Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Dee and Marf escape from their abusive husband, Rasheed...

My mom just returned from the Holy Land again, and this time, she brought Marf and I back these shawl things. They are really beautiful, and so we decided to try them on. My sister's husband, Matt, just got a new camera and decided that we should try and look like some kind of mid-eastern refugees and took a bunch of pictures of us. This picture was the coolest. I just wanted to share, and let all of you know that if you see this show up in "National Geographic" somewhere, it was actually taken in Clearfiend of a couple of white chicks, and not actually as cool as it looks.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Attack of the Seaweed People!!

One of the days that the family was in California was a "Beach Day". My kids had a great time playing in the sand and waves--all except for Belle who kept looking around as if asking everyone "OK, we are sure that no one has a problem with this?" She was very scared of the waves and the noise that they made. At some point, Jen had the idea to wear the seaweed that kept washing up onto the shore. So, the next logical step was to join her and start a beach tribe. Kevin was the tribal leader. I think that the green of the seaweed goes very nicely against the uber-witeness of all of our skin, don't you?

Belle loved playing in the sand or sitting on a towel--far away from the waves. She and I dug a very deep hole at one point, that she took great enjoyment from later filling in.

Ethan was the brave one. He loved chasing the waves and then being chased by them in turn. He spent the most time in the water of any of my children. That kid is some kinda mamal/amphibian crossover!!

Eliza was the only one of my children that would consider joining the aforementioned tribe. I have to say, that she pulled it off better then the rest of us--but don't mention that to Kevin, he's considering making the wardrobe change permanent.

By the way, I have to thank Jen and Dev for the pics. As I said in my previous entry, my camera had gone the way of all flesh (or electronics as the case may be) by this time in the trip, and we were dependant on the kindness of others for the photos--thanks a ton!!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Happiest Place on Earth

My family just returned from Disneyland. It was the most amazing vacation that we have ever taken!! It is incerdible the way that people who are happy rub off on other people, and soon you have hundreds of people who are all happy. Everyone was friendly and helpful, and we had a BLAST!! Ethan's favorite ride was the Matterhorn, Eliza'a was "Star Tours", and Belle loved the "Winnie the Pooh" ride. My favorite has always been, and I'm quite sure will always be "Pirates of the Carribean". (Does this suprise anyone, though?) We spent three days in the park, and my kids did really well. They rode everything that they could ride--Ethan is my new "Roller-Coaster Friend". Every time that they got off a ride that was thrilling, we would all say.."You're not hard core-unless you live hard-core"!! Belle, however, would only ride things with her Daddy.

The second day in the park was "Dress-up Day". We let the kids decide if they wanted to be a princess or a pirate in the park. Ethan chose to be a pirate, Isabelle wanted to be a princess, but Eliza couldn't decide and went as a "Pirate Princess". People kept giggling at the costume, but the employees called her "Pirate Princess" the whole day. It was really fun.

This was also the day that we decided to visit "California Adventure". It was not as suited for children as Disneyland, but was really fun, nonetheless. Ethan and Eliza spent a lot of time in "A Bug's Land" in the water fountains. They had a really good time. (For those of you that have not been there--think Gateway Fountains that look like they're comming out of a garden hose.)

We did learn that Bry has really bad "ride karma". He waited in line with Ethan for Space mountain three times, however, was never able to ride it because it broke down every time! Bry and I also ride-swapped Indiana Jones, and it broke down on him as well. He nearly broke "The Haunted Mansion", but luckily, all of the kids and I, with our '"good ride karma" were able to save the day.

Sadly, all of the excitement of the trip took it's toll on our faithful camera, and it has now moved on to a better place. After the second day in Disneyland, it closed it's shutters for the last time, and would take pictures no more. We were just glad that it's final moments were taking pictures of such a happy place. It would have wanted it that way. Luckily, the third day was spent with my Mother-in-Law who came to the rescue with her camera. (Unfortunantly, at the time of this writing, I do not have the pictures that she took--so more forthcomming!!) We had a lovely time with her. The kids were so excited to share "The Happiest Place on Earth" with their Grandma Brady, who just happens to be "The Nicest Person on the Plannet", so really, what could have been better?

