grumma

Celebrating Independence


swimming

WARNING: I am about to inundate you with animated gifs. Brace yourself, my friend.

We played with family on the 4th.

Leading up to the holiday, folks would ask me if we had plans. I figured that we would, eventually. And we did. Family came through and it turned into an all day party (broken up with a little bit of napping).

In the morning, Nathan, Dom and I crashed the breakfast put on by our old ward. They didn’t even know we were coming so they were, obviously, pleasantly surprised. It’s been about 9 months since we moved out so, as expected, many people were surprised by how big Dom is now. I had to ditch out for a while to go and meet up with an HVAC guy at our home (which didn’t actually fix our a/c, but that’s a whole other story, entirely), so I’m not sure how many of the old women Dom flirted it up with.

After that, we moved on to Grumma’s house for a delicious brunch. We picked up Mern and Campbie Joe on the way, which was fun for Dom to ride in the back seat with other people. At Grumma’s, we also met up with my parents and Thane’s family for eating then swimming. Dom loved swimming. He wanted to sit on the side and push himself in, over and over and over.

Campbie Joe had a blast jumping in to his mom’s or his dad’s arms. See?

campbie_swimming

All the kids had a darn good time and the grandparents enjoyed relaxing in the shade.

At first, we couldn’t get a table, chairs, umbrella when we got to the pool because several families were already there. Then one family left and told us that we could move our stuff to their table. Nice gestures are always appreciated and it was such a contrast to the three younger women that piled their towels on several chairs, put their tanning oils on the table, but then laid on the lounge chairs in the sun. When we first showed up, those women even made a point of putting a towel on another chair as if to mark their territory against this family with their noisy, splashing kids. But, they were very tan.

More pictures of Dom relaxing after swimming, happy and steady Teddy, Mern and Campbie Joe’s smiles, the floating babes, Hobbes rocking the floaties, Campbie Joe’s pointy-toe, Alice swimming with her daddy, and the grandparents all shaded up.

swimming_collage

After swimming, it was nap time. Then after nap time, we loaded up on fireworks from the big tent in the Rancho Markets parking lot and meandered up to Opa and Grandmere’s for some dinner and more family time.

Dom’s figuring out how to jump and spent some time learning from his cousin:

tramp

And to animate that bad boy, here ya go:

jumping

We had cupcakes after dinner. When Dom saw them, he started to sing his rendition of Happy Birthday.

cupcake

And Opa had a great time singing Beach Boys with the babes in his arms.

opa_singing

I didn’t get any pictures of fireworks, but we lit those off in the street after desserts. Some of the kids loved it, others were scared of the noise. We bought some parachute fireworks and were excited to get those as they floated to the ground. Only, there was wind.

Thane even tried running around the block to catch the last one that we shot up.

But the parachute failed and it plummeted to the earth somewhere in the neighbor’s yard.

Maybe next year, we’ll get a parachute or two.

A Note On Friday


This is my attempt to get back in the habit of blogging. It’s good to keep a record, even if it’s just a random thought or two.

I went for a run on my lunch break. It was hot and tiring and I’m glad I went. Now I need to figure out some time to run during the week. Ha, good luck me.

The wind blew a ton if branches and leaves and pine cones into Grumma’s pool last night and the water was a bit cool but once Dom got used to it, he loved splashing and jumping on the steps. We had a great time even though we stayed a little late. When we got home, I gave Dom his bath. He’s figured out how to kick both legs and turn the tub into his personal wave pool. I had to hide behind the towel so I didn’t get a shower at the same time!

How’s your Friday?

Dog Days of Summer: A Few Thoughts


Tomorrow, July 3rd, marks the beginning of the “Dog Days of Summer.”

Who here can actually tell me the origins of that phrase?

I like it because it paints a picture in my head of a big dog, exhausted and hot from the sun, collapsing into a kiddie swimming pool filled with chilly hose water. Or something along those lines. That dog is going to be one stinky dog.

Here’s a hint: Sirius, the Dog Star. I won’t give you the answer, though. Google probably knows if you don’t.

Anyway.

