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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Mormon Mecca

As we get ready to trek back across the United States to Utah I was thinking about how many have made this trip. Some to live and others just to see it.

Many of you know that Utah is the head quarters for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It is where the Saints finally settled down after being driven from place to place before eventually being driven from what was the US at that time.

Many LDS people feel inspired to see the place where the early saints called home. Many will travel from their homes at least once, drawn to the place that the saints were call to. To see the Salt Lake Temple, to be a part of the community of the Church, to smell the very identifiable smell of funeral potatoes.

So as I am here getting ready to move back to this place that I called home long ago, I am remembering some of the things about Utah that make it so unique.

Of course we'll start with the obvious, the Salt Lake Temple. Even if you are not a part of my faith, if you go to Utah you need to see this marvel. All of the stones were cut from the mountain and brought down one by one with oxen. It's an Architects dream. And the Tabernacle, home to the famous MoTab choir,{that's Mormon Tabernacle Choir}

Then there is the way Salt Lake was set up. Every place should have done it just like Utah did. The city is set up on the grid system.... every street has a North or South coordinate AND an East or West coordinate. If someone gives you the address of 1700 E. and 3200 S in Salt Lake. You can drive directly there. The GPS is always nice to have but you don't really need it in Utah. I mean really... if I gave you the address 1575 Tulip Dr. in Charlotte would you even know which way to start driving?? Nope. People the grid system is the way to go.

The mountains. This is where I belong. I love the feeling of being surrounded by all the mountains. And weirdly enough I don't have my irrational fears of natural disaster about anything in this state. Oh I know about the earthquakes and the fact that the mountains can crumble inward and stuff, but looking at the mountains that circle me.... well... I just don't care. Being within the "shadows of the everlasting hills"... I say crumble away!

And we all know us Mormons like our food storage. I love that all the homes are built with extra big pantries. When people add on to their home in Utah, it is usually for the food storage that they have. And on top of that.... if you look under beds in a Utah home probably about 8 times out of 10 you'll find food storage under there.

Seriously... Utah is the mini van capitol of the world.... with the "not-so-average-number" of children in a family, we need a way to transport all the people. Mini vans are the way to go. And don't forget the family decal on the back... the husband... the wife... the 6 kids... the 4 dogs... the 2 cats and the fish.

And really... Mormons know how to do pot lucks!! When you go to a ward party you usually end up with a bigger selection of food than at most buffets! Anything and everything you could ever think of to eat is usually at a ward function. {and I should say too... many things that should never be consumed by humans}

Along with the ward potlucks.... I'll just say one word.... JELLO. You really don't know how many different ways you can have Jello until you have see them all lined up on a table and no two are the same.... I mean really... who thought carrots and raisins in Jello would be a good thing {gross}???

The Mormons have there own name for things... like the famous Funeral Potatoes. I had never heard of this dish until some was brought to me that was left over after a funeral... I thought it was odd, but what ever. Not to long after that a sign up list was going around for food for a function. On it they needed 3 people to bring funeral potatoes... I was worried! I asked who had died. Does the family need help with anything else. That was the day I found out that funeral potatoes can be eaten at other times, and not just at funerals.

Red and Blue are dangerous colors!! There are two big colleges in Utah... BYU and UofU. If you are in Salt Lake and are wearing blue you may be hogtied and questioned. The UofU doesn't take kindly to those of Y sort.... And if you are caught wearing red in Cougar territory I'm pretty sure you'll be taken to a dark room and be forced to listen to "Ever Clean" by the boy band Sons of Provo. People this is serious stuff! And we won't even start with what happens to the BYU fans if they are up north in Aggie area.... somethings are better left unsaid. {~shutter~}

Utah is home to some of best outdoor recreation. There is skiing, hiking, 4-wheeling, rock climbing and so much more. It's the place of Arches, and 7 National Parks! It really is home to the greatest snow on earth.... even if that snow happens to be in May.

Utah is a beautiful place with it's own unique culture, and I'm excited to go back. Everyone should see Utah and experience it at least once in there life. But please don't trust the Jello!

