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Too Many To Count Two

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Soccer, chicken curry, and frogs

E had his first soccer practice tonight. It's his second season and he was excited to go!
Apparently I go out of my way to cook "disgusting food" for the family. The kids came in the house from swimming and said "what is that smell?!" Curry. After some crying E tried it and like our friend from Green Eggs and Ham said "Say, I like green eggs and ham". H didn't eat it until after dinner, after soccer, after brownie recruitment and after she was jammied up. Finally she agreed to try it and thought it was fine. G liked it. S and J ate it just fine. DH asked why I was doing weird things to chicken. I, however, liked it.
At preschool today we studied frogs. The highlight was painting ceramic frogs. It was a very fun day. The boys are very funny.

Recipe for the brave at heart, or the likers-of-yucky-food

Chicken Curry
1 1/2 T oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1/4 t salt
2 t curry powder
1 can unsweetened coconut milk
1 can diced tomatoes
2T tomato paste
1 lb chicken breast cubed
3 cups packed fresh baby spinach

In a large skillet heat the oil and add onion and salt. Cook until softened. Add curry and cook for about another minute.
Stir in coconut milk, tomatoes, and tomato paste. Cook for 5 min until slightly thickened.
Add chicken, stir well and cook for 5-6 min. Stir in spinach and cook for 3 min. Season to taste and serve over rice.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Thursday, August 31 (which was a Monday 19 years ago)

19 years ago today my first baby daughter was born. This birthstory is not just the story of the day that a precious baby started her life but also the story of the birth of a mom. It is the point that I measure time by, the day that defines me. Once upon a time I was a kid, a teen. Then I was a mom and my whole world was different. Today I have been a mom as long as I wasn't. Crazy!

D was born on a hot August afternoon. I was excited but ill-prepared for her arrival. While I was pregnant with her I thought "how bad can it be?". I didn't know enough to even be nervous. We took a Lamaze class, but didn't finish because she came early. I also had some pamphlets that the doctor gave me that I read. This was before the era of the routine ultrasound and we didn't know she was a girl so we got ready by buying yellow stretchy suits and little nightgowns with red and blue bears on it. We had a second hand cradle and car seat and a stack of diapers and I considered myself ready. I am sure my mom and MIL shook their heads the whole time.

I worked until a few days before she was born and besides having a horrible backache the last four months felt great.
August 31, 1987 I woke up with cramps around 4am. I wasn't sure I was in labor and they didn't bother me enough to get up so I lay there excited and drifting in and out of sleep. Around 6 D's dad woke up to go to work and I told him I might be in labor. After a few moments of my uncertainty he decided to go to work and said to call if I thought it was the real thing. After he left I lay in bed a little longer and then decided I should get ready. I showered and putzed around . Had some more contractions, some that really hurt. Then I thought "uh, oh; this wasn't what I expected." I called Mark and told him and he said to call him back when I was ready to go to the hospital. I wandered around the house, flipped through the pamphlet (which didn't help at all) and around 10am he came home. I was relieved to see him because I had been sure for about an hour by then and wanted company. He asked if it was time to go and I said I didn't think so. We decided to take the dogs for a walk since we didn't know when we'd be back to take care of them. Frankly I don't know what we were thinking. We were gone a very short time when I decided I didn't want to do that so we went home and shortly after that my water broke. It was a flood. It was green. We headed to the hospital.

When we arrived at the hospital they put us in a room to observe us and decide if I was really in labor. I was having a lot of painful contractions and was pretty sure I was. Eventually someone decided I was and they moved us to a labor room. This was a room with two gurneys and a curtain in the middle. We shared a bathroom with the other couple. I labored there, laying flat on my back. It hurt A LOT. I literally couldn't see during contractions and was not a happy camper. After what seemed like an eternity I was complete and they wheeled me down the hall to the delivery room. I was told to scoot to the delivery bed and strapped into stirrups and told to push. Much to my relief pushing felt better than not so I gave it all I had. About half an hour later D came sliding into the world. I fell back and thought "thank heaven". After I caught my breath I looked up at my baby. The doctor said it's a girl. I started to cry. I was so surprised by the rush of love and joy I felt. She was the most miraculous creature I had ever laid eyes on. She was so ugly, squished up and swollen. But I didn't care, she was my baby! Her fast delivery was an ordeal for both of us. From the time I knew I was in labor until she was born was four hours. I ripped and had an episiotomy. Fun.

I got to hold her for a short time and then they whisked her away and I was moved to a recovery wing. A row of gurneys with moms but no babies. We lay there and stared at the ceiling. Mark left to call our mom's and I drank some juice. Eventually I was taken to my room and after asking for her for hours they brought my sweet little baby to me. Mark had left by that time but my brother and his friend came to hang out with me. When it was time to nurse they politely looked at the TV and I made a blanket tent and dove under to try and figure out what to do.

That night she cried all night. The nurses kept coming in to check on us, I am sure they thought "that teenage mom has no idea what she's doing". Yep. We went home the next day and D continued to cry for the next year. Despite that, I adored her. I found out how much I could love someone, and how little sleep I could live on. She grew to be the cutest, smartest little thing and I felt so lucky. Sitting in the hospital, holding her in my arms I was forever changed. Her happiness meant more to me than anything. I promised her I would do all I could to be a good mom, to teach her to love and serve the Lord, and to help her have a happy life.

She is now a wonderful, awesome young woman. She's living her life just the way I had hoped those many years ago and is such a joy to me. Happy Birthday!

Tortilla Soup

This yummy and quick dinner recipe we tried tonight courtesy of Family Fun. I cooked chicken and cubed it in the afternoon so the rest could be put together in about 15mintues. Which was good, and it was good!

4 quarts chicken broth (I use buillion cubes)
4 cups frozen corn
3 tomatoes, chopped
8 T salsa
cubed chicken

Put in a large soup pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.
In the meantime prepare add-ins.

