Tuesday, June 28, 2011

June Bride(s)

"Oh, they say when you marry in June, you're a bride, all your life."

The first person who can tell me which movie I just quoted will receive $5 from yours truly.
Speaking of June brides, I shot three weddings this month!!  Umm, yeah.  Not a common thing for me.  Before this month, I'd probably shot a total of three weddings - EVER!  Yep.  Three.  I just counted.  Strange coincidence, but how wonderful to get to double my experience and capture these special days!  I have so much more to say, particularly about event #2, but that'll have to wait until I have a few more pictures edited to accompany all my words.  :)  For now, here's a shot of each of my June brides (with their grooms).

David and Amber - 11 June 2011, 11:00am (Mount Timpanogos LDS Temple)

Dave and Kellee - 25 June 2011, 3:00pm (Dickson residence in Pleasanton, CA)

What can I say? I'm a sucker for kissy shots!

Congrats to all, and especially my sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Lori and Jared, and their sweet little Katie, to whom they were sealed.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Bedtime with Chloe

Last night as I was tucking Chloe into bed we had the following conversation:

Chloe: "Mommy, do you wish you had a third child?"

Me: "Well, sure!  I'd love to have another baby someday.  But it's not entirely up to me."

Chloe: "It's up to Daddy?"

Me: "Well, he has some say, sure!  But it's ultimately up to Heavenly Father and whether or not he feels like we need another baby in our family."

Chloe (after some contemplation): "What if Heavenly Father thought you should have eight kids?"

Me: "Well, that would be news to me!"

Chloe (now giggling): "What if Heavenly Father thought you should have a hundred kids?"

{slight pause}

Chloe: "Then we'd have to buy a lot of cereal, wouldn't we?"

As if cereal would be at the top of our list of concerns with one hundred children!

While this post is neither an announcement or a foreshadow of upcoming events, I will have to say that Chloe would make a wonderful big sister.  Within recent weeks she's started to show an increased level of maturity and understanding that I've never seen before.  Now combine that with her already nurturing instincts, and I'm convinced she'd be of great help to me with a new baby in the house.  Guess for the time being she'll just have to continue practicing on her dolls and brother when he'll let her.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wordless Wednesday


Dollar scoop Tuesday!

Last night we took the kiddies to Baskin Robbins for their $1 scoop Tuesday special. We had planned to ride our bikes since it's only a mile from our house, until we discovered that it was still 100 degrees out at 7:00pm. That's when we opted for an air conditioned car ride instead. It was a cool, refreshing treat for all, and a perfect way to kick off the new season!


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Well hello there, summer!

Today is the first day of summer and I believe it!  Unlike Colorado where you rarely know which season you're in because snow falls in June and 75 degrees in February isn't so uncommon, California weather is a bit more predictable.  Summer has been upon us for a few weeks now, between swim lessons, watermelon, evening bike rides, bare feet, wandering the local Farmer's Market, getting acquainted with our swimming pool, grilling burgers, sun screen, rosy cheeks, popsicles, buying cutesy water bottles to keep us hydrated through the scorching next few months, building a tan, more swimming, and finally, though we resisted as long as we could, turning on the air conditioning.

Today's high?  102!  And according to, it's exactly that right now.  This is the first day that 2011 has seen triple digits, and only the first of many, I'm afraid.  Appropriate though, I suppose, since today is the first day of summer.  I say bring it!  If I endured Vacaville's summer heat waves for twenty years, I can certainly get used to Ripon's now!

Happy Summer!

Monday, June 20, 2011


Yesterday my little "sister" celebrated her 29th birthday.  I love Lori for so many reasons, and the more I spend time with and get to know her, the more I respect and adore her.  I have many memories of Lori, now going back nearly a decade (crazy!!), which I'll forever hold dear to my heart.  I am grateful to have her in my life.  Happy Birthday, Lori Jean!

{This was taken last weekend in Salt Lake right after Jared, Lori and their sweet little Katie-Bug were sealed for time and eternity. }

Another thing that makes Lori special is that she shares a birthday with my Grandma Ruth Butterfield, who would have turned ninety-two yesterday.  I wish I'd had more time in this life with my Grandma Ruth, and the time I did have with her I wish I'd cherished more, but I am so grateful for the memories I have and for my mom's, aunts', uncle and cousins' memories, many of which they've shared with me.  My mom told me that whenever there was contention in their home growing up, whether it be a sibling squabble or someone simply having a bad day, my grandma would often sit at the piano and play "Love at Home."  To this day I can hardly get through the hymn without crying.  Yesterday, in fact, we sang it in Sacrament Meeting and I was holding back the tears.  What a strong message that quiet and simple act conveyed.  And what a gift one has when she can make a point without saying a word.  My mom says she never heard her mother raise her voice.  And she never spoke an unkind word about anyone.  It's no wonder my mom is the kind woman she is, not to mention her brother, Vee, and sisters, Pat, Carolyn and Valeri.  I am grateful for the legacy my grandma left behind and I can't wait to see her again someday.  Happy Birthday, Grandma Ruth!