Can you think of anything that I missed that is unique to Utah??

Friday, April 12, 2013

Are we there yet?

On Friday we usually have pizza and a movie... on the watch list tonight, WALL~E. A cute movie and it was so fun to watch Benji watch the movie for the first time.

As I was watching the movie with my brood, I noticed something.... something very sad.

This movie is set in the distant, but not so unrealistic future...

The opening of this movie you see a robot cleaning up and finding random pieces of garbage that he collects as his treasures... garbage that we left behind

The movie goes one {if you haven't seen it, you should it's a cute movie..}

Anyway, they get to the ship that is in outer space called the Axiom. And here is where I start seeing things.

First, everyone is the same, everyone has the same clothes, and sitting in the same chairs. I would bet that everyone has the same living conditions as everyone else.... hum.... sound familiar?? It does to me. Today every one is calling for equality, whether it is worked for or not, whether you were born in the country or not, whether you are smart or not.... everyone needs to be equal.

Next you see people sitting next to each other talking to each other through what we would call video chat. True story... I saw two girls sitting on oppisite side of the room texting each other {I asked who they were texting, that's how I knew} how sad that we live in world were face to face communications are becoming less and less.

Then there is the Captain, he tries to figure out what a manual is. A robot shows him how to open a book. Think of today, now I love technology as much as the next person. And I'm thankful that our books are being stored in a digital way, but do you think there could be a time when one may not even know what to do with a book??

We see people playing virtual games of tennis and golf. All they are doing is pushing a button on their screen. How familiar... there are video games of sports now... you don't even have to leave your house to play a round of golf or a game of baseball, you can do it all from the comfort of you couch. What ever happen to playing a game of kickball in the street with all the neighbor kids?

There's the shakes that people are sucking from.... I did a whole post on this topic a year ago. It's so easy now to blend your meal into a shake form and drink it down. What ever happen to real food? What happen to fruits and vegetables being best for you?? Now it's powder out of a can and mixed with water is what is suppose to be better for you than an apple or a carrot??

When the Axiom makes it back to Earth the Captain is excited to plant in the ground the plant that was found and brought to the ship.... they were going to grow tomatoes "and pizza". It's funny and the boys laughed at it, we all know that pizza doesn't grow. But what about the rest of our food? Do we really know where it comes from? Sadly I do know kids that don't know what animal produces beef. Everything just comes from the store.

And then there is the big store that everything comes from. In the movie it is called 'Buy n Large'. This mega corporation has taken over and everything that is used comes from this store. Hummmm... I dare to say a lot like, oh I don't know, say Walmart. Honestly, I don't like going to Walmart at all!!! But they have everything and so when I am with all 5 boys and I need to pick up groceries, and paper for the printer, and socks for the boys, and a roll of ribbon for a project, and.... and.... and.... They have everything for a truly one stop shopping. Do you ever think Walmart will truly take over, putting everyone else out of business?? I hope not, but they have created a niche for our fast paced society to have everything in one spot.

Yes, everything in the movie WALL~E is exaggerated but I think there are some... a lot... of truth to it.... and not in a good way.

What do you think.... am I right? A little maybe? Or do you think I am totally off base?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

My day in a rather large nutshell

Steve is out of town this week, he is in Utah interviewing for a job.

So I'm flying solo.

It's really not to bad. I've done it before.... but at night looking back at my day, I just laugh.

Seriously I have days that would be perfect for TV!

Sometime between 2am and 6am I got a visitor to my bed. {I don't normally let the boys sleep with me but when dad's gone they sneak in... I don't mind.}

6am - Benji is shaking the baby gate... trying to get out, he can't so he is quiet in his room for a little longer, at this point he usually starts singing quietly getting progressively louder.

6:30am - Benji.... "Mom! I awake! I awake Mom." "Out.... Please out!"

