Thursday, July 1, 2010


I just finished my last two ball teams, have made my last deliveries and have no plans to touch my computer for weeks, or to visit Costco photo center for at least a week :) One more screw-up from Eric at Costco might be grounds for a throw-down! Don't make me jump that counter-top!

This month has been packed full of Tee Ball and Softball games. Tee ball is soooooo not my favorite, but our little team is pretty cute. They try so hard. Gage Loves it this year, so I guess it was worth having Derek coach one more year. We Pinky-swore we would not get suckered into doing it again. Gage is usually a dirt kicker, but this year he has become really competitive and want to tag everyone out. He is a good little hitter and in his own mind, it is fully necessary to slide into each base. Bless my soul We need to do a TIDE commercial. His baseball pants are never going to be white again. Anyway, He DIGS it. He keeps score in his head and of course, our team is always kickin' BUTT. ( We need to work on that counting thing over the summer :)

Mady has overnite morphed into an amazing little softball-ER. SHe Kicks Butt as a pitcher. Derek LOVES it. He has the Perma-smile on while she is in action. She is fairly consistant and does a great job. She is a great athelete (and she totally got her athletic abilities from her mama :) ... as if. ) She has been in perpetual motion since about the end of April as we have triple-timed softball and 2 dance classes, practices and games. Needless to say, she sleeps really well lately. Bless her heart, if I could bottle all of her energy, I would be rich :)
This last week, they had their tournament. They went into it in 7th place and ended up 4th. THey were kind of in a batting slump so we expected them to be eliminated after 2 games. We were all pleasantly surprised. It was a fun season. I am however soooooo glad not to hear their crazy cheers until next season! WOW! THUNDER, THUNDER, THUNDER-ATION... WE'RE THE BEST TEAM IN THE NATION!!

Mady had 3 routines in the recital. It was a mad house trying to get her in the right costume at the right time and in the right place. I missed parts of her routine because I was running back and forth from the costume room to help her. NUTZ.

We took a trip to Salt lake to visit with our friend - Orthopaedic specialist, Dr. Smith. Apparently there is really nothing that can be done about Brennan's scoliosis. He just needs to stay active - we are really happy to get to pay $500.00 for him to tell us that. I am pretty sure that man makes a hundred dollars a minute. ok maybe $90 dollars a minute. We were in that room about 6 and a half minutes. I am CLEARLY in the wrong profession. Funny... he wants us to come back in six months for a recheck... Well, he can re-check THIS! We are happy to know that he can be as active and involved as he wants to be. He is looking forward to football season. He has been busy mowing lawns for his dad and doing odd jobs. I don't know that he loves working so much, but I think he is finally deciding that having money to spend is pretty darn great, so he is getting the work concept.

Chloee... sleeping. potty trained. sweet & sassy. Gypsy! She has found a new little friend across the street. Brooklyn. She thinks it is pretty great to sneak off and play. Before when it would get quiet at our house, I would run to see what she was in to.. well now when we don't hear her we have to scour the neighborhood because she quietly opens the door and runs out to play. She loves to ride her bike with training wheels. She loves dresses and twirly skirts. SHe is too funny... she wants to brush her own hair and has this funny little "ratting" motion that she makes with the brush. She says some of the craziest things... she hates to be teased... Brennan loves it, so there is constant chaos.

We have finally made it through her dance class. Never again. She does not love ballet and tap.. and neither does her mama. I am waiting until we can get her in an afternoon class because 10 am nearly kills me. She was funny to watch in the recital. SHe didn't know her dance that well, but gave it her best. Whew. We made it through the recital and all of that craziness. She didn't want to do her second number, but decided she would because both of the grandmas were in the audience watching her. What is it about a 4th kid that is so insane?

On the 19th, Dena and her family came back to visit. We have had fun staying up late visiting, playing, watching movies and such. We all went for Mani's & Pedi's the other day... good times. We spent last weekend at the Aberdeen Marina and campground. I am thinking that is one of my new favorite spots. CHeap. Close. Grassy. Great dock area and parking. THe water is still really cold but not as cold as I expected it to be. THe weather has been unusually cold & Rainy all spring. The reservoir is the highest that I have ever seen. CRAZY! MY kids love boating and being pulled in the tube. They had a blast with the cousins. Gage is our newest die hard... and yes, we finally got Mady to ride in the tube. SHe has been so scared to ride in it - I think mostly she is afraid of being dumped in to the water. THis is our 7th summer with that boat. ONe of our most excellent purchases EVER. Brennan thinks he should get double the turns that anyone else should have. What a turd! If he can't stir things up or tick someone off, he just isn't happy lately. ( IT is a gift from the Ratliff side... I admit it :)

