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Too Many To Count Two

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Conference weekend

It rained and rained and rained. It poured. We were out last night and the streets were flooding and the lighting was flashing. We've been in a drought so we needed the water.

Today dawned bright and sunny. We had family cleaning hour. DH worked on the lawn mower, then on the lawn.
We got to watch conference at home. Which is great.

Every conference my friend Nikko has a "soup thing". It's very fun. She makes soup, we bring sides and we go after the 2nd session and eat together. The men then carpool to priesthood and the women and kids stay and talk and play. This time I think we had about 7 families there.
Today I made a yummy jell-o salad and J and H and Emma made these cute chicky cupcakes to take with us.

Everything is so green and fresh looking today. It's kind of humid but nice. We were walking over to Nikko's after conference and it turned out to be one of those nice moments. I was pulling the wagon with the food in it. I ended up at the end of the pack because when we all went outside immediately H got on her bike and rode ahead. Then DH and G started walking. Brother called for me to wait for him while he got his bike off the porch, which I did. (S was gone at a birthday party and J and Em were coming in a few minutes). Then he rode ahead so I had a good view of everyone. The greens in the trees and on the grass were so vivid. The birds and bugs were chirping away. Lucy looked like a little Easter egg dressed in pink and yellow and be-bopping along next to her dad. He was all dressed up for the meeting later and looked so handsome. I don't know if it was because of the rain in the days past, or the good conference weekend we are enjoying or what but it was a happy, content moment.

Poor H got a fat lip at the soup thing. She bled and cried but I think she will be fine.

When it got dark mom and I and the littles walked home and J came running out with a fat lip. It was a fake, she was getting ready for April Fools. She did trick us for a moment.

Em is spending the night. The girls are enjoying looking at the stars. She's a good friend to J and it's always nice to have her over.

Friday, March 30, 2007

J's new blog

My Sweet 14 year old started a blog. She's very creative and fun so I am sure it will be wonderful! Go say hi :)

Easter MeMe

Suzanne came up with a fun MeMe for Easter.

1.What are your Easter traditions? We dye eggs and have a hunt. The Easter Bunny comes. We go to church.

2. What is your favorite Easter dish? Ham I guess.

3. When did you learn the truth about the Easter Bunny? I don't remember really believing.

4. How do you decorate your home for Easter? I have several decorations but we don't put them all up every year. This year we have our egg wreath, three glass bunnies on the mantel, a fun table cloth and a glass basket and ceramic bunny that looks like chocolate sitting on the table.

5. How many Easter egg hunts does your family usually participate in? Usually one. We like to have friends over on the Saturday before to hunt eggs.

6. What is your favorite flavor of jellybean? Jelly Belly sparkly pear.

7. How do you decorate Easter eggs? We don't get fancy we just use the regular dye kits.

8. Do you make/buy special Sunday outfits for your kids on Easter? Usually yes. Some years I have made something, some years bought. Some years Nana buys or makes something. It varies but everyone ends up with something new every year.

9. What are your favorite church Easter hymns and/or choir arrangements? I Believe in Christ

10. Do you spend Easter at home, on vacation, or with family? Home, we only get a three day weekend and couldn't travel even if we wanted to.

11. Do you make deviled eggs out of leftover Easter eggs? Yep, love them.

12. Are you tired of eggs by the end of the Easter Season? Yes!

13. Are Peeps good or gross? Gross but I buy them every year because they are so cute.

14. What company makes the best chocolate for Easter Time? Godiva

15. Do you find plastic Easter grass hidden in places for months after Easter is over? No but once when I was growing up we had family pictures taken in the summer and when we moved the couch there was an egg!

