Friday, December 17, 2010

Catching the Christmas Spirit

On our way home from Abi and Tal's school Christmas program last night, Kris said, "That really got me into the Christmas Spirit." With kids as cute as ours, I had to agree.
The theme of the program was "The North Pole's Got Talent." Each grade performed a song. Talmage , in the second grade, was a North Pole Bell Ringer and they sang a song and accompanied themselves on triangles. Note the astute look of concentration on his face.
Abi was a North Pole Security Guard with the fourth grade. They amazed us with their precision marching and kazoo playing. Nothing says Christmas like the sound of a kazoo. :)

Announcing - The Littlest Meek

June 24th, 2011 - give or take a few days

We are soooo excited to announce the upcoming arrival of the newest member of our family. Life has been a little rough at the Meek house for the last 2 months as we all dealt with mom's hyperemesis gravidarum ( extreme morning sickness). But thankfully, I am finally off the couch and out of the bathroom. Zofran is my little miracle pill that has saved me from the worst complications of my condition. While I am still not 100% I am grateful for this early Christmas miracle that the worst is subsiding earlier than it did with any of the other little Meek pregnancies. I am also profoundly grateful for my husband who pitched in to do the shopping, cooking, cleaning, laundry, even holding my hair back when ... you know, and in general took on all of my responsibilities. My kids were troopers as well and stepped up to take on extra jobs to help out. A big thank you to my mom who would come clean my house, bring my family dinner - a respite from freezer meals, and in general just look after me. My sister Kalene was an angel as well, often calling from Sam's or Winco to pick up a few groceries for me or bring over dinner on the spur of the moment. My best neighbor, Ranay, was also a god send running errands and providing meals. Thank you to all of our friends and family who have expressed love and support during this time, we love you.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

For the Design Challenged Like Me

Let This be a warning...

Gracie has been going to bed promptly at 8:00 ever since Elaine put up the pictures of “other daughters they gave away because they stayed up too late.”

For all readers who may be design challenged like me, this great website pokes fun at all of those too perfect pictures in the catalogs. Complete with snarky comments like the above, it rescues the rest of us from the insanity of trying to make our homes look like a Crate and Barrel or Pottery Barn catalog.

In our Stake Conference in May of this year our Stake President told the following story, of which I will highly paraphrase.

A bishop was counseling a young wife and mother who lived in a little apartment in a ward full of established families and nicer homes. This woman was always depressed and complaining about how small her apartment was, the nice things that she didn't have and dreaming of the big house full of nice things that she wanted, like her neighbors. The bishop counseled her to "count her blessings", serve others, yada yada. ( All good and important things themselves.) When he went back and visited with her he found her happy, cheerful and grateful. The bishop asked what had prompted the abrupt change in her attitude. The woman replied, "I threw out all of the catalogs."

I loved it!!!! All she needed was a change in perspective. Throwing out those catalogs and poking fun at them helps rescue my little home from Pottery Barn Envy. Because doggone it, It's good enough, It's smart enough, and I like it.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Brand New Yellow Belt

Doesn't he look fierce?
Tal was so excited to test for and earn his yellow belt in Tae Kwon Do at the end of October. We are so impressed with how far he has come. He knows 3 forms and is working on various kinds of kicks as well. He is also beginning 2 step sparring.
Tal is learning focus and self control. His memory is really improving with the precise strong movements of his forms. He really loves Tae Kwon Do and it is great to see him growing.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Happy Halloween

We spooked up our yard with these easy ghosts from Family Fun magazine. The weather has been unseasonably mild so I still have a few blooms in my garden. We also have a tree full of leaves that are just now starting to turn gold.
On Monday night we dove into our pumpkins for FHE. Leah really got into the spirit of pulling the insides out of her pumpkin. Most years we save and toast the seeds for a yummy snack, but not this year. In the end, mom and dad did most of the carving while the creative input came from the kids. I think that is called "management skills."
Our jack o'lanterns turned great. Kris did an amazing job on Tal's Dracula pumpkin. We celebrated Halloween over a couple of days. On Thursday we attended the carnival at the kids' school. Candy. Then on Saturday our ward hosted a potato bar dinner and Trunk or Treat. I didn't plan very well because our 100 blow pops were gone in 5 minutes and we had to blow out our jack o'lanterns and close down. I'll buy more candy next year. But the kids hit the mother lode. More Candy. We hit a few neighborhood houses after that and then went home. I think Kris might have instituted the Dad Tax on a few candy bars out of their baskets.
Then on Monday night we Trick or Treated our grandmas and grandpas. Abi had wanted to be a pig ever since last Halloween. Mom even made a curly tail to go with it. Tal makes a dashing Harry Potter. We've been reading the books as a family and he's become quite obsessed. Leah got to be Blue from Blue's Clues by default. It was Abi's old costume. I can't believe how much she looks like Abi did. ( Abi's pics are pre-digital so you'll just have to believe me.) Leah didn't mind though. She loved being a puppy and was especially enthralled with her tail.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Catching Up with the Meeks

