Monday, June 29, 2009

Old friends and discontentment.

Some dear old friends of ours came to town for a night and graced us with their presence. No, I'm not being sarcastic in saying that ... they really did. They are a breath of fresh air to me every time I'm with them. They are real, raw, and the most Gospel oriented people that I know ... not only that - but they pursue true Gospel community, which I love! One of the blessings of true community is that every now and then - you're gonna get a big ol' kick in the .... dare I say ... buttox. We all need them, and this weekend, I got one! Horray!!!! Our friends were kind enough to sit through and listen to some of Aaron and I's every growing and changing story. The wife was kind enough to point out some of my flaws, the husband pointing out some of Aaron's. It was beautiful!

All that to say, it is no secret that one of my biggest issues is discontentment. The husband of this couple wrestles witht the same thing ... so he joined in in the pointing out of my flaws. haha. Discontentment is the root cause MOST of the time for problems that arise in my life, in my relationships, in my marriage. (Well, actually pride is the root cause. But discontentment, for me, is the result of my pride.) I'm actually so discontent that I'm discontent with being discontent. That's probably one time it's okay, I suppose. Anyway ... they pointed me toward an article that was written by another staff member at their church. So to all my fellow discontents ....


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Sand Dunes/Camping/Hotel/WARNING: lot's of pictures/Baby Britton Blurbs

Time for a family vacation! What else is there to do (that is affordable) with 4 kids but camp? (Well, I could think of a few ideas, but whatever.) We had heard a lot about the Colorado Sand Dunes. Originally we were going to rent an RV and travel around that part of Colorado (South). That cost a lot. We moved toward camping. Cabin or tent though? Hmmm ... For some reason, I pushed for the tent. For anyone who knows me, you'll be shocked to know - it was A LOT of fun! So much fun that we got a hotel the second night. Haha. No, it really was fun. The Sand Dunes were amazing. Memories were made. But then - mosquitoes were biting. Heat was pounding. Sand was sticking ... everywhere. There was no bathtub in sight. So, forget the RV, cabin, or tent ....hotel camping for us !

Here is a photo story of our vacation: (remember, the title warned you about this)

Packing for camping does not help my desire for a bigger vehicle. We had to take out a seat in the van and we still barely fit all our stuff .... PLUS the children. (Picky, picky.) I loaded the kids in, then piled in the remainder of the gear around them.

4 1/2 hours later, we made it to the Dunes. The view was stunning! I've never seen anything like it. You're driving in the desert, then all of a sudden, MOUNTAINS !!! Then all of a sudden, sand. Wow!

**Baby Britton Blurb -
Eden - "Daddy, those mountains look like Elephants". (Wish I had a picture of the Elephant Mountains, but I don't.)**

Our Home.
After dinner, we of course had to roast marshmallows. Yum!

Shortly after the S'mores, it was bedtime. Sam of course, had to keep coming out. You know... going to the bathroom, needing a drink, it's too dark routine. Oh well. We think we slept for about 4 or 5 hours, which we considered a success with 4 kids in one tent all lined up in a row next to us. (Didn't help that Providence is a maniac sleeper and kept rolling on everybody. Malachi didn't appreciate that much.)

For not growing up camping, I'm pretty proud of myself for how the night went. It was really fun. It was really cold !!!! (40 degrees to be exact.) The next morning, I woke up to Aaron and the kids out of the tent around a fire. Aaron was trying to cook up some eggs for the kids. The first batch was ruined, or so I was told. He was on his second try when I found him. I stepped in. I made great eggs! Along with the great eggs were even better Baby Britton Blurbs!

Eden - "It's so cold out here! I wish I were eggs so I could sit on top of the fire." :)
Provi - "These are the best eggs I've ever had!" (I agree ... something about campfire eggs are extra yummy!)
Sam - "Dad, how come mom does everything right?" (I didn't even pay him to say that!)

After breakfast, we headed out to do some sand dune hiking.

This next picture should win a contest. No, I'm not being conceited. Just sayin'. Sam against the world in this one. He kept trying to set the pace the entire day. He'd run ahead of us, just so he could come darting back down the hill to meet up with us slow pokes.

As for Malachi ... he had it pretty easy. Good thing. He's not a big fan of sand.

The 3 musketeers.

Standing on the edge of one of the cliff-like hills made the kids feel like they were on top of the world, I think. However they felt, it was very cute.

I can't figure out how to turn this picture ... so turn your head. Aaron and Provi (and Malachi in tow) were really heading straight up this hill .... not just crawling sideways. It was really funny to watch.
It's kinda hard to climb when every step you take you end up sliding a quarter of a step back because your foot is buried in sand. Oh well.
We didn't make it all the way to the top, but we got close. Regardless, we were really proud of the kids. It was hard! So hard that Eden was crying by the time we got to our highest point because she was "so tired of walking". Poor thing.

And now we will all look into the sun and smile.

The way back down was so fun! You can run as fast as you can because really, what harm can it do if you fall in sand as you fly down a hill?

Um, this is what harm can be done.
Sam went head first down a hill. I suppose I should have been hugging and kissing him. Instead I was snapping photos and giggling uncontrollably over the sand IN his ears and hair, and my favorite ... the snot running down his nose. Okay, fine, I'm a horrible mom. He really wasn't that hurt. He was just upset that I wasn't fussing over him. (I think.)
We stopped a couple of times to dump the sand from our shoes. I normally wear a size 9 shoe. Add the sand in though, and I was a comfortable size 6! (Or maybe not so comfortable.) I had to take a shot of the sand I dumped at the end. Now that we are home though, it's even more funny to me that I went out running in the same shoes the day after we got home, and this much sand (if not more) worked it's way up to the surface AGAIN! I wonder when that will stop.

