Sunday, December 18, 2011

Lincoln's Birthday

Little man Lincoln turned 4 last week!
The boys came running into my room at 5:00am on his birthday SO excited that it was finally his birthday. (I am doomed on Christmas morning!) I promptly put them back in bed for a couple more hours but we did eventually have a fun party for Lincoln and a great day together. He made sure on his birthday to tell anyone who would listen about how he was "born while there was a snow storm, 4 years ago in New York, by Canada!"
Lincoln continues to make everyone in this house smile with his cheerful and confident ways. He is excellent at getting his way and has us all still wrapped around his finger. We love this little man and all the joy he brings to our lives.
Happy Birthday Lincoln!

The wind storm

Most have heard about the crazy wind storm that hit Bountiful about 2 weeks ago but I wanted to add my 2 cents and get down some of our experiences.
The wind started in the middle of the night on Wednesday night and by Thursday morning early we had lost power and heat. Not knowing how bad the storm truly was I got my children ready for school, bundled them all up like normal, and then piled them all in the car only to realize that my garage door was electric and I didn't how to disengage it. I piled them all out and we decided to walk together to school (across the street)- again not knowing how bad it truly was. We only needed to be outside for about 2 seconds before I realized what a huge mistake I had made. The wind was so strong that it literally took all our effort just to stay upright and in fact did blow Lincoln right over on the sidewalk. I felt like a complete idiot and rushed my children back inside as quickly as I could. I would later find out that winds were being clocked at 120 mph in our neighborhood. AND I HAD TAKEN MY CHILDREN OUTSIDE!! Not one of my shining parenthood moments.
As the day continued we began to gather all of our emergency supplies as it became more and more apparent that we were going to be a long time without power and heat. The good news is we were prepared and it ended up being quite a fun day together huddled around the fire with nothing to do but be together and listen to the wind, which continued well into Thursday night.

Just about bedtime as we were all ready to camp out near the fireplace, our power turned back on and we were able to sleep in our own beds with heat in the house. Friday morning school was canceled for the day because they were still without power as was much of the neighborhood-including all of our surrounding neighbors. The sweet family across the street was still without power and had spent the night in their van (6 girls!) weathering the storm because they could not get the heat going in their RV. When we discovered them we quickly got them all inside and they stayed with us (RV plugged into the house for sleeping) until they got heat and power again on Saturday night. But the most memorable thing about Friday was our drive around the neighborhood to see what the storm had done. It was unforgettable and honestly I felt a little like I was in a war zone. The biggest destruction came from the huge pines trees (200 ft+tall) that fell. Most fell on power or telephone lines but many fell into homes, fences, roads, and cars. And they were everywhere. Somehow we did not lose any trees in our ward but we spent a long time on Thursday watching them sway and pull up by the roots. We were very lucky.

And then Saturday morning- people literally began to flood onto the streets with chainsaws, ladders, saws, gloves, and wheelbarrows. They started cutting and hauling and lifting trees from all the yards. Work that would have taken families weeks to clear away was done in a morning. And everyone was there to help. It was one of the most amazing things I have seen in my life. I can't really even describe the destruction and the disaster that everyone felt on Friday night. And then the determination and effort and the way that everyone pulled together the very next morning was truly incredible to be a part of. By Saturday night the streets were lined with tree debris nearly 10 feet tall on every sidewalk and every lawn up and down the streets of Bountiful.

When we got to church on Sunday morning we were surprised to find everyone gathering in the chapel for a special meeting that had just been called. It was then that we learned that more high winds were on their way and expected to hit us again by 5:00 that evening. Now the problem was those 10 foot high piles that would be blown into homes and cars and streets all over again. Because of this our meetings were canceled for the day and we were all sent to once again go to work and get all of those trees off the sidewalks and to a dumping ground by 5:00. That same flood of people again moved in amazing ways and for hours and hours again on Sunday huge truck loads of trees were taken to the dumping station. Mid-day the dump was full and there was still so much debris left, so they began to load the debris to the church parking lot. The rest of the afternoon we watched a line of trucks about 5 blocks long stream through the church parking lot with load after load of debris.
It is estimated that in our ward alone we lost over 50 trees and in our stake there were about 800 trees lost. Amazing numbers. Amazing to see that many trees on the ground. But most amazing- by Sunday night they were all cut and cleared to a safe place. And even more amazing, not one injury.
The wind came that night and only reached 70 mph this time- it was another long, sleepless night...but safe and everyone fared well.

