Thursday, July 29, 2010

Stop #4 Oregon Coast

The Oregon coast was beautiful, but freezing. It was not fun beach weather. The sun hardly came out and the wind never stopped blowing the whole time we were there.
We did get to see a lot of ocean life, which was fun. The kids canoed at the house and we spent two days with Peter's brother Charles, which was really good because I think Charles was the best part of our time on the coast!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Stop #3 Portland

>On the way to the coast we stopped in Portland, where Peter's brother Charles lives in a very sketchy part of town. Right around the corner is VooDoo Doughnuts, a place we had seen on the Discovery channel and a must see for Nathaniel.
First of all, it was unbearably hot inside the tiny shop. Whatever that is to the right of Rebecca in the window I can tell you it is not an air conditioner. I seriously felt faint waiting in line. I was thinking about the people working there and wondering how they can stand it. I couldn't decide whether the people working there were rude because they were miserable, or if they were just coping an attitude.
They definitely had lots of different kinds of doughnuts, but honestly I didn't see what the big deal is. Kids thought the place was actually kind of gross.
One interesting thing was the mix of seating outside--a dentist chair, two van benches, a couch, etc. Upholstered furniture? Outside? With the high amount of homeless people who were loitering about I can only imagine who was sitting there last or what has gone on on that fabric. So if we can't sit inside without baking to death, and we don't want to sit on the array of contaminated seating outside, where exactly was I supposed to enjoy my Old Dirty Bastard?
It seems a trendy place to go that caters to an exceedingly eclectic crowd of granola crunching vegan doughnut eaters. The kind of people who may want to buy a t-shirt that says, "I got VD in Portland," as well as those who may want some coco puffs or bacon on their doughnuts.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Stop #2 Elder Tracy

I called Aaron while we were at Sally's house to find out exactly where he was because it turns out the mission is pretty big and I hadn't even thought to ask when I talked to his mission president. For all we knew he could have been hours away. When I called him on his cell phone I got his voice mail and it was so cool listening to him speak in Spanish. He was talking really fast too. When he called back I couldn't believe he was only a ten minute drive away! Literally in the next city over.
I let him choose where he wanted to go, knowing he was probably sick to death of Mexican food, and he wanted Red Lobster.
I quizzed Sally and Peter about whether I should hug him, or if I shouldn't, or couldn't? Sally said not to and just let him initiate whatever made him comfortable. I was anxious, I don't know why, and Peter could tell because I was getting agitated before we left.
Aaron was also nervous to see us I think, but we tried to make it seem like no big deal. He hugged us all:) The kids were so excited to see him. They had all gone into the MTC when he left and bawled their eyes out along with Aaron and I.
I'm so glad we don't have to take Nathaniel into the MTC--we can just drop him off at the front now. It was such a killer with Aaron and I told Nathaniel as soon as we left I didn't think I could do that again with my own son. I'd cry for a week. I probably still will:(

Aaron got the giant seafood platter and savored the whole thing. It was pushing an hour and a half and he was still eating and I knew we had only been given permission to see him for an hour so I told Elder Tracy he better eat faster!

Here is Elder Tracy and his companion, who would pretend he didn't know who I was referring to when I called my brother "Aaron." It got kind of annoying and I tried to refrain from rolling my eyes when he kept correcting everyone, including John. Apparently no one could pronounce his name because he kept correcting that too. I was feeling for my brother the Elder.
Why wouldn't I think of him as Aaron? He spent his first night home from the hospital with me in my bedroom and I could hardly sleep for worry that he had stopped breathing because I couldn't hear it and I had to keep getting up to check. Finally I just gave up and brought him into the bed with me.
I remember staggering into the kitchen in the middle of the night to microwave his bottles. That was how I learned about testing the temperature of formula on your arm and squeezing excess air out of the plastic bags we put into the bottles. I've never given my kids a bottle but I could still do it with my eyes closed to this day.
Hopefully all that microwaved plastic hasn't had any long term effects...
I took that boy everywhere with me! To the mall, to get my hair cut, on dates. We rode on the bus all over Cupertino. Once my friend Yerko took us to the beach and I forgot to bring a diaper and Aaron pooped and we had to wash off his rear in the ocean and then wrap him up in a towel.
He was the best baby--and just about the most adorable one I've ever seen.

So forgive me if I to keep forgetting to call him Elder Tracy!

A man came up to us as we were getting ready to leave and wanted to pay for the elders. He said he always does every time he comes across the missionaries because his son went out on his mission weighing 165 and came home at 120. I wish I had asked him where his son had gone. He kept reaching for his wallet even though we had already paid. It was really cute.
It is a rare opportunity to see your family member when they are actually an active missionary, and I'm really glad we did it. Peter's sister Sally drove with us to say hello to him in the parking lot and she thought it was really neat. I think it brought back the feelings she had as a missionary.
I noticed Aaron was looking older, more like a man now. I told him he was filling out and his companion said, "She's calling you fat." I promise I wasn't! It is just weird to see your brother, who you changed diapers for, becoming a full-fledged grown-up.
He is very motivated in his missionary efforts right now and I told him he better make this last 2 1/2 months count!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Stop #1 Mitchell Family Vacation--Richland WA

Well, we made it and there are two things I am especially thankful for:
First, we are home. In our own house. With our own bathrooms and in our own beds.
Second, antibiotics. Because I got myself another bladder infection and can see the doctor tomorrow.
It was an eventful departure. We drove as far as Provo and Rebecca announced she had to go to the bathroom now. This wasn't sounding good. Then we dropped off the dog in Ogden and Rebecca walked in, turned white, said those dreaded words, "I don't feel so good." Then she threw up on the floor. Neighbors on three sides of us were throwing up when we left Springville and we feared it was an ominous sign. Not a good way to start a vacation.
But blessing of blessings, Rebecca was fine after that. We drove to Ontario, OR the first day and then on to Richmond, WA where Peter's sister lives in a really nice home in a super cute neighborhood. I ran about 8 miles while we were there all around the gorgeous houses behind the temple, which is maybe a 15 min. walk from her house. It is a beautiful temple and I wish I had gotten some photos.
We took these pictures at the park a few miles from her nearby.