As the month rounds third base and heads for Home, I am grateful to have a minute to take a deep breath, grateful for full nights of uninterrupted sleep, happy to spend time cleaning up our piggy hole house ( I swear it has never been in such horrid shape) glad to have time to catch up the laundry, and love that the weather is finally warming up - Yes, I am getting a tan. I am about scarry as nothing else in a bathing suit, but tan fat is for sure better than white fat! We are headed to Twin Lakes this weekend for a couple of days of R & R with dear friends... Friends are the Family we choose for ourselves. What is not to smiLe about?

May-Be Not...

It is the truth. May flew past. There is truth to the saying "Time Flies"... when you are having fun, but especially when you are super busy. I am slowly recovering from the FLAT SPot on my rear after a month of Photo Shoppe-ing. I am still neck deep in softball pictures and we still have half of the rec center to take and "SHoppe" Wow.

We did manage to go camping over the Memorial HOliday. Derek thinks he can predict the weather and apparently, I am the only one who thinks a 40% chance of showers means that it is going to rain! He eventually convinced (hipnotized) everyone that the weather was going to be fine so we all drug our rigs up the mountain. It had rained several days during the week so the roads were greasy & squishy! A 40% chance of showers means that not only will it rain, but it will DUMP on you for 2 days straight and that every IDIOT with 4 wheel drive will head for the hills where the mud is. What I wouldn't give for a photo of Darin Crockett's truck and 5th wheel going "DUKES OF HAZZARD" up the hill at MInk Creek to the campground. For some things there is VISa, but that was full on PRICELESS. THere is something in his mind that takes life by the horns when the rest of us know better and choose to sit on the porch. Eventually, the rain stopped and we were able to enjoy a sunny Sunday and Monday. The riding was great and as always, the scenery is breath-taking.

Friday, May 14, 2010

MAY... MAYbe I will get to do anything besides Pictures:)

This entire month is scheduled with Softball and Community Rec Dance pictures. With the exception of Fridays, 2 saturdays,and of course Sundays, we will either be at the ball park, or the rec center taking pictures of the children in this city.

Dena and Jerry were here this last weekend for ISU Graduation and Mother's Day. I thought it was a good visit. Fast and furious anyway. On Friday, we went to lunch at one of my new found HOT SPOTS! Costa Vida Baby. I am in love with a sweet pork burrito! We had a fun visit and then took mom to buy her an mP3 for Mother's Day. She wants to download the Carpenters and Barry Manilow to it! Who knew.

On Saturday, Steph and I woke up at 6:00 am to drive to American Falls for our Bountiful Baskets. I was again reminded how I hate mornings. I swear we had $75.00 worth of produce for $15.00. AWESOME.
Afterward, we went to Dena's graduation. Congrats. 20 + years to complete her degree, but she finally did it! WahOO!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

ApriL.... ALreadY???

Yeah, it has been ApriL and nearly half way into May as I write this entry :)

Things are starting to settle down around here. Thankfully. The weather is still not showing any signs of breaking for good. Still snowing... a lot... in April?

We started the month off with General Conference. Last year, Derek reserved the Kimball Condominium for us during Conference this year... amazing we even got it. That place was HoPPing this weekend! It snowed on our way to Salt Lake and again every day while we were there. BRRR! We had tickets to the Sunday afternoon session only. Dennis and Shirley were coming home from Arizona and stopped in to watch Chloee and Gage while we went to the session. 'Totally loved it! I have never seen a prophet in person. I could feel the spirit- even 30 rows back with 21,000 people in the same room. As the First Presidency entered, the quiet buzzing fell completely SILENT! I could have heard a pin drop it was that quiet! What an awesome experience to actually SEE them.

Of course the talks were all great, but I could not get over how AMAZING the choir sounded. They sound good on tv... but I am telling you. The acoustics in that center are phoenominal (-2 for spelling?) I had chills! ... and of course my tearducts were working over time. My kids think I am psycho.. ok. Derek does too. Anyway, we all enjoyed the meeting. I would love to go again.

