Thursday, July 30, 2015

Ten Days and Still Mostly Sane

W minus ten days. The first wedding guests have officially crossed the border into Utah, although they are still in the distant south, touring the red rocks down there. They won't officially be here for the wedding for another week or so.  Erwanns' friend Alexis is landing in California as I type. Flowers are ordered, cupcakes are getting real, and there are only a kajillion small details still in need of attention. My house looks like a summery version of Christmas, with Amazon  boxes open everywhere, wedding decorations taking over the living room, and the kitchen in a constant state of bake.

It's great.

I love having something BIG going on. I love having an excuse for the house being a mess and me being disorganized and flighty. I love looking forward to it, and mostly I love the chaos that ensues. I love having a million plans and yet no real itinerary. It's no surprise that I had six kids. I thrive on the unexpected and the chaotic. I love when you throw everything up in the air and just wait to see what lands where.  The stress of it all gets a little hectic at times, but this is good stress. Happy stress. And the best and worst part of it all is that it will all soon be over. On the one hand, it's a good thing that we are coming to the grand finale of this wedding. I couldn't live like this much longer. On the other hand, what the heck are we all going to look forward to once this event is history? Halloween? Hmmm, I guess we can get creative and up-cycle all those wedding decorations into some exotic Halloween costumes. I'll have to get working on that. On August 10.

On the other hand, this wedding is ruining my life. I ran my first 10k on July 11, and it was awesome. I haven't run a day since. And I am blaming the wedding. I have zero desire to run anywhere except to my front porch to see what latest treasure the UPS guy brought me. I was going to lose 20 pounds for my grand debut as MOB, and instead I have been binging on experimental wedding cupcakes and oreos. I am supposed to run my first half marathon on October 25. But the wedding is taking up way too much space in my head and making it so my feet don't work anymore. Also, I can't think straight long enough to clean my bathroom. Or finish laundry. Or go to the store. Which works out, since every last dime we have is devoted to the wedding right now, and we didn't really want to eat anything other than cupcakes anyway.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Close and Yet So Far

Just twelve days now until the wedding and we are running on hyperactive hyper drive and astro turf around here, which is a galactic way of saying we are all just gonna fake it til we make it. We are all (meaning mostly me) just giddy and jumpy with nerves and excitement, and not really sure we can pull this off. The plan is to throw all my tricks into one bag, haul it up the mountain, duct tape and super glue the whole thing together and see what sticks. By the time this is all over,  I am going to be a fully qualified and experienced wedding planner, capable of opening my own business and making myself a fortune on hapless and less talented MOB's. Or, more likely, I will be certifiably nuts and sent away somewhere to weave baskets and talk about my feelings. Hey, we got a photographer and an official wedding officiant. No matter what else happens, at the end of the day they will at least be married and have some pictures to prove it. Everything else is just frosting.

I sit down to get some things organized, and then I remember something else I have to jump up and do right away before I forget. Then as soon as I get up, I immediately get distracted by something else I need to do. This goes on for a few rounds until I remember what it was I originally sat down to do, then I sit down and the whole thing starts all over again.  For example, on my to do list today was a few simple items: fertilize the flowers, cut the dead zinnias off, clean Duncan's and Olivia's' rooms, and wash sleeping bags. Oh, and make cupcakes if there was time. This is what I actually did: fertilize the flowers, water the grass, did the regular laundry, made the kids clean the blinds, looked at the sleeping bags which are laying on the family room floor, went to Hobby Lobby, texted a million people about random things, mailed a forgotten wedding invitation, paid bills, went to Walmart, made chalk paint and painted a bathroom cabinet, painted the patio chairs with left over paint, made some bracelets, ordered a clip for my dress, tried on my dress and stewed about how to fix it, cleaned Duncan's room, went to Swig, paid bills, thought a lot about potato salad, made yet another list of things I need to borrow, took Duncan to apply for a job, yammered on to Kathy for a while, did a word search with Olivia, thought about things like wedding music and who should push the play button on the Ipod and now I am up too late watching Star Wars with the kids. And every time I went in and out the door today, I looked at the zinnias and thought about cutting them.

And as if planning and executing a wedding are not enough, we had to go to Logan on Saturday to give an eviction notice to our renters. That was a new adventure. I think it went well, considering our lack of experience in being threatening landlords. We have an agreement with them to pay up by the end of the month, so we shall sit back and see what happens there. And while I am on the subject of Logan, that place is getting ruined! All of these quiet little roads are turning into four lane highways. Houses have been torn down to build fancy new apartments. Worst of all,  Romney Stadium is now Maverick Stadium. USU has sold their birthright for a mess of hot dogs.  I fear our little neighborhood up there is not long for this world. I wish I could see what it will look like in ten years. It might help me to know whether to sell or hold on for a while.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

First Days, Birth Days and Wedding Days

First day of fifth grade was successful and Olivia already loves her teacher. If I can only remember to go to Back to School night tomorrow, all will be well. Oh, I forgot to take a picture of her too. I think a picture on the second day of school will be every bit as compelling. Somehow, having taken a picture of the last day of school just two short weeks ago makes it not that exciting to take another picture of the first day. She looks pretty much the same, only today was raining.