I think that the ride totals went a little something like...Haunted Mansion: 3x, Matterhorn: 4x, Star Tours: 2x, Indiana Jones: 2x, Jungle Cruise: 4x, The Tiki Room: 3x, and Pirates of the Carribean: probablly 5 or 6x. (What can I say, I'm the mom, and I have a lot of influence.) :) Ethan found an hourglass for his souvineer, Eliza got some princess dolls, and Belle picked out Minnie Mouse. I purchaced a "Pirates of the Carribean" blanket, and I felt like a little kid, I was so excited.
This was our first experience taking the kids to Disneyland, and I have to say, we will be taking them again. Even Bry was not stressed about letting them eat in the park--and as many of you know, it can be pretty pricey. It was just so fun to leave all of our cares and worries at the front gate, and have a truly magical few days with my family. I look forward to returning!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Jack Bauer Way

As the weather finally gets warmer, my hobbitishness starts to show in my lack of shoes, and in my love of things that grow. I love marveling at how a tiny seed soaked overnight in water and planted into the earth can yeild such beautiful and delicious things. I love that my children love to eat the things they have planted and grown themselves, and that the homegrown produce hardly ever makes it in to the house-as it is all eaten as soon as it is plucked from the plant. However, this year, I am forced to take a less loving approach to my gardening as my garden is loosing the battle against dandilions and morning glory. I have spent this year digging dirt out of my raised beds, putting liners in the bottom, sifting through the dirt for weeds and roots, and then putting all of the dirt back into the beds. I have also spent much time with the "Speed Zone" and a pressurized sprayer so as to kill as much as possible. This will be a sad year for this gardener, as it will be spent in death and mayhem instead of in creation, but as we learn from Jack Bauer--sometimes things (mostly people is his case, and mostly weeds and inscets in mine) have to die for the greater good. There is a right way to do things, a wrong way, and the Jack Bauer way--the Jack Bauer way is basically the right way, but faster and with more death. I guess this year, I'm trying the "Jack Bauer" way.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Walking for Something

Today was the first annual "Autism Walk" at Cottonwood High. I went in support of my nephew, Keith, who falls in the Autism Spectrum with Asberger's Syndrome, and also to support the Cap'm, Stef Munk as she works with children having Autism at the Spectrum Academy. We were a part of the Spectrum team-which, of note, was the largest team in attendance. Myself, my sister, Marf, and friends June and Echo were part of only a handful of individuals who chose to run the 5k (however, I highly doubt that the distance was an actual 5k, as my finishing time would have been miraculous) . We finished the walk before many finnished their first lap, so we thougth that we were rock stars!!

Marf and I were able to sit and talk while we were waiting for the others of our group to finnish, and we reflected on how important it is to not only accept people's differences, and love them in spite of them, but love the differences as well. Accepting people is only half of tolerance-the other is the loving. If we would only seek to understand another's point of view, we would be less critical, and more loving and understanding.

I was also remeinded of another race that I was able to witness last year. This race was the St. George Marathon which my husband participated in. We (myself and my mother and father-in-law) were watching the runners as they crossed the finnish line after running 26.2 miles. It was a very emotional experience for me to witness the human experience in such a raw and revealing way. The thing that was the most amazing to see was that the cheers of the crowd literally made the runners able to run the last few feet with a burst of speed or a spring in their step. There were those who were on the verge of, or in the process of collapsing, but the crowd's encouragement could get them back on their feet. It was a very interesting thing to witness and understand how much we all need that support from others. We all need people on our team. Everyone needs to know that there are people cheering them on, and it is amazing what more we can accomplish with that knowledge. I think that this was especially relevant today as we walked for Autism. These are people who need a cheering section more than they need critics. So much more good could be done if we could stop telling them what they are incapable of, and start praising their accomplishments. I want to be one that is cheering!!

The New Addition

Ethan was very excited to find that his new guitar came by FedEx truck to our home on Thursday. As was aforementioned, his life's ambition of late is to be a real "Guitar Hero", and we were all very happy to help him realize his dream. He has been practicing every day since the arival (three days now) and can now play a Dmaj open chord as well as an Fmaj open chord. He is anxiously awaiting his first concert--which will be tommorow (Sunday) at his Grandparent's home (Brady). He will be performing "Meditations and Variations in Dmaj and Fmaj". It should be a smash hit, and I will let all of you know where you can pick up his debut album.

I had a little talk with Ethan yesterday about the tradition of naming instruments-especially those that are stringed. I told him that while not everyone names their instrument, many do, and it is traditional to name your instrument a name of the opposite gender, for example, my viola's name is Brett Maverick. (This was during my Mel Gibson phase-My car at the time was named Gibson). Ethan thought about this for a minute, and decided that the best name for his guitar is Cho Chang. He then asked me if I would change my viola's name to Oliver Wood. Yea for the Harry Potter craziness at the Brady house!! You people didn't know that you could be a hard-core rocker and a HP fan, but that myth can now be laid to rest!!