Wednesday, December 31, 2008


I've had it in my mind for several days now to kind of make an accounting of the year and to relate what goals I achieved and so on. But as I thought about it more and more I found that actually putting pen to paper as it were has been much harder than I imagined. There are a lot of things close to my heart right now. I will say that this year has been the hardest most tumultuous I've experienced in adulthood. And even the hardest year as an adolescent can't really compare. In some ways I am glad to leave 2008 behind and the beginning of 2009 is very welcome to me. The new start thing has so many attractions and this year more than any I am so grateful for the opportunity. My goals are still not yet fully formed and I imagine I'll form more as the months go by. I do have a few I want to get down and therefore be accountable for.

1. Read more books this year than last (that means at least 52)
2. Read the Doctrine and Covenants
3. Exercise 3 times a week or more

I have one other goal that sounds so outlandish even to me that I still can't bring myself to articulate it. I'm making myself accountable to me for that one. Those are my personal selfish goals and of course we made some family ones. I don't know if any of you know the feeling but there are times now when I don't recognize myself. It's as if the recent events have changed who I am. Things are important to me now that weren't before and so many things seem completely unimportant. I hope 2009 will bring good things for my family and indeed for all of my wonderful friends whom I love very much even if I don't always show it as much as I should.

When I have finished visiting with Mum, I will post a bounty of pictures for you all. Including a shot of the staples Spencer got in his head when he fell from a high stool onto tiled flooring on Christmas Eve. Life with young boys is most certainly entertaining, scary, exhausting, exciting, and many other things besides.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Apple anyone?

On Sunday we had a mini crisis. The toilet in the bathroom downstairs that the children use became clogged. One of the kids had used it recently and definitely used a large amount of toilet paper but nothing that hasn't been done before.
Our last home had very inadequate pipes and we had spent a lot of time plunging and so when we moved to this four year old house we were celebrating the superior plumbing. But on Sunday this toilet was blocked so badly we were left scratching our heads. We plunged and plunged and plunged and plunged but to no avail. If the toilet was left for about 10-15 minutes it would eventually drain away. The rest of the house was fine so it wasn't the main drain, yet why wasn't the block which we assumed was paper succumb to the endless plunging?
Gary found a $20 snake at Lowes that you hook up to your power drill for small jobs such as sinks, toilets, showers. He brought it home and put it to work except he couldn't get it past the U-bend??? There was nothing for it but to take the toilet off.
I waited patiently upstairs hoping for the best. A few minutes later Gary appeared at the top of the stairs brandishing an apple with maybe three bites taken from it. A snack? Nope. One of the children had tried to flush the apple down the toilet. It had gotten stuck just past the U-bend. Both Nathan and Spencer blame it on each other and I am 100% sure Leia didn't do it. So we now have a nice little snake just in case and my faith in our superior plumbing has been restored. And needless to say, all food is now being eaten at the table in full view of myself or another adult.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Pink Eye

On Monday I had to visit the doctor to take care of a health concern I had. When I woke up on Monday morning I immediately noticed that Spencer had Pink Eye. Oh great!, I thought. Now I have to do two doctors appointments. My favorite way to spend a morning. Thankfully when I explained to the doctor that we had three children, she prescribed enough treatment for more outbreaks. I'm sure if you're a parent, you know that Pink Eye must be about the most contagious thing EVER. Sure enough, this morning, Nathan woke up with it. And bless his heart. It's the worst I've ever seen it.
I also found out this morning that Mum is delayed for a day and so she won't be arriving in country until tomorrow. MASSIVE letdown. I discovered that the Dove bar consumed post phone call from Mum just wouldn't cut the disappointment. I just HAD to go to Old Navy. (By the way girls, they have this excellent sale going on there right now. Tons of stuff for 5-6 bucks and good stuff too. I got the boys a pair of pajamas each and Leia some workout pants for about $18 total.)
As I was driving down the road trying to ignore the fact that I am a complete victim of advertising - the ad for the sale has been on TV for the past 24 hours, I looked in the rear view mirror and saw that Nathan just looked awful. I asked him, "Does your eye hurt, Nathan?" He replied, "No. I fine. I fine Mommy." He simply melts my heart. And then he promptly fell asleep. And this kid NEVER falls asleep during the day. If you've ever seen Flubber with Robin Williams in it, this child is like a piece of Flubber. Bounce, bounce, bounce all day long.
So here I am back at home contemplating cleaning my bathrooms while Nathan is watching his favorite show, Tom and Jerry. To cheer myself up from missing Mum and having to prise open Nathan's eyelids and squirt gel inside while he screams I am going to have a present wrapping party tonight. And I might even watch a Christmas movie as well.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

10 years ago......

