Saturday, August 24, 2013

I simply remember my favorite things…

The ladies from church gathered together earlier this week for a little party to discuss our favorite things. It was in someone’s gorgeous backyard, and there were so many beautiful desserts, I had to limit myself to trying only five. We were told to come prepared to talk about, or show our favorite thing, whether it be a cleaning tip, recipe, hoppy, app, song…the list goes on. We went around the giant circle of ladies. Some had visuals, some didn’t. It was fascinating listening to the things people loved, from eye shadow primer that’s guaranteed to keep your eye make-up in place (it’s already in my Amazon cart!),  a tip to easily get the grime off your oven, their favorite brand of flip flops, or simply ice water and watching the sunset. There were so many awesome things I learned, and have yet to try. It was like a live Pinterest board. I hope someone was making a list, because I was enjoying listening to everyone so much, I forgot to make one myself. When I came to my turn, I had a few things in my head, but remembered one of my favorite things was in the car so I ran out and grabbed it when I was almost my turn.

I showed everyone my handy Grabber, and told just how much I love that thing for road trips, as well as short car rides. Someone needs tissue? Here you go! Oh you dropped “Fuzzy Bear”? I’ll get that for you! It really makes the world of difference as we drive to and from Utah, or even at stop lights when they kids are whining from not being able to reach this or that.  Definitely one of my favorite things, thanks to KC for thinking to get it for me last Christmas. A must for every mommy, etc.1305

I quickly mentioned one more. If you know me well at all, you know how much a love a big plate of hot, crispy, melty, cheesy, Nachos Supreme with all the toppings. Right friends? You know this about me. So I thought it was an appropriate thing to mention. 054[3] 

Afterward, it got me to thinking about all the other simple pleasures I absolutely love in life that I could’ve mentioned. So I thought I’d write about them here as an extension of that night.  Some it may seem redundant, since they've been mentioned on the blog before, but it’s fun to have them all in one place. I wish everyone would make a long list for me to see. Who knows what treasures I would find out about!

There was one point when living in Maryland when I realized how much I loved and missed a warm Campfire on a cool night, preferably in the canyon. We didn’t have any cool summer nights there, and I think there were a lot more rules about making fires. Not to mention we lived near a big city, with no mountains in sight. I don’t care if it makes my hair or clothes smell smoky for days, I love it. The crackling, the great outdoors, the charred hot dogs, or gooey s’mores. I crave a good campfire throughout the year. 792

I discovered Landmark Theater when I first moved to Colorado. Needing to get out one night after the first stressful week of the move, I headed out to the movies by myself, and found this little gem just a few minutes from our apartment. Little did I know how much I would like this place. A very clean, comfortable setting, and I didn’t find out about this perk until after my movie, but unlimited complimentary popcorn and fountain drinks are included with ticket price of $12! We’ve been back a couple times, and continue to enjoy ourselves there (not to mention one of our favorite restaurants, Ali Baba Grill is right next door. Their fluffy hummus and amazing kabobs could almost make this list!). It’s always one of the first places we consider on the rare occasion that we go out. Love it.231[4]

Of course I love the holiday season, but I particularly love when I can get out my stash of Christmas Movies. I hoard them. Around Christmas some years ago, I felt the urgency to watch as many Christmas movies as I possible could during the season. I was on a mission. I wrote them on a calendar, prioritizing to make sure at least the greats were definitely going to be watched early in the month before things got too crazy. I queued up any cheesy Lifetime (and the like) Christmas movies I could find on Netflix, and started buying a collection of my own. We don’t buy a lot of  DVDs in general, except when it comes to Christmas shows. I can’t stop myself! Why not when you want to watch them at least once a year. It’s become a tradition to squeeze as much movie watching into the holiday season as possible. Sometimes just having one on in the background as I pick up the house, wrap presents, or cook dinner is good enough. The kids are also loving this tradition and have some favorites of their own. My top movies are too many to name. I’ll save that list for a post in December. This is my latest addition.51V9FCPT80L