Speaking of rain, this is the second year in a row that it has rained on my birthday. Of all the nerve. For 47 years it never rains on July 20, and now there are two in row. Must be a sign of the times. I didn't mind it this year though. It made for a good excuse to stay in and be extremely lazy.  I also would like to take note of two new birthday traditions that I want to continue. This year, although it wasn't really planned, I wound up giving my mom a present. I bought her a little silver bird necklace a couple months back that I never gave her. Giving it to her today seemed perfect, and I think she deserves a present every year on my birthday. She is the one who did all the work after all. Secondly, we took flowers to my uncle Reed's grave. He was my birthday buddy and would/should be celebrating his 71st birthday today. The cemetery he is buried in is not far from my house, and it felt good to go visit him for a minute. We picked some zinnias for him too. I hope I remember to do that every year, at least as long as I live close to his cemetery.  He is still very missed.

The wedding. There is still a million things to do and see to for the wedding, which is now a mere 20 days away. I can finally see it all coming together though. We have plans in place for pretty much everything, now we need only to execute! execute! execute! Visitors will begin arriving on the third, and it's a steady influx of guests from then until the seventh. On the seventh, the festivities start with Alisa's shower that afternoon. August 8 is crazy full, with a basketball game in the morning, pedicures for the girls, a ton of wedding preparation to do, and hopefully some kind of rehearsal dinner thrown in at the last minute. Then the wedding day! Then the clean up day! After the 10th, most of the out of towners will be heading back home, or continuing their American vacations.  A few will be hanging out with us until about the 14th. The new Mrs. Hickel will fly out on the 15th and that will mark the official end of The Wedding Festivities. It is all going to fly by so fast. I hope I can remember to enjoy it.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Just in Time for Pioneer Day


Tomorrow Olivia starts fifth grade. Before that happens, I figured I better get busy and post the pictures I took from her last fourth grade field trip. I was a good mom, and went as a chaperone. Fortunately, this field trip was slightly more appealing than the dump.


 Here we are on the bus on the way to This is the Place State Park. Nothing like a hot windy bus ride on a bus full of exuberant 4th graders at nine in the morning to wake you up and get that blood pumping.


Right off the bat, they got those kids hooked up with the handcarts. This is Liv's friend Sophie in her handcart group, which reminds me that I was supposed to send Sophie's mom a copy of this picture.

Here's Olivia's hand cart group. They had to push this handcart around the hills for about 15 minutes. 15 minutes was enough to convince all of them that they never ever wanted to be handcart pioneers.

Olivia hated the handcarts. Like really really despised them. Those two boys in the back did not help much, they were pushing a lot faster than the girls in the front were pulling. It was a lesson in teamwork that made the team want to shoot each other.

This was such a hot day- it was about 100 degrees, and they were working pretty hard getting that handcart up some hills. Olivia did not want to be there, and as usual, expressed herself very adamantly. She managed to work herself up into quite a dither. She started to cry. I thought she would be embarrassed to be crying in front of her classmates. Instead, her sweet friend Serra gave her suckers, and several other girls came up to her to console her and pat her on the back.



The only thing that saved the day was that right after this, Ella almost got heat stroke so we had to take her to the bathroom where it was air conditioned, and get a nice cold drink of water. On the way to the bathroom, Olivia just happened to stumble on to the gold mining place, where there was a shady little creek to splash in. Our group wasn't doing gold mining that day, which considering how hot it was, was really stupid. So while I took Ella to the bathroom, Olivia horned her way into a different group that was doing gold mining and sat happily among strangers, finding fools gold and splashing in the water. It was a godsend.

The best part of the kids day was going to the Energy Solutions Arena and running around on the Jazz floor.



Her fourth grade class. It's not a great picture, but she is in there somewhere.


Okay, that about wraps up the fourth grade. We can bring on fifth grade now. Even though it's July.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

How to Plan a Wedding By Text

My phone holds a long series of text messages between Alisa and me. They go back to the first of April.  Reading through some of them, you can almost see wedding plans evolving between the lines.. I will leave it to the imagination to determine who is saying what and why.

37 bucks on etsy.
Could you wear it lower?
That's a good deal.

I like the trim.
No trim.
Trim isn't flowy.


My stomach is killing me.
I guess I need to get Obama cares.

Maybe you are constipated.
Maybe I should fast.
Erwann keeps saying fasting cures cancer.

Which red?
Send me a picture of Audrey holding them up to her face. One at a time.


Figured out the wedding processional!
Make sure I have enough time to get down the aisle in my long flowing dress.

Should the invitations say something about food?
Drinks and appetizers?

Say light dinner.

Erwann says light dinner sounds like we are putting people on a diet.

What happened to cold meat?

Should we put burgers on the invitation?

We can even throw in a few vegan burgers for your weird friends.

I don't have any vegan friends Oh, wait...


I'm starting to think I might not want a veil.
Just some flowers or something?

A floppy hat!

Erwann is 100% vetoing this picture.

I think it's cute.