6:35am - Person who is laying next to me "Mom, if I rub your back for a minute, can I go watch TV?" "Um... sure"

6:36am - "There... it's been a minute" Me: "please let Benji out and get him some juice"

6:37am -Stomping all the way into my room "MOM!! I awake!!" At which point my darling toddler starts going though all my things, crawling into bed and like a worm wiggles his way down to the bottom of the sheets. He runs over and is now playing with my door and then takes off down stairs to be with his brothers. He goes down on his stomach feet first squealing all the way down.

6:43am - Benji brings to me {in bed} his sippy cup -with all the parts- and the juice.

7:00am - All the boys {except Swim} are awake and down stairs. They are quietly watching TV it doesn't sound like cartoons so I go down to make sure it's appropriate for them to watch... It was some history on dinosaurs something... It was ok. I walk into the kitchen area to get a bottle for Swim and take it back upstairs for when he wakes up.

I see half of the bag of cherrios all over the table because Benji tried to pour, he managed to get it everywhere except the bowl that was sitting out, {thankfully he hasn't tried with milk yet!} and Benji was sitting on the floor sharing a bagel with the dog.

7:15am - Swim wakes up. I feed him, and while he is having a bottle I am reading my scriptures. I play with him for a bit and then decide I'm going to take a shower.

7:20am - I take Swim down stairs and let the boys know I will be taking a shower and give them instructions for Swim.

7:25 am -I am in the shower ready to practice my debut song for The Voice when I hear the door open. Standing there is a naked toddler "I take shower mama" as he steps in. {note to self....remember to shut door all the way, and to clothe the toddler completely making it harder for him to strip down}

7:50 am - both Benji and I are clean and dressed.

8:00-9:30 am - We pick up the house and do a few chores... We find where socks like to hide... under the couch as there were 7 socks that were found. We also are able to practice pushing Swim in the little swing in a way that doesn't eject him from the seat. We find Benji's hiding spot for a block of nibbled on cheese... thankful it was still cold so it had to have only been out of the fridge for a little while.... {note to self... check the rest of the cupboard for more food that Benji might have nibbled on} We learned that there is a proper way to use the vacuum, and that holding it up to your nose does do a better job than having to blow, but it is not recommended. Also when mom says the vacuum will suck up everything... she is right. {the little lego man didn't stand a chance}

9:37 am - I declare that we are leaving the house! We are going to go for a hike up at Latta Plantation, and that everyone needs to be dressed and ready.

~let the chaos commence~

9:40-10:30am - One child had be reminded no less than 6 time to get dressed as he kept getting distracted. We only had one shoe for Benji. Someone was positive that it was under the couch, or in the bathroom.... it was found in the cupboard. We had to do another clean up of the play room because in the excitement of getting ready to leave all the toys needed to be poured out and played with. Benji decided to change outfits 3 times. And Swim fell asleep, and then had to be woken up to be changed and then put into his carseat, which some great helper clipped it all together in a knot. So I had to take the baby out and fix the problem.

10:32am - I go to my room to get my shoes. I find that my door is locked. Remember how Benji was playing with my door earlier.... well... he locked it and shut it. I found a bobby pin and unlocked to door.

10:40am -FINALLY all 12 kids.... ok, only 5 but sometimes it really does seem like 12 were in the car. We back out and then the plea of taking Captain with us comes from the back. -This actually seems like a good idea because then we can't go into the Nature Center... which we like but then it's hard to pull a certain little one away from all the aquariums to tap on. So in jumps the dog.

11:10 am - Make our way to Latta, and yeah, one last parking spot. I get everyone out, the dog leashed up the baby in the front carrier and Benji.... Benji.... hum... He took himself down the trial. Tommy runs to catch up with him.

11:20-12:30pm - the Hike....
Remember how I said bringing the dog was a good idea. That was until I had a hold of the dog in one hand and carrying Benji, and having Swim in my front.... why you ask??? well because there was mud. I didn't want to deal with a muddy Benji, and dog... I thought the other boys would be ok... false hope.

