A Way to End the Summer

Spending time up at the cabin! Our family cabin up in Island Park, ID, is one of my favorite places in the world. It is a lovely retreat away from the hectic rush of urban life–no phone, pretty much no tv, wildlife, running rivers, beautiful mountain tops…it’s perfection.

For the first time in several years, everyone in my family was able to come up to the cabin for the week. Thankfully, we all still fit! But I think that may be the last time. The main cabin (Targhee Tepee, as my Grandpa Brewster dubbed it) housed most of us with the Teeny Tepee (mini cabin in back) being occupied by my brother and his family.

We spent the week doing a little of everything – fishing, running, hiking, tubing, river floating, reservoir swimming, Yellowstone Park-ing, Playmill-ing. I captured just a few moments here and there with my camera but instead of editing a bunch of photos, I put it in a quick slide show (that’s in the really teeny font below). So, ta da! There you go. A quick glimpse into our last week of summer before school started (anyone else think that school started a week early this year?).

Picnik Show

Is busyness an excuse?

That’s what I can claim for posting so “frequently” over the past several months. Busyness.

I’m always amazed at how suddenly a day can into a week and then before you know it, months have flown by. Aren’t our brains supposed to able to take multiple things in at one time? Why is it that I feel my brain shuts off and goes on “coast” mode until something really, really important shocks it into “pay attention” mode?

I don’t know. Maybe that’s just me.

So much to tell about the last several weeks – and most of it in pictures! I’ll just start with a few off of my iPhone because that seems to capture what happens on a daily basis (I do post some of these to my Tumblr, Instagram, or Twitter account – definitely not the reasons why I hardly blog anymore…pshaw).

I’m pretty sure there is a bird’s nest in this tree that I am trying to get a snapshot of. It took me a moment to remember what this was, but I do remember! Tani (Mamo to Caden), Caden, and I went and hung out at Boondocks a few weeks ago. This tree was near the 14th hole on the miniature golf course. Clearly exciting material. Woo.

This has to be Caden’s fingers, not mine. Because why would I ever place my fingers right over where the lens is on my phone? So silly…

It’s Hermana Baby Sister on Skype for Mothers Day! It was wonderful to get to chat with her and clearly you can see that she stands out like a sore thumb in Panamania (what Caden calls Panama) because she doesn’t look like a local AT ALL. Here she was showing off a watch someone gave her and introducing her companion at the time, Hermana WhatsHerBucket. All I have to say is she looks BEAUTIFUL. And she’s coming home in just a little over a month!

This is an “Awww, how sweet!” picture. I found this tape and ate up my little two year old voice. Does anybody else think it interesting to listen to your young little self from ages ago? I did have to laugh that this was taped over a Family Practice tape that belonged to my Grandpa Taylor (who was a family practice doctor for many years) and right after I finish singing, there is a little blank spot and then it goes into “kzzttttt the patient may exhibit signs of nausea and fatigue”. Thanks. Really needed THAT little line after my highly adorable solo.

I just happened to be at Caden’s school one morning when they announced the kids who had earned the Peacebuilder award at his elementary school. No explanation needed here (proud mother moment).

Caden had me watch him over and over (and over and over) while he did these little slam dunk moves on the basketball net. I told him he needed to raise it up a bit more to impress me. That did it. So he decided to start trying to dunk by jumping several feet away and fly through the air. “Like LeBron!” he said. LeBron? Geez, who is the mother of this kid that allows her child to like LeBron? Uggghhh…

Maggie. In her happiest pose ever, that of sleeping (and snoring) quite deeply. Funny dog.

The Chalk Art Festival at The Gateway in downtown Salt Lake City. Pretty dang cool. My favorite is the Norman Rockwell. Caden’s was How to Train Your Dragon.

Celebrating Colonial Days in 5th Grade! Caden played cats cradle with his friend Kendrick until they had it down so smoothly as to claim, “We’re the best at doing that yarn thing game!” I told him he couldn’t be the best at it unless he knew its name. And yes, he’s dressed near perfectly for a colonial day person. I was pretty darn proud of putting together that outfit with clothes he already had – black football pants (minus the pads), long white socks, his black Sunday shoes, oversized white shirt, and a vest. Voila! His friends may see this pic one day and laugh, but me? I will laugh at it forever…

Memorial Day Weekend we camped down in Moab. LOVED it. But I have much better pictures than this…so I will wait to share all the adventuresome details.

I believe this was ridiculous hail I found on my car when it should be JUNE. Mother Nature was “having a moment” this Spring in Utah – hot flashes, cold flashes, wicked storms (is there an antidepressant for nature?).

Yo, what up, Ethan? Just because you’re two and can rock a sideways cap, doesn’t mean that you are my favorite two year old nephew…aw, well, it does. You are way too cute!