Gary and I got married. We must have been the most hopelessly in love that you could possibly be. The anticipation, the excitement, the hope for the future was all consuming. I just KNEW that our life together was going to be the most beautiful experience and it has been. Here we are. I was 19 and Gary was 24.

Then came this little angel.

Then this angel.

And this one.

So here we are! Marriage to Gary Asp has been everything I've ever wanted and more. The last ten years has brought us to a place that is even better than the euphoria of those early days. I am blessed beyond anything. Whoever is reading this has reason to be jealous.

Friday, December 5, 2008


As I sit here I can feel the tension in my body decreasing and my mind is slowly relaxing and organizing. It's been a day of constant activity and a fair amount of frustrations. I've never liked getting up in the morning and so last night I was relishing in the fact that Leia had a two hour late start in the morning and so I wouldn't have to get up at 7am this morning. I awoke to "HIYAAA" coming from downstairs. The kids were "playing" karate (probably inspired by a tiresome cartoon called "Skunk-Fu"), and I could tell through my sleepy haze that it was going to end badly. Sure enough, Nathan received a karate chop to his mid-section and sleeping in went out the window.

Later on in my day, I decided to finally vacuum the basement - something on my "to do" list since Monday, and the vacuum cleaner decides to shut off for 20 minutes. Since I needed to go to Target anyway, for a lamp, I decided to take a quick look at vacuums that supposedly work better. They cost $399-$540. You can imagine how the thought of spending that much on a vacuum thrilled me and I ended up passing them by. So I picked up a lamp and exited the store. Nathan informed me half way to the car that he had left his brand new ball cap "in the lights". So I wearily retraced my steps and came up short. So much for the ball cap.

Once home I plugged in my new lamp. The cord became hot, there was a flash and one of my circuits tripped. Another trip to Target was instantly scheduled. YIPPEE!

Leia and Spencer duly returned from school at about 3.45 and proceeded to pick pick pick at each other culminating in a letter that Leia delivered to me accompanied by a VERY serious facial expression.

top secret
dear mom, spencer did something yesterday. spencer went in the girls BATHROOM!

For some strange reason, Leia became obsessed with this topic. Some of her friends had apparently told her that they had seen Spencer going into the girls bathroom at school. We asked him about it and he said that the boys toilet overflowed and he couldn't use it. Since I received no communication from school I have to conclude that this was a non issue. But Leia seemed EXTREMELY bothered by it. She was like a dog with a bone. No matter how many times we mentioned that it really didn't matter, she continued to talk about it. How he's broken the rules etc etc..... It was difficult at this point in the day to view this as humorous. It was bordering on maddening. I had to force myself to take a deep breath.

And something that I just can't get my head around is that I'm NEVER going to have a Christmas Tree that gets left alone. I foolishly believed that this year would be the year. Nathan is almost four for Pete's sake. But no. Even Leia and Spencer seem to be hypnotized by the pretty twinkly lights and the attractive little ornaments that are highly breakable. And Nathan also seems to want to keep squeezing himself between the tree and the wall??? And as I'm sitting here, I can see a sippy cup masquerading as a tree ornament.

Mothering can be quite the task sometimes. It was one of those days where I literally heaved a sigh of relief when the kids went to bed. I don't want to feel like that but there it is.

But there were a couple of AHHH moments today. Spencer asked at dinner "What's Grandpa Alan doing right now?" Leia replied that he is a missionary and Spencer then said "He's standing up straight". Sometimes I can't bear the thought that the kids won't remember Dad for much longer. But at least it hasn't happened yet. He's still very much in their minds and I am grateful for that. I hope I can keep it going for years to come through the scrapbooks I've created. I don't think I ever realized the significance of my record keeping. I viewed it as my favorite hobby but it's a lot more important to me now.

