Monday, November 18, 2013

big day at the temple

Last weekend we packed up our bags and headed to Orlando. My sister was smart enough to reserve a few rooms at a nice hotel for our families, because our appointment at the temple was at 6:30 am. Too early to drive there in the morning. So we made a night of it. The kids all got together in my sister's room and watched the Croods, then rolled around in their own beds struggling to fall asleep, because it was all so exciting being in a hotel with cousins.
 I've always loved going to the temple early in the morning, when the world is quiet, and the fountain sparkles in the darkness. So peaceful and mind-clearing.
“At the temple the dust of distraction seems to settle out, the fog and the haze seem to lift, and we can ‘see’ things that we were not able to see before and find a way through our troubles that we had not previously known.”—President Boyd K. Packer
This was a big day for our us. It was Ethan's first time to go inside the temple, and he worked hard to find family names he could take with him. This was also my sister's first time finding and bringing names from our side of the family.
Here's a beautiful video about the temple and why I love it so much!

When we were finished at the temple, we headed back to the hotel, where my brother-in-law was brave enough to watch all of our kids by himself. He said he got a lot of funny looks at the breakfast buffet when he marched in there alone with six kids who almost all looked the same age.

But on the way back to the hotel, we passed this building, and somehow none of us saw it until we had to do a U-turn and come back the way we'd just came. We all laughed when we saw it, because, I mean really? A giant upside down building and none of us noticed it when we drove by the first time. It's like having an elephant in the room and none of us seeing it...
We drove by again later so Josh and Ashley could see it.
Josh was mad we didn't go inside. Maybe someday.
Here's the rainy view from our window. Yes, that is a castle next door. And yes, we tape up our children's mouths. Actually, they do that to themselves.
And the last picture of our exciting trip was of the mirror. For some reason, Josh was fascinated with this full-length mirror closet door. It was like he'd never seen one before. In this picture, he's trying to shake hands with the boy in the reflection. And his magic trick was getting inside the closet so we couldn't see him OR his reflection anymore. Ba-Baam! It was mind-blowing. Really.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

the ten year itch

So I realized recently that I get a Ten Year Itch. For some people it's moving to a new home, for others it's getting a new spouse. For me, it's chopping my hair off like a guy.

For the most part, I've always had long hair, except for that one time in elementary school when I had a Beatle's haircut. This is a picture of the growing out stage of that haircut...

Then when I was 19, my family was moving to Tokyo and something about that change made me a different person. My permed 90's hair wasn't me anymore. So I chopped it all off, like a boy. And then I cried because I looked like a boy. Then when I was done crying, I loved it.

Sadly, I didn't bring those pictures to The Swamp with me, they're packed away in storage, far far away.

But I quickly grew that pixie cut out, and enjoyed long, shiny, straight hair for a while, before starting a rotation of long hair and chin-length bobs. BUT...

When I was 29 I was way pregnant with Ashley, and I got the itch. I didn't realize at the time it was a 10-year-itch, but I know better now. Nevertheless, I chopped it all off again.
 I loved that haircut and would have kept it forever (even though Chris is a long-hair kind of man), except it was expensive to maintain, and Chris ended up getting a job he loved that paid less than what we made before. So the short hair became long hair again.

As time went on, my hair began to age (what?!). It wasn't naturally shiny and smooth anymore. It had kinks and frizzes and curls in odd places, and I had to work hard to make it look right, so my long hair became shoulder-length. And chin-length. And ear-length.

Lately I've been craving super-short hair again, and I realized the other day, it's exactly the 10-year-itch mark. I'm 39. Time for the hair to go. But now my face isn't young and smooth and skinny anymore. It's middle-aged and chubby-ish. And I'm not sure I can pull it off anymore. So I tried fake hair on to see how I felt about it. Here's me with V's Morena Baccarin hair:
 It's hard to decide if I like it, because the hair looks so fake, and the lighting at my computer is really bad. But I think this is how I generally would look right now with short hair.

So, that I scratch it? Not quite sure.

Monday, November 11, 2013

some cool Ethan news

 Ethan passed the sacrament for the first time yesterday. It was a great mom moment, watching my careful deacon try so hard to not spill the water. Yesterday he also was called as Deacon's Quorum President, and received his first temple recommend. It was a big day all around.
He's also become excited about family history. The other day he and Chris sat at the computer for a few hours and searched for branches of Chris's side of the family tree. They found out we're related to a bunch of kings, a saint, and a character in a Shakespeare play. Not to mention, a bunch of vikings.
He would run into the room where I was reading a book, and shout, "We're related to this king!" or "We're related to that Princess!" or "We're related to that guy with the really long funny name!" Then he'd run back to the computer and add them to his family tree on

It's rewarding as a mom to watch him grow and enjoy these things that are so important to our family and our religion. Seriously, deacons are the best! I highly recommend having one...

Thursday, November 7, 2013

veterans day program

This morning I went to watch Ashley's chorus & instrument club perform for local Korean veterans in honor of Veterans Day.
 She's enjoyed learning how to play a few instruments this year, including the little xylophone and the chimes.
Two of her best school friends, Thais and Lia, are also in the chorus and instrument groups. They are sweet, funny girls who make me smile as I watch them in the parent pick-up line after practice. They're always hugging and giggling and being so happy together. Thais is from Brazil, and Lia is from Mexico.
Ashley said that in this picture, Lia was saying, "Get my good side!" because so many parents were taking pictures.

 Ashley got in the car after chorus the other day and said in a sad voice, "I'm going to miss my school and my friends when we move." Then she said Thais is also moving in the spring, so Lia was bummed to be left behind. But at least they have a few good months to enjoy each other's company.

Monday, November 4, 2013

I'll take the Flu Mist, with a scoop of ice cream on the side

Our school district gives away free flu mist to any student who wants it, so my kids get sprayed every year. To make it not so horrible, the flu people give away coupons for a free scoop of ice cream at a local gourmet ice cream shop. This place serves up crazy things like watermelon basil and jalapeno lime.
This year Josh and Ethan chose The Dark Side (made out of real midi-chlorians...), Ashley got Raspberry Hibiscus (made out of real flowers!), and Chris chose Spicy Mayan Dark Chocolate (made out of real Mayans?...), and we shared it. It didn't have much spice until about a minute after the first bite. I wished I could try the avacado ice cream.
Ashley and Josh are slow eaters, so we went outside to enjoy the nice weather and the giant ice cream cone.
I don't know if the flu mist has kept our family from getting too sick in the winter, or if it's The Swamp's fabulous weather, but either way, it's all better with a scoop of ice cream!