Everyone is tagged! Let me know if you participate so I can come and read yours! :)

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Warning: this post is about money, a controversial and "hot" topic at best

I have been thinking about money the last couple of days. Well, truthfully I guess it's something I think about all the time. I think everyone does, right?
DH works hard and he provides a nice life for us. A blessing I am very grateful for. We have a budget and live in it (mostly). We try to live in it always. We save, tithe, pay our bills and have some left over for wants. I feel we are very fortunate. We are not expert at living within our means and sometimes buy on credit but we both are united in a goal of getting rid of that bad habit and paying off our debts etc.
It's always a balancing act. Everyone has to prioritize and decide what to spend their resources on. Whether the resource is money, or time, or energy.
So, why the extra attention to the topic now?
Two reasons. First we had an issue, whose root is money, in our family this week.
Second, next week I will have been blogging for one year and I am going to slurp my blog into a book to save for posterity. I thought some useful information would be good to include. I don't know how much useful stuff there is but here is my 2 cents.

A couple days ago we booked our trip for next summer. Both my brothers are coming with us and one sister. Three sisters could not. We actually didn't even invite the two youngest. They are in college and working and young still (18 and 21 years old) and even though we love to spend time with them they are really kids still and not on their own financially or otherwise. My other sister has had some set backs and whatnot over the years and isn't in a position to go right now. She was not excluded, in fact we told her we'd love to have her come and we all would. Still she is upset that we didn't keep her in the loop in planning as much as she wanted and that we didn't plan around her. I didn't talk to her that much about it because I was trying to be sensitive to her feelings. And we didn't plan around her because right now a luxury vacation is not feasible for them. We did talk about changing our plans to what she wanted and decided that if we did she still couldn't go and then we'd be going some where that wasn't our first choice. In a nut shell.

Yesterday she and I had a conversation that I found upsetting. I love her and her family very much and it saddens me that they are struggling. I also gave a lot of thought to the things she said.

This is turning into random babbling, as usual, but anyway.
When I was growing up we were not rich. I am the oldest of a lot of kids and dad is a teacher. He taught at the high school and night classes at the college. Mom stayed home with the kids sometimes doing daycare or teaching piano lessons but she was mostly home when I was a kid. We vacationed seeing our grandparents or camping at the beach. I baby-sat for spending money from the time I was young. My brothers had paper routes, raised dogs, did odd jobs. We all got jobs when we were older teens. It was a normal, happy life.
When I was in later high school mom went to work teaching too and then we had a bit more money. My sisters took more dance classes and had more expensive prom dresses but still we weren't rich. I think I got a good work ethic from my parents, and a good appreciation of the value of money and spending it wisely.
When I was ready to go to college my parents told me I needed to get a scholarship because it was too expensive. I didn't. I went to community college, which I paid for. After one semester I got married and stopped going. Shortly after Dani was born I wanted to go back and so I did daycare in my home in order that I could stay home with her and pay tuition to go to school at night. A few years later I had been going part time semester after semester, baby after baby, when my MIL came to me and said she wanted to help. She thought our marriage was in a lot of trouble and her son wasn't a good husband/father. She offered to pay for my junior and senior year of school. She said it was not only for my future but for her granddaughters. Education is the key to security. This was the greatest gift she could have given me. I was so grateful and I accepted that help with a keen sense of obligation and responsibility. I was a good student and had already shown that going to college was important to me but I continued with a further resolve to not waste that chance. I became a teacher.
Before I finished school I did end up getting divorced. Then my parents offered help and shelter from the storm for the girls and I. We lived with them while getting on our feet. Again I was so grateful. Again I didn't want to waste their help and kindness, I wanted to use that time to make sure I could stand on my own. Fortunately I was almost done with school and was able to become gainfully employed and after a little over a year was able to move out on my own and take care of my children. I feel so blessed to have had that help when I needed it. I am so glad that I recognized the need to get an education and even though it took a long time that I could stick with it and have the security we needed. I hope I am paying forward by teaching my kids the same thing.
You have to get trained to do something skilled. It doesn't necessarily have to be 4-8 years at a university, it could be becoming a great plumber, or x-ray technician or whatever but it has to be something. You have to pay the price at some time. I was talking with my brother about this and he told me that he went to night school for 6 years while working full time as an enlisted guy in the Air Force before he got accepted into the PA program and went to school full time for two years. Then he was an officer and now he works in private practice and is doing well. He said it was hard but he wanted better for his family.
So, posterity, take note. You have to take advantage of getting as much education as you can. You have to have a plan and pay the price. Being a good person isn't enough. Look at Nephi, he starts out I Nephi, having been born of goodly parents and having been taught....
We are commanded to seek wisdom out of the best books. To learn and to know all we can.