And when we went back to Target to get a new lamp we found the ball cap. Small victory but I'm going to take it with a smile.

Here is a picture of my wonderful and thoughtful son who is well and truly in the Christmas mood. It would be impossible for me to express just how much he can get underneath my skin. It would be equally impossible for me to express just how deeply I love him. There's nothing I wouldn't do for my children and that's why I get annoyed with myself for wishing for bedtime.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A Thanksgiving to Remember

For Thanksgiving this year we had a lot of guests. Grandpa Bob, Grandma Cinda, Gary's brother Paul, his wife Gloria, their daughter Lily (age 8) and Gloria's two cousins, David (age 14), Daniel (age 7) and of course, their dog. That made for a total of 12 people and 1 canine. It was crazy. It was chaotic. It was messy. And it was A LOT OF FUN. We played games, ate loads of food, went shopping, hiking, swimming, to the movies and then we ate some more food and played some more games and even threw in some movies. We felt deflated when everyone left. Here are some pictures of a holiday that ranks for sure in our top Thanksgiving memories.

Spencer, Lily, Leia and Nathan at the park in our neighborhood. At the very beginning of the visit we had some wonderful weather and were able to get out and enjoy it.

Grandma Cinda brought along some crafts to keep the kids entertained

Gary and Paul decided to cook the Thanksgiving dinner with no help from the women at all. It was quite the turn on to see them with tea towels slung over their shoulders.

Here are a couple of the bookmarks that Leia made.

Uh-oh. Spencer found Daniel's Nintendo DS. He was glued to it for about an hour a day.

Uno Attack is an excellent game to play while waiting for Thanksgiving dinner.

Just look at that Turkey. It was even more yummy than it looks.

The Wii was a big hit this holiday. And Nathan didn't even have to actually play. He held onto the VCR remote and copied his Grandpa. He was happy as could be.

Here we are hiking the day after Thanksgiving. Nathan was doing his thing since there was no restroom nearby.

Leia took a shine to David. She held his hand during an entire 2 mile hike in the mountains.

Nathan and Grandpa.

A snowstorm hit on Saturday/Sunday and caused much joy among the children but anxiety among the adults as travelling proved to be tricky. All in all we got about 11 inches.

Leia at the park with Sam. She loved him very much and needless to say she now wants a dog.

How cute is Sam? He is a Shih Zzu/Poodle mix and therefore he is super good and doesn't shed. Leia who has a friend in Ohio with a Shih Zzu kept calling him Maggie (her friend's dog's name) for the first few days.

Spencer and Nathan just loved having two other boys around for almost a week.

Enjoying the snow.

As usual, Spencer can't just play in the snow he has to bathe in it.

Hiking fun together.

Paul and his beautiful wife Gloria.

Lily and Leia, devoted cousins.

David and Daniel. Such good boys.

Some of the Asp boys.

Paul got stuck by a cactus. Can you see the spines?

David loved the fireplace and even went so far as to try and touch it which ended up in a sore finger. You can tell that he grew up in Florida.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Bear with me

