Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The truth about photo shoots

For one of my christmas present ideas, I thought I might try to get a photo of the kiddos taken for Mark and the Grandfolks. So we tried to make it happen after school one day. Here are the fruits of our labors:

Now, first of all, this whole thing took place in about five minutes as I begged for cooperation. Allow me to reenact....

"okay, no throwing leaves. I want to see you, not the leaves"

"Ummmm....smiling isn't the same as yelling."
"Over here, Mat. Megan, you look like you want to bite me. Ethan move you head the other way."
Uhhh...okay. That's not what I meant, Ethan. Megan, yikes. Mathew?"
"Meggy, sit back down, honey. What are you guys looking at?"
"Holy Moly...this is crazy...whoah! Laney's eating the leaves! Someone get that out of her mouth!"
"Ack! There goes the baby."
Now, this is a mere sampling of the photos. There are 32 more. I took them inside and we looked at the pictures. I explained that the would need to look at me the WHOLE TIME so that when I get Laney to smile, I can take the picture. This is the only way they will ever be done with this. We went back for a second round and VIOLA!
And I thought the baby would be the problem....

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Hated it.

Okay..I hated having the blog private. It was a pain for those in my family who don't have (or have any desire to have) a google account to see the blog, like half my immediate family and others. The reinviting thing is lame and new posts don't show up on people's lists...stupid. (That's a bad word in our house. sh!) Plus it just took some of the excitement out of it. So we're back. Now I'm just being careful about disclosing locations and other specific info. So.. Hi! Did you miss me?

Friday, December 19, 2008

I really LOVE Christmas

I love the whole thing. Especially the advent calendar. When we were little, my mom would put up our advent calendar and each pocket would have a felt ornament to put on the tree and a little slip of paper that told you what fun thing we would be doing that day. Sometimes it was a choir concert for a sibling or making braided bread or Christmas cookies and sometimes it was a special surprise under the tree. The advent calender is the center of activity at our house.
What will it be?
What will it say?
And now I get to be the mom and plan something for each day and buy fun surprises for my kiddos just because I think they will like it. This year Ethan grew crystals and Mat got a magnetic rollercoaster ball thingy. Megan got some FABulous princess bubble bath and Laney got snuggly moccasin boots. Mark got a warm winter hat, jiffypop (that fun kind that bubbles up under the foil and comes in its own little pan) and some 'Hotshot' - a red and black pepper mix. For those of you who are not aware, Mark has developed quite a taste for all things spicy. My surprise (thanks honey) was a great set of super soft gloves and a matching hat....RED! I love love them.
Isn't that fun?
Other things we've done this month were...
Decorating the tree Doing the live nativity with the Jones Family....chaotic and so fun. Decorating a gingerbread house that came fully assembled inside the lame. However, I was relieved because I had gotten backed up on activities and this needed to be user friendly. Next year we'll pick a better kit. No, I never plan on making my own gingerbread from scratch. That's asking for tears. My tears. Visiting the lights. ahem...where the heck were the horse drawn carriages this year? We were forced to WALK through the lights on our OWN TWO FEET. Oh, and there we are in our new hats!He smiled and she smiled. The planets aligned.
Mathew had the sudden urge to pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America. Good thing I had my camera. If you hadn't noticed, I almost always have my camera.Mark finished off the night with a slide down the courthouse banister. Born Free! As free as the wind blows!Taking a family photo You were supposed to get this in a Christmas card with a comprehensive family letter (we had a big year!) but now you will be getting it in a New Year's card. Sorry. I have a hard time sitting down to do that kind of stuff. It gets procrastinated. Making sugar cookies Megan sitting on the table. mmmm. Sanitary. The boys insisted on "freehanding" theirs. Nonconformists. I was busy saying to myself , over and over: "Let them do it. It's fine. It doesn't need to be perfect. It's a cookie. They are having fun. Let them do it. You do not need to fix it. You are fine. You can stand back and let it happen. You are fine. Take a breath. Enjoy this experience. Deep breath. Deeeeep breath." I have such a hard time with this kind of stuff. I really want the cookies to be even and spaced nicely etc, etc. I have been working on this all year. Trying to let go of stuff that doesn't matter and focus on the fun of an activity. I think I'm making progress. Deeeeeep Breath. This is right before Mark told Mathew that is unnecessary to remove your shirt to decorate cookies.
Mark making us a sumptuous spaghetti dinner while the kids decorated. Doesn't this photo just scream SUMPTUOUS?
Ethan's hand carved reindeer. That's right, those are reigns he is making with green icing. Reindeer are just horses with antlers, right?
Megan and her pink star. In fact, she made a pink tree, pink stocking, pink gingerbread man, pink snowman, pink house, pink holly and pink santa cookie right after this.
The fruits of our labors. Making 30 (THIRTY!) loaves of braided bread
It should be noted that two loaves ended up in the trash and two loaves were eaten before I could slap a bow on them and give them away. AH. Carbohydrates.