I've always wondered what it's like after a natural disaster. It's an experience I'll never forget.

Here is what I learned:
  • Nature is incredibly powerful.
  • Disaster changes our perspective on what is important.
  • Going without reminds us what is important.
  • Disaster brings people together.
  • Disaster can bring out the very best in people.
  • Disaster reminds people who their neighbors are and how we should be treating each other.
  • People are amazingly resilient and hopeful.
  • Life moves on pretty quick
...and hopefully we learned what we needed to learn.

I really did get horrible pictures of it all because it just seemed to be the last thing that we were thinking about in the middle of the chaos, but these give a little glimpse of Sunday afternoon.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Bloody Guy

A recent Sunday conversation at the Pykles' dinner table:

Mom: "So Lincoln, tell me what you learned in your class today."

Lincoln:"Mom! It was so cool! Today we talked about that story about that bloody guy."

Mom: "Bloody guy?" (he's got my full attention now)

Lincoln: "Yeah, you know mom, the story where the guy gets all bloody and punched up and then falls on the side of the road. And then there is one guy who just walks right past him. And another big guy who goes clear to the other side of the road. And then there is this nice guy who brings him bandaids and helps him clean up all his blood. And then mom, the BEST part. Then... then they go to a HOTEL! I love that story mom!"

Mom: "Ah, the bloody guy story. Sometimes we call the Good Samaritan, but you did a good job remembering the whole story."

Lincoln: "Yeah, I really love it."

Mom: "Me too buddy. Me too." (I think I especially like it when you tell it.)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Beginning,Between,and End

Life moves fast. Very fast. Here I sit at the end of the first week of school and wonder how these days..
came and went so quickly.
In all our reality our summer was very short because of the move. In New York school ends at the end of June and begins the 2nd week of September. Here in Utah by the end of June they've already been out a month, so starting at end of August really snuck up on us. However, the kids were VERY anxious to begin this year and finally start meeting people! And met them they have.
Great 1st day of school (don't they just look so grown up- aaahhh!)

Great kids, great teachers, and what seems like a very good school. I especially love that they all leave the house together, walk up the street 1 block to the cross walk, cross the street and walk straight into the school field. It is the best!
And we are slowly getting settled in our house, although at the moment it feels a little like a demolition site. Someday...SOMEDAY I will post "before" and "after" pictures, but for now we are endlessly stuck in that "between" stage where every project is begun but waiting for just a few more things to finish. And those few finishing touches never seem to come because in the meantime something new has unraveled and created a new project. Ah! the joys of home improvement and updating. Despite this, we are getting close on the big things and looking forward to maybe hanging a picture or two.
Lots of new beginnings in our future and that makes us all excited.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Fathers and Sons

Fathers and Sons Campout: a first for Ben and the boys this year and a HUGE hit! Anyone would be hard pressed to convince my 3 boys that there is anything funner than a whole night camping out with just Dad. They had the time of their lives. And Ben lived to tell about it too! (He actually ended up having strep throat that weekend but a lot of Tylenol and caffeine seemed to be the wonder-potion for him. Camping with strep throat officially qualifies you for Dad of the Year award-ha, ha.)
But thanks Dad- they will never forget this!