2 ripe avocados, cubed
1 bag tortilla chips
3 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 bunch cilantro

Serve in soup bowls and let everyone add in what they like!

Works for Me ~ guest blogger

Today's works for me is brought to you by my littlest: guest blogger, Lucy. Things around here are sometimes a little on the busy side. Lou asks for drinks or stories read or string cheese, which ever necessity of life her little 19month old self thinks of. Usually everyone will drop what they are doing and get her what she wants (which is probably why she has the vocabulary that she does ...she knows one sign "more" and no words, but who's counting?). But sometimes she has to wait, or help herself, which she is happy to do. She opens the fridge and pantry and takes a look around. When she wants a drink she goes to the bathtub, turns on the cold water (the only faucet she can reach, luckily) and fills up. Sometimes she stays to play awhile.
We keep the kid cups in a *kitchen drawer instead of up in the cupboard so she can reach them so this works great.

*She also takes them out for tower building or general throwing fun so I can't really use that as a works for me, unless more work is the goal:)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Preschool started

E started preschool today. We have a parent taught co-op, which is my favorite model of education . I would so be into a Thomas Jeffersonian Mom School for my kids, but I digress. We have five little boys, age four in our school. One was on vacation today.
I got to teach first and our theme this week was ponds.
We read books about life in a pond. Sang the Beaver song (to the tune of the wheels on the bus)
vs. 1 the beavers teeth go crunch crunch crunch
vs. 2 the trees in the forest go crack and crash
vs.3 the beavers with their logs go pull and drag.
ect. ..when the beavers build their dam. Then we painted ponds on paper plates and used craft sticks and lots of glue to make dams.

The boys loved the song and the motions and we sang it a couple times. We also had snacks and played outside, read more books, had a phonics lessons and did calendar/prayer/pledge time. Not in that order.

It went well and I am excited for my turn on Thursday.

Yesterdays post really

Rush, Rush, Rush is sometimes the theme of things around here.

Nana and Abba had a quick visit, the time flew by. We had a lot of fun.

We are very grateful for grandparents around here. This last year my parents have been living in TX with us, well not with us, but down the road a bit. It's been the first time the littles have had grandparents around on a regular basis and it's blessed our lives a lot. We enjoy seeing them often and to have them available for every day stuff like watching soccer games, FHE, trips to the mall, taking walks, meeing us somewhere to feed the ducks or whatever. They also baby-sit on occasion which is great for the kids! (and great for me:) ) Next year they'll be leaving to serve a mission (very exciting) so we are enjoying them while they are here.

My in-laws are awesome grandparents. When DH and I met and married I had three little girls and they accepted them with open arms. Now that I know them better I know that family is very important to them and we, the girls and I, were now their family. We've been married 8 years and have added three more little ones to the family and they love them all the same and treat them all the same. I know they shake their heads and think we're a little nuts sometimes, with the "lots of kids" thing, and the "Mormon" thing, and I am sure "other things" as well. :)

Anyway, despite little differences we get along well and look forward to visits with each other. They are good about coming down several times a year for birthdays or dance recitals or new babies or whatever and they always spoil us. We go out to dinner and often shopping. We appreciate these nice things, but more than that we appreciate the nice people and the wonderful time we get to spend together. We try and get up to Ohio sometimes too, DH has two living grandparents who are there and we like to see them when we can as well.

Yesterday was a busy day. Seminary started. It's early. S said it went well so I was glad. H started riding the bus in the morning and that went well. I think we're going to survive the first two hours of the day after all. I am counting down the days until S has a drivers license. It will be SO nice.
J had an appointment at the orthodontist. I had an appointment with my doctor. My leg has been having a weird mystery pain and I have a bump on it that hasn't gone away in a few weeks so when I called we decided that I should have it looked at, Wednesday I am having an ultrasound. It's probably nothing but once you've had cancer every headache is now not just a headache but a potential brain tumor (joke.)
We went to Wal-mart.
Kriste came over and we worked on dinner groups. This is very fun. Last year DH was commenting on the lack of quality dates we went on and that we didn't socialize with friends enough. (in my defense at the time we had a nursing baby and that always curtails social plans somewhat). So my good friend, who moved recently, and who I miss SO much, Sheila and I decided to start up dinner groups. They had done it in the ward years before and people enjoyed it so we thought it would go well. We sent out a flyer calling it "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?" and spelled out the program. Once a month everyone gets together in small groups for dinner and an evening out. Once during the 5 or so months that we do it each couple hosts. The other months you are a guest. If you are hosting you know how many people are coming but not who is coming. If you are a guest you get told where to go but that's all you know. The coordination took some time, and we had a few complaints, but mostly it was a positive thing. Now I am the ward activities person (and the 14-15 year old Sunday School teacher) and the Bishopric suggested that this would be a fun thing to do again, although still not a ward activity. I didn't want to do it alone, it would take too much time and too much brain power, so Kriste graciously agreed to coordinate with me. Last year I really wanted everyone to eat with everyone else and always have a different mix of people. That turned out to be way too hard. People cancelled or other things happened. We ended up just trying to get a good random mix. That's the goal again this year. Our first dinner is Saturday. I am looking forward to it.
We also had FHE at mom's house and I had to get ready for preschool. It was a full day!

Saturday, August 26, 2006


We went on our first geo-caching outing. It was very fun. Hot, but fun. Abba has a GPS system so we looked up some caches near us and spent the afternoon traipsing around looking for them. We tried 5 and actually found 3, which I thought was pretty good. It was a lot of fun and the kids enjoyed looking through the boxes and either signing their names or picking a prize. We also brought prizes to leave if we took one. We enjoyed walking around outside and looking for the hidden treasure!

