Sunday, May 29, 2016


My Dad has always wanted to stay at the Old Faithful lodge in Yellowstone - but he never remembers in advance enough to make a reservation (they book years ahead).  This year he lucked out and took advantage of a cancellation the first weekend in May.  

He jumped at the chance.  (Not really. He's still limping along from his massive back surgery.)

Our Sweetie and his cousin Ethan went with him.

This time they didn't take first class and the boys didn't get cell phones.  Roo also took zero pictures of himself during the trip.  The ones included here are courtesy of his grandfather.

But he took some shaky videos with sparkling commentary - posted below.  They got pulled over by a Ranger for driving the wrong way.  They had to backtrack over 300 miles because the southern Yellowstone entrance was still closed for winter.  And the bathroom facilities at the lodge were outright shocking to our son and we're fairly positive he held it the whole trip.  

That's our son.  We missed him.  

Wednesday, May 25, 2016


Over April Conference weekend, my Dad reminded me of the time his family moved from Filer, Idaho to California.  He was 8 - the youngest.  My grandfather (Max) had already driven to California weeks before, leaving the overwhelming job of selling the house, packing said house and moving all belongings in the hands of my grandmother (Hazel James Carver).

I have no idea how this woman found the strength to tackle these monumental tasks by herself.  My dad remembers watching his Mom endure long days of painting, packing, cooking, and cleaning with minimal complaint and with little help from older siblings.  Her strength floors me.  I don't know how she got through it - just like the other major hurdles she overcame during her lifetime.  My sweet Grandmother Hazel did not have an easy life.  And her end was not without a great deal of pain.  

I've been keeping her close to me these past few weeks.  This woman.  My grandmother.

My anxiety over this move is tempered by the simple fact that we're not leaving anyone behind.  My children.  My husband.  We all go together.  

I miss Greg - in a massive way I wasn't expecting.  There is no getting used to this.  The children are busy, but it's not a physical exhaustion/need with little babies that I went through when we were apart for his summer internship during grad school.  This time it's emotional.  I miss my closest friend - his friendship, his company, his common sense.  I miss his brilliant, funny composure that keeps me level headed.

Little steps.  Closer to having our family back together again.  Weeks left... 

Friday, May 20, 2016


And just like...the McKinnon family has a teenager.

It doesn't matter how old he gets.  Dar's Close to My Heart will always make me think of him.  

It was an honor that you ran so free.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Harold Whitney Hoopes

He never skimped on the milk and cream
And he didn’t mind if it spilled over my bowl
Just like he didn't mind pretending
Astonishment when he opened the sliding door

Hours before sunrise, blackness was in the window
Above those stairs I’d crawled up so quietly, so stealth-like
Enticed from warm covers to that spot on the couch
Hoping to bewilder once again 
And for extra helpings of brown sugar

I never stopped to consider the hour
Or the frequency
Of how early he rose, or his weary frame
Pressed into a dark suit and shiny black shoes
His Welch upbringing served from a cast-iron pot

All I knew was his company and
The heavy fatness of milk and cream

-Rachael McKinnon, Milk and Cream-  

Monday, May 9, 2016

April to May

We're limping, crawling, stretching...

3 Weeks Left...

#1 - Pretty Girl

Pretty Girl fell off our tramp while wrestling with her brothers and suffered a radial head fracture on her left arm.  Consequently, I spent a horrendous day at Primary Children's Hospital.

I hate that place.  With the breath of a million scorching suns.  So much awfulness, hopelessness, despair.  Hate.  Hate.

The bone was off by 44 degrees.  If a bone is off by 30 degrees or more, the patient is usually transferred right to surgery with resulting screws/pins.  But the amazing, talented physicians at Primary Children's decided to sedate Pretty Girl and attempt a manual correction.  He warned me there was a very small chance of success.  Bless this young man's heart.  He mentioned in passing that the head orthopedic surgeon just happened to be in the ER and our doctor was able to consult with him on how to align Pretty Girl's bone at the right angle.  Small miracles.  

IT WORKED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We were so blessed.  So blessed.  So lucky.  I was elated until I realized the dozens and dozens of children around us were not nearly so lucky.  Pretty Girl's neighbor was a young boy in a wheelchair awaiting brain surgery the following morning.  The look on the mother's face as we were leaving will probably haunt me for the rest of my life.