Jamison turns 6

Jamison was SO excited for his birthday this year. It was rivaling Christmas. Especially when Jamison bounded into our room at 5:30am on the morning of his birthday asking if he could open his presents. It took all the "niceness" I could muster at that hour to gently urge him back to his bed for at least another 30 minutes. Like I said- SO excited!
We had a great day. He did treats for his class at school and a great party at home complete with a cake full of candy. Jamison's order. This kid loves candy!
Jamison continues to keep our lives moving with his endless energy and enthusiasm for life. He is super athletic and his main goal in life is to keep up with his older brother. They are best buddies and every morning they head out the door ready to take things on together. And Jamison's favorite thing: a back rub from his Dad. He'll do most anything for a good back rub. Love you buddy.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Two lips?

This past weekend we found ourselves with an entire Saturday open (largely because it was raining again). But these days an entire open day is truly miraculous and we've been feeling the sadness of leaving the area... so we found every piece of waterproof clothing we own, loaded up the car and headed to Ottawa for day to see the annual Tulip Festival.
I have to admit that the first few minutes of the car ride were some of my favorite as Lincoln tried to wrap his head around a "two-lip" festival!
Ben:" Are you excited to see all the Tulips everyone?"
Lincoln: "Two Lips! Two Lips? Hmmm- yeah, I'm excited!"
I can only imagine the images that were racing through his head. And I suppose it was a bit of a let-down when we introduced him to 1,000's of actual Tulips.

But they were gorgeous...

and the kids especially enjoyed the Korean 3D technology in the 'Tent of Nations'.
The surprise extra of the day was when we stumbled upon (Ben tried to drive in the private and heavily guarded driveway of the home! Oops, but our US plates got us off the hook) the home of the Governor General (Head of State) of Canada. We were able to take a tour of the home and learn all about Canadian government. It would be like taking a tour of the White House in DC. Emmy thought it was extra cool since she just finished her Canada unit at school- she filled in all the gaps for us.
I'm sure it will be our last visit to Canada for a long, long time. So glad we got to go one last time. It was a great day.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter sun

Another Happy Easter! And Lincoln's little bare toes are evidence that the sun does eventually return to the North Country. It was a beautiful day and we had a great time.

Now if I could just get them to stop having fun! ;)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Dreams for the future

This was the conversation on the way to school this morning. I'm still laughing!

Ben: "Hey guys, look at those cool construction vehicles. That would be a cool job to do wouldn't it?"

Jamison: "Um sorry dad, but I'm going to be a circus clown when I grow up."

Ben: "A what?"

Jamison: "A circus clown!"

Ben: "Wow. A circus clown. When did you decide that?"

Jamison: "Last night. It's pretty much the most awesome job ever!"

Lincoln: " Me too, me too!"

At least they have ambitions!!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Life's Curve Balls

I'll admit it- I'm a planner. I LOVE having a plan. I love knowing what is ahead of me. I enjoy preventing too much unexpected and feeling prepared. I know- it seems a little less than adventurous, but I am working on it! Apparently there seems to be higher powers that also had some tweeking and work in mind for me as well.

By defenition: a "curve ball" is a pitch delivered, intending to take someone by surprise, with a spin that cause the ball to veer from a normal, straight path.
Life has once again presented us with a big deviation- a "curve ball" if you will.

A few months ago Ben was approached by the Church History Department (of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) to join their Historic Sites Team. A huge shift in his career, a big move and change for our family, and NOT in the current plan! Consequently-lots of anxiety on my part.

The last few months have been a time of deep searching for us. Searching for direction, searching for the right thing to do, searching for advice, searching for clear answers, and searching for peace. Gratefully those answers have come, much peace has come and we are about to head out on another...adventure! We feel very blessed and find much comfort in knowing that even though it wasn't in our plan, it is part of some plan. And following that plan is what we have to do.

So, the new plan?

We're moving to Salt Lake City at the end of June! Ben has accepted the job and is getting very excited about it all. We're all getting excited. It will be a big change but we're trusting a good one.

Look at me being adventurous!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Clayton's baptism

Clayton got baptized this last weekend. It was a wonderful day and we were so glad that BOTH sets of grandparents made the long journey to be with us. Many, many thanks!!
Congrats Clayton- you look amazing! We love you!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Jamison's super power

After church today Jamison's Primary teacher came up to me in the hallway, barely able to control herself between fits of laughter.
"I have a story to tell you about Jamison", she says.

