July 31, 2008

Brownie Date For Two

Alexis has really developed a passion for cooking. One of her favorite things to make in the kitchen is brownies. A few days ago I had run to do a couple errands and she and Olivia kept persistently calling, checking to see when I would be home. Within a short time both Stephen and I met up at the house about the same time and to our surprise Alexis, Olivia and Hailey had set the table with tasty delights:

Home made brownies with a new creative topping of marshmallow melted with chocolate frosting and rainbow colored sprinkles to finish the ever so sweet brownies made with love. The brownies were made in a heart shape cake pan given to Alexis for her birthday by aunt Jessica and cousins. The spread on the table was embellished with a platter of bread pieces speared with tooth picks, a homemade vinaigrette dip in the middle of the plate, lit candles, and potpourri for fragrance. The mood music in the back ground played of nursery rhyme songs.

The girls had created the ambiance of a romantic date for two, plus them. Stephen and I tried hard to contain our emotions, each thinking the same thoughts about our date put on by the girls. We would exchange winks across the table with a twinkle in our eye as a new flavor was sampled or a new nursery rhyme song would play.

I cherish these moments my children create.

July 30, 2008

Rocky Mountain High

July 24th is Pioneer Day, a Utah holiday. Originally our family was going to do the infamous Mt. Timpanogas hike the day of the 24th, with Jason, Jessica and their children.

The Sunday before our hike was to take place, I awoke with the thought of going to Colorado and visiting Stephen's parents. Minutes later Stephen's mom called asking when we were coming out to visit.

I was meant to be, we left for Colorado Wed, July 23rd to enjoy some camping with Grandma and Grandpa Robert's on their newly acquired mountain property.
Janet and Alex's property is in southern Colorado and so we decide to route through Cortez, Co. and visit Nana too.

The stop in Cortez was short, but meaningful. We went to a local park with Nana, ate ice cream and played at the play ground.

The destination that night was Pagosa Springs, one of my favorite mountain towns in Colorado.Our journey continued the following morning to meet up with Mom and Dad Roberts in the town of Fort Garland. There we had lunch, Stephen and Grandpa took the kids to the town fort while Alexis, Grandma and I shopped for meals at the local grocer.

Grandma and Grandpa have a RV that we all got to camp in, I call this luxury camping. There were no hook-ups but the convenience of sleeping inside a RV without the bugs, a gas stove for cooking, enough water for washing hands and dishes. Grandpa even rigged up a throne to sit on for the call of nature
Camping use to be such a way of life for me as a teen and young adult. Now a days with my little family, camping is a whole different experience.

The site where we camped was incredible. Mountain scenery like John Denver would describe in his folk song of Rocky Mt. High. Quiet solitude of the forest, a peace from within that turns thoughts to God and a the world becomes turned inside yourself to discover true beauty and serenity.

Grandma Roberts planted the seed of imagination with the idea of fairy forts. The children foraged and gathered materials and took careful time constructing their whimsical fairy/gnome forts. The sight of them collaborating and domesticating nature on a miniature scale was so priceless. The children found bones, bark, flowers, rocks, shells and the creativity began to flow. They made teepee's for the fairies and gnomes, tables, beds. Chandler and Spencer made a hot tub for their visitor.

Every butterfly that the kids would spot would be deemed as fairy folk.

Time was also consisted of the Children helping build a fence.

Playing a game Grandpa set up- hike and go seek with a compass/GPS

Grandma and Grandpa eudcated the kids as to what a MRE meal was.

I discovered Stephen took on the mythological lumberjack Paul Bunyan and played the part very well.

July 28, 2008

First Day of School for Alexis and Oliva

Aaawh! The first day of school can be such a mixed bag when it comes to emotions.

Excitement, nervous tummy's, embarrassed faces, smiles of relief when greeting past school mates, uncertainty in the class room, the poise and grace new students strive to contain in new school sneakers.

The sense of security while Mom or Dad walk with their child hand in hand.

Alexis, Dad and I where up at 6:30. The rest of the family woke around 7:00am. Since we had got ready so promptly the family set out for a morning breakfast at McDonald's (was the closest eating establishment). After, we drove to Oak Hollow, paid for school lunches and lined up to meet new teachers.

