Saturday, July 30, 2011

Stabby Park

"Stabby Park." That is what my friend calls Pioneer Park downtown. As many of its usual visitors hail from rough circumstances, I'm sure on most days she's not far off, but on Saturday mornings, the place is transformed into a lively farmer's market. My three boys and I met our girlfriends for an afternoon of sensory pleasures. The people watching (there is a highly concentrated number of crazies), the fresh produce, the handmade goods, the music, the tasty food... Summertime bliss.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Sharing the Photo Love

When I was young, my dad told me that my hair was golden. I believed him and rejected any suggestion that it might also be called red. So naturally, my Uncle Wayne teased me about my "red" hair at every opportunity.

You know the popsicles that you can eat as a twosome or separate on the corner of the kitchen counter to eat one at a time? The popsicles that come in banana, root beer, orange, grape, and "blue" flavors? They remind me of my Aunt Karla, as do the Lion House and Abravanel Hall. And Anne of Green Gables.

My cousin Megan and I were very talented performers when we were young. We dazzled our parents with plays that we wrote and performed ourselves (meaning, we made our parents sit and watch as we made them up on the spot). We turned our bicycles into horses. We turned bits of dried pottery mud into treasures, with a little help from the hose. But most of the time we were brave princesses trying to escape the wicked witch who held us as prisoners. We were pretty awesome.

This is the family who invited me to be their photographer last weekend. Usually the three siblings are scattered among three different states, and soon their parents will leave for 18 months to serve a Mormon mission in Finland! But for this one weekend, everyone happened to be in Utah. Here are a few of my favorites.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Bubbles, Kick, Jump!

The punk recently completed his first session of swimming lessons. It was two weeks of swimming every weekday. The first week was rough. This is what the punk looked like on his second day of swimming lessons (and first and third and forth).

He is the one with the tears.

The second week was a different story. While driving to the pool every day, he would tell me that he wasn't going to cry. And he didn't! On his last (tenth) day, he jumped off the diving board!

The crying sounds are coming from another kid in his class.

His comfort level and skill set improved so much in those two weeks that we decided to enroll him in a second session, starting next week. We will be spending every afternoon at the pool for two more weeks. Because our lesson time is the last before open swim, we get to stay after the lesson to have lunch and play in the pool, as long as I have someone there to help me with the two boys - usually a sister, mom or mother in-law. Not a bad way to spend the day!

We took advantage of the punk's grandparents' country club membership and enrolled him in lessons there. It's a nice pool with fantastic teachers (the punk's teacher Brooke is a saint; he talks about her all the time) and pretty mountain scenery. The only problem is that the menu consists of sinful temptations such as burgers (I enjoy the garden burger), fries, onion rings (my fav), cookies, ice cream, and the like. The ironic thing is that many of the country club members look like they've never eaten an onion ring in their life. Go figure.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Creatively Refreshed

I'm going to be honest. Doubling my number of offspring has made my life more than twice as hard. At least, that's the way I perceive it. It's quite rare that I have any time alone between the hours of 6 am and 9 pm, whereas with only the punk, I could at least count on a quiet moment during his afternoon nap. I have not yet been able to coordinate the boys' nap schedules to happen at the same time so I am always holding, listening to, feeding, touching, reading to, playing catch with, changing, singing to, or cleaning up after one or the other, or both. In the four months since the basher entered my life, I have realized that having time to myself is very important to my sanity, but that it just doesn't happen very often. Hence... crazy mama.

I remember driving in the car with my mom when I was a child, and asking her to turn on some music. Sometimes she would just say, "No, I'm enjoying the silence." I thought she was totally bonkers. Now I say that.

Yesterday I left my three boys at home for an hour while I pretended to be a photographer. I shot some family pictures for my cousins downtown. Then after returning home for only an hour, I left again for 5 more hours to play a wedding with my string quartet. By the time I returned home at 10 pm, I was more rejuvenated and alive than I could ever feel after a day at the most luxurious spa! I had spent 6 whole hours being creative and using skills that I have developed over the years. Skills besides patience and sibling management. For just a few hours, I was able to do something that produced immediate results.

I understand that I am incredibly fortunate that I have the opportunity to stay home with my boys. Not everyone who wants to be a stay at home mom gets to do so. I am doing what I had always hoped I would be able to do. But it felt so great to take off my mama hat for half a day and work on something that challenged me in a completely different way.

Three cheers for a supportive husband who is able to support our family financially so I can stay home AND who easily picks up the slack when I go gallivanting! I really needed it.

Visit Strings of Elegance here.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Spaceships and Pirates

Five. Four. Three. Two. One. BLASTOFF! With floor mat puzzle pieces as our spaceships, we zoom into outer space with one objective: the moon. I can see the earth shrinking away from us out of the round window of the ship, but when I point it out to the punk, he just looks puzzled. As we land on the moon, I ask him what he can see. He looks around. "Trees," he says. When we descend from our spaceships, he announces to Pirate Mama that we are going to hunt for some treasure. "Aye, Pirate Calvin!" And a-hunting we go. Rocks, pine cones, and weeds fill our treasure wheelbarrow.

When negative thoughts creep in about early mornings, muffin tops, whiny demands, and piles of laundry, I try to push them away with musings of my pirate astronaut punk and his little brother who happily comes along for the ride.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

12of12: July (Tuesday)

[Click on the block of photos to enlarge.]

1. The basher woke up at 5:45 to eat so I invited him back to my bed for some milk and a snooze. I didn't really sleep again as the punk was up at 6:30. 2. My little sister is watching my cousin's daughter Miriam so they came over to play. 3. Today was the punk's second swimming lesson. After yesterday's cry-fest, I told him that he would get a sucker if there were no tears today. We'll try again tomorrow. 4. Mmmmm... Feet. My mom came with us to the pool. I can't handle both boys there by myself. 5. Recovering. 6. Garden burger and onion rings. 7. Feeling much happier after lunch. 8. This morning was overcast and rainy, but the afternoon was gorgeous. Sunny but not too hot. 9. Two days into my two-month exercise plan. Ironically, the only time I spent indoors today was during my workout. With my man out of town, an outdoor run wasn't in the cards. 10. Little Sis came over again to hang out and make dinner: butternut squash risotto with kale, and cherries. 11. The punk thoroughly enjoyed the cherries. 12. Little Sis is leaving for college next month so we're savoring our time with her now.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Nighttime Run

Twinkling city lights
Shining crescent moon
Peeping into inhabited living rooms and kitchens
Sweet campfire aroma
Party music
Shrimp scampi in my tummy
Returning home to a still house

A 9 pm run is a different experience than the same route at 6 am.
I like it.

[the view into my basement when I returned home]

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

At The Ranch

As always, we had a lovely time at Grandpa's ranch. My family has celebrated our nation's birthday at the ranch every year since I can remember. When I was a kid, we brought only our old, stained, ripped clothes to the ranch because there was only one bathroom and about 50 people. The kids didn't have priority in the tub. Now things are a little more civilized (3 toilets, 3 showers, and a shaded bowery with picnic tables), and there are fewer people that stay at the cabin. (We still celebrate with the whole extended family, but most families opt to stay overnight at a motel in town.) There are still only two tiny bedrooms though, so everyone who stays at the cabin sleeps either on the deck or in a tent. I don't understand why my fellow Johnsons would ever choose a motel room over the rhythmic crickets, milky stars, and campfire aroma. My annual trip to the ranch nourishes me in a way that a schedule, a computer screen, and a pillowtop mattress never could.

I miss you Grandpa. We all do.
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