Saturday, May 31, 2008
I woke up on Sunday morning and knew that I was in trouble. So I went for the serious medication. Nothing. Called Kyle to take over my lesson at church. He compassionately said yes, but then told everyone about my predicament.
I woke up on Monday, feeling a little better. I didn't fool anyone while dropping off the Tiny Tots. Everyone was looking at me like I was in trouble. Kolette even volunteered to bring dinner. "No that okay, I hosting a BBQ tonight." Company comes over. We BBQ, we swim. I try to hide my pain. I overdo it in the pool AGAIN.
I woke up on Tuesday feeling like I just might die of pain. Even the girls' teachers were asking "you are much worse today, aren't you?" I missed Festival of Nations, which is my favorite school event of the year. Wednesday was bad, Thursday was bad.
Friday we were leaving for Phoenix and I knew that I could at least survive the drive. I love Marriott mattresses so I figured I could get comfortable in bed. I was very careful and cautious. I swam a little. I made it home. We went swimming with the family Monday night. I overdid it in the pool AGAIN. Stupid, stupid me.
Tuesday I wake up back to the worst pain of this experience. In tears I am pleading in prayer. "Please help me through this. Please let me know what to do. I promise anything. I will be good. I will be kind. I will be obedient. I will be a better person. I will be humble, just let me get through this." You know, my usual bargaining. As I am standing up, I hear this crackling sound, kind of like a cross between foil and wax paper being crumpled. Within minutes, I realize my back did the cracking.
I felt better on Wednesday. Much better on Thursday. Full range of motion on Friday. Pain free on Saturday as of May 31st. I am confessing this all now for two reasons: I am better and I did not want all you compassionate people running over with dinners AND Alysa was brave enough to confess her aches and pains. Oh yeah, I made a deal to be more humble. Oh yeah, that bargaining thing. I should also include more grateful.
Monday, May 26, 2008
We left on Friday afternoon and stayed until Monday at the JW Marriott's Desert Ridge. We had tons of fun at the pools and the waterslide and especially the lazy river. This was one of the nicest hotels we have stayed in and we could have stayed a few more days and never left the property, there was so much to do. But since this was our first time, we had a few other things on our agenda.
One place that Ryan knew I would love was the Arizona Biltmore Hotel.
The only existing hotel in the world with a Frank Lloyd Wright-influenced design, The Arizona Biltmore has been an Arizona landmark since its opening on Feb. 23, 1929 when it was crowned "The Jewel of the Desert." The resort was designed by Albert Chase McArthur, a Harvard graduate, who had studied under Frank Lloyd Wright from 1907 - 1909 in Chicago.
I am a bit of a Frank Lloyd Wright/Arts & Crafts movement junkie, so the minute Ryan saw it, he knew he would be bringing me back. When Ryan visited, his boss, who loved the hotel, would take him to eat at the Biltmore (it was out of the budget range for the expense account to stay there, as it was for us as well) but they had dinner at Wright's. The hotel was beautiful and I loved showing the girls features and admiring the details. I loved the fact that everything in and around the hotel is an homage to Frank Lloyd Wright.
We went to Amazing Jake's with friends. When we had announced our intentions to visit Phoenix over Memorial Day weekend, in front of Brigham's dad, he enthusiastically suggested that Brigham come out also and the three of them play golf. Brigham and Jenn were considering it, so it was a done deal when a social event was planned. We would hang with the Curran clan.
Ryan, Brigham and Steve played golf that morning and met the rest of us (Jen & Rell, Brigham's mom, sister with husband and 4 kids, and brother-in-law with two kids) at Amazing Jake's for rides, games, and all-you-care-to-eat pizza. There was birthday cake for Rell (our second time celebrating the blessed event.) There were many laughs and good times. Maya did not care for the Frog Hopper (predictable) but Madison only crashed her go-cart once ( a marked improvement from the eight times at Legoland five years ago.)
It was fun hanging with everyone. Brigham's parents treated us. They are so generous to us. It is one thing for parents to treat their own children (that is fairly normal.) But to treat someone just because they are friends with your child? That is exceedingly generous. My dad would do that with me and my friends, so having someone take care of us like that was very special to me. I love being with people who treat you as members of the family. I love generosity as a character trait. I hope I am always in a position to treat my children and their spouses and children to dinner and shopping and vacations. I hope that I can take their friends out too.
