Ayres Insanity

Ayres Insanity

Monday, May 7, 2018

Birthdays and holidays and vacations oh my...

  12 days left of the school year, my cute friend Rebecca made me a count down paper chain for my birthday so I’ve been counting down since February. I don’t think I’ve ever been this excited for summer! Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful to have a job to supplement our income but if I had a choice, working while there is still so much need for me at home is not what I’d choose, but hey, 12 days and we’re free for the summer!
  I’d say the school year has been decent. Taevin turned 13 in January. He is enjoying Jr High and getting good grades for the most part, and he has an amazing group of friends, which I’m super grateful for! He’s rockin the braces right now and probably will until the end of 8th grade, he doesn’t love it but is being a good sport about it. He really is such a good kid and I’m very proud of who he’s becoming.
  Ryler is doing well in school as always, it seems to come naturally to him. He got in a fight at school the other day, at first I was pretty mad, but then I heard the whole story. Turns out the other kid was egging him on (most of the staff tells me he’s kind of a trouble maker) and as Ryler tried to walk away the kid jumped on him. Unfortunately the teacher turned around just in time to see Ryler put him in a headlock, they both got sent to the office. I did make Ryler stay after school that day to help out Kenny, the janitor and write and apology note to the teacher, but in all honesty I couldn’t be too mad, he did what I’ve always told him to do, which is never throw the first punch, but defend yourself if you have to. He’s a great kid, he chooses good friends and loves his mama. What more could I ask?
  Z, although still struggling a bit academically, has made a ton of progress. She has an amazing teacher who has helped her to believe that she can succeed, and I’m so grateful. Zoey is still one of the most creative kids I know, and so sensitive & sweet. I thoroughly enjoy any alone time I can get with her. Oh, and totally worth mentioning, she is still obsessed with pigs! She just loves them and refuses to eat any pig products. It’s seriously the cutest!
  And Aspen... oh my! Where do I even start with that one? She’s about to finish up preschool and I have a feeling will excel in school. She loves unicorns and is just about as vibrant as they are, that’s the best word I can think of to describe her, just sweet, outgoing, a bit snarky and such a funny sense of humor. Her independence makes me a little crazy but I love her excitement for life.
  As for the updates, we surprised the kids with a trip to California for Christmas. We went a week before and hit Disneyland, Sea World, Legoland, and of course, the beach. It was such a fun vacation and the kids loved it! We got back just in time to spend Christmas at home with family.
  I turned 39 in February and am desperately clinging to whatever youth I might have left in me. I’m still working at Bonneville Academy, but not as a lunch lady anymore but as an Aide. I help with the reading program and assist at recess, it’s been a nice change. I’m still serving in the YW program and enjoying it, we had a change in leadership and I’m the only one who stayed, it’s been an interesting transition but I love those girls, I think I’ve found my niche in working with the youth.
  Russ is turning 40 this year and I’m surprising him with a trip to Cannon Beach OR with some friends. He has no idea and I’m so freaking excited! He’s going to flip when he finds out, he’s wanted to go ther forever!
  I can’t think of anything else to report, except did I mention that there are only 12 DAYS LEFT OF SCHOOL?!?  We bought paddle boards this spring and were dying for summer so we can get out on that lake and use them. I have a feeling this summer is going to be a good one!