While we’re on the subject of Christmas cheer, nothing brings it for me more than festive Christmas Parties. The year before the kids came along, we hosted our first Christmas Party, complete with a Karaoke machine, and a white elephant gift exchange.  I was hooked from that moment on. We loved having all our friends in one place, everyone so happy to be together. We had a place just big enough to hold everyone, and it just made me so happy. We took the next year off to take care of lots of babies, but we couldn’t wait to host again the following year, only that time I had a co-host, which made it even more festive. The parties  just seemed to get better as the years went on (here, and here/here) as we gathered with old and new friends to celebrate together. I don’t have to be hosting to enjoy it so much, it just kind of happened that way, and really made Christmas season complete for us. It’s funny that one of the first things I thought of when I saw our new house was how perfect it was for hosting parties. Someday! DSC_0338[3]

I don’t think I’ve ever met a person who doesn’t love the Fall. But there is something about the crisp air, gorgeous scenery, and promise of fun things to come that makes my mind go straight to Fall Baking. All I can think about when the sight, sounds, and smells of fall present themselves is apple cranberry pies, flaky almond croissants, pumpkin crumb muffins, hand-dipped peppermint patties, and chewy ginger cookies with a spiced orange filling, to mention a few. And of course washing them all down with hot homemade wassail. I am also a fan of having a pot of soup simmering on the stove and a loaf of crusty bread in the oven to go with it throughout the season, but the pastries, and desserts are always at the top of my list. Maybe it’s that baking makes the kitchen a cozy place to be as the weather cools off, but I want to be there all the time. The only thing that makes it better is having friends to share the joy with. Anyone who wants to come bake or eat with me in the coming months, consider this an open invitation! 112[7]

Because of my background in the pastry arts, people are always asking what my favorite dessert it. It’s a tough question, but I do think I have it narrowed down to a short list. While I love the buttery treat pictured above, I have to say that simple Homemade Ice Cream is a favorite. With the hot summer slowly coming to a close, it’s what is on my mind right now. I grew up loving a fresh churn of cold, creamy ice cream in a variety of flavors. One summer, my parents made it a goal to make a new flavor every week until school started again. KC also grew up loving his dad’s perfected recipes made in his hand-crank machine. We’ve carried on the traditions of our families, and have served homemade ice cream on many occasions, including just a weeknight indulgence with our little family.  We once owned a hand-crank machine and used it quite a bit. But the poor thing didn’t make the cut during the move. It had had it’s day. But I already had a back up. I wanted homemade ice cream more often than we wanted to make it with all the rock salt and ice shenanigans, so I bought a little Cuisinart, and how I have loved that thing. I have made more flavors than I can count, and still have a running list in my head of new combinations to try. It’s so easy, and you really can’t beat the flavor of the fresh cream. In my opinion, almost every dessert is complimented by ice cream. 349 

I’ve mentioned many times before that I am an early riser. I absolutely love Early Mornings. Everything is so quiet, and so still, and I usually get that time all to myself. Baking is definitely my favorite thing to do at that time, but I also love going grocery shopping, running/working out, or finishing a movie I fell asleep to the night before around 9:30 PM. I remember in elementary school, I’d wake up early enough to catch an episode of Gilligan’s Island every morning before school. And when the babies were little and would consistently wake up early, we found the best way to deal with that was to take an early walk together with the whole family. I looked forward to that every day. There’s just a feeling I get when I’m up and about before 6:00 AM that makes me feel good about life. 017[4]

There are more, of course, but these are the things that have been rolling around in my head since the other night. I should make it a tradition to make a list like this every year as a way to remember the things that make me happy.

Of course I also love beach vacations, shopping sprees, and meeting my goal weight, but this was really about the things I can enjoy on a daily basis, not a wish list. That’s also for another post.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Day My Life Changed

062069So, I love my kids. I love them to DEATH! All I want for them is to be so happy, have every need taken care of, and know that they are loved as much as humanly possible. That all being said, I have been waiting for the day that they start school since their first few months of life. Raising kids is hard no matter what, and having triplets has made that VERY clear. I have felt like I have been treading water for nearly four years, and often during the hardest moments, while trying to think of a solution to all the craziness and anxiety, I would wonder when it would get better. The answer that would always come to me was that someday they would be older and go to a magical place called school. When they were 2 months, or 18 months, or 2 1/2 years old, this wasn’t such a comfort, because that solution seemed so far away, it just felt like a dream that was too good to be true. 074076079

And then they turned 3, and we moved, and things started to feel like a reality. I could feel the relief drawing closer. I did some research on multiples in preschools, hoping for a possible discount. With divine intervention I’m sure, I found a program where preemies qualify for funding if they met certain birth weight or gestational age criteria (among other things qualifications for different situations). I talked to the right person without any kind of wild goose chase (awesome, right?!), who immediately sent me all the [dozens of] forms I had to fill out, which I did quickly.