I think we'll do it again. Next time I would have everyone wear tennis shoes, we had to walk through some stickery areas so that would have made it better. Also if we went again in the summer I might bring water. We ended up enjoying ourselves and trying to do "just one more" enough times that bringing along water would have been good.
One we didn't find was by a boat dock. We had fun walking up and down the dock and looking at the boats and ducks and spider webs. E liked that just as well as looking for a treasure box.
The kids usually like any outdoor activity we come up with.

Today J went to a party at the country club. Several girls from her school got together to throw a back to school luau. J wasn't going to go but Nana persuaded her that she would have a good time. She went with her friends Ciera and Sophia. Hopefully they are having a great time!

Friday, August 25, 2006

New Shoes!

Nana and Abba are here visiting. We've been indulging in some of our favorite hobbies. Shopping and kid watching. The kids get so excited when they come! All we hear is "Abba watch me!", "Abba, watch this!", "Abba, look what I can do!" It's very cute.

Yesterday we swam, ate enchiladas and then Nana and I took J to orchestra. While we waited we went to Cato's (my new favorite store!) I got these C.U.T.E. shoes!!! Tried on lots of stuff and found some cute outfits. Shopping with no little helpers is so much more relaxing. I actually do like to go with them as well, I just don't plan on trying anything on. This time I had time to look around and that was fun.

This morning Abba, DH, and I went and got our new (to us) piano. We put it on a dolly and pushed it down the middle of the street. I wish we had taken a photo of the thing rolling along, traffic passing on the side, dog running back and forth, kids on the porch cheering the procession on. It went much better than I had thought and we got it home in one piece. Right now it's on the porch being the subject of much discussion: stain, or just dust it off?; put it on the east wall of the living room or stuff it in a bedroom, or put it in the entry way?; how does it sound? and if we buy a giant Indian and a barber pole can we just leave it here and call it ambiance?

Nana and G discussing the plans of the day :)

They are here until Sunday and I am sure we'll have lots of fun...and that we'll get to see lots more kid tricks!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Morning rush hour and other mysteries

How to get my kids out the door on time is turning into some what of an issue this year. I was expecting an easy week of it but was caught off guard by first J and then S. J has to be at school at 7:15 this week for volleyball try-outs. S has to be at school at 7:45 for drill team practice. H has to be at school at 8:00. This doesn't sound too complicated except the schools are not close to each other, especially S's who is going to a school on a transfer. DH can't really be counted on to help because he goes to work early during the school year. Next week we get to add in seminary from 6-7 for S, but we subtract volley-ball for J and she then needs to be at school by 8:30. And S has to be at school at 7:30. The littles spend a lot of time in the car schleping sibs around.

I think what we might do is get everyone up at 5:45 for family prayer. Then I'll take S and DH can start H's bath. I'll come back and do breakfast, pack lunches and make sure H looks fine for the day. I'll take E and G to get S and go straight to school with her. Leaving J and H to catch the morning bus (which they haven't' been riding). H's comes about 40 minutes before J so J can make sure H gets on safely and I'll be back before J leaves so I can make sure that happened and spend a minute talking to her. Then G, E and I can get ready for the day. Driving to church and back for the seminary drop off should be about 14 minutes. The pick up/drop off at school will be closer to a half hour. This should be do-able and not TOO much time in the car. I can't believe it took me 3 days to think of this. Hopefully it will go smoothly.

Here's another mystery: E loves dinosaur egg oatmeal. We used to get it all the time then suddenly Wal-mart stopped selling it. Why? Yesterday after school J had violin lessons and the rest of us ran to Albertsons, by her teachers home, to get a few things and they had the dinosaur eggs so I got a few boxes and this morning had a happy oatmeal eater.

Thirdly, we had our carpets cleaned this week. Millie (the dog) had a parasite that gave her the runs. Not pretty. Our carpet suffered,we suffered more cleaning it up. So now that she's well we decided we needed an all over deep professional cleaning. This big event happened on Tuesday. On Wednesday "nobody" spilled something on the carpet. The mystery is Who did it and What is it? And Whhhyyy???

We bought a piano at a garage sale. We have a piano but it belongs to D and she told us she plans on taking it when she gets married (whenever that is:)). That brings me to my last mystery. Where do I put a second piano in the mean time? I don't want to line the walls with furniture. The less clutter we have the better, not that a musical instrument is clutter, it's just we have a lot of stuff and I am trying to persuade it to leave the house, yet we import as quickly as I bag up and send out.

I guess that's enough mystery for one morning. We have a preschool planning meeting to get to and Nana and Abba coming for a visit for a long weekend arriving this afternoon so we're off and running!

*Last note: we have company, orchestra and a soccer parent meeting tonight. Yeah, that'll work!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Works for Me ~ Sunday dinner

Last year when G was born Nana came to stay with us. She cooked Sunday dinner in this roaster. I was so impressed, I had never seen a roaster used and I wondered how I had lived without it all these years. It became my newest works for me. On Sunday before church I put in a frozen roast, potatoes and carrots and some onions and water. It cooks while we're gone and we walk into the house starving and things smell so wonderful. It's the best. If I put a jell-o in the fridge in the morning then it's a great Sunday!

*Right now we're on the 9am schedule so I actually put the food in when we get home and it cooks while we nap/watch movies or play games. It's SO easy and so delicious. When we're on the afternoon schedule it's even better!

I have also used it for turkey, ham, and other dishes but our Sunday Roast is a real "works for me!"

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

All her bags are packed, she's ready to go....

D was home for the weekend. It was so great to have her. We swam and shopped and watched movies and talked. The days flew by. She saw some friends, played with the younger sibs, went to church and hugged people who haven't seen her in months. Tonight we drove her to the airport after a visit that went far to quickly and she's back to her life. Her new house with her best friends, and a few new roommates that she'll soon meet, classes starting tomorrow and her man.

She's all grown up now. She has interests that she didn't have as a young teen at home. She and Greg are hikers and they fish. Who would have thought?, next thing I know she'll be telling me she shot a deer or something:) She likes to cross stitch and to cook. She's a great photographer and I hear she's keeping her room clean!

