Thursday, July 11, 2013

I do it myself...

You see this tough little guy? This is a picture of Brandon trying to pour a bowl of cereal for himself.  I have been smiling about him all week. He is such a feisty little person.  This last Sunday Brandon and I attended a baptism in the morning before church.  He has suddenly become obsessed with tying his own tie.  He worked and worked at it for about 15 minutes before we left and all during the drive up to the church.

Still unsuccessful, he wanted to stay in the car until he had that tie tied.  I finally convinced him to come into the church and work on it.  He had to come in barefoot as he hadn't even taken the time to put his shoes on yet. Once inside he realized he had two different church shoes, but that is a different story.

He continued to work on his tie and refused any help from many of the well meaning priesthood holders who were more than happy to help this soon-to-be deacon learn to tie his tie.  
" I don't want ANY help!" Was his constant tight lipped reply.  He was frustrated many times, told me it was a double windsor, not a slip knot and kept on working at it.

Finally, just as the baptism began, he mastered it! He tied his tie all by himself and sat with a half contented smile.  Disappointed it took so long, but happy it was finally perfect. I wanted to snap a picture to show everyone, but he had that thing untied and off of his neck the second church was over.  Boys!! I also showed many of the men what a great job Brandon had done, but he was irritated by my attempt at giving him props and told me to stop. " It's just a tie Mom... what's the big deal?"

Recently someone asked me if I ever had problems getting my kids to ride in their car seats.  Not really, other than Brandon, who never minded riding in the car seat, he just had an issue with HOW he got into the car seat.  He would only ride in that seat if HE was the one to get himself in, from start to beginning.

He would only let me open the door, and that was because most 1 year olds can't quite reach the door  handle of a Suburban.  Often times I would actually have to hold him up and let him " open" the door, with some very limited help.  Once the door was open, he would climb into the car and into his car seat.  I could never lift him in or give him a boost.  It was from the ground up only for this kid! Then, we would all have to wait until this toddler with chubby little fingers would snap his buckles together.  A few times I would try to sneak ahead and buckle one while he wasn't looking, only to be caught and have to unbuckle my helpfulness and wait until he had done them all by himself.  If I tried to help in anyway I  would often be scolded with these words" I do it myself!" 

That was his mantra as a toddler and obviously it still holds true today.  I have no idea where this head strong independent child will go, but I have a feeling, he will do it his way and by himself!

Be Grateful!!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Ute Stampede

Today I have been reflecting on my childhood summer memories.  I guess it is just that time of year, when we used to make the annual trek from Provo to my mom's hometown of Nephi, UT.

If I could re-live just one memory of my life, this week would be a contender.   So many memories came flooding into my mind this morning as I thought about the wonderful week we would spend with family at the Ute Stampede every July .

Usually we would caravan down with my cousins The Ostler's, which was always a treat to me because  I loved them all so much.  I used to pray my Aunt Barbara would adopt me as I enjoyed each and every one.  I don't think I could name a favorite, although Heidi and I were the closest in age and therefore the closest of my cousins.

So, we would all caravan down to Nephi, usually in our old truck and The Ostler's white station wagon.  I remember stopping by fabric shops and sometimes clothing stores on the way.  But my absolute favorite childhood memory was pulling into my grandma's driveway.  She would almost always be waiting for us on her red cement stairs in the carport, or come right out to greet us.  We always felt so welcomed and loved when we arrived, as if we were travelers from another country being welcomed as highly anticipated guests.  That event played out over and over during my childhood.  It still warms my heart today. And my Grandma welcomed us with the same open arms whether it was in Nephi, Moroni or Provo.  Everyone was always welcomed and loved in my Grandma's house.

I remember sitting under her big plum tree in an old hammock my Grandpa Garrett had made from thick fabric he acquired at the hose plant.  We would all pile into that hammock and enjoy the shade.  We would also try to slide her old Clorox bottle full of clothes pins as far and as fast as we could down the clothes line.  Eventually we would push too hard and all of the clothes pins would fall out.  Even picking them up became a fun game.

We spent time in her garden and in her shed, usually hiding from cousins during a game of hide and seek.  We would also spend plenty of time in the irrigation ditch, usually being chased and  dunked by the boys in a very wet game full of running and squealing.  My Grandpa would make us boats out of cucumbers or squash and we would race them in the irrigation ditch. An irrigation ditch was as fun to us as any water park, we would spend hours trying to dam the water and then let it all go.  We would usually not get too far with this, as the adults were always worried about using someone else's water time with the irrigation system.

