Thursday, October 29, 2009

autumn senses

fall fills me with happy thoughts. it is my favorite season. i love the dramatic changes, crisp air, aging smells, and grayer skies. most of all, i love the memories that it charges in me.

while jed was off on a boys day trip to the sand dunes, i had a fun filled day with the kids.

it was a rainy morning and the skies had dark gray clouds.
what could we do?
we thought, let's go to the aquarium.

after i finally got our little group of 3 ready, we looked outside and the weather looked perfect.
the sky was a lighter shade of gray, there was a light breeze, and the pavement was drying.
we decided to take advantage of this weather break and head to gardener village to hunt us some witches.

the kids loved running up and down the pathways to spot the spooky witches. chase mostly liked shouting at the ducks in the pond "dutee, dutee."

no witch hunting adventure is complete without a stop at the Naborhood Bakery. chase and i treated ourselves to chocolate chip cookies, while bayli devoured an orange frosted cake donut. it was a tasty good time.

after our witch hunt/bakery run we headed to subway to get ourselves a little picnic (doesn't dessert come first in your household?).
bayli picked west jordan city park as our destination "it has a beautiful princess castle." (it's really a mighty fort, but i can't tell her that).

the weather was perfect for a fall picnic. the air was crisp and clean smelling. there were gold and orange leaves scattered everywhere.
the kids had a great time running through the fort/playground. of course, chase frequently got side tracked with the fallen leaves and branches.

we walked through the park and found some large piles of leaves and had ourselves a mini battle. chase and bayli were so cute trying to clobber mom with tiny handfuls of leaves. we mysteriously found leaves in our hair and clothes for the rest of the afternoon.
it was a wonderful day with memories i know that i will never forget.

the leaves smelled so delicious. they reminded me of one my favorite trees in my yard, the london plane tree (a type of sycamore). they have a distinct, yet sweet smell. until my trip to the park, i could never quite identify what that smell was. now i can say that it reminds me of rotting fall leaves. a smell that i can never walk away from without getting flashes of good memories.
besides their wonderful smell, these trees have amazing bark. it flakes and peels to show lighter contrasts in color, looking almost like cracked paint.
we planted 3 of these beauties 2 springs ago. they are a very hardy tree with large beautiful leaves. they are fairly fast growers, ours have over doubled in size in just over a year.

it is wonderful to know that i get the smell of fall in my yard as soon as my london planes let out their leaves next spring. and that smell will last into late fall.
the london planes keep their green color longer than any other deciduous tree in our yard. they have barely started to turn a lighter shade of green with a touch of brown.

as our yard has matured, we find ourselves enjoying every change that it undertakes. during the spring we love watching new leaves and shoots develop. during the summer we love watching the branches stretch and the fruit develop. but it is during fall that i find myself wrapped up in the color and beauty of many of our plants. i love the dramatic changes in color from plant to plant.
much of our yard is xeriscaped (more drought tolerant). this leads to more dramatic textures and color between plants.
we have a variety of grasses.
fall is the perfect time to see the color and texture of ornamental grasses. our pampas grass turns a purplish hue. and its tassels tower as high as our eaves. it has a magical sound when the wind hits its drying stalks.
we love blue oat grass, and have graced our yard with its beauty abundantly. i love how the tassels turn golden against the blue-green stalks. we were surprised to see new seedlings scattered throughout the flowerbeds.

jed nurtured and prepped our yard so well before we planted our lawn. now it is very vibrant and beautiful through all of the seasons. but in the fall, it is such a great addition of color.

i love gambel oak (aka scrub oak). it is a beautiful addition to every yard. i have loved watching it stretch taller and taller this year. it bares vibrant hues in red, yet still hangs on to green undertones. i can't wait for the year when it will produce acorns. imagine the loveliness of that event, acorns scattered amongst the falling leaves.

if you want a plant that will always bare bright reds and oranges in fall, look for a sumac. we always wanted sumac. we were able to get some smooth sumac from jed's grandparents the first year that we started planting our yard. it has been beautiful since. it is extremely drought tolerant and hardy.

we have been pleasantly surprised by our staghorn sumac. it doesn't stand up to high winds very well. it's limbs are more dainty and break easily. but it always comes through in the fall. revealing beautiful yellows, oranges, and reds. it is definitely an eye stopper.

