Ayres Insanity

Ayres Insanity

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Zoey's baptism

  My sweet girl got baptized 2 weeks ago. She was so funny about it because for the longest time she was very hesitant to do it, but after much discussion, she revealed that she didn't want a lot of people watching, it was particularly stressful for her to have tons of kids gathered around the glass watching... A little claustrophobic perhaps? Either way, we respected her wishes and only had immediate family and grandparents come. Grandma Cindy made her a beautiful dress patterned after mommy's wedding dress, at her request, and Pop Pop & Grandma Airplane flew out and spoiled her rotten! We did a party with family at the lake that evening and it was fantastic! 
  It was such a busy week for me with girls camp and getting ready to go back to school and work, but I had an amazing experience at camp and knew that Heavenly Father was mindful of my Zoey.
  The night before I left for camp, I prayed that with her baptism coming up, I would know something about Zoey, that I could learn something new, or know how to help her. The first night there we had a fireside, the speaker talked about God's love for us. She spoke of Ether 12 when Moroni speaks of his weaknesses and says that the Gentiles would mock him because of his weakness in writing, and he compares himself to all of the great prophets before who he considered better than himself. He was told in verse 27; 

 "And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."

  She pointed out that God gives us our weaknesses and loves us not in spite of them, or if we change them, but because of them! He gave us them and wants us to come to Him with those things that we consider to be weak so he can show us how to turn them into strengths. It was so powerful and such a good reminder to these young girls not to compare ourselves to those who we consider better. As the closing prayer was being said, Zoey came into my mind, and the prayer that I had said for her, and in my mind I heard a very clear voice say "Tell her that I love her". It was so simple, but so powerful. Heavenly Father loves my little girl, and He told me to make sure she knew that. 
  After I got home, we were cuddling in my bed after Russ had left for work and I told her about my experience. It was so sweet to see her face light up as I told her how much she is loved by me and her Father in Heaven, and so many others. I am so grateful for my beautiful girl and her decision to be baptized, she is a blessing in our family.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Summer fun