I need some sympathy and writing is very cathartic for me. I have had the worst morning of my life. I decided to go the YMCA to work out. You would think that the universe would consider this a commendable endeavour and look upon me with favor but alas this was not to be. When we arrived, the boys decided they didn't want to wear their jackets anymore and I became distracted. I put my keys in my purse which is my autopilot response as to what to do with my keys. Then, in my brain that was obviously not firing on all cylinders this morning, I knew I was going into the gym where I don't take my purse so I closed the doors leaving my purse containing my keys on the front passenger seat. Result: I'm locked out. I said a word in my head that I would never say out loud.
Okay, fine. I can call Gary's cell phone from inside the gym and he will have left his work number on his answering message. No problem. Inside the gym, the woman behind the desk looks at me somewhat quizzically when I request the use of the phone. I try dialing Gary's cell but it won't let me. When I inquire as to why this is, she informs me that the phone can only dial the local area code and Gary's cell number has a different code. Why is this????? I'm not dialing long distance. I am frustrated and when I ask if there's any way around this she simply shrugs unhelpfully.
At this point I go into the bathroom to collect my thoughts and come up with another plan. I decide that I will ask the childcare staff who seem a lot nicer than the woman at the front desk if one of them has a cell phone I can borrow. Thankfully I am allowed the use of a phone which can dial any area code and I listen to Gary's message.
"Hi this is Gary, I'm not around at the moment, please leave a message." What??? As far as I knew, Gary always has several alternate numbers he can be reached at in case of need. He is the type of guy who likes to be contactable 24/7. Panic is starting to course through my veins. The childcare lady suggests that maybe their maintenance man has resourses and I should ask at the front desk. I return reluctantly to the front desk and explain my predicament and inquire if they have a maintenance person who could maybe help me out. She places a call. Sorry, he can't help. At this moment I have a deer in headlights look on my face but she is still unmoved. I have a phonebook is all she can say. They don't even have an internet connection which would give me an outside chance of finding out Gary's work number. Classified work centers are not listed in the phone book.
I once again return to the bathroom to compose myself. I finally decide that I am going to have to call a very new friend and pray that her number is listed and that she is at home. I'm not liking my chances but it's my very last plan. Her number is there and she is at home. She agrees to come and pick me up so I can use her computer at her home and call Gary to come and rescue me. This new friend is the nicest person and the relief at seeing her arrive 3 minutes after I call her is indescribable.
I feel like an idiot as we drive to her home but I am soon back to myself again due to the fact that she has an adorable Yorkie to cuddle and Gary arrives to help me get the car and go home to an endless loop of WALL-E.
On reflection, I'm sure that after all it was not the absolute worst morning of my life but it felt like it as it was happening. All 20-30 minutes of excruciating uncertainty. I've been keeping a gratitude journal this month and today my entry will definitely include gratitude for my wonderful new friend who has chosen to allow her number to be listed in the phonebook and in a few days my entries will I'm sure include gratitude for her again if I'm convinced that this episode hasn't made her conclude that I'm a lunatic.
I feel better now!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

New portrait for the mantel?

This morning I took advantage of the fact that the children were all prettied up for church and sat them down for a portrait. Since I have a good camera and I love to take pictures I don't see the point of going to a store to have pictures taken. Perhaps there is one you like better. If you have a moment please leave me a comment to let me know which is your favorite and then I will print one off for the mantelpiece. Thanks!



Saturday, November 8, 2008

Philosophy for kids

One of the kids' favorite activities is swimming. They were pretty happy to have hotel pools to swim in on the drive out here but since we moved out of the Residence Inn and into our house they haven't been swimming. That makes for about 7 weeks of no swimming. Well we recently joined the YMCA in town and so today was the day. Daddy not only promised the kids a swimming outing, he also promised me an omelet for breakfast and chocolate chip pancakes for the kids. They woke up with twice as much energy as normal and demolished a pile of pancakes and then they began to pester us without ceasing as to when we were going to go swimming. We had errands to run and we also had to wait until the afternoon as the pool was in use for lessons all morning.
The time FINALLY arrived and we had our first crisis. In order to use the very inviting slide, you have to be 48 inches tall. Leia was a couple of inches shy of the requirement and her disappointment was acute. We had just gotten over it when something else harshed our mellow. This YMCA has two pools. One for parents with children that is kept at a higher temperature and then the big pool with the slide that also has lanes open for laps. We had just entered the smaller pool and were enjoying the warmth and space when someone spotted something floating in the water. We immediately had to vacate the pool and go into the big lap pool. Gary and I didn't fancy the temperature of the large pool and so we quickly struck a deal that we would take turns in the big pool with the kids so we could each go in the hot tub.
But the kids couldn't take it in the cold pool for too long. It's colder because most people are swimming laps, and before long, Leia's lips were turning blue. So we decided to go home before the warm pool was ready for use again. More tears. We tried to be philosophical with the kids. After all, we are going to be able to come swimming now whenever we want, and presumably floating snot/blood in the pool is a rare occurrence. But whoever heard of a 7 or 5 or 3 year old who can keep things in perspective?

Monday, November 3, 2008

Oh, Spencer!

