Sunday, May 24, 2015

Progressive Dinner Night On The Town

Last night was our celebration of my new approach to our situation and holy cow did we have fun!  It's been far too long since we've been together as a family and my thoughts could be solely on us.

Several months ago this amazing guy I happen to know gave me the wonderful idea to do a progressive dinner.  I took that idea, put a kid friendly Jenn twist to it and away we went!

*********** First Stop ***********
Chili's for Texas Cheese Fries

To make our adventure a little more fun I found a few restaurant games on line. So while we waited for our first course we had a blast with a scavenger hunt!  Believe it or not, the hardest thing on our list to find was a utensil on the ground.

I'm one lucky mamma to have a couple of kiddos who love spicy... as in they seriously LOVE it to the point they were found in the fridge drinking habanero sauce when they were 2 and 4. Since Chili's cheese fries are topped with jalapenos they were the perfect choice for them.  

 My littlest munchkins didn't get the spicy gene so I ordered the Crispy Cheddar Bites for them.  Chili's offers a points program that we took full advantage of.  I signed up ahead of the fun and was able to receive a free appetizer keeping this adventure within the budget.

********** Second Stop **********
Olive Garden for
Cheese Ravioli & Chicken Alfredo

We filled our wait time with an ABC game. The goal was to find something in the restaurant that started with every letter in the alphabet. My kiddos were resourceful... employee for "E" and kid for "K" - but no matter how hard we tried that darn "X" alluded us!

****** Fun Before Dessert ******
Glow in the Dark Mini Golf

Playing a round of mini golf with my kiddos was a blast!  I think we lost 3 balls, Tanner made two hole-in-ones and Shaylee giggled the entire time.

*********** Last Stop ***********
Village Inn for Pie
By the time we finished all of our fun there were only a few dessert options available and my munchkins all decided on pie.  We didn't get home until after midnight, but who keeps track of time when you're having fun?

Friday, May 22, 2015

Moment of Honesty

And.... we are back!

It's hard to believe that it's been almost 4 years since my munchkins and I moved on to a better life.  A life that I thought would give us the freedom to live.  It's hard to believe that the ex has had us in non-stop litigation for almost 3 years - filing so many cases against us that I've honestly lost count. Too many hours have been taken from me and my little ones in the form of court prep and hearings, police reports and Child Protective Service cases. 

I know the ex promised to keep us in court until I did exactly as he said at all times, but this has been beyond ridiculous.  I mean seriously, it takes a special kind of person to request the court remove my right to take our children to a therapist.  Yeah, really, that's how ridiculous most of the cases he files are. BUT I still have to show up and fight for my rights, fight to protect my kiddos and fight for our safety or he wins that battle... that's just the way the legal system works.  

I'd really hoped the courts would catch on, the protective orders would work and the abuse investigations would put an end to our nightmare... but they haven't and there is no relief or end in sight.  

I've put off living our lives for far too long and I've decided I'm done allowing a mean, controlling, hurtful and abusive man to continue to control our time.  I refuse to let him destroy another summer with threats, court, or harm to us.   How may you ask?  The answer is simple - Stop giving him what he wants and start living our lives.  

From here on out we will ignore the "punches" he throws, show up to court with faith that God is on our side and good will prevail and finally I will let go of the silly idea that the law or protective services can protect us because four years has shown that they can't.  

This blog was always meant to be a place where my little family's happy memories reside... so from here on out I will do my best do only post the memories that make me and my munchkins smile leaving all abuse, threats, court and other such horribleness to be recorded elsewhere.  

Friday, May 23, 2014

Excellence In Math Awarded To My Little Man... Who Just Happens To Be Aspie!!!

Parker came down in his church clothes today.  Thinking he was confused I laughed while informing him it was only Friday.  He then told me it was awards day, but only for the students... no parents allowed!!! Now who ever heard of that???  Well, not me so I called the school and sure enough --- no parents allowed.  Parker pleaded to stay home just in case he won something, telling me it was horribly scary to accept an award in front of the entire school --- all of the 7th and 8th graders --- and if I made him go he would pray super hard so he wouldn't be awarded anything.  Sadly, I was the mean mom and told him he still had to go.

