Sunday, June 28, 2009

Another Rainstorm

Besides the obvious perks of having a really rainy spring season (yard looks great, temperatures are nice and cool, I'm reminded of living in Seattle...), one thing I really love is the look of the natural light outside after the storm--especially if the storm ended right before sunset.

Friday night was one of those stormy evenings. I had a friend in college who used to describe this kind of light by saying "ooooh, everything looks celestialized". As corny as that sounds, I think it's a perfect description! Just look at that rainbow!

With the cool lighting I decided to take some pictures of my flowers. Oh yeah, I took a few of the older 2 boyz as well.

I have not enhanced these colors at all, so fun. Here's a mini rose bush:

Red Lilies:

Crazy P-Maw and the boy who wore a Christams shirt in June:

Lavendar Bush:

My personal favorite: White Geranium. The lighting on this one rocks!

For Mother's Day I got a few rosebushes. They are in bloom and I love them. Happy Mother's Day to's the gift that keeps on giving.

Pretty sky, real purdy.

I could go on and on but I'm pretty sure you are already bored so I'll refrain.

Stay tuned for some fun pics later this week....we've painted our entire basement and carpet will be installed on Thursday morning. My house is such a huge mess right now because everything has to be out of the basement to accommodate the carpet installation. I'm seriously freaking out, I hate living this cluttered life. I keep telling myself that it will be worth it. :)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Part 2 For Parker

Because we had ordered a birthday gift for Parker online, and because it didn't arrive in time for his birthday, we decided to have a Part 2 for Parker's birthday at Wheeler Farm. We made lemonade out of lemons!

It would have been more fun if this little man would have been happier. Oh don't let the innocent look convince you otherwise, Cameron has been a full-on terror for the past few days. I told my parents today it's like having another Parker in the house. However, because it's Parker's special "part 2" post, I'll leave it at that. No negative words about the birthday boy! ha ha ha!

We fed the ducks and geese. Parker looks constipated here. Oops, I forgot, no negativity about the P-man.

Have I mentioned I'm going to miss my 4-year old Parker? I'm not ready for him to grow up and get goofy teeth and start smelling like a boy. If you grew up with brother's you know what I mean.

You know what I mean, right Mr. Goose? Oh sorry, I think I'm delirious...Sam's been painting and my house is quite fume-filled.

Here's a bunch of pictures I took while the kids were playing around. I love lazy summer evenings at the park. Lately they are few and far between so I have to capture them while I can!

Here's a classic that Sam caught with the camera. Hey Parker, ya got an itch?? Oh yeah!

Cameron loves it when I make a chicken noise. So, he was happy to see chickens. It was funny because he was making the 'cluck cluck' sound of a chicken in this picture.

Here he is telling this calf all his troubles and woes regarding growing teeth and how his gums hurt like a mother.

This sheep looks a little more understanding though. It's true, he's probably getting more compassion and sympathy from this mammal that he is from his mama. I'm working on it okay?? It's not easy for me!

But anyway, this post shouldn't be about Cameron's crankiness or my lack of motherly's about Parker. Sometimes I call him "Crazy P-Maw" Just for fun. It just rolls off your tongue. Try it!

One of Parker's birthday gifts was this crazy hose thing that sprays water everywhere. Lots of fun! Best $7 I ever spent, my kids stayed outside a good chunk of the day today playing in it. Nice!

Anyway, Happy Birthday (again) you Crazy P-Maw! I just love your guts and I'm starting to get used to the idea of you being 5. Just don't ever turn 6 okay? Okay?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day 2009

Happy Father's Day to all the Dad's and Dads-to-be!

We had a nice Father's Day. While I was making breakfast for Sam, all the boys laid in bed with their Dad.

Last year we started a new tradition for Father's Day. Here's my post from last year. Well, due to the weather (rain and more rain) we couldn't go up a canyon this year. However, we decided to keep with the tradition of tin foil dinners. Instead of an open fire, we used my dad's Grill! So good, I'll be dreaming of that dinner tonight. Thanks to my dad for doing the grilling on his special day. Oh yeah, he also made mint brownies...with York Peppermint Patties as the middle mint layer. Holy cow, to die for!

Sam took a picture of his masterpiece (before being cooked). Fancy! I don't think there is a vegetable that Sam doesn't like. It's amazing.

We did a cliche gift this year and bought him a few ties. He looks real nice, don't you think?

This is my 11th Father's Day with Sam, 9 of which he's actually been a father. Lemme tell ya....he's a great dad! I'm so glad I married him. Love ya Sam!