Olivia's second grade teacher is Mr. Flocks, seems like a very nice chap. Reminds me of Bob Summers, has an artistic sense about him

Alexis is in fifth grade and in Mrs. Smith's class, I can hardly believe she is in the fifth grade. When I first met Alexis she was in kindergarten, age 5. How time passes so quickly.

The girls nestled well into their class rooms, I think we where the last lingering parents (Stephen, myself and Emily).

As we left, Chandler displayed great relief for having another four weeks until school starts for him.

The few weeks of summer play that we got with Alexis and Olivia flew by much to quickly. I was not prepared for them to go back to school so quickly.

July 19, 2008

Tween Birthday Party

Yesterday we celebrated Alexis's 10th birthday. All week Alexis has been looking forward to her party, with great excitement. The party was as a ropes course down by Utah Lake. The party started early by picking up all party members at 9:00am. I had a car load of seven tween girls. The term tween, is defined as an age set overlapping preteens. A tween desperately wants to be a teen and I experienced a whole day with eight tweens. Lots of fun, giggles and attitude! We arrived to the course at 10:00am slathered on the sunscreen and bug spray and the adventures began.

First game the kids had to use a rope and work together as a team to pull themselves up and then to sit back down.

Then we battled with noodles and played ninja.

Next the kids had to find away to all balance on a log, suspended in air.

Most awaited was the zip line.

After a fun morning of activities, we then broke for a picnic lunch, sang happy birthday, ate cake and opened birthday gifts. The last event was spent out on a canoe large enough for a tribe. We sang songs as we rowed the river and splashed one another with our ore's. I secretly have always wanted to be a river rat. I loved the feeling of being on the water and the feel of a paddle in my hand, the way the paddle pushes through the water is so elevating. I was in my element-

The party was hard to break, it was so much fun.

We are so proud of the beautiful young woman Alexis is blossoming into. Her heart is so giving and cheerful. Alexis has quite a delightful sense of humor and a willing attitude for service. She loves her family, friends, cooking, music, reading, swimming, fashion and nail art.

Don't be in such a hurry to grow up-
Best Birthday wishes!

July 15, 2008

The Meanest Mom

Team Roberts had a very eventful week last week.

Monday: Our family hung out at a friend's house, playing American Idol on the X Box.

Tuesday: We played hard at Boondocks, a local arcade with laser tag, race cars, bumper boats, mini golf and much more.

Wednesday: Stephen Left on a business trip on and the Kids and I headed for the mountain scenery of Park City to stay with my sister Melanie at her condo rental. While there we tooled around at the local farmer's market, watched late night movies, ate a lot of junk food and played pool volley ball and soaked in the hot tub.

Thursday: The fun continued on like crazy, we partied at the pool for a few hours until we had prunes for fingers and toes. We had arranged to meet Jason and Jess in Park City for a over night birthday party for Shiloh at their condo rental, but there was an error with the hotel and a very sad little birthday girl. Plans changed and we headed down the mountain for a over night back yard camp out at the Preston's. On our way back to the valley we made a stop in Midway and went to my favorite Zermatt Resort, there the children rode the carousel, walked the property to view some of the live stock, the last stop was the sweet shoppe for a decedent taste of gelato. Finally we reached our destination, Shiloh's birthday party.

I woke the next morning realizing that I had done the very thing that I had been preaching to the kids earlier in the week during summer school. I had all the kids collect rocks and task each rock such as: work, play, academic, spiritual, personal, physical and then we talked about the balance of each day. So with this in mind I went and picked up the kids from their slumber party and we headed down to my brother's house to spiff up his over-grown weed infested yard. My brother, Scott has been overwhelmed with a full time job, finishing his last few credit hours of his completed double major and all the hard work of a new baby. This is a lot for one couple to juggle, so the maintenance on their investment property is not high priority. Anyway, a good service project for my kids to participate in after a over indulged week of PLAY.

As we unloaded from the car(all seven of us), Melanie, Angela, Kaia and "Team Roberts" we commented on the jungle before us and stood in wonderment of where to begin.