I know I am very blessed and very fortunate. I am aware of that and try to make good choices with my resources. We are lucky as well because DH's family spoils us and we enjoy fun things that we wouldn't have otherwise been able to. Fun shopping trips with Nana, a dream Disney vacation! (Can't wait), cool toys. BUT, we live a comfortable life because DH spent 6years in college studying hard, and studying math (who wants to do that??). And the values we want to pass on to our children are those of getting a good education, working hard, saving money. DH's family does that~ has those goals, helps with that and supports that in every way. My family does that~ has those goals, helps and supports. That is the real gift. A cruise is a perk, but an education is forever and the glory of God.

As for my dear sister. I hope she will be less mad. I hope she understands where I am coming from. I hope she knows that I think she is awesome and her family is precious and dear to me. We stand behind her, have confidence in her, and support her. By her I mean her and her husband and family, and by we I mean not only DH and myself but all the kids and our parents, ( I am 100% confident in saying ~though not authorized to speak for them this is just my own personal babble )
She is a hard worker and bright and wonderful. This hard time will pass. In the meantime. I love you.

pirate finger

J and her friends are silly.
Part of the fun of having teens is the silliness and the sophistication of the silliness.

dentist day

dun dun dum

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Buon giorno!

When we got married DH and I took a wonderful honeymoon to Kauai. It was so relaxing and so fun! We said then that we wanted to take the next big trip when we hit our 10th anniversary. Through the years we've talked about it on and off. Discussing where we might want to go.
I said Africa, he said No.
He said cruise, I said not so much.
And so on.
There are lots of places we would love to go, but when it comes down to choosing one and doing it it got a little harder.
About a year ago we got more serious about deciding and everything under the sun was discussed from the TX Gaylord to Nauvoo to Alaska or Tahiti or back to Hawaii and everything in between. Then we talked with Nana and Abba who said they'd watch the little angels and that was the green light we'd waited for. We were off...somewhere.
Many months ago we looked at cruises again. I didn't want to do the Caribbean or the typical cruise but it turns out you can go anywhere. Who knew it was such a versatile vacation option? We decided we would probably cruise and were looking at Alaska. We had looked at the Mediterranean seriously as well but didn't see anything that took about a week, which was what we wanted.
Next we talked with my brother and sister and asked if they were interested. They were.
Then it turned out that Alaska was not their first choice so we looked some more.
Then we found a one week Med cruise and we were in business....almost.
Specifics and commitments and "are you sures?" flew around. We wanted to go, it's a little expensive. They wanted to go. It's a little expensive.
Ana&Ama started saving, so did we.

Then last night we did it. We booked our cruise. Leaving out of Barcelona Spain on June 14, 08. 10,000,099 phone calls later I think we're set. A&A booked. A&K booked and Michael is going too. I can't believe it. I am excited, and shocked. We'll make payments and have it paid off before we leave and then we'll be strolling the streets of Rome! Crazy!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

playing in the puddles.

I have a dental appointment on Th. That is my least favorite body maintenance thing to do. I love to brush my teeth, I feel nauseous just thinking about going to the dentist.

Because of that Nikko and I switched days this week and we had K over to play after preschool.

Yesterday it rained. End of explanation.

Tonight was the school spelling bee. H has wanted to participate since kindergarten but I didn't let her cause come on what do kindergartners spell? But now she is a good speller. She really has a knack.

So we let her go. It was very exciting to get ready and practice and go over. Then on the first round she got nervous and misspelled a word she knows: credit. Then she cried. And our hearts broke.

