My Little Kingdom

A day in the life of me and my kingdom. Thoughts of a mother of four amazing little boys, a wife of an incredible husband and a woman trying not to forget about herself.

November 20, 2007


Hiking is a life long love of mine. I love to be surrounded by nature and it’s great for a number of reasons but most of all and especially for bonding as a family. And it thrills me that all four of our boys are really into it. I have many fond memories of hiking deep into the woods with my family as well the beginning of a wonderful collection of hiking memories with my own boys already.

We set out kind of late this last time. It was already 4pm. But with a Saturday already full of To Do’s and knowing this was one of the last great weather Saturdays we were determined to make it happen. Not to mention dad was going out of town to speak again and it was the only way we could unplug him from the computer and his preparations for his speaking engagement. The sun was already setting leaving long shadows in the crevices of the mountainside and we hadn’t even had dinner yet. Hudson is pointing and yelling HIKE at every vacant lot and tree along the way. Before Cameron could shift into park Hudson is yelling “HIKE, HIKE” and tugging at his seat belt franticly and they are all piling out of the car in all different directions up the mountain. It was like a shopping spree in a toy store with a sugar buzz. I’m stuffing a few packs of crackers in my sweater pockets and the boys are half way up the mountain while I’m squinting to see who has their sweaters and who doesn’t. We’ve been trying to teach them if you pack it in you pack it out. To preserve nature and to keep mom/dad from instantaneously turning into packhorses. I noticed they had grabbed their miniature backpacks and stuffed them to the rim with all kinds of treasures earlier that morning when there was a rumor we might be going on a hike. I smiled as they packed everything but what they needed. You know little stuffed animals, reading material and Legos, all the important things. Luckily they did leave them in the car, except Everest who emptied some stuff out and kept a water bottle and a few small things. He never once asked anyone to carry his load. I caught up and was trying to tie sweaters around their wastes as their little legs continued to march full speed ahead when I noticed Edison was thumbing through a Christmas toy catalogue that came in the mail that day. It was just far enough that no one wanted to go back and there wasn’t anywhere to put it. So he had to carry it. He pawned it off among his brothers but it kept coming back to him until he finally convinced Everest to roll it up and stick it in his backpack.

We weren’t up the trail too far when Dad asked if we should think about turning back. Immediately Everest chimes in “You say you like hiking, if we go now, you’re not hikers.” I’d say that was a challenge. We were letting them call some of the shots this hike such as which fork to take, the rugged one, the straight one, the steep one, when to rest…. So we let them make the decision to go on too, taking the opportunity to teach them about planning ahead, we did mention that we had to think about the time, being on the mountain in the dark, the cooler temperature setting in, and that we hadn’t eaten yet either. They took all of this into account and led us in an enjoyable evening of hiking.

It was a really pleasant evening for a hike, clear sky, nice weather. Most of the leaves had already changed color and were now muted browns but there were a few brilliant oranges and deep reds enough to compliment the brown. There weren’t many animals to spot not even a chipmunk or a single bird. (Something I really miss from our FL hikes, we’d see everything from wild turkey to wild pigs and everything in between and beyond.) Even though we didn’t see a single animal we did see plenty of signs of wildlife. We saw some really interesting bird nests and we stopped to try and figure out what kind of bird made them. We saw footprints, mostly deer, horse and dog. We’d determine the animal and try and track them down. No luck though. All of this was quite fascinating, however the most fascinating of all our signs of life ended up being poop. Yes, poop. Someone (most likely Hudson) would yell, “POOP!” and we’d all squat hunkered in a circle around some wild poop. We’d guess what kind of animal had been there. Deer, fox, rodent, bird, horse, dog…Some were easier than others, obviously. I’m sure it was a strange sight to behold, a pack of people running up and down the mountainside yelling “POOP!, I see poop!” then squatting on their haunches in a circle scratching their heads.

The boys had navigated us well up the mountain, they chose some rugged paths and some steep ones, some winding ones and some scenic ones. They loved the little patches of ‘forests’. There were scattered about little clusters of trees. Not very large trees, they seemed to be orchard type trees. They’d yell “forest, I found a forest, can we go through the forest?” And off they’d go like a bunch of field mice scurrying through the woods. Fall leaves kicking up behind them as they clambered through, in and around the tightly knit trees. Out they’d pop and come bounding back to the trail. We’d carry on to the next cluster of trees or forest that is.

