Saturday, October 26, 2013

Dumb Goals

Am I the only one who does this? Sets some random goal, like completing 100 Sudoku puzzles for no reason, and then drives myself crazy until I accomplish it? Please tell me other people do this. Of all the goals I should have and all the things I should be doing with my days...

It started last week at my in-laws' cabin (that almost burned down recently, see how pretty it is with all the new grass poking through?). We took the kids up there for fall break and I thought it would be super fun to play games (insert enthusiastic mom-voice here) as a family. We're not really game-playing people, and by that I mean, we never try. So I dug out a few brand new, dust-covered games and was determined to teach my kids to play something. It went great. 

We started with Monopoly. The boys LOVED it. We had several all-out battles and they couldn't get enough. I felt so successful. We got so wrapped up in Monopoly we didn't even take a crack at the other games I brought.

Then one afternoon while the kids were out fishing with Jason and I had the place to myself (insert choirs of angels here), I decided to try my skills at our never-opened game of Sudoku. You will notice it spread out on the floor to the right of the crazy six-year-old who is NOT jumping on the couch (sorry Grandpa). The game is organized with puzzles from 1 to 100 from super easy to super hard. I learned how to do Sudoku puzzles years ago but well, I was a little rusty. I am "super worried" that my brain is atrophying as I age. What could be a more perfect brain exercise than number logic puzzles? 

Except then I got addicted.

And I made it my goal to complete all 100 puzzles.

See the little spider hanging from his web, watching me play? I was so excited to have company!
He's the only one who understands me.
But it's so fun! I have it spread out on the dresser in my bedroom and it's perfect for a quick little diversion when I'm passing through. Or when I need to waste an hour or two and I should be doing something else.

Or when I have a mad baby on my hip who doesn't want to me to sit down and I'm tired of trying to do anything productive with only one arm. Liv-Town, seriously, how do you know when I'm sitting down or standing? I really wish babies weren't built with radar.

The other day I thought, "This is ridiculous. I'm only on puzzle 14. It's going to take me 14 years to get through all these. I'm just going to skip to #100 and be done." So I did. Puzzle 100 took me a while, but it wasn't THAT hard. I mean, I finished it... eventually. And I kind of loved it. I was too sad to give up my goal, so now I'm back on track, on puzzle 16 and I can't stop thinking about it. 

The thing about Sudoku is, after a while you get to the point where you can just look at a column and know, hey it needs a 7, without even counting through the numbers. Or glance at the whole thing and think, hey, almost every box has a 5, so it will be easy to find the last few fives. Kind of like when Solitaire was the only computer game and you got to the point where you could click through mindlessly for hours and know exactly what to do with out thinking. And you felt amazing when the cards started jumping around and you didn't even remember how you got there.

So maybe what I really need is just a mindless diversion. Hey, it's better than online shopping. This is free, convenient, and I feel like I'm getting smarter every time I play. It's like I'm doing math without actually doing math. Did I mention I hate math? So I can work with numbers and feel smart, while actually I'm just zoning and figuring out where things go.

Now I just wish I knew how to pronounce it (Su-do-KU? Su-DO-ku? Sud-OKU? Sudok-U?). Everything Asian confuses me. For example, how are Asians so fashionable? Every time I see them walking around the mall in moon-shoes and totally rocking it, I feel so inadequate. How do they do that? And make it cool?

I think it confuses him, too.

Other dumb goals I have are keeping my house perfectly clean (ha ha), giving away everything I own (then I just keep buying new stuff), and only going to Costco once a week (good luck with that one, lady). See how all my goals contradict each other? And make no sense? Why can't I set some meaningful goals and stick to them, like exercising daily or becoming a better person. I don't know. My new goal is to set some meaningful goals. I will think about it while I work on puzzle 17.

Monday, October 7, 2013

A birthday and a baptism

Last Saturday was a special day for our family. Sweet Abby turned 6 and Luke was baptized that same day. Luke was very serious about his decision to be baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and I couldn't have been prouder of him. Abby agreed to do most of her birthday celebrating the day before so we didn't have to squeeze two big events into one day.
Abby loves her kindergarten class and had so much fun being in the spotlight. The kids got to ask her questions, which mainly consisted of, "What are you doing for your party?" and "Why wasn't I invited?" Being the resourceful mom that I am I told her she could do whatever she wanted. Then I suggested that she invite two friends and we could take them anywhere she wanted. Then I suggested the two friends, and that we could go swimming and to McDonald's. Her eyes lit up and she said, "Yeah!" so as long as she's happy, I don't feel too bad that she didn't get the friend party of her dreams again. That was last year. Sorry, 15 little girls in the neighborhood and 10 in her class. I just didn't feel up to it this year.