We got ice cream on the way home (comfort food) and she called Abba to get sympathy, which he gave very skillfully.


most nights the kids sleep in their own rooms (newly as of this week so we'll see) luckily we don't have to be worried about getting lonely.

Monday, March 26, 2007

rainy days

It's a lovely rainy day. Lucy spent some time coloring. She also spent a lot of time sneaking outside to play in the rainy sandbox.

J running inside from the bus! See the little splash!

Jack has a fear of rain. He won't go outside and do his business. We tried to make a dry tent for didn't work. BUT it did give me many moments of cracking up on the porch!

what ails us

We had such a long weekend. The boys had a great time at their camp out and the girls had a good time with their friends, but when that was over for some reason we were left with the grouchies. DH was in a mood, and so was H. J had a little its-not-fair-itis. And as usual I had a laundry basket full of mismatched socks to deal with.

Our soccer game was changed and we didn't know it so when we arrived we had to wait an hour to play. This was a long time for our little players and several had lost interest by the time we started. Brother scored a goal in the first 5 seconds of the game but then was injured later and sat out a lot crying so he ended up with only 2 for the game.

Saturday night the big girls and I were supposed to meet some of the other YW and mom's for dinner before the broadcast. Neither wanted to go. We stayed home and taped it on BYU. The beginning didn't record for some reason but the end did and it was wonderful.

Sunday morning H got sick. Out of the blue she started crying and was in terrible pain, writhing on the bed and unable to walk or even straighten out her body. We took her to the ER. Actually by the time we got there she was feeling a little better but we were already started so we saw the doctor. She has a UTI and is constipated. She has a lot of trouble in that area because of her hemangioma, poor thing. High Fiber is her friend, sadly she doesn't like it and really balks at our efforts to help her.

Fortunatly Amazing Race was on :)

Saturday, March 24, 2007

father and son report

Brother and DH had a great time at the camp out.
They left in the early afternoon and got set up.

Brother reports that they went on a canoe, went fishing, ate marshmallows, played with his friends, and got to use a flashlight. He also said that the other E's dad told a very funny story about boy 1 and boy 2.

About 30ish men and boys were there. DH reports that they were the second ones there. That one of the boys brought glow sticks for everyone and they had a wonderful time racing around the trees in the dark with them. Their tent was comfortable and brother was obedient and fun to camp with.

They came home smelling like a camp fire, smiling and full of dirt. All signs of a fun time had.

spring recipe

Grandma B subscribes to Martha's magazine. She recently sent a subscription to me. It's been fun to read it. Usually her projects are too complicated for me to actually want to do, although I sometimes use her ideas as a spring board for easier crafts.
The latest issue had lots of fun Easter ideas and yummy foods.
For one of her young women's projects J has decided to learn about cooking. She is preparing 20 meals. She was going to do a lot during spring break but was sick the whole time so only made one.
So far she has made four meals ( I think ). Today she fixed lunch and made this from Martha's magazine. It's garlic shrimp over linguine with zucchini ribbons and baby peas. It was very tasty and pretty. J is very creative and likes things to look yummy as well as taste yummy.
Thanks Grandma!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Father and Son Outing

Brother has been waiting to go camping with his dad for over a month. Yesterday he was so excited he could hardly stand it and woke up this morning with a huge smile on his face.

They spent the morning getting ready, with my help.

Brother got a fishing pole and practiced casting off for an hour on the lawn. Very fun. Then he practiced into the pool.

Hopefully they'll have a great time and won't be forced home early because of rain.