We haven't fallen off the planet, although sometimes it does feel that if our world spun any faster we would get thrown off. Maybe we haven't been very exciting lately, or maybe I haven't taken so many pictures. But here is a little re-cap of a few things we have done.
We went to the local Harvest Festival which unfortunately was a big disappointment. There were a lot of vendors but not a lot of harvesty type things going on. I gave each of the kids a dollar to spend however they wanted. Abi had been looking forward to the pony rides for a few days. She even wore her cowgirl hat. This is the first time she's been on a pony since she was one. She really liked it, but the ride was too short.
Tal earned his fireman's hat going through the HazMat trailer. Leah's favorite friend is "Bear." He goes everywhere with her. What cuties to pose for a picture for me.
If it was for any other reason, I would have a heart attack to see my husband in high heels. But this was for a good cause. Kris participated in the Domestic Violence Intervention Center's "Walk a Mile In Her Shoes" fundraiser. Friends and family sponsored in his mile long walk, several were there to take pictures. He came away with a new respect for women and a few blisters.
Our Fire Department sponsored an open house for Fire Safety Month and we took a trip down for Family Home Evening. This amazingly restored fire engine ran in our town back in the 30's, 40's and probably even the 50's. Abi and Tal had a great time checking out the engines and ladder truck, putting out a "fire", and going through the smokey demonstration trailer. Leah thought the juice and cookies were the best.
Today was a day off from school and Tal had been asking to do this "Family Fun" experiment ever since he spied it in the magazine. It is our very own lava lamp powered by Alka Seltzer. It's really cool and he is thrilled to have it in his room.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Tendoy Reunion

Our annual Hayes family reunion was the first week of August in Tendoy, Idaho at the family cabin. We eagerly await this trip every summer. This year our campers included Jeremy, Lisa and Walker Meek; Reagan, Kevin and Paul Hayes; and of course our little Meek clan. This pic was taken right before we left for home so please pardon the dirt and grime and be grateful this is not a scratch and sniff presentation.
Every day it clouded up in the afternoon and rained for about an hour. I just love this pic of Abi, Tal, and Walker toughing it out in their rain ponchos by the fire. Unfortunately the rain brought out the mosquitoes and we were eaten alive. My poor girls got it the worst, it must be because they are so sweet. The fire pit is the heart of our community. We gather around first thing in the morning with our hot chocolate. We eat most of our meals around the fire. And at night after a relaxing soak at Sharkey Hot Springs we would roast our marshmallows and starburst, talking and laughing until we would drift off bit by bit for bed.
The greater part of our days was spent riding the trails on the four wheeler. Leah was too little to wear a helmet or to go very far or fast so we took turns staying with her in camp. But she loved little rides around camp or down the road a little ways and would beg " Four Wheeler?"
One morning we entertained the kids by helping them build tinfoil boats to float down the ditch.
The tinfoil regatta sets sail. They would pick them up at the little bridge and bring them back to the put in over and over until they looked more like tinfoil balls than boats. Tal and Walker also entertained themselves by building a small dam in the ditch to create a waterfall and splashing about in the pool behind.
Every year our first ride is up to Chief Tendoy's grave site, or "the crystal" as Tal calls it. It is a beautiful site overlooking the Lemhi valley, no wonder he couldn't leave. Each year the valley calls us back as well to enjoy the beauty of the hills, flowers, river and family.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Activity Day Camp

