Monday, May 18, 2015


Time is flying by.

I've heard it said of parenting that "the days are long, but the years are short".  I look back at the younger years and remember the truth of that.  I recall the long days, waiting 'til daddy got home from work.  I loved those days, but there was an endless feel to them.

My days don't feel long anymore.  Right now, it seems as though the days are short and so are the years.  These are days of waking up early and sending kiddos off in phases.  First the older two, trading advice on outfit choices, swapping sandals and jewelry, trying new hair styles.  Prayers, afterschool activity updates, and they're off.  Next, wake the younger two girls.  Breakfast, hair, talking Claire into a jacket, and too often a hurried reading of the baggy books that didn't get read the day before.  Once again- prayers, "Choose the right and Be Kind!" and waving through the doorway as they climb on the bus.  By this time, Sam is sometimes awake and sometimes still sleeping.  If he's still asleep, I peek in on him.  He has taken to sleeping on a castoff crib mattress on the floor between Emmy and Claire's bed.  He is sleeping much better now he has roommates.  I walk into the older girls quiet rooms, stepping over the tossed-on-the-floor clothing (the obvious losers of that particular days fashion show).  I turn out lights, raise the blinds, and shut the door for the day.

I like our busily quiet mornings.  I tackle my list for the day.  Sam watches a show or plays while I do a barre workout, we tidy the house, throw in some laundry, and if I'm on my game, start something for dinner.  There are dishes to be done, rooms that need cleaning, and a house that gets straightened in preparation for the whirlwind that arrives in a few hours as the girls start arriving from school.  Most mornings include a call to Grandpa from Mr. Sam, in hopes he can "go to work".  Now that the weather is warming up, there is grass to be mowed, flowers to be planted, and weeds to pull.

Claire arrives just before lunch, hungry and sometimes a little grouchy tired from her big morning away.  We eat lunch, chat about the day, and she and Sam often head somewhere to play.  Lately, they are into catching pet worms (although Claire insists no worm will ever match-up to last weeks "Lucy" in terms of friendliness.  RIP Lucy.)  On a good day, Claire talks me into making cookies with her.  Since making cookies is one of my favorite things to do, that happens pretty often.

Emmy comes next, and is always greeted with enthusiasm by the littles because she comes up with such fun activities for them to play.  School is her favorite, but no matter the itinerary, it almost always involves her teaching them something.

Kate follows shortly after- unless she stays after for math club, to work on History Fair, or lately, to practice soccer with Ashley.  It is snacks, homework, and then reading.  Lots of reading.  I usually have to cut it short in favor of a few chores getting done :).  

Ryenne is mostly gone: to work, practice, after school activities or with friends every chance she gets.  It feels strange to have her off and away so often, becoming so awfully independent.  Of course, this all involves a lot of driving around and picking up and dropping off, which makes me almost ready to send her off in a car before long.  Almost, but not quite.

Games, practices, homework, efforts to motivate kiddos to clean rooms that will be messy again by morning.  After school snacks and playing referee for the days disagreements.  Chatting with cheerful kids on good days and cheering up disgruntled kiddos on the not-so-good-days.  "Happys and sads" around the dinner table.

Showers and notes signed and books read and pajamas.  Scriptures and prayers if we are doing it the way we should, which of course, isn't every night but hopefully enough nights to make a difference.  Bedtime stories and bedtime kisses and if I'm being honest, bedtime battles.  Checking texts on teenage cell phones and often, following up with discussions about such things.  Long gone are the days of kids being in bed by 8.  (These older kids have stamina, I tell you.)

Finally I climb into bed, tired but mostly happy.  Weary from a full day and wondering if I'm doing it right.  Already making lists for the day ahead and saying quiet prayers and wondering about this child or that child and hoping they're getting everything they need from me.  Puzzling over what it is that I can do to be kinder, more patient, and create stronger relationships that will get our little family over the bumps that lie ahead.  Feeling thankful for this little family of mine and for a job that stretches me more than I ever imagined.