now to a very controversial plant in our household. the amur maple. i love it, jed does not. ours is in clump form (more like a bush). it had a hard trip this year. we had such a rainy summer causing it to get water logged and droopy. when it's seeds began to develop, it was again overwhelmed with heavy limbs (the kids and i helped it out by pulling them off and throwing them in the air causing them to spin like helicopters-it was a great game a month ago). though it does get kind of gangly looking, it always delivers. it has the most lovely bright red. which looks wonderful with the green contrast of our vinca on the hillside.

we love smoke trees. in the fall their color turns from a dazzling purple to a stunning maroon.

this year we have had an extra special gift from our yard. we planted 3 blue atlas cedars on our hillside 2 springs ago. i must say, everyone needs an evergreen in their yard. these in particular are stunning. they have a whimsical appearance, with very elegant limbs. and their blue-green needles add such a BAM to every landscape.
sorry i love this variety so much i could type about them forever, back to the special gift. our marvelous blue atlas cedars developed cones this year!!! it has been delightful watching them form the last few months.

i love autumn and the joy that it brings to my yard and my family. i hope that every fall will be as memorable as this one has been.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

how would you like your pumpkin?

the week before halloween, we went to schmidt's pumpkin patch to pick us some pumpkins. bayli squeals every time we drive by it, "i want to go there and get some pumpkins!" this year, we finally followed through with her demands (we usually get lazy and pick one up at the grocery store).

she decided that she didn't want to carve her pumpkin, so she drew on it. the problem was, she picked washable markers. not the best idea for a pumpkin, her art turned into a smudgy mess.
she enjoyed the messy art for a few days before we decided to carve the remaining pumpkins.
check out this preview of our halloween cheetah, what a cutie.

carving pumpkins is always a family favorite. we can get pretty creative, or gross, around here.
we started with my pumpkin. we were VERY disappointed to find that nearly half of it was going rotten. we went ahead and cut out it's face on the good side.
time for some improvisation.
jed suggested, "let's cap it and blow it's brains out." typical male suggestion, but perfect for the situation.
so, my pumpkin took a forty to its forehead and got capped.

bayli decided that carving a pumpkin was a good idea, and decided to lay into her 'piece of art.'
only condition being, "it has to be a cat!"
we washed off the smudges and began her masterpiece.
carving in whiskers is a pretty tough job, but it turned out okay. she was ecstatic with the results.

jed had been rolling his pumpkins design over in his head for a while now. and since everyone got their own pumpkin this year (chase gets to share with everyone), bayli couldn't stop him from creating his dream jack-o-lantern.
it consisted of getting the axe while puking.

overall a pretty productive carve-a-thon.
hopefully our kids aren't morphed for life.

Monday, October 26, 2009

since when did a dishwasher become a playground?

if you hear the clatter of silverware you can bet one of two things:

1) chase has stretched as tall as he can and his little paw is blindly reaching into the top drawer searching for a spoon, spatula, knife (yikes), or any kitchen utensil he can snatch.


2) he has opened the dishwasher and is comfortably sitting on the inside of the door rifling through the dirty, clean, or in the process of being cleaned dishes.

i dream of apples

my dad lives on approximately 2 acres. i grew up with a variety of animals (horses, cows, chickens, rabbits, ducks).
the other thing that i grew up with, on this larger than average property, was trees.

my dad is a hoarder, in the extreme sense, and tends to over plant (not to mention over collect junk). but that is something of its own.
anyhow, i grew up with trees. peach. pear. cherry. plum. apple. apple. apple. apple. apple. apple. apple. apple. apple. apple.

i guess that you could say that my dad likes apple trees. we had quite a variety growing up, probably close to 15. over time some died or were chopped down and replaced. he now has about 8 trees. they had very little pruning. thus, they are overgrown. their limbs intertwine like vines. some have branches that stretch much too high to reach their fruits safely.
though they have not been cared for as a true apple orchard would see fit, they produce some amazing fruit.

this year the trees are covered to the hilt. their limbs are heavy laden, sagging and uncomfortable. they were not thinned earlier in the season, and carry the burden of a lifetime of growth.
but those apples, man are they tasty.

it is nearly impossible to find a good tree, that if not sprayed for insects that season, bears fruit with very little worm holes. these are of that rare category.
one tree in particular (i wish my dad could remember the variety) has the sweetest apples. i am sure the forbidden fruit would taste something like them.

we lead our little family into my dad's backyard. toting our coolers and bags to collect some of these delicious morsels.
it was a feat to reach the tall gangly branches and gather the most beautiful specimens. the only ladder that we could find could barely stand up, you can imagine my anxiety when jed was on the top rung.
chase trudged through the fallen apples below the trees, now rotting and smelling like cider. his little shoes stained with the evidence of a very mushy mess. and his little bum and the cuff of his pants looked like he had spilled a bottle of applesauce and had rolled in it a few times. so cute, my little applesauce bum.