It's wonderful and sad all at the same time, having a young adult in the family.

Monday, August 21, 2006

first day of school

Today is my least favorite day of the year. (A close second is the day I go to the dentist)

The first day of school. Although I loved going to school and loved the first day when I was a kid, I hate to send my kids off.

Despite our attempts to ignore it the day arrived anyway. We said good-bye to lazy mornings, staying up late, renting videos from Blockbuster and watching them, care free days spent in the pool, and being together all the time and started another year of homework, getting up early, after school activities, tests and grades and all.

H is in 2nd grade.

J in 8th, wow her last year of middle school.

S is a sophmore/junior. She has extra credit already and by next year will be a senior.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Surprise 16th Birthday Party

We threw a surprise 16th birthday party for S today. Her birthday is on Christmas Day so I thought she'd really be surprised!
She was.
Our day was a typical Saturday. We had some errands to run this morning. We cleaned the house.
One not typical thing is we went to the airport to get D, who is home for a long weekend between semesters! It is SO fun to have her home.
After she got home we went swimming and then S baked a "welcome home D" cake. The girls then left to go to Blockbuster and some other stops and I quickly baked a second cake, finished cleaning up. Got the soda and chips out of hiding and blew up some balloons. Then her friends started to arrive.
When S got here we yelled "Surprise" and she looked around confused and said surprise for who? She thought it was for D, but it was her friends there. Then we told her we were celebrating her birthday four months early. She cracked up!

We had a lot of fun, well technically the fun is still going on. We swam and ate cake and ice cream, then pizza and chips . Backwards since we are doing the opposite season...or because the kids were hungry and the pizza wasn't here yet:)

We played memory. I made the game with teenage words and candy bars to match. For example if they uncovered two "touchdowns" they got a Skor bar, or if they uncovered two "drivers permit" they got a Rocky Road, "math and music" was M&Ms and so on. Very fun. She opened gifts and then I sent them upstairs so I could put the littles to bed and work on a talk for tomorrow. Of course first I had to come here and jot down a quick note!

So, one of us is counting down the days until her actual birthday and the rest of us are just glad to have such a sweet girl in the family. Sweet 16 (almost)

Friday, August 18, 2006

$6 for one Egg ?

Not last night but the night before (24 robbers came knocking at my door...remember that?) S and J went to a sleep-over. Some of the YW wanted a big get together before school started and planned one. They invited all the girls and some adults. I was excited to get an invitation and was looking forward to going until my baby-sitter told me he had to work late :( The girls had the best time . They stayed up until 5am, watched movies, ate junk, laughed and talked and played a game that was very creative and fun. They divided into teams and each team was given a dozen eggs. They then had to "sell" the eggs and who ever made the most money won. They hopped into cars and drove to family and friends around the ward and neighborhood in the middle of the night and sold their eggs! The winning team had near $50. They then took their winnings to Open-All-Night-Wal-mart and bought junk food! What fun.

Yesterday we had two very sleepy big girls around here :)

Last night was meet the teacher night for H. Her new teacher this year is Mrs. Miller. She seemed very nice. H was excited to greet some friends she hadn't seen all summer and brought her teacher a "teacher" pen she bought for her a few days before.

It's been hot. Today it's supposed to be 105. So was yesterday. Swimming is our saving grace.

DH and I have been considering trading in our van. I used to drive a Suburban, which I loved. It was a gas guzzler. And started to need a lot of repairs. So we traded for the Kia Sedona. Which is smaller but has leather seats (that I decided I could never live without in a car again) and a built in DVD (very nice) and better mileage and a great warranty. The problem is it doesn't fit everyone. With D off to college (I digress to count-down with great excitement the sleeps til she comes to visit: that would be ONE!) it has enough seat belts for all and since DH isn't usually in the car with us it works great. It seats 6 very comfortablely. It's 7 that's the problem. For short rides we're fine. For treks across the country, which we do kind of often, it doesn't work. Last time we flew one (S) to our destination. For D's wedding (if she ever gets engaged:) ) we could probably put a kid or two in Grandma's car since we'll be heading the same way but for everything else it's a real problem. So the dilemma~ keep the car we already have, that works fine, is new and we like well enough and travel a lot less OR buy something bigger which~ actually I will love because I loved my Suburban, costs more to drive and costs more because we don't have it yet..Although used it may end up the same out of pocket each month. What to do, what to do?

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Can I get a moment of privacy?

When you first become a mom one of the things you have to adjust to is the lack of privacy. Someone is always there, sharing your every breath, your body, all your time.

A lot of it is wonderful. There are moments when you think a little privacy would be nice. Taking a shower with someone pressing their nose on the glass asking if they can come in, or if they can watch TV, or whatever. Eating your dinner with someone sitting on your lap grabbing your plate, or when they are a bit bigger needing help cutting their food, or needing another drink, or another fork because they have dropped theirs (again). Talking on the phone while being interrupted to be asked "who are you talking to?" or to be told "so and so took my ______". Sleeping with a little foot pressed in the small of your back, or little hand flopped across your face. These and many other kidturuptions are things I can live with and mostly don't mind. There is one place I'd like to go alone, pretty much as a rule.

The, ahem...library in our house. I don't want to see fingers under the door. I don't want to be told that Ord just did a really cool trick, I don't want to be asked where we keep the milk, I don't want to hear the "quiet" breathing of someone waiting for me to come out. However that day has not yet happened for me.

We have reached a new low, a blatant disregard for my request to give me a minute. G pulls a seat in and joins me. This little yellow chair now sits cheerfully by the tub waiting to be used. No matter how quietly I try to sneak in the library the little yellow sentinel must send out an alert only heard by the smallest of ears becauseI soon have company.

...and then she summons the rest!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Mom, I'm Bored

I actually don't hear that much because I tell the kids a) really bright people are never bored; they find something to do. and b) I always have a list of chores handy for a whiny bored kid to occupy themselves with.