We did see a frog... that Benji tried to get to jump into his hand
and a snake... the boys were sure it was a black racer and while those snakes are not poisonous, the boys have been know to be wrong before.
and we smelt a skunk... and Captain stuck his head into every bush that smelled like the skunk... I'm pretty sure we were close.

We hiked until we came to the road. We decided to walk along the road back to the car rather than wind our way back through the woods. That took longer than going up and down the hills! The only reason Benji kept walking was because I had his cup in the car for him, other wise I'm pretty sure he would have just sat down in the road.

1.5 miles later... we made it back alive. The boys were pretty shocked that we were alive... they kept complaining that they were going to die.

12:30pm - all are back in the car. And crap... I forgot that Tommy had piano lessons that day. We rush home to be there for his lessons.

1:00pm - make it home just in time for lessons.

1:00-1:30pm -Get the screaming baby out of the car seat to be fed, Get the screaming toddler out of the car and feed him. Get the tired boys out of the car and get them fed. Tommy's pour teacher walk into screaming chaos!

Piano teacher comes early and Tommy plays away.

At some point everyone was fed because the remains of lunch were left about.

2:30pm - Benji starts yelling at everybody and putting them in time out. I put him down for a nap.

2:30-4:00pm - Things are relatively quiet, I think things are safe.... when will I learn. The boys' closet has been transformed into some sort of space vehicle and the contents of the closet are all over the bedroom. I guess there needed to be room for more rocket boosters.

4:00-5:00pm -clean up happens... again.

5:00pm -Crap.... all these little people want to eat again.

5:15pm - neighbor kids are outside so the boys take off to play a little before it gets dark. Benji, who has changed outfits again is trying to go outside too....

5:17pm - I bribe Benji to stay in the house with Raisets..... He's a runner ....and Swim was up.... and I didn't feel like chasing him down the street.

7:30pm..... Ooooo it's getting close

8:00pm - Bedtime craziness ensues! The stinkest people get showered, we nearly have to hog tie Benji from stripping down to get into the shower again. Towels, underwear, and random socks go flying... at which point I notice that Swim has fallen asleep. {really!!}

8:42pm - Scriptures are read... prayers are said... and all the kids are in the proper room.

8:47pm - Tim is crying because Benji bit him - He goes in the room with Tommy and James to sleep in peace.

8:52pm -Swim wakes up from his power nap and is hungry.... I get him fed than he is happy to just hang out with me.

10:04pm - Benji's wall banging has finally stopped and his singing is now at a whisper. Swim is still happy and we are still awake.

11:58pm.... Swim is finally tired, and not so cute any more. He is fed one last time and put to bed.

12:00am - The house is finally quiet!! Dishes are done quickly and the dog is let out one last time.

12:30am - Finally!! I get to get into bed, I walk into my room and I find one little person in my bed asleep. I slide into our KING size bed and the little body scoots over to be nearly on top of me, heaves one last sigh and is sleeping deeply.

I love being a mom... but some days are more exhausting than others, and usually those are the days that get laughed at!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

On the move... Again!

When we moved to North Carolina I knew that we wouldn't be here long. I even remember laying in bed the first night that we were here, surrounded by boxes, that we wouldn't be here long.

I just know these things.

I knew it when we were in Utah after Steve's deployment to Iraq.

I knew it when were in Arizona shortly after we got there.

I think the Lord lets me know ahead of time so when it is time to move I have already processed it and it's not overwhelming. I never know how long we will be in a place, I only know that we will eventually be moving.

We are transient people.

But that first night when we were in bed, Steve was sure we would be here awhile. So I let go of the thought that we would be moving. I even entertained the thought of looking at houses and property to purchase.

I have always had this dream of having a white picket fence... watching my kids grow up... and watching them grow up with their friends. Of having the same walking buddy for years and years.

I truly feel blessed to have lived around the United States like I have been. I have meet some incredible people, and have learned so much.

And I have literally been from sea to shining sea.

But now it is time for us to box up our house again. To put it all in a truck and move it back across the country. {again}

We are moving back to Utah. Things haven't worked out here like we had hoped they would. And we have felt a pull to be back near family again. And truly my heart is in the mountains.

