Saturday, August 31, 2013

Both Ends of Murdock Trail

I had given up on a super long bike ride this year because I've been busy focusing on other things and biking wasn't part of my daily (or even weekly) routine and I'm a sissy and doing long hard things all at once without preparing isn't really my cup of tea.

And with no super long bike ride I didn't really see myself at both ends of our trail. Because...lame.

But 2 weeks ago Josh and I were going to see a movie and had a spare hour before we left, so he talked me into going for a bike ride. So we rode. And rode a little further, and then because the boys were happy we did a little more.

Until we were got to the place where the trail turns into Art Dye trails instead. Since we were kindof in a hurry (movie, hot date, no kids, babysitter, these are not things you pass up in my world) we headed turned and biked our little tails off on the way back.

Then all of a sudden I was accidentally halfway to my goal. Where one trail ends, another begins, and since we were at the beginning of the Art Dye trails, that meant the end of Murdock! I'd seen one end and all I had to do was reach the South end.

On Thursday when it was time for Tommy to go to school, he vetoed the scheduled bike ride to get him there and opted for he and I to walk alone while Daddy and Little John went for a bike ride. And when you have a bike trailer with just one non-fighting baby, you just go and go until the end of the world happens. Which is how Josh found the OTHER end of the Murdock trail, which really isn't that far.

So on Friday morning, I was convinced that we'd all go for a ride to hit the South end of the trail and unexpectedly meet my goal and feel all sorts of cool about myself.

So we threw the kids in the trailer, and headed up death hill to the trail and went on our merry little way.

Before I knew it we were at the end of the trail. An easy and quite enjoyable ride. (Said the girl who wasn't hauling an extra 55 pounds of kid in a parachute behind me.)

At the end of this trail, there is a busy road (800 N), then .8 miles before the next rail (Provo River Trail) starts. I vetoed the "ride along the busy road to see the next trail" idea and we called this the end. Which I think it technically is. 

On our way back I was on a "I did an awesome hard thing!" high and started talking about how we could probably go down to the other end today too, and see it all in one day and how cool that would be.

Josh cringed while I talked about it, and the boys screamed and poked each others eyeballs and started jerking the trailer back and forth and the decision was made. We wouldn't do it.

But then Josh had a brilliant idea. He'd take the whiney kids home and I'd hit the other end of the trail so I could feel all cool and stuff.

Long before we got home my butt reminded me that I was ill-prepared for this ride and I started second-guessing this brilliant idea, but Josh encouraged me and when they left I continued down the trail.

When I got to the Art Dye sign I was unreasonably proud and excited. Because BOOYA! I nailed it!!

And then on my way back I saw that I didn't nail it at all. I didn't stop to take a picture, because the sign nearly brought me to tears. Murdock Trail goes on another 10 miles before meeting up with Jordan River Trail. It just overlaps with Art Dye for a little while too. So I felt like an idiot (I knew that - DUH!) And hurried home so I could get ready for work knowing full well that I didn't have time, energy, water, or desire for another 20 miles.

So I came home and did some research. The Murdock trail goes 17 miles total. That day I did 20 miles (because of the back and forth) and I still haven't seen the 10 miles at the North end of the trail. So, I suppose that counts as an epic failure, but I totally nailed the long bike ride which is the part that was easiest to give up on for me.

Maybe another day I'll do the North 10 and enjoy it. But technically this is a big fat failure. *sigh* There's always next year.

Friday, August 23, 2013


I know a lot of people who I seriously love and whose opinions I value who really don't love the scouting program. And I can see why, it's expensive and time consuming and not very likely to be successful. But Josh really loves it, and that makes me love it. 

Though spending $50 on an ugly shirt and spending an unreasonable amount of time sewing ugly patches to that ugly shirt is not my favorite hobby, I am a tiny bit unreasonably proud that I did it all by myself (with Charisse....thanks Charisse). 

And then I posted a picture on Instagram and my Aunt Sharon informed me (that's right, informed, not reminded) that in 4 short years I'll sewing patches onto Tommy's ugly uniform!!!! Which immediately launched me into the spiral about how 4 years after that he'll be all Deacony and 4 years after that he'll be driving around and hating my guts, and 2 years after that he'll serve a mission and before I know it I'll be the MIL reading posts about how his wife is sewing patches on his grown-up Scout Leader shirt. Now how's that for messed up?

Currently. Not. Blinking. (Except when I want to.)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The One Where Tommy Goes to School

As you may remember, Tommy was born in October which means he just misses the school deadline and will be old in his grade and young in his church class. Although he thinks he's "already 4" he's actually 3 and this was his first of 2 years of preschool.

I registered him last week when we finally stopped being afraid to commit because we realized school starts now.

Yesterday we went to meet his teacher and today he started class for the first time.

Yesterday we were probably the first ones there and when they asked him to find his name on the wall he froze. It said "Thomas" and the name he sees all the time and recognizes as his own is "Tommy" which he knew how to spell because we sing the letters to Bingo. "T.O.M.M.Y. and Tommy is my name-o" But then he started singing it faster and faster and now it's "T.O.N.O.Y" which is cute enough that I haven't tried hard to correct it.