What do YOU think of when you hear “Dog Days of Summer” and how are you going to enjoy yours this year?

It’s been crazy hot already, 105+ the last couple of days. Dom and I swam in Grumma’s pool last Saturday while Nathan and Grumma lounged in the shade. I wasn’t sure how it would go because her condo’s pool heater was broken, but the chilly water ended up being the perfect contrast to the blasting heat. Dom enjoyed splashing, kicking, floating and even dipping under the cool water with me.

I have actually been cold much of this summer so far. A/C in the office is chilly. I dress for hot weather, but they keep the offices appropriate temperature for people dressed in scarves and fingerless gloves. I think that’s our dress code at least. I take breaks to go outside and warm up. Makes sense, right?

On one other random note, we were having slow response from an application at work and appropriately deemed it a sad panda. This led to the drawing, of course, of a sad panda cartoon. And then we threw it up on the cafepress.com website so you could actually buy a Larrie’s-sad-panda shirt if this fulfilled your hopes and dreams (on the right on my blog). Yep. A very effective day at work. We enjoy these “sentimental, team bonding” moments. Go team.

Blessed


blessing

Nathan blessed Dominic in church today and little man was very reverent. This time, I remembered to take pictures (unlike Christmas, but I suppose I blame that on being really sleepy after a very rough night). Mom and Dad Elkins are up here for the week for the holidays and to spend time with their new grandson. We love having plenty of family time and have been lucky enough to get that on both sides of our family this holiday. I am sure that I take for granted how fabulous my family and in-laws are. I am one lucky girl, but mostly I feel happy that Dominic will grow up with such amazing aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents. Hopefully we trick him into thinking that his parents are pretty amazing, too.

blessing2

A few thoughts on the day for my future reference:

I was worried this morning that I wouldn’t be able to “schedule” things correctly. Dominic nursed at 9:30 so that would mean he’d be hungry around 12:30 and the meeting started at 12:50. It’s funny, I suppose, the things that you worry about as a first-time mom. Maren came over a little after 11:00 so that I could jump in the shower while Dom took a nap, then he woke up around noon just as Mom and Dad Elkins arrived with Aunt Janeen. I nursed him while Mom helped get things together for me and then get Dom dressed in his little white outfit after he finished. By the time we got to church, he was a content little boy, which was superb because he’s been quite fussy this last week regardless of how well fed he is or diapers changed or well slept.

I was a little sad that some of my family wasn’t able to be there (because of sickness and being out of town), but the small circle of priesthood holders that stood next to Nathan were plenty and men that we love. Not every little boy gets to have both of his grandpa’s holding him for his blessing so that made me happy. After his blessing, Laura came up and sat next to me on the bench and held him, wrapped tightly, sleeping. Like I said, Dominic is blessed to come to an amazing family and because of a recent phone conversation, having my cousin Laura come and sit next to me for part of the meeting was quite appreciated.

After the blessing, for the sacrament meeting, we had several youth speakers and a “missionary farewell”, but they finished quite early so Brian, the first counselor, asked me to share my testimony. As I walked up to the podium, I was pretty nervous. I definitely rambled while I stood up there, but hopefully I shared a little bit of what I was thinking about this Christmas with becoming a mother. I’ve been thinking a lot about Mary. I have such a new perspective of her now. We often focus so much on the baby Jesus at Christmas, which, of course, is the right thing to do as He is the Savior. But, I know now, really, so much more about the incredible role that Mary played and how difficult her calling was. Raising a child–raising your first child– is not easy. At least, it’s not for me. It hurts. It’s exhausting. It’s emotional. I am so thankful that I don’t do this alone. And now, I have so much more awe for Mary and her sacrifice to bear the Savior and raise him in righteousness–with Joseph’s help.