with our trunks overflowing with treasure, we headed home to enjoy our spoils.
we decided to save the best looking apples to eat. the rest, we turned into apple pie filling and applesauce.
it was a very arduous endeavor. we spent the day practically bathing in apple juices creating the yummies. in the end we ended up with 21 bottles of apple pie filling (jed just couldn't get enough, i hope he wants to make pies really often) and about 50 bottles of applesauce.
it is the best applesauce, the apples were so sweet and we didn't have to add any sugar, 100% natural.

of course that night and on into the next day, our bodies reminded us of the day long adventure, especially our feet.
but, it was well worth the effort.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

embracing girliness

she has an obsession for fluffy, frilly, poofy, girly things
likewise, i share her love (at least on little people).

i embrace her girliness.
because one day, she won't want to wear a dress everyday.
she won't want flowers and bows in her hair.
she won't want sparkly shoes.
she won't think tiaras are a necessary accessory.
she won't want to wear bold bright colors.
she won't love love love animal prints.
she won't strap wings to her back and wear them to the market.
she won't think tutus and jeans are an okay combination.

but today she thrives on these.
so, we dig deep in our pockets so she can feel complete.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

the day i threw out my plant

it has been a long road.
i have nurtured you for years.
i have placed you where the sun can wrap you in its rays.
you have given me brightness and oxygen.
but, i am tired of your leaves and dirt on my bedroom floor.
it's not you, it's me.
i take that back, it's chase.
goodbye my potted plant.

below the mark

why am i so frustrated that i have thin kids? i was a thin kid. jed was a thin kid. two thin kids most likely will make thin kids, right?

well, i am not frustrated that they are thin, only that their doctor freaks me out about it.
chase is a great eater, most of the time. he was a big baby, always in the 90th percentile for height and weight. but between february and july, he had not gained any weight. he held strong at 20 lbs. he had stretched out like a rubber band, but had no expansion.
so when we went in for his checkup at the end of july, his doctor ( who we love and adore) wanted to do weight check appointments. he was pretty confident that it was just genetics, but he is thorough and wants to make sure that we aren't missing anything.

i know that my kids are healthy. but, i started to get that worrisome nagging in the back of my head "oh my gosh, what am i doing wrong? i must not be feeding him right. does he have something wrong with him? does he have more than just a milk and soy intolerance? i am a terrible mother."
i hate those naggings. they bring me down and make it difficult to refocus on what i know is the truth.
i didn't want to adjust his diet much, he eats healthy foods pretty well. i struggled with the ideas of adding butter and fats to everything.
then, two weeks before his september weight check he got very ill. he had horrible diarrhea (15 times in one day-probably rotovirus). then, he started to cut his molars and wouldn't eat well. on top of it, he wasn't sleeping good. i was fit to be tied, a whirlwind of panic.

C-Day (check day) arrived. i was dreading the outcome. my horrible mothering was going to slap me in the face. the inability to control the results was devouring me.
he was 21 lbs 5 ounces. VICTORY!!!
still in the 20th percentile for weight and 70th for height, but he had gained!
his doctor, being the concerned health care giver, wanted to ensure that the weight would keep coming. it looks iffy in graph format. he suggested that we start chase on a calorie supplement.

man those powders are pricey, and what are the benefits/risks? do they add horrible preservatives to them? could they cause my boy future issues? i am kind of a freak when it comes to pharmaceutical prescriptions/supplements. i like to take things the natural way. you can get everything that your body needs by eating the right foods. i don't need to shove twenty different kinds of supplements down my throat to give my body what it needs. it would be horrible for me to get some life threatening disease, i would have a hard time taking what the doctor subscribes. i just see way too many of my patients on so many medications, they can't even name them all. who knows what each of the meds are doing to their bodies, let alone when encountered with poly-pharmacy? don't get me wrong, when i am sick, i take what my body needs. but, i don't get all freakish and think that i need to get in on the next "popular" body rejuvenator crap.
and, i don't want to be the one who causes future issues to my sons health. so, i opted to not give him a calorie supplement.

i will embrace genetics and let him be a healthy, skinny toddler.
then, i will send rude letters to the clothing manufacturers for making such huge clothing for my children to wear. hello, he needs a 12 month tall pant. not an 18 month wide load, that when finally fits turns into capris.

because i am tired of this...