Anyhow, he didn't see Tommy or Tonoy on the wall so I told him to find the one that starts with T and ends with S. After a bit more prompting he finally found it. I was surprised he had such a hard time finding it - but I don't really know if he's ever seen Thomas written out before. So, I guess we'll check off one thing learned in Preschool this week!

I was proud of him for being brave and amazed by how old he seems lately. He gets more and more capable every time I turn around.

After registering him for school last week I took him shopping for a backpack. For some reason I thought it would be hard for him to choose, but he took about .4 seconds to decide he wanted the Transformers backpack with flashing lights in the eyes. Awesome.

And since he loved it he wanted to make sure it was part of our first day of school photo shoot. Wherein Tommy played the role of director.

Cue pictures.
Hey T. It's upsidedown!

Muuuuch better - but I can't see your face!

Or my backpack!

Lookit' my cool transformers backpack!

And don't forget the garbage too mom!

And what about your face too mom?
This boy. I just can't tell you how I love him. It wouldn't be fair to try.

So why was I shocked when he jumped out of the car and I bawled like a baby?

There we were having a great time, talking about school and teachers and cool new backpacks and suddenly his teacher came out and he couldn't take his eyes off her. And when I opened the door to let him and his giant empty backpack jump out of the car he didn't even hesitate. He ran straight up the driveway, and turned around for a millisecond to wave goodbye and sign peace out.

I watched his empty backpack bounce up higher than his head and I couldn't stop the tears though I tried to smile through them as I waved to his teacher and drove down the road. They took me by surprise. I didn't expect to miss him or feel so proud.

But there I was - the pajammaed mom dropper offer sobbing over the loss of this baby.

And beaming with pride for this one.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Reilley Reunion

If one weekend (Wednesday - Saturday) doesn't give you your mountain fix I highly recommend spending the next one in the mountains too. Because lookit.

Josh's step-dad's family had a big fat reunion up East Canyon and we were excited to join them!

I've never spent much time with the Reilleys, we go to big stuff (weddings, funerals, Christmas parties) when we can, but they are typically short, and crazy, and all of Frank's siblings look the same (Chris.....Ryan.....) and have the same name (Kari, Carrie, Kaylee) and frankly I can't keep the straight and that's embarrassing. 

The good news is that with 2 whole days I was bound to figure out who was who.

The other good news is that since Frank (Grandpa Reilley to my boys) has 2 brothers who may as well be his twins. And since Little John has a special love for Grandpa Reilley it was like buy one Grandpa get 2 free! 

Friday night as we were all singing around the campfire, John wanted nothing to do with snuggling on my lap and went in search of his one true love. He wound up on Chris's lap (or was it Ryan? See? I still can't tell...) and happily snuggled in for about a half hour. When Chris got up to chase his own kids and passed Little John to Grandpa the look on John's face was priceless. "Wait a minute...if you're grandpa, and YOU'RE grandpa...... TWO GRANDPAS!!!!!" He snuggled right back into Frank and went to sleep. 

In addition to that evening Grandpa had a shadow almost the whole weekend. Fortunately he's a good sport and managed to seem unannoyed by the extra (adoring) baggage. 

This is John learning about life from Grandpa Reilley.
This is John chasing Grandpa "ohm-pa! ohm-pa!" and blowing him kisses to lure him back.

Tommy on the other hand, simply couldn't be torn from the playground.

Side note: "camping" is a relative term here. We slept in a tent and cooked over a fire. But there was a swimming pool, a playground, a mini golf course, tennis, and trailer hookups & condos at this same resort. I'm still not really sure how to camp in that environment - it's a very strange mix for me. But I will say that buying ice in your campsite seems like a really great idea.

He ran the slides, the climbing walls and the swings straight into the ground trying to keep up with his sort-of cousins who he deemed "a little-bit they are". Because the response to "is that blue guy my cousin?" is "a little bit".

Tommy has recently discovered the joy of "swingin' that thing around like spinning and puking on your tummy". 

He's still working on the concept that everybody has a name and doesn't just go by the color of their shirt that day. He still thinks that his friends in the neighborhood Cole & Payton are "that blue guy and that red guy" because that's what color their shirts were. Since he'll only see these "little bit cousins" once a year, and his parents can't keep track of their names, I think we might embrace the shirt-naming theory. 

The Reilleys can be an intimidating clan, but sitting around talking with The Moms (which group I was easily adopted into since I didn't have my swimsuit) quickly assured me that these are some of the most real and lovely people I'll ever have the pleasure of knowing.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Alexander Lake

There is a secret in the mountains for Josh and I. It is a place of peace and refuge. And not in the tree-hugging-hippie-way. Or maybe it is.

Life here is stressful because I'm a stress-case. Life there is slow and calming and peaceful because things are filthy and the agenda is to sit around and I am capable of letting it all go.

Life here is chores and meetings and seeing people.
 Life there is family. Just family. 

Life here is gardening and weeding and harvesting.
Life there is effortless beauty with no gardener. 

Life here is "why aren't there 2 shoes that match?"
Life there is "pick a life jacket from the pile and enjoy".