So here we go again. I'm pretty sure we keep the tape people in business! All of our stuff goes back into boxes and back on the truck.

I'm not sure if Utah will be a permanent home for us or not. I really hope so.

But if not I'm just going to go to Lowes and buy myself a white picket fence that I can just take with me if we move again.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Eight is pretty much...Awsome

My wonderful son turned 8 in March. Tommy has been looking forward to this birthday for a while. For one it's the birthday that they get to spend the day with just dad. And Tommy has been really into birds of prey lately and we happen to live by a raptor center. Tommy was so excited to go and see the falcons, and eagles they had there.

Also when you are 8, it is the age of accountability. And for those of our faith that is the age that you are able to be baptized into the church, and are ready to make covenants with the Lord.

And that is what he did.

Steve baptized, and confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and he also gave Tommy the gift of the Holy Ghost.

It was made really special that my dad was able to be there with us. Tommy is named after my dad and it was so nice that he was able to be there for his baptism.
 I love this picture of our family!

Being 8 also means for a boy is the opportunity to join the cub scouts. He was so excited to finally put on that uniform and be a part of the group.

 Look at my handsome boy! Tommy you are such a ray of sunlight in my life. You make me smile and laugh out loud, especially with the jokes that you make up.
 You are so talented in what ever you try your hand at. Please remember to pick good things.
 I love listening to you play the piano! Especially the Hymns. You work hard and with time you will be playing really hard things on the piano.
Tommy you are such a smart boy! I love watching you learn, and seeing you grow. Remember to play fair and to help those that are struggling.
And Tommy, please smile every day! Because when you smile so will everyone else. You are a little brother and a big brother... know that all your brothers love you.
I love you Tommy thank you for being you. I feel so blessed to have you as a part of our family. I am so happy that Heavenly Father chose me to be your mom. I have learned and grown so much by raising you.

I love you Tommy!!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Passing quickly by

Two months already!! I can hardly believe it.

We definitely have had our ups and downs, but I think we are on a steady climb up. People are sleeping again. We have somewhat of a routine and we are all learning patients again as we learn about this new little one.

He has blue eyes just like his brothers, but different. His are a true blue color. He looks just like the other boys but at different times. When he is sleeping he looks like Tommy. When he is smiling and trying to laugh he looks like Benji. When he is laying and looking around I see James in him. And when you are able to sooth him after crying he will look at you with his big eyes that remind me of Tim. He will grow and although people will know him as one of the Grammer boys he will take on a look of his own.

He likes to be around people he seems most comfortable in the chaos of life that happens around him.

He is so patient with his brothers as they all take turns to hold him. And he doesn't seem to mind being oh-so-loved by Benji.

He is a joy to our family and I am so happy that he is with us.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Nearly Impossible...

Anybody who has children and has tried to get their pictures take knows that they have a mind of their own... Well... the more children you have the more minds you have and the less chance you have to getting that perfect shot.

How thankful I am for digital cameras!!! I can take a million pictures and even look at them to see if they are sufficient enough to post for the world to see...

Yeah, I got over that...

To many little people with to many opinions of how they thing the pictures should be taken.

Some turned out good, and I would even say wall worthy...

Look they even all kinda match. AND their hair was brushed! {go mom!!}

 Tommy is my blinker... he can smile OR has his eyes open, rarely both at the same time.

 Benji was not happy that I put him back on the couch again...
 ...look.... just when I get a pretty good one of Tommy, James gets all squinty.... I really think they do that on purpose!

 Trying a new position... with a new person holding Swim.
 These next two pictures are actually really good... at least everyone's eyes are open and looking in the general direction of the camera.

I wanted to get a shot of all their feet.... I thought it turned out kinda cute with Benji sitting up.{know if someone can photoshop me a better backdrop.
 Black and white always helps a picture out.
But you know when it comes right down to it... try as you might to capture the perfect family picture in the perfect pose something often seems just.... not the same

 YUP.... This is the one for the frame!!

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