Monday, September 29, 2008

Ethan rides...

Ethan recently switched riding teachers. Up to this point, he was learning to ride English style. Now we are going way out to Decatur to take lessons from Laura Pierpoli and she teaches Western. I have to admit that I had a hard time making the decision to switch because I loved seeing Ethan in his English riding clothes and doing the shows. BUT...I think he loved the lessons in spite of all of that. He is learning a new way to handle the horse and having a wonderful time. He doesn't care too much about the particulars. He just wants to ride, feed, stroke, talk, smell, clean, brush, and BE a horse.

I had to take pictures of this place because it is just so beautiful. The land is itself is amazing...especially now that it's not so hot and we can enjoy it. The stables are built to match the house and the entire property is enclosed with white fencing. I could spend every day out there.
Ethan with his new horse, PJ. They are still getting to know each other.
The view of the riding ring standing in front of the stables. Lydia Brandkamp is taking a few photos of the grass and other horses with Mat's kid camera. Ethan, PJ, the house and a big grean grasshopper.

The stables.
The stables are air conditioned and completely lit with lanterns. They also have a nicer bathroom in there than we have in our house. And of course, lest we forget we are in Arkansas, we were driving behind this fellow with an emu in the back of his truck. ooookaaay....

Friday, September 26, 2008

It all makes sense now....

Okay, so I'm standing in front of our little microwave a few minutes ago nuking my daughter her daily corndog (I'm an awesome mom) and I notice that there is a very tiny, but very definite HOLE in the window of the microwave. I lean closer and then I scratch at it. Is it a hole? Maybe it just looks like a hole. So then (as the microwave is on, mind you) I actually PUT MY MOUTH UP TO THE HOLE and try to see if I can suck air through it. I know, I know...this is not smart behavior and I obviously have not thought this through. I'm thinking if its a no-no to stand near the micro with a pacemaker, it may not be such a great idea to suck radioactive air through the front of it WITH MY FACE.
So now I'm thinking that this little hole explains a whole lot of things that have been going on around here. Here are just a few:

1. Megan screaming at me for no apparent reason. I previously thought it was the "terrible 3's", but now I know the true cause....that's right.....THE HOLE.

2. Mathew's biting issues. Who wouldn't bite when they are being exposed thrice daily to micro waves?

3.Laney waking up at all hours of the night. Her room is right off the kitchen. Who would be able to get a good nights sleep knowing that THE HOLE is right behind that door? not me. (and believe me, I don't)

4. Ethan's inner need to tattle. Apparently being nuked on a daily basis inspires one to feel a freakish need for all to be fair. If he can't get away with it, no one will!

5. All this time I thought the dogs were barking all night because they hate me. Turns out they have been slowly mutated by the microwave. Poor things.

6. It seems that frequent radiation causes the inability to flush the toilet, wipe your own nose, and say "excuse me". It apparently also cause the words "that's disgusting" to be said at least twice during every meal.

7. THE HOLE has also been causing my laundry to multiply and replenish the earth.

8. I woke up this morning and Mark brought my attention to a booger on the wall. I'm not absolutely positive, but I'm beginning to think this may have connections to our microwave.

9. The other day we were celebrating Mark's 31st birthday. All is going along as normal, we had the birthday dinner and I was thinking we'd move right into singing/candle blowing/chocolate, right? Wrong. Mark decides he'd like to run a 10k before we have cake. A 10k? Before cake? I'm sorry folks, but that's just down right erratic behavior. Suspicious.

10. Finally, I swear I've been hearing voices. I hear a faint "Maaaareeen.....Maaaarrreeenn" coming from my nightstand drawer. I'll open it and there's nobody there. But then I notice an impressive stash of chocolate, so I might as well have some while the drawer's open, right?

Well, the good news is that all I need to do is get a new microwave and all our problems are over. Easy peasy!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Quote of the Day

Megan: You are HUGE!! And I so little.

Mom: thank you.

P. S. "Huge" is not the look I've been going for.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

6 months old!!