When he walked in the door after school he was beaming with a ginormous smile... "Mom! Mom! Mom!  I faced one of my biggest fears!!!  Look!"  He pulled out a manila envelope and opened it.  He took out a certificate and a medal for Excellence in Math!  I couldn't be more proud of my little man.

Parker is an extremely high functioning aspergher's child.  He's always known of his eating issues and tactile issues.  He knows the stories of therapy done to help him eat, wear clothes and deal with anxiety and melt downs as well as all other things surrounding his "aspie-ness"... but he didn't know he was an aspie until last year when he asked me why he was different.  I hadn't told him his "label" simply because I and his Dr. know my little man and we didn't want to give him one more thing to obsess over and worry about.  I've seen how mean other kids AND adults can be to a child who doesn't fit into the norm and no way was I going to "label" him so he could be made to feel he was anything other than amazing.

When Parker came to me wanting to know why he didn't feel like he was the same as everyone else I knew it was time to explain all the struggles he's pushed through since birth.  I told him being an aspie is an amazing gift.  It means he's smart and gives him some pretty awesome advantages, but that doesn't mean he won't struggle in things that others find easy. It means while most the world thinks like a PC he gets to think like and Apple and that's a crazy special thing!  I told him he's not allowed to use it as a crutch or an excuse ever because I expect more from him than that. I explained I still expected everything and more from him.   The world is a cruel and hard place that won't make exceptions for him... so we are prepping for the future with a no excuse attitude.  Strangely enough this little talk empowered him and he went full bore, fully focused and ready to prove me to be more right than I ever knew I could be.

So why is this award such a crazy amazingly awesome thing????  Well other than the fact it's an honor for anyone... Parker has struggled in Math and English since forever.  This year he moved forward leaps and bounds.  He's exceeded every goal and academic dream he had for himself.  His reading scores went from a 5th grade level to an 8th grade level within the first half of the first term and he was moved into a regular English class!!!  With me on my 4th go in my UVU math course it was a race to see who could do better.  I passed this time, but he far surpassed me.... And that's why this is such a crazy amazing awesome award.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Mowhawks For My Munchkins!

My boys have rebel hair!
Why? Cuz they wanted it so badly they went over momma Mota's head to her cool little sis.  And guess what!?!
Yup, Andrea talked me into it.

Hunter couldn't stop smiling telling us,
"My hair was made for this"!
Parker was beyond proud!
And Austin, their cousin, went all Hulk on us! LOL!
{3 VERY happy little men - Austin, Parker & Hunter}
{Parker - Adding the final touch}
{Hunter- getting the hawk thinned down}
{Hunter, Austin & Parker - Totally freaks me out so I had to add it}
{Austin, Parker & Hunter- thinkin they're all that and more! LOL!}

Saturday, June 16, 2012

A Picnic, A Hike and A Splash

   Summer Sand Bucket List accomplishments 2 and 3 complete!
 We headed up Provo Canyon with our friends Christine and Lilly for a picnic and a hike to the falls!
{Tanner, Lily, Shaylee, Hunter & Paker playing in the falls}
 Okay... so I admit we cheated a bit with our picnic, but who doesn't love pizza right! And it was in the park and we did sit at a picnic table!  We all agreed it totally counts.

Our kiddos must have been famished cuz we ate all but 2 pieces of our 2 pizzas and only half a bag of crazy bread was left out of two.
{Left: Tanner & Hunter... Right: Lilly, Shaylee & Parker}

Then came time for our hike.  With two 3 year olds we knew it had to be a short and easy little walk with so we "hiked" up the Bridal Veil Trail to the falls.
{Lilly, Shaylee, Parker, Tanner & Hunter waiting to "hike"}

{Lily & Shaylee - growing up so fast... being so independent}
{Shaylee & Lily - Cutest little Besties ever!!!}

When we arrived at the falls we all waded in. My munchkins and Lilly played for several hours, until suddenly the sun began to disappear over the mountains.

{Tanner felt all grown up cuz he was allowed to wade to the deep end!}
{Tanner, Hunter & Parker building a pool for the girls to splash in}

{Dancing Shaylee}
We hurried back to our van, divided up the rest of the food for our hungry kiddos and took off for home all worn out from the days adventures.  All in all it was a marvelous day and my kids felt so accomplished when they dropped two more clothespins into the sand bucket.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Bamboo Hut... A Little Taste Of Heaven!

