We caved and raked our first (of many) leaf piles.

We never actually got them cleaned up but they were a fantastic source of evening entertainment.

We hit up the pumpkin patch - well I took the 3 little ones with Fielding's class and on Thursday Blake will take the girls. Between field trips and activity days we decided that that was enough pumpkin patching for the year. 

And we carved our pumpkins.

A monkey, an emoji turned Captain Kangaroo, (a squash-o-lantern by Cosie), a cat, and a freaky face.

We haven't had to bust out our Halloween costumes yet (which might be an all-time record for us) so the kids are getting way pumped about that this weekend...

And it froze so I like to think that we are done with canning season... however Blake learned you can make green tomato salsa which is an unfortunate discovery. I did some grape juice this year but gave away loads and loads of grapes - I added up the total of what everyone told me they canned and just our juicing grapes alone produced ~187 quarts of grape juice (THAT MY FRIENDS IS MADNESS!). 

It was a bumper crop year for our fruit trees and vines - And I am happy with all that we got preserved and all that I was able to share with my friends that don't have an orchard in their backyard.

Fall has been at it's finest and we are spending as many of our waking hours as we can out and about in the fantastic weather.


The Merry-Go-Round...

The difference between Fielding:

And Perry:

Fielding got to attend a party at Pojos and Perry got to bum a few tokens off him at the end. His heart was set on the Merry-Go-Round but once we placed him on the pony Perry didn't like it one bit...

Until we put him on the bench, then he didn't want to leave.



I always end up in the gym dressing room at the same time that the 60+ crowd is getting out of their water aerobics class. I  discretely slip into my clothes, slap on a little makeup, and pull my hair into a messy bun in record fashion because I know the littlest is "done" with the sub-par childcare I subject her to thrice a week. But even in my rush, I can't help but notice the women I am sharing the locker room with. They are always naked. Either lotioning themselves or struggling with an unwieldy bra or just shooting the breeze about so-and-so's husband's mild stroke. But always naked. And it strikes me how comfortable they are. There bodies look nothing like the ones that glossed the cover of the fitness magazines that I unsuccessfully tried to avert my eyes from on my way past the lobby. No - there is not an ab muscle in sight with this crowd. These bodies are always soft and full, I could trace each one of their veins that stand stark against their papery skin, and there are wrinkles, scars, sags, and sunspots. Their bodies scream "I have lived." and I find beauty in all the imperfections and I find beauty in their confidence. I am in awe that being naked in front of others (and themselves) does not stir up all the insecurities that has me always reaching from behind the shower curtain for the towel. 

This morning as I was thinking about this as I mopped my floor. I wondered if I will someday shed enough inhibitions to proudly gallivant through the locker room in my "I have lived" body. My moment of reverie was disrupted by Fielding and Perry's raucous laughter as they watched Luna riding on our hobby horse... buck naked. 

I guess we come into this world with no shame and we leave it with no shame.



I wake to the noise of running water. It confuses me. I get up from bed to look out the window - which is completely pointless as I don't have contacts in and can not see more than a foot in front of me. I also hear some scratching and an occasional "ping." So I do what Cyndi does anytime I am awake at 2am and hear unfamiliar sounds - I immediately conclude it is a prowler. I am positive the guy has turned on the hose as white noise to cover up the sounds of his breaking and entry and at any given moment my entire family is going to die. I go over this scenery for about 10 minutes before my overactive mind gets the best of me. And because I am essentially blind, I disturb my husband's peaceful slumber and wake him with the words he probably most loathes coming from my mouth, "I hear something." It takes him a few minutes and my constant repeating of the phrase before he is up and on the hunt for the source of the noise so that we can both return to our bed in peace. After a brief search of our room and the hallway, he heads upstairs into our living room. He heads to the far corner of the room and looks out our large windows. Then with a sigh of frustration he says, "It's raining. The sound you are hearing is rain."

And it all makes sense...
The running water was the rain down the gutters.
The scratching was our friendly mouse friend searching for shelter in our walls.
And the pings were it hitting the roof vents.

Not a prowler - just rain.

And the native Washingtonian in me hangs her head in shame.

There was once a time I could sleep through the torrential downpours of The Pacific Northwest, now a slight desert drizzle is enough for me to lose a good hour of sleep over.

I am losing my touch - I need to go "home" where I can remember what real rain sounds like.


Kiddo update...

It's been awhile since I just talked about the daily ins and outs of the kids - so let's see what we can get down.

Paisley - 

She is big. We have started sharing clothes to some degree - boots and sweatshirts mainly. I keep commenting on this and people make it about me and say, "Well - you're just tiny." But it isn't that, it isn't about me. It is about her and how she was my baby but now she is not and when did she get so big and all those confounding questions parents ask about, "Where did the time go?" For so long, I have done the mother of small children thing - it has become all I know and how I define "me" but she is stretching beyond that and I am not so sure I am ready to be forced to stretch in return.

She is doing piano, Spanish class before school, gymnastics, and activity days. She loves everyone of these activities and would happily do a handful more of extracurricular things.  Her school teacher is perfect for her - tons of programs and awards and spotlights on each child. School was never a challenge last year and this year it is and she told me that it "makes it less boring."

She loves food - always has and always will. Last night, she was lamenting how it almost makes her cry to see the bread sticks from school lunch get thrown away by kids who don't like them. She wishes she could have a hot lunch everyday (but not necessary the school's hot lunch) because they usually make "some gross stuff." No she wants hot lunch like homemade mashed potatoes/gravy or basil chicken. Last night, it came to me that she would be very successful as a food critic because one of her favorite things about food is to talk about it. Blake asked "How does one get into such an industry?" and I said, "Move to New York." So if we head east now you know why.

