Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Beach and The Dragons

We woke up Saturday morning in beautiful San Diego ready for a day of fun on the beach!

Beach Bums
We shared this vacation with Andy's sister Hol and her family.  We all had tickets to the Imagine Dragons concert in San Diego and thought we'd make a vacation out of it together, and it was one of the best weekends in a long time!

The beach house we rented was right on the beach overlooking the water.  It was also right next to the Bellmont amusement park on Mission Beach.  It was the perfect location!  Luckily, the weather was unseasonably warm and made for a perfect day on the beach.

The girls played a little beach volleyball.

And playing in the sand is always a favorite!

Around lunch time, the boys and my oldest niece Micaela headed out to Coronado to see the USS Midway, an old aircraft carrier docked in San Diego.  They said it was great, Kayman sure enjoyed it!

On their way back from the USS Midway, Andy was dropped off at the concert venue to get in line for the show.  We had GA tickets, which meant that we were on the floor and wanted to be as close to the stage as possible.  If you want to be close, you have to wait in line a little longer than the rest of the groupies.

  *A BIG shoutout here to my incredible sister in law Hol for staying behind and watching the kiddos.  She definitely took one for the team with this decision, and it was not her most pleasant night thanks to my kids.  They did learn a very important lesson though...more on that here.*

Brandon, Micaela, Izzy, and I headed out for the show, grabbed some In-N-Out and took it to Andy in line.  We then waited there for two hours before it was time for the doors to open.  About 10 minutes before 6:00, door opening time, a big group of people started heading for the front of the line.  After a minute of a continual stream of people, we realized that they were rushing the line.  Sooooooo not cool.  We made a run for it (along with everyone else who had been waiting for hours) to stay as close as possible to the front.  A nice organized line with civilized people turned into this crazy mob in minutes.

The security guards didn't have a clue what was going on.  I could talk for a long, long time about the horrible security, disorganization, and general lack of knowledge about the crowd at this venue, but I digress.  We ended up with only 2 people standing in front of us once we got to the stage.  Couldn't ask for much better with a stadium filled with a few thousand.

My favorite band at the moment, Nico Vega, opened the show.

We have seen them a few times in the last year.  They put on such a great show every time.  They have so much raw emotion just oozing from each of them as they perform.  Aja, the singer, is an incredible vocalist and has some killer moves up on stage.
Aja Volkman dancing it up!

My favorite is when she climbs up on the drum set.  Of course.

And she really loves her fans.

Rich, the guitarist, has a fabulous sense of style and some fancy footwork as he shreds on his guitar.  Dan, the drummer, bounces on his throne as he beats those drums and sings simultaneously.  So much talent!

It was really great to hear some of the new songs that will be on their album coming out on Feb. 25.  I can hardly wait!

If you haven't heard them yet, check out their new single here.  "I Believe" by Nico Vega

The second band that played was The Naked And The Famous.  They were pretty good, but it's hard to follow Nico Vega and precede Imagine Dragons, in my opinion.  I like them better on Pandora than I did live.

Then.  Imagine Dragons.
The one and only...Dan Reynolds!
AHHHH!  The show was amazing.  We had a great spot up front and could see the sweat dripping from each of the members of the band.  Okay, that's gross, but we love being so close!
Dan Reynolds

Dan sings and dances his heart out on every song.  He is so much fun to watch because he's so passionate about his music.  Every member of the band is.  The energy they pack up on stage is unreal.  On this tour they have so many more theatrical elements to the show, it's just that much better.  It's less intimate than the days when Dan used to crowd surf down at The Velour in Provo with a crowd of 50 people, but it's still as intimate as possible given the venue.
Dan Reynolds

The encore is always the best.  They end their show with "Nothing Left To Say" and this time they brought Dave Keuning from The Killers on stage.  He rocked out with Wayne for quite a while.  That was pretty cool.
Wayne Sermon and Dave Keuning

They always end the show with a humble bow and genuine thank you to the crowd.  These men and so talented, and have remained very humble throughout this explosion of fame.  I hope they can maintain it.
Wayne Sermon, Dan Reynolds, Ryan Walker(touring member), Dave Keuning(Killers), Daniel Platzman, Ben Mckee

I got the privilege of meeting Wayne's (the guitarist) wife Alex Sermon after the show.  She is an incredible ballerina and a lovely photographer.  I have been following her blog as she tracks the band tour and I love getting the inside scoop on their adventures.  Alex was very sweet to take a few minutes to talk to me and let me take a picture with her.
Alex Sermon and me

Dan and Aja are the cutest rocker couple ever.  How great that they get to tour together!

