Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Bear-y Fun Finish

The final morning of our trip to Bear Lake was spent packing and cleaning up the cabin. Wanting something to look forward to other than our drive home, we went on a hike before leaving the area.

Sporting their recently designed, hand crafted, Nana was pinterest inspired, t-shirts: the children set off on their adventure. Lucky for me, I got to sport a cute baby. I'll be honest though; when the incline of the hike began, I murmured a little. I had envisioned something more like the stroller friendly board walk at Silver Lake. Sadly, this hike did not include said boardwalk.  To its credit, It wasn't incredibly strenuous and there was plenty of shade. As I own up to my complain shame, I will say in my defense that I got over it real quick and enjoyed myself.

Andrew offered to take Forrest but the baby prefers me, so said my Motherly pride, so I opted to keep him. Lottie would need her Dad to carry her later on anyway.  Eliza was in high spirits for awhile but it wasn't long until she began her own sad song of, "Are we done yet?" Knowing who she takes after in this particular venue, I felt doubly bad.

Meanwhile, my two boys, Andrew and Henry, were doubly happy.

"I feel like I've come home!" Andrew sighed as he took in his surroundings. "We need to do more of this."

Henry was lost in his imagination as he and his pretend puppy hunted for 'chick-munks.'

"Man." He lamented. "I wish I had a real dog so I could find the chick-munks easier." That was his single complaint that morning. With his marshmallow shooting gun, he went to town on the wildlife or whatever it was that was running rampant in his head.

Lottie took it upon herself to look super cute in her pink hat. Every once in awhile, she'd request a lift service from Dad, but did fairly well. It's still hard to know if nature rings loud in her soul like her Dad or if she's a "let's order room service" (not that I have ever done that) kind of girl like her Mom.
Forrest slept through the whole thing. What a life! :)

As I mentioned a moment ago, Nana came prepared with an array of craft activities for the 'grand-wees' to do. There was decorating shirts with sharpie and a dab of rubbing alcohol which created a fun little tie-dye effect. They constructed marshmallow mellow shooting guns out of pvc pipe (is that what it's called?) and engaged in an epic battle of mini-marshmallow fame.  And, with my Mom's help, we decorated Eliza's flip flops with water balloon ties. It was a fun few days. We learned that in the future we need to extend the trip by a day or so. It went by too fast. 
Constructing their marshmallow shooting guns
Preparing for battle

A few final favorites
The Mays Crew
When I got after Eliza for hiding in the pictures, she just laughed.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Into the Lake

Having completed my first, albeit brief, spin around the lake with Andrew and Henry, Andrew cuts the engine of the Sea-doo. As I watch Henry waddle through the water back to his cousins, I realize that I've lost my insurance for a safe and slow ride. Surprising myself I ask:

"Would it be okay if I drive now?" Supporting the idea fully, Andrew and I swap places. We holler to our crew that we're going back out for a few minutes. Knowing that Forrest is asleep, I seize the opportunity.

Andrew feigns patience as I warm up to the machine. I feel myself smiling like a fool as I increase the speed. Before I know it, my foolish behavior evolves into high pitched wail. I sing out my happiness.

"THIS IS SO MUCH FUUUUUUN!!!!" It's nice to be reunited with that particular feeling. Andrew takes my hand. It's a sweet gesture. Except... Hey wait.

"Honey. HONEY!! What are you doing? My thumb... LET GO OF MY THUMB!" My thumb controls the speed. It is currently trapped underneath his. With his thumb calling the shots, I've lost control of the sea-doo's speed. We are going A LOT faster than my sissy pants self is comfortable with. I panic and holler  and do my best to throw an efficient tantrum.

He finally gives into my wishes. We return to a slower pace. Other than the heart attack I almost had, it was a lot of fun. Our second ride together would begin with promises of not doing that again. I failed to add in a request that he remain still and not intentionally rock the sea-doo back and forth in an attempt to flip us. I'll remember that part next time; lesson learned.
The sea-doo, picnicking, playing in the sand, wading in the water and visiting under the shade tent made our two days on the beach very memorable. 

What's that Lottie? Did I forget something?
... You're right! Trekking it to the porta-potty was AWESOME. 

The distance to the primitive-type bathroom wasn't close. However, when you have a child in the midst of potty training, the instruction to "go in the lake" is confusing. So when they tell you they have to go potty... you make that walk. Or you ask your husband to make that walk for you. However, when he's off giving rides on the sea-doo... it's a bonding experience you get to embrace!