Phew, Parker's birthday yesterday, Father's Day today...what will this week bring? Oh yeah, paint. We have to paint our family room this week. I'm pretty tired of living like I'm in a college dorm room. If you've been to my house in the past week, you'll know what I'm talking about. It's just not meshing with my simple/clean lifestyle. I'm freaking out here....

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Parker is 5!

Happy Birthday Parker! I was sad when Parker turned 4 because "I was going to miss my 3-year old Parker". Today I was sad when he turned 5 because now "I'm going to miss my 4-year old Parker". Here's hoping this 5th year brings just as much joy and random-ness as the years gone by have. Seriously, Parker is such an individual, he keeps me on my toes.

The weather was pretty out of control rainy/cold so Parker chose to go to the dinosaur museum. The last time we were there was probably 3 years ago so it was fun to revisit.

Ooooh,scary cave.

"Edgar, your skin is hanging off your bones." Name that movie!!!

Anyway, here is a nice dinosaur foot. I like the shadow on the wall, agghhhhh, ribs!

This water erosion table is so much fun. Kids can build dams, bury dinosaurs, make rivers...non-stop fun. I told my dad he should build one in his basement!

My dad was with us and he watched this one kid build a dam. He said to me "as soon as that kid leaves, I'm going to go break that dam". Sure enough, a few minutes later the kid left. My dad casually heads over to the table and breaks through the dam.

Ha Ha, BUSTED! See those hands on the left side of the picture? That's another kid who is ticked off because some white-haired man just ruined the dam she was going to play with! She had it rebuilt within 10 seconds.

Hey Parker, how old are you? Um, can you be a little more excited? No? OH, okay.

Oh, sweet action shot of the kids jumping on the dinosaur scale. Combined weight? 110 lbs. They thought if they jumped on it, they would weigh more. I understand the logic, I think it makes perfect sense.

Here's Parker, smiling in the face of adversity. We can all learn a lesson from that.

Tonight we had a little cake and ice cream. Unfortunately, I didn't leave much time to make/decorate the cake. Let's be honest, it was the most ghetto cake I'll probably ever make. Whatebes, Parker loved it so who cares? Lucky for me, my nephew Aaron was at my house while I was trying to decorate the blasted thing. He's creative, so he graciously took over for me. Frosting in a can, brilliant.

Squirting whip cream in your mouth....for whimps. Squirting frosting in your mouth is for serious sugar seekers.

Oops, I guess Parker isn't hardcore. He promptly spit it all out in the bathroom sink. This look says it all....He's probably thinking "I'm going to regret this in the morning..." Hork.

OH man, I just realized I never took a picture of the decorated cake. It said "P 5" on the cake and Aaron turned it into an omnitrix from Ben10, Parker's favorite show. It was very coolio.
Happy Birthday buddy! By the way, my mom is laying on the couch because she had her knee scoped yesterday and had all the scar tissue removed from around her knee. Yowza!

Here's hoping she has a speedy, full recovery!

The doctors recorded the whole procedure and gave my dad a DVD of it! We watched it tonight, very interesting. Scar tissue looks kind of like fluffy cotton. Add that to your "gee whiz" file!

Alrighty Parker, I hope you had a great day. I love you so much! Thanks for being you. I look forward to getting to know my 5-year old Parker.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Time To Learn

Remember how my last post was about me not having enough faith that the rain would stop before the ward party?

Well, I guess I have a llllooooonnnnngggggg way to go in the faith department because on Tuesday I found out my job with Beneficial Life is coming to an end.

My honest, first reaction: peace.
My honest, second reaction: Why would I think "Peace"??? I'm freaking out here!
My honest, third reaction: Okay, here's my "trial of my faith". I'm going to try really hard to put my trust in Heavenly Father because I know this is what's best for me.

There are a lot of reasons why this is hard for me, but right off the bat it's hard because I've never been laid off before. It's quite humbling. Most of all, it's hard because I loved my job. I loved the people I worked with and worked for. I laughed my guts out every time I went into the office. I've played COUNTLESS jokes on my co-workers and I've received countless pranks back on me. I was accepted for who I was, and humbly speaking, I was really good at what I did. I've learned how to not cry when insurance agents are screaming obscenities at me, and in the same phone call, diffuse their anger until we were laughing like old buddies. This job kept my brain sharp because there were challenges every day that we had to overcome. I've had numerous co-workers-turned-friends come and go and I've kept many of those friendships as the years have gone by, even if they live out of state now. I've seen Beneficial practically turn upside down and inside out in all the changes they've made over the years, but I never saw this coming. I never in my wildest dreams thought they would cease to exist.