For those of you so far away. Miss Laney is 6 months old! Here she is in all her glory and abundance. I love this photo. So cutie patootie.
She is obsessed with ice water, which usually comes in one of these glasses, so therefore, she loves these glasses. Really just a funny photo. Her mouth looks huge.
I love to watch her studying the water and how it flows through her fingers.
She can sit up! Oh happy day. I like to call this "the sweet spot" of babyhood. Sit up and play but unable to travel to the electric outlet.
Chewing on the basket.Love this Laney!Another cute pic.
She has recently discovered her tongue. Most the time it is sticking out in a little a sword or something.

She is constantly doing this warbly sound. Depending on the volume, it ranges from mer-man to dove to pterodactyl.

I love this time. I love the hip sitting. I love the crazy face kissing. I love the peek a boo and the cheerios and the rocking. I love the baby shampoo and chunky bickies. I love that they want me and I'm the momma. Can't beat it.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Music in his Soul

The other night I was cleaning up after putting the kids down and I kept hearing a VERY loud cricket noise. It sounded like one was right outside an open window. Nope . All closed. I follow the sound to Megan's room. Its dark but is obvious the sound is coming from the closet. I call Mark to help me locate the offender. He spots it sitting on the shoulder of one of Megan's dresses....singing away! For your listening pleasure:

Of course I took a little video for you all. Then Mark tried to catch it with a tupperware and lid so he could release it but in the process one of its legs fell off. Sorry, poor cricket..but that is the risk you run when entering the Hufford abode. You have about a 15% chance of making it out alive. You can't say you weren't warned....and singing your heart (legs?) out on my daughter's Sunday dress isn't exactly "hiding".

Megan slept through the whole, lights, video shoot, dismemberment and pity flush.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Chocolate Lover's Favorite Cake Recipe

1 pkg devils food cake
1 small pkg dry instant chocolate pudding mix
2 c sour cream
1 c melted butter
5 eggs
1 tsp almond extract
2 c semi sweet choc chips

combine dry ingredients. mix together wet ingredients. add wet to dry. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Pour into greased bundt pan (I sprinkle cocoa powder on the grease first). Bake at 350 for 55 min.
Let cool for 10 min. then dump from pan.

1/2 c chocolate chips
1 Tbsp Karo syrup
2 Tbsp butter

melt in microwave (30 secondsish)
drizzle on cake


Thursday, September 18, 2008

New Definitions

Here are few definitions for the day:

Anxiety: down to one binky.

Anticipation: waiting for the raspberries to ripen

Old: Mark and I have tried 2 nights in a row to watch the 3rd installment of Pirates of the Caribbean. We absolutely cannot stay awake. We haven't even made it through the first hour. So sad.

Repetition: doing THIS laundry. I can't face folding these same clothes again. Anyone wanna swap? Just to see different fabric! I'm desperate!

Denial: I DID NOT just inhale half of this cake in a 24 hour period. It IS NOT going to make me fat. I AM NOT going to go into diabetic shock. sidenote: this IS the most amazing chocolate cake ever. Sarah (my illustrious sis in law) gave me the recipe. SOOOOO GOOOOD. SOOOOO worth killing my diet until every last crumb is gone. umm...excuse me. I need cake.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Today is Mark's 31st birthday! We love you SO MUCH!!! Here are just a few of the reasons that Mark is such a great husband and father:

At one of Ethan's shows they had a mix up at the last minute and there was no one to take him into the arena. I definitely would have stressed about doing it, which way to go? Mark just marched out there with Ethan. He never hesitates when one of us needs him.
Helping Mat suit up for a soccer game.
Getting in and getting wet with the kids. Mark is definitely the fun one. They do the 'dance of joy' when he gets home for a reason.
At the airport with Laney.
Have a great day Mark!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Hello Monday.
That's disgusting.
Good gravy.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Weekly Review

Surprising stuff: Magic Beans! I went out to pull out the bean plants and chuck them over the fence and lo and behold!!! More beans! Did anyone know about this? Have I been pulling my bean plants too early all this time? I am so excited! Twice the the beans for my bellah! I say 'my' because I am the only one willing to partake of the beans. That's ok..they don't know what they're missing.

