Red Butte Garden and Delightful Goldie

Now that Sam doesn't work downtown, we haven't gone to Red Butte Garden as much as we used to…but we managed to get up there for a picnic one day when the weather was still warm. I always love the textures there in Fall and Winter.

On another note---I'm having lots of conversations like this one with Goldie these days:
Me: What are you doing, Goldie?
Her: Toeing.
Me: Toeing?
Her: No, Fff-tooing.
Me: Tooing? Chewing? Moving?
Her: No, TOOOOO-wing!
(I turn to look at her with a bowl and spoon in her hand, mixing something).
Her: Yes, ftooing.

We also particularly like several words she says. Our favorite is GALALA for "gorilla." And we also love her tendency to end "-er" words with "y" instead. For example: water bottle is watty body. The cute otters we saw at the aquarium were cute cute otteys! and honey butter is honey buddy. Oh how we wish we could just snatch up her cuddly little self and smother her with kisses (which we frequently DO)—but she's got far too much on her plate to put up with it for long.

Anyway, a few more garden pictures:


The fretful porpentine

Several weeks ago, I was sick (strep throat, as it turned out, which is good as I find it much more satisfying to have a named sickness rather than the usual vague viral-flu-ish-something); sick enough that I couldn't even drag myself through the house doing things feebly and grudgingly as one sometimes has to when one is sick. Even sitting up in bed and reading tired me out, but since I felt like I was being garroted every time I swallowed (which of course meant I desperately felt the need to swallow every few seconds), I couldn't really sleep. And I was so BORED! I was reduced to mostly just lying there and thinking. Now, I LIKE lying around thinking, but unfortunately I had the sort of fever where you have half-dreams about how each of your breaths is stored in a separate file folder in a huge warehouse, and you have to climb, exhausted, over chain-link fencing to collect each one, in ever-widening circles. The sort of fever where you wake, sweat-covered, clutching, a taste like ash on your tongue, and absolutely certain that your body has burned a hole right through the pile of blankets above you. So, while mildly entertaining in retrospect, the ideas I had were very strange and overwrought and not much worth writing down.

I hadn't stayed confined to my bedroom like that since…well, since last time I had a baby, and I must say I liked this much less: no rosy newborn cheeks to kiss, no glow of accomplishment and fear-tinged wonder about what sort of new routines lie ahead. Instead just a sort of morbid feeling of hopelessness, and an almost smug certainty that I'd never be able to do anything comfortably again. Now of course, I'm seeing it all through a haze of nostalgia and wistfulness ("Ah! To stay in bed for a few days! To just drift off to sleep whenever I felt like it!"), but at the time I was thinking to myself, very seriously, that we were going to have to move to Idaho so the children could drive at age 14, because I would likely never be able to sit up and focus my eyes well enough to drive them anywhere again.

At this point I would like to deliver a touching little sermon about something like how when one's perspective changes, one learns to see the good amid hard times (likely very true) but I didn't really have anything like that in mind when I started writing this, and I can't much think of anything now. Maybe someone better at actually enduring hard times would have more valuable thoughts on the subject. All I really wanted to say is that these pictures are from a drive Sam and I went on, up into the canyon, when I absolutely could not stand the thought of being within four walls for one more second—and even though I was still weak and feverish and despairing—I felt the sunshine, and looked around me, and felt that maybe, possibly, things would be better soon.
And maybe there is a bit of a sermon in that, after all?

Random Thoughts, The Lamps Are Going Out edition

These pictures are from way back in October, but it's good to have a little October left over when it's dark and cold outside.

• Speaking of the dark, cold world, the Marriott Center got remodeled with new seats, so we had to have our BYU Basketball season tickets reassigned. And because of the selection process, we weren't able to get our new seats anywhere near where our seats are supposed to be. Now we're on the other side of the court…higher up…to the right. Look, I KNOW this isn't the biggest deal in the world. But my dad has had those seats since the Marriott Center was built, and they were our seats. I've been watching BYU basketball from them for 30 years! When we went to the first game the other night, I actually felt this physical heaviness, like something precious had been lost forever. I kept getting tears in my eyes. Lame, huh? It didn't help that we were sitting next to a 14-year-old boy who (as Bertie Wooster says) made you feel that what this country wants is somebody like King Herod.