Beneficial first became a company in May of 1905. I thought they were here to stay forever, but with the market the way it is, and since we are a smaller insurane company (in the grand scheme of things) it was our time to close. I work in the New Business department. As of August 31st, Beneficial will no longer accept new applications for life insurance. From August 31st looking forward, Beneficial will service it's current policy holders until the last beneficiary has been paid (this could be 80+ years, who knows??). At that point, Beneficial will close for good.

Since I'm in New Business, my job will end on August 31st. Beneficial is being amazing about the whole process, and I would expect nothing less, they are always amazing about everything. I will receive 6 months of severence pay. They have hired a service to help people find jobs elsewhere and people can use that service for 6 months. Heck, we can even keep our computers, office chairs, office equipment.... when we leave, free of charge! Seriously, this company has spoiled me over my 13 years with them and I have nothing but positive things to say about my experience.

Can you believe I was 21 when I started there? I found a team Christmas picture we took in 1996, 3 months after I started working there. Blurry, but fun. Have I changed??

Here I am at the United Way "Day of Caring". We had to paint a mobile home. It was crazy. It was hot. The paint fumes made me a little crazy I think. See the guy's legs standing on the porch? Those would belong to Neal. Neal and his wife Natalie, set me up on a date with a young Sam Sweet! By the way, that is the tannest I have ever been. Now my legs are as white as my shirt in this picture!

Speaking of Sam...
So I married Sam in August of 1998, almost 2 years after starting at Beneficial. So, thanks to my job and getting to know Neal, I married Sam. How many people can thank their jobs for their wonderful marriage?? Isn't he so adorable? I just want to pinch those cheeks!

So, I started Beneficial when I was a fresh-from-Seattle 21 year old. Two years later I married Sam. 2 years after that I had Carson. Almost 4 years later I had Parker. One year after Parker was born I made the scary proposition to my boss and asked her to let me go part time, working from home. This was a bold move on my part because nobody from my department had ever been able to work from home. Luckily, I made a good case for myself and after about 100 hurdles, I was able to make it work for almost 4 years. 15 months ago I had Cameron, and because I had lots of work deadlines right at the same time Cameron was born, I only took one day of maternity leave. How's that for dedication?? :)

So now begins the new chapter in my life.

What am I going to do now? Well, I'm going to try really hard and stay out of the work force, for the first time since I was about 16. I feel like I owe it to my children to be a full time mother. They deserve to have a mom who can take them to the park in the middle of the day instead of a mom who sits at her computer all day working. They deserve a mom who can just sit and play with them instead of worrying about that deadline that is nagging at her conscience. Not sure how we are going to do it because on paper, it's pretty much impossible.

However, as many of my friends have told me....have faith. Keep doing what you should be doing and everything will work out as it's supposed to. I really do believe that. I've seen it work for so many people. I'm going to learn to have better faith and do whatever is required of me in order to make this new chapter a success.

I'm so thankful for the associations and experiences I have had in my employment with Beneficial. However, it's time to move on. I think Heavenly Father knew I would never have the guts to quit on my own, so he's easing me into it with baby steps. How could I ever be upset by that?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Oh Ye of Little Faith...Awesome Party!

Before I forget, I have to tell you about Cameron's 15 month check up. He has stats like nothing Carson and Parker ever had!

Weight: 22.12 lbs 26%
Height: 31 1/2 inches 64%
Head: 18.75 inches 65%

He is tall and skinny, which if you know Cameron, that doesn't seem right! I laughed at the doctor because I thought he was being funny, but...he was serious, really serious. My other boys have usually been in the 50th percentile of everything. Maybe because he's not walking and I have to carry him everywhere makes me think he's heavier than he really is.


So, in my ward I'm on the activities committee. I'm not in charge, but for the last few activities I have basically been put in charge because the co-chairs have been out of town. It's a little stressful putting on a party for the whole ward. If you know me at all, you'll know that this does not come easy for me! Oh don't get me wrong, I love to hang out and laugh with my neighbors, but being in charge of the event is another story!

Luckily I have a great husband who is always willing to help, and I have great friends who are willing to jump in and offer assistance without any advance warning.

If you live in the Salt Lake area, you'll know that we've had rain every day for the past few weeks. I love it! It makes me feel like I'm living in Seattle again....but when you are planning an outdoor party that involves messy games and water, you'll start praying for some sunshine!

4 hours before the party was to begin, the heavens opened and rain came falling down. Crazy thunder and lightning as well. My kids loved it, but I got a stomach ache.