Sweet baby Desch! Ben and Hilary’s latest addition who came on June 22. His chubby cheeks are so delicious! I do hope he understands that his mama desperately wants — no, NEEDS — him to have brown eyes. That was the only reason she married my brother, to have brown-eyed children. And the first two were defective with bright blonde hair (see Ethan above) and bright blue eyes.

There you go. A quick iPhone gallery update. My life is complete. I can rest now…if the neighbors in the backyard would stop doing fireworks at midnight!

Spring, Spring, it’s a wonderful thing

This:

And this:

Plus his rec baseball team (which I will have pics of shortly) have completely occupied our time this Spring. We manage to fit all the games in just fine…as long as the weather corporates (which it totally hasn’t for most of this season).

Thankfully, one sport is now done. Soccer finished yesterday with Caden’s team beating the #1 team, Sparta, in a great outing of 5-3. Caden was moved to defender from streaking forward because they were seriously lacking in great defense. His team, Boca, could have been number one (they are #2) but two games they should have won were lost because of the struggles at defense. At the game yesterday, Caden was absolutely a key in keeping many shots on goal away from our goalie. We lost track of how many headers he had. 🙂 We being me, the grandparents, Ben, and his little boy, Ethan.

The game yesterday was also a great excuse to spend most of it outdoors. SUN!! I don’t think I spent more than an hour inside yesterday because it has been raining nonstop for days on end.

Caden’s comp baseball team, the Woods Cross Wildcats, have had an up and down season. His coach, Wally, is such a great guy. I really like what he is trying to instill in these kids about hard work and effort.

Between his comp team, his soccer team, and his rec baseball team (the Yankees), we have sports every night. But he loves it. I keep asking him if he wants to pick a favorite – just so I can save on gas! But alas, he is actually asking if he can participate in more sports.

“Can I do golf? Can I try hockey? What about lacrosse? Can I…”

Ai yi yi. If anyone would like the experience of chauffeuring a kid around, I am accepting applications. Qualifications: a drivers license, car, and limitless patience. Pay: We can negotiate that later.

A Day for Mommies

Mothers Day was a dreary affair…only because the weather was not quite up to May expectations. It was chilly, cold, and felt nothing like Spring. So I was determined to wear something bright and cheery to brighten up the day. Also because I wanted to cheer myself up for having to speak in church on Mothers Day.

Frankly, I believe it should be illegal to ask a mom to speak on this particular day. It’s supposed to be the ONE day we can kind of take it easy. I say “kind of” because truthfully, when does a mom EVER get a day off? At least on Mothers Day we can claim a bit of a reprieve.

Anyway, back to the talk. I stressed over it for days. Talking about motherhood is such a sensitive topic. Women tend towards feelings of guilt on this day thanks to all the pressure we put on ourselves to be a “great mother”. What exactly IS a great mother? How can I share information on motherhood when I am constantly thinking of ways I fall short? You see the dilemma.

I decided that I would take the approach of hey, we’re moms, we compare ourselves against so-called “perfect” women all the time–our own moms, our grandmas, women in the scriptures, etc. We keep building up these high expectations because we only take note of the amazing accomplishments. We don’t ever read “and the mothers of the 2,000 stripling warriors complained because they had to wash their sons’ loincloths–AGAIN.” So let’s give ourselves a break.

I may end up posting my talk because I have had several people ask to read it, but only because they are family and want to read it. 🙂 I am just glad it went over well and I didn’t make anyone feel like they weren’t doing a great job. Because everyone really knows that the toughest job in the world is that of mother.

My mom & me, Mothers Day 2011

The reason I am called "mom" - this kid

Drought

It’s not much of a drought in Utah, what with all the late Spring snow and rain. But I have had a bit of a drought on my blog as of late. The reason? Broken laptop.

You never realize how much you use something until you don’t have the capability to use it anymore. Six weeks ago, I sneezed extremely hard while balancing my laptop on my lap (thus the name, “lap”top). It slid quickly off my lap and onto the carpeted floor, landing on the cord that plugs into the AC adapter that charges my laptop. Unbeknownst to me at that time, that little “bump” on the carpet busted the pin that plugs into the AC adapter that charges my laptop. So, as soon as my battery charge ran out, so did usage of my laptop.

No biggie. I will just take it in to get it fixed. I mean, it’s just a little pin, right? The computer itself works great–no hardware issues to resolve.

Uhhh, not so much. That dang metal pin that costs all of two cents to manufacture will cost almost $300 to repair because the entire laptop must be taken apart to get it fixed/welded back onto the motherboard. Son of a motherless goat.

Sigh…

So, I have been missing from blogging…and haven’t done much with my tumblr blog as of late, either.

