Tuesday, July 24, 2018

And the pictures came piling in.

Apparently, my post about going to Hawaii left something to be desired. Because as soon as my mom and my husband read it, they started sending me pictures so that I could write an additional post.

Honestly, I'm happy to. Hawaii was amazing. Here are some pictures of that most amazing place, alongside some of my most stream-of-consciousness commentary. Buckle up, folks.

From the Polynesian Cultural Center:

Everyone was so talented. I kept pondering what my job would be at the PCC. I call myself a dancer, but am only qualified to dance solos in the dark in an empty room inside an empty building with no sounds or nearby life.

I'm not a great cook, and I'm not very strong. Ticket taker would fit nicely, I should think.

Whenever I wear a side ponytail, Dan asks me why. Because I like it, Dan!

See that there pig? I ate all of it myself.

Riding on a boat down the river with two of my faves--Dan and Heidi.

After the luau and before the evening show. Feeling ready to rollllllllllllllll on outta there.

A couple of our beach trips:

 Best part of the beach? Eating sandy snacks no matter how hard you try to make them un-sandy. My mom's name is Sandy (also June's first name). I'm thinking there exists in me some sort of punny joke about Sandy bringing sandy snacks, but I just can't make it funny enough.

Heidi, I love your black swimsuit. I love black! Next year, I want to buy five black swimsuits.

From the Dole Plantation:

We actually didn't love the Dole Plantation. It seemed too expensive for not enough fun. We did eat some amazing street corn here, though. And I bought the girls Christmas ornaments for this year. So not a total loss.

You may have noticed that I wore the same thing a lot. Everyone in the family was allowed (by bossy me) to bring 3 outfits, and we wore them constantly for two weeks. I actually kind of loved it. It was really easy, and I think we left less stuff behind than we normally do (though we still left stuff). Also, our entire family only checked two bags. Sweetness.

Blythe jumped in this family photo to make my dream family photo complete.

And lastly, but not leastly.

The best part of Hawaii was the cousin time. June, Blythe and Gwen are the three musketeers and are up to NO GOOD. They sure do love each other. Blythe did Gwen's hair a lot, which involved a lot sticks being woven into her blonde locks. A unique style. Gwen has cried for "Life" a lot since we came home.

Upon returning home, I asked the girls what their favorite part of Hawaii was, and they both said "watching movies with Life". So maybe next time we will save a few bucks and just do that.

The End.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Pioneer Day

Happy Pioneer Day tomorrow.

My favorite pioneer story, taken from a talk given by Elder James E. Faust in April 1979.

Some years ago president David O. McKay told from this pulpit of the experience of some of those in the Martin handcart company. Many of these early converts had emigrated from Europe and were too poor to buy oxen or horses and a wagon. They were forced by their poverty to pull handcarts containing all of their belongings across the plains by their own brute strength. President McKay relates an occurrence which took place some years after the heroic exodus: “A teacher, conducting a class, said it was unwise ever to attempt, even to permit them [the Martin handcart company] to come across the plains under such conditions.
“[According to a class member,] some sharp criticism of the Church and its leaders was being indulged in for permitting any company of converts to venture across the plains with no more supplies or protection than a handcart caravan afforded.
“An old man in the corner … sat silent and listened as long as he could stand it, then he arose and said things that no person who heard him will ever forget. His face was white with emotion, yet he spoke calmly, deliberately, but with great earnestness and sincerity.
“In substance [he] said, ‘I ask you to stop this criticism. You are discussing a matter you know nothing about. Cold historic facts mean nothing here, for they give no proper interpretation of the questions involved. Mistake to send the Handcart Company out so late in the season? Yes. But I was in that company and my wife was in it and Sister Nellie Unthank whom you have cited was there, too. We suffered beyond anything you can imagine and many died of exposure and starvation, but did you ever hear a survivor of that company utter a word of criticism? Not one of that company ever apostatized or left the Church, because everyone of us came through with the absolute knowledge that God lives for we became acquainted with him in our extremities.
“‘I have pulled my handcart when I was so weak and weary from illness and lack of food that I could hardly put one foot ahead of the other. I have looked ahead and seen a patch of sand or a hill slope and I have said, I can go only that far and there I must give up, for I cannot pull the load through it.’” He continues: “‘I have gone on to that sand and when I reached it, the cart began pushing me. I have looked back many times to see who was pushing my cart, but my eyes saw no one. I knew then that the angels of God were there.
“‘Was I sorry that I chose to come by handcart? No. Neither then nor any minute of my life since. The price we paid to become acquainted with God was a privilege to pay, and I am thankful that I was privileged to come in the Martin Handcart Company.’” (Relief Society Magazine, Jan. 1948, p. 8.)