J is having Siara and Sofia spend the night and H is having Lindsey. We're making cookies and bead bracelets and watching chick flicks. It'll be fun.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Easter Memories!!

playing with black and white instead of sleeping...

what every "normal" engineer does with a new toy.

this one is really cool. The color on her eyes is her actual color just reapplied over a black and white. Her eyes are an odd blueish gray color but with the sun reflecting in them showed a lot of brown that really surprised us.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

DH plays with a new lens

Xian China

My parents got their acceptance today! They are going to Xian for a year to teach English at the University for International Studies!!
Dad is very excited! and I am very excited for them. Mom will be awesome, she's more of a homebody and likes to be by her grandkids and kids. However I hope she will really love it once there and find it the experience of a life time.
They leave in four months.
When they get back they will turn in their papers for their mission so I guess they'll be globe trotters for awhile.

hair woes

Do you ever feel just randomly slightly discontent? I am not really bored, just a little ho-humish. I don't know exactly why. I have a good life and plenty to keep me busy. I know I have many blessings but the last few days have been very vanilla-ie.
Maybe it's because of my hair. My mom didn't let me cut my hair when I was young and I missed those all important formative hair years. So now although I wish I had cute hair like Meg Ryan, I really have Witch Hazel hair. It's very sad. In 13 months I'll be 40 and I thought I'd like to have long stylish hair and to be thin. Well my hair is long but the cloud of bobby pins flying and general frizzyness just isn't what I had in mind.
Maybe I need to try some new ice cream flavors? (I know, that will really help with the whole fit by forty plan).
Do hyperlinks count as footnotes? I don't want to copy something I am not supposed to.
Good news is tonight is a special night of Survivor and we had some rain today.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

sometimes I just can't think of a title.

This sweet little thing....refuses to nap. It's been a very sad thing. She will scream in her bed for 1/2 an hour and never go to sleep. She will, however, fall asleep in the car picking up her sisters from school at 4pm, which every mom knows is the worlds worst napping time.

Children should nap until they are, uhmm, 6-7 years old at least.

I will keep trying, every few days she'll actually take a nice nap so it's not quite a thing of the past but I can see it's on the way out of our schedule.

Here she is leaving her crib, quite pleased with herself.

Last night H had gymnastics. It's been very fun. I sit with Heather, who is on the activities committee with me and whose son is H's age. Last night we planned our years activities. I've been a bit of a slacker, in my defense time flies by soooo quickly. We have a pot luck lunch coming up between conference sessions in a week and a half. Then we're going to have a talent show, potato bar, cake decorating contest night. I think it'll be real fun. I need to find a day in April or May when we have the building.

On my list of things to do today is to write a sympathy note to my cousin Laurance. Her son Matthew (10) died last week. Laurance and I are the same age, our fathers are brothers. I am the oldest in my family and she is the youngest. We have only seen each other a couple of times in our lives. The first time the summer before I went into 6th grade. We went to France so that dad could do genealogy work. That was the first time I met many of my family members. It was a lot of fun. I remember it well, which is a surprise since I typically have a poor memory. She spoke a little English and I spoke no French but we got along well and played happily. Later she came to America once to visit. I feel very sad for her, I can't imagine the loss.

Also on the list is make soup and coconut bread and prepare a FHE lesson.

H is home "sick" today. She didn't feel well yesterday and this morning when I woke her up so said she was sick so I let her sleep. Now she is fine and playing in the yard with G.

Random things on my mind:
We're having friends over to have an easter egg hunt on the Saturday before Easter. I just went to get some plastic eggs so make little invitations out of, so I guess I need to poll the family as to who they would like to invite this year.

Counting down to DDV, I can't wait. I haven't started the girls princess dresses yet...slacker; and worse I haven't lost weight yet which was totally on my adgenda of things to do this spring.

I am going to Utah in one month to visit Dani and Greg and MSV. I am very excited!

Brother is on the cusp of knowing how to read, he's really into memorizing books and "reading them" to us. It's soo cute!

My good friend Sheila called today and we had a fun visit.