However, I am tweeting now, @angelbrewhaha. I avoided it for a long time…but it’s sucked me in. Curse you, AquaScum! I mean, technology!

Hopefully, my pearlescent pink laptop will be coming home soon and I can post more pics of the past several weeks. I have pics from visiting my sister in Denver (so fun!), Easter Sunday, and Spring Sports Galore! [that would be Caden’s comp baseball team, his rec baseball team, AND his comp soccer team…yeah, I know, I don’t need to hear it]

The REAL story of Italy

All right, so it appears I got SEVERAL of you about my little Italy April Fool’s joke. In case you couldn’t tell (because apparently it was too subtle), in the last paragraph of my story below, I highlighted and capitalized the letters to APRIL FOOLS! But that’s okay if you were duped–because I would like you to believe I’d be going somewhere as awesome as Italy.

The truth is…there is some truth to the Italy story.

I did find a job posting regarding a Communications/Events Coordinator position in Trento, Italy. I did explore the possibility, meaning, I submitted my resume and was actually contacted by a recruiter. I actually spoke to her twice about the position before it was finally determined that the pay level for this particular job would not likely be the range I would need it to be in order to up and move to Italy. DANG.

So it was on the table momentarily. So it wasn’t a complete and total fabrication below. 🙂

But I still gotcha!

It’s Official: ITALY

It’s official folks – I’m moving to Italy! YES, Italy!!! For all those of you who just passed out, wake up so I can tell you the story of how this amazing turn of events came to be.

Three months ago I applied for a temporary communications job supporting the city of Trento as part of a two year stint to promote a special event. When I originally saw the job on a “Women in Communications’ website, I passed it off as a cool position but nothing I would be interested in. Because it was far away. In Italy. And entirely too romantic to be a possibility.

Yet for the next seven days, I kept coming back to that job. I loved Italy when I visited it a couple of years ago. It was beautiful, the people were wonderful, and having a chance to really get immersed in a different culture would be awesome. For Caden and for me.

So I started making a list of all the reasons why I could do it and those that would keep me here in Utah. You know, a standard pros and cons list.

PROS:

  • Italy is a beautiful country
  • Learning Italian – Caden and me
  • Experiencing different culture
  • Building resume even more – international experience
  • The FOOD
  • The PEOPLE
  • Chance to visit other countries quite easily
  • Only temporary assignment – 1.5 to 2 years
  • It’s ITALY!!

CONS:

  • Far away from family
  • Don’t know Italian very well (translation: at all)
  • Not sure how pay would translate
  • Caden would miss out on his slew of sports here

Needless to say, I didn’t think the cons list should keep me from applying.

So I did.

And I waited.

And waited.

And waited.

And exactly four weeks after I had applied, I received an email saying, “We have received your application and are reviewing for pre-screening purposes.” I decided it probably wasn’t going to work out so I stopped thinking about it.

Two weeks went by.

I received another email. “We have passed your application onto our recruiting manager”. Hmmm, some progress. But still too far fetched in my mind.

Another two weeks go by.

I get a phone call at work one morning on my cell phone and since it said “Unknown”, I didn’t answer it. I checked my voicemail later that afternoon and listened to a woman’s heavily accented Italian voice tell me she would like to “discuss-a the-a job you saw-a on our-a site-a concerning the-a communications job-a in-a Trento.”

I about passed OUT. WHAT??? They are actually calling me now???

Okay, I could feel free to think about in all seriousness at this point. 🙂

I won’t bore you with All the details excePt to say that the next Round of Interviews took pLace over a three week period, normally very early in the morning. For a brief moment, I thought I had lOst it. But then came the phOne calL I was deSperately hoping for: “You’re it!

And just like that, my next story was ready to take place.

But I’d like to hear yours. 😛

p.s. Check out these creative geniuses who are also having A LOT of fun today: Kodak, Westjet (my favorite), Whole Foods, and of course Google.

A Milkshake Moment

I received an email today from a co-worker with a small little blurb about milkshake moments. The idea stems from a leadership article by Steveen Little about a guy who, when he travels, always asks room service for a milkshake. If it’s not on the menu, he walks them through the ingredients: vanilla ice cream, milk, tall glass, long spoon, etc. If they have all of those items and are willing to make it, he calls it a “milkshake moment”.

The point was that people need to know their true purpose, have the freedom to work towards it, and then believe they can make it happen. Thus, a milkshake moment.

Frankly, it made me crave milkshakes. But I prefer chocolate.

I started thinking of milkshake moments more as something to celebrate, moments when we take a time out and remember something good about those we love. And you get a milkshake when you do something AWESOME.

Growing up, one of my favorite things to do was have a Daddy/Daughter date and go to Carmacks and get a chocolate malt. And it was usually to celebrate something great like a 4.0 report card, a great high school volleyball game, winning the spelling bee, etc. I drive by where it used to be (it burned down several years ago) twice a week now taking Caden to his TOSH training and get nostalgic.

