Monday, August 5, 2013

Volume IX, issue vi, July 2013

Behold the Harvest

Fifteen years ago, the symbol for our wedding was wheat, inspired by a quote from The Little Prince. One of my artist friends drew and designed this wheat logo for us, and we used the lovely drawing on our announcements, invitations, envelopes and thank you cards. The quote from The Little Prince became the sort of epigram for our wedding. 
This time of year, our home in Rexburg is surrounded by fields of golden wheat and we've been reveling in the sight and the smell of the gorgeous grain. The Rexburg Temple, which is a mere walking distance from our home, also uses wheat as its main symbol. It's everywhere--the stained glass, the fences outside, the railings on the staircases, the carpeting, and the ceilings. The theme makes it feel even more like home and we consider it OUR temple. 

For Family Home Evening last week we couldn't resist snapping a few photos.

Fifteen years, and behold the harvest! There is almost not enough room in our hearts (and in our car) to receive it. . .

Thank You, Entropy

When I think of the best way to define the word entropy, I direct my gaze to the house-scape that surrounds me. Nine bodies in need of daily food and clean clothes create an entropic force that is both terrifying and beautiful to behold as it swirls around me in a wave of laundry, crumbs, love, and laughter.

Summer visitors mean summer cleaning that goes beyond the two daily chores on the kids’ list. On a particularly grueling day of cleaning, I could see that my helpers were losing steam and patience after a couple of hours of scrubbing and sweeping and organizing without a break. I finally told them that they were done for the day and I could feel the collective sigh of relief like the air coming out of a balloon as my war-beaten soldiers collapsed and sank into various couches and chairs and carpet.

Caleb found me in the study a few minutes later and said, “Aren’t you going to stop too, Mom?”

 I told him I was going to forge ahead for a few more minutes, but that he should take a well-deserved housework hiatus. He left the room and I assumed he had gone to join the celebration of lethargy downstairs.

A few minutes later I heard him sneak softly into the room with Holden at his side and they started picking up books and stacking them on the shelves. Holden said stoutly, “If you’re going keep going, we’re going to keep going.”

So, thank you, entropy. You bring out the best in us. I might not have known how good I have it without you. 

We spent the first part of July in St George, Utah for our annual Hafen Family Reunion. The heat was in the triple digits, which somehow didn't deter us from going on a hike to see the quarry which provided the rock for the St George Temple. I awakened all of the kids except Charlie around 7:00 and cheerfully asked them if they'd like to join us on the hike with their extended family. They all made the choice to come, which was  surprisingly heart-warming on such a hot day. We were all inspired by the faith-filled trail, but after about twenty minutes hiking in the overwhelming heat, red-faced Marie panted as she said, "Mom, I kind of wish I hadn't chosen to come." 

She did make it there and back, but not without learning how a girl can pee in the wilderness. Learning to pee in the wilderness without getting it on your shoes is a lesson we saved for next time. 

At the end of the hike, my red-faced crew staggered back to the car and poor Peter's nearly transparent Irish skin had almost an eerie glow to it. I was a little worried about heat stroke until he started to climb in the car and looked at the red dirt caked on his shoes and said, "Hey Mom! Look! I have sand-als! Get it? SANDals!" 

Frenchy Festivities
On my mission in France, Bastille Day on the 14th of July was the only day we had permission to stay out past 10:30 PM. My mission president got it. Bastille Day was big. He wanted us to watch the fireworks and watch the faces of our French friends light up with patriotic pride in the glow of the sparkling reds, whites, and blues.

This year Bastille Day fell on a Sunday, so our family wore our best red, white, and BLEU to Church.

Our French patriotism also demanded that we eat not one layer of chocolate, but several. Sometimes you just have to sacrifice for love of country and love of chocolate.

We called this cake the Chocolate Prison. Eric said we’d need to cut it with a guillotine. 

Our petite Marie Antoinette said gleefully, “Let them eat cake!”

Talent Show
Like every single one of our other children, Charlie is a utensil prodigy. His chubby little mitts were made for holding a fork or a spoon and using it with grace. He can shovel forkfuls of rice into his wide-stretched mouth with both the speed and skill of a competitive eater ten times his age.

This month, Charlie had his first experience in the wide, wonderful world of restaurants. When the server placed a plate full of pancakes and eggs in front of him like some miraculous gourmet genie, he was clearly in awe of this new edible concept. 

He inhaled his breakfast and then pointed his adult-sized fork around the dining room, scanning the crowd with his fork as if trying to lock in our server with his hungry little fork-radar. Clutching the fork that engulfed his tiny fist, Charlie whined and pointed the utensil at our server as if to say, “Hey Food Lady! Bring me more! I can clearly see that it’s your job, so lay it on me, baby!” I had to share half of my breakfast with him to placate his volcanic appetite and I’m sure he would have happily eaten any more food that magically appeared in front of him.

Seven Kids A-Swinging

I can scarcely believe all of those monkeys are mine! What glee! 

All seven kids were piled onto the swings and taking turns pushing each other, trying not to get smacked in the nose by their siblings. My favorite line of our playground outing came from Ethan just after he gave Marie an "underdog" and almost got taken out by her tushie. He gasped and said, "A little girl's butt just came hurtling towards me at 80 miles per hour!"

It was Charlie's first time on the big kid swings and he looked so tiny with the swing going all the way up to his cute little armpits.

We decided to try out the "sports" button on my camera with a variety of results. I haven't laughed so hard in a long time. Luckily everyone knew I wasn't laughing at them. . . but about them. (Just kidding, Eric.)

It's Always Fun When Grandpa Comes
Eric's Dad (aka "Grandpa Rex" or "Franpa") made the long trek across the country to come for a visit and we were all spoiled rotten with the fun we had hiking and playing and eating together. He somehow manages to make each of the kids feel loved as an individual despite our staggering numbers. We love you, Grandpa "Rex!"

1 comment:

Daniel and Lindsey said...

I'm inspired by your usage of the "sports" button on your camera. I wonder if my camera has one of those? As soon as Daniel gets back from Alaska with it I'm going to check! Eric's sport picture array was particularly inspiring. I also am impressed by Charlie's ability to manipulate eating utensils. And you say that all of your kids have been able to do that? I would say that NONE of mine have. Our floor looks like a pig trough after every meal. I make them clean it up - so you would think that would inspire them to be cleaner. But no...
Glad you're having a wonderful summer!

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