Friday, September 28, 2012

Road Rage

Saturday night I went to pick up Jake from a birthday party. On the way back home, I was heading north on 185th sitting in the left turn lane to go west on Farmington. I was the first vehicle in the lane and pulled up near the crosswalk and listened to Jake tell me about the party while I waited for our left turn signal to go green. After a couple of minutes, it seemed like we had been there a little longer than we should have--like every other lane of traffic had an opportunity to go, except us. Another 30 seconds to a minute passed and the next thing I notice in the side mirror is a middle-aged man approaching my side of the vehicle. I alternated keeping an eye on the light and this man, confused as to what was going on. Was he in trouble? No, he didn't look like he was in "need". There was purpose in his strides as he stomped up to the driver's side window.

I rolled the window down not sure what to anticipate, though I vividly recall never feeling like I was in danger. I don't even remember what he looked like, but he spat out,

and I quote:

"You've got to get on the DAMN sensors!"

My eyes were wide as I tried to register his words and anger. My response was out of my mouth before I had time to think.


Once he knew I heard him (as if that would have been a problem) AND understood him, he stomped back to his truck behind me.

As I rolled the window back up, there was silence. Jake quietly piped up from the passenger seat and asked the obvious. " weren't on the sensors?"

"Apparently not."

That's what I don't understand. I was MAYBE 4-6 inches from the beginning of the crosswalk. I thought it was illegal to be in the crosswalk. I slowly pulled up, but not much so I could continue to avoid the crosswalk (which is at a slight angle in that lane, starting further back on the left side where we were). And then, miraculously, we got our green arrow.

Huh. I didn't even know the sensors existed.

I actually had to chuckle on my way home thinking about that guy. Here he is, stuck behind a vehicle whose driver has no clue that she's the reason why there's no green arrow. All the honking in the world wouldn't solve the problem. So he did the only thing he could think to do. Granted, he could have done it without the profanity and anger. It's not like I was avoiding the sensors to purposely antagonize him. All in all, I was grateful this man's display of road rage wasn't any more than it was.

So where are those sensors and why am I just now finding out about this? Are all intersections like that? Is this just a local thing?

Flashback Friday: St. George, UT August 2011

We got a new computer last Friday so I was unable to do a post. But I sure am loving my 27 inch monitor and wireless keyboard, mouse and printer! I actually have to tilt my head back to look UP to see my browser :)

Here are the highlights of our trip to southern Utah a week after I gave birth to JJ. Jake and Cooper were already down there visiting my parents.

We left on a Friday around 1pm and stopped in Nampa, ID and crashed with our friends the Hamiltons from our Forest Grove days. Technically, Alison and I are actually related! Distantly so, but thanks to my dad's work on our family history, we realized this when we were students there. That was a fun, "small world" discovery.

To make our goal of St. George by dinnertime Saturday, we had to leave Nampa really early. Before the Hamiltons were up, actually. We didn't have much of a visit, but we were so grateful for their hospitality.

We hit Lehi around lunch time and gratefully were fed real food (as opposed to take out) by my sister in law, Chris. I was able to nurse JJ and we were super happy to stretch our legs before getting BACK in the suburban for another 4-5 hours. Before we left Lehi, however, we stopped by the Urgent Care in town where Jared's dad works. JJ was "too tiny" by Jared's standards and consequently Jared was a little obsessed with checking his weight, so we swung by the "office" to do a weigh-in. Karcyn and Calvin didn't go in and were upset about that, so Doc came out with some candy and made a balloon dog for Karcyn and a balloon sword for Calvin. Back in the day when Doc had his own private practice in the midwest, he would make these balloon creations for his young patients. He also bartered--a turkey here, some fresh milk there. Those were the good ol' days.

Having a tiny baby has its perks. We didn't have room to bring a cradle or pack 'n play with us, so Grandma improvised with....a plastic rubbermade drawer! It was perfect!

Jake and Cooper enjoyed some quality time with Grandma and Grandpa Lee the week before we arrived. They went on lots of hikes and out to eat, saw "17 Miracles", had more treats and swam a LOT in their pool.

I believe the popular hiking spot was Snow Canyon.

As much as I miss the charm and magnificence of all things Alaska, I have to admit that southern Utah IS growing on me. It really is remarkable with the mountains and red rocks in contrast with the blue sky.

Jake's vacation took a dramatic turn to major "epicness" when he came across THIS in his path on one of their hikes with Grandpa.

As the story goes, Grandpa was taking pictures of a yucca plant. I guess that wasn't exciting enough for Jake so he continued down the trail on his own when he spotted a snake right in front of him. This is like a dream come true for Jake. If he could catch snakes all day, he would. An opportunity presented itself, so he picked it up. His first attempt landed him a snake bite in between his fore finger and thumb on his left hand. If you click on the picture you can see the puncture holes and blood from the bite. Jake said it didn't hurt too bad and calmly worked the snake to release his hand.

