Monday, March 30, 2015


For awhile now, I quite frequently catch my kids sitting and looking through the picture books I make. they conversate back and forth, the pictures the cues…
"Oh yeah, remember when…"
"Look, I remember doing that."
And they go on and on. The point is, they love reliving memories. They're highly engaged in looking back. And that's always been a gift I've wanted to give my kids- the gift of knowing about their past, of remembering their childhood, of knowing their former self. 
So here I am writing. Random tid bits maybe, but glimpses of life still the same.
~Kaia. My absolute favorite right now is when Kaia copies me. She starts mimicking my words and facial expressions and gestures and it is hilarious! She's a funny one. She is also currently a sassy one. This period is most likely foreshadowing her teenage years and, make no mistake, I am scared to death. I hope I take note when she's in a sweeter stage to ease the worry….!
~Deeter is lovey dovey. He's infatuated with Minecraft. He's learning to read on his own. When he gets mad, I diffuse him by either tickling him or declaring, "Put em up" and raising my fists. He is the cutest when he puts em up. I love my Deetz.

~Porter is so just himself. I don't know how to describe it other than that. he's decided he wants to wear a straight billed hat so all of a sudden, he wears a hat most days. And dresses in Volcom. He is declaring basketball his sport of choice and wants to focus on that. He is fiery and the more and more I get to know him, I realize just how alike we are. Such an interesting subject.

~Dallin is doing baseball (as are the other boys) and Yosh and I have both commented just how fun he is to watch. It's not that he's good (he's probably average on his current team), but there's a grace that he plays with. He is still so good to his mama. He misses his dad when he works a lot or is out of town. His social grace and etiquette is beyond his years. He's getting bigger and older right in front of my face and it's kind of killing me.

As a family, we've been watching a lot of The Voice together. We're slightly obsessed. It's great to have a family obsession though! We spend a lot of time at the First Street ball fields. When the weather is good, there's no place I'd rather be! The back drop is Austin's skyline, baseball is America's sport, and life is good. And…family time, right?!! It's something we all are doing together!
We're currently coming up with a summer bucket list and, let me tell you, THAT gets me excited…!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Tavarua, Fiji

For years I've heard about this vacation from Kelsey Clark. Each conversation ended the same way-- "You guys should come on the next one."

2015 was the year where it finally fell into place.
This became one of those vacations where it's hard to put the week into words. It's hard to articulate feelings and magic and do it justice. It's one of those things you won't ever grasp until you experience it for yourself.
Still, I do want to write some words.
Each day we noted our highlights.

Sun Jan 4
-seeing rainbow (Kaia)
-lightning storm at dinner (Yosh)
-Deeter telling Dad he was putting himself to bed before dinner (Yosh)
-watching boys surf (Mom)
surfing (Porter)

(Dallin's lack of contribution to this tells me he was asleep before he could throw out his bullet points!)

That day I also wrote, "I'm curious to see how we'll feel at the end of the week. Today was a lot of fun but not sure this island has enough to do for 7 days."

I didn't do much research about our trip so was very surprised to pull up to this teeny, tiny island and find out that this was it! If you were to run around the whole island, it would total a mile. Small!

Mon Jan 5
-fishing (Dallin)
-swimming (Kaia)
-going snorkeling at the sand bar (Dallin)
-kayaking (Kaia)
-going in the hot tub after the sand bar (Porter)
-seeing the blue star fish (Yosh)
-"When I get older, my boobies are gonna get fat." Deeter
-seeing the big hermit crab (Porter)
-seeing a sting ray while kayaking (Gay)
-"Today is Thanksgiving for the mosquitos. And on Christmas, one is going to suck my blood and give to another one as a present." Deeter (the mosquitoes were out in full force)
-most incredible massage ever by Elanoa (Gay)