You make the trek through the hot sand together. Arriving at your destination, you say a silent farewell to fresh oxygen as you push open the door. You wish you could numb your brain out of its awareness to the germ fest that awaits you both. You cringe as she begins the process to seat herself. And then, after placing her so carefully on that awful throne of nastiness... she passes a little gas before announcing with a tone of finality, 

"I'm done." Except she never went. It doesn't matter though because she repeats again, "Mom! I am done!" 

We can celebrate her bathroom accomplishments in another post because in all sincerity I am thrilled she is potty trained. I just have to say, while we're on the topic, potty training is super inconvenient. The 'easy' factor depends on whether your child is truly ready, but I believe that it is never a convenient thing. 

Now that I've killed your appetite, let's return to the beach picture fest. If you don't mind.
Henry was generally in "construction mode." Having him in a BRIGHT green swimsuit was a good parenting decision. It was always easy to spot him.

Eliza had her pick of cousins at the lake. They all got along so well.
 Lottie bounced back and forth between cousin Sara and cuddling in her towel.
 Tired of having a camera in her face, Lottie effectively "hides" from her Mom.
 As for Forrest, what's that saying?

He had it made in the shade.

The grown ups had a nice time too. 
 Just ask Andrew and Adam. :)

As for Andrew, he was given the opportunity to ride the sea-doo solo.

"Be safe." I admonish.

"Always." He replies.

"Are you going to fall off?" I question as I begin to walk away.

"I'm sure going to try." He smiled.

Mission accomplished.

This final shot made this memory resurface. It makes me happy (and a little sad because they are missed) remembering those years.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Prelude to A Vacation

Monday afternoon I loaded up the car with suitcases, sand toys and sunscreen! After days of preparation, we were finally ready to head up to Bear Lake!


I am not exaggerating when I use the phrase 'days of preparation.' With Forrest's schedule to work around and a husband who has to work late hours, the packing happens in pieces. Imagine that it's the Tuesday before our trip, as an example. Laundry becomes that day's priority. Piles of clean clothes crop up in random bedrooms. The incomplete piles, their chosen location and current status make perfect sense to {only} you.

The next day, you have to argue your case as to why your 7 year old daughter can't bring a hand me down, three sizes too big, bikini (say it with me girls: modest girls are the hottest girls) as you focus on packing the swim bag which contains suits, sunscreen, swim diapers, towels and other beachy necessities. You anticipate what possible illnesses may arise as you sift through your medicine cabinet that day as well.  It scares you how many potential disasters there are to be ready for.

The weekend, fingers crossed, is reserved for a final trip to the store sans children. You've fed the new baby, checked the clock and invite an older child to come with you so that you can add in some 'special' one on one time. As you make your way outside, you discover... GASP... your car won't start. After your mechanically inclined husband checks things out, it's determined that your car battery is kaput! $130.00 dollars later, you're finally on your way... only now, your breastfed infant is going to need you that much sooner; a situation that causes your at home husband great stress. The magical trip to Target you once hoped to enjoy, has now turned into a mad, frantic rush of a situation. He calls so you can hear that your baby is crying screaming. You check your watch.

"It's only been two hours, he'll be okay. I'm on my way." Except you really aren't. You try to reassure him. You instruct your seven year old to keep up as you begin to speed skip your way to the checkout stand. With the hours you've spent trying to pack, there's still more to be done. The day of travel arrives. You anticipate coming home to something smelling off. The thought frightens you. Once again, as you dance around your baby's needs (and your three other children...they need you too... especially the one who is in the process of potty training) you clean your house. You need a nap. Too bad. It's time to go!

You load the car. Magically everything fits. You fill the car with gas, cave for a Diet Coke, and say a prayer as a family for safe travels. Andrew is finishing up a day of work which leaves you at the helm. He'll catch a ride later with my Dad. With my Mom, cousin Emilee and my four Fleglets packed in the van, we go on ahead.

Arriving at Bear Lake feels like a major accomplishment. I don't love driving on free-ways. I have a little PTSD from a past car accident, so like I said... I feel accomplished. Other than a few patches of road construction up Logan canyon, the drive passed without incident. Hooray.

The welcoming view of the beautiful lake and a car full of excited kids was highly rewarding. Forrest did his part by behaving beautifully the whole way. After exploring the cabin, we headed into town for dinner and raspberry shakes.
My art enthusiast soon asked her Nana, who is likewise an art enthusiast, if they could color together.
 And then it was time for the older kids to explore.
While my Mom, Lottie, Forrest and I soaked in the view.
Tired as can be, I was happy to be there. The rest of our family soon rolled in. Vacation was code for 'relaxation' in a past life. These days, it's spelled: w-o-r-k! But when you're with family and your kids are having fun, it's the best kind of work there is.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Stress Relief

Let's rewind to last Friday, shall we?