I guess I’m hoping that I create more milkshake moments with my son…or my sisters, my parents, or good friends. I think one of the other reasons why the idea made me smile was just the image of what a milkshake conjures up: the essence of innocence. Nothing seems more innocent than a milkshake and to me, it embodies so much of what is good and wholesome in this world. Unless you are counting calories. Then maybe go with non-fat yogurt moments.

Have a milkshake moment this week!

Craving Creativity

I have a hankering for doing something creative lately. On my mind have been the following activities I would LONG to do (were I given a 36 hour day in which to have time to do some of them):

  • Paint. Yes, dear heavens above, I want to PAINT! I see images online of artists I love and all I can think of is, ‘dang, I need to break out my artist sketch box and get to work’.
  • Photography. Most noticeably, film. Or maybe it’s just the acquisition of more cameras with which to cultivate and satiate my voracious photography appetite.
  • Video. I’m not using my handy little Flip cam and making it all it can be. Hmm. Sad.
  • Letterpress. I took classes up at the U of U several years ago, before letterpress became “popular” all over again and is now on every trendy and creative blog you can think of. I almost bought my own letterpress when I graduated with my undergrad in 2002. It was $300. That same dang press is now selling for $850. For the love…
  • Writing. I feel as if my innards are bursting to write. I do it every day for work, but it’s not for me. I want to write…with a beautiful fountain pen…in gorgeous journals from Italy. Really, is that so much to ask for?

I look at this list and then I depress myself by looking at other blogs of women I know, most of them mothers with kids, and it seems like they are constantly creating. SHEESH. I feel sadly behind the modern mommy times. Women seem to be wonderfully creative, verbally expressive (like that’s hard), and raise exceptionally talented spawn.

Whatever.

I just want my paints, preferably a little compact watercolor case, a fresh block of paper, sable hair brushes, travel sketch box/easel, and a glorious subject to paint. Like anywhere in the Mediterranean. Or Caribbean. Or Fiji.

I’m not being too picky, am I?

Love is all you need

It is Valentines Day. For those that haven’t been bombarded by incessant ads flocked with red hearts, jewelry, and overstuffed teddy bears holding a heart shaped box of chocolate, this is your gentle reminder. Oh wait, it’s after 11:15 p.m….you’re screwed.

I really like Valentines Day. Always have, hope I always will. I’m one of those weirdos who thinks of it in terms of “oh, it’s so fun to have a day designed all around love! Especially expressing love in so many ways through chocolate, a good massage, new shoes, jewelry…” I actually can remember one of my very first Valentines cards. It was a pink construction heart on a white doily–and everything on doily’s is darling! So naturally, I was pre-dispositioned to love a day all about love.  Something about having a day to make sure we all remember to say “I love you” to someone we couldn’t do without appeals to the squishy side of me.

I also find Valentines Day a great day to think of all the things I love to do—like photography. I currently have no less than 6 cameras I would love to buy and just play with (hint on gifts for me at anytime in the future). I love trying to find something to take a picture of for my Photo of the Day blog on tumblr.

Speaking of which, I started it as a 2010 goal, to take one picture a day (mostly with my iPhone because it’s always by my side) to see if I could document a year of my life and thrill myself to death…or bore myself to tears. On some days, I posted more than one picture. Those were the good days, super “I’ve got it going on!” days. Then there were the “What in the name of Thor could I possibly want to document?” days. I couldn’t find anything I wanted to post because there were days that seemed like the plain-old days I had already snapped a picture of. There were a few days where I thought to myself, ‘Sheesh, am I really so boring that I can’t find something–anything–to take a snapshot of? Ay yi yi…’ I mean, how many pictures of me driving to work and driving Caden to work did I need? Truthfully, I look back at all my pics last year and some make me smile, others make me sad, and some make me wonder what I was on when I took the shot (a lot of headache medicine in 2010). So it’s all good.

But back to V-Day and love. Yesterday I helped Caden make his Valentines Box for school and it turned out AWESOME. He wanted a football field goal post as his box (and I will post a pic of it soon) and I was pretty darn proud of his creativity. I felt bad I couldn’t help at his school party today (ah, work…) but he was excited to bring all of his Valentines home and remind me just how awesome it is to be a kid in elementary school.

Speaking of other loves, I am loving trying to decide what races I want to do this year. I’m thinking the Thanksgiving Point half marathon, the Utah Valley Marathon, and potentially Hood to Coast again (I’m an alternate). What would be totally awesome is the Kauai Marathon that is on my birthday this year. How awesome would it be to run that! I’m totally looking for sponsors/travel pals. Just FYI.

Happy Love-Whatever-Whomever-You-Want-Day!