Sunday, November 12, 2017


  Today our lesson in Young Women's was on gratitude, and a fantastic lesson it was! Did you know that statistically, grateful people are happier? No joke! There have been studies done on this topic. I won't go into detail but I found it super interesting, but not surprising how much just a simple thankful attitude can change your life. 
  With this month being November, gratitude seems to be in the air as we prepare for Thanksgiving, and I can't help but think about the many things I've been blessed with.
  My last update was in August and shortly after that I started my job as a lunch lady at Bonneville Academy. With the changes in Russ' job earlier this year, my job has been nothing short of a blessing and I'm always amazed at how God's hand is working in my life. I got my job before we had any idea what would happen with Russ', but it is obvious to me that God knew and had a plan for us all along. I am grateful for a job that I enjoy and that I work with fantastic people.
  As for the last couple of months, life is good. The kids are settling into their new schools, Taevin at Clarke N. Johnson, Ryler and Zoey at Bonneville, and Aspen finishing up her last year of preschool with Ms. Sherri. They are all doing well and for the most part enjoying school. 
  In September we spent the month adjusting to our new schedules. The only significant thing that happened was the passing of our cat, Ammo. Taevin called me one day after school saying that he was "breathing weird" I hurried home, and sure enough he was, so we took him to the vet who gave him a cortisone shot hoping that would help, it didn't. By the next day it had gotten worse and there wasn't much we could do so we made the decision to let him go so he wouldn't have to suffer any longer. We put him down on a Friday and it was a sad weekend. Taevin had the hardest time and still misses him but we're glad he's happy now... and probably in a place where he doesn't have to deal with dogs!

  October wasn't super eventful other than Halloween. Dan did the usual over the top decorating of our house (he even made me help him build an outhouse with a peeing skeleton, which turned out to be a pretty big hit) and we gave out hot dogs and hot chocolate. Taevin didn't trick-or-treat this year but instead had a pretty sweet party the weekend prior to Halloween. Oh, and the kids costumes were pretty awesome, everyone loved Aspen's!

 November is off to a good start, Ryler just had his 10th birthday, Grandmas is on the 15th, and we'll celebrate Aspen's 5th on the 30th. These kids are growing so fast! 
  For this month we decided to do a family challenge, so it's officially no-sugar November. All of us (except Aspen who is a bit young to understand) has taken the challenge to cut out most sugars. Our only cheat day is Thanksgiving but at the end if the kids complete the challenge they'll earn $30. Taevin and Zoey and doing amazing! Ryler gave up after 8 days and Russ and I are miserable but hanging in there. It's tough but hopefully a good lesson on being more mindful of our health.
  I'm thankful for this little family of mine and love this time of year and the opportunity we have to focus on the gratitude we have for each other.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

2017 Update

  I think the older my kids get, the busier I get, and the less I remember it all. No joke, I'm sitting here scrolling through my calendar trying to figure what we've done all year. Thanks to old Facebook posts, I can give an update.

  January- Taevin turned 12! My sweet little boy is growing up! 12 is a big number, he was ordained to the Aaronic priesthood on January 22nd by his dad, It was a fantastic experience. That week Russ & I took him to dinner then to the Bountiful temple to do baptisms for the dead for the first time, Ron had given us some family names to do, I loved being there with him and watching him help ancestors take their first step toward the gospel. The following week he passed the sacrament, he was so nervous but with plenty of help from his dad and some good friends he did great! 

  February- I turned 38. Nuff said. OK, there's actually more. My grandma went to Arizona to stay with my aunt DeAnn for about 3 weeks so while she was gone I renovated her entire kitchen, like not just painted and put up new curtains, like completely gutted it and started over. It was about 40 years old and so ready for an update so I enlisted some help from my favorite handyman, Grant Peterson, and jumped in. DeAnn helped me with design choices over the phone but grandma said she trusted me and to just go for it! (She's either gotten too old to care or has way more faith in me than she should) It was a crazy 3 weeks but we got it done with just minutes to spare, aaaaand she loved it!

  March- Nothing significant.
  April- For my mom's birthday/ Christmas gift, Ron, my brothers and Russ & I bought tickets for my mom & I to go to the Neil Diamond concert. A few years ago we did the same thing for my dad and I enjoyed it so much that when I heard he was coming again, I knew we needed to get my mom out here for it, so we flew her out here and on April 10th we spent the evening singing along to Sweet Caroline (so good so good) and Coming to America, and because Neil Diamond has to be in his 70's, we had fun counting the number of fans there sporting walkers and oxygen tanks, good times for sure!
  More big news, I got a job! I hadn't planned on going back to work until Aspen was in 1st grade, and had always thought about a job at the school when the time came so I could  be on the same schedule as my kids, but with 2 new schools opening in our area it seemed like a good time to get my foot in the door. I applied for a part-time kitchen staff position at Bonneville Academy (the Charter school Ryler & Zoey will be attending), scored an interview, and got the job! We were pretty excited about being able to make some extra "fun" money & I was excited to get back out into the world of employment. We had no idea the blessing that would prove to be.
  Oh, and I prettied up the main bathroom downstairs.

