Monday, July 27, 2015


Dear Bug,

I can absolutely not believe you are a teenager. A real, actual teenager.

I'm pretty sure I say that I can't believe you are whatever age you are each birthday, but this year I mean it more than ever.

I'll be honest. I've been dreading this age. 13 and all its accompaniments. Junior high, puberty, angst. It all just dredges up horrible memories of my own newly teenage self.

However, do I even dare say 'so far, so good'?

Because you are 13 are absolutely delightful. When I was 13, delightful was never a word used to describe me. Some of it may have to do from that Y chromosome you have, the one that gave me grief during your toddler age. I do think that most of it is just from you being you.

You are an amazing kid, boy, child, person.

You are funny, and thoughtful, and helpful. You are an amazing older brother, helping out with Duck all the time (in fact, you can get him down for his nap better than anyone.) You are incredibly driven. You made your own account for online summer math classes and have spent time each day studying algebra and independent and dependent variables.

You have yet to show any interest in girls, which is fine. Feel free to keep it that way for another 10 plus years.

You are really settling into yourself, your personality become more fully developed each day.

I also recognize that just as you were getting comfortable with yourself and your world, we uprooted you and moved you across the country, away from everything familiar. I know the timing couldn't have been worse. I apologize for that. I hope that you don't hold this against me forever. (So far, you don't seem to, but I can't help projecting my own feelings of guilt onto you. Sorry about that too.)

I often read of my friends struggling with their preteen and teenage boys, and I wonder how I got so lucky. I know that our struggles will not stay confined to me prodding you to make your bed and get your hair cut. But for now, I'll take what we have and enjoy it each day I can.


Monday, July 20, 2015

A Large 4th

One of the things I was very excited about with our move to Utah was the chance to celebrate holidays with family. While we have had years of creating our own small family traditions, there were things that just aren't the same without a large extended family.

The 4th of July is one of those holidays. All our Independence Day celebrations in Iowa were small affairs. There is nothing wrong with small, simple holidays. I was just excited to do something more with the holiday.

Our holiday started very early in the morning, before sunrise, watching hot air balloons.

I've always associated hot air balloons with the 4th, and was very excited to share this with my children.

The weather didn't cooperate, so the balloons didn't actually take off. But we still had a great time watching them inflate, and fill the field with their bright, photogenic shapes and colors.

After the early morning balloons, we gathered to watch the parade.

This was another things that I had missed.  The parades in our Iowa town were small, without fancy floats and large marching bands. Watching all the impressive town floats and loud high school bands was incredibly nostalgic. (Although no candy! Seriously, what's up with that? No one was throwing salt water taffy or Tootsie Rolls, which was a huge disappointment to my children.)

The other part of the morning that was very exciting was my entire family was at the parade. All my siblings, my married siblings' spouses, and their children. I don't think this has ever happened before. As you can see, we are quite the crowd.

After the parade, we made our way from the large city, to my parents' home in small town, Central Utah.

There, my children gathered eggs, ran wild with cousins, which we grilled and cooked and ate and laughed.

We decided to attempt something new this year, which will hopefully continue on as a 4th of July tradition: Homemade root beer. We mixed a syrup from a variety of spices, added plenty of sugar, and then, the most exciting part - dry ice!

We topped the homemade root beer off with homemade vanilla ice cream before making our way to fireworks.

For a small town, the firework display was very impressive.

Watching my children dance around the baseball field, twirling glow sticks, then huddle together with friends and family as huge fireworks exploded almost directly overhead, I could not think of a better way to celebrate our country's birthday.

The holiday was large, loud, and absolutely perfect.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Playing Catch Up, Yet Again

Blogging is so much like exercise. It's so easy to find excuses to not do it. I'm too tired, my to-do list is too long, I'm too stressed, I just don't feel like it, I'll do it tomorrow. What I have to do is just actually do it. And just like exercising, it feels so great once I make the time and get it done.

I'm now writing from Utah.

For the time being, I'm just going to provide a brief overview of the last month or so, mostly to let myself process how much has actually happened.

The first week of June, Hubster graduated from dental school. Then, all our belongings were packed up, and we made the trek across half the country from Iowa to Utah, leaving behind our first home.

The getting to Utah will be a series of posts (to hopefully follow very very soon), as we decided to combine moving and summer vacation. We turned our move into a 10 day road trip, which (just like last year's road trip) was awesome.

Getting into our new home was it's own adventure, full of difficult negotiations and nail biting and more paperwork than I ever thought possible. But after several bottles of Tums, just a handful of meltdowns, and several hundred phone calls, we are settling into what we hope will be our forever home.

We still have quite a few boxes to empty (some that I'm tempted to just toss without even opening, because there is just so much stuff and I'm so tired of opening boxes and finding places for things.) We haven't done any decorating or styling, as we are still trying to figure out where everything should go in the kitchen.

Hubster and I have both started our new jobs. It's been an adjustment, since I was so settled in my last job. Learning new things and new schedules and new people is challenging. But at the same time, it feels great to be learning and pushing myself again, as I realized how mentally complacent I was becoming.

We are starting the search for child care for our boys. After throwing around ideas of au pairs, and summer camps, and everything in between, we are searching for a nanny (even though Bug insists that he does not need a nanny - apparently forgetting that he has younger siblings who do.)

We are exploring our new neighborhood and slowly adjusting back to the Utah culture. Even though we lived here in the past, after being gone for so many years, there was still a little culture shock on moving back. We apparently had become quite the country bumpkins in our small Iowa town, because the traffic, people, air quality, amount of stores, and time spent commuting have been difficult to adjust to.

But thankfully, there are the mountains right in our back yard, and those are just as amazing as they have ever been.

It's been a crazy month, full of stress and change and newness. I'm ready to settle back into a schedule, do some more hikes, make some new friends, and share a few more stories right here.