower or two in the basket and be part of the whole process.  Once at the cemetery, the kids, (myself included) were tasked with carrying the cut clothes hangers and pushing them into the ground to hold the baskets of fresh flowers and the mums, and with carrying the water buckets and making sure everything was watered well.

It is still the same, decades later.  Baskets are pulled out, flowers cut (sorry about the irises, Mom!), aunts and uncles (and me!) doing our best to show the love and respect we have for the people whose graves the flowers will go on.  Grandma Elaine always gets the dark purple irises Uncle Stewart brings from home.  They were her favorite.

A tradition such as this one, of remembering our connections with the present and the past, help anchor us.   We remember who we are and what we are a part of.  Grandpa Elaine passed away when I was about 13 and I don't remember her at the cemeteries with us, but I feel her presence so strongly each year as we put together the baskets with the flowers and plants she grew at her home when she was alive.  I remember Grandpa Max hoisting himself out of the car and sitting on a folding chair, overseeing the work on Grandma Elaine's grave and those of his siblings and parents.  I remember Dad leading the way, sometimes with Robin or Randal or Stewart reminding him of details he missed, telling the family lineage and where the people came from and their history.  I hope he continues for many, many more years so that my children can hear the stories of their ancestors.  And so that we of the next generation will be able to someday tell our grandchildren the stories as we place flowers on the graves.

This year, we were lucky to have Grandma June visiting Mom and Dad.  I was grateful to have her there because my kids haven't had the chance to get to know her well because Arizona is a bit of a drive from us.  Eva smiled at her, Noah talked to her, and she taught Davis how to play Skip Bo (and he taught Grandpa Michael how to play when Grandpa had to take Grandma's place for a few minutes).

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Spring At our New House

We have large flower beds in the front of our new house.  As spring came this year, new flowers and green leaves started coming up out of the dirt.  Because we bought the house in the winter, I had no idea was to expect, and as more came up, I had no idea what was the start of a flower and what were weeds.  The first to come up, in February,  were some cute little purple flowers.  Then lots of yellow daffodils, then lots of yellow and pink tulips.  After that I had to just wait and see what bloomed and what didn't.  Now, in mid July, I have watched where nothing was to now where there are great blooming bushes of purple flowers, healthy daisies, lilies, and many other flowers I don't know.  I finally figured out what to pull and what to leave.  And I love my flower beds.  They are a lot of work, but I love being outside, surrounded by such beautiful color!

When spring came, I put out my yellow flower wreath, near the front door.  We watched as a sweet mama bird and her mate made a nest in the wreath and laid baby blue eggs.  After a few weeks, the eggs hatched and we got to watch them grow up.  The parent birds became part of the family and we would watch them out the window as we ate our meals  One day, the baby birds flew away and the mama and daddy birds came back to the nest over and over for a day or two, looking for their babies.  It was a neat experience to see the whole cycle, but I felt sad for the parents who didn't know they had raised the babies well enough that they flew away to live their own lives.  I suppose that is what we are all trying to do, and it will be sad when my babies grow up.  One day they will be grown and gone and I will walk through their rooms wondering where the time went.