By that time, Grandpa and Cooper had arrived on the scene. Grandma, who was back at the house, was NOT pleased to hear after-the-fact that a snake was involved in their hike and that Jake picked it up without Grandpa with him. Jake tried to placate her by saying he knew it was a kingsnake (and therefore not poisonous) from some museum they had gone to just a day or two earlier. Apparently, if you go on a hike or drive in Alaska and see a moose, it's a success. And if you're one of my boys and in southern Utah (or anywhere for that matter) and find a snake, it's an epic day! Just glad I wasn't there.

One of the big things we did was take the kids into Zion's National Park. (Oh look, a picture of me and JJ who was 13 days old).

It's been almost 14 months since we did this and I can't remember what I wore yesterday, let alone the name of all the bus stops and mountains in Zion's, but this was one of them! Left to right...Cooper, Jake, Karcyn, Calvin and my dad.

And another.



Me (with JJ in the front pack) and Karcyn.

Considering how HOT it was, I thought the kids did really good this day. Eventually, we had to throw Calvin in the backpack (which was intended for JJ but was waaaaaay too big for him--so glad I had the front pack). The good news is, the next time we go, the kids will be older :)

The last leg of our Utah trip was spent in Lehi with Jared's brother Kevin and his family (with Jared's parents close by). Their kids had already started school so we just kicked back and hung out. On Sunday, August 28th, we blessed JJ. This is a family picture taken later that day with my parents and my brother's daughter Kaitlyn in the purple dress.

We were so honored to have 4 of Jared's mission buddies take time out of their busy Sunday schedules and responsibilities to stand in the prayer circle during JJ's blessing. (That was a better turn out than our temple sealing!) They came from up and down the Wasatch Front  AND...St. George!

Other distinguished guests included my college roomate Sarah and her family, plus my cousin Mark and his wife and family and my Uncle David. It was a wonderful reunion, albeit super fast, and we didn't even know my uncle was in the area. He and Mark also joined the prayer circle. That brought the total to 10 (plus baby)! That's definitely a record for us and in a ward we didn't even belong to. We're so grateful for them letting us crash their meeting.

We traveled home on Saturday, Sept. 3nd...just in time to get home, unpack and throw the kids back in school on Tues. the 7th.

*Oh yeah, we weighed JJ again in Lehi on our way home and he was still measuring small. He was gaining, but not as much as Jared would have liked him to. So instead of resisting, I began supplementing with formula when we got back to Oregon. JJ weaned off nursing totally on his own at 4 months, in December.


Friday, September 14, 2012

I love to see the temple

For our family home evening activity this week we went to the Portland Temple Visitors Center. It's new this year and while Jake went several months ago in conjunction with a youth temple trip, our family hasn't been able to get there until last night.

Although a small space, the visitors center is SO beautiful and has a peace you feel the second you step through the door that only the Spirit can bring. It's filled with interactive areas equipped some sweet technology. It kind of reminds me of a spiritual OMSI :)

The kids really enjoyed selecting Books of Mormon in different languages that would automatically start to read aloud in that particular language and they could follow along on the TV screen above.

We saw the film on Families and all the kids (minus JJ--who doesn't sit still unless he's sleeping) were captivated by it the entire time. I love how the Church can create an 11 minute message that can be so moving and more edifying than 20 full length movies combined that come out of Hollywood. It truly is amazing how you can see the Lord's hand in everything.

Here we are at the statue of the Savior, right inside the entrance. He actually gives a short but compelling message to follow Him. Again, all the kids were alert and attentive while they listened to the voice from above. I appreciate how the screen behind the statue isn't just clouds or a blue sky. It's a beautiful backdrop representing the northwest. The kids were able to give Jesus a hug and feel the nail prints in his hands, feet and side.

And this...well...this is pretty much the Houghlings in a pictorial nutshell. Jake being the sweet big brother and holding JJ. Cooper smiling in the background. Karcyn doing her unprompted girly pose. Calvin always needing to the be center of attention (and insisting that his foot remain on the ledge of the statue so he can strike his pose). JJ smiling and reaching out to anyone who will take him. And interestingly they stand inside the reach of the Savior's arms, it kind of looks to me like He's smiling. And saying, "Here they are. Love them like I do." A good reminder for me.

We didn't do everything in the visitors center due to attention spans and the fact that it was past their bedtime already. Plus we wanted to go outside and look at the temple. The staff at the visitors center gave us a scavenger hunt for the temple grounds. There was one for the visitors center on the back of it, as well. So cool! We told the kids we could do that the next time we came.

This is MY favorite picture. For a couple years, Calvin and Karcyn have requested that I sing them the primary song "I Love To See The Temple" before bed. What a wonderful thing for them to finally see the temple up close with their own two eyes. You just can't help but look up when you're there.

Can you guess what Karcyn's pointing at? Yup. Angel Moroni. She wanted to make sure Calvin saw him too.

It was a gorgeous, perfect evening to be on the temple grounds. We only wish we could have stayed longer and part of me wishes we had come sooner, but we'll be back with our kids again.

The evolution of JJ

Don't everyone faint from shock. It's true. I'm attempting a re-entry into the blogosphere. In my defense however, the reason I started the blog 5 years ago was to update my parents who were overseas serving a mission as well as the rest of my family who continue to be scattered to and fro throughout the country. Since my parents have returned to the states, the urgency of communicating with them through the blog has, of course, lessened. I won't lie. Having my 5th child had a little something to do with it too!