Sunday, July 11, 2010


Today at church a returning missionary spoke and reminded us of how incredible our future missionary sons are and it made me consider more about how I need to be thinking of Nathaniel more in that context.
It's just that sometimes it isn't the first thing that comes to mind when he wakes up at noon and then I search him out to do his jobs and find him doing this:

(note that doing one thing on a computer is not stimulating enough--he needs to be doing else something on my laptop simultaneously.)

Other than his exceedingly large teenage ego, he really is a good kid. He goes to all his scout and Priesthood meetings on his own and understands the gospel surprisingly well. Though sometimes I can't decide whether his numerous questions are really questions or if he is just wanting to drag out our family scripture study until my patience runs out.
And thank heaven above he still refuses to socialize with girls.

True to his teenage self his sarcastic side comments never end and some days it seems he feels compelled to comment on everything until I could scratch out his eyeballs. Today I found some humor in it though when I was telling Peter about how I felt he was being very standoffish to me at church and Peter said he didn't know what I was talking about and not to take it personally.
"Too late for that," Nathaniel says as he walks through the room.

Yesterday when I was making him empty the dishwasher Nathaniel said he didn't plan to have dishes in his own house. Instead there will just be a counter with carved out bowl type indentations for the food. I'm trying to picture this. Do you use utensils or just stick your face in the food? Do the indentations get cleaned out every time and how is this to be done?
We still haven't caved on getting him a cell phone. I have no idea what he would need one for. Who would he call? And the best he can do is grunt on the telephone anyway. Never ask Nathaniel any question on the phone expecting an answer besides "yea," "no," and "I guess."
Oh, and please don't take it personally.

Two Thumbs up for Toy Story III Video Game

We saw Toy Story in 3D the day it came out and as expected John was out of his mind excited. It was kind of intense for a kid movie I thought but the kids just loved it. Rebecca cried her eyes out and then when she started talking about the movie as we came out she starting crying again! It was very cute.
During the eternally long previews there was an advertisement for the video game version and I happened to see it a couple of weeks later at Costco and bought it, something I never buy unless there is a birthday or something. It has been the biggest hit over here.
John's friends are at the door first thing in the morning and then again right after dinner. "Can John play?" Code for, "Let me in so we can play your really cool video game." The thing that impresses me is that all the kids have enjoyed it. Nathaniel even!
Plus the fact that it makes our house the current favorite of the neighborhood.
Though it doesn't sound like it, we do kick them off to play outside from time to time.
This is the first video game John has really been able to play on any of our systems and he has been in heaven with his best buds Woody and Buzz.

Sarah and Marynda

Saturday, July 10, 2010

And off we go...

My ultra organized binder for the trip.
Directions, reservations, phone numbers, etc.
Can't decide if I feel proud or just obsessive.

We leave for Oregon/Washington tomorrow and I have spent hours planning out the trip.
Plans include a beach house, deep sea fishing for Nathaniel and Peter, and river rafting for the whole family.
I called the mission president yesterday and guess who I have permission to take out to lunch with his companion as long as it is strictly missionary work conversation:

Elder Tracy comes home in October but since we are going to be right there I thought I might as well ask if we could see him for an hour.

I have this thing about leaving the house clean so when I come home with mounds of laundry and the car explodes at least I have clean bathrooms. I made the kids pack last night and with all the snacks, allergy medication, travel-size toiletries, band aids, beach toys, reservations for the dog, and getting the key to the kid who is coming in to water my plants & feed the birds I am pretty sure I'll be done with vacation before we even leave!

A nice sized stress-zit has developed on my face and is sure to show up in all the photos.
I really need to learn to use Photoshop.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Anniversary trip

For our anniversary this year we actually decided to do something out of town.
Without kids. Alone. Very sad story.

We spent two nights in this bed and breakfast in Cedar City, owned by a couple we do taxes for, and saw three plays at the Shakespearean Festival. Amid Summers Inn was beautiful and the breakfasts were so yummy I only stopped eating because I had to save some for the other guests at the table.
The room we had was awesome. I don't think I've ever watched a TV that large or soaked in a bathtub that had jets and 15 different light settings. We read, we slept, we ate, we went to plays. So great.
Did I mention the breakfasts?
I confess I have some compulsiveness about a few things.
Bowls-- big kitchen bowls. I have to resist the temptation to buy them all the time. I know better. I know I have too many.
Plants is the new thing. I'm running out of space by windows.
And my favorite of favorites, the compulsion that never dies--cookbooks. I read through them like a good novel.
I know several women, including my lovely Linda, that have shelves upon shelves of them, so it can't be so uncommon. Needless to say I had to buy both of the cookbooks they had at the bed and breakfast. Completely mouthwatering high calorie breakfasts.
Bring it on.

We saw three plays and they were all fabulous. Our favorite was Much Ado, but the singing in the new musical Great Expectations was also pretty mind blowing. The acting in all the plays was very good. I was reminded of my fleeting childhood thoughts of being an actress. Maybe I'm just old but that desire has come and gone. How do they memorize their lines in these Shakespeare plays so they can just run through them without even seeming to even take a breath? Just one line after another in front of an audience, and most of the actors are in multiple plays!
Mind boggling. I have trouble just concentrating on making dinner and listening to kids at the same time. I would have made a terrible actress.

So much fun. Definitely going to make this an annual event.