Saturday, February 28, 2009

Straight from Africa, Just for Us

(Thanks Becky, they love the animals. My computer and camera have a been acting up so sorry for the late evidence)

We came home from our trip to Utah a few weeks ago exhausted and with super whiny, tired kids who fell asleep in the car on the way home from the airport.

How lucky then, were we, to have a package with these fun animals waiting for us in our kitchen? The kids perked right up and were even agreeable and fun after getting a new friends that evening. Becky, our greatest friend in Africa (actually, our only friend in Africa but still our greatest) sent these to the kids via her man in New York, Ymir, who went to visit her a few weeks ago. They traveled all over Botswana and saw so many freaking animals that me and the kids couldn't even begin to keep up. We've been supplementing our lives with a daily dose of African animals supplied by Becky's blog for the past few months.

Our kids were in heaven with their new friends and Ava quickly adopted each one and added them to her "auction" that we get to attend most afternoons. But we've never been able to bid on a gazelle before, that's for sure.

Nathan decided the giraffe was cool cause it had a long neck that could double as gun, as does every other toy in our house currently. BOOM - his super loud sound effects go with each shot scaring poor Lias half to death.

And Becky even got Lias the right gift. She ought to be happy to know this is only Lias' second stuffed animal he can claim as his own (poor third kid) and our first stuffed hippo in the Genho household, if you don't count Lias himself. He was way more interested in eating all the paper tags that came on the animals, but Ava has adopted his hippo for safe keeping till he's old enough to carry it around himself.

Becky doesn't know this, but all those cool pictures of animals on her blog has created quite the stir over here between John and me too. One late night after blog reading I ended up on hers and had the crazy whim to look up airline tickets to Botswana. I came to bed that night with the thrilling idea that I should go visit Becky in Africa this summer. What are my chances of ever knowing someone in Africa again that would show me around and I'd have a blast with? So what that I have a nursing baby - I'll take him along. $2000 bucks?... A small amount to pay for that kind of adventure. It's dangerous in Africa and I shouldn't travel alone? Then I'll bring you along too, John. Geesh, just let me dream for a little while ok!?

But none of this really won him over so here I sit, watching my kids play with cool stuffed animals and daydreaming about elephants, hippos, lions, and giraffes.

But if one day I post a blog from Botswana, you'll know what happened. Thanks for inspiring us Becky. Keep up the good work.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Ava (while dancing around): Nathan, when are you going to be done on the potty?

Nathan (with an evil little sneer): In about 2 hours. Hehehe.

Does a two year old even have a sense of time or does he just like to annoy her?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Utah (Part 1)= Great-Grandparents, Family and a few Blasts from the Past

Utah was short and we packed in a lot, but it was fun.

We started with a trip to Great - Grandma and Grandpa Donovan (my dad's parents) in Ogden. Their house still has that same cozy feeling that it had when I was a kid, complete with homemade grape juice, pink peppermint candies on the kitchen counter in the little wooden bowl, cabinets full of Hummel figurines, and Grandma and Grandpa sitting in their recliners looking out the window onto the elementary school playground.

We talked, tried to play in the snow with homemade snowsuits (garbage bag and tape work quite well), sledded down the small hill in front of their house and had dinner with our Utah cousins.

Uncle Spencer made the trip up from St. George to see us, or rather to see my kids and played in the snow with them too.

I finally convinced Lias to crash about 1 that afternoon and he gave us a beautiful 3 hour nap. It must have something to do with all the comfy quilts that Grandma has everywhere in that basement room.

I gave my Grandpa a quick lesson with the digital camera and this is the shot he captured.

Ava found the most sought after spot in the house - laying on Grandpa's belly. This is one of my earliest memories of my Grandpa - laying on his belly while he watched TV and asking him when his baby was coming cause he had such a big belly.

Eventually the cuddling evolves to tickling and I'm not sure who got who better.

But we all had a great time and can't wait till they make their yearly trek east in the fall.

We spent the majority of our time with Papa (John's dad) in Bountiful, watching the snow fall and the kids play with his arsenal of toys in the basement. John's family is over run with little kids (24 grand kids and 17 of those in the past 4 years) and most of them used to live in the Utah area so he's really got the stock pile of all types of toys that will entertain and amuse grand kids of all ages.

But eventually even those toys got old so he also took us out the SLC Children's Museum, a place he frequents often when all those grand kids come to visit. Nathan finally got to get up close and personal with a "hell-e-cock-er" and he was in heaven. He was even kind enough to let us sit in it for a second but pestered us galore with all the "why" questions about a helicopter you could ever dream of. He's into the why stage pretty hard and doesn't even wait for an answer before he asks why again. Sometimes it's cute but usually it's pretty exhausting.

Papa oversaw all the activities at the museum. That is, until he felt the need to go shopping at all the tantalizing malls next door to the museums. I tried to beg my way along but he had already taken me to Kohl's that morning, where we had fun spending my 30% off coupon. I got new jeans, a shirt, and a new jacket, among other things.

Nathan and John had fun building towers.....

....and then pushing the button to make the floor shake so everything came tumbling down.
Check out Nathan's clenched hands - a sure sign he's excited.

He wasn't too excited to dress up though.

Somewhere along the trip we also stopped and saw a ton of family. We could easily spend a month in Utah and still not see all the friends and family that we'd like too, so I know we missed more than a few of you, but I'm glad for the few we did see.

