Sunday, April 29, 2012

Two Thumbs up for Denny's

I'm a little (ok, a lot) embarrassed to admit this, but I think that the kids and I have found a new favorite restaurant - Denny's.  I know, I know, it's bizarre... but if you can't expose deep, dark mortifying secrets like this on the internet, where can you expose them?!?

It all started a few days ago when Sasha was jonesing for bacon and eggs like Daddy makes.  Although technically within my culinary reach, I didn't really feel like making bacon and eggs (and raw bacon kind of weirds me out), so instead I stumbled on the brilliant realization that there are restaurants that cook such things, and going to one of those restaurants would in fact spare me from cooking them.  Salvation!

So Saturday after a fairly productive day of yardwork we decided that we earned a "treat" and hopped on the bikes for Denny's.  Yes, I believe we are the only people besides stoners who have ever ridden bikes to Denny's.  But at least the three mile ride (round trip, mind you) left me feeling better about the large quantities of fat I was pretty sure we'd consume.

And consume we did!  Sasha ate a double bacon and egg plate and then begged to have more bacon and eggs for dessert instead of ice cream - and how could I say no to that?  To be fair, I did take photos of her at Denny's enjoying the bliss of scrambled eggs, but she looks high in all of the pictures, which may be appropriate to Denny's, but I declined to post them to spare her future embarrassment.  So you're stuck with photos of WanYing instead.

The boys gorged themselves on pizza and silver dollar pancakes, but WanYing takes the prize for disgusto-meal:  she ordered double bacon and yogurt and, of course, dipped each bite of bacon into the yogurt before savoring the resultant taste sensation.  Ugh.

In the end, we all gave Denny's two thumbs up and plan to return regularly.  Don't judge me unless you try it - any place where 4 kids and a mom can all enjoy a satisfying meal with dessert (or more eggs, as the case may be) and escape for under 30 bucks with tip is ok by me!

Mmmm... bacon...

Saturday, April 28, 2012


We've been a country-hopping family for the past couple of weeks! Last week we got to enjoy spending time with Poppop as he came out to Snowbird for some late-season skiing. He was kind enough to take the boys out for some late-season turns and treat us all to dinner - win-win!

And I was blessed to share a short-but-sweet time with Steve last week.  Our 36 hours together was over far too quickly, but when you're used to sharing quality time with 4 demanding little ones, a day and a half of couple time feels blessedly luxurious!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Big Girl!

There are a few downsides to being the youngest of four and the most egregious of these is Mommy's nigh unforgivable tardiness in posting about potty accomplishments.  Actually, I blame this less on my interest or even availability and more on my own incredulity that my barely three-year-old is more reliably potty trained than my five-year-old.  But that's another story.

Anyway, WanYing has been wearing underwear and staying fabulously clean and dry for about 2 months now.  She pretty much potty trained herself, with a little encouragement from me and Justine.  The kid's amazing.

Nice work, big girl!  We're all so proud of you!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


I look to you, heaven-dwelling God, look up to you for help.
Like servants, alert to their master's commands,
   like a maiden attending her lady,
We're watching and waiting, holding our breath,
   awaiting your word of mercy.
Mercy, God, mercy!
It astounds me to count up the time and realize that Steve and I have spent two of the last four years actively waiting on God.  Over a year for Sasha, almost a year for WanYing, and now four months for Steve and that which is to come... wow.  I mean, we're not talking about little spells of impatience here - this is 53% of the last 52 months (yes, I did the math) spent waiting for the most important people imaginable, the biggest life changes that can be fathomed, the decisions that would change everything.

I am not a patient person. I am not a naturally graceful waiter.  But in these last years I have learned and believed and learned to trust that waiting is never wasted time. It's never void.

The wait for Sasha was brutal.   Despite a conscious knowledge of God's promises for our times of waiting on him, that message hadn't sunk into my heart.  I was impatient, cranky, angsty.  I wanted my baby and every day that kept us apart was agonizing.  It wasn't pretty.  But God used me and taught me despite myself.