Yeah, but he threw a fit.

UGH I just called the airlines to see if I can have my wedding dress as a carry on and its fine, if there is room. otherwise I have to check it. And there is "no possible way to plan ahead"

There will be room. I can feel it.

I DO NOT TRUST THE AIRLINE TO CHECK IT. NO WAY.
 Or I can purchase an extra seat.

You could mail it.

THAT'S EVEN SCARIER.

Anyway, I have a plan. I am going to get up early the day of the wedding and go raid my neighbors
flower gardens.


How about a jar of rocks that people sign?
I don't want a jar of rocks in my house.

Got my makeup done at ulta today.

Your eyes look gorgeous.

That's what we were going for.

What all of this nonsense boils down to is this-

The dress is ready.

 She has yet to decided on a veil

 She went to the makeup counter and got a tutorial on how to do her own makeup, which I think is brilliant, Teach a man to fish and all that.

 We are debating on how creative to be with the guest book. She wants a traditional book that guests sign. I am telling her that the book will get  shoved in a box somewhere and never looked at again. I am voting for a globe that everybody can sign near where they came from. Erwann apparently wants a map.

She has no faith in airlines or the postal service.

There was endless debate on the food. We finally settled on a barbecue. We are in the mountains after all, and there is a large barbecue smack dab in the middle of the patio where the wedding will be. Seems kinda obvious, doesn't it? Still, it was a long and winding road to get to the conclusion of the food question.

 I am considering stealing from my neighbors as a viable way to procure flowers for the wedding. Well, not exactly from my neighbors. Just from people I don't know that have lovely flower gardens and live relatively close to me.

There are loads of cute pictures of the bride and groom in their younger years. There is no consensus on what is cute and what is not.

Getting just the right shade of burgundy is a challenge.

Mother of the bride dresses are all ugly.

Lingering questions-

Is it tacky to ask some of our local yokels to show up to the wedding with a pasta or potato salad in hand?  I really want some kind of starchy American salad to go along with our barbecue.. I just don't want to have to make it. And store bought stuff like that is disgusting.

Who is going to barbecue all those hamburgers?

How do you start a wedding ceremony?

Lemonade or water?

To boutonniere or not to boutonniere?

How do you spell boutonniere?

Isn't that a French word?

Anyone?





Friday, June 26, 2015

Two Weeks in June in 17 Pictures

Reality check time: Six months from today is Christmas Day, which makes me really appreciate the 98 degree temperatures, the long summer nights, and the flowers we are currently surrounded by. We do love our summers around here.  Four months from today is the half marathon I signed up to run. I don't know WHAT I was thinking. It makes my knees hurt just to think about it. Yet, I continue to soldier on. Five miles down, my first six mile run coming up on Saturday. And finally, 45 days from today is the wedding. THE WEDDING. So much to do. So much to think about. So much to spend.

Still, all we really have is today, and that is where we are, enjoying the last days of June.  It was an eventful month for us.

Audrey passed her written test, and now officially has her learners permit.



Olivia and I spent some quality time sitting under the trees and sucking down snow cones.



We had Father's Day, and the kids made breakfast for their dad.

Audrey drove us safely home from church one Sunday



We had Boston Cream Pie for breakfast when we ran out of cereal.

Olivia performed in her fourth grade program. That's her, somewhere in the middle of that picture.

Shes' the one in the sunglasses.:)


See that green thing that looks like it has a face, just above the Olympic rings? That is Olivia's prop. Those are her arms holding it up.


And here is the county float she made all by herself. San Pete county, thank you very much.

The three fourth grade amigos, who suddenly look like fifth graders- Sophie Ella Olivia

And finally, Olivia, thrilled to be taking yet another picture with her county float.

We also spent two perfect Tuesdays, swimming at Aunt Carole's, and two lovely Sunday's barbecuing with my Mom and Dad,  Will has survived his first solo drive to Logan. The tomatoes are planted, the zinnias are blooming, the sunflowers are a foot tall.  A very good start to summer.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

61 Days

Yesterday was Olivia's first day back on track at school. Today, her class went on a field trip to the dump. Doesn't that sound thrilling? Have I mentioned before how much I hate year round school? She should be home, sleeping in, watching too many cartoons and spending her afternoons eating popsicles and running through the sprinklers. Instead, she is riding around the dump on a school bus. Her teacher promised that they would be doing all kinds of fun things in June. Boy they sure started off with a bang, eh?  Guess there is nowhere to go but up at this point.

Two months to the wedding. Sixty one days, thanks to July having 31 days. Thank you July, for those extra 24 hours. We are going to need them. The wedding has now overtaken my living room.  Up until this week, the accumulation of supplies was contained to the laundry room. But I got sick of tripping over decorations and candles and paper goods every time I had to get to my dryer. So now, all of our goods are on display in the living room, for all to see as soon as they walk in the front door. No secrets here. It makes me feel a little bit better when I see things piling up, like our plans are really hatching. If only we could get to the wedding without having the summer go so fast. Once the wedding is over, summer will be on it's way out and that is just sad.  We better soak it up while it's here.