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Las Vegas and Hawaii

We just returned from a two week trip to Vegas and Hawaii. We had a family reunion in each place--Dan's fam in Vegas and my family in Oahu.

We were gone fourteen days, and I took about 14 pictures the whole time we were gone. I just never seemed to think about taking a picture, even though we were doing awesome things.

First off, I just hate taking a phone to the beach. It's a hassle. So there aren't a lot of beach pictures.

Second, I'm an airhead who loves to make lofty goals for blogging amazing trips and then doesn't do that.

So there are two things against me here.

So we left for Vegas late on a Thursday night. Dan's sister who lives in Utah and brother in California came down with their families to see us.

We played lots of games--like paint twister.

And that watery-bucket game-y thing-y.

And Aunt Diana taught my girls how to use a loom. They did this for hours and looooooooooooved it.

We had an early birthday celebration for Gwen.

We drove to our very first apartment. Ah the memories. So many scary neighbors. One jumped on my car while I was still driving when I was 8 months pregnant with June.

Not pictured in Vegas--TONS of swimming. We went to a water park and several public pools and also had an inflatable pool set up in the backyard at Grandma and Papa's.

We got together with a bunch of the young men Dan used to work with while we lived in this ward. They all brought their wives and we had dinner and discussed missions, marriages and future plans. One just had his first daughter, and another has a baby boy on the way. It was amazing.

We visited our old ward, and the lady who served as YW president when I was there is STILL the YW president. She's going on 8 years. The YW were singing a special musical number, and she brought me up to join them. Just like old times!

Our kids were terrible during church. Just like current times!

After a full week in Vegas, we headed back to the airport to board our flight to Hawaii.

I'm always super early to the airport. But my phone told me the wrong time for my flight. I should have checked the original itinerary but thought I could trust this alert which my phone picked up from my emails.

We ended up leaving later than I would have liked for the airport and then found out when we got there that the flight was actually at six, NOT six-thirty and that we had 4 minutes to check in before they wouldn't let us anymore.

It was a stressful morning, and I kinda want to go to bed just thinking about it.

Everyone was jealous of the Jolley Party Row on the plane.

And this is exactly what my girls looked like after the flight. There was no posing for this photo. We felt like death.

But Hawaii was amazing.

We stayed in a condo for a couple of days until we met up with my family and stayed in a big house my mom had rented.

These peacocks were always outside our condo.

We found these flowers in our parking lot and put them in our hair as often as we could.

We went to Pearl Harbor with the family, and I made everyone late and we almost missed our tour. Well I did miss it but it was my fault. I've kind of been off my game lately.

The temple. We try to have one of us go to the temple every month. Dan had plans to go in Vegas, but the temple was closed for cleaning. So he joined up with my brother's family and helped with youth baptisms in the Laie Temple. So beautiful.

Not pictured:

Tons of beach time, celebrating my mom's birthday, snorkeling, a full day at the Polynesian Cultural Center (complete with luau), paddle boarding, eating shave ice and shrimp, a hike up Diamond Head, and staying up late watching the most embarrassing family home videos. Oh my goodness were we obnoxious. My parents are saints for putting up with us.

We took two 6-hour flights home on Gwen's actual birthday, and I have been dragging ever since. Can't seem to get back on schedule. Everyone slept on the flights except for me.