Abby's teacher this year is Mrs. Mason. Abby LOVES her. So much in fact, that the only complaint Mrs. Mason had at parent teacher conference last week was that often Abby will want to sit and talk to her during recess instead of going out to play on the playground. I guess that is a good thing? Also, I brought in little ice creams for the kids, which you can see Abby holding hers, and it was a bad idea. I always do this for the older kids and it works great, but the kindergartners were a little deficient in being able to get the lids off, and when they did, they flung them every which way. Then they ended up taking the ice cream with them because they ran out of time, and I'm sure the drippy remains ended up on the bus floors and the bus drivers all hate my guts for ruining their day that lonely Friday afternoon. So then don't be a bus driver. It's not my fault.

After school I took these three little cuties to the Legacy Center to swim for an hour. I thought they would branch out and swim all over the kiddie area, but they just wanted to splash around right in front of me. It was really cute. It may have been the humidity of the enclosed pool, but I just felt so happy and warm. Then we headed over to McDonald's and met Jason and the rest of the kids. I tell ya, why do we do fancy things for our kids? Give them a happy meal and 40 minutes in the dirtiest play area in town and they think they've died and gone to heaven. Hopefully everyone's immunity was boosted just a little bit that day.

Abby picked out this pink tiger striped cake at a grocery store and thought it was the greatest thing ever. She blew out the candles the second it was close enough to her face, so I don't think she made a wish, but I don't know if those things ever come true anyway. I'm still waiting for my million dollars to show up from the last 30 birthdays I've had. From my calculations, that should be about 30 million dollars. ANY DAY NOW...

Which brings us to Abby's actual birthday, Luke's baptism day. For such a sweet, happy kid, he sure hates to smile in pictures. And what the heck is up with my fuzzy camera lately? I can't seem to get a clear shot to save my life.

Oh whoa, wait a tick, he's smiling... a terrible smile! Just look natural, son. All dressed up in your white jumpsuit with your dad. I guess you're precious no matter what you do.

Here we are, the whole crew. All SEVEN of us! It's just so many people. I keep forgetting how many kids I have. There is a BATCH of them. And they are all nuts. How am I going to do this?

Luke with his "Burley grandparents". My sweet mom and dad made the trip to be there for Luke's special day. Of course I couldn't have managed without my mom's help, and my dad spent the afternoon installing new headlights on Jason's truck. What fun for him! Thanks, dad!

I have a sneaking suspicion that Jason's dad, Grandpa Doug, hates pictures just as much as Luke does. I love this picture because he just looks TICKED. He's actually a really nice guy, right Dougie? You handsome fella, you.

Luke and his great grandpa Stevens (Jason's mom's dad). We love Grandpa Stevens. He lives in Pleasant Grove and it is fun to have him nearby. My kids are so lucky to know their great grandparents! Mine were old as the hills.

Oh, for precious! I told you Doug is a character. He can be so mischievous.

Grandma Rita and Grandpa Doug, how cute can you be? If you are not familiar with my mother-in-law's amazing blog,, you should take a gander. She is probably the most talented person I've ever met and she shares all her secrets on her blog. I should have taken a picture of the quilt she made Luke. Oh wait, here it is. Now you can make one too! Seriously, amazing. And here are the quilts she made for Livi: #1, #2, #3. Also, baby bib aprons, or shall we say, baprons? Oh, the creativity.

This is Luke's great grandma Evelyn (Jason's dad's mom). We love living near Grandma Evelyn and appreciate her efforts to be a part of our lives. She is so kind to these kids and all of us. I also love this picture because of Jason's brother Lance and his wife Tess in the background. Lance loves to hold Livi, but only until she cries. I think secretly, he just likes babies, even when they cry. Lance and Tess are so great. 

Here's a little better shot of the beautiful Tess. She makes everything fun. Jake is just bombing on through. Something about him just makes me want to squeeze him every chance I get. Also in attendance were Jason's sister Lacey and her kids, and my brother Ryan, his wife Christa and their kids. I didn't do a very good job of documenting all the guests! But I did appreciate their presence. We have such great family support and it means so much to me. It was a really special day and I can't believe my little Lukie is already eight years old! He was just a year old when we moved into this house and it seems like yesterday in many ways. But honestly, for all my sentimental talk of, "Oh, I"m so sad, how did my kids get so big!" I wouldn't go back. I wouldn't trade these days right now for anything. Each kid just seems so perfect at the age he or she is at. Not that my kids are perfect. We have a lot of time outs and way too much drama sometimes, but I really enjoy each of them right now. It amazes me that these individuals all came from the same place (me!), but then I remember, no, they really didn't. They came from my Heavenly Father and are all unique spirits with a unique mission on this earth. I am just grateful for the opportunity I get to be with them and I feel privileged and honored to be their mother. And hopefully I don't lead them too far astray in the process.