Kierland Commons was recommended by Kodi, our resident expert. We loved it all and had quite the experience. (Note to all readers: the following is a graphic representation of an actual event. Those with a sensitivity to violent descriptions should skip to the next paragraph.) I assigned each big girl to each older girl, because there were too many pretty things to see. They had a Crate & Barrel that was the biggest one I had ever been to. It was two stories with the second story having all the wonderful, beautiful furniture that made me covet, covet, covet. Is that a sin? You bet. But I paid the consequence for it. I sent each group of children down the escalator. I was a tad delayed. While I came down, Maya and McK were come back up - just for kicks an giggles. So Monterey decided that she wanted to follow. Let me interject that Monterey has serious escalator issues. So I got down, only to realize that McK and Maya had gone back up and Monterey was getting on. Madison did not quite get to Monterey in time as she stepped on the up escalator. Monterey turned to catch Madison's hand, freaked that she was alone, causing her to fall backwards and roll in somersaults down those hard, metal, moving steps. I am freaking. Madison is running up to rescue her. Everyone else in the store is divided between looks of shock and concern for poor Monterey and looks of shock and disgust toward me. Madison rescued her, took her to the elevator, and rode that down while I got down and McK and Maya joined me. We left rather abruptly. Luckily Monterey was okay physically, only a little redness and scraping on her arm. Emotionally, I am not sure. She had issues before. I don't even want to deal with the next time. I see a lot of elevator riding in our future.
The Mesa Temple was our Sunday activity. We walked around the grounds and took pictures. We spent some time in the Visitor's Center looking at the "Reflections of Christ" photography display. It was beautiful and moving. I really liked the pictures of the ten virgins and the photos showing the preparation for the Crucifixion. They were reverent and brutal at the same time - not easy to achieve.
That night, Ryan decided we should go to Roy's. He knows that it is my favorite place to eat EVER. He had scouted it out the night before and was very specific in the location he wanted us to sit in and the time: 6:30, just enough time to enjoy the light, sunset, and the dark, surrounded with the torches and firepit and beautiful lakes. It was a plus that Kodi had helped to design it's interiors AND that Lillie had put into my mind that I had to eat the butterfish. When we arrived, they took the girl's names and gave them all their pineapple drink cups. Roy's does a terrific kids' menu. So I had to order the trio of butterfish, Ahi (as long as it's rare) and salmon. Maya, after tasting the butterfish, told the waitress that it should be on the kids' menu. Everything was so good and so beautiful with perfect weather and perfectly behaved children. When they brought out the kids' desserts, they wrote their names in chocolate. This was quite thrilling for the big girls 'cause they could actually read their names and ate each letter with sheer pleasure.
Was my description of perfect children nauseating to all of you? Well, give me a minute. Monterey complained of a tummy ache and was quite mellow and did not eat much. (Note to all readers: the following is a graphic representation of an actual event. Those with a sensitivity to gross descriptions should skip to the next paragraph.) When we got back to the room, while she was getting ready for bed, she proceeded to throw up AND have diarrhea, at the same time, while she was naked, all over the bathroom floor. So much for the perfect weekend. Someday, we will get through a vacation without any disgusting episodes. Someday.
Overall, we had a great time. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then having the experience is worth a thousand pictures. I love that now I know where Mesa is in relation to Scottsdale. I loved the details of design that were present in everything from the freeway retaining walls to the landscaping. I am a saguaro cactus nut. I love that I can now understand why so many people love Arizona and the Phoenix area. I am sold. I even went so far as to tell Ryan that if he were to get transferred to the area that I could be happy (in the past, I told him within 30 minutes of ocean was a mandatory requirement for my happiness, so this is a really big deal.) I love my husband and all the efforts he made to make this a glorious weekend. I love that we could spend time as a family. We all loved Phoenix.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Monday, May 19, 2008
Congratulations Ryan. We love you and are proud of you.
DATE : 5/19/08
TO : Team Desert
FROM : Anthony Brick
CC : Dean Mattsson
SUBJECT : Ryan Caress promotion to Senior Marketing Manager
It is with great pleasure I announce the promotion of Ryan Caress to the position of Senior Marketing Manager. Ryan started with the MVCI in July, 2005 as the OPC Marketing Manager. In the fall of 2007 he moved from OPC to In-House Marketing Manager. In his current role he has led the In-House team to heights it has never seen before. As of Period 5, the In-House team is $2.4 million ahead of budget and 1283 tours over budget, with a 12% year to date closing percentage which is 2 points above last year.
Ryan will continue to manage the In-House Marketing department as well as assist in other areas of the marketing.
Please join me in congratulating Ryan in his new position.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Monday, May 12, 2008
We had previously attend the Pac Life Open, so when we told Maya she was going to be taking lessons at the same place, she cried. When I asked what was wrong, she explained that she did not want to play in such a big place in front of all those people. I explained center-court was years away.
I don't know how much they really got out of it. I'm sure it helps with hand-eye coordination. It did get them excited to play tennis on the Wii.