The wait for WanYing was a little easier.  Not easy... waiting isn't, shouldn't be, easy, but less angst-ridden.  I had already experienced the transformative work accomplished in the waiting, so it was easier to believe the promises that cushioned the grief of my separation from the girl who would be my daughter.  And a few more of my seemingly endless number of rough edges were polished out.

And now I write from the depths of this new and strangest wait.  It is not a serene wait - how can one be serene waiting for her family to be together?  But in my reflective moments I realize that by and large this is a peaceful wait... not peace that comes after the storm but peace in the midst of that tempest.  I am not fighting the storm, I am finding my center, my God, as I watch and wait and hold my breath for his mercy.

I am far from perfect. I am prone to temper and frustration.  I need an eternity for all of my rough edges to find their polish and beauty.  But right here and right now, miracle that it is, I can weigh the heartache and misery and glory and grace and say that I'm grateful for how God has used the waiting times of the last 4 years to transform me into more of the woman he created me to be.  I'm grateful that he's never let go and never let me down.  I'm grateful for the wait.

And a pretty amazing testimony, because I am not a patient person :)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Desert Solitaire

Ok, I guess that it's definitely not desert solitaire if you're there with 4 kids... but we had a wonderful time enjoying God's amazing creation and the pleasure of each other's company in southern Utah last week. The weather was perfect, the kids were adventurous, and Mom managed to hold it together and even enjoy herself for 3 days of camping. Yep, a pretty darn fine spring break.
It all started with a giant pile of "essentials" to bring - all of this plus water and a potty.  I was very unsure that all of this, 5 people, and a dog were going to fit into our Subaru Impreza
As long as your definition of "fit" is generous, we managed to pack it all except for the chairs!  Not generally the vehicle packer, I was very pleased with myself for my packing job.
 We drove for almost 4 hours with only a couple of stops for candy (the children needed fuel for their... sitting... in confined spaces... maybe not my best plan).  But when we saw this view, we just had to stop and stretch our legs.
We had an excellent mini-romp here before completing the last hour of our drive
(note Ben and his gas station candy)
And finally we arrived!  Hello, Escalante!
Home sweet home (see tent and Subaru in the lower left-hand corner).  This was the perfect campsite - nobody for miles, plenty of romping space, and even trees for the hammock.
The boys immediately headed up the wash to go climbing.  I have to admire their devotion to the cryptobiotic soil crust - they always stuck to the washes and defined paths and were very frustrated that Chorney didn't do the same.
Within our first hour in Escalante they had scaled the "big mountain" (see tiny dot on top)
Here's the zoom of a boy atop a mountain
And once they had scaled the big mountain, they decided it was time to bring the girls up the smaller mountain to its right (see tiny dots on top).
My girls are sure blessed with some fantastic brothers to take them on adventures (and vice versa)
The view from the base of "little mountain"
We conquer "little mountain" (repeatedly)
Some day I expect to see a photo like this of my boys on Everest
Back to the site to relax!  Ben was in heaven - candy, Calvin and Hobbes, and a hammock
Mommy attempts pigtails in the desert
The pigtails worked out pretty well!
This is the pinnacle of my Mommy fantasies - kids sitting around a fire in the wilderness coloring and reading.  Deep sigh.
It was a very comfy campsite
Dinner time!
And after dinner, of course, came the glow sticks
The first star of evening - time for bed!
Walking down the wash to see what we can see...
...and much to our surprise, we found a running stream!
We spent many, many hours at the stream romping, reading, making dinner (thank you, backpacking stove and box o' mac and cheese), and getting really, really messy
The kids weren't the only ones who thoroughly enjoyed a romp in the stream.
Sweet sisters!  The girls were so proud of themselves for climbing this rock
And they really enjoyed watching me set the timer and run to scale the rock in time for this shot
I do so love my adventurous kiddos!
On our way home, we passed one more rock mountain that simply had to be scaled.

One last hike at Calf Creek and it was time to head home
The kids have already started asking if we can go back to our desert campsite, so I guess that's the mark of a good trip!


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