A sweet friend of mine who lost her newborn last Christmas told me after the episode - "it's so we can see the miracles around us".  

Her words changed everything for me.  

We were finally out of the woods one week later when the follow up X-rays confirmed the bone had stayed in place and casting could take place.  I was so happy I felt like skipping outside in the parking lot.

#2 - Cousins and Friends

I got to hang out with a few close friends and cousins a few times this past month.  All these moments make the weeks go much faster. 

#3 - More Scout Camp Activities (sand dunes - it was freezing!)

Half way through the windy, snowy, rainy night the back part of his tent collapsed.  In complete darkness and with his handy flashlight, our oldest got up, went outside the tent and repaired everything.  The rest of the boys stayed in tent.  Yeah, he's all kinds of amazing!

PS - He also did not forget his shoes.    

#4 - Egyptian Art Fair

I volunteered to run a booth for the art extravaganza night at the kids' school.  It was exhausting, but loads of fun! 

#5 - Sleeping Arrangements

This just sort of happened - right after Pretty Girl broke her arm.  The kids have all started sleeping with Mom.  Seriously.  And I love it!  It's so much better to hear their noises at night and feel their little hands close to mine.  Much less lonely with them around.

#6 - A Sneak Peak Into Idaho

I took the kids on an extended weekend to Boise.  We inspected Greg's bachelor pad, looked at potential houses, went to museums, explored downtown Boise and prayed lots when the car broke down on a deserted road in Eagle. 

We also had dinner with some long-time friends (Larry & Ruthann).  We met them our first year of marriage and have kept in touch since.  They've been living in Idaho for 10 years.  Their kids and our kids meshed well and it was so nice to get their insight into the area.    

Sunday, May 8, 2016


"Seeing you sleeping peacefully on your back among your stuffed ducks, bears and basset hounds, would remind me that no matter how good the next day might be, certain moments were gone forever because we could not go backwards in time." - Joan Baez

Monday, May 2, 2016

The Idaho Litmus Test

Four weeks left...

(Signs are courtesy of Greg's close friend - Boney Fuller.)

The idea of moving to Idaho has not thrilled all of us.  A few cried.  Several times.  So before this move happens, I wanted to record a few reactions and pre-conceived prejudices about the Gem State.  

Dad - Very relieved Micron is located in Boise and not Twin Falls - a town he affectionately refers to as the "Ogden of Idaho".  He's already missing living in the Salt Lake Valley where we're surrounded on all sides with mountains, but he's looking forward to all the water/fishing/hiking/camping activities and teaching the kids how to use a kayak.  PS - Greg doesn't know how to use a kayak.   

Mom - Denial.  It took her 4 weeks post job acceptance to finally tell her finance team she's leaving.  She keeps extending her last day.  She stresses daily - sometimes hourly - about selling the house, moving kids to new schools/teachers/friends, finding a new house, new job, new friends, etc.  When she's right on the border of going bananas, she daydreams about the biking trails she hopes to discover.  

Big Guy - He's been researching mtb teams in the Boise area, trying to locate new trails in the surrounding hills.  Fortunately, there are lots and lots!  And he keeps comparing himself to fictional characters in literature in similar situations.  Rather ho-hum about the whole idea, but also positive.  Talks about missing his two best friends - Gannon and Dallin.   

Sweetie - The most excited of the family!  Shocking, because he's leaving behind the greatest number of friends.  He spends his free time on looking for a house.  He's picky - wants a huge backyard and a nice tub in the master bath for himself.  In spite of his enthusiasm, Boise was a culture shock for him.  He's very slowly warming up to Eagle and possibly Meridian.      

Pretty GirlDevastated.  Lots of tears and a sense of loss for everything routine.  We're approaching this one carefully and reminding her that all her animals are coming with us, and that Lucy is her cousin - which means we'll always be close to her.  Pretty Girl is very hesitant to try anything out of her comfort zone.  However, she will instantly cheer up if you show her a house that has a "girl-decorated" room.  "Mom, I want THAT room!"      

Bubbs - Has really no concept of what's coming, but he shares Sweetie's excitement to look for a new house.  Tells me he's already tired of the house we live in now.