We came to another fork in the trail and it was at a nice clearing and overlook. We stopped and wandered over through the tall grass and sat down to gaze across the valley and take in the view. It was my favorite time of day. The sun setting and there was a haze that filtered the sunlight covering every thing in it’s reach with a golden honey hew. It was quiet and peaceful, it looked like a painting. And then someone yelled, “POOP!” We all jumped up ran over and squatted around some poor animals poop and debated what it could be when Dad gasps, “look at this guys!” We shift and realize there is a little burrow carefully shaped out of some of the field grass, a little home or safe resting place for some little creature. Inside is an egg! Something had hatched there or had been eaten there. This was the great mystery of the evening. And then we began to look closer around us and noticed other little tunnels and burrows and of course, “POOP!” lots and lots of poop in this little open field.

Alas, despite all the good times we needed to be headed home and the boys led the way. Hopping through ‘forests’, climbing over boulders, leaping fallen logs and squatting around poop we made our way back down the mountain with the evening shadows racing us to the car. There’s nothing like some fresh air, exercise and some family bonding. We picked up some dinner on the way home and continued to let the good times roll with laughter the rest of the evening. And the lesson learned here is that if you look close enough there is always something to see on a hike.

November 05, 2007

A Day in the Life

Sleepless in Salt Lake
It was one of those restless nights where I made the rounds not once but continually through the night. It must have been something we ate for bedtime snack. I’d just get under the covers only to jump up and run to another stirring boy calling out in the night for comfort. As the morning approached I dared hoped for just an hour or two of uninterrupted sleep before the alarm clocks and rays of light along with little ones climbing into bed begun. I flipped the cover over me with my feet sticking out anticipating another plea for their mommy and sure enough I heard my name ring through the still of the night. As I yet again rustled the covers back and hoisted my tired body up and out of bed Cameron mumbled, “Don’t worry I’ll take care of things in here” and then rolled back over deep in sleep.

You Know Who
The doorbell rang just as I finally got everyone in their bed. I bellowed, “NO body move, I’ll get it, everyone-stay-in-your-beds. I ran down stairs wondering who in the world it could be. It was “the guy we rent from”. He had some papers for us. When I shut the door I heard a little voice come around the corner and down the stairs.
“Who’s that mom? Who is it?”, Everest asked.
“the guy we rent from”, I replied with exhaustion.
“Who”, he asks again.
“The Guy We Rent From, now go get in bed, I'll be up in a minute.” Came my reply.
I hear an echo of curious whispers “Who was it? Who was at the door?”.
“Riley Wrench Brown”, Everest whispers.
“who?”, the brothers asked puzzled.
“Riley Wrench Brown”, Everest repeats as if they should know.
Wondering myself, who’s Riley Wrench Brown? Then I chuckled when I realized mumbled and muffled with exhaustion ‘the guy we rent from’ translates into Riley Wrench Brown.

Self Diagnosis
Cameron and I were going out of town and the boys were going to stay with their grandparents. The plan was that they’d go to school and then granny would pick them up and take them to her house. Neither school age boys liked the idea and were already scheming up ways to stay home. While I was finishing packing my bags, Edison staggers into the room in his ‘jammies’ with a hand clasped over his forehead. In a poor pathetic voice he manages to sputter out, “I don’t think I can go to school, I have a hot temper”

Road Manners
On our way up the mountain for a family campout, we were all packed to the brim in our car. Driving up the hot, dry, desolate and winding road, Isaac politely inquires, “may I be excused, I don’t like this so much?”

What's a Boy To Do?
Hudson in desperate need of something but couldn’t figure it out himself let alone anyone else know what he wanted. Every time he asked for something he would request something different. Edison amused at this looked up at me while giggling and said, “he keeps trading his mind”.

A Jedi Can Do Anything He Wants
Trying to get all the boys in bed. Cameron said to Hudson, “ Hudson show us how good you are at getting in bed”. He likes knowing he’s a big boy and can get in and out of bed himself. He replied, “no”. I asked him if he was a little boy, he said, “no”, so I asked, “well then you are a big boy?” . Knowing he’d have to get into bed if he were a big boy insisted, “no, not a big boy”. “Well what are you then?” I asked him. “Yoda!”