After the meeting, Mick and Tracy hosted for food. Great Grumma Campbell gave the opening prayer and we are all very happy to have her there after time spent in the hospital just after Thanksgiving this year. Really, it’s been a bit of a tough Thanksgiving-Christmas for family members with hospital trips, car accidents and a beloved aunt with a cancer diagnosis. It reminds me that we live in a very imperfect world and sometimes I wonder why we said yes to how difficult this would be. But then I can remember all of the positives that we have in this life as well. As difficult as it has been to be pregnant, bear a child, figure out how to nurse, rarely sleep, cry and feel frustrated or worried, it really is amazing just to look at Dominic and think, “wow, he’s mine.” I know that I’m the mom, but I think he’s mighty handsome. If we didn’t have the darkness, we wouldn’t realize how bright it is when in the light.

 

A Week of Cabin Contentment


Nathan and I enjoyed an entire week away from work, the city, internet access, and alarm clocks. It was the annual Campbell family vacation. The only downside this year (besides pregnancy discomfort and sickness) was that Mom and Dad Elkins were also in town that week to visit adorable baby Sawyer, the newest addition to the Elkins clan. We were only able to spend a handful of hours with them, but at least we get to see them again in December.

(Oh, and the time we did spend with them was great, especially some spiritual experiences where the timing couldn’t have been better.)

For vacations past, I took tons of pictures. I think I was almost the family photographer, but I’ve fallen out of the habit and I can’t tell you why. My best guess is because I’ve grown disenchanted with our little camera. During this year’s vacation for about an hour, I was left to take care of Thane and Laina’s nice camera and had an entertaining time taking pictures of the impromptu family soccer game. One day we’ll have to splurge for a new camera.

The picture above, I took with my cell phone. Hobbes and I were standing up on a water pipe at the top of a short hike just up from the cabin in Midway. Nathan, Thane, Alice and Laina are enjoying the view.

And then I have this little gem of a picture (below): Nathan and Grumma relaxing in the cabin after their grueling golf tournament.

I did take a few pics on my camera that I’ll throw up on this blog in a day or two as well. Most important, though, I have a video of the hummingbird wars. Sounds exciting right? Just stay on the edge of your seat until I upload that. Anticipation is killer, right?

Still Alive, Still Pregnant, Still Sick Sometimes, Still Just Grand


It’s not that there haven’t been plenty of things going on to blog about (other than being sick thanks to baby boy). It’s more that when I get a short break at work now, where I used to write up something on the ol’ blog, now I go eat something or lie down for a few minutes. You know, priorities change. Currently the priorities seem to be revolving around having food on me at all times. Who knows when I’ll need to eat NOW. Pregnancy is super fun!

Let me throw up a few pictures that I grabbed off of my cell phone of some of the happenings these days in the world of the Elkinseseses.

Littlest brother, James, was married to his lovely wife, Jasmine in the Salt Lake Temple. This is one of my favorite pictures because look at him and his two grandmas! How fabulous are those two ladies?

And here’s my handsome husband hanging out with the Tabernacle glare, followed by my buddy, Tess, who wanted to sit around and hug me while we were waiting for pictures–just one of the many loving nieces and nephews in my fam.

And last, how about some animal pictures for your viewing delight? Sure, why not. Pogi’s been lounging around the house, not doing much but posing in between games of fetch. And then, we have my new coworker. This deer stopped by work the other day just around 5:00 pm so only a few of us were there to say hello. He wasn’t particularly scared of me, but the trick is, there’s a window in between us.

When Was The Last Time Your Grandma Was Interviewed for the Paper?


The Deseret News wrote up an article about my Grandma DeeDee: 94 Years and 88 Keys Add Up To One Great Lady.

I’m spoiled, I tell you. Not everybody gets to grow up nearby both of their Grandmas, and both are such incredible women. I was one lucky little girl to get piano lessons from my Grandma DeeDee. I remember her using her fingers like a curling iron on my fingers to teach me how to play with my fingers properly bent. And when I learned to play a waltz, she got up off of the piano bench next to me and danced around the room. You tell me if you were lucky enough to have a piano teacher that study at Columbia and Julliard, hmm? That’s what I thought.

And that’s just Grandma DeeDee. I could tell oodles of stories about Grumma Campbell, too. How about a list instead? Super!