However I do have a boredom buster. When the kids are cranky or fighting or wanting to turn to the TV for entertainment little kits or crafts can come to the rescue.

I have a little stash of things to work on that I can pull out as needed. It's always welcome and fun.

You can buy things on clearance and save them. We are lucky because Nana sends stuff that is perfect for this.

Family Fun magazine always has lots of ideas and we have books like "1001 crafts for kids", and other such titles, that they can browse through and look for inspiration.

bean rattle made w/ an old water bottle

bead people

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

shop 'til you drop

We got an early start of it today. I was worried we wouldn't get to go because last night around 2am G woke up throwing up. We cleaned her up and gave her a bath and she didn't have a fever and wanted to play. It was very odd. And gross. Anyway I was up "playing" and hoping that H wouldn't have to miss her special day. This morning G was fine and we were able to carry on as planned.

We got in the car and H told me she was planning on buying only brown and pink, mostly pink, so everything would match. Okay. We stopped by Target first where she had a gift card from Uncle Brian. Then we went to the mall. It was a lot of fun. She looked and looked and found tons of things she JUST LOVED!!! I let her pretty much pick what she wanted, although I did steer her to a pair of tennis shoes for PE and a pkg of undies and socks.

She got a book bag, backpacks are SO first grade!, that is pink. Some miniture school supplies that no one needs but she couldn't resist and they were cute, teeny little tape dispensers and little pens. Brown cord gauchos, a pink shirt, cheetah skirt ( and a matching one for G~ H's idea), cheetah headband, tights, umbrella and jacket and a candy bar for E. She still wants to buy some brown boots.

Tonight we have cake and open a few presents and she'll be officially celebrated!

Sunday's child is full of grace

Today is H's 7th birthday. I always say this but I can not believe how fast time has gone by.

So, the birthstory:

My family was visiting from CA. DH and I were getting sealed in the temple. I was sealed before and we had been waiting on a cancellation. A few weeks before H was due we finally got it and so we scheduled a date and everyone came out. We went to the temple on the 14th and later that evening my Dad said to me "well, I am leaving back to CA in two days so I want you to have the baby tomorrow."

I have always been an obedient daughter :)
We went to bed and a few hours later I woke up having contractions. I woke DH up and we lay in bed for a minute being excited. Then we got up and snuck out of the house. We had my family sleeping everywhere :)

We drove the half hour to the hospital speeding along. DH was very nervous. I was breathing through frequent contractions.

It was HOT and the air was still and all was quiet when we pulled up to the hospital. DH parked the car in a 10minute parking only spot and we went up to delivery. I had a contraction in the parking lot, one in the lobby, another in the elevator. Get the picture? We walked up to the desk and the nurses said can we help you? I said we're having a baby, then had a contraction and they hopped right up. We got a room and DH had to run down and re park the car while I got changed.

When he got back I was on the bed kneeling on my hands and knees (turns out she was sunny side up and that felt the 'best")and they were asking questions (most annoying) and trying to draw blood (which was dripping onto the floor..the poor phlebotomist wanted me to hold my hand in the air to make an easier stick...sorry, and exCUSE me?!)

I think we were in the hospital about a half hour when the doctor came in the room and they told me to lay on my back so he could check, which I was not happy to comply with. I was complete. A few pushes and out she came. We cried, she cried. It was a sweet moment.

DH was excited to call everyone so even though most people still considered it the middle of the night he started making phone calls. We sat and stared at her and marveled at the little life we had been loaned to raise and love.

That day she was quiet and peaceful and we had visitors who were happy to see her before going home to CA and Uncle Michael to Utah.

Nana and Abba met her a few weeks later. By that time she was already growing a large hemangioma that would set the tone for the rest of the next many years for her. We did have a few weeks of sweetness and calm though.

I am grateful to have this sweet, strong willed, funny, bright girl as my dear daughter! Today her birthday wish was for me to get a baby-sitter and just the two of us to go to the mall shopping for school clothes. I can't wait to go!!!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Story Time

Bedtime story time is one of my favorites. The kids are all jammied up and what's sweeter than children in their pajamas ~smelling fresh from baths, ready for the last minutes of day?

E picked a book that sings songs, one of the ones that you push the button on the side. That led to a spontaneous dance recital. Little Missy spun in circles and lifted one leg joy. E did Jedi flips, spins and karate chops (he calls that dancing :) ) and H did ballet. Very cute.

Papa and Grandma are back from their summer on the west coast. We had a fun afternoon and evening together. Tried some new recipes for dinner, played games and watched Harry Potter 4. We also read scriptures together and prayed. It's nice to have them back for that. Harry Potter was a dumb idea. Earlier this summer I watched Sorcerer's Stone with the kids. They had been asking about it and I hadn't let them see it. Finally I decided since a) we were spending a lot of time with MSV and her kids love it that we should get caught up. and b) I like it and thought they might. At least I thought E might. Well, I was right E loved it. H watched parts, left the room a lot and says she likes it but really was a little scared.

Over the next few months E has seen 2 and 3 and loved them and has been asking to see 4.
H hasn't seen the others until Saturday DH took E to see "Monster House" for a daddy/son time. The girls and I stayed home painted toe nails, made bead people and watched 3. H wasn't bothered so I decided to rent 4.
We all watched until it got to be too much for H. Then she and I went downstairs to work on dinner.

Consequence: Last night we had two kids sleeping on the floor with us. My fault. We are typically very careful with the kids movie viewing. I used poor judgment because I wanted to see it and thought it would be fun for all...and now I pay the price, and poor H is scared.

Parting question: Why is it that a dog who happily steals diapers out of the trash can to snack on won't eat her $30 special perscription dog food? That doesn't make any sense to me.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

"Sheltering is not a place, it's a relationship"

I love this post. As I raise my children I think a lot about what is best for them. I want them to be happy. I want them to know who they are. I want them to feel the love of the Lord in their lives and to follow Him. I want that for them when I am with them and even more when I am not.