Rock Star Love Birds

The Croc in the Sand

My wonderful sister in law, Hol, watched our kids for us while we went to an(other) Imagine Dragons concert.  We were originally planning on one of her older daughters to watch the younger kids, but Hol decided to let both of her girls go to the show.  She took the four of them to the beach for a few hours and then they were planning to go get pizza for dinner.  

They had a little problem when it was time to get shoes on and head out...

Usually they can find a way to get along, but sometimes things get quite testy between my girls.

Jess was feeling a little left out, so she buried Syd's flip flops in the sand.  Not completely, but just enough to be more difficult to find than Syd expected.  

Syd did not like that.  Not one bit.  So, what did she do?   
She took one of Jess's Crocs and buried it when nobody was looking.  She dug a hold, put the Croc down in there, and completely buried it.  Then she lost track of where it was buried.


They spent 45 minutes digging around in the sand looking for the shoe.  Ya think they found it?  


Hol helped the girls understand how our actions affect those around us.  Kayman and Ava were not involved in this little tiff of theirs, yet they had to help dig in the sand.  They were all hungry.  They were frustrated.  Tensions were high.  This was not a pleasant experience for anyone, but hopefully the girls learned the important lesson that their actions do affect more than just themselves.  That revenge is not the best solution.  That everybody makes mistakes.  That when you make a mistake, you must make it right.  That making it right takes humility.
Now, Syd and Jess both have to work to earn money to replace shoes for Jess.  They were both at fault, and now they both get to make restitution.

These two are best friends again now.  I hope they can remain close as they grow up.  Who better to share your secrets with than your sister who has been there with you through everything?  A sister is one of the best things in the world!

Sisters.  Best Friends.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Road Trippin'

Reflections in the Sand

I set out to document our latest family vacation and realized that I take far too many pictures.  As a woman who has a hard time letting go of things, (like people, and pictures of people, and details, and memories) this is a bad habit.  Lucky for you, this is only the first post of a few more to come!

Day 1

After spending a bazillion hours making these for Syd's class Valentine party...

...and making 80 of these for the kids' classmates:

Next year they are making their own.

...and then for Kayman's Valentine party, the kindergarteners and I made these:

Tissue paper hearts - thank you Pinterest!

...after all the festivities, I was ready to get on the road for our family vacation over President's Day weekend.  We planned months ago to head out to San Diego to see our favorite band in concert again (any guesses?) and thought it would be the perfect excuse to take a beach vacation in the middle of winter. Brilliant, right?!  It's a good excuse to support our concert-going habit.

We left as soon as Andy got home from work Thursday afternoon, stayed the first night with my parents in St. George, and then left early (5am) Valentine's morning for the beach.  After stopping at In-N-Out for a proper welcome into California, we got to Mission Beach in San Diego around 1pm.  

First look at the water
Andy had a conference call for work, so the kids and I headed for the water to give him some peace and quiet.  Yeah, that's why.
The weather was lovely and warm.  The water had a chill to it but felt so good on my feet.  The kids got a little further in than I did, they were soaked in no time!
 There is no better way to celebrate the end of a long road trip than with a dip in the ocean.  And since it was Valentine's day, Syd drew a cute little heart in the sand.
Happy Valentine's Day!
There is something so peaceful about the ocean.  The sound of the waves is so calming, and the sand feels so good under my feet.  Jess thinks it's "way better than carpet."  

After the kids got their clothes soaked and Andy was off his phone call, the kids changed into swim suits so they could really enjoy the beach the way they wanted to.  They were patient enough to let me snap a shot of them before running into the water.

Sisters on an adventure!

             They built sandcastles together.
I think this is such a precious things to witness as a mother.  I love watching them work together to create something, especially when they are legitimately enjoying one another's company.  That doesn't always happen, ya know.

 Kayman had a strange urge to return the seaweed to the sea.  He didn't seem to mind that it kept washing back ashore with each wave, he'd simply return it to the water once it came in.  Ahh, the simple pleasures of childhood.

Blue Moon
As evening was approaching, the fog rolled in from the West, creeping from the sea to dry land and covered the city in a blanket of silver.  It was very surreal.  I'm pretty sure this is the first time I have ever seen/noticed a "blue moon" for real.  Isn't that gorgeous?!

After walking through Old Town and getting some delicious Mexican food for dinner, we headed up to the Mormon Battalion for a tour.  We happen to have a friend serving a mission there at the moment.  
I didn't think we had a chance of bumping into her because she only serves there half of the day, and it was already 8:30 pm by the time we got there.  As we walked in the doors, Andy noticed her right away just behind the counter.  When she saw me, she hurried to me and hugged me so tight.  She was very surprised, of course, and a bit choked up at the sight of friends from home. 