Because the last year has been an amazing one for us, I'm not going to be satisfied by moving forward from where we are. I've decided to highlight parts of it by implementing "Flashback Friday" as I attempt to continue blogging from where we are now.

The first topic that deserves attention is our baby JJ (who, sadly, is not a baby anymore!). He is 13 months (and 3 days) old today. He has been such a delight and joy to all of us. This past year has gone by WAY too fast.

In addition to a "Welcome Home, Mom" message drawn on the driveway, this one is my favorite. I don't think Jake realized the irony of it, but I loved crossing the symbolic finish line after coming home from the hospital with JJ.

A week after giving birth, Jared, Karcyn, Calvin, JJ and I piled into the suburban and drove (yes, drove) to Utah. Our first stop was St. George. My mom had come up to help out with JJ's birth and when she flew back home, she took Jake and Cooper with her so they could hang out for a week before we joined them.

Talk about a small world...Kellie, my best friend from high school (in Anchorage, Alaska!) bought a house down the street from my parents without knowing they lived there also. I thought it was super considerate of them to arrange that for my benefit :) Kellie took these pictures of JJ when he was 10 days old while we were visiting. You can see more of her pictures on her blog at

We've joked that I gave birth to Legolas from the Hobbit. He has one ear that is more pointy than the other and you gotta admit--he does look "elfish".

This is a now outdated family picture of us taken on August 28, 2011, on the day that JJ was blessed as Jared William Hough, by his dad Jared, in Lehi, UT (the second leg of our UT trip).

Calvin especially loved to help feed JJ and take care of him. With Karcyn in Kindergarten, Calvin was a big helper. True to form, we were supplementing with formula when JJ was about 5 weeks old.

JJ is a mommy's dream. Like his siblings, he was sleeping through the night around 6 weeks. He's so happy and loves being held! Fortunately, there are many people to hold him at home and at church. Here he is at 2 months old in my favorite outfit :)

Here he is at 4 months old for our Christmas Bo-Ho-Ho-ling activity with Grandma Lee. He started crawling right before he turned 5 months old and 8 months later has perfected the sport!

True to Hough form, we skipped a couple months without taking any pictures of our baby. (What the heck were we doing the first two months of 2012?) Here's JJ at 6 1/2 months old, eating, or rather, wearing his first solids. His first two teeth made their appearance at the beginning of February (we noticed it during the Super Bowl and I was crushed). I think this was about the time he stopped looking like a baby.

Jared, in his husband-awesomeness, took the 4 older kids and drove to Utah the last 5 days of Spring Break (and for General Conference) to give me a little break and some time with the little guy. Wow! That was a mommy dream! At 7 1/2 months old, JJ was helping me rearrange the kitchen. He had 3 more teeth.

The end of April we were headed out for a walk around the neighborhood one sunny Sunday afternoon. Actually, I think that was my birthday. At 8 1/2 months, JJ had 2 more teeth. And boy did he love to BITE and chew.

JJ often screeches. In order to be heard above the rest of our crew, I'm sure. I keep telling him that it's rough being the 5th child. (May, 9 1/2 months)

Remember the jingle from the 80s advertising a doll for boys? "My buddy (my buddy), my buddy (my buddy). My buddy and me!" (I hope the creator of that jingle was compensated well seeing as how I can still sing it 25 years later). That's the theme song for Jake and JJ. They are buddies to be sure. Most the pictures I have of JJ are actually WITH Jake. The engine and the caboose light up when they're around each other. Jake totally has the touch too. He can get JJ to sleep in church when I can't. He's very patient and kind with him. I'm so grateful for the love Jake shows his baby brother and look forward to the way their relationship will blossom as they get older. (June 2012, 10 months)

The beginning of June we took the kids out of school the last few days and drove (yes, drove again!) down to St. George, UT. This was JJ's second trip in 10 months. But he got to enjoy Grandma and Grandpa's pool this time.

He absolutely LOVES the water. I was excited to get him home into our subdivision pool. That kid is a fish. Even before we deliberately took him underwater (and after), he was putting his whole face in the water himself, complete with the dolphin kick and no crying at all. Maybe we'll put him in swimming lessons next summer :)

Did you know that the cup holders in camp chairs are a great snack holder for toddlers? JJ loved reaching for his Cheerios by himself. This was our family camping trip the middle of August at Lost Lake with my parents.

JJ's birthday was the Saturday that Jared and Jake returned from Scout Camp and my parents had taken Cooper on a trip down the Oregon Coast in their camper and weren't returning until early the next week right before this trip. So....that meant JJ got to celebrate his 1st birthday at campsite A4 up near Mt. Hood. Fortunately JJ didn't care. He loved opening his gifts, loved being on Grandma's lap and LOVED his cake.

JJ was a super cuddly baby and will still cuddle when he's tired and not attempting to scale you like a rock wall--and if you have a tie on, all the better for him! Here he is with Jake. JJ is our "Klingon" because he likes to hold on tight.

JJ you are such a sweet, happy baby. Thank you for making us smile!