Home school vs public, Sleep-overs vs not, driving at 16 or waiting, walking to a friends house by themselves, choosing what to wear, allowing freedom in music or not, which movies to watch, friends to have.....the list goes on and on. These are the choices we make and think about and pray over.

Katherine over at Raising Five has written about this in a post that I found very insightful and really food for thought. I love her quote about sheltering not being a place but a relationship. I agree that it is SO important to have a good, living, growing, respectful, loving relationship and that it is that example and love that helps our kids chose the right. I add that a their personal relationship with the Heavenly Father is also, and even more so, important and needs to be cultivated the same way.

So thanks Katherine and if you have a minute go read!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Books, Books, Books

There's a great meme floating around blog land. As I've read other peoples lists I've come up with a lot of books I want to read. I need to start by saying that I love to read. Always have. My best friend and I growing up literally walked to the library every week. We had a ritual. We'd walk there. Then get a drink and find a table. Then we'd go up and down the aisles looking for titles that struck our fancy, books that looked enticing. Different criteria depending on our mood but the end result was always the same~ a stack of books. A big stack. We'd take it to the table and then read through the jackets, browse the pages, look at the backs. Sometimes we'd talk, sometimes we'd just sit in quiet companionship.

Finally we'd have it narrowed down to three stacks each. One that was books we for sure wanted to read that week. Another was maybes and the third was no. Then we'd trade the maybes and look at each others. Normally we'd each select another one or two from that stack. Then before we allowed ourselves the pleasure of opening the pages to a new world, a friend we were about to meet, an adventure waiting at the turn of a page we'd returned the rejected books. (we were polite patrons of our beloved library).

At last we would read. I don't know how long we sat there. A good while I suppose. Getting a taste of what the week would hold for us. When our time was up we'd head to the check out desk, sign our names on the index cards (remember that?) and check out. It was always fun to see who else had read that same book. Often we'd see names of friends, or each others names. One time we even happened upon a book read by a boy we both had a crush on (that was an exciting day....I know, we were nerds what can I say) After that all that was left to do was to put our books in our backpacks and walk home. We'd talk about our books on the way home. And we'd switch "good ones" during the week. We read a lot.

Secondly, I have a very poor memory. This is a blessing and a curse. The good news is if you do something silly~ most likely I'll forget . If you tell me a secret~ I'll probably forget. If you are my DH or sweet kiddos and do something to annoy me~ I'll forget. The bad news is I forget. Sometimes my kids ask me things from when I was young, or when they were young, and I have to make up answers! (just kidding I don't make up stuff {very often} I just have to apologetically say I don't know) DH asks me things thinking I should know them and sometimes I do, and sometimes I have forgotten. And names of books...Sometimes I forget. So my list won't be as complete as some of the others.

Before I go on let me leave you with this: read, read, read. Even if you are a lame-o rememberer like me your life will be richer.

1. Book that changed your life: The Book of Mormon, "Believing Christ" by Stephen Robinson, the Bible

2. Book that you've read more than once: The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (this could go above too because I totally believe in the La Leche League propaganda and feel like this is the best thing mom's can do for their babies and their families.Nursing makes you pro-family, makes mom be with the baby, makes you bond and attach), The Fire of Faith by John H Gorberg, The Work and the Glory Series, The Book of Mormon, Baby Catcher

3. Book you'd want on a desert island: Book of Mormon, 101 things to do with coconuts by Gilligan

4. Books that made you laugh: Little Women, Anne of Green Gables, I Capture the Castle (thanks Tori), Pride and Prejudice (I laughed, I cried, I loved it but I wasn't sure where it fit so here it is)

5. Book that made you cry: "Secrets" by Blaine Yorgason and Sunny Oaks, "Charley"

6. Book that you wish had been written: ?

7. Book you don't enjoy: western or romance. I little romance thrown into another story is fine but come on..

8. Book you are currently reading: I just read "The Life of Pi"out loud to my DH. (he liked it more than I did),I am almost done with" A midwives Tale: the Biography of Martha Ballard" (so interesting it gives a great picture of what life was like in the 1700's for women) ,"The Color of Water" is next in the queue, "Jess" (out loud with H), "The Well Trained Mind" (I've been working through this one for awhile), and "Sink Reflections" (the flybaby guide to life).

9. Book you've been meaning to read: too many to list

10. Book you remember as a real page-turner: DaVinci Code, Nancy Drew Mysteries (when I was a girl I LOVED them), Eragon, and of course Harry Potter

11. Non-fiction books that you have enjoyed: I love text books . I know it's weird but I think they are so fun and actual read most of the ones I was assigned growing up and in college

12. Children's books your family has loved: Where the Wild Things Are, The Berenstain Bears, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Sleepy squirrel, Anne of Green Gables, The Umbrella, The Missing Piece, A Rind of Endless Light, Harry Potter, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, Tennis Shoes Among the Nephites, Anthology of Russian Fairy Tales, .....the list never ends

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Family Cleaning Hour

I just realized I have a "Works for me Wednesday"! And it's Wednesday!!
(Maybe next week I'll even import the cute little icon that goes with it.)

Someone commented to me that we always were having fun. Which we are. As I thought about that though I decided I needed to show a more accurate picture of how things are around here. For posterity's sake.
We do try and have fun every day. After all "men are that they might have joy". Real joy however doesn't come from playing all the time. It comes from work and praying and playing.