  May- The last painful month of school... LONGEST. MONTH. EVER. I discovered a blog post that perfectly describes my feelings in May. Here's just a few excerpts from the beautifully written masterpiece; "I feel like any sort of school energy required at this point is pure oppression, like the universe is trying to destroy me." And my personal favorite; "We were awesome back in October; don’t you forget that. We used to care, and that counts for something." School finally ended on the 26th, whew.
  Anyway, we must've found a moment to go to the lake because my FB news feed reminded me that Ryler caught a fish there... well kind of. He had been begging to go fishing for quite some time, so when opportunity (or a fish) presented itself, Ryler was thrilled. Unfortunately said fish had met its demise prior to it being found, but in all fairness, Ryler did put in quite a bit of work into digging it out of the water. He was so proud! Poor kid was devastated when I told him it wasn't coming home with us to be cooked over the fire pit.

  So here's the crappy part of our year. Just a few days before Mother's Day, I was visiting with my grandma when Russ called me with some news that just about stopped my heart and sent me into a full blown panic attack. He had just lost his Foreman position at work and was sent back to his old position as an electrician. This meant a $5 per hour pay cut, which would end up being about $500-600 a month. With a family of 6 to support this just wasn't going to cut it.
I spent the next few days in a daze just trying to figure out what to do, which must've been obvious because the next day I actually cried at my Zumba class when the instructor asked if I was OK, it was mortifying to say the least. 
Back to the blessing that my job would be... so much for extra money, but we were lucky that my job would compensate for the loss, and we were able to use out state tax return to help us get through the summer until I started work.
The funny thing about all of this is that for years I've been praying that Russ would be able to get a schedule that would allow him to attend church with us, and as luck (or divine intervention) would have it, Russ had enough seniority as an electrician to get a weekend off schedule. He hasn't missed a week since, so the moral of the story: answers to prayers don't usually come the way you expect them to.
  Anyway, for my Mother's Day present, I was supposed to go with Jessee to get my eyebrows microbladed, but decided to cancel as to halt all frivolous spending, I was devastated but am holding out hope that maybe it'll happen next year. Russ  was sweet and did his best to make Mothers day special.

  June- Our 14th anniversary was on May 29th but we waited until June to celebrate. I found a Groupon to go to a pretty cool place in Ogden where we did some simulated skydiving in a wind-tunnel, after that we enjoyed some grown-up time at a nice dinner and a hotel. The next morning we went back to the same place to do a little indoor rock climbing and simulated surfing before we headed home. We had a blast and Russ said he was surprised that I wanted to do something so fun. Apparently I'm not as boring as he thought!
  Oh yeah, and since we had decided against a family vacay this year, we went camping with Russ' family for a few days. Good family bonding time.

July- Our van broke down on July 2nd, it was about a $430 repair (when it rains it pours, right?) but luckily it was a fairly easy fix and we were able to borrow Jessee's car in the mean time so I could get to the 4th of July parade with the kids and some of our neighbors. We enjoyed a block party and fireworks that evening with our awesome neighborhood friends.
  The girls had a fun dance camp with Mrs. Heather (who is also my awesome Zumba instructor) and loved it! 
  I also went to girls camp this month, I came home stinky and exhausted but had a great time! I seriously love those girls!