It's 4:00 pm, arsenic hour, at the Flegal house. I am on the phone with my Mom venting my momentary frustration. I've had another long day. Andrew's 40 hour work week has turned into a 65+ hour work week. I can't remember when the kids last  interacted with him. I wonder if he'll be home for bedtime. I'm not complaining (yet), just stating the facts.

To my Mother I say,

"Lottie and Henry have been pushing each others buttons all day!" And it's true. They tease and torment one another in a way that only tightly bonded siblings can. The sound of this conflict dissolves my sanity. I'd rather wake from the peaceful realm of slumber to the sounds of a hungry, demanding newborn than listen to them fight. To be fair, I haven't been on my best behavior either. Trying to organize and pack for an upcoming vacation, care for our baby, fulfill my church calling and potty train Lottie (which I can now deem a success!!!) while maintaining other parental duties left me drained. Patience was on short supply. Still on the phone with my Mom, I search for a remedy.

"We've been going to bed too late. I'm putting my kids to bed early tonight." I announce. Having spoken the thought, I feel relief. And then I get a text from Andrew.

"Do you want to take the kids bowling tonight?" My answer was immediate.

"YES!!!" Smothering the protests of the planner within and silencing the suggestion that sleep would probably be best, I dropped the plates of responsibility I'd delicately been trying to balance and got us ready to meet Andrew at Fat Cats.
Our family was treated to a fun night of pizza and bowling by a very kind friend.
Daddy reconnected with the family he works so hard to support.
Forrest slept in his car seat for much of the evening. He woke up at the end to catch a little piece of the bowling action. 

Lottie asked to use the bathroom while we were there. It was her first public potty outing... definitely a milestone that I was thrilled she reached.
We bowled right through that planned bedtime, came home late and we're all the better for having done so.
And by the way, Ogden is really great place to live. 
 In the background, you can see our temple that is currently being re-constructed.
While Moms focus on providing 'fun moments' for their kids, we sometimes forget that we need to have fun too. An early bedtime would have been nice but Andrew's idea that we play with our kids was better.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Officially Forrest

Yesterday afternoon, our darling baby was given a name and blessing.

After his Father successfully secured the name, "Forrest," when he was born, the blessing began with Andrew unintentionally changing his name to Daniel (well, almost.) As he began to announce his name, I heard a distinct 'D' sound. I couldn't believe it. He paused, as he caught himself, and proceeded to say his actual name, Forrest Daniel Flegal.
 Forrest says, "Oh my goodness!  Really?"

The truth is, he's our Forrest. It's his name. And I have grown to love it. My affection for it happened quite easily. Attached to this face, you can understand why.
 He is two months old today, by the way.
Whose brilliant idea was it to stare straight into the sun?!
As I was saying, yesterday was a special day for our family. It seems cliche and ordinary to simply say that Andrew did a "good job" as he blessed Forrest. I just cried into the back of Lottie's head, she was in my lap at the time, as I listened to the special (there's that overused word again!) things that were said.

Usually, Andrew is a man of few words. On the other hand, I love words! I use many words on a daily basis; my poor family. So when my sweet, generally soft spoken, spouse stands to bless our child (or anyone else for that matter), I feel a surprising sense of awe.
His voice was both tender and powerful.. The poetic promises were comforting. I know that raising kids is serious business, which is why I appreciated hearing the reminder that we are not alone in our parenting efforts.  

 Thank goodness, right?  Because, my word, that's a lot kids!

We were fortunate to have Andrew's parents, my parents, the Chamberlains and my brothers Mike, Matt and their cute families attend. After the meeting, it was back to our house for dinner...and for Lottie, we scheduled an emergency nap. The poor girl fell apart after Church. 

The second photo from the top, Andrew is pinching Forrest's cheeks. Look who I found doing the same thing later that day?
 Father like son
 This magic thing happens when our cousins come to play. The big kids disappear into a blissful place of happiness that doesn't allow for much interaction with grown ups. Call me a bad Mom, but I love it. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, right?

In my last post, I mentioned that we picked up a free play set and hauled it home on the 4th. Here it is.
The kids love there new jungle hide-away. I love that it sits in the shade all day and that I have a clear view of them from inside the house.
And finally, to my sweet baby boy:
I love you so very much. Thank you for your smiles, cuddles and all your baby needs that require us to maintain closeness. :) Sometimes I'm tired and sometimes you have to wait when I'm helping one of your siblings and for that I apologize. The good news is, your brother and sisters are wild about you. You have a lot to look forward to. Pretty soon I will have four little monkeys up in the tree fort. But, if you don't mind,  take your time growing up. Please?