Life here is bedtime and routines. 
Life there is late night campfires, sunsets & snuggling.

Life here is safely, carefully, and cautiously.
Life there is choosing and throwing anything you want.

I know it's possible to chill out in civilization - but until I learn that skill, I'll settle for regular sanity-saving trips in my very favorite places. 

This year's trip to Alexander Lake included 26 humans. 12 of those are adults. The oldest grandchild is 13 years old. Go ahead and tell me how awesome we are and I won't tell you how the 10-13 year olds are really the best child care on this planet.

This year was a bit different because we didn't get our "usual" spot - something about an entire scout troop not wanting to sleep with 16 babies. Whatever. Sissies. Though I will say we were all glad for the distance when their bugle call sounded at 6:30am. 

Camping in a different area on the lake was fun, a different "beach" different trees to sit on and different kitchen situation. Though I miss the giant rock tables in the usual place. 

The boys did relatively well, though sitting around the campfire listening to scary stories about murder and monsters wasn't really their cup of tea. It will be when they're older and they'll be glad those stories are familiar to them because their mean mom wouldn't let them wander into the dark woods alone.

The thing I really hope they learn though is about loving these mountains. And all the others too. I hope they are always content to sit and throw rocks for hours at a time watching the ripples and looking for the next big splash.

Friday, August 16, 2013


Now that Little John climbs AND eats AND sits wherever he wants he is a whole new kind of happy.

Pen Pals

Stella has cool parents who helped her mail Tommy a letter.

He couldn't believe that it "magicked right into our mailbox" and he simply refused to believe that the mailman (who we've never seen here) knows Stella.

He carried this picture around for a good hour, then decided to put it on his wall.

Tommy has become very aware of the camera.

He had a tiny panic attack when I suggested we color a picture to send back to her.

The boy hates to color. I mean he really really hates it. He is convinced he can't do it and he is the reason I know all the inspiration speakers who swear that "in kindergarten everybody is an artist!" are lying. Anyhow, his lack of coloring confidence breaks my heart because my own lack of confidence has seriously hindered some fun in my life. But I figure pushing him to do something he hates won't help, so we mostly just do other things.

But when a girl sends a gotta return. So I asked him what he wanted to color.
Iron Man. (duh)
and ALLLLLL the Squadies (duh)
So we printed a picture of Iron Man and decided to start there.

I got out the crayons and started to fix dinner hoping he'd just take it upon himself.

One straight line through the middle of the page and he started to weep.

I sat with him and we (I) colored and talked and finally it got to the part where he'd write his name. He wrote a T then turned the page over and dictated a story he wanted me to draw AAAAAND write.

I should have taken a picture. That was quite the story. I'm not sure he even knew what was going on - but it is clear to me that this boy is a story teller and not an artist and I love that about him. He's a happy-little-stress-case-talker-not-drawer like me.

Though he lacked confidence that the mailman would bring a letter FROM Stella, he was well aware of the mailman's ability to take a letter TO Stella, so back in the box it went.


Remember how funny it was when I was worried that Tommy would be born on Halloween?

Then remember how I sortof didn't notice that John was born on Halloween because I was all excited that it was on Monday instead of Thursday?

Perhaps it's because really they're both Halloween babies on the inside, or maybe because I neglect Halloween in favor of Little John's birthday. Either way we celebrate Halloween year round around here.

Come to think of it we also celebrate Christmas year round.

I suppose we're just not so great with calendars. What with turning the pages once a month and's a lot of work.

We are frequent library patrons and my boys just happen to gravitate toward Halloween books. The love the "kitty" on the spine (which is really an ugly black Halloween cat) and they love to say "boo!" and they love to walk around with blankets draped over their heads pretending to be ghosts. They love to sing about the "mean old witch mama with a HAT!" They love to look at pumpkins and to sing about spiders. They are lovely little Halloween monsters children.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

That Lady

I've become that lady.

The one with all the oversized zucchini I can't get rid of. 

Plus I have 2 kids and walk out of sacrament meeting sweating like ''ve been wrestling alligators for 75 minutes. 

And I know how long sacrament meeting is because I count down the minutes until Primary.

Then I sneak into primary and cry happy tears over my adorable child laying on the floor pretending to be a "little seed lying fast asleep" before he bravely marches to the front of the room to repeat the words of his simple prayer straight into the microphone. 

Tommy & his cousin Daniel who bonded during church on Sunday
Weird how fast that happened huh?

Monday, August 5, 2013

Oh Little John

Little John has recently hit that age.

The one where he knows how to ask for something and expects to get it.
The one where if he doesn't get it he goes for it himself.
The one where he spends half his life on his knees burying his nose in the floor weeping because his mean-old-mom said no about the 50,000th glass of strawberry milk.

He's interested in things. And he experiments. And he does things.

Like today when he must have wondered what 2 boxes of bandaids & luke-warm water make.

Answer: soggy useless bandaids.

In other news he can open the fridge and the freezer by himself. Also he has mastered the art emptying pretty much every drawer/shelf/bin in the house.

Go Little John!
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