The next week was NUTZZZ. I had 2 temple enrichment activities and a Ladies Night to prepare for. BUUUUUZZZY! I think it is kind of funny that they keep changing the name of our meeting... like it matters. Does the name of it make it any more fun, meaningful or important? NOT. Derek and I like to refer to it as THE MEETING FORMERLY KNOWN AS ENRICHMENT :)

Everyone is hanging in there.. Except me. Derek is trying to pick up some slack, where I have been so busy, but things still aren't the same. I really cannot wait until our economy bounces back. We have been so spoiled. We have had to switch into conservation MODE. We are really learning to do without, make ends meet & fix things up around here. I am not saying it has been easy, but we are doing it. I think the thing we all miss most is going out to dinner and movies. We have had to substitute them with meals at home (lets here it for the pressure cooker we got for Christmas- thanks Mom & Dad!) ,red box movie rentals, and microwave popcorn! Thankfully, we have been able to pay the bills without touching our savings. I guess that is all we can ask for. We did get an offer on the "BIG" house that we just finished in January. It closes next month. YEAHHHH! So far, no sign of a presale, but Derek has started another spec. We are keeping our fingers crossed and hoping for the best.

We celebrated Derek's 42nd Birthday on the 13th. Yes, he is getting old. We tried to throw him a surprise party, but he always has a way of ruining the surprise. He eventually found out. We made him a great GOLF cake and invited the Dyes and the Crocketts over... It ended up being moms and kids for cake and icecream. Pres. Dye was hung up in a meeting and Darin Crockett (who was just put in the bishopric in their ward) was stuck in meetings as well. So, the kids all sang Happy Birthday to him and then he went to play in a church basketball game. Eventful? NADA!

On the 16th we went to the temple with members of our Elder's Quorum. Only 4 couples went, but we had fun. Funny, what you can learn about people in just 45 minutes :)

Derek has put the trampoline back up for the season. The kids are on it Non stop! It kills Brennan's back, but he is still out there.
Bren decided not to play Baseball this year. SOOOOOOOO glad. Doing better in Math, only because Derek has had to sit down with him and spoon feed it to him. I think he is liking school a little better, but still hates to get out of BED in the morning. (GEe... ME too). He finally talked his dad into a cell phone. HE loves it.

Mady is just starting Softball. Still cheering and dancing. Always has a cloud of friends hovering. Give me strength. She has abs of solid rock from all of the back hand springs that she does in a day. SHE IS GROUCHY! She hates Brennan to tease her and has really sensitive feelings.... we can't hardly look at her without compromising the situation. WHERE is the LOVE? She is an amazing little baby sitter. SHe is also a big helper, but one of the biggest mess makers at the same time. Chloee really loves her to pieces :)

Gage is just Gage. He loves to play with friends.. ie, Max, Brayden and Austin. They all love to go to the jumps, dig and build new jumps, tear down the jumps, make more jumps, talk about the jumps... funny. He is just full on BOY. Scooters, bikes, dirt, tools, and tape. He hates school and has an excuse not to go EVERY DAY! oHHHH! My Back is killing me... I am sick...SNIFF> I have a bad head ache... I will only go if you take me to SUBWAY. SHEESH!

Chloee. MISTRESS OF DISASTER. Oh my GOOOOODNESS>. If it is quiet for more than 2 seconds we have to be on the run looking for her. SHe is either into the makeup, nailpolish or cleaning sprays, or the gypsy blood in her has again forced her to wander. We cannot keep up with her. She says and does some crazy things... ie. I'm not going to be your mother anymore (when she thinks I am being mean to her). She asks Noelle if her sister can come over to play (Reagan) She still does the "Mummy eyes" from wizards of waverly place "Your UNDAH MY POWAH". She has to bathe with anyone that takes a bath. She LOVES lip gloss and has a tendancy to get carried away :) She is just nuts. Right now her favorite movie is Polar Express. She has watched it 30 times i swear. Each time, she says. " Mom I will save you" we finally figured out that she is scared of the conductor... when she sees him, the wolves, or things get too intense, she hides under the covers. CRAZY- but she loves it!

I have been steady with temple orders, selling crafties for mothers day, spring and every other thing imaginable. (What's new, eh?) Noelle and I just found out that we got the Chubbuck Girls Softball League photography job. YEAHHH! we will be busy. There are 22 teams... I have been contacted by 3 different distant cousins on my dad's side. We have been comparing notes and trying to figure out more information about my great great grandparents. It is TOUGH. I may just be done. 5 generations might be my limit. Even though we have technology in our homes, It still takes a TON of time to search for people when you have very little information about them.