  This summer has been amazing! I'm not sure if it's just because I had been looking forward to it more than any other, or if it really has been that amazing. 
  June was pretty chill, we spent pretty much every Tuesday at the lake paddle boarding and enjoying friends. Dan bought us a pedal boat, which has been a fun addition to our rapidly growing collection of lake toys.
  July was jam packed with Fun! We celebrated the 4th here in the neighborhood with a pancake breakfast, the Grantsville parade, a huge neighborhood party with a bounce house, bike parade, complete with all of the guys wearing matching flag shorts. After a little time at the lake with Russ' family the evening was spend BBQ-ing with good friends and a firework show that was just as incredible as any professional show I've seen, I love my neighborhood!
  July also included the baptisms of 2 cousins and our niece Amber's mission homecoming. She served in Independence Missouri, after her return the Coopers decided to go back and tour her mission and invited Taevin and Ryler to come along. They saw so many church history sites including Liberty jail, Carthage jail, Nauvoo, and so much more. They had a blast with their cousins, felt the spirit, and came home with a stronger testimony of the restoration of the Gospel. We went 10 days without seeing the boys because they left while Russ and I were on his birthday trip to CANNON BEACH OREGON! 
  This trip has been in the works since February, both Russ and our friend Forrest would be turning 40 this year so Jennie and I decided that a big celebration was in order. Jeff & Rebecca decided to come as well and it was amazing! The trip was a surprise for both Russ and Forrest, so the night before we left, I gave Russ a letter and a gift. The gift was a Goonies T-shirt and a Baby Ruth candy bar (all from the movie since The Goonies was filmed in Cannon Beach) upon opening the gift, Russ immediately knew where we were going... what he didn't know was that we'd be going with friends. He said that he had suspected Lake Powell with our friends because that's what he thought they were doing that weekend, which made the final surprise the next morning all the more fantastic. As we were leaving the house, I told him that we needed to drop off a life jacket to the Ringwood's to borrow for their Lake Powell trip. When we showed up, Forrest was equally confused because neither of them knew that this had been a surprise for both of them. Forrest caught on quickly, but Russ was still so confused, Jennie and I were cracking up over the awkwardness of the whole situation! Once he finally figured out that we were actually there to pick them up, he was so excited. We stopped at the gas station for snacks, which is where the Brambles met us, which was also hilarious to watch as they finally figured out our master plan. 
  We did half of the drive Friday, making a pit stop for lunch at the Boise temple then stayed in a little town in Oregon for the night. We got an early start Saturday morning, drove through Portland, saw a few sights, picked some fresh lavender & checked out the Tillamook cheese factory. We arrived in Cannon Beach late afternoon and were anxious to check out the beach, it was cold, but so beautiful and full of fun things to look at.
  We spent pretty much the whole vacation exploring Cannon & Hug Point beach and eating, it was fabulous! On Sunday evening we celebrated the guys' birthdays with a fire on the beach, s'mores, and rice krispy treats with birthday candles (couldn't find cake). It was the perfect way to celebrate a 40th birthday! 
  We headed to seaside the next morning, and then home, but I could've stayed another week! 
  It was a long week waiting for the boys to get home from their trip, especially since I was returning the babysitting favor for Jessee, but I was so happy to see them when they returned.
  Unfortunately our month didn't end as happy as it started. On Monday, July 23rd, I received the heart-breaking phone call that my cousin Christie's 15 year old son had been killed in a side by side accident. As a mother, it's difficult to hear these things and not think of your own children and how fragile life can be, I was just sick for her. Dan and I decided to head down to Arizona for the funeral Saturday, but for some reason I felt quite uneasy about it, Dan thought it was crazy and so did I, but I called my Aunt DeAnn and she told me not to come as the burial would be here. She asked me to organize the luncheon following the burial service, and I figured that's why I was feeling prompted to stay... until Thursday afternoon. 
  I received a call from our miamaid advisor, who happens to live next door to 2 of my YW, Maddie and Mikala Moody. She is good friends with the family and Miken, the mom, had asked her to come to the hospital and be with the 2 sisters as Mikala was in the ER and non-responsive. She was in Ogden and could not get there so she called me knowing my relationship with the girls, which she said later felt inspired (They had been in my beehive class for about 2 years and just turned 14 a few months ago). I rushed to the hospital to be with Maddie and Mariska, we prayed together and hoped for the best, but sometimes Heavenly Father has another plan. Mikala passed away after suffering cardiac arrest due to a blood clot in her lung. I cried with the family and kept reassuring Maddie the everything would be OK, but in reality, none of us were really OK.
  After I left the hospital I made a few calls and went over to Steph's to be with her and Audrey (another one of my sweet girls), we talked & cried some more. 
It has been a difficult 2 weeks, but as I have prayed for the spirit to be with these two families, I have felt my own peace and the reassurance that God's hand was in every step of this. As much as I wanted to support my cousin, I needed to be here for my girls and am grateful for the prompting that caused me to stay. Both services were beautiful and full of so much hope, and amidst all of the sadness, both of these families have amazed and inspired me with their faith. Today during testimony meeting, Gino (Mikala's dad) said something that really resonated, he said "If there was ever a cause for me to question my testimony, the loss of our daughter this week would've been it, but as I have felt the love and support from so many friends and neighbors, I have finally understood what it means to be a ward family and to call you all brothers and sisters". WOW! Could anything be more profound? I am so grateful for my family that extends far beyond a genetic connection, for this Gospel that gives my life meaning and perspective, and for my Savior who has made it possible for families to be together forever. 
  In spite of it all, July was still a fantastic month. On the 28th we took the boys to their first concert; Imagine Dragons, with some neighborhood friends, the Petersons (which BTW was awesome!) then on the 29th, Russ' birthday, I made the dinner of his choosing along with a coconut cake for dessert. I seriously can't believe my husband is 40! I absolutely adore that man and am surprised sometimes by how much he loves me despite my nagging... he proved that again this morning by letting me get rid of most of his beard. There is still some left, but it is much shorter and very well groomed. Perhaps someday I'll win that war but for now, I'm thrilled about this battle, it was a huge sacrifice for him and a demonstration of his deep love for me.
  Taevin spent last week at scout camp and I'm headed to girls camp this week, I'll be back early to get ready for Zoey's birthday & baptism, 8 already! Then it's back to work, school starts this week and I can't remember if I mentioned this, but I'll be teaching the 7th & 8th grade food studies elective. I'm terrified but will do my best.
  Summer was way too short but I'm glad we made the most of it!

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.