Making Children's Nativity Sets I love last year's Christmas scroll saw and sander. Thank you, Mark!
Shephard's Night This is our tradition of sleeping by the tree (under the the shephards?) on the Christmas Eve Eve and watching Polar Express (JUST like the shephards did). It started out like this.....
And ended up like this....
And THAT is why I haven't been blogging.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

So tired.

I know some of you may find this a bit long and less than thrilling, but as the momma, I think it is the cutest thing ever.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Let's take a moment to obsess.

I would like to put this out in to the universe.


Why Why Why Why Why?

First comes love. (wink wink)

Then comes marriage.

Then comes baby in the baby carriage.

Then (this is the part they leave out of the playground rhymes) your hair falls out in male-pattern-baldness style and you are left trying to do a fancy comb-over because you are also feeling a little chunkalunk from the pregnancy and you can't deal with it all!

However, lest you think it is all up hill from there, you are left with THIS!AND THIS!Don't avert your eyes! I know they're hideous, but together we can defeat them.

Seriously, what am I supposed to do with these? They are determined to be curly and shwoopy and I hate them....hate hate hate hate them. Have you ever tried to grab 2 inches of hair with a curling iron? Owie.

The saddest part of all is that I deserve it. Yep. I totally deserve the 4 times (Beef, Maf, Moo, and Loo) I've had to care for and cultivated these two little patches of hair.
Confession time.
When I was serving my mission, I was blessed with a fantastic greenie name Sister Hendricks. She was energetic, happy, funny, a go-getter. However, she had had an unfortunate episode with a perm gone wrong at the MTC. It burned her hair off right at the hairline...and by the time she got to me, she had a good two inches of hair that stuck straight up. It was AWESOME! We (me) would laugh and laugh. I would put three fingers up on top of my forehead and pretend to poke someone's eye out. Oh the shameless mocking I did! But now we come full circle and karma is having the last laugh.
I'M SORRY OKAY!? Enough already! Is there no balm in gilead?

P.S. Sorry for the radioactive forehead. You try to take a picture of your own forehead mutation and we'll see how it turns out.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Quote of the Day

Ethan: Maybe 'not yelling' could be a goal you can work on?

I feel like an AWESOME mom.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Turkey last

I finally feel like I have a minute to get all this put up. The pictures, the commentary, the deep thoughts, reminiscing, etc. And let's dive right in:
First of all...Kaira and fam, Thank you, thank you for driving all the way from sunny Omaha to visit us! I, for one, had a very good time and loved having my sister there to shop and cook with. I love you Yasser. (That's Yasser Kairafat, all of you who don't know her...I think it's a very clever nick name and my hat's off to our funny parents for thinking of it and sticking to it.)