These are short days. . . filled with people who I love the best and who grow me the most.  And I wouldn't trade a thing.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

a flower for mom

wo-jo family reunion. . .bear lake

Cole and Julie were in charge of last year's Wo-Jo reunion and it turned out to be so much fun.  We met up (with the exception of Josh & Kendra) in Bear Lake at a super fun cabin for a few days of fun.  The kids look forward to our family reunions all year long, which is no surprise because it is always non-stop family fun!  

Some of the highlights were seeing Minetonka cave, swimming at the pool, and of course spending a few afternoons at the lake.  We had a huge tube to pull everyone behind the boat, which led to Courtney doing his very best to get everyone off the tube!  Those of us waiting on the beach could hear the laughter all the way from out on the water!  It was lots of fun!  We ended the weekend with a stop for Raspberry shakes (because, how can you not?) and said our goodbyes.  Already looking forward to this summer!

ogden temple open house

county fair fun

Sadly, we lost all the pictures from the fair that were on my phone, so we only have a few from Courtney's. 
I'm so behind, I can hardly remember anything about that week!  I do remember it was super cold- which was strange because we are usually dying of heat stroke in the lamb barn and this year we nearly froze!  It rained a lot during the days too.  It was just a strange year.  

We did venture over to an antique tractor display one afternoon, and the kids were especially impressed with this pink tractor!

Of course, Claire and Sam were part of the Pee Wee lead, which is kind of a pain in my you-know-what each year but always turns out to be a lot of fun.  And if I must say so myself, we've had some pretty good kid/lamb costumes over the years.  This year was pretty darn funny, but unfortunately we don't have any good pictures.  Claire and Sam were vintage bathing beauties, and the lamb was in scuba attire (complete with scuba fins which were hilarious).  Sam decided he was done with his goggles about two minutes into it, and the flowers had mostly fallen off Claire's swimming cap by the time this picture was taken, but you get the idea.  When they judge asked Claire about her costume, she said "We want to go swimming 'baaaaaaa'd'".   They won, of course :).

Aaaaaaand another year bites the dust.  

the day miss claire went to work with daddy

Monday, February 16, 2015

livin' the lamb life

The kids spent another summer working with their lambs.  Sometimes happily, sometimes not!  They had a good fair, and Kate even broke her third place mold (I think?  It's hard to remember!)  I lost about two months pictures from my phone, including the fair, state fair, and the first day of school.  I'm still trying not to cry about losing all those pictures!  Anyway, it's hard for me to remember how the shows went, because obviously I'm super competitive with our kids and never forget things like that. :)  The thing that matters is that they are learning to work hard, right?  This year was Emmy's first year showing lambs (I know!  No pictures!) and she did a great job!    

lake powell 2014

Lake Powell never disappoints as our kids favorite vacation spot.  They absolutely love everything about it! I'm so happy they get to experience it and love it so much.  We've been so lucky to be able to tag along with Grandma and Grandpa Croney each summer- I think it's one of the most highly anticipated events of the summer!  

A few highlights from our last trip:
1- Night wakeboarding/surfing with the three Croney boys.  The kids begged Ronnie and Courtney all week! I admit I was a little nervous to pull Courtney surfing in the dark, but the kids had an absolute ball.  And no, Grandpa didn't think it was the smartest idea.  But you're only young once, right?

2.  Sam trying "belly surfing" for the first time.  If you know Sam, you know about his cute, but very deep, growly, little voice.  He would tell us when he was ready to go by saying "Hit it slowly."  That was our favorite line of the week!

3.  As always, jumping off the house boat.  The kids especially love when Grandma gives them glow sticks to throw in at night, so they can jump in after them in the dark.