Tuesday Jan 6th
-surfing (Porter) ((he got up 6x that day))
-playing ping pong with the boys (Dallin)
-snorkeling at the sand bar (Gay)
-napping on a lounge chair (Gay)
-taking a nap on a lounge chair (Kaia)
-watching movie with all the kids (Porter, Deeter, Kaia)
-playing spades (Gay)
-snorkeling Restaurants (Yosh)
-Watching Deeter and Porter reel a fish in (Yosh)
-Kaia is playing so well with all the kids
-Mom and Kai kayaked around the island

Wednesday Jan 7th (Happy Birthday, tess!)
-the whole fam went to the sand bar
-Kaia LOVED snorkeling. Mom loved seeing her determination. The mask wasn't comfortable/fitting. After a while, I was like, Forget it, we can just sit in the boat. Kaia was like, Noooooooo! I want to snorkel! Glad she didn't give up because I sure was ready to!
-I liked getting wiped out by some waves. (Deeter)
-Andy took Porter surfing in the morning. Before long about 10 kids were out there getting usher in by Andy and Frog. They were all catching waves. It was quite the sight!
-That whet the kids' appetite and all day long they were anxiously awaiting the next set of waves. Yosh got in there and started pushing them in and a crew gathered. Darshan then started pushing too. The kids were in heaven. The parents were all lined up on the deck watching their kiddos. Kaia and I jumped in a kayak and paddled out behind the surf scene and watched from there.
-SURFING!!! (Porter)

Thursday Jan 8th
-Deeter loved seeing the guy with a 50 lb Spanish mackerel that he had brought in from spear fishing.
-Kaia loved "surfing". Daddy held her board while she laid on her tummy.
-Boys went and snorkeled The Namotu Drift. Porter loved seeing a reef shark. (Porter chased the shark for a good 20 yards before Yosh noticed what was going on and went and yanked him away from the chase! Can you say No Fear?!! Ha!)
-Yosh loved seeing the shark and all the sights on the Drift. 
-Yosh had a lot of fun pushing kids into waves for surfing.
-Apparently while snorkeling The Drift there was an attacking fish. Dallin was one of the victims! (teeny, tiny imprint)
-Fijian night! It was amazing. Our group presented the village chic with kava. The ceremony was amazing- very personal and intimate and far from commercialized. It felt almost sacred to be part of a small, native ceremony.

Friday Jan 9th
  -going surfing (Kaia)
((she loves going out on a board while the kids are surfing and just laying on the board to watch)
-Mom and Kaia took a boat to Castaway Island with Darshan, Christy, and 4 Fijian kids. It was interesting seeing the other islands and being reminded that there were other humans around us! We had lunch there and then stopped at a sand bar on the way home to snorkel.
-sitting by the bonfire (Deeter)
-Deeter LOVES playing Spades
-I surfed a lot of waves (Porter)
-snorkeling and seeing rock fish (Porter)
-pushing kids into waves (Yosh)

Saturday Jan 10th
*I woke up ready to get the heck off the island! It's funny because it didn't hit until it HIT! Not a gradual onslaught. i took no notes that day but I remember an epic volleyball game, 4 on 4, the hales vs the Fijians. We lost*

Sunday January 11th
We left the island at about 10:30. We went to the Sofitel Hotel for the day until our 10:00 pm flight. Being at the hotel really put into perspective what a unique and magical place Tavarua is. The Sofitel felt so commercialized and lost the majority of the Fijian flavor. You actually had to pay for food and outings and everything else! Tavarua was all inclusive and you could take a boat out as many times a day as you wanted, therefore not restricting you to singular experiences. We did many snorkel excursions, many fishing excursions, etc. It really was an amazing, amazing trip!

All photos are by Scott Winer.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Dang I have a lot to get down in writing. Guess random, bullet-point style is going to be the format.

Last week's running log:
(yes, still obsessed with running)
Monday- ran The Lake, 5 in 43:03; lifted full body
Tuesday- ran outside with the girls, 5.5 in 52:30; lifted legs
Wednesday- lifted shoulders
Thursday- 7 in 58:30 speed workout
2 m WU, 7x.5 (@8ish min), .25 recovery
Saturday- 10 mile trail run (don't know time. Do know I fell. And my ankle is sore. Not from falling, just from trailing. Ankle? Really?)