We didn’t know where we were going to live at that point. I knew the county we were shooting for, so I crossed my fingers, and hoped I was right. They were kind enough to let us turn in everything except the deed to the house to get the process going, saying they thought the triplets were good candidates. As you know, we bought a house, and it was in the right county, and we sent that deed over straight away. We waited a month or two, and finally got the email saying we had been officially been accepted into the program and would be granted the funding! It was a great day. They assigned them to a school in the neighborhood, and required that they attend 4 days a week instead of two. Fine with me! Even the cheapest of preschool around here would’ve run me close to $600/month for 2-3 days a week! This program is normally 300 per month, per child. I knew of a mom with triplets who got into a similar program, which is why I researched in the first place. I am very happy that I did. All those NICU bills are actually paying off!

Anyway, we’ve been pretty excited for this school year to start. It really didn’t hit me until the Open House where we met their teachers and saw their classroom. It’s so strange going from seeing them every hour of every day, to just letting someone else take part of that for you, guilt and worry free.126127


Then the first day of school arrived. We are in the afternoon, which I love. (Interesting how when we would hit a hard point almost every day where all there was left to do was yell and put people in time-outs, I’d look at the clock and realize that soon they’d be in preschool at that exact time. Very interesting.) We had time to have a pretty normal morning, leisurely get ready, and take a few pictures. They weren’t entirely cooperative for them, but they had to be done nonetheless.087090094

KC met us there, and we walked into the classroom with the all other cute kids. They were so excited to find their pictures by their pack back hooks, and see the teachers they met a couple days earlier. They were directed to put their snack in the snack basket, and were shown their spot on the rug. KC and I just watched as this all happened so naturally. Bennett had been a little sad in the car, saying the didn’t want me to go home, but the second he got into that classroom, he, well all of them, forgot we even existed. They loved it there. It was a strange feeling just walking away. We’d been so attached, for better of worse, for so long, it’s just a weird feeling. (Maybe primary and Smaland has prepared all of us for this in a way.) Bittersweet, I guess you could say, but definitely a little more on the sweet side099103104105 108

That morning there were few moments when I thought to myself  “Am I really ready for this? and “What if I forget the snack or to pick them up one day?”, or “What if there aren’t any clean clothes to wear…?” And then I remembered it’s only preschool, it’s five minutes from home, and I am SO ready for this.  And really, so are they. They have needed more structure in the day than I have had energy to organize for a long time. I tried, I really did. My sister made me a list of preschool activities to do at home, we did crafts, we were constantly playing outside, and doing big projects on occasion, but there was always a fight, or a mess (on top of another mess), or I was just too exhausted to start anything at all. They are pretty good at playing by themselves, but I could just tell that they were craving more. In just one week, I can clearly see how much they have learned already. It’s so funny to hear them sing songs I didn’t teach them, or use sharing techniques I hadn’t tried yet. I don’t what to make myself sound completely incompetent here. I did teach them songs, and always trying new ways for them to get along better, but there is something about a new environment, and new authority figures that changes things for kids, and I am thankful for that.045047049058

The night before school started, KC and I had an epiphany that we could actually go to lunch together now without the kids! And we did just that, as a celebration after dropping off the kids. That juicy burger didn’t only taste amazing, but made me feel like I was stepping into a new world. A world where I am happier, more patient, have a cleaner house, am more productive, and am just an overall better mom. I was on a high going on simple errands, that I pictured being so much harder with the kids in tow. It still feels a bit unreal as I drop them off everyday. I love seeing them run into their classroom and know just what to do. It’s pretty difficult getting them to tell me anything that happened that day when I pick them up, but eventually the stories some out, and I see a few pictures in their pack packs now and then. It’s fun.187188