They love their hot-pink Barbie type rackets. They loved all the little games and high fives. They loved racing to pick up all the balls afterwards. They loved the water breaks where they could grab their own cone shaped cup and get their own water just like a grown-up.
I just don't think they liked the part about the ball coming at them and they had to swing their racket to hit it. Unfortunately that is the essence of tennis and the stuff they liked has very little to do with the whole game. Oh well.
I have no pictures of the older girls (yet) because logistically it is just too easy to drop them off and go run errands than say and keep track of the two big girls running all over the place. Plus the older girls are still playing to I have more opportunity still to come.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
1. Having a baby immediately shifted all focus from my self to my child. Literally, in one moment, my whole life was changed. The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new. ~Rajneesh
2. When I had a baby, I joined an incredible club. Sharing stories of pregnancies, labors, breast feeding, teething, and potty training with perfect strangers: this is the most bonding thing out there. A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie. ~Tenneva Jordan
3. My children make me a better person. When that little voice explains right back at you what you know you should be doing . . . it is like Jiminy Cricket has come to live with you. It is better to just shape up than disappoint my children. "Over the years I have learned that motherhood is much like an austere religious order, the joining of which obligates one to relinquish all claims to personal possessions." -- Nancy Stahl
4. I am never lonely. I now have a team to do anything I want with. Who wants to go to the mall with me? Who wants to go drop off this plate of cookies? I always have someone. A suburban mother's role is to deliver children obstetrically once, and by car forever after. ~Peter De Vries
5. McKayla. She was my first. I always say that I could have had ten if they had all been like McKayla. She was 8 lbs on the dot. The rule of thumb is that babies should double their birth weight by 6 months and triple by one year. McK weighed in at 16 lbs at six months and 24 lbs at one year. How great was that? She was always so friendly, she would go to anyone. She had a great smile (still does.) She loved all the vegetables and fruits (still does.) We lived at Wymount, during her first year, in the bottom, corner apartment, on the way to the laundry. Everyone would come by and McK would be playing in the fenced off area on the porch which we had made into her playroom. She would greet everyone. She had a special bond with my dad. He would come up to
7. Maya. Maya was my healer. After
9. Ryan. I love Ryan as a father. And because of that, our love has deepened as I am amazed how this mass of testosterone has softened with each girl. He has discovered the best part of being the father of four girls: they take care of him. Motherhood would be meaningless without his fatherhood – kind of obvious, but true on many levels. You don't really understand human nature unless you know why a child on a merry-go-round will wave at his parents every time around - and why his parents will always wave back. ~William D. Tammeus
10. My Heavenly Father. At BYU Women’s Conference (back before they kicked out breast-feeding mommies,) I heard Janet Lee speak. (Her husband was president of BYU.) She said “the end result of child rearing is not the child, but the parent.” That statement rocked my whole world. I thought I was supposed to raise these children to be perfect adults. I am just supposed to give them the foundation of love, security, and the love of the gospel, (and all those other wonderful things-it really is a long list) so when they turn eighteen, they are ready to embark on their own quest for perfection. But in the meantime, who have I become? With love, patience, understanding, a proper respect for agency, selflessness, endurance, (and all those other wonderful things-it really is a long list) then I will become like my Heavenly Father and know what His parenting is like. There are times when I really get this. There are times I forget. I would be a better mother, if I remembered more frequently. This process is transforming me, hopefully. Motherhood is near to divinity. It is the highest, holiest service to be assumed by mankind. It places her who honors its holy calling and service next to the angels. –J. Reuben Clark
Oh by the way, did I mention how much I love the Mother's day presents? This year my gift was the Wii. Hours of fun to come.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Tiny Tots had a field trip to Freedom Park. Not only is it amazing new, clean park with all the right features (awesome play equipment-near clean well-stocked bathrooms-shade structures-AND a misting system) but it was fun hanging with the other Tiny Tot moms. What a nice group of moms. I am going to miss seeing them all twice a day, four days a week.
Several days a month it is always SOMEONE'S birthday at Tiny Tots. Monterey thinks it is funny to get food all over her face. So here she is, cracking herself up, eating her chocolate cupcake with white buttercream icing. Frosting makes a pretty good accessory - at least it is sweet to kiss her.
The girls were so excited about their new outfits, courtesy of Costco. They even discovered that each one matched their older sisters' American Girl Dolls' pets: Coconut & Licorice. See, even dogs can be accessories.
Maya decided to take her trophy from soccer to sharing time at Tiny Tots. So, of course, Monterey had to have one to. Since she has not played yet, she grabbed one of McKayla's old ones. Trophies can be accessories too.
"I just cannot get over how cute we are!"
"I could spend all day staring at myself."