*I am still loving running. Something that has kept my love afloat is that I'm also reading about running. Between blogs, Born to Run, and Ultra Marathon Man, I'm getting a steady dose of daily influence that has taken me from a recreational/off and on runner to un poco obsessed runner. It made me realize that with similar habits, other areas of my life can improve. I want to put more daily focus on my spirituality and reap the same results. I think I've been skating by and feeling it.

*I saw the movie The Theory of Everything on Friday with my friend Stacey. The movie definitely isn't your happy ending, everything works out kind of American movie. It's the story of Stephen Hawking, inclusive of how his wife took on the impossible of caring for him in spite of knowing his disease. While watching the movie, I was enjoying my treat of popcorn and sour patch kids and relishing in the combination and how it allowed me to eat both more popcorn and more candy. Now granted, that example is definitely a "for better or worse" scenario. But I'm not kidding when I all of a sudden got the concept of needing an opposite in all things. The screen illustrated so vividly the sweet and salty of life. My treats I was eating helped me understand why we need the sweet and salty. Or better yet, how they work together as a team. Life can't be sustained on never-ending lows. Nor can it be sustained with continual highs. We need them both to cause balance and allow for longevity. Light bulb moment where words I'd heard all my life took on a new level of meaning. 

*Saturday night I asked Dallin if he wanted to fast. We haven't fasted with him since he got baptized as I've totally fallen off the fasting wagon and therefore never remember to mention it to him. Dallin was thrilled to do it. I asked him if he had ideas as to what he wanted to fast for. He said he wanted to fast to have more desire to read the scriptures more. I told him that was great, but out of curiosity, asked him if he felt like what we were doing as a family wasn't enough or didn't count. (Like I said, I just wanted to understand more where he was coming from.) He was all, "Well look, mom, one night we do, the next night we dint and you just never know!" Ouch! And here I was feeling all proud for how much I had improved as far leading that! Ha! He's a good kid. And once again, personal daily spirituality was something I had been wanting to improve on, but hadn't taken the initiative to shift into gear. But now? I'm on Team Dallin and have a reason to get going on something I've been wanting to do for awhile! He's a great kid. And….Porter excitedly jumped on the fasting band wagon. He declared he's going to start fasting every time. They both did great on Sunday and shockingly (especially for Porter…sorry but true!) didn't complain at all! (Yosh and I followed suit and it really was so inspiring to do together, being led by the kids!)

*Dallin and Porter have been propoganding HEAAAAAVVVY and hard to play tackle football. I took the boys to school one morning and the topic raised again. Dallin's parting, emotional words were, "So I just get to be the wimp of all f=my friends, the only one who still has to do flag?" …And he was out the door. After school we were back in the car and obviously Dallin had spent at least a portion of the day editing and solidifying his football argument. "Mom, you say I can't start tackle football until 7th grade. That only gives me 3 years of practice before I'm in high school. And in high school, that's when the scouters start coming. Mom, I'll never get a scholarship if I wait til 7th grade to start tackle football!" Said with much emotion and conviction. Only commentary I can give is that homeboy is definitely sharpening his negotiating skills. Well done, child. Still not going to give in and be forced to be back in Austin by August 1st, but your arguing skills are going to be money by the time things are all said and done.

*Going to put my pride in my back pocket and admit something. We had been playing a lot of spades with the boys- they're obsessed. Last night was their first time teaming up and taking on Yosh and I. Yosh and I got set last night in Spades by Dallin and Porter. Yes, you read that correctly. Unbelievable.
lucky Dad got a precious letter from the Ports

mama sleeping in calls for McDonalds for breakfast for the littles. Too bad the big boys are now responsible for taking care of themselves when I don't pull through for them!

my first trail run in Austin. It was amazing!


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