We spoke for a few minutes, and then she led us on a tour of the Mormon Battalion visitor center.  She did a really great job, she's a natural.  Her calling requires a bit of role playing and acting, and she did it very well.  It would have been insanely difficult for me to do, I'm proud of her.

Jess dressed as a member of Mormon Battalion
Sister Kennedy and me

Sister Kennedy is a beautiful young woman whom I have admired since I taught her in primary 9 years ago.  Once she turned 12, she was anxious to make sure I knew she was interested in babysitting.  I had been hiring her sister, Chanel (who I also dearly love and have kept close with over the last 9 years) and I started hiring Ally also.

Ally is a hero to me, and this is one reason why.  She was diagnosed with severe scoliosis during her Senior (I think) year in high school.  It was serious enough that she had to have invasive surgery to straighten her spine.  She has rods screwed into her spine, a scar down the length of her back, and I have heard nothing but positivity from her.  Always.  She has taken this difficult trial in life and let it strengthen her.  This woman is a gem, a strong and faithful daughter of God.  I am proud to call her a friend.

Day 1 in San Diego was a success! Be on the lookout for Day 2!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Time for a bath

Sometimes I feel like I'm a really good mom.  Sometimes I feel like a really crappy mom.  Sometimes when I'm being a really crappy mom and still feel like a good mom I get a little confused.  I was feeling like a pretty good mom until this happened.

Tonight as I was tucking my son into bed, I noticed that his socks were dirty and helped him take them off.  He said, "How many days ago was Sunday?" before I noticed that these socks are the same socks he wore to church.  5 days ago.  Seriously?  Somehow this child of mine managed to escape the bath police all week long!

He hadn't even taken his socks off.  How did I not notice that?  So gross.

I made good and sure that the girls got their showers throughout the week.  Our general rule is this:

"If you didn't shower yesterday, shower today"

Plus, it's much easier to tell when the girls need one because their hair gets greasy.  Man was sneaky enough to steer clear and avoided bathing all week long.

This reminds me of an award my daughter once made for me...

I don't remember what I did to warrant this kind of harassment, but I'm sure it was something equally as awful as not bathing my child for 5 days.

I'm so embarrassed.  Why on earth am I publishing this for all the world to know?  I'm not really sure, other than I want you all to feel a little better about your parenting skills.  It's a good thing I stopped at 3 kids, I'm not very good at this.

Some people probably bathe their dogs more that every 5 days.  Speaking of which, I don't remember the last time the dog had a bath either...

I DID, however, make sure Man had clean clothes to wear, so you know I'm not completely neglectful mother.  I even let him play in the dryer for a while today.  Here he is looking out at me while he spins around.

I know, I know.  It's a good thing he's so darn cute.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Don't Chase People

I came across this quote today on my friend's Instagram account.  It is something I have thought about a lot lately, but I haven't been able to put the words together in the right way.  This is very well said, and I believe it to be one of the greatest keys to happiness.

I have had the phrase "don't chase people" in my head recently.  This is a lesson I have learned in the last two years.  It's been a difficult lesson to learn, and painful on many occasions, but a very important one.

There are people who come into our lives for a time, or for a reason, and then they leave.  The leaving is the part that I really struggle with.  I love people.  I have many friends, and I really love to maintain relationships with people I have come to love.

I have what I consider a gift of feeling connected to people very quickly.  I am able to look deep within the person and see who they really are, and I love most people almost immediately.  Because of this love for them, I feel comfortable around them and tend to open myself up fairly early on in the friendship.  I think this makes many people uncomfortable and it usually feels as though this connection is not mutual, or the vulnerability required in a close relationship is not reciprocated.

In the past, I have had a very difficult time in letting go of those who want to go.  This is a skill I have been forced to develop as of late, and I have come to realize that the right people are in my life at the right times.  I have no right to insert myself into someone's life who no longer wants or needs me there, and I have to be ok with that.  I can't chase them.

I've got to continue to "do my thing" and the people I need in my life will come and find me, and they will stay.  I've had some really incredible people find me over the years, and a lot of them have stayed.  I've also had some amazing people find me, but then leave.  I'm sure I have left a few as well simply because life and circumstances change.

I believe this idea of living your life, or "doing your thing" without worrying too much about which people may come or go is a huge key to personal happiness.  The people who truly matter in this life are the people I will be with family.  Those are the relationship that must have the most time invested into them.  The eternal relationships should be the priority.  I have spent much more time with my family in the last couple of years than I did the pervious few and I am a much happier person.  I love my family, and I am lucky to have such wonderful people who love me back.  I am truly blessed.

Now, to figure out "my thing".  I think that inspires a new blog post...My Favorite Things