Steph and I have been couponing and have just started getting bountiful Baskets every other Saturday. It has been fun spending time with her. She is nutz!

Derek is coaching tee ball again this summer. I am hoping this will be out last go around. Steph is helping and the twins are on our team. It should be a wild and crazy summer.

We have several trips planned. I am hoping the weather cooperates. If it is too muddy at Mink Creek to ride, I am pulling my camper to LAVA and soaking in the hotpools for Memorial weekend. YEEHAW!

Friday, March 26, 2010

March Madness?

I have to laugh at all of the HUB-BUB over college basketball! Madness it right.

We started the month off with a super fun Elder's Quorum party. HOLY COW. Can you have that much fun at an ELder's Q. party? Is is legal? We played Rock Band and had Fresh Mex Food. Stick a fork in me... I am good. We got to know a few members of the ward a little better and on a more personal level. Had lots of laughs. For sure need to have times like this more often.

In January we get together with friends and sit down with our calendars to plan out our Year worth of extracurricular. On the books for March, we planned a snowmachine outing at the cabin. After much craziness, teacher parent conferences and a last minute temple order, we finally made to Island park. There is very little snow on the roads but still enough to sled around on. Our kids love this weekend. Mady and Gage both got to ride sleds by themselves this time. Too much fun. Aside from all of the cooking and cleaning, there is still plenty of fun to be had.

On the 20th, Gage received his first set of stitches following a minor run-in with his old bike. He has spent the last week over at the jumps behind our house... jumping, sliding & all other manner of craziness. On this particular Saturday, he was parking his bike, tripped and landed on the end of the handle bars. That was all it took. We spent the next 2 hours at the urgent care sewing up his cheek. He was all good with it - as long as he could get a remote control truck out of the deal!

This has been the crazyiest month for school. There have been tons of half days, days off and then SPRING BREAK of course the last week! Did we make plans? Ohhhh. YEs. We made plans. Plans to clean this crazy house. When I was growing up, My mother would tear the house apart twice a year. The minute the weather would break in the spring she would bust out the bucket of amonia water and the cleaning rags. I am not quite so regular with it , but due to the neglect the last year, it is time. We have tried to rip into at least one room each day and spring clean it. Washing walls, dusting, vacuuming, redecorating, washing bedding, etc. We have accomplished a lot, but it has not been without knashing of teeth! The kids hate it and think we are for sure the worst parents ever. They have still played with friends every day, stayed up late every night, been to a movie, have been shopping, went skiing at Pomerelle and have had time to just breathe. I am sure they will only remember the work they had to do - and when they grow up and have their own homes, I am sure they will all do spring cleaning on Spring Break too!

February FinaLLy!

According to the calendar, this was a fairly MILD month. THe weather of course is still chilly. We still have snow on the ground that hasn't melted in forever due to colder temps.

Brennan is playing basketball on a Rec team. Again, he does not love it. Derek is assistant coaching. He does not love it. Hmmm. Why are we doing it?

Mady is in a continual fix trying to Juggle her social calendar with dance and Cheer classes. This semester, she is trying Jazz/Ballet, because there were no hip hop options. Hmmm... I do not know if I like it. We will see. Ballet is one of the oldest forms of dance. Traditional. Graceful. BORING! I pray we make it through.

Before we knew it, it was already Valentine's weekend. We went to the cabin with dear friends to celebrate- our 2nd annual sweetheart sledding extravaganza. I think this is by far my most favorite weekend of the year. I do love my children, but this is for sure one weekend that I do NOT feel guilty about leaving them with a sitter - (and I swear they appreciate us more when they are without us for a few minutes) The weather was stormy but still good enough to go sledding. Thanks to the Simonsen's again for their navigation skills and knowledge of the trails. One day we are hoping to be familiar enough with them that we recognize where we are:) I still laugh at our pathetic movie projector and makeshift quilted screen setup. What were we thinking? My eyes still ache from squinting to make it seem more focused :) Maybe next year we can celebrate Valentine's day somewhere warm... with a real theater room??