{From left to right: my mom, age six, Grandma Ruth, Uncle Vee, Grandpa VeLoy and Aunt Pat}

Yesterday was also Father's Day!

When I think about the men who have touched my life, my dad instantly comes to mind.  He was, after all, the first man in my life!  I love him so much.  As far back as I can remember we've been close, and I think it's safe to say we always will be.  Some of my favorite things about my dad include his warm, loving nature, his love for his family, and how giving he is of his time.  He's never in a hurry and makes you feel as though he has all the time in the world.  To me that is invaluable.  I hope my dad knows how much I admire and love him.

{1981 & 2002: two of my favorite pictures ever taken of us. They go together so perfectly.}

{This was taken at Hogle Zoo last summer.  I think if Chloe had to choose her favorite person it would be Grandpa Roy.  She loves him more than I ever thought a five-year-old was capable of loving another human being.  There's no denying that these two have a lasting bond.}

My dad-in-law, David, has also touched my life.  He has one of the kindest hearts of any man I've ever met, and values his family greatly.  While we don't get to see much of each other, I think of him often and am grateful for his love and support.  I especially love his occasional phone calls and emails where he simply tells me that he loves and appreciates me.  Those small acts of kindness mean more to me than he knows.  I really hope to get to see him within the next few months.  It's been too long!

{This was taken during our Christmas trip to Atlanta in 2005. Chloe was just five weeks old. My, how time flies...}

Even having never met Neil's dad, Grant, who passed away when Neil was six, I still love this man like a father. Neil remembers him well, and has shared with me facts about him and memories he has. Neil's mom and his aunt and uncle have also shared with me bits and pieces of his life, and I am convinced he was an incredible man. I can't wait to meet Grant one day, and in the meantime I will continue to cherish the pictures I can hold in my hand and the fond memories others have shared of their time with him on this earth.

Yesterday I was glancing through pictures of the kids I took last week during their swim lessons and happened upon this one of Neil and Ryan, which reminded me of a picture that was taken roughly 30 years ago.

{It looks like Ryan and Neil are about the same age in these pictures.  Can you believe the similarities? And what a perfect discover to make on Father's Day!}

And finally, I must honor my husband, who is amazing in so many ways. It's pretty much impossible for me to express in words my love and appreciation for Neil, so I'm not going to try. He knows how I feel. :) He is the fun and silly father I always hoped my children would have, as well as the supportive and playful husband I always hoped I would have! Chloe and Ryan love their dad so much and watching them giggle and wrestle together on the floor brings joy to my soul.

{The kids were so excited to present their Father's Day gift to Neil. And as you can see, he shared their enthusiasm.}

I hope everyone else out there had a very Happy Father's Day!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Something every mom should read

I stumbled upon this "letter" on's blog this morning and had to share.  Perhaps it's because I appreciate this mom's raw honesty and can relate to her dilemma.  Or maybe it's because I think anyone who reads my blog deserves a good laugh to start off their week!  Either way, enjoy.  (See direct link HERE.)

Dearest Children,

Some questions have arisen recently with regards to chores and I thought I’d address your concerns in writing.

Regarding your question – Why do we have to do chores EVERY DAY? We do chores every day because you trash the house every day. If you stop eating, wearing clothes, playing with toys, using the bathroom and throwing your personal effects on the floor, the chores will cease.

For now, I caution you to carefully choose the time and place to begin a discussion about chores and their fairness. For example, when I am currently scrubbing puddles of dried urine from the floor around your toilet, it’s probably not the best time to yell about how unfair it is that you have to pick up the books you were reading. P.S. My aim is better than yours and that’s probably not fair either.

When I was young, I remember me or one of my siblings tearfully telling my mom, “But Mom, I’m not like you, I don’t LIKE doing chores.” She laughed at that comment. To this day I’m not sure why but I’d like to tell you something similar. I’m not like my mom. I don’t LIKE doing chores. That’s why I had kids, so I’d have someone to do all the work for me. If you’re sick of doing chores, grow up and have your own kids.