Monday, October 12, 2009

60 is supreme

my mom turned 60! so, very cool!
she is ever so excited for the discounts that cometh.
bayli loves telling her that she is as old as dirt, sometimes mud.
my mom is the best. she is the sweetest and most generous woman. she is constantly thinking of others before herself. she loves, loves, loves her grand-children and takes every effort to let them know it. she knows each of their personalities to the T. not to mention, she is darling.

my mom is getting OLD! I thought that it would be fun to tease her about her age, but alas, she is literally embracing it, again for the deals. i am sure that it is just a cover.

while my sister jerri was in town, the girls planned an evening out, to celebrate my mom. the group included mom, myself, jerri, chalese, kami, & katie. we piled into chalese's little car and headed for the olive garden (majority of our husbands don't like it, so we have to savor every opportunity that we get to go there).
we had a great time chatting it up. we all nearly peed our pants from laughter with the fun story telling abilities of my sister-in-law, katie (she is literally one of the funniest people that i know). i wish that i weren't bound to the promise to not share her most favored story-it is hilarious. i wouldn't be able to express it the way that she does though, she has a gift for words.
i love the women in my family, we are better people by my moms example. she is truly a great woman.
happy birthday mom! thanks for being great in every way. and thanks for the lovely memories of the evening girls. i only wish that we had a picture to go with the memories of our fun night out.

Friday, October 9, 2009

a diggin good time

when the boys go out to play, this is where you can often find them.
chase thinks that the tractor is AMAZING!!!
he peers over the edge of the deck, like a prison inmate, to get a closer look at the mighty beast.
then, he works his magic (jabbering & smiling sweetly) to get a ride.
like any other loud engine noise, you can guarantee that chase will come running once started. and while he trots to his destination, you can hear him shout, "daddy, daddy, daddy!"
oh, didn't you know?
ALL loud noises are made only by daddy's.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

century woman

Tilla Ruen Dixon, my sweet grandma, turns 100 on October 7th. in honor of this century old woman, we had a party. a BIG party. we celebrated with lots of wonderful family and yummy food at my aunt gloria's (an expert party thrower). we had a great time mingling with relatives that we hadn't seen in a very long time, some i had never met (or at least i don't remember).

Grandma was born October 7, 1909. she is the most amazing woman in my life, trully an inspiration. who wouldn't be if they lived through two world wars, the depression, was widowed at the age of 38, and raised 8 children on their own?
she is a very healthy woman. she has never been hospitalized. if you ask her the key to long life, she will gladly reply, CHOCOLATE. oh, and she's been known to add in keeping active, eating well, and no husband. but mostly chocolate.

i love this woman. i love that she taught her family the meaning of hard work. i love that she loves to sing, even if she is a little off key (i am sure that is where i got it). i love that she lives for her family. i love that she taught me the meaning of being a good hostess, sunday dinners were always a delight. i love that she taught me the joy of gardening and delighting in mint tea. i love that she always gives from the heart and she would give the clothes off her back to anyone. i still delight in the very fond memories of the christmas gifts we were given. every dixon grandchild can testify that grandma's gifts are the best, and funniest. my favorite was an african american doll with the box labeled "just like me." i am not racist, but it was funny. i love that she is always smiling. i love her warm blue eyes, and the "hand" made telescope that she makes to see better. i love that she smiles, when we know for a fact that she didn't hear a word we said. i love her talent for quilting, and the beautiful work that she has given me. most of all, i love the family that she raised. we are in debt to her and her good ways.

my sweet grandma with one of her best pieces of artwork. yes, that is a selfmade family portrait. each member is uniquely made, and i must say, she got it down to the detail.

she is so lovely, my inspiration.

grandma with 7 of her 8 children (gloria, john, bill, earl, eugene, myron, donna)

grandma with her oldest son eugene, and his family.

she didn't stop eating her cake and ice cream for anyone's pictures. that's the best part of being 100, you get to do whatever you want.

grandma with her son myron and his family

grandma with her daughter donna and her family

grandma with her son earl and his family

grandma with her son bill and his family

the john dixon family (my family) with grandma.

grandma with her youngest daughter gloria, and her family

blowing out the candles (when you are 100, you get cold very easily, and you don't have to blow out 100 candle)

when you are 100, it is okay to get a little tipsy with your great-granddaughter (notice the already half eaten box of chocolates)

beautiful like her great-grandmother

there is no party without chase getting dirty

bayli loved her great aunt gloria's playhouse and bridge

bayli and her cousin nicole, they are great friends
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