Mangos! Turns out I am over the moon for mangoes. Who knew? I bought one last week and it was like manna from heav-un. Oh baby. I had only had one mango before this and it was served to me by one David Cullen, a trucker living in Phelan, California. All I remember was that the peal and the core were not easily removed from the fruit with your fingers. It was a total mess. If you don't remove the peal from the fruit (with a knife) you are forced to dig it out with your teeth. I don't need to tell you how unattractive this can be. Shiver. So armed with this memory, I took a knife to my mango and I will never be the same! Oh sweet Martha! Mangolicious.

Progress: My Mathew has gone 5 ...count them....5 whole days without inflicting pain on anyone. Hooray! Way to go buddy! Only 23 more to go and you are in Kung Fu Panda heaven.

Parenting "Duh": It occurred to me this week that I've been treating all my children as if they were the same age. Somewhere along the way I forgot that Megan is only 3. I forgot that at that age they need a little more silliness, racing, tickling, and pretending. Ethan is at an age where he likes to "discuss" and reason things out. I've been expecting Megan to fall in line the way Ethan and Mathew do. Maybe because when Laney was born I really needed cooperation and tried to minimize the work by raising my expectations for the kids in general. I see now that Megan wasn't able to be her age and was acting out because of it. So this week I've tried to change my approach with her. Amazing! She's a new kid. She is laughing and hugging and talking to me. She is returning to the happy girl I had before. Lesson learned: I'm the problem.

Remembering me
: I also remembered how much I love to cut wood. Love it! Doesn't it smell amazing! I've been working on cutting nativity sets for our ward's "Project Day" (Super Saturday in disguise) and I am truly enjoying just sitting out in the garage cutting away. There is nothing like a nicely sanded piece of unpainted wood. I think I'm going to start making puzzles again. hmmm...

Friday, September 12, 2008

I'm a chart maker. I have exactly 8 charts on the side of the fridge that we are USING. We have:
*a chart for our Saturday schedule
*one for the weekdays when there is no school
*one for the weekdays when there is school
*one to track Ethan's 'extra mile' efforts to earn "Nim's Island"
*one to track Mathew's extra mile efforts to earn "Kung Fu Panda"
*one to track Mathew's effort to not hit, bite, pinch, spit, or scratch anyone. anywhere. He will then earn "Kung Fu Panda" (I know, I know, but he hasn't noticed that he is doing two things for one please don't tell him)

*one for the kid's morning tasks---get dressed, brush teeth, etc
*one for the kid's evening tasks--get dressed, brush teeth, stop talking, please stop talking, go to bed now or I'm going to lose my mind, etc.

Why so many charts? I don't have clue. Whenever anything feels out of whack or chaotic, my first impulse is to make a chart. And really most of the time they work great.
"Mom? Can I watch tv?
"I don't know...what does the chart say?"
"It says 'Outside time'"
"I guess it's outside time then"
The chart takes on an authority all its own. Love it.
The great part is that if I need them to chill a bit and watch tv while I get the baby down for a nap, I just let them do it and don't refer them to the chart. It's a win win situation. For me.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Hey all you mommas out there! Anybody have a photographer in the area that they LOVE? It's time to redo the family photos and I want to use someone good! Please let me know! Thanks!

Monday, September 8, 2008

One week wiser.

New tradition! A weekly review! This week was a good one. Busy. Full of stuff to clean and places to drive to (bad grammar). Kids to cheer and discipline (more bad grammar). Your typical week. Looking back here were some of my favorite things:

Good stuff: Laney started rolling over. She poops, waits till I remove the diaper and rolls. So completely love it! That look in her eyes that says, "ha! I did that on PURPOSE!" She's starting to be mobile. I realize that she would have achieved this milestone long ago if I ever put her down. But I am honestly just trying to save the poor child from the ardent and ferocious love of her big brothers and sister.