Sometimes you ask me to have mercy and let you watch a movie or play outside before you get your chores done. I rarely give in and I’ll tell you why. Every time I give in and let you do something fun before work, you have a total meltdown when the fun is over and it’s time for chores to start. If you could find it in your mental and emotional reserves to not go nuclear when it was chore time, I’d find it in my mental and emotional reserves to be more flexible with the scheduling.

Speaking of scheduling, I will now clue you in to one of the great mysteries of successful time management – If you don’t take forever to do something, it won’t take forever to get it done. It’s a simple principle, really. If you move slower than a dead person, your chores will never be finished. If, by contrast, you move your body, you may find that you have a couple of minutes left at the end of a grueling day of making your own bed to enjoy some leisure time.

I hope this has been helpful and enlightening. Have a marvelous day in the trenches!


Happy Monday, everyone!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sunday dinner conversation

Tonight's dinner conversation was a little more entertaining than usual.  It went a little somethin' like this:

ME, trying to convince Ryan to eat his dinner (as if that's anything new): "Ryan, do you remember the cookies I made last night?  You got to eat one on the way to church for getting dressed?"  (Yes, I bribed my son with a cookie for putting his clothes on this morning.)
RYAN: "Yeah?"
ME: "So what do you need to do in order to get another cookie?"
RYAN: "Be nice."
{CORRECT ANSWER: "Eat your dinner."}

Just then a third party chimes into the conversation.
CHLOE: "You made ALL those cookies by yourself?"
ME: "Yes!"
: "After we went to bed last night?"
ME: "Yes!"
: "Really?"
: "Yes!"
CHLOE: "Holy cow, girl!"

I should have said this earlier but Ryan's response to virtually every question beginning with, "What do you have to do in order to______?" is, "Be nice." "...get a treat?" "...go to JD's house?" "...ride your bike?" " to Grandma" "...not go back to timeout?" Relevant or not, "Be nice" is his answer.

And Chloe calling me, "girl"?  I don't know where she comes up with this stuff!  Sometimes she acts more like a teenager than a five year old.

They make me laugh.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Stinky and joyful

Ryan is growing into quite the little stink.  Believe it or not, he has started taking punches at his sister, hitting the nearest thing in sight, and even yelling or throwing objects when he doesn't get his way.  I am learning a pattern, or should I say becoming reacquainted with one which another child, who will remain unnamed, followed when she was Ryan's same age. 

One night about a month ago, after teeth had been brushed, bladders had been emptied, arguments had been resolved, songs had been sung, and prayers had been said, it was time for bed.  Just as we were ready to tuck kiddos in so that Neil and I could enjoy a few moments of sanity before collapsing ourselves, Chloe realized she'd left her blanket downstairs.  It was at this same moment that I realized Ryan's blanket had also been left downstairs.  My initial thought was to have Chloe grab it since she was heading down there anyway, however I knew that this could potentially result in disaster.  So instead I gave Ryan the option of getting it himself or letting Chloe.  Sometimes he's perfectly willing to let her do things for him.  Sometimes he's not.  The key is convincing him that he's in control and that the decision is his to make, not someone else's.  Well, as I suspected, "I do it!" was Ryan's response.  That, along with "I don't like that" are two of his favorites these days.  Now top that with it already being past his bedtime, when he tends to be a little more unreasonable, irrational, possessive, demanding, and whiny than usual, and the prediction is simple.  He was going to go get his blanket, NOT Chloe! 

Well, poor Chloe, in an attempt to be helpful, and obviously not having heard my conversation with Ryan, had already raced down the stairs before I even had a chance to tell her to leave Ryan's blanket behind.  In fact, she was three quarters of the way back up just as Ryan was approaching the stairs to go down.  You can imagine the sheer terror in his eyes when he spotted his blanket in Chloe's arms.  She quickly handed it off to him, but the damage had already been done.  With tears in his eyes, he threw himself onto the floor and started screaming like an honest, healthy, and very tired two-year-old would!  About ninety seconds in, he slammed the blanket onto the floor and proceeded to kick it down the stairs, screaming the entire way, until he and the blanket had reached the bottom.  After all, the only way to gain complete control back was to undo Chloe's good deed.

