Friday, September 16, 2011

How to Rodeo.

A few months ago we were talking about cowboys and I told Zack I knew lots of REAL cowboys in Utah. His response was classic.

“WHAT. IN. THE. HECK? Cowboys still exist? I thought they were extinct!!”

So, to prove they were real, we decided to take the kids to a real live Pioneer Day Rodeo.

When attending a rodeo there are a few things you need to remember.

Most important, you need to have a hat. If you can’t wear your great grandpa Barrett’s authentic cowboy hat (like Grandpa Otis is) and if your mom searches every store around and can’t find a cowboy hat for you (that doesn’t cost a bazillion dollars)… you’ll have to wear your Boston/MIT digs.

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Either way, when they ride by with the stars and stripes… don’t forget to put it over your heart!! (Which will be bursting with pride at this great nation we live in!!)

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And definitely don’t forget your BOOTS!! Pink boots are best,

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but brown are good too…

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“Slip Slops” (what Alex calls his flip flops) however are NOT good. They will fall underneath the bleachers and then Grandpa will have to go rescue them for you!

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You’ll also want something soft to sit on… especially if that something is your grandma!

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And don’t forget to watch the actual rodeo. It will have you laughing and screaming and cheering harder than you have in years. Seriously SO much fun!! Even the baby brother will say “WOW” when the bucking broncos come out, and then he will sit mesmerized by the whole thing!

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But whatever you do, DON’T forget your SMILE!! (Even if it is missing a few teeth!!)

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No matter what happens, we’re sure you will LOVE the Rodeo. (Almost as much as this little guy loves his big sister!!)

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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Taking the Mountains for Granite...

When we were in Utah this summer the kids were understandably impressed with the mountains. One day as we were driving around we started to head home and Abby started crying because she hadn’t got to touch the mountain. I realized then, that they thought the mountains were like a building. You drive up to the edge of it and it just goes straight up in the sky like a skyscraper.
So Grandpa was kind enough to take the kids up and explore the mountains. We drove around and found a little river to let the kids play in.
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It was cold. SOOOO cold. I think the kids were surprised because they are used to water feeling like the warm summer Atlantic ocean in Florida, not like freezing melted snow.
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Don’t worry… they got over it quickly!
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We even let them bring home a smooth river ROCK as a souvenir. They were totally stoked. Seriously.
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And before it was all done they even got to touch that mountain…
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You can be sure that it did NOT disappoint!!
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Saturday, September 10, 2011


These pictures were listed in my "drafts" folder from February of 2008. I decided that I had to post them because they just made me laugh. This was a little party I organized right before Christmas of 2007. Lila had just turned 3 and Abby and Zack had just turned 1 (a few weeks earlier).

Johnny's aunt has a tradition of making gingerbread houses every Thanksgiving. Hers are AMAZING and one year we got to make them with her. It was so much fun that I have always wanted to imitate her. This was not my first attempt, but what makes me laugh is that this year I am decorating the house with TWO babies on my lap. And what is even more amazing is that as I look at this picture, I miss it. I miss those two babies. There were days when I NEVER thought I would say that!!
But it was oh so much fun. Even with my "helpers". Now these little people aren't so little anymore and I miss them. I miss them being so little and oh my do I ever miss those soft curls on my little boy.

Johnny even got in on the action. (Though I find it fascinating that he's not holding at least ONE of the kids. I like to think it is because I am still the favorite at this point... I have to enjoy it because it only lasted a little while!!)

After a few months (yes, I know... months!!) these houses had to go, so before they went into the trash I let the kids have a go at them. (Not sure where Abby was for all the fun... sleeping, maybe!)

 They were thrilled. (Though Zack was not quite SO thrilled with peppermint!!)

Often when I look back at those first few years after the twins were born and Lila was so little... it's all a little blurry in my memory. I remember the crying (by everyone) and the stress of having so many little ones, but I need to take more time to remember these good moments. Times when we were able to have fun and when I occasionally DID get things done (even if this blog post wasn't one of those things!) 

These are the memories I want to keep!!

Thursday, September 8, 2011


I gave the kids popcorn in little plastic baggies today. When we were done they threw them away. We ate lunch on paper towels (because we are out of paper plates) and then we threw them away. I finished off a plastic container of chips and threw that in the recycle bin (recycle = progress??) Unfinished cereal, half eaten sandwiches, even a container of uneaten mushy grapes... all went into the trash. Even a crayon I picked up off the floor went into the trash because it was easier to throw it away than to go put it away. Besides, an entire box of crayons only costs 40 cents...

I've been thinking a lot about waste today for some reason. I think it might be because I recently had the privilege of looking through my grandma's things after she passed away. One of the things that really caught my eye was an old medicine bottle. It has my grandpa's name on it (he passed away 27 years ago) and inside the bottle was a little roll of string. She also had jars of nails and screws and old glass peanut butter jars full of various things that she might need someday.

And I can't get the images of that stuff out of my head.

I've always heard the saying "waste not, want not" as well as the quote I remember President Hinckley saying "fix it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without." That was the age that grandma lived in. It's not the age we live in now, but somehow I am starting to think I might be missing out on something. I am positive that I take so many things for granted in my life. I don't realize the blessings of little plastic baggies and grapes that go bad. I remember when, as a child, grapes were a rare and special treat that would NEVER even have a chance to go uneaten. When we were going through grandma's things we found a bread bag that had a price tag of 41 cents. Now bread costs ten times that. I wonder why when prices have appreciated, my value of things has depreciated. Perhaps I've just become spoiled. More likely, it is laziness. Maybe it's both.

So today I am renewing my commitment to appreciate the things I have and to take a little more care with the stewardship I have been given. I'm going to save my pennies and baggies and eat those yummy grapes. I'm going to set grandma's peanut butter jar and grandpa's medicine bottle somewhere I can see them and I am going to remember that sometimes, somethings are worth saving.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Russtache Next Generation…

Every year at the beach all the Russ boys grow out their beards and then shave them into crazy patterns for their annual Russtache event. This year, Blake and Annalee decided to let everyone else get in on the Russtache action.
All 21 grandkids and some of the uncles with their Russtaches kids-5
Even Grandma got in on the action…
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I think Zack was the most excited about his Russtache…kids-7
This is him SEVERAL hours later… still wearing the stache…kids-13
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The Russtaches get better and better every year with crazy and unique designs.
This year I helped Johnny plan and execute his work of art…kids-4
We took our inspiration from Brandon’s “swirly” last year…

The Brothers Russ… Russtache 2011
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until next year…