We work together every day, we also worship together every day. And we play. Probably the kids like the playing the best but I suspect the more important part is the work. And I know the most important part is the worship. We have family prayer in the morning. Family scripture study and prayer at night. We bless our food at each meal. We have FHE once a week. We observe the Sabbath together each week. And we encourage each family member to pray and study individually each day. Like most families we have good days, and bad. Good weeks and bad even. But we keep trying.
Over the years we have tried a lot of different methods to make our cleaning experience successful. We've tried the pull a chore out of a jar method, the chore wheel, the here's your partner/ here's your list, and many others. The attempts have all had some success but what we do now is my favorite. Every day or so I tell the kids it's "family cleaning hour". Then we all go from room to room together doing what needs to be done. At first we did each room as a big group. Now we go to different parts of the house and work side by side in usually two rooms. For example if two are in a bathroom cleaning the rest will be in the bedroom next door cleaning that. When the kids can see each other working and see me working it goes the best. I guess no one feels like Cinderella and can contribute their best effort with a happy heart. Every day everyone is assigned work to do. Family Cleaning Hour is a more comprehensive effort.

So the picture on the top is S cleaning the frog bathroom upstairs. Next is all the kids picking popcorn kernels off the game room floor (BTW~ no one knows how they got there but there they were). J is creative in her approach, but as long as the job gets done that's fine with me.

H vacuuming the little girls room.

J mopping the cowboy bathroom, this is the last step in each room and so they are alone while the rest of the crew has moved on .
E helping to dust.

G putting toys into baskets in E's room. Everyone helps in every room whether they sleep there, brush their teeth there or never even step a toe inside it except during cleaning hour. That way we avoid the "it's not my mess" dilemma.

Another benefit to this method is I can teach by example how I want things done. And I can find things they have hidden when they work indepedently. Now, none of my actual children do this but somehow we have dirty clothes, and dishes and sometimes toys or books stuffed in little corners, cabinets and closets. It's a mystery to all how it happens but the important thing is we can fix it during family cleaning hour.

Even the littles can help. G loves to put things in boxes, to unload the dishwasher, to be given a baby wipe to dust with. Things don't actually get cleaner with her help but maybe she's learning some good habits.
You would think with all these great helpers, and great plans that everything would always be picked up and tidy and sparkly clean. I wish.

We still struggle with clutter and cheerful work faces and getting everything done...or even part of everything. I guess we're a work in progress. But maybe someday!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Popsicle Paradise

Little wet bodies, the smell of sunscreen, sticky popsicles dripping down your arm and belly, hot cement burning your feet as you make a mad dash to shade or grass or your shoes.

....these are the things that make up the lazy, last days of summer.

Monday, August 07, 2006

For My Sister- Southwestern Rice Salad

I don't have a picture because I forgot to take one but trust me this looks as lovely as it tastes.

1 1/3 cups water
2/3cups uncooked long grain rice
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1 medium chopped carrot
3 cloves garlic,minced
1T vegtable oil
1 pkg fozen corn, thawed
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 medium plum tomatoes chopped
1 cup salted peanuts
1/3 cup minced fresh cilantro
2/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/2 - 1 1/2 t cayenne pepper
1/2 t ground cumin

In a large saucepan, bring water and rice to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat. Let stand for 5 minutes or until rice is tender. Rinse rice with cold water and drain. Place in a large bowl.
In a small skillet, saute the green pepper, onion, carrot and garlic in oil until crisp-tender. Add to rice. Stir in the corn, beans, tomatoes, peanuts, and cilantro.
In a small bowl, combine the oil, lemon juice, cayenne and cumin. Pour over rice mixture and stir to coat. Cover and refrigerate until serving. Serves 12

Been Tagged "5 Things"

I was tagged by Fold My Laundry Please. The idea is an easy one 5 categories, 5 items each. Ready! Go!

5 Things In My Freezer: ice cream, frozen veggies, baggies of shredded zucchini, chicken, and ice cubes

5 Things In My Closet: shoes, clothes, towels, toilet paper and a wedding dress

5 Things In My Car: DVD's, baby wipes, a couple pairs of H's shoes, water bottles and assorted trash.

5 Things In My Purse: It's actually a diaper bag and holds everything: diapers, wipes, magic soap, markers, and gum. (and the list could go on!)

5 Things In My Wallet: temple recomend, library card, medical card, VISA, and drivers license.

Again, I never know who to tag but if you want to come on and join the fun!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Unexpected fun...and me without my camera!

A couple weeks ago we got an invitation in the mail to an open house for a doctor's office in our town.

This was kind of big news. When we moved here our little town didn't have a Wal-mart, a McDonalds, a doctors office or many other things. It did have a beauty barn where you could buy beauty supplies in the front and feed in the back. It was shocking to me, not bad, just different. Well it has grown a lot in the last almost 8 years. Including adding a McDonalds and a Wal-mart and many other hotspots. We're even getting a Chili's soon! A doctor that is close will be a real treat. In addition to the proximity our pediatrician is moving and so we are on the search for a new doctor anyway.

So, long story short, we decided to go. DH was working today, and I didn't feel well this morning so we almost didn't but about midmorning the kids were restless, I didn't want to swim, and we had library videos to return anyway so we headed off.

It ended up being so fun. They joined up with several nearby businesses and did a really nice job on their open house. It was like going to a carnival. The kids bounced in bouncy houses, got to ride on ponies, got free stuff and free food. We toured the office and met one of the doctors and the staff. It was very fun. They had hot dogs, snow cones, popcorn, cotton candy, cookies, cold water bottles, OJ, nachos, lots of fresh fruit, muffins and bagels and breads. It was all free. They were giving away tons of stuff too. We got backpacks and fanny packs, travel mugs, hand sanitizers, toothbrushes and toothpaste, whistles, flags, toy dogs on a stick that squeak, pin wheels and magnets. They also had face painting, games and music. The kids had such a good time. It was funny to me because it wasn't something I had planned on doing for them and it turned out to be something they enjoyed a lot. I was sad I didn't have my camera, especially for the pony rides.

After we went to Walgreens and got some school supplies. Then to the library where those wacky librarians were baking cookies on the dash board of one of their cars (and they were really cooking! Talk about stinking hot!). Then to Blockbuster. We got home around 1pm and I had everyone rest.