The Spread:
This gives new meaning to "Turkey Bowl" aye? nyuck, nyuck Every year I kick myself because I have, yet again, gone a whole year without buying a stinkin gravy boat.
The boys. Fighting over who has juice and who doesn't. The girls having their own tea party. I believe they were unaware that anything else was going on. These two were so great together...the laughed, they shrieked, they ran, they dressed up, they fought, they cried, they made up, they tea was wonderful!Miss Charlie diggin in to the strawberry jam. oh yum. What reckless abandon! You know you wanted to do the same thing. Let go of your inhibitions!
Laney grew these massive teeth just for this occasion. Give this girl some meat. This child can bring a breastfeeding mom to tears. Enough said.I won't even get in to all the insecure things I would like to say about this photo, but please people, do I need a hair appointment or what? I am DYING for a great cut, but I hate to follow the herd and get that darling a-line cut everyone is getting, but I think it is SO CUTE! What is a girl to do? Can't you all grow yours out and give me a turn?
This is the photo that I requested Mark take "so that we would have proof that I exist". Nice sarcasm? huh? Nothing like a little martyr with your turkey and taters, I say.
Wait, there's more....this is the only picture I got of Mark. No, that's Kaira and Charlie....I was referring to the arm that is holding a knife. Sorry, hon. I'm a loser. Nice hand though, very muscular.
Uncle Joel...this is his "I have mental problems" smile. Like many men he refuses to smile nicely for the camera. That's okay, Joel, for your sins you are getting this little highlight on my blog. Ha! Take that! I bet next time you'll smile pretty! And you'll like it!

This is the "pumpkin pie" I made. I forgot that I only own one pie plate, so we improvised with this oval casserole dish. Unfortunately that gave it a distinctive pumpkin casserole feel. Unfortunate.After the feast there was a great deal of Wii played. I particularly enjoyed Mario party 8. I was able to practice not losing my temper every time I was "this close" to getting a star and someone else would shwoop in and take it. I'm totally fine with it. really. I hate that game.

And yes that's me "struttin my stuff". Unfortunately this was the only picture that featured the Wii playing festivities. My apologies.

After the feast and the games, we went over to the Allred's home for pie and visiting with the Huffords, Malquists, Fields, McKassons and Allreds. I could lie and tell you that I forgot to take my camera, but the truth is that I had it in my purse and felt too stupid to get it out and start taking pictures of everyone like a tourist at Disneyland. I would like to give a shout out to Sarah's UHMAZING Chocolate mousse concoction. It was SO very delicious and I believe a recipe was promised...Sarah? If you would like to take a gander, click on the this. She is a very talented lady.

Now, just one more thing. On Saturday night, Kaira made a meal fit for the Celestial Kingdom. Seriously. I don't even know the name of it, but it involved cilantro lime rice, shredded pork slow cooked in pure spicy heaven, black beans in adobo sauce, warm fresh tortillas, shredded romaine and glorious cilantro-lime ranch. Cafe Rio, anyone? It was made with love and devoured with no regard for weight gain. My new favorite meal. Kaira, you are quite the little cookstress.
So there you have it! A good time was had by all. So sad it's over. Now...on to Christmas!

Monday, December 1, 2008

A Preliminary Post to the Big Thanksgiving Post

Now, I know you know that I will be posting pics and commentary on my thankfulness in relation to our most recently celebrated Day of Thanks, but before I get into all that, I'd like to take a moment to say a few words about the last 24 hours. In that time I have become very "up close and personal" with vomit. You read that right....VOMIT. Laney has been heaving every 32 minutes and screaming in between. And if that weren't just the best...I came home this morning from dropping the kids off to school (20 minutes late, of course, because I lost my keys) and there before my eyes are 5 piles of throw up from two dogs. Let's just say that it is a very bad idea to give dogs sweet italian sausage as a "treat". It apparently doesn't agree with doggy intestines. So in light of these events, I'd like to say what I am VERY VERY thankful for at this particular moment.

1. Paper towels - you know I do not want doggy sausage vomit mixing with my clothes in the laundry.

2. Pine sol - If you know me, you know that I use pine sol for everything. I know that the smell of pine is actually a splendid concoction of chemicals, and not actual pine needles....but I don't care at all. Pinetastic.