But Dan pulled it together and took Gwen out to spend her birthday money.

Guess what? It plays music! Goody goody!

It's like my kids' toys are my own punishment.

I'll see what photos Dan took from our vacation and try to do a separate post with it.

Moral of the story: Hawaii was fantastic. I hope to go back one day. Going without the kids wouldn't be so terrible either.

The End.

Monday, July 2, 2018

I'll Try Again Tomorrow.

Today had all of the signs of being a banner day. I woke up cranky and tired, but we still managed to get through the morning routine. We went for haircuts, and everyone was really well-behaved for the hair stylist. It was almost eerie.

Harris went through the biggest hair transformation. Of course, I forgot to take his "before" picture, but here's one from yesterday's "Patriotic Sunday" photo shoot.

That's right. I brought back the worst picture ever of June and Gwen for a second posting. They deserve it.

And here he was during the cut:

And after:

What a doll. Sometimes I find myself whispering into his still-innocent ears: "Don't turn on me, Harris. Don't be like the others."

Then it was Gwen's turn.




While Gwen was getting cut, June entertained herself by taking pictures of any place she found our letter of the day. (Today was "E" for those of you playing along at home.)

I've always thought an education was incomplete unless it had Vogue in it.
She may have inherited here (in)ability to shoot a proper photo from me.

Then it was June's turn.


Her hair isn't really wavy at all; it had been in a braid all night.

Anyone remember the time June cut her own hair?

This is where those poor massacred strands sit now. We have probably a good year left before they are grown out. Sigh.

It was about at this point when the kind stylist called out, "This one's got a big personality!" Yes, she does.

And after:

Gwen wanted me to take more pictures of her while June was getting cut. Here's a very natural pose. I call it "Ode to These Here Magazines."

Look at that face. I feel like she's about to sell me insurance.

So haircuts were a total success. And then we went to the dentist.

Have you ever seen a more relaxed sitting position in your whole life? She's watching a movie while they work on her, and I think she was somehow mentally transported to another dimension. Her leg was dangling from the chair and her arms spread out, and she didn't respond to any of the questions posed to her. She may have grunted once.

I'm pretty sure Gwen's favorite biannual experience is going to our dentist so that she can watch shows her cheap parents don't provide at home.

On the whole, the kids were all great for these appointments, and neither of them had any cavities. The Jolleys, who previously singlehandedly kept our local dentists in business have not had any cavities for two years. I am just waiting for the morning where all of my teeth are gone (this is actually a nightmare I wake up from frequently) to make up for the past 24 months of good dental reports.

So, to recap. Haircuts were a win, dentist appointments were a success, and then I decided to squeeze in just one more thing. Walmart.

Dun dun dunnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn.

Am I a rookie at this parenting thing? What in the world was I thinking?

Walmart was a nightmare. Walmart without kids is a nightmare. Gwen and I knocked heads about every single thing, and then she lost the thing I told her she could get for our upcoming trip, and then she wouldn't stay with me, and then I had to hold her hand as she was screaming and trying to jerk away, and then she almost tipped our car over, and then I tried to carry her tantrum-ing body out to the car while also pushing said cart (which was carrying Harris) out to the car, but I couldn't physically do it. And then we finally all somehow made it to our van in the 95 degree heat and were sweating and crying. And then I stepped in gum. And then I wiped said gum off my flip flop and went to load our bags in the back of the van when I stepped in the same gun again.

Then we got home and I made dinner, and Dan came home and reminded me that we had promised the kids that FHE would be at the pool. So we ate fast and changed into our suits and had a good time. Until Gwen threw another huge fit about not having the flip flops she wanted and then everything was contentious and terrible again, and I just started taking things away. 

Taking things away from Gwen is hard because she doesn't seem to care.

So I finally got desperate enough to leave the realm of any sort of rational parenting and told her that she would not be able to listen to me read stories that night. Instead, she would have to go straight to bed.