August- And here we are, about to start school again, in 2 days actually and this year I'll be going back with them. Taevin doesn't start for a week because he will be going to Clark N. Johnson middle school. In fact deciding which school to attend was Taevin's first really big decision I allowed him to make on his own. He could choose between Clark, the regular middle school, and Bonneville, the charter that Ryler and Z would be going to. He definitely did his research, went to both orientations, weighed the pros & cons, and spent quite a bit of time praying about it and ultimately felt strongly that Clark was where he needed to be, and as much as I would have loved to have him at Bonneville with me, I trust his decision. He went on his first run this morning with the cross country team, has chosen his electives, gotten his schedule, and is ready to go. Wanting to do track was no surprise, but what did come out of the blue was wanting to try out the Cello! I never would have guessed but I'm hopeful that he'll really love it and stick with it.
  My mom came into town last week just in time for Zoey's birthday party. My sweet girl is 7 now and has been begging for a baby pig for months, since that clearly wasn't going to happen, we brought a petting zoo, of course with a baby pig, here to the house for her pig party. There was also a baby goat (my fav), a sheep, duck, pony, fox, ferret, & turtle. It was so fun and I seriously considered keeping that goat!

 And here are my not so Pinterest-perfect Pig cake pops & cupcakes...

  My mom will be here for a couple more days and will be watching the girls tomorrow while Russ & I take the boys with the YM & YW to tour the new MTC.

  It's been a fun & busy summer and as always, my feelings about back to school are mixed, but peach season is here and fall is just around the corner so there's definitely a reason to smile!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Life lessons & returning carts

  Taevin is a good kid, I've always known that, but the other day I had to ask him a defining question.
  We were at the store and I said "Son, imagine you're alone at the store, you check out and go to leave and find yourself in in a miserable windy rainstorm, so you take your cart full of groceries and make a mad dash for the car. Once you finally get your groceries loaded, do you: A- abandon the cart in the middle of the parking lot, or B- tromp through the rain & return it to the cart corral?"
Without hesitation he said, "return it". I said, "congratulations son, you passed!"
  I continued to explain that there are 2 kinds of people in this world, cart returners, who are kind, considerate people who are mindful and concerned about the welfare of others, and there are cart abandoners, who are ignorant selfish jackasses who only think of themselves.
  He gave me a weird look but still a parenting win if I do say so myself! I feel validated knowing that I'm raising cart returners.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

All I want for Christmas is you

  I saw the sweetest post on Facebook today, I assume by an older mom who's kids are all grown, and it really resonated with me. It read;

My children each year ask me the same question. After thinking about it, I decided I'd give them my real answer:

What do I want for Christmas? I want you. I want you to keep coming around, I want you to bring your kids around when you have them, I want you to ask me questions, ask my advice, tell me your problems, ask for my opinion, ask for my help. I want you to come over and rant about your problems, rant about life, whatever. Tell me about your job, your worries, your significant other. I want you to continue sharing your life with me. Come over and laugh with me, or laugh at me, I don't care. Hearing you laugh is music to me.

I spent the better part of my life raising you the best way I knew how, and I'm not bragging, but i did a pretty darn good job. Now, give me time to sit back and admire my work, I'm pretty proud of it.

Raid my refrigerator, help yourself, I really don't mind. In fact, I wouldn't want it any other way.
I want you to spend your money making a better life for yourself, I have the things I need. I want to see you happy and healthy. When you ask me what I want for Christmas, I say "nothing" because you've already been giving me my gift all year. I want you.

  It's funny how mom's are like this, my mom was, she would always tell us that for Christmas she just wanted a day for us all to be together and get along. My grandma now only asks us for our time. I get that now.
  When we bought this house I definitely had the future in mind, we wanted a place that was tons of fun, a place that my kids would want to bring their friends and eventually dates around, and a place that would someday be where my grandkids want to play. I look forward to a full house for the holidays and Sunday dinners, so I'll echo this mom's sentiment. For every birthday, Christmas, Mothers Day or whatever, I want them, My husband, my kids, my sons & daughters-in-law and my grandkids. That's it.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