I have a soft spot for the Activity Days for Girls Program. I was the leader in our ward until I was called into the Relief Society Presidency. I begged and pleaded not to be released, but alas, it was not to be. The Activity Days Leader is THE BEST calling in the church. So when our ward needed a second leader to go to Day Camp at the last minute I was thrilled (once I got the babysitting arranged). I had a fantastic day getting "Wet and Wild" with my daughter Abi and the other girls at Krupp Scout Hollow.
One of our first stations was the Dunking Booth. My little Abi hopped right up to be the first one in line. She was so brave. She hit her head and came up spluttering but after toweling off, she was back in line to do it again.
I challenged all of the girls that if they would get dunked, I would. Sadly, they did not all catch the vision of "Wet and Wild" days until a few stations in. But I saw 2 other leaders get dunked, and I guess you lead by example. I was a little nervous, the water was very cold, but it was a blast.
We played water volleyball, slid down a long water slide, were soaked by basketball sized water balloons, and played water kickball and other water games. One of our favorite stations was Soccer where we played with this giant beach ball on a field where the sprinklers were going. Any lingering thoughts about any semblance of dryness were sodden as soon as the whistle blew. Oh, but it was soooo fun. Especially beating the big, burly scout staffer and his team with our team of 2 leaders and girls. Whoot Whoot!!!
Our soaking but happy group at the end of the day.

July Summer Fun

In July we were too busy out having fun to write much about it. So here is a brief rundown of some of our more notable activities.
OK, so I have to have some brag pictures about my gardens. I'm a little crazy about them. In fact, once the snow melts in the spring I'm out in my yard almost every day checking on my plants, watching their changes and generally just enjoying myself. My dianthus put on a real show this year.
My Butterfly Garden remains a work in progress but I love to see how it changes. My little heart just sings to see bees and butterflies visiting. I haven't had a humming bird yet, but I'll keep working for it. Each year I move some plants around that didn't perform so well and plant new ones. It is fun to see the changes through the season. ( Next year I'll be sure to put hoops around my Sweet William.)
A friend told us about 17 mile Cave which is appropriately 17 miles outside of town. I love little adventures like this, so we packed a lunch one Saturday and took a little day trip. Abi is really afraid of caving but after some coaxing by mom and dad and deep breathing by Abi, we got her inside and she was even able to venture a little ways in. Leah found it exciting until she got cold and had to head back for the surface. I guess I didn't think that a lava tube even in 90 degree summers is around 50 degrees. Our adventurer Tal loved it though. He took turns going deeper and deeper with mom and dad until we reached the pools at the back. Unfortunately many cavers have covered with walls with graffiti and left their litter behind, but it was a great adventure.
Leah loves my gardens almost as much as I do. Well, she loves to play with out fountain. And she loves to throw flowers in the pool. And she loves to smell, touch and pick the flowers. This evening with the sun going down, her dress and the flowers were glowing in the garden. I just had to catch her in the act.
Day at the Spray Park.
My sister, Kalene, and I treated our kids with a day out at the Spray Park. Leah thought she owned this little bubbling fountain and would furrow her eyebrows and scowl her lips whenever another little tot came to play.
I didn't think that Leah would do it, but Abi coaxed her to go down the slide. And of course after one slide, Leah wanted to go again and again. Abi would shield Leah from the spray as they ran up the stairs and but she still got soaked from the splash at the bottom.
Abi and Gabby have a little water fight in these spraying fountains.
Tal and Sterling are actually practicing their "karate" moves in the fountains although it more closely resembled a spastic dance.

Thanks to some awesome neighbors we got tickets to the Blue Angels Airshow. Now I have a few choice words for the organizers about the logistics of the shuttles and lack of food and water, but the Airshow itself was amazing. I remember my parents took me when I was probably about Abi's age. We left Leah with her Nana Meek which turned out to be a great choice. Abi and Tal got to meet "The Boss", the No 1. Blue Angel and get his autograph. I was just thoroughly impressed at the speed, power, and amazing tricks they performed.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Happy 4th of July

The Fourth of July is Kris's favorite holiday. I used to think it was because of the warm weather, the barbecues, and going to watch the fireworks. Nope. It's because he gets to light things on fire and watch them blow up.
Here we are gathered on the steps of Nana Meek's house to watch our annual fireworks show. I'm pretty sure that Kris enjoys it even more than the kids.