I don't know why I thought it would be okay to take away something I want her to do. "That's it, Gwen! No more literacy for you! Only ignorance from here on out."

It was a dumb punishment.

But I held to it. June and I read our book out in the hallway, and Gwen tried to attend, but I made her go back to her room.

And then she finally got smart and camped out in the hallway with her blankie and stayed out of view. I knew she was there, but honestly felt like such an ogre having her miss the final chapter of A Bear Called Paddington that I felt fine acting like I had no idea she was just around the corner.

When we finished the last page, I put the girls to bed, but not before having a long talk. We talked about the good parts of the day and spent a ton of time talking about the stinky parts of the day. I laid out tomorrow's schedule and expectations and told them tomorrow would NOT look like today. 

In my mind, I thought I sounded quite in charge.

But I think the girls probably realized I was actually just begging them to please act better tomorrow.

And then we said prayers and they went to bed.

I went to my room and started folding the many loads of clean laundry that had accumulated on my bed from the day. But I kept thinking about my girls. 

I finally walked back across the hall, quietly opened the door to their room. Gwen was sitting up in bed and quickly fell back and closed her eyes and pretended to be asleep. I crawled in their bed. They have bunk beds but still share just one of them. I crawled in and lay down and put my arm around both of them. I realized that the angle my arm was resting on Gwen was quite uncomfortable for her, so I withdrew it and just put my arm around June. In the dark, Gwen's little hand searched until she found my arm again and put it around her. Poor girl.

I stayed like that for a few minutes, and then told the girls that I loved them very much and then left.

This parenting stuff is hard business. I hope tomorrow goes better.

We will be starting to pack and get ready for our two-week vacation. First stop is Las Vegas to visit Dan's family. Here's the forecast.

Ay yai yai.

The End.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

This is the Summer of Fair Weather.

This is the summer of fair weather. Name the movie. I dare ya.

Summer is in full swing at our house. We have been out for four days and have settled into a reasonable routine. I always have much loftier goals than I should at the beginning of summer, but the kids are veeeeeeeerrrrrrrrryyy good at letting me know when I'm expecting too much so we quickly find a balance.

We do some school work every morning. We start with the letter of the day (Thursday was "C"), and we do some writing, reading and math exercises. It lasts about an hour, and it's actually enjoyable for all of us.

Harris the prodigy. He usually whines until I give him a pencil and then drools all over the page. Whatever. If he's happy, I'm happy.

It may seem crazy to do school work all summer. June was invited to the "extended school year" (summer school) to keep her on track for next year, but I declined. She did summer school all last summer, and we need a break. Plus I wanted the girls to be able to do swim lessons, and we are going on a big vacation for two weeks, so summer school just seemed like too much. So I committed to myself that I would help her stay on track by working on her skills one hour a day.

We'll see how long I last.

There's my trusty floral nightie! I actually thought I could wear it to retrieve something from the mailbox without getting caught one early morning last week, but caught I was by my neighbor John who was walking his dog. That was some awkward small talk!

After a three-week hiatus from swim lessons, we are back in the game. Miss Cathy continues to rock our socks, and the girls are progressing. I get stressed about some of the (mis)behavior exhibited by my girls during class, but she is a master at classroom management.

The water can be quite chilly, and Miss Cathy requested I buy swim caps for the girls.

And now a blast from the past. I forgot to post Father's Day pictures.

The ladies in our ward make mini-pies for all of the men. I was asked to bring eight, and I made chocolate chip Snickers cheesecakes that tasted better than they looked.

And these two wore matching ties again. Cuuuuuuuuuuute.

Speaking of matchy match, today we wore red, white and blue as our nod to the Fourth of July happening this week. We were running late, and I was on the organ today, so we had to hurry. Hence the terrible angle and lighting. There was no time to fix it and try again.

Look at those girls' faces! Are they being held hostage? For the love.

Better. Though it probably feels like we are coming down on top of you to eat you for dinner. Scary angle.

June has been on my lap this entire post talking very loudly in my ear, and I no longer even know how to write a sentence.

The End.