Monday, March 19, 2007

late wake-up

Darn daylight savings! This morning was back to school for us, and it was hard. Last night I got my workout clothes into their spot and set the alarm clock so I'd be ready for morning. Sadly I forgot to change the time from a 7am work out to a 6 am one so I didn't wake up until 6:30. I have a pretty good internal clock but with DST and spring break last week I haven't really switched over. I felt badly because Tori is out of town and that left my friend M waiting in the dark for me.
S and J also didn't wake up at time. S left for seminary late and left me behind because my door was closed, which it normally isn't.
Yesterday brother was sick, he's still sick today. I missed church to stay home with him and I was glad because then I didn't have to teach my class, then I felt bad because I was happy. I don't love my callings right now but I know I need to change my attitude and plan an activity and teach with a smile.
We're supposed to get a lot of rain this week, hopefully we will.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

St Patrick's Day

Today is the last play day of our spring break. :( And it's St. Patrick's Day. We're not Irish, but like to observe as many holidays as possible and this one is a favorite.

We started the day with a "traditional" round of golf. The Irish are big on golf right?

The putt putt family fun center has a Saturday special. For $6 a person you get unlimited putt putt golf, 20 game tokens, a hot dog and a soda.

It was a lot of fun. The kids had a blast. Even Lucy played. We didn't keep score but we did laugh a lot. We lost a lot of balls but no kids so that was good.

In the evening we invited some new friends over. We actually had some miscommunication about the whole thing but at the last minute got everything ironed out and they came.

Papa and Grandma also came.

First the kids played soccer. It was boys against the girls and even though both boys are younger than both girls they held their own.

Then they hunted for gold that the leprechauns had hidden in the yard.
We ate a traditional Irish dinner of : corned beef, fried potatoes, cabbage cooked with apples and onions, green jell-o and for dessert southern banana pudding that Rick made that was SO yummy, and pot of gold green jell-o cake that I made.
The kids ran amuck, the adults visited. J read. It was very fun.
I just read "Fairest" by Gayle Carson Levine, and gave it to J to read. She was hooked and read the whole thing today.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Spring Break~ Day 5

Spring Break is almost over. It's been so fun.
Last night the big girls went to the movies. They love to get in the car and drive off to do whatever they want. They went to the theater at the mall. Then when they got home they went to Blockbuster to switch out movies. We've had their membership for awhile and actually we really like it. This is our last month because it's expensive, so we're switching to netflix, I hope we like it as well.

This morning after working out we did some quick picking up and then headed out for errands. Friday is shopping day, also bank day. We went to pro-cuts and got H's hair cut, it looks very cute.
Brother had been wanting to go on a picnic so we did that too. The little kids had a wonderful time playing on the equipment and drinking soda (a treat since I never bring it home and often don't let them pick it if we eat out).
Tahoe has been doing real well. He's a good dog. Millie is feeling better and Jack continues to be a nice puppy. He likes to bite on things but we're working with him. Today H found some little teeth prints in her flip flops. Guess we need to do better about putting them away.
One of my favorite spring break moments didn't get caught on film. On Monday when S took the kids to the park J opted to stay home. Soon after they left I asked her if she'd like to sit on the porch with me. She did.
We sat and rocked and watched the dog and talked for probably an hour and a half. It was nice to hear what's on her mind, and nice for her not to have to compete for my time. We laughed a lot and it was very fun. She's a sweetie:)

Poor J has been sick all week, so that hasn't been fun. Everyone else is well.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

spring break ~ day 4

Early morning bribe....
followed by family cleaning hour. The little kids are getting better at their chores. The big girls can do very well, when they want to. They don't always want to, however I feel lucky because they are great kids and really helpful and cheerful most of the time!

This afternoon Lucy has a speech evaluation.
Then we are going to the mall to play on the play area, get a new book for H who's read through the stack we got a couple weeks ago (the rainbow fairies is her new favorite), and let J participate in her favorite activity!

soccer practice

Brother is playing soccer, it's his third season and he's made such strides in his game. DH is his coach, which is so fun. He's learned to be really really good at it. He looks up fun skill building games and teaches the kids how to play and teaches the rules. He gives lots of high fives and is gentle with the kids. It's really fun to watch them.
Our practice is in our front yard. H likes it because she plays with the big sibs. Lucy likes it because she runs around and plays with the babies. I like it because we are never late :) and since it's YW night S can take the car and we don't have any transportation issues.