Larrie’s Blessings from Grandma and Grumma:

  • Playing dress up at Grumma’s
  • Grandma’s garden with a rock waterfall, a gazebo, bird baths, a gong, and always beautiful
  • Picking apples from Grumma’s apple tree
  • Playing house in Grandma’s basement bedrooms with a closet secret passageway
  • Swimming at Grumma’s
  • Piano recitals in Grandma’s living room
  • Birthday texts from Grumma
  • Easter brunches at Grandma’s
  • Christmas lunches with Grumma
  • Grandma’s rolls–mmmm, lard
  • Grumma’s pecan logs!
  • Doing the crossword with Grandma while waiting for a concert to start
  • Eating dinner with Grumma the day the tornado came through Salt Lake

And on and on, but I’ll stop there. I love my Grandmas! What memories do you cherish with your grandparents?

My First Elkins Christmas


Last year, Nathan and I shared our first Christmas, but we were a few days short of being married so I slept at my parents, then drove over to our condo to exchange gifts. It was so nice this year to wake up next to him for our first married Christmas.

I could go on and on about everything that we did to celebrate, include all sorts of details and go off on tangents, but then this blog would be too long for Nathan to read 🙂

Instead, here’s the summarized list of a beautiful Christmas:

  • Having a real pine tree in the house smelled festive.
  • Dinner on Christmas Eve with Ryan, Laura and Bears was tasty, relaxing, and fun to open gifts from them and Mom & Dad.
  • I’m really blessed to have such wonderful in-laws (besides giving great gifts, they’re also just great people that I love spending time with).
  • Christmas morning, Nathan and I opened gifts from each other and everything was just what we needed.
  • My favorite part of Christmas was going to church–Nathan spoke in our ward and brought the spirit to the meeting, then I had the chance to accompany my Mom who was a special guest playing an arrangement of Silent Night on the violin. Mom, Dad, Grumma, Pete, Genny, and Cat all came to our ward with us so we shared the meeting with family as well as ward family.
  • After church, we went home to wrap gifts and call Mom and Dad Elkins to wish them Merry Christmas in Texas!
  • Sunday afternoon was the traditional lunch at Grumma’s where she served lil’ smokies on an orange because we all told her it wouldn’t be Christmas without them! The great grandkids had a blast with a white elephant and then the grandkids (which includes me and Nathan) received a special book this year that Grumma made for us. I love it.
  • Christmas evening was with my parents and the entire family where we spent a long time opening presents because of the number of people exchanging gifts we got for each other. Good thing we draw names so we’re not opening even more gifts. Grumma would just love that.
  • At times, the get togethers would get really loud with so many people in one room and so many excited children, but it reminded me of something Nathan told me he’d been thinking about in preparation for his talk: that when Jesus was born, we sing about it being a Silent Night, however, it probably wasn’t silent at all up in heaven. I don’t know about you, but I’d like to think that I at least tried out for the choir of angels who sang at his birth 🙂

Thanksgiving Confession: I Ate Sugar


You knew, didn’t you? You knew that I couldn’t quit sugar during the holidays. But you didn’t say anything. You just waited… knowing.

I ate sugar on Thanksgiving. So kill me. And do you know that it tasted delicious? Deeeeee.lish.us.

It is NOT physically possible to turn down Grumma’s pumpkin pie.

And Maren made pear pie. That’s just fun to say. Try it. Pear pie. Great. Now, EAT IT. Yum!

This year, we celebrated at my parents’ home, even though Mom was dealing with some major jaw/tooth pain and swelling. We had no idea until we showed up at the house, though.

Nathan and I walked in, bearing food, the house smelled like a feast, we waltzed into the kitchen and surprise, Mom’s face is swollen.

And yet, the turkey’s nearly done, the table’s set, and the buffet of goodness is spread in bowls along the kitchen counters. This is where you look around, holding your measly one appetizer and one bowl of mashed potatoes and say, “oh, we could have helped if we’d known.” Thankfully Grumma helped them.

Here are a few pics of the tasty event:

Prosciutto-wrapped crudités as an appetizer. And it’s my fault the olive oil isn’t nicely drizzled, but looks like it leaked out of random stalks of broccoli.