A proud mommy

  The holidays are in full swing! Anyone who knows me knows that I don't love Halloween, but I actually enjoyed it this year. Dan decorated the house, and we're talking SERIOUS decorations, and we spent the evening handing out hot dogs and hot chocolate while the kids trick-or-treated. Next year I'll be doubling the amount of hot chocolate I buy since it was such a big hit!
  Thanksgiving was fantastic as always, is there really anything better than a lazy day full of food and family? We got 2 for the price of one this year, my family on Thanksgiving and Russ' the following Saturday, and the bonus prize? We got to watch our beautiful niece Amber (LuAnn's oldest daughter) open her mission call to the Independence Missouri Visitor's Center mission. So happy for her and so grateful for an amazing family who are such good examples to my children. So so much to be thankful for!
  Two of my kids have November birthdays, (mating season in our house is obviously in February) Ryler turned 9 on the 10th and Aspen turned 4 on the 30th. How are these kids growing up so fast? Ryler loves anything science and wants to be a geologist just like his namesake, Great Grandpa Whitney, he's so smart and handsome, but definitely still a tease. We have enrolled him in a new charter school for next year, it is a STEM school (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) and I think he'll excel there.
  Aspen... oh my, what do I even say about that little gem? She's so beautiful in every way! So optimistic and pleasant, and much like Ryler in a lot of ways. A bit mischievous but a joy to be around as she sings everywhere she goes, dances, giggles and radiates happiness!
  Christmas is creeping up fast and I'm thoroughly enjoying the season this year. Since decorating didn't happen last year because of the move, I have had so much fun doing it this year, maybe too much! I love our home and have filled it full of Christmas spirit. I can't wait to cuddle by the fire and watch our babies open their presents on Christmas morning. And another bonus, we're hosting Christmas dinner with Russ' family so we can finish off the day with lots of fun & family.
  And finally, I have to share the proud mommy moment I had the other day. My neighbor across the street has a son who is autistic, as does my friend Taryn. I have explained to my boys what autism is and the importance of being kind to everyone, even those who are different, and Taryn has expressed her appreciation for my boys kindness toward Spencer. Well, I guess a few weeks ago Taevin & Ryler were out in the circle playing a game when my neighbors son James came over to play with them, she stood back and watched the interaction and told me how impressed she was that not only did my boys include him in the game, but made sure he won. This was a welcome change as she said that most kids won't play with him and don't know how to respond to his disability. This story melted my heart and made me so proud of the people these boys are turning out to be.
  I saw a meme the other day that said "Behind every great kid is a mother who is certain she's screwing it all up". Truth. Often I feel like I'm failing at this mom thing but it's moments like that that give me the hope that I'm doing okay. Like I said, so so much to be thankful for.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Back to normal... is that a thing?

  We had such an amazing summer, but the weather is cooling down and school is back in full swing now. Taevin has Mrs. Rigby in 6th grade, Ryler has Mrs. O'Rourke in 3rd grade, Z has Mrs. Ed in kindergarten, and Aspen is going to preschool with Mrs. Sherry twice a week. It's hard to believe that all of my babies are in school! I thought I'd be getting some alone time this year but Aspen is in morning preschool, and Zoey is in afternoon kindergarten. I was a little bummed at first but I'm really enjoying the one on one time with each of the girls. They are all growing so fast and I can't seem to keep up. Before I know it, Aspen will be in school full time and I'll be looking for a job... which by the way, scares the hell out of me!
  Anyway, So that dog I mentioned a few posts ago, umm yeah, that definitely didn't work out. She jumped on everyone and barked at everything and nipped at the kids and peed in the house and ate EVERYTHING, even our deck. I gave it my all, but in the end, she wasn't a good match for our family. We found a darling little schnauzer named Rocky (I call him Beardface). Yes we have a Rocky & a Rocco, no I didn't choose either of those names, but we've finally found a winner! He is 5 years old, fully trained, gets along with Rocco, and we love him! Oh, and he really loves me, in fact most of the time he is my little shadow.  See how cute!

  I love this time of year, The weather is perfect and we've got holidays and birthdays coming up. More updates coming soon. Hopefully