It was interesting to observe my children. Alexis took the lead and trudged out first with happy heart and excitement. Olivia took on the same attitude as her sister and Kaia followed suit.

Now, Chandler did not seem to feel the same joy of the event. Chandler started to run toward the park. He was quickly stopped by the queen bee(me)and asked to join in the fun. Chandler struggled to find within him how weeding could be fun. I remembered feeling similar thoughts at times toward my Mother, vowing "the only reason she had kids was so she would have someone to do all her work." I get a chuckle out of those words now. Any parent who has tried to teach a child to "work" can vouch that the task becomes more of a challenge, and would be so much less torturous to just to do it yourself!

As I continued to slave drive my son and persisted to cheer him into thinking work could be fun, it was all in ATTITUDE, he lacked to find these words convincing. I was sworn off as the meanest Mom in the world, yet I found some satisfaction that I must be doing something right as a Mom if I was being a Meany. I thought I had the meanest mom when I was a child and now I have to say it was worth all efforts to instill the understanding and purpose of work into my developing character. I have grown to value and admire the tenacity of hard working individuals, it is a true gift.

My sister Angela shared her funny stories of work and a mean Mom and made a wise comment how are lucky to have arms so we can work. Angela is very wise like Confucius.

We all walked away feeling a touch of satisfaction and thankful for the opportunity of some good old fashioned hard work.

Chandler, went home to pull more weeds, somewhere in those weeds, some day...
the prize of hard work is bound to capture him.

A sonet for my children-

Someday when my children are old enough to

understand the logic that motivates a parent,

I will tell them, as my Mean Mom told me:

I loved you enough to ask where you were going,

with whom, and what time you would be home.

I loved you enough to be silent and let you

discover that your new best friend was not good for you.

I loved you enough to stand over you for

two hours while you cleaned your room,

a job that should have taken 15 minutes.

I loved you enough to let you see anger,

disappointment, and tears in my eyes. Children

must learn that their parents aren't perfect..

I loved you enough to let you assume the

responsibility for your actions even when the

penalties were so harsh they almost broke my heart.

But most of all, I loved you enough to say

NO when I knew you would hate me for it.

Those were the most difficult battles of all.

I'm glad I won them, because in the end you won, too.

And someday when your children are old enough to

understand the logic that motivates parents, you will tell them.

Was your Mom mean?

We had the meanest mother in the whole world!

While other kids ate candy for breakfast,

we had to have gruel, eggs, and toast.

When others had a Pepsi and a Twinkie for lunch,

we had to eat whole wheat sandwiches.

And you can guess our mother fixed us a dinner that was

different from what other kids had, too.

Mother insisted on knowing where we were at all times.

You'd think we were convicts in a prison.

She had to know who our friends were

and what we were doing with them.

She insisted that if we said we

would be gone for an hour, we would be gone for an hour or less.

We were ashamed to admit it,

but she had the nerve to break

the Child Labor Laws by making us work.

We had to wash the dishes, make the beds,

learn to cook, vacuum the floor, do laundry,

empty the trash and all sorts of cruel jobs.

I think she would lie awake at night

thinking of more things for us to do.

She always insisted on us telling the truth,

the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

By the time we were teenagers,

she could read our minds

and had eyes in the back of her head.

Then, life was really tough!

Mother wouldn't let our friends just honk

the horn when they drove up

They had to come up to the door

so she could meet them.

While everyone else could date

when they were 12 or 13,

we had to wait until we were 16.

Because of our mother we missed out

on lots of things other kids experienced.

Now that we have left home, we are all educated, honest adults.

We are doing our best to be mean parents just like Mom was.

I think that is what's wrong with the world today.

It just doesn't have enough mean moms!

July 9, 2008

This Life Is Only A Test

"This life is only a test!...If this was an actual emergency, you. would…” have been given a complete and customized instruction manual.

No matter the direction life may take, make no mistake, one’s childhood mentally follows him or her throughout life, causing doubt in every move because one knows how naive they have been raised and things are just not the same in our adult world that we must now live in.