Mern and Dustin eating very small amounts (don’t you think?) at their first of two Thanksgiving dinners.

Check out the purple plates—more appropriately they should be called platters. The larger the more food you can pile on. And so many pretty colors, Margie King would be proud!

Yay family! Me, Nathan, Grumma (hiding), Mom (hiding her swollen jaw), James, Grandma, Dustin and Mern. Dad took the pic and look, his plate’s already been licked clean, he was THAT hungry.

Larrie’s DEEP Thoughts On Phones


I just read an article summarizing some info on a published report from a bunch of scientists regarding their findings on cell-phone radiation risk. (Wow, that sentence was chalk full of prepositional phrases.)

This is the article, for any inquiring minds: Details emerge on possible cell-phone radiation risk.

Basically, they say that there is a link between cell-phone use and brain tumors, but not sufficient study to really prove it. Or something like, “it might kill you, it might not.” Well done, scientists. GROUNDBREAKING report.

After reading it, I started thinking about phones in general. I realize that I have a lot of phone memories. Ah, the good ol’ days.

It all started, as far as I can remember, when I was in preschool. I had a handful of phone numbers memorized: Grandma Campbell, Grandma DeeDee, Aunt Jane and Dad’s work number. I remember one time climbing up on to the kitchen counter so that I could call one of those people for a chat. Apparently, I liked chatting on the phone at a young age.

We moved into a bigger house when I was in kindergarten and one of my favorite new features there were the BUZZERS. There were these tiny buttons by all of the phone jacks in the house and when you pressed it, it buzzed. For however LONG you pressed it. BUZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ. I can’t imagine why my parents had those removed. Why wouldn’t you want buzzers all over the house when you have six children and all of their friends coming and going? I vaguely remember that before we had them removed, we were assigned a number so you could tell somebody that the phone was for them. If you answered and it was one of Pete’s friends, you buzzed 5 times. Then nobody picked up because Pete was in the middle of conquering The Legend of Zelda.

One day, we had a new feature on our phones and the world opened up to more prank call options. We could make three-way calls. What a beautiful thing. We would call up a friend’s house, their older sister would answer and we’d bumble through an intro, “Hi, how are you? I was calling for… oh wait… sorry… the other line is beeping… one second.” Then, we’d call up another friend’s house, wait for them to answer—“Hello?”—and then connect them to the first friend’s house. “Hello?” “Hello?” “Can I help you?” “What? You called me.” “No I didn’t.” “Yes, huh.” “Nuh, uh.” “Yes WAY.” “No WAY.”

We were so funny.

And then they invented caller ID. Game over.

On to college, my freshman year we had to set up our phone in the kitchen so the voicemail had all 6 of our names on it. Each week we would record a new voicemail message, trying to be funnier than the previous one. Apparently though, none of them were memorable because, well, I don’t remember any of them. I do remember our “Kissing Wall” though. It was rather blank.

Maren and I both got our first cell phones for Christmas in 2000. Mine was blue, hers was red and they were the awesome, bulky Nokia 5100 phones. They came with a game, too… I was SO good at snake after an incredibly boring Astronomy class at SLCC. But I used the phone too much. When I’d call my friends, we’d chat for an hour or more and then make plans and then call more friends to add to those plans. One month, I went WAY over. I didn’t have a clue, though, because I didn’t see previous phone bills and never knew how much I was talking.

So I painted the basement and the laundry room to “pay back” my Dad for the phone bill. I think it took me an entire month. The basement family room alone is practically the size of mine and Nathan’s condo. And there were some precarious balancing acts to get the walls above the stairwell leading up to the laundry room.

Okay, I’ll stop there. Well, maybe I’ll add just one more. Eventually, I had this phone that would talk to me. Meaning: it would announce who was calling or texting. “Me-ssage frooom Kas-ey Chi-ild.” My favorite was when it would say either a call or a text from “Nathan.” I really should have used that phone to make those texts or calls even better like, “Me-ssage frooom hot-t-t boy-friend,” and “Call frooom hott-ie mc-hott-ie feee-ahn-say.”