Right after Valentine's day was my 40th birthday. To be quite honest, it seemed like any other day, aside from all of the wise cracks & crazy aging gifts... Steph got me the darn-dest sack of old lady items I have ever seen. It kind of looks like the crap we hauled up to Quailridge for Grandma Belva! Yeeesh! :)

Spent the day doing literally nothing important. ok... maybe I did. I took Chloee to Dance. She loved it, we had a bonding moment. although I have never been a ballerina, I love that she is having a great time and is excited to be with other sweet little 3 year olds that are having as much fun as she is....

I spent time with my sweet husband at lunch who has been with me through thick and thin this last year...

I took Madelyn to Cheer after school - it is fun to see her excel at something that I can only do on accident.... (things like the splits and stuff...) sheeesh!

Our family went to dinner tonight @ Ruby Tuesdays.... I was again reminded that it is not a bad thing to take your kids out in public once in a while so they don't forget how to use good manners and to be on their best behavior. Yeah, it is 60 minutes of pure chinese torture to sit there with them all doing whatever it is they do.... but important.

After dinner, we all went to icecream at Farrs with Steph's family... again, was reminded of an important lesson, how important it is to have a FIRE EXTINGUISHER on hand when having birthday cake for anyone over 10 years old. Damn.... that was a lot of candles. Pretty sure we could have set the smoke alarm off when we blew them out.- and it took 3 of us to blow them all out. Sick. The cake top is in shreds after removing all of those candles.

I did get a new laptop out of the whole torturous day... so it was not all bad... oh and a couple of liters of Pepsi. Only a true friend will bring you Chocolate Ganache cheesecake and pepsi for your 40th birthday :) Tiffani is pretty swell. So the day was not entirely the pits ;).

On the 20th Noelle and I took picture for a Clogging team. I did not know that clogging was so popular. Lots of kids. Lots of cute costumes. Lots of laughter... There is never a dull moment with Noelle. My sides nearly split at times laughing at her...

It seems no matter how we try, we just can't keep our house clean lately. My kids are a whirlwind of messmaking mass! They THRASH everything they look at and leave it in a state of shreds! That little poem that mentions "One day you will miss my little hand prints" CHA! AS IF. As if there were only handprints. What about all clutter and craziness? That, I will not miss.

So, I have decided that I am grateful that I am not a cleaning lady by profession. I am happy to fill in and help out in a pinch - Steph and I went to clean an apartment today after the cleaning lady quit. (Yeh. GOod move sister!) That place was scarry! We needed a stick of DYNAMITE to clear it out first so we could even start cleaning. Again, there is never a dull moment when doing anything with Steph! Is it just that nothing is funny at my house? I didn't think my life was dull or lacked humor. Apparently it is. This woman needs to be on stand up house wives - totally hilarious... for sure laughter is the best medicine while cleaning something that calibur of GROSS! Laugh or you will end up CRYING!!

I took Basketball team photos for my nephew Dallas on the 23rd. There team is undefeated so of course they think they are smokin' hot studs! Funny. 'Took some pretty cute shotz, action shotz for sports posters. They are going to love them... but what 10 year old doesn't love to look at themself doing something totally cool like a lay-up or jump shot?

The 25th was our ward skiing party. Did we have hot dogs and chili you ask... (that is a joke at our house...) Why yes, they did. Of course we had fun skiing. I am always reminded of how BLOODY OUT OF SHAPE I AM when I ski - beginning with putting my boots on. SHEEESH! Then my knees are screaming by the end of the night. WOrth it? Of course it is. Chloee skiied with Derek tonight for the first time. We thought she would be a whining mess and want to go back to the lodge after 5 minutes. SHE LOVED IT! She skiied most of the night. Amazing.
Gage is improving and BOMBS is down the hill. He gets really sick of waiting for me at the bottom. I am in no hurry to get to the bottom. I do not need to be reminded of what it feels like to "YARD SALE" it on the hill. I am good with moderate slow and steady s curves. I am completely comfortable with the fact that my 6, 9 & 12 year olds can out ski me. Most especially, I am grateful to be able to walk in the morning after it all :)

The next night, we were invited to a good old fashioned dinner party at the Simonsen Home. We are truly blessed to have such great friends & such great memories of fun times. Cooking is FOR SURE an ART FORM and a lot of work and planning! There is beauty in great tasting food & beautiful presentation, a table set with china, crystal and personalized place cards! She is an amazing cook! (totally need to raid her recipe box for Chicken Cordon Bleu, twice baked potatoes and PEACH CHEESECAKE!) Oh my! LIfe is GOOD :)

spring crafties!