3. The I really need to explain why this heaven sent appliance is better than scrubbing the barf out by hand? I love you, dear Bissel. You and Dysee are quite a pair. Never leave me.

4. Hand Sanitizer. I feel as if I should take a swim in it this morning. That might make a dent in how grody I feel.

5. John Mayer's song "Heart of Life". For some reason Laney stops crying when this is playing. It is my current favorite tune. And for your listening pleasure....

So there you have it. Life isn't always fancy free...but there are always good things to be thankful for. Even if you are covered in chunks....appreciate!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

What day is this? I know I said that I was going to do the "go private" thing on Saturday. But seriously, I have 4 kids out of school, let's be realistic. If I am in front of the computer for more that just a few minutes, major stuff goes down out there. I tell you, they're in kahoots!

So now if you are here and are signing in as a guest, and don't want to sign up for a google account, let me know when the thirty days are up and I'll reinvite you. We could do that over and over...doesn't bother me at fact, I'm sure there will be days when 'reinviting' will be a highlight. Again, you think I'm joking?

So off we go to our seventeenth trip to Wal mart. We forgot the dang grape juice for the the dang grape juice/sprite drink potion. Delish.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Welcome to the family

We have a new addition to our little fam:
That's right. A dyson, or Dysee, as I lovingly call him. Turns out when you need a vacuum so much that you are willing to spend some of your million on it, the universe (Mark) finds a way to make it happen. Thanks, babe.
(I'm sure the universe doesn't mind being called 'babe' either)

But now I'd like to take a moment to share some feelings that are near and dear to my heart.

Dear Dysee,

First off, I'd like to say how much I truly love you. You'll never know how much you have changed my life. Thank you, thank you for not pushing the cheerios around in front of you and never sucking them up. There is something particularly devastating about manually cleaning up after your vacuum. You never make me do that. Also, thank you for not making me remove your cone-like filter, go outside and whack it on the side of the house only to have all the nastiness fly into a swirling cloud of dirt, hair and dead skin cells all around me. The dogs appreciate that too.

I know these are simple things, but for a girl that has a low tolerance for housework, it means the world.

Also, Dys, while I'm at it, I have a teensy weensy confession to make. You know the other day when there was a shameful amount of cereal on the floor? I admit it! I did it on purpose! It's just that I missed you and wanted to spend a little quality time, ya know? Can you ever forgive me? I hope so. Anyway, I'll see you after movie night. mmm.....popcorn.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Zombie day 5.

Last night I tried to drain the pasta (okay fine, it was macaroni and cheese) with the dust pan.

Not on purpose.

I'm a zombie.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

In a funk


This is now day 4 of my funk. (Although I really like the word 'funk'. Just typing 'funk' is making me feel better.)

Do you ever feel like controlling your temper turns you into a mother zombie?

I have been taking so many deep breaths and talking in such an even, calm tone, I feel like I have no personality. I'm a zombie.

In a calm tone:

"Sweetheart, mommy can't help you when your screaming at me."

"How would you feel if I were screaming at you?"

"If you want to talk to me, please stop screaming."

"Honey, screaming doesn't help me to want to help you."

"Babycakes. Your screaming is hurting mommy's ears"

"Darling (I don't actually use that word), screaming for waffles isn't going to get you a waffle"

When is the SCREAMING going to stop???

I'm a zombie in a funk.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Is it wrong that when Mathew received a coupon for a free taco at Taco Bell for good behavior at school, that I was extra excited because I knew he would take a bite, not like it and then give it to me?

mmm...that was a yummy taco.


Laney's first ever crawl. She sounds like a little chimpanzee and it is clear she doesn't appreciate feedback while she is concentrating.

Sorry you missed it, hon.

Hope this helps.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Keepin it real

Here's last week's luxurious menu I painstakingly planned out. I tried to be thoughtful and budget conscious and imagined myself cooking a well balanced nutritious meal each night. The kids would praise my efforts and Mark would feel so loved and cared for. OH THE FAMILIAL JOY!