My mom has 9 siblings and I think all of them live in the Utah area, so I thought I was doing pretty good to stop and see 3 of them here and there. I got to see my newest cousin on my mom's side too, who is only 9 months old and a complete surprise to our family since the oldest cousin is somewhere near their 40s I'm sure. Joshua McKean Racker was a complete surprise to his parent's too, who already had 3 teenager daughters and are in their 40s too. Aunt Stacey and I had a fun visit comparing our little babies (who share the same middle name) and catching up. She took pictures but I was too lazy to get the camera so I have nothing to show for it. I also got to visit with my Uncle Dave and Aunt Alecia and my Aunt Annie and her hubby Uncle Gary.

We also took the kids over to the old stomping grounds of B-Y-U to let them see where we used to be cool and walk around campus like we owned the place. If you ever want to feel grown up and old, take your three little kids and walk down memory lane on your old campus. It felt so surreal to be actually using the couches to nurse a baby in the bathroom at the Tanner building, reading the sign in the ladies room that said "Please respect the privacy of nursing mothers". I can't tell you how many times I used those couches in there for a long nap or to kill a lazy hour in between classes. We only stayed about an hour and met with one old professor, but it was pretty fun to relive it all.

And would a visit to Utah ever be complete without seeing someone about to pop and someone in a big white dress? (not the same person, of course!) We stopped by to see a great old friend, Alicia Wall (shoot, can't remember her married name now- sorry Stan) who was just weeks away from having her first little baby. We reminisced all about Block and Bridle Club, where we ate, danced and partied our way through BYU Animal Science. We wished her well on turning her little baby, who has decided to give her mom and dad complications and come out feet first, and headed over to crash a wedding.

One of my families closest friends, the Jay and Nancy Rollins crew, had just married off their 5th kid, Mary, so we went in our our finery (we hadn't packed a single peice of church clothes) and ate all their cake. I had a blast showing off my kids and reconnecting with Jaymie, Mary's oldest sister and one of my best friends in high school and at college.

We met up with Jeff, my little brother at the wedding reception and then headed out to his house afterward. He tried to tell us his place wasn't very nice and I had to set him straight. He lives directly south of campus- I mean directly south of campus. His house backed up to the parking lot where I spent way too many hours circling and circling hoping to get a spot to park my car my senior year. And the inside of his house? Lets just say that I'd live there with all my kids, it's that nice. I think I convinced him to stay another year there or maybe I just convinced him to get out and give someone else the posh deal. The kids had fun seeing him and crashed on the way home so me and John actually got to talk and laugh all the way back to Bountiful about our BYU days. Oh so fun but glad to be done with them too.

Part two tomorrow night....maybe.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Papa. Papa. Papa

We're at Papa's house in Utah, watching the snow fall and eating all his yummy food. Ava's in heaven, sleeping in his bed each night and playing with all his cool toys. John's kinda working but mainly playing, Nathan's being Nathan and a little contrary and Lias wants his own bed to sleep in. I'm waiting for Papa to get out of the shower so he can take me on a shopping spree to Kohl's, since I have a 30% off coupon. Then we'll come home, load up the kids and head to SLC to the kids museum to play. And the rest of the week? Who knows???

Monday, February 2, 2009

Set the Night on Fire

I've come to realize something in life since living on the farm out here. People in agriculture are a little different from the rest of us. To anyone not from an ag (or pyromaniac background) this picture above would be quite disturbing, something you might see on the news, but not something that happens in your own backyard (or the dry field next to your backyard).

Most normal suburbia wives will never have to see their husbands walking through a 30 ft fire or standing with a shovel next to the dry waist high grasses that surround the backside of the fire, waiting to put out anything that might catch.

However, I'm no longer a normal suburbia wife, so I now get to see this scene played out at least once or twice a year, with my own family as the eager participants. Last year, about 3 weeks before I had Lias, we bounced 15 minutes into the depths of the farm to a big, huge 25 ft deep pit the guys had dug to push stumps into after clearing the fence line. There were also all sorts of household items (couches, beds, junk) from the delinquent tenants that left all their trash in the houses when they moved. John jumped into the pit, along with 2 jugs of gasoline and promptly commenced in lighting it. I almost had a hearth attack as I watched from the truck with Ava and Nathan. I saw a ball of fire shoot up and then John jump out of the pit about 2 seconds later. John swears he wasn't even close to the fire but all that ran through my mind was "how in the world would I, obesely pregnant, ever get John out of that massive pit and bump all the way back down that dirt road that already almost put me in labor to the main road, and get 30 minutes to the dinky local hospital with a burnt husband and two screaming little kids?" John still thinks I overreacted but I'd like to see how anyone else would handle that situation.

Luckily, I seem to be passing on my fear of the huge fires onto my offspring. They all thought the fire was really cool until the wind started whipping it up. Actually, I don't think they were a bit scared of it but they were really hungry and cold, even though you could feel the heat from about 40 ft away. I hope Nathan retains this healthy fear of flames until well past his teenage years. John tells me that one of the scariest situations he's ever been in has been when a field he's burning turns directions and is coming straight at you.

The fuel for this fire was all the old massive trees that have come down around here in the past few months, one dried up Christmas tree and 2 months worth of boxes and papers from our own garage.

This big stump in the fire was about 4 ft wide and 20 ft long so it burnt nicely--- for about 2 days. John kept going back later that night to check on it and make sure it hadn't gone anywhere. Next time we light one of these little campfires I'll make sure and let all you suburbia friends know so you can come on out and feel the heat of our country bonfires. They're quite the rage.