Now, it is only 2 hours and 45 minutes, and I’m usually so busy trying to make the most of that time that it goes by in the blink of an eye, at least one of them has always been whining on the way home since the very first day (we fixed that by playing Count-The-Buses while driving), and there are still explosive fights, usually after school when everyone is tired. But I think there will be a point when things calm down, and a solid routine is in place, that things are just good. I know life won’t be perfect, but a change like this, in my situation anyway, is a big one.  I always said that someday having three at once will actually pay off. Well folks, it’s finally happening. I love that I still get them all to myself Friday-Sunday, and every morning. I miss them when they’re gone, but know it’s best for all of us. Soon they’ll be in school more than I would like, so I’m enjoying this sweet time while it lasts.

I do love those kids. I love them to death.005025037

Monday, August 19, 2013

3 Days turned into 3 Weeks: Week 3

We had been having fun with cousins all day that Monday, and quickly got ready to make it to a big extended family party at the Robinsons. Everyone was fine until we started driving there. Bennett was just squirmy and whiny in his seat. I decided I had better pull over and let him walk around on the grass a little, in case he was feeling sick. Well, I was right, and as I was unbuckling him, the poor little guy tossed his cookies. I was SO CLOSE to not having to clean anything up! But luckily I found a bag on the floor that prevented any more of a mess. He claimed he was feeling better and was all smiles, but a few minutes later, he clearly wasn’t.  Mom and Dad kindly picked him up for me, and the other two and I went to the party. (Fun way to start a post, I know! But it isn’t a trip to Utah without someone getting sick, so I wanted to document.)10331034

Ruby slept through the whole thing, lucky girl! Alex was kind of the comic relief, keeping the situation light-hearted. 1039

We ended up having a great time! I had sort of lost my appetite, and I didn’t force the kids to eat anything. We just had fun the family. The kids would've been sad to miss it.10411042

Bennett’s bug was pretty mild, and he was just about himself when we got home a couple hours later. Everyone went to bed fine, but I was antsy all night, wondering what other upset tummies would present themselves. We made it though the night without a hitch! Definitely a relief. I think there was a little bug going through a lot of the family, and only a couple kids actually threw up. Glad that was all we had to deal with! But I could've done without hosing down the car seat.

Now that that’s over with…

Cousin time at Cami’s is always fun!1024

I love this because I vividly remember many mornings my dad and I would be watching the Food Network together before anyone else was awake. Three generations of morning people together! Ruby was hilarious, commenting on how good everything the Pioneer Woman was making looked. She ever said at one point,” I want to make that!” She’s learning early the power that channel has. 1047

It didn’t take long for the kids to decorate my mom’s fridge. Bennett contributed this lovely collage. 1048

We loved the highland splash pad. 10501052

More canyon adventures! The kids absolutely love it there. As do I.10581060106210661068I guess I didn’t get a picture of the picnic table all the kids covered with rocks from the stream! I think Ethan instigated this one, and it kept the kids entertained for a long time. It was great.

Thanksgiving Point Farm was awesome.1074Ruby could’ve done this all day.1085Bennett wasn’t quite sure. Alex wouldn’t even try. 10901097110411051119

We met Stella at the Manila Creek Pond. That girl is used to much more luxurious, REAL beaches in Hawaii, but she was a good sport and enjoyed herself anyway. My kids were a little burned out or something, so there was a lot of lounging, and little swimming.112111311122We love hanging out with this sweet, adorable girl.1124

The kids loved all the Papa time. 1133

KC arrived on Wednesday, and we were ALL thrilled to see him after 2 1/2  weeks! The kids wouldn’t let him out of their sight. 11351141115111551159

We took a fun hike with mom, dad, and the Rejolecs up to Battle Creek Falls. It is the prefect hike for little ones, and the destination is beautiful! 11691177118611931201120512071208Melody was still a little sore from her half marathon, so Dad took on the Evy-carrying duties.12141217