Bamboo Hut was totally a PHS thing... absolutely a BYU (football team) thing... without a doubt it was a Provo thing... And the thing is it was the bestest place ever to go for awesome food.
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In my teen years I'd leave school grounds to run across State Street with a group of friends and stand in the longest line imaginable for someone wanting to buy lunch. It stretched out past the tiny box of a building, past Sounds Easy Video and often times wound it's way around Hardie's. Sun, rain, wind and snow... I stood in line through it all. Think I'm crazy? Yup, 100% crazy, but not alone. I stood in that line with friends and teachers, college football players and men in high dollar suits discussing multimillion dollar deals... no one was immune from the insanely addictive food in that tiny little shack.

The line moved fast, but not always fast enough. I can't count the times I walked into class late and it was so so worth it to be handed that paper plate piled high with noodles and rib sauce, rice, chicken, ribs and the occasional bag of seafood wantons if I had enough in my pocket.  We'd look around for a seat... if you were lucky you might just find one, but odds were slim - so out the back door we'd go to sit on the curb or Provo High's grass.  All was right in the world.

Then suddenly the horribly mean people that owned the building tore it down! Or at least that's how the rumors told it.  They reopened in a crazy out of the way place.  Loyal customers followed... Bamboo's magic noodles and rib sauce were all I could keep down with my first pregnancy... nothing else not even water! 

And then the unthinkable happened... they disappeared!!! While pregnant with Hunter I craved Bamboo's seafood wontons.  I tried all sorts of restaurants in search of something that would satisfy- no luck, not even close. It was agony! Sadly I quit searching.

{This is a seafood wonton... and no one makes them like Roxie}
Then a friend tipped me off to the Original Bamboo Hut Facebook Page. I messaged them before I got my hopes up... It was them! Who gets this excited over food right? You go 9 years craving something you can't have and get back to me.

So it turns out they're at Orem Summerfest yesterday and today! I packed my kids in the car and told them my sad sad tale while on our way to putting an end to my 9 year craving and giving them their first bite of island food.

I made it known that Hawaiian/Poly food is my absolute fav and just a little taste of what I imagine heaven to be.  They looked at each other and roared in laughter as I continued my speech and officially declared they would no longer be deprived of all it's awesomeness.
{It's Roxane!!! See! Proof I found the 'real' Bamboo Hut!}

 Wanna know how good it was?  Well I'll tell you. My kiddos are begging to go again today they'll even empty their piggy banks to pay for it!  I know right! How awesome are they? Should I introduce them to kalua pork?...  

Yup! I think I shall! 

{Parker inhaled his... I had to tell him to slow down}
{Hunter chewed on his ribs til the bones were clean - then asked to keep them - a reminder of his first 'bite of heaven'. LOL!}
{Tanner doesn't eat much these days, but did enjoy his snowie}
{I shared with Shaylee - She ate so much she shoulda had her own!}

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Lorax - First Sand Bucket List Accomplishment Completed!

Yay! Our first sand bucket list clothes pin has been officially dropped in the bucket! Only 19 more to go!!!

Me, my munchkins, my friend Christine and her daughter Lilly all went to the movies tonight. To make it special and different for my little ones I splurged buying popcorn and drinks instead of stashing candy, water bottles and crystal light in my ginormous never ending hole of a purse. (Shocking I know, but admit it you all do it too)

Yes, I admit it, "I'm frugal", but seriously how does one justify $5 for a drink?... Crazy, crazy, crazy!  Being a sand bucket list goal I did this once.  Sadly I handed over my debit card and was charged $11 for a drink and bucket of popcorn. Before leaving the concession counter I asked for 5 empty water cups, a trick I learned from my friend Jamie.

Hunter proudly carried the drink, Parker the popcorn and Tanner was a happy little man who handed the tickets to the ticket taker.  Shaylee wanted her own seat for the first time and was thrilled to have a little cup holder in her booster.  

After everyone was situated I handed each kid a cup full of popcorn.  It totally alleviates fighting and passing the bucket up and down the row... of course Christine and I were constantly filling them, but the monumental feat of peace amongst 5 children was had  as we watch The Lorax.

When the movie ended Shaylee and Lilly got out of their seats and began dancing in the isle... what my baby girl calls "Shakin' her booty". The cutest thing ever!