Tonight we swam and grilled pork chops. J made brownies. Fun stuff.

Friday, August 04, 2006

100th Post

I can't believe I have made a 100 posts. I started out doing this for posterity. I keep meaning to journal and haven't been great at it but this is a fun and easy way to do it.

Then it became a great way to let family, far-flung around the country, keep up with our daily lives.

Then it became fun and relaxing, a hobby of sorts. And I've made virtual friends. So I guess it's good for everyone.

So for my 100th post here are 100 random thoughts. In no particular order.

  1. Tonight we had talapia and potatoes w/onions and green beans for dinner. The above picture is "cool S" cutting onions for the potatoes.
  2. One day I want to go to Senegal.
  3. DH does not.
  4. I love dessert, love to make it, love to eat it.
  5. My favorite pajamas are blue and white striped, pants and a button down shorts.
  6. I am hair-impaired.
  7. I love Star Trek.
  8. When I was little I wanted to be Mr. Spock.
  9. But I wanted to marry Capt. Kirk.
  10. My favorite captain is Jonathan Archer
  11. My upstairs bathroom is decorated in frogs.
  12. Tonight DH and his mini me caught a toad.
  13. It peed on the carpet. (sigh)
  14. I love digital photography.
  15. I hate going to the dentist.
  16. I almost always fall asleep when watching DVD's in the evening.
  17. I hate when school starts.
  18. If I was a better mother I'd homeschool.
  19. Christmas is my favorite holiday (even though it's cliche to say that).
  20. I also love the 4th of July.
  21. I'd love to be a mid-wife.
  22. I've never given birth at home.
  23. But I would have if it didn't cost so much, and if DH was braver about it.
  24. When I was a girl I wanted to grow up to be a nurse.
  25. I changed my mind when I had cancer and spent time in the hospital.
  26. I think it was post traumatic stress, and not really a change of heart.
  27. Instead I became a teacher.
  28. I don't always do the thing I think is best, or want the most. I'm much too sensible for that.
  29. I want to be a runner.
  30. I hate to run.
  31. Mostly I'd like to look like a runner. A runner/vegetarian.
  32. I love to go to the beach, and to have a pool, but I don't like to get my face wet.
  33. I love to read.
  34. When I was a girl my best friend and I walked to the library every week, and walked home with a stack of books.
  35. It was a long walk.
  36. It was worth it.
  37. Yes, I was a nerd.

  1. Today Great Grandpa Tom sent a box with some new books!
  2. We were all so excited.
  3. I can't wear watches, they always stop.
  4. I've studied languages I don't speak and instruments I don't play.
  5. That's the second time today I said that.
  6. I love to make breakfast.
  7. Black beans are my favorite bean.
  8. My sister Anna had the most beautiful wedding I've ever been to.
  9. I've never had a massage.
  10. But someday I plan to.
  11. When someone gets pregnant or has a new little nursling I get a little wistful, not really jealous because I don't want another baby, but there is something so sweet and endearing about babies.
  12. I never wanted a son.
  13. But now that I have one I love it. And I adore him!
  14. I am even excited for scouts.
  15. I love Josh Groban.
  16. If I were really rich I'd fly to one of his concert.
  17. And stay in a nice hotel.
  18. Next summer we're going to Disney World and I am SOOOO excited.
  19. I love the smell of clean laundry.
  20. I love new sheets, freshly laundered. Put on the bed, cool and wrinkle and crumb free.
  21. I used to be shy.
  22. Then I decided not to be.
  23. I still am private, but friendly I think.
  24. People tell me things.
  25. I guess I have one of those faces.
  26. I try really hard to keep their confidences.
  27. I miss D.
  28. I am happy for her.
  29. She's doing what I wanted to do.
  30. My biggest regret is not serving a mission in my youth.
  31. I missed out on "one of the greatest blessing of my life", because of my poor choices.
  32. I was excited when I learned how to properly use too, to and two. And than and then.
  33. I am a horrible speller.
  34. Spell checker has helped me become better.
  35. I like smart people.
  36. I like well-read people.
  37. I think our gospel doctrine teacher is a good story teller and I enjoy his lessons very much.
  38. I would die if I was asked to do that.
  39. I need to be a better scriptorian.
  40. I love The Amazing Race, and Survivor.
  41. I hate to be cold.
  42. I love when the kids cuddle up in bed with us.
  43. I love teenagers. It's the most fun parenting stage.
  44. I'm not kidding.
  45. My favorite calling was in Young Women.
  46. My least favorite was Enrichment Leader.
  47. I took roller skating lessons when I was a kid.
  48. I like my kids to take lessons.
  49. I love Bath & Body works.
  50. My favorite "flavors" are pink grapefruit, pomegranate martini and coco-cabana.
  51. I love trees.
  52. I am running out of random thoughts.
  53. I don't think Snape is a death eater.
  54. I think Harry might die in the last book.
  55. The St Louis Zoo is my favorite one.
  56. I am afraid to fly.
  57. I know this doesn't make sense, but I am still nervous.
  58. I don't always sleep well.
  59. Tums help, sometimes.
  60. I love college.
  61. I don't do math very well.
  62. I used to be smarter but something happened to my brain.
  63. I can't wait to serve a mission some day.

Happy 100th Post!

Ward Swim Day

Every Friday we have a ward swim day. This week was our turn to host. It was well attended.

Today was particularly wonderful for me because baby G learned how to use floaties!! Wow, how liberating for us both. She LOVED them.
I still have to stay right there by her side but she can swim around and jump in and I don't have to keep my hand right on her anymore. It was so fun for her, and much more relaxing for me. Yeah for floaties!!!

I really enjoy our pool and enjoy sharing it with our friends. We have people over swimming most days of the week, which is fun. Official swim days have a lot more people then a normal day and the kids enjoy it a lot.

I can't believe we only have two weeks of summer vacation left. :(