Oh boy- here we go.

(teacher) "Today we were talking about the Priesthood power being restored to the earth. I asked the class if anyone knew what power had been given to Joseph Smith that helped him be able to restore the gospel to the earth. Jamison immediately raised his hand- 'I know, I know!' After I called on him, he proceeded to jump up on his chair, put his hands out in front of him like he was telling you to stop, and yelled 'The power to shoot fire from your hands!!'"

Honestly, I have no idea where this stuff comes from. Fire from your hands?!

At least he's not shy....or reverent, or quiet...

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Clayton's birthday

Can't believe it, but Clayton's 8! He has been totally and utterly excited for this birthday to come. Counting the days since Christmas...particularly because it meant a friend birthday party and he will be getting baptized.

(I suppose a slight tangent to explain another qualifier for the "meanest parents" award would be appropriate here. A few years ago we decided that rather than feel like we were constantly throwing our money at huge birthday parties we would set the years the kids got to have one. Year 5, 8, 12, and 16 are the years for frien
ds. The rest of the years, sadly come and go with just a family to shower gifts and attention upon them. These poor kids... Actually, it's given them something great to look forward too and our budgets a little bit of a break! It's a system we love.)

Anywhoooo...friends! 8 friends to be exact. Eight 8 year old boys. And sledding was the activity of choice. So 8, 8 year old boys on the sledding hill. If that doesn't incite fear in you, then you are braver than I.

SO, SO, SO much energy. But the boys had a great time- they all lived to tell about it- no bones or any body parts were broken- and the cake and hot cocoa was the perfect ending. Even the weather cooperated- sun came out and it warmed up to 30 or so. We all had a wonderful day and Clayton loved every minute.

The new "birthday":) suit that Clayton has been asking for forever! Doesn't he look great! Perfect fit Grandma.

And he is super excited to be a Cub Scout. Totally decked out. (Go Grammy!)

And yes, that is a finger splint that you are seeing in the pictures. Clayton had a run-in with a basketball at the church the night before his birthday. Didn't end up being too bad-just a few days splinted and he is good as new.
We loved celebrating Clayton. He is one cool kid and we love the energy he brings to our family. It feels like he is growing up so quickly. But he's such a nice, kind- GREAT boy (ok, I'm a little biased). Love you buddy!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Yesterday the kids were home on a snow day- ok, cold day. It was 35 degrees BELOW zero! A little bit of a hazard for kids to stand at the bus stop.
So, in light of feeling like we live in the coldest place on earth, we've decided to start keeping track of how many days in the winter we are actually colder than Antarctica.
So far... Antarctica=0, Potsdam=1.

On a lighter note, Lincoln has taken up singing lately. He can often be found walking around the house singing a "Lincoln" song. Lyrics by Lincoln. Tune by Lincoln. They are awesome.
This morning the song sounded something like this:

"I love Clayton, I love Jamison, I love Emmy, I love Abby (his horse), I love George (his other horse), I love Daddy, I love Mommy, I love Buzz, and I LOOOOVE (top of the lungs for full dramatic effect)..... Myself!!"

We love you too buddy!

Monday, January 10, 2011

January update

Despite what it looks like- we did not skip Christmas at the Pykles' house. In fact, my favorite present-our new camera!- currently holds all the evidence of the wonderful Christmas that we had. I just have to figure out how to get it all off...Hmmm.

It got WARM here for a couple days around New Years so we headed outside- at least the boys did with Ben. Emmy was the last to take her turn with the stomach flu, which made a clean sweep through the house for the holidays. Fun!
Plus some first teeth lost for Jamison. He's always looking for a way to get one step ahead and 2 teeth at once doubles your return from the tooth fairy.
And- Lincoln's first "shiner". (Oh trust me-there will be more.)
As for "Dumb Head"? I hardly know how to make excuses any more- I just blame everything I possible can on 2 older brothers!!