• I also note the absurdity of saying "I'm just gonna sneak past you" as you squeeze past everyone along the row to get to your seats. No…no, you're not really going to "sneak past me." But go ahead!

• How is it that every search I do on Amazon ends up with pages and pages of iPhone cases at the bottom of it?

• Sam referred to the condition of our children "sitting" on the pew at church as "The Human Abacus." Strikingly accurate.


Diamond Fork Hot Springs

Despite having known about these hot springs for decades (and having lots of near-misses with them, like dates where we planned to go there but didn't)—I have never done this hike before! Finally, my friend Beth galvanized me into action: that and the fact that we were learning about monkeys in school and we'd watched a documentary about the Japanese Macaques that like to sit in hot springs when the weather is cold. (I'm sure you know the ones.) So, off we went to be monkeys.

Before we even got to the trailhead we knew it was going to be beautiful. I had to turn off the audiobook we were listening to (much to my children's annoyance) because it was just too gorgeous. I needed all my attention to look at the scenery! I suppose it was a combination of the beautiful warmish weather—and the angle of the sun coming through the yellow cottonwoods—and the fact that we had a picnic and the whole day free just to explore—it made all of us feel pretty much on top of the world!
I have to say that this was one of the most beautiful hikes I've ever been on. There was lots of scrub oak and maple forest, and interesting looming cliffs, and the river flowing with us all along the trail. And it was partly that we caught the Fall at such a lovely time. Half of the trees were bare already, with just a few leaves left hanging to glow like fireflies in the morning sun. And the other half of the trees were still gloriously leafy and colorful, and shone through the bare-branch frames like stained glass.


I'm always so glad when we have a warm Halloween. It seems like we've been lucky for several years now! The trees were at their golden best, and after the sun went down I sat in my short sleeves out on the porch with Theodore to watch the trick-or-treaters going by. It was lovely.

Abe didn't go out trick-or-treating this year, and we never got around to getting Theodore dressed up either! But Abe did put Theo in a bucket. Theo didn't seem to mind.
Malachi was an astronaut, like last year. He was serious, very serious.


Young Eagles Flight

At some point when I was doing research for our Aviation Unit, I came across some information about the Young Eagles Program. Sponsored by the Experimental Aircraft Association, it's a program that will provide a free flight for any child between 8 and 17. After making a few phone calls, I found the contact person for our local chapter of the EAA, and we arranged to meet him and other members of the EAA at an IMAX movie about airplanes that was showing nearby.

He gave us some forms to fill out for the Young Eagles flight, and then it was just a matter of finding a time! It seemed like SUCH a cool thing to do, and such good fortune that it would be free, that I almost couldn't believe it, and I didn't say anything to the children for fear that it wouldn't actually work out. Michael (my contact guy) and I exchanged a million phone calls over several weeks, trying to work things out, and finally, at the very end of our unit, he called with an available pilot and an available day. We were THRILLED.

Only Abe and Seb were old enough to go on the flight (Malachi, who just missed by a couple months, was SO disappointed, but our EAA friend said kids younger than 8 usually can't even see out the windows of the plane, so it just isn't as fun! We are going to set up another flight for Malachi as soon as he is old enough. Daisy is dying to do it, too.) but we all went along to the airport, the South Valley Municipal, so we could watch.
The boys got to help open up the hangar and do the pre-flight check, and the plane is so small and light, the pilot just pulled it out all by himself! It's a Cessna 172 Skyhawk. The pilot said it's the best and easiest plane to fly.
I really appreciated how the pilot was wearing a shirt that matched his plane.
Also, note Goldie's blurry head in the lower right. She ran around in circles, singing, for literally the entire time the boys were on their flight. Our friend from the EAA, who was there with us, asked me about 5 times what she had had for breakfast. (Answer: nothing yet.)
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