This is the attitude that my wonderful son struck when he decided he didn't want to wear the clothes I had picked out for him today. Normally I let him choose his own clothes but he tends to wear the same shirt over and over. I suppose I don't want his teachers at school thinking I don't care about my son's appearance but he can be so so stubborn. I won the fight this time but I had a rough morning. Maybe next time I'll just make sure his favorite shirt is always clean. Some battles aren't worth the effort!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

It's November and it's 75 degrees F outside.

So we decided to go hiking of course. A lady came up to us while we were out and asked if the kids were Triplets! Now we've had plenty of people ask if the boys are twins but this was a first. We laughed about that for a while.

Starting out on the trail

Leia brought along her trusty binoculars

This area is so wild and alien looking to me. I appreciate it's beauty but it's so very different from what I've been used to my whole life. Lately I've seen huge tumbleweeds bigger than basketballs blowing around the neighborhood. And then today there were all these little cactus growing along the trail. Unfortunately, Nathan was navigating some rough terrain at one point. He fell and put out his hand to break the fall and his hand came into contact with one of these things. Gary had to pick out at least 12 spines from the palm of his hand. He was none too pleased.

Wouldn't it be wonderful to live there!

Time to pose for a picture

Gary and I were chatting as we were hiking and as we passed this pond/lake I made the comment that it could be man-made. Gary thought not, and Leia said "Maybe it was girl-made".

We came across a great quarry that the kids loved. They started to pretend they were mountain lions. Nathan kept sliding as he entered the quarry. He kept saying "I'm slippering". It was very cute.

Having fun

On the way home, we passed a Wild West museum with this outside. It made me think about the Pioneers. They actually crossed the Rocky mountains in those. I can't imagine how it was done. I'm sure they had divine assistance.

Friday, October 31, 2008


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Halloween this year brought a MAJOR haul. Sometimes, even after 8 years of being a parent in America, it is hard to believe that there really is a holiday where kids go from door to door and people just give them loads of candy. In fact this year I even got given candy myself during the two spinning classes I took this week at the YMCA. Talk about a contradiction. But I happily gave it to the boys when I was done. I wish I could say the same now. My motivation to stay away from it has taken a nose dive and I am chewing away on those yummy DOTS things I only ever get to eat on Halloween. Now I have to figure out what to do with it all. Someone suggested giving the kids a few dollars each in return for the candy and then you can throw it away. I'm not sure Spencer and Nathan will go for it but Leia just might.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

He's been working so hard

Gary's been working really hard since we moved. When he came home from work this afternoon he got on his computer to do a few things. He's not feeling too well either and when I saw him like that, mid type, I couldn't resist sneaking a shot. Gary is such a wonderful, dedicated husband and father. I'm one lucky girl!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Feeding time at the zoo?

Spencer has suddenly started eating loads and loads of food. At breakfast he has upped his one bowl of cereal to two. At lunch we don't always have much time as he goes to school at 12:20 but at dinner he has seriously been filling a hollow leg. I often cook and Spencer has in the past eaten a couple of bites and been satisfied. The other night, he ate three helpings of a brand new dish I made. Now this is weird because he normally sniffs and picks at anything new. In the end I estimate he ate about as much as Gary and I did. I made a risotto the other night and he also ate a second helping and has since asked me to cook it again. He has not cut back on his snacks at all. He can usually put away a piece of fruit, a granola bar, some fish crackers, and sometimes some chips in between all his meals. Tonight we ate tacos and often he is full after one or two at the very most. He inhaled three with no problems whatever. Do five year olds go through growth spurts? Leia doesn't seem to have changed her food intake at all over the last few years. I didn't think he would stay stuck at 37lbs for ever but what if he just elongates like a string bean?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Where did the time go?

This is one of my favorite shots of Leia. She is about 15 months old here. She was just an adorable little girly girl. It really seems like only yesterday.

And here she is today age 7 1/2. She told me that the photographer told her not to show all of her teeth only the front two when she smiled?? Her smile here looks hesitant and I feel like calling up the photographer and telling him/her that they're an idiot. But most of all, I was struck by just how much older she looks. There's barely a trace of that little baby girl left. It's sad but exciting at the same time. I just want to treasure every moment and not miss anything. Somehow, although I hardly noticed it, Leia is growing up.