Cosette - 

She is quiet. I am constantly reprimanding her siblings for talking over her. It is so fun to watch her and her shyness. Previous to raising her, I always equated shy to some form of low self-assurance but that is so not what it is. Out of all my kids, Cosette is the most comfortable in her own skin. She is not out to perform or compete - she is who she is and is happy about it. It reminds me of the characteristics about Blake that first attracted me to him. He was good to the core not because he was trying to impress anyone or receive praise but just because it was fundamentally who he was.

She is doing piano, Spanish class before school, and an art class. The art class came about because I was feeling some guilt about Paisley always having lots of activities going on when Cosie does not. I asked if there was anything she would like to learn or do (fully expecting dance to be her answer); instead, she said, "Do they have art classes?" and so we found one. It is so Cosie-style. A teacher, 3 students, and quiet time to work on creative projects. School is also going well for her - she is a genius but doesn't know it yet.

Fielding - 

He is learning. Letters and numbers have always tripped him up but he has became a little sponge and is soaking everything in from school. He pointed out the words theis, and see to me in a book today. THIS IS HUGE! I've worried about his eyes, his brain, possibly dyslexia - but maybe all he needed was a bubbly kindergarten teacher singing, "Make his hat, make his back, make his tummy round and fat!"

He goes to piano as well now and after a few issues about wanting to play the songs perfectly first time, we are making some headway. He has memorized Mary Had a Little Lamb and likes to show off his skills any chance he can get. He wants to get into karate still but I can not find a class that (A) has morning classes and (B) doesn't cost the same as our mortgage. I will keep looking though because I think he could use a little help still in the focusing department and with social interactions.

Perry - 

He is bored. He has two questions he asks me all day, "What are we going to do now?" and "Can I watch a show?" He has zero ability to self-direct into an activity so it is up to me to pull out things and tell him that he needs to play with them for a bit. I have been trying hard to find friends for him to have over because if he has a like-minded buddy he will happily play for hours. He has been into riding his bike so we go for lots of walks but I think the weather is going to put a damper on that for awhile.

He gladly goes to the gym, the library, the store, etc. He likes to go places and will start crying when he recognizes that we are headed back home. Which reminds me that he has an amazing sense of direction. He has got our town all figured out and just the other day when we were going to Cosie's art class he said "It looks like we are going to the river." and he was right.

Luna - 

She is cute. I need to stop saying it but she is just so chunky, giggly, and a little bit mischief. She loves the toilet - like more than anything. It drives me crazy especially when people give great advice like, "Just keep the door shut." I have four door openers and closers - they do not understand the hazard it is to leave the bathroom one ajar. She has done all sorts of horrible things that my mother-in-law would not be able to stomach so we will keep the details off of here.

She is getting teeth but besides a little bit of sleep disruption is doing fairly well with it this time (this is usually not the case). She has gotten picky about her snacks and won't eat crackers of any sort which is kind of annoying when I need to just grab something for her on the go. I think maybe they hurt her teeth. She has also started talking a little bit more and says, "Cheese, thumbs up, here kitty kitty, roar, meow, woof woof, and AHHHHHHHHHHH!" She still has the shrillest scream around and has realized it's power during church - ugh.

She has this annoying habit of late where she rolls up all the rugs (which we have numerous of) multiple times a day. My floors are already in a sorry state as is - I don't need rugs all scrunched up blocking doors to add to it. I think she knows this bugs me and does it any time that she feels I am not paying attention to her.

And that is about it... or about all I have time for.



The kids had two days off of school so we decided we were in need of a trip to Utah.

We left Wednesday about 6:30 pm and arrived to Micah and Hank's (minus Hank who was off to San Francisco) after midnight. We finally got the kids back settled to sleep including a very distraught Luna.

Thursday we got up and had Agricola for breakfast - Blake and I tied which might be worse than losing - so close! Then we decided to get the kids out of the house and went to In-n-Out for lunch with Micah and James joining us.

And BYU creamery for treat.

Paisley got spoiled.

Then we hiked all around campus.

Remembering when Blake was so pure that he wouldn't walk on the grass.

 Not feeding the ducks.

And hunting out a geocache.

We ended at the Bean Museum which much to Cosie's dismay was not a museum of beans.

Luna said "Chicken, chicken, chicken!" to every bird we saw.

We headed out once the kid's started terrorizing the gift shop to The Rules. Blake's old college roommate and his family. There we ate more hamburgers, played more games, and dealt with more non-sleeping children.

It was great to see them and Friday morning the kids were not thrilled to leave - even though we were going to a bounce house place. 

Complete with rock wall.

The perfect tablet. Giant and on the floor and requires full body movement to function - if it wasn't $10,000, I'd be tempted.


 And arcade games for my two competitive family members. I will say that I did beat Blake - even with his interfering elbows.

Perry being cute on the way out.

Groupon pulled through for us and for $13 it entertained the kids for a good two hours. Then we headed to Costa Vida for lunch and on to Salt Lake. We found a park for the kids while Perry and Blake napped in the car. 

Then spent an hour at the church history museum.

We meet Micah and James at Grandma Nay's for dinner and playing then headed over to Jana's and Christopher's for a game and because the only thing Paisley wanted to do in Utah was "SEE KATE!!!" 

The kids and I hung out there the next morning while Blake won the Layton Marathon with a PR. I guess all those sleepless nights and extra cookies did him good.

I love this man and his crazy running habit!

Awesome finish!

We headed back to Jana's so Blake could shower and I could grab the kids that their Birdie Lou so graciously was watching while Luna and I watched Blake's finish. We got on the road only to spot a KFC and Blake finally deciding on what he wanted for his post-race meal. "That is what I want!" The greasier - the saltier - the better.

We survived the ride home with tired kiddos only stopping for ice cream cones. 

It was a great family trip (now that we are all out of the car).