Leah was enchanted with sparklers this year. Don't worry, other than to take this picture I was pretty close making sure she held it far out and didn't try to touch it. Kris and the kids did purchase some fantastic fireworks this year. The sliders were a big hit as well as the pop-its. We always love our Killer Bees, Happiness Fountains and Cones. Kris bought some Ground Bloom Bang fireworks that he thought were the coolest. But the little Ladybug stole the show by spinning around in a blaze and then rocketing high into the air. ( We won't tell you where we bought that one :)
Fourth of July morning dawned unseasonably cold. We all changed out of our shorts and into long pants and jackets for the parade. We had a lazy morning and still made it to a great spot just as the parade was starting. After that we wandered downtown for the Liberty Fest and Tal and I even were interviewed for TV. (Check out my Facebook page for the celebrity link.) Back home we rested up and Abi and Tal painted their faces with fireworks. We hosted a last minute barbeque with my family and our neighbors that turned out so fun.
And of course we took our annual 4th of July pic. Kris groused a little, but after 10 years he doesn't put up much of a fight anymore. This year we were adventurous and hiked clear down the Greenbelt in front of the LDS temple for a fantastic view of the fireworks. It was a little crazy getting out of downtown but we had Abi and Tal hold onto my blanket, while I held onto the back of Kris and he carried Leah. No one became separated and we made it back to our van. After a short ride back home we all collapsed wearily into our beds and with the help of earplugs to ward off the continued revelry of our neighbors, fell quickly asleep. Happy Birthday America.

Yellowstone - Take Two

Last year we drove up to Yellowstone National Park and raced around the Upper Loop of the Park and then down to Old Faithful. We drove a lot and saw many cool things but missed most of the geysers. So this year we decided to take a much more relaxed trip and just see the sites from West Yellowstone to Old Faithful.
We started our adventure with a little camping at Warm River just outside of Ashton, ID. It was a great campsite. We roasted our hot dogs and warmed our beans in the fire. Kris and I pitched our tent and we were set. Then Leah fell into the river. Blessedly, it is a very shallow, slow river at that point and a fellow camper plucked her out quickly. She was scared and soaked but OK. After we dried her off we started off on a little hike up an old railroad bed trail. Our goal was the train tunnel but as we started out late and mom couldn't really remember how long it was supposed to be, we had to turn back before the tunnel even came into sight. As we roasted our marshmallows that night we saw clouds moving toward us. As we got the kids ready for bed, we started seeing lightening off in the distance. And then as Kris was driving Leah about to make her fall asleep, the storm blew in in earnest. I tried to comfort Abi and Leah in the tent while lightening flashed and thunder boomed. (It is so much more vivid and loud in a tent.) Kris scurried about the campsite moving our gear back into the van in the pouring rain. And Tal slept through the whole thing. He didn't even stir. Finally the storm blew over and we could settle in for a slightly damp, very cold night of little sleep with Leah between Kris and I in our sleeping bag.
The next morning dawned gray and spitting rain. I cooked breakfast running back and forth from the fires to the shelter of the trees. Finally it cleared off in time for us to eat and then the morning warmed up with the sun. We drove into Yellowstone National Park through West Yellowstone. On our way to the Madison Junction we saw this huge herd of bison. You can see all the little calves with their mommies. There were probably 200 bison just lazing about.
One favorite spot was Firehole Canyon. Kris and I took our picture here back when we were dating before Kris's mission. Then we honeymooned partially in the Park and took another picture. And here we are now, fourteen years since the first picture. We are even better looking with three Little Meeks to show for it.

I won't bore you with all of my pictures of hot pools, fumaroles, and paint pots. But we loved it all. Well, maybe not the sulfur smell which Tal constantly complained about. But the pools are especially beautiful with their deep blues and greens. Our final stop was Old Faithful Geyser. As always it put on a great show. I remember coming to see it with my parents. It's really fun then to take my kids and give them the same experience. Leah was tired, hungry and grumpy so therefore less than impressed. But Kris and I, Abi and Tal all thought it amazing. What a beautiful world Heavenly Father has created for us to enjoy.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Leah Turns Two!!!

How did she grow up so fast? It seems like a such a short time ago that she was a tiny baby and now she is a little girl. I tried out a cupcake cake or pull- apart cake this time and it was much easier to serve although my options for decorating were limited. Leah didn't mind though and we had a hard time trying to keep her hands out of the cake long enough to sing "Happy Birthday" to. Leah especially loved the singing birthday candle.
Despite her anxiousness to get a cupcake all she really did was lick the frosting off of it. Leah surely loves "I-ceam" though. She is becoming a really good talker. She speaks in little phrases or sentences now.
Mom and Dad bought Leah a sandbox for her birthday. From her Nanas and aunts and uncles she received several sand toys. Oh how she loves to go out and dig and get all messy in the sand box. Hopefully this will keep her out of my garden.