After the hike, we played in the stream for a long time. That was a lot of fun. And a lot of dirty.

We made it back to our campsite and realized we were out of bug spray and firewood .... and energy. So we decided pack up and head to a hotel. We needed a shower in the worst way, and our campsite didn't offer one. Off we went. Think the kids were tired???

We made it to a hotel about 25 minutes from the Dunes. There was an indoor water park that we used to bathe the kids in .... I mean, continue our vacation. That frog kept trying to eat my kids. It was weird. They loved every minute of it!

This next slide was perhaps one of the highlights for me. The kids all went down the slide and Aaron followed with Malachi in tow. I saw him disappear into the slide... and then wondered why he wasn't coming out. All of a sudden, I realized I was hearing this steady thumping sound. After a few thumps from this twist of the slide and that turn, I realized it was Aaron slamming his feet to move forward down the slide. (Okay, I'm cracking up again as I type this. It was that funny! You probably had to be there, but it was hilarious getting that mental picture of Aaron trying to propel himself down the slide with Malachi. Weeeeeeee !!!!!) He finally made it. Malachi had fallen asleep in his arms. No. He didn't. hehe Oh well! The kids flew down it!

All in all, it was a wonderful vacation! We will try camping again one day. We've learned a few lessons though about what it takes for our family to camp. (ie: Yogi Bear maybe is cool after all, or showers on site are a necessity.) More than that, I truly believe this will be a memory that our kids will cherish throughout their lives. I know I will!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Hello 30 !

It was a good day today. It was the last day of my 20's. Tomorrow I'm 30. Aaron thinks 30 is old. Not me. I'm hoping that with the tens place being a 3 .... people that are 1-9 years older than me will no longer refer to me as a "youngin", or "just a babe". I've always said that I feel like a 35 year old. I've got 5 years left to be the age I feel.

30 seems to be a number that a lot of people dread these days. Hallmark has declared 30 as "Over the Hill" in most of their cards. Men and women now have their midlife crisis in their 30's. I think it's all a little silly. Me? I like getting older. I like the few gray hairs I have. With age, Lord willing, comes wisdom. With age comes more life. I like wisdom (although I'm not sure I hold much of it). I like life .... I like my life ! I don't mind that my 20's - the best decade (or so they say) of my life is gone. In fact, I'm sort of convinced that the next decade will hold just as much joy as the last ... and possibly more.

In a nutshell - here's what I'm saying good-bye to as I enter my 30's. In my 20's I got married to my high school sweetheart (okay, so I was actually one month short of 20 for that one), moved 10 times, bought my first house, birthed my first child, mourned the loss of my second child never to be held by me, birthed my third child, birthed my fourth child, adopted my fifth child, made more friends than I can count, lost a few I miss, learned more about love, tried to find new hobbies - gardening, sewing, knitting, cooking - some of them stuck, homeschooled my children, swam in the ocean for the first time, climbed my first 14-er, left the US for the first time (to Mexico), left the US again (to Ethiopia), fluctuated close to 250 pounds when adding all the gains and losses together (that's disgusting!), lived in 3 different states, changed jobs 3 times (okay, so they were Aaron's job ... but in the Ministry, I've come to count it as my job too), found new passions, gave up some old passions, learned more about forgiveness, learned more about Grace, ate fondue, saw the Grand Canyon for the first time, learned to snowboard (okay, so I just did it once, whatever), sang on 3 CD's (yes, you can have my autograph - for $5), started running, stopped running, saw my first funnel cloud (that was just last week), grew more passionate about the things that really matter, had a really really bad ear infection, thought 2 days in the hospital was sort of a mini-vacation, celebrated 10 years with my high-school sweetheart and best friend (again, one month short, whatever), tried my hand at a network marketing company (which, did you know that something like 85% of Americans do??), managed a coffee-shop, worked in HR, worked for Starbucks (they only hire 15% of all applicants .... must have been that management thing going for me), felt deep sorrow, felt deep joy, opened my home to 5 people (not related to me) to live with me - and loved it, saw llama's mate (that was weird ... I looked away), led or co-led many small groups of women, learned how to play poker, went to Vegas, had to move back in with my parents (with 2 children and one on the way), read my first "big" novel ... then lot's more, started 2 blogs, started to eat (and like) peppers and beans, and fell more in love with my Savior. (Oh, and wrote the longest run-on sentence EVER.)

30 here I come ! What do the next 10 years hold? Here are my hopes ... going to college (never did that), see my first born graduate from high school (WOW !!!), perhaps welcome more children into my life, spend another 10 years with the love of my life, probably move again, teach 3 kids to drive, potty train one more, write a book (haha), learn to camp (and like it), and fall more in love with my Savior. Not lofty goals, not really goals at all. Just excited to see what God has in store. The last 10 years were unexpected every step of the way - and it was great! I have no doubt that as I get more gray, gain more wrinkles, and live more life .... that it will be good. In all the sorrows and joy, it will be good.

Bye-bye 20's. Hello 30's !!!!!!!!

My parents won a million dollars (or not) for finding my mistake in this post. I stated that I was one month short of 20 when I got married. Turns out my anniversary is in July, my birthday is in June. I was indeed one month into my twenties. Hmmmmm, perhaps in my 30's I will learn how to add.