There's nothing better than a Lake Powell adventure!

our little chore boy

These pictures made me laugh when I was downloading pictures.  Not sure who put him up to this or what he was doing (which describes a lot of the events in his life).  But I had to smile to see him hard at work because this kid loves to be helping, especially if it is outside!  I often let him fill up the wood box, feed the dog, and help with the garbage duties.  He loves to see what his dad is doing and then figures out a way to do that job too.  The other day I heard him outside in the garage and found him dragging the chainsaw out of the garage.  He was headed to the woodpile to cut some wood!  We have to be careful at keeping the keys to his dad's equipment out of reach because he thinks he is capable and sometimes gets keys stuck in the wrong ignition!  We love our busy Sam!


We've always had a handful of nicknames for Kate.  Kater-bugs, Kate the great, and Bugsie are a few.  But I think my favorite is Katerrific!  She is such a terrific girl, and a great blessing to our family.  We can't believe she turned 12 this past summer.  I'm so far behind in my blogging that she's actually closer to thirteen than twelve now!  

Kate turned twelve just barely after our girls camp in our ward, but was thrilled when the Bishop thought she should go to camp.  The girls had a great time.  I was a little worried about her and Ryenne getting along, but everyone assured me that they did just fine :).  You never know!  The weather was freeeeeeezing cold, but the girls had a ball in the cozy yurt they were staying in- playing games and getting to know everyone better.  In fact, it ended up being Ryenne's favorite camp!  

On Kate's actual birthday, I asked her if she'd like to go shopping and have a girls day with me.  She was excited, and asked if she could surprise everyone by getting her ears pierced!  We did that first thing and although she was very, very nervous, she did just fine and was quite pleased with her new look!  

We spent the afternoon finding her some cute clothes and went to lunch together.  It was so much fun spending the day together.

A few things about Kate. . .She has a big heart.  She is very sensitive to others feelings, and especially to me.  If she knows she has hurt my feelings or gotten angry at me, she is quick to say she is sorry.  She has always been very perceptive of how I am doing, and if she can tell I am tired or frustrated, she tends to get everyone working together to help me out and work as a team a little better.  

Kate loves to learn.  She is a fantastic reader and is always begging me to take her to the library!  Sometimes I have to remind her that she has other things to get done too because she would read all day if I let her.  She's a lot like me that way!  She tries really hard at school and I never have to nag her to get her homework done, which is so nice.  

She's a great worker once she puts her mind to it.  She loves to go help Grandma and Grandpa Jones with the sheep, or any other chores they need done.  Out of all the kids, I think she enjoys working with the sheep the most.

Kate is her dad's biggest partner when it comes to cheering on the Patriots!  She loves watching football with him.  While the other girls are big fans, she is the one who watches every game (and gets a little irked if she has to miss part of a game!)  She knows the players, the stats, and this year made a chart to keep track of the playoffs.  She makes me smile, and makes her dad very happy!

We sure love Kate.  She is kind, smart, and beautiful.  She tries her hardest in everything she does.  She is good through and through.  We love our terrific Katerrific!

more croney reunion fun

Last summer's Croney Family reunion was held in conjunction with the cousin camp at Aunt Jodi's house.  As the weekend approached, the dads arrived and we had even more fun!  (We did give the kids a break from family history and had plenty of fun during the week too!)  

One afternoon, after some family history, we headed up into the canyons near Aunt Jodi's house to hike to the Timpinogos Cave.  Aunt Kerri was a trooper and stuck with Claire, motivating her to hike to the top!  After all that hard work, we found out she wouldn't be able to see the cave because we were short a few tickets.  This cute couple gave her their tickets so she could go inside.  They were also so cute to walk with us on the trail down, listening to her chatter and giving her snacks!

We also celebrated Kate and Carson's birthdays while we were there.  Not sure why Carson is wearing goggles :).  

The kids swam and played in the hot tub every spare second they had.  All of our girls ended up with swimmers earaches.  Thankfully, Aunt Amy came to the rescue with her ear drop concoction and got them feeling better. 

Of course, no Croney family reunion is complete without a little boating!  We spent a few days/evenings on the lake, with the kids hopping from one boat to the next the whole time!  I think it's safe to say that we've raised a whole bunch of fishes!

These cousins have so much fun together.  There's nothing better than family!