My Grandpa would also sneak us out to his camper, which is where he hid his secret stash of candy.  He was more that happy to share with us, as long as we would keep his secret.  Another secret that he was pretty good at keeping was how to find buried, delicious hot meals.  Usually at the end of the day he would start to tell my Grandma he was hungry and could sure use a good hot meal.  She would tell him to go find one.  He would look and look, and then to our delight, he would unearth a magical dutch oven, full to the brim with hot delicious homemade dinner.  We were always amazed he knew just where to dig for such a wonderful discovery.

Later in the week, we would  walk the few blocks down to the center of town for the annual Ute Stampede Parade.  My Grandpa would usually be under a tree, sleeping when we arrived.  We laid out blankets in the same spot every year in front of  the high school.  We didn't know anyone in the parade, but we sure enjoyed being treated to the candy they would throw at us as the passed us by.

Eventually we would make it down to the main event.  This is where we had the most fun.  One night was usually reserved for the rodeo, where we were instantly transformed from city slickers to country folk, watching the rodeo queens and all of the cowboys with their neat tricks. Bull riders and barrel racing, rodeo clowns, they had it all.

The next night was where we finally were able to ride carnival rides.  I don't remember the rides so much, but I do remember being asked over and over if I was Mildred Garrett's granddaughter.  The reason everyone knew was because of our french braids.  Every night before we went to town, Grandma would line us all up, retrieve her trusty bottle of either Dippity-Do or Vaseline ( which was almost impossible to wash out in less that a week ) and braid every granddaughter's hair.  That is how they knew us. The evening was usually full of cotton candy, a few free goldfish, and plenty of fun.  We would usually come home to fresh peaches and cream with just a little bit of sugar.  Best dessert anyone could ask for after a night of nonstop fun.

We also had a family reunion every year at the park where the swimming pool was.  We would sit under the large shade trees and there would be tables of wonderful food.  We would run and play all morning and into the afternoon.  Eventually we would make our way into the pool and spend hours splashing and swimming and jumping in and out of the water.  It was the same pool my mom worked at as a teenager and if we asked to go swimming too early, my Grandma would tell us all of the carnival workers were in the pool swimming and we had to wait until they were out.

I remember lazy car rides all around Nephi.  My Grandma's car always had a unique smell.  I would sit in the back seat and listen to my mom and Grandma talk about each house, who had lived there, who was living there and where they had all gone.

Some summers we would spend a few nights at the K-O-A camp.  My mom would bring down our trailer, but we usually all slept outside under the stars.  We would swim all day, walk back to the camp site for lunch and dinner.  My sister Lesilie lost her first tooth at that camp ground.  Heidi and I once tried to take a handful of candy from two boys we thought were my cousins.  Much to our embarrassment, they weren't! I was also rescued from drowning by my cousins friend once while we were swimming.  My older cousins were all going down the slide and it looked so fun.  The edge of the pool seemed really close and I just knew if I got enough speed while going down the slide, I would only have a few inches to go.  Well, I went down the slide and was quickly reminded that I didn't know how to swim and the edge was not nearly as close as I thought it was.  I was bobbing up and down in the water, hoping my mom would see I was going under.  Suddenly, my cousin's friend pulled me up out of the water and said " Don't do that again, okay?" Believe me, I had no plans on doing it anytime soon.

We spent many nights sleeping outside in my Grandma's back yard under the stars.  Only to awaken to the sounds and smells of pancakes and sausage cooking under the carport.  We would all line up, with sleep in our eyes, but our braids firmly in place and enjoy a huge family breakfast.  That is when I discovered The Ostler's put syrup on their sausage!

Those are just a few of my wonderful memories of Nephi and the Ute Stampede.  I have plenty more to share, like the time my cousin's burned me while trying to curl my hair, or the fun games we used to come up with, such as playing hospital. Or the way my Grandma acquired her ducks after my cousin won them at the carnival.  I have plenty of memories of Grandma cooking in her kitchen, her brown pots and pans and her double oven.  Brown paper bags full of cherries. Homemade mac and cheese with tomatoes on top.  But this post is long enough.

I sure wish my kiddo-s had some of the same memories.  It was a magical week for us every July.