Laney first tooth broke through. She is well on her way to becoming the fourth Hufford child to bring home the "Your child is biting" note from Miss Jayne's kindergarten class. All it takes is a few teeth and a little rage.

Mark did a killer job getting the lawn under control. He literally mowed the back yard three times in one day just to tame the wild growth due to the rains of Gustav coming through. It looks fantastic back there.

Irritating stuff: I'm at my wits end with Daphne and her incessant nightime barking. I can't take it anymore! Geez Louise! I am already sleep deprived and I can't be held responsible for the things I've yelled out the back door in the middle of the night. I'm looking into one of those bark control birdhouse contraptions that make noise the dogs don't like when they bark. Anyone have info, experience or advice? You could be saving a life here.

A moment I'd like to forget: (then why, you may ask am I blogging about it? undeniable need to share) I became THAT soccer mom. You know the one. The one that steps over the line. I was standing behind one of the mothers of a child on the other team and I kept overhearing her say rude little things about Mathew..that's right (gasp) MY Mathew. My ears were burning and I could feel it coming. Just then her son tripped on the field, Mathew was running right behind him and fell right on top of him. She made another little comment and I lost my control, went up to her and confronted her. I called out another soccer mom!!! Even now I get all nervous thinking about it. We exchanged snotty words and we left it that. My neighbor was mortified and I was ticked. Mark came from work a few minutes later and Jennifer filled him in. He said, "Well it's not too late to apologize." Apologize!! Well, that's what happens when you've been teaching early morning seminary. I replied, "I'm really not sorry." He's a smart man and has been married to me for almost a decade, so he let it drop. After 45 minutes of standing there, cooling down and feeling more and more like an idiot, I finally went over and apologized for losing it. She laughed and apologized too. Shwew. No fist fight ensued. Lesson learned: don't stand by the other team...they definitely like their kids better than yours.

Things I want for the coming week:

A nap --- reach for the stars!

To tea party hard with Miss Megan

Get a few veggies in for the fall garden. Peas? Lettuce? a few radishes maybe?

No fights with soccer moms.

Detox from the sugar binge induced by sugar cookies in the house.

Teach Laney how to scoot to something. Maybe even try a little solid food?

Spend a few minutes with Mark. A girl can dream, right?

Gab with the gals at the Tower Park playdate.

Put that pile of stuff that's blocking the hallway into the attic. I hate doing that.

Discuss the concept of AIM with the boys in regards to the bathroom. You know what they say about teaching a man to fish!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Foot of love

When Mark and I were newlyweds, we lived in this tiny little cinder block house in Mapleton, Utah. It was so very tiny, but we loved it because it wasn't attached to anyone else's home. And we lived in a normal family ward. Granted, were far and away the poorest people in the ward. I imagine when the Bishopric and Auxillary leaders met for welfare meeting once a month, we were the only item on the agenda. "The Huffords are going to need another visit from the 'secret grocery elf' pretty soon"
Anyway, one day I came home from my classes at the 'Y' and fell asleep on the "sofa". Actually, we didn't have room for a sofa, so it was a very very small love seat. You can imagine it wasn't a place you could stretch out and get comfortable. I was sleeping with my head contorted on one end and my feet shooting up in an unnatural angle at the other end. While I was sleeping one of my legs had fallen asleep. Mark came home. I could hear him come in, but it was one of those times where you are stuck halfway in your dream and halfway out. I was willing my eyes to open but my body wasn't responding. My foot was going crazy! The tingling was unbearable! I fought for consciousness with all I had and the only thing that came out was a soft.... "foot". Foot. Oh the romance! Just what every bride would utter to her returning husband. Foot. Thus was born the foot of love. Yesterday we were making sugar cookies -- an excellent Sunday afternoon time killer -- and Mark crafted another offering in honor of "foot". Good times.