Leah is such a joy to have in our home. She is still such a sweet little girl, although her stubborn streak rears it ugly head often now as well. She is definitely 2 and knows what she wants. Leah wakes most mornings about 7:30 or 8:00. I will hear her talking or singing in her crib. When she sees me she usually says, "Hi Mommy, Look, I found you" with a big smile. She is a little slow to wake up so I usually get her a sippy of strawberry milk and let her watch a show while we wait for the other kids to wake up and then make breakfast. Leah's favorite breakfast is eggs, usually scrambled, but she also likes instant oatmeal, Cheerios, French Toast and of course strawberries.

Leah is a third child and unfortunately her stimulating morning activities usually involve helping me clean, do laundry, shop and run errands, or tag along as I do things with the older kids. Leah does like to go to the library to see the fish and listen to the stories on the computers but of course she refuses to ride in the stroller, insists on trying out every drinking fountain, and runs away several times. She does love to color and often I set her up at the table with her "colors and paper" while I do dishes, cook, or clean.

Leah absolutely loves going outside. Since the weather has finally warmed up she spends a lot of time either "jumping" on the trampoline or in her sandbox. She is also a bit of a wanderer and likes to follow her older siblings around. She also loves to pick my flowers - not so good. She likes to smell them which is so funny to watch because she wrinkles up her nose and then puffs air out of her nose instead of breathing in.

Leah also loves to sing. Her favorite songs are "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star", "I Am A Child of God", and the "ABC song". She knows almost all of the words to each of them but it is so funny because she has memorized the sounds but obviously doesn't know all of the words or letters so it gets a little mixed up. She really surprised me today though when she sang 2 lines of "Jesus of Nazareth" and all of "Happy Birthday" - complete with Tal style Cha, Cha, Cha's. Leah also loves books but will get fixated on 1 or 2 books for a time and we have to read those books every nap and bedtime over and over. She also loves "Mooovies", as she says when she climbs into our van. Her current favorites are "The Princess Frog" and "Monsters Inc." Elmo is her favorite character on Sesame Street and she hugs and kisses her little Elmo doll. She is learning to dress herself. Although she has mastered taking off her shoes and pants - especially outside - we are working on putting on our shirts and pants. "I do it," is what she always says to me.

I could wax on and on about my little Baby Love, but sufficeth to say, Leah is growing into a little girl with mounds of energy and personality. She is our little sweetie.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Crazy is the New Normal

I've given up trying to establish "normal" in my life. I'm trying to accept that "CRAZY" is my new normal. With Kris in the Bishopric, my calling in the RS Presidency, 3 kids and all of their activities, I feel like we are coming and going all of the time. We try to carve out sacred time for just us to be together at home: FHE, movie nights on Fridays and Saturday as family time. I love those times when we are home, just us, hanging out together.

Happy Mother's Day to me.
These 3 little cuties are my best present for Mother's Day. Abi and Tal made cards and little crafts for me. Leah just gives me loves. Then the kids set the table and got out the cereal for breakfast that morning. I felt so loved.

Snapshots from around my yard.
My yard and my little gardens make me so happy. With all of the yucky weather we've had this spring I've been aching to get out and work in my flower beds and plant my square foot vegetable garden. I finally got most of my seeds in 2 weeks ago. I'm still waiting for my tomatoes and tender annuals. Nearly everyday I get out and walk around my yard checking on the growth and changes to my plants. Today I noticed that my maple tree had suddenly budded out and it looks so beautiful. My gardens are my therapy.

Stayin' Alive!!!
Tal's teacher organized a First Grade Dance Extravaganza and throughout the year taught them all of these little dances. Last Wednesday we went to the Jr High gym where we watched him perform to "Stayin' Alive, The Electric Slide, The Boot Scoot Boogie and more. It was so funny, spectacular, and great. Tal was impressed when I showed him that I knew the "Electric Slide" and we practiced together. Whoot, Whoot for the Quad Stake Dances growing up.