Mon: Beef Stroganoff, noodles, rolls
Tues: Apricot Chicken, rice, veggie
Wed: Drip Beef Sandwiches, fries
Thurs: BLTs with corn on the cob
Fri: Weinersnitzel, mashed potatoes, gravy
Sat: Lasagna, french bread, salad

Actual meals eaten last week:

Mon: scrambled eggs with ketchup
Tues: cereal (this was a big hit)
Wed: Toaster waffles
Thurs: Dino nuggets with fries
Fri: I actually made the weinersnitzel...Mark was working late and the kids refused to eat it. So they had cereal. And I ate ALL the weinersnitzel myself. Really. I'm totally serious.
Sat: ramen noodles

Looking on the bright side, there is absolutely no reason why I will need to buy groceries next week. It's all sitting right there waiting for me to get it together. Yep. Gonna do it. No problem.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Feelin the love

I have been feelin sick for about 48 hours.

In that time I have received calls from friends, neighbors, family and ward members (also my friends) asking if I might need a blessing, a meal, some help with the kids, you name it. I'm amazed. And I have to say...I feel very looked after. You guys are the best.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

A Sunday afternoon wish

All I want today is my Mom and Dad and brothers and sisters with me to watch this:
Is that too much to ask? My kids don't think it's funny yet. I miss hearing John laugh (giggle) when they sing,

"Hang her head in modest way with pouting lips...with pouting li-ips
that seeeeeem to say...
oh kiss me, kiss me, kiss me, kiss me
though I die of shame-uh
please you that's the kind of maid sets my heart a flame-uh!"

sigh. Good times. sigh. Homesick...err... Familysick.

P.S. I am fully aware that some of my siblings, and definitely my dad, would view this as a hostage situation rather than a fun get together/sing along, but it is my wish...not there.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Poker chips and child labor

We've entered a new phase. The charts have lost their luster and it seems every morning I have to do a crazy angry momma dance to get my children to ready themselves for school. I can't take it anymore! If I have to have this conversation on more time, I'm gonna.....

In the car.
Mom: Boys, I have had enough of this. Why in the world does it take us and hour and a half to get ready for school?!
Boys: wide eyed stares into my reflection in the rear view mirror
Mom: What's it gonna take? Huh?
Boys: (in unison) I don't know
Mom: Something has got to give and it's got to happen now because I'm going bananas. Do you think I want to be mad? Is that fun for me?
Boys: (still unison) nooo
Mom: is that fun for you?
Boys: nooo (sounding a bit sing songy now)
Mom: have five minutes to talk and come up with some ideas about how we (by 'we' I mean 'them') can do better in the morning
5ish minutes pass
Mom: alright boys, let's hear it
Ethan: well, we could be nice to each other
Mat: and we could get ready really fast
Ethan: and we could obey and do what you say

(do these kids know what I want to hear or what?)

Mom: alright so let's (by 'lets' I mean 'you') do better tomorrow, okay?
Boys:okay, mom
Mom: in my super high positive mommy voice Okay! I'm excited!

And just for your information, I have no faith that this conversation will result in anything because we had an identical conversation YESTERDAY.

So here's what really works: doing something new. That's right. You gotta keep in fresh. So I had these plastic poker chips kicking around and I picked a color for each kiddo and wrote the 6 things they need to get done in order to be ready to walk out the door. (Dress, shoes, hair, lunch, backpack, waterbottle) and now they have to earn 6 poker chips to earn their breakfast. Labor for food. That's love.

Worked like a charm.

Seriously. My kids are getting up at 5:30 AM (I hate daylight savings....hate, hate,hate) and now they get ready in 10 minutes and we sit around for 2 more hours before we can leave the house. Lovely. But hey, I'll take it.

So all you mommas out there, send me your tricks because when the novelty of the poker chips wears off, I'll be back to talking through my rear view mirror.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


I find it very interesting that posting this makes me feel stressed out. But, here goes...