When children are subjected to harshness I believe it is some thing they can not comprehend, for they are with out guile free of deceit, cunning, hypocrisy, and dishonesty in thought or action. The lying and cruelness of how people treat each other is enough to make a child want to run for shelter and protection. Just think for a moment, if you were raised with no conflicts in child’s play. Could you have developed the skills needed to handle adult conflict? Do you roll up into a ball and become a victim in this harsh society? Do you just run away from it all or live in fear and cry? Life creates fear and fear is a powerful thing, especially for children. An individual gets confused through life's journey as to what is right and wrong, the world is not what we are raised to believe.

My transformation from childhood eyes to grown woman is still evolving. I am still digesting my thoughts on religion, forming thoughts on a conforming education system, realizing government can be dictating, grasping for the concept not to raise my children in what I deem to be correct and developing a marriage that allows for both identity and unity.

Life's choices mold us into the human we become. I move forward in teaching our children to believe in who they are and to trust in their choices. Not to let others mark their destiny, place labels, or to ever feel regret for who they are. There is a probable chance Alexis, Chandler and Olivia my feel disarrayed as they mature into adulthood and out grow their childhood perception.

It's easy to be a life line to others in the game of life, unearthing just the right answers, so quick to find consoling words, charmed to bestow comfort or praise and so it becomes that much harder to focus and ace our own life test.

July 7, 2008

Down with sickness

Here it is middle of summer and I am down with some type of flu. I loathe being ill and helpless. When I am sick I try to play tough girl, but really I just want to be babied like everyone else. I grew up pretty hard core, hard core isn't made much of this way any more. Ain't no body wanted to be sick in my house growing up for the remedies concocted would chase away any living organism. One of Mom's favorite was Garlic, Cayenne, honey and lemon all in one dose. Now as nasty as this may sound, I do admit that during my growing up years my siblings and I where sick very little and I have been on one antibiotics in all my 33 years. All immune systems in the Preston house where functioning well. I never adopted this from my childhood, yet my brother Jason has and I see the difference. Tonight Jason made me a famous Mom concoction, but with his own twist. It actually was this amazing soup, with in minutes I could breathe out both nostrils. My lips where burning and I am sensing a little burning sensation in my digestive track, but natures cures are where it's at.
Thanks, Jason and Jess for the soup!

July 4, 2008

My American Idol

The Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays. I enjoy the story behind the purpose of the celebration. How proud I am to be an American and believe just as John Adams believed, to carry on the traditions of celebrating the Fourth of July.

This week Stephen and I sat down with our children and discussed the meaning of the up and coming holiday. I found a story implementing the heart of a true American(click on the title above) and read it aloud to my kids. I couldn't help but get a little choked up, as I read the story.
Isn't there just something about the sight of the flag, the stories of bravery, hearing the National Anthem (or other songs of American history) that brings such emotion to every American? How rich the history and deep roots of this country America have grown. Let mothers teach their children to cherish, find pride and emotion in our great country. To many Americans have become doltish and don't take a stand, or play a role in the continuing of making this country great. It is a sad statistic what number of US citizens do not vote or follow the political movements, yet a shocking amount of people follow the ever so popular American Idol TV program and vote for no name candidates.

What would the founding fathers of this country think, say or feel if they saw what our modern and social take had turned into. Have people disregarded all the hard work that has been laid and blood spilled for the sake of freedom and for God?
Children can't even state the pledge of allegiance in a class room, for the distasteful scourge that it says "God." Many have forgotten that his land and the purpose of this country was built in the name of God.

Time for us to get back to the basics of this country and to take a proper concern and role in what our government is doing. True American Idols are not posh, want to be pop stars seen on the television. True American Idols are American soldiers, who fight for sustaining freedom to remain, The American Flag a symbol of our nation's unity and her strength. The flag is a source of pride, and great inspiration our flag; This is a true American Idol.

Stephen and I enjoyed the long holiday, we spent it in Midway. Midway is a Swiss charm town, right in the heart the Utah mountains. We stayed at the Zermatt Resort, golfed a great course, ate a lot of delightful European food, relaxed and caught up on television, watched the fire works from a great view. We did not have the children with us for the weekend. A bit sad, but we had a very romantic weekend.