On our way out we stopped by concessions to document our first list accomplishment... we were stopped immediately!!! Absolutely NO picture taking of any kind in the movie theater. It would've been a supper cute pic too.  Sadly we moved outside and took a pic with the marque poster.  And now I'm left wondering what secrets the concessions counter could possibly hold that employees don't want documented. Hmmmm.....
{ They posed themselves!.... Lilly, Shaylee, Tanner, Hunter & Parker}

 Oh yeah, one more thing... my little Tan Man is in slippers... and very proud of himself for "getting one past mom".  If I'm not careful he may soon learn that Mommy really doesn't know everything.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Summer Sand Bucket List

Summer is "officially" here!
My Mota munchkins are home and school free until August.
I am so, so, so excited!!!

This year we're starting a new tradition...
A Summer Sand Bucket List

My kiddos and I got up this morning, sat around the kitchen bar and decided the adventures our summer should hold.  When each desire was shouted out I wrote it on a clothespin and attached it to the outside of our sand bucket. As we accomplish each one the clothespin will be removed and dropped into the bucket. So simple, but so fun to watch as we fill our bucket with memory packed experiences.

Some of the things they came up with surprised me... others were a little generic.  River rafting down Provo River with a 3 year old?  I called and was told it is ABSOLUTELY do-able, but only with a guide.  All we need to do is save up a little each month, maybe set up a lemonade stand so my kiddos can help and by the end of summer we will be on the river!!!

Looks like we'll be panning for gold, swimming in the Great Salt Lake, star gazing, visiting Timpanogos Cave, camping, fossil hunting, ice blocking and visiting Hogle Zoo to name a few. 20 activities to accomplish by summers end - on top of using our 7-Peaks pass of all passes which I purchased for $10.00 each!  

So much that can be done on a tiny little budget... who knew!?!  I suppose only those who have no choice but to be frugal.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Vegas Baby!

Our first full on trip... well a quick trip. We're on our way to San Diego to go through the temple with my sister Andrea and her hubby Todd. On Saturday they'll be sealed for time and all eternity!

We decided to break up the trip with a night in Vegas, about the half way point. We found an awesome deal at the Excalibur and so here we are! As we pulled up all of my Mota munchkins were oooing and awing at the lit up castle. Upon entering our room they were overcome with such excitement that they ran straight to the beds and started jumping... you see my kiddos know the only time they're allowed to jump on a bed is in a hotel.

They love the view of the castle spires from our window and just can't get enough.
My munchkins saw the tram/train as we were pulling up so I told them we'd ride it - and we did. To be a child again and find such pleasure in the little things.

We walked around for a little while and then headed to In-N-Out Burger - grandpa's absolute fav place of all time. The one in Orem doesn't really compare to those in Cali and Vegas. I have no idea why.

My little ones did amazingly well for having sat in a car for 6 hours and I'm so very grateful we decided to stop. 6 more hours tomorrow... 6 looong hours tomorrow, but so worth it to be there for my little sis "Master Andrea" and her hubby "King Todd"

Monday, January 16, 2012

I Didn't Do It Mommy!

My poor Shaylee bug tried closing our bedroom door this morning. To her great surprise it fell over. She just stood there, in the doorway, as look of fear engulfed her sweet face and I reached for the camera on the bedside table. Her little bottom lip popped out, then tears formed and flooded her cheeks. I held my arms out and she ran to me. I held her close, rocking her, as she cried the words, "Mommy I didn't do it. Mommy I didn't do it." in between sobs.

I wiped her tears and lifted her head to look into her blue terror filled eyes. I assured her she didn't do it and mommy wasn't mad at all. She hugged me tight and whispered, "thanks you mommy".

A moment passed and she asked who did do it. Parker and Hunter had been rough housing a few days prior and pulled the hinges from the door. Grandpa hadn't fixed it because he is wanting them to help.

Shaylee had an instant smile. "Sos mines Hunter and Parter did it?" she asked. I reassured her they did. Then she looked me straight in the eye and asked, "Did you tells them no, no don't doos that?"

There isn't a single job out there that's as hard, heartbreaking, or stressful as parenthood. But I wouldn't give it up for the world. Nothing is as enjoyable, self-fulfilling, full of love and humorous as the job of a mommy!