I was freaking out. I had no idea what the heck I was going to do! Sam kept saying "It's going to be fine Carrie, I really feel like everything will work out great." I kept rolling my eyes at him because, well, listen to the thunder!

About an hour before the party I couldn't believe my eyes but there was actually little pieces of blue sky and the rain stopped! That's when I realized, my faith isn't as strong as Sam's. I guess I'll work on that!

The activity ended up being incredibly fun! We had hoagie sandwiches and potluck sides and desserts. After eating, we broke out some games. A HUGE "Thank You" to the Brough family, who supplied us with most of the game ideas. You guys are incredible!!!

First we played this little gem. Two people tie these contraptions around their waste. The object of the game: Get your tennis ball to wrap around and around the stick until the tennis ball hits the stick. If you are the first out of the four teams, you win. You should have seen the hip action! Great laughs!

Next game: You cut pantyhose in half. Then add a bean bag to the toe of each "leg". Put the hose over your face. Find a partner and start SWINGING that panthose around and around! Object of the game: Get tangled in your partners hose and rip the hose off their head!

Sam caught this sweet shot: Tom has the stocking wrapped around his nose. NICE!

Almost there!

I'll never know who won, Sam didn't take pictures to the end of this series. ha ha!

Here, you can see how it ended for another pair:

Here is Russ Adams on the left, and our Bishop on the right. so funny!

What ward outdoor party is complete without a few water balloon launchers? Seriously worth the effort of filling up almost 500 balloons with water! Fur realsies.

And, what ward party is complete without a bunch of kids playing around the target area of the balloons? They were so far away, this picture has been zoomed in a ton. I couldn't believe how far the water balloons traveled!

Davis' face tells me someone just got wet.

Maybe it was this kid that got hit...

Oh, maybe not.

Here's a nice father/son moment. "Now son, please don't ever use this to egg somebody's house, okay? Son? Uh, son, did you hear me??"

Next game: No, they aren't doing some kinky Hawaiin dance, although Russ looks like he wants to! :)

It's hard to explain this game, but basically you are partners with the person directly across from you. The floral material is made of lycra and is super stretchy. You and your partner run towards each other and to the opposite side (so you trade places with your partner). Then the other partnership does the same thing. The faster you run, the stretchier the lycra becomes until pretty soon it starts propelling and launching you towards your partner. The object of the game? Um, I'm not 100% sure. I think whichever partnership falls down or clashes into their partner (injuries sustained or not) then they lose. It really doesn't matter what the point was, it was friggin hysterical!

Got some lycra? Just try it!

During the games, we had a bunch of jumbo marshmallows in bowls, covered with flour. The kids got to throw the marshmallows at others, leaving little square flour "puffs" on people's clothing. Brilliant idea by my friend Kendra. Carson really got into it...

We then pulled out a bunch of 2 liters of Diet Coke. I think some people got very excited! Diet Coke to drink at a ward function?? But then we pulled out the mentos and did the Diet Coke/Mentos demonstration. No pics since Sam was involved with this one. But it was cool. :)

Finally, I had made 12 chocolate pudding pies. In the bottom of each pie were 6 gummy worms. We had 6 children and 6 adults who smooshed their faces into the pies to pull out all 6 gummy worms.

Here are Chaundelle and Mike...the masterminds behind most of the games. She is covered in pudding, he willingly kisses her...she has an ulterior motive though. She just wants to smother pudding all over his face. It was brilliant.

She was on a roll so she thought she'd just pick up the pie tin and throw the rest of it on him...too bad Mike was suspicious. After all, why else would his wife kiss him in front of the whole ward unless she was planning an evil attack?!? ha ha ha! Mike moved quickly and the whole pie went onto an innocent bystander! Good thing he was very good natured about the whole thing!

Of course, this started a big pudding fight within all those who were nearby. Personally, this is the perfect end to a perfect party if you ask me! As long as it's not in MY house!

Chaundelle, how many times did you shampoo your hair on Saturday night?? :)

By the end of the evening, Carson was so wet and dirty that he was walking like somebody who had been riding a horse all day. 'Nuf said!

Seriously, you all can't believe how grateful I am for everyone who pitched in and helped with this activity. It was a huge success and I really hope everyone had a good time. I laughed probably 1,396 times that night. It was sweet!

Carson's last day of 2nd grade was last Friday so tomorrow is the offical start of our summer. Thanks to year-round school, he starts 3rd grade in 6 weeks. :) Oh yeah, Parker starts Kindergarten this fall too so that will be most excellent! Happy Monday everyone!