About twenty minutes later when Ryan had finally settled down, we were trying to determine where he was going to sleep.  Ever since we transformed his crib into a toddler bed, Ryan has preferred sleeping on his floor.  On occasion he'll choose to sleep in his bed, but because I never know, I've just added the question, "bed or floor?" to our nightly routine.  Well earlier this week, Ryan had become more particular than usual about where on the floor his head would lie.  He has this soft monkey mat (from Aunt Sue) that he sleeps on, and always wants his pillow in a specific place on this mat.  For some reason though, I just couldn't get it right.  It didn't matter where I put the silly mat or where I placed the pillow on the mat.  His reaction was inevitably the same: throwing head back, more crying, followed by a, "Nooooooo!  Ight dier!" ("right there"), while pointing two inches from the current location of his mat and pillow.  I'm sure this partially stemmed from the episode that took place twenty minutes prior, but either way, it was absurd and a little over the top.  He did eventually give in and sleep but not without a good fight.

While these stories illustrate the events of a single night, they also represent a lot of habits and tendencies Ryan has started to exhibit.  Some more examples?  Let's see.  He can't manage in the bathroom when I've got my hands full in the kitchen, yet the minute I'm free to help him pull up his pants or wipe his bum he discourages any contact with me whatsoever.  He demands the pink cup until Chloe expresses interest in the yellow cup.  Then suddenly he has to have the yellow cup.  If I place his green blanket on him before placing his blue blanket on him (both of which he sleeps with every night), he wants the blue blanket on him before the green blanket. Yet had I done it this way to begin with, he will have demanded it be done the other way.  So in essence, whatever I do, or how I do it, dictates what he wants and how he wants it. And that is more often than not the complete opposite of what I just did.  As I am slowly catching onto Ryan's patterns, I am becoming better equipped at handling him.  Sometimes giving him options is the trick to maintaining a happy boy, and sometimes it doesn't matter what I do because he's already decided that he's going to be miserable regardless.

I know Ryan is learning, and sometimes I think I'm doing a good job at handling him.  He sure does exhaust me though.  Motherhood in general exhausts me.  In fact, I've never found it more exhausting than right now.  I don't know if it's the current stages of both of my children, but those two literally suck the life right out of me.  I recently stumbled upon this quote and found within it great comfort (and hope).  In sharing his thoughts on mothering, M. Russell Ballard said this:

"First, recognize that the joy of motherhood comes in moments.  There will be hard times and frustrating times.  But amid the challenges, there are shining moments of joy and satisfaction. . . .

Second, don't overschedule yourselves or your children. . . . Families need unstructured time when relationships can deepen and real parenting can take place.  Take time to listen, to laugh, and to play together.

Third, even as you try to cut out the extra commitments, sisters, find some time for yourself to cultivate your gifts and interests.  Pick one or two things that you would like to learn or do that will enrich your life, and make time for them.  Water cannot be drawn from an empty well, and if you are not setting aside a little time for what replenishes you, you will have less and less to give to others, even to your children."

-M. Russell Ballard (from Hilary Weeks' Bedtime and Naptime..., p.49)

Ballard's thoughts really hit home for two reasons.  First, the concept of joy in motherhood coming in moments is so very true, at least for me at this point in my life.  What I've realized though is that it's okay that it only comes in moments - even normal, in fact!  And that it's not all supposed to be joyful and perfect.  After all, it's the challenges, disappointments and heartaches we face day in and day out that help us cherish and hold tight to those "moments" of joy that come unexpectedly.  And really, if life were perfect and our children were perfect, and our houses were perfect, and everything were perfect, what would be our purpose on this earth?  And would all the many joyful moments really feel joyful after a while, or would they start to feel boring and less exciting?  We certainly wouldn't have many opportunities to grow if there weren't some unpleasant moments to mix things up. 

Second, Elder Ballard's encouragement about finding time for ourselves was a good reminder for me, and something I especially needed to hear from an Apostle.  I think in the monotony of motherhood, it's easy to lose ourselves.  After all, if my kids, who since I can remember, I dreamed of carrying, birthing and raising, can drive me crazy and wear me out and often make me feel everything BUT joy, then I must be failing!  It's usually when I'm not making time for myself and not cultivating my gifts and talents that I start falling into this trap.

So Ryan is a little stink.  We've established that.  He has his sweet moments, but most of the time, at least right now, he's a stink.  I get it.  I am accepting it.  And I will continue to work with him over and over again for as long as it takes him to understand how he should be.  I will do that because I am his mother and I love him.  Despite the challenges, I am grateful for him and for the lessons I am learning.  I am also grateful that I am not naive to the realities of motherhood.  It really isn't always fluffy, flowery and beautiful.  But somehow enduring life's challenges helps me to recognize and appreciate even more those occasional moments of joy.  And when they come, I cherish and remember them. And I really truly believe that that's how God intended it to be.