We went to dinner with the Robinsons to  have a little pre-celebration for Camille’s birthday. Stella had a good time, as you can see. 1223We gathered at their house after for homemade ice cream. Always delicious.1227Matching shirts!1228

I was so happy that Marianne’s trip overlapped with mine! It’s so great to get together with old friends. It’s like no time has passed at all, except there are a bunch of kids running around now! Little Graham is the cutest. 12291231

Thanksgiving Point Children’s Garden123412381239

Nacho night/final sister’s dinner! (I didn’t get a good picture of the dinner at Cami’s where we had lasagna soup in sourdough bread bowls. It was so good.) This seemed like the appropriate meal to end things on. Not to mention I made a very special chocolate custard cookie dough ice cream as well. A rich, and wonderful evening.1249

The high school reunion festivities began! It started with a gathering at the park so we could see all the cute kids. So great to catch up with so many good friends!1254

And so funny to see my husband shooting the breeze with them.1251

That night we went to our old stomping grounds where we ate a delicious dinner, and caught up with so many people. The husbands were great sports to join in the fun.12571262

Owning the place like we did 10 years ago!1265

We even caught the Highland Days fireworks as we were leaving!1266

It was a great night, and we so appreciated all the work the Senior Class presidency put into it (thank goodness we were student body officers!). It made me feel old and young all at the same time. It was fun to see where people were in their lives, and every looked just the same as they did back in 2003. 

Earlier that day, I was privileged to be a part of the group going to support Jordan going through the temple for the first time.  I can’t believe my little nephew is now going to be a missionary! Amber and Todd are so proud, as are so many others, including me. Even though we don’t see him that often, we’ll still miss him, and think of him serving in El Salvador every day!IMG_20130803_190814b

Dad and I kept a running list on the whiteboard of all the ice cream flavors we made while we were there. It was so fun brainstorming with him, and bonding over food like we’ve done my whole life. I have a feeling this will be a tradition whenever we come to visit.1268

On Sunday we packed up the car, and KC took the kids to his parents’ while I went to church with the family. I was so excited that I was also able to go to Charlie’s Blessing! Drew is such a proud father to that darling boy. I loved all the cuddle time I got with him. I really hit a lot of awesome things in one trip. I wish I could’ve stayed a little longer to be at Nora’s blessing, and hear Jordan speak in church, but we couldn’t stay forever. Bummer! 1272

Usually he is the spitting image of his cute mom, but he is totally Drew right there!1273

Melody and I wore matching shoes! Twin powers. Or just similar taste in clothes. 1271

The picnic after the blessing was the perfect way to finish out the trip. So many people were there, we got to eat lunch before the drive, and the kids played and played at the playground. Prefect preparation for a long ride in the car. Everything was so delicious.1278Including the traditional Nightmare!12811279A Britney Reunion! The kids don’t quite remember her, since they were like her baby’s (!) age when she was staying with us, but we love getting together and reminiscing!12801283DSCN6823DSCN6832

And then we were off! R and B took naps almost immediately upon departure, and then were up nearly the rest of the time. 128512881291

I had to wake up the poor girl as the rest stop. And we happened to see some friends from church there! Fun coincidence! 1299

A goodbye gift from Grandma.129012921293

Okay, so KC bought me this for Christmas last year, and little did I know how valuable it would be on road trips! The most frustrating part for me is the constant whining from the kids dropping and needing things from me. This solves so much of that. And the kids think it’s so hilarious. 13001301

It’s kind of fun, going on this long drive with my family. It has never been as bad as I pictured before taking long road trips, and I am thankful for that. The last couple hours are always a little tricky, but we always make it with our sanity in tact. Ruby was getting really antsy as we were getting close, and the silly girl fell asleep five minutes from home! She woke right up when we went inside, and was literally jumping around in our house, so excited to be back. I think they forgot we had a house, because everyone kept talking about going back to the “partment” like we did last time we came home from Utah. I heard someone say, “ We DO live here!”

We all miss everyone so bad, and for a couple days, the kids kept asking to play with their cousins. But having this home to come back to really helped us from being too sad. We got back into our regular lives pretty quickly, with a lot of great memories to think about. I love these trips to Utah, I love that we can go any time we want, and I can’t wait to go back.