P.S. Mark, each foot was very delicious once I got past the idea of chewing on toes. Thank you.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Princess Megan
Before I had a girl, I was annoyed by people who referred to their daughters as "Princess". I am not one who likes to have that word located on any part of my children's clothing. It seems snooty (snotty?) to me. So of course the powers that be sent me a child who lives and breathes only to seek after all things princess. She hears the word and quivers with excitement. So I have been given the opportunity to immerse myself in the world of the princess. Just the other day, Megan announced to the boys: "I am a princess. You are only boys." Boys. She said it like they were merely servants in the home. Lowest of the low.
At night she passes by their room on her way to bed and tosses them a "g'night boys".

As she gets older, I feel less and less like I know what makes this girl tick. She can be incredibly sweet and soft spoken. But in the next breath, she is ticked off! She can shake the rafters witha high pitched scream. She loves to sing...and sing..and sing. Join in at your own risk. It's just as likely as not that she'll immediately stop and tell you to zip it. Half the time I'm offended and the other half I can't help but laugh. At night you can hear her singing herself to sleep -- loudly.

This girl can eat waffles like nobodies business. Just keep em comin. I have three or four bottles of syrup in our food storage because I wouldn't want to be around if we run out during a waffle fest. It would hit the fan.

She has SO MUCH hair. Tons and tons. It is everywhere. All the time. I try to put in pigtails and braids and clips and twists and bows and bands. But it always gets out and gets in her eyes and stuck to her cheeks (syrup). I've thought about cutting it, but I'm afraid it would look wierd and everybody would think I was an idiot.

One of my favorite things about her is this thing she does with her lips when she is really concentrating. She really sticks em out there. I just know she is still gonna be doing this when she is in college. Her husband is going to love this about her too.

I also love that she rolls all of her d's, r's, and l's. She's a latina born into a white family. And boy does that girl ever love a good tea party. I sure hope Laney likes em too, because Meg is feverishly waiting for her to learn to hold a cup.

I love this girl!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Quote of the day:

Mathew: Mom, I just get so relaxed when I see bacon.

Me too, sweetie. Me too.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Run Forest Run!

Labor Day weekend was wonderful! Lots of sisters from the best ward ever planned on running the 5k for 'Run for a Child'. We've been training (with varying degrees of intensity) for this for a few months. To be honest, I had only worked up to 2 miles the weekend before. It should be said, however, that without Mark I would still be quitting at the stop sign where the deer family lives. (Think I'm joking?) I've got proof:

The close up:

Remember! Turn right at the fauna!!

Once Mark got involved, I started stepping it up big time. Who wants the man they love to think they're a wimp? The Friday before the race I finally did a 5k around my neighborhood. It wasn't to bad! Sunday night I was feeling a bit anxious. I don't really know why, I had no intention of trying to win anything. I just wanted to do the whole thing without stopping. The stars did not align. Laney felt it necessary to nurse at least every hour and Daphne (our dog, for now) kept barking and barking and barking. We've discussed shock therapy.

Devil dog
It was not a restful night. Neverthless, Monday morn arrived and we congregated at Pinnacle Promenade. Carin Christensen organized this whole effort and made matching 'Sole Sister' shirts for everyone.

I started the race feeling pretty perky and I thought I was trucking along okay. About 2.5 miles into it, I was thinking that possibly we had miscalculated the 5k around our neighborhood. I'm just of us was way off. I'm guessing it was me. As we entered the mall area, I kept thinking "okay, the end is just around this corner. I'm good! I can do this!" Not true! We kept weaving around the shops. I was thinking how embarrassing it would be to have the ambulance come a get me in front of Build a Bear. I knew Mark was waiting at the finish line, so I just kept moving. Here I am almost to the finish line with that 'I'm in pain' runner's face.

I'd also like to say... before we started this blog, Mark ran his first 5k and got 2nd place in his age group! He's a maniac. His second 5k he got first place! I think he's so foxy in his running clothes. I'd also like to give a shout out to Joel Rownak for coming over to sit in our dark house so we could run together after the kids went to sleep. You are a true friend...for this you will receive a lifetime supply of cucumbers and green onions (when they're in season, of course). Oh, not to mention fabulous blessings from heaven.