Thursday, January 29, 2009

Lookin for a fight

Have you ever noticed that boys are competitive?

What my boys are currently killing each other over:
Every morning as we drive down the street, we must turn left to get to the school. We can choose Banz (immediately preceding the blue siding/brick building) or Callahan (immediately following the green siding 'Lighting Inc.' building). To make things interesting, Ethan and Mathew have taken personal ownership of either the "blue side" or the "green side". As we approach I hear
"Blue side! Blue side!"
"Green side! You went down the blue side yesterday!"
"'s my turn!"
It's nerve wracking.
Subsequently each morning as I choose which street is faster to turn down, I symbolically reject one of my sons by choosing the other's street. The tears and the anguish! Finally...I could take no more
(into the rear view mirror, of course) (picture just my mean crazy eyes)

"THAT'S IT! The next time I hear one mention of the blue side or the green side will be a dark day in the Hufford family! Don't MAKE me pull this car over!"

And that was that.

That brings us to the spoon:

Where this spoon came from, I do not know. It showed up one day and ever since has been the subject of many a "Na na nuh na na....I have the spoo-oon....Don't you wish you had the spoon?" The tears and the angiush! I am pushed to the brink, "That's IT! You are never going to see that spoon again! It's going in the trash the second you are finished with your rice krispies! No! It's no use begging...I've had it! Say good-bye to the spoon!" Unfortunately these are empty threats because in reality, someone has been sneaking into our house and stealing our regular spoons one by one, so that spoon comes in pretty handy these days.

I just want to know...can't we all just get along?

Stay tuned for next week's episode....'The Thermostat in the Van and the Who's First on the Bathroom Stool'.....gripping!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Ice storm

The "Ice Storm" is a phenomena I was unaware of until we moved to this neck of the woods (if by woods, you mean the United States of America and by neck you mean right in the middle).

We have, up to this point, completely escaped any semblance of winter. It's been down right balmy. And I don't use the word balmy lightly, friends. In fact, in recent days I've experienced a bit of winter survivors guilt...all you poor citizens out in your 10 ft snow drifts, stuck in the airport, power outages, forced to break open your bucked of food storage wheat and try to think what to do with it. I feel terrible watching my children ride their bikes around the cul-de-sac asking for another otter pop. Terrible, I tell you!

So now I feel much better. The dreaded ice storm is upon us.

Schools are closed!

Walmart has been ransacked!

The dogs really need to pee!

I'm out of eggs! know what they say, when the goin get tough, the tough:

Make cocoa Is it a sin that they had Nestle and I had Ghirardelli?

Play ALOT of Mario Party 8

Do a little Kung fu oooh. ah.

Laminate! I have got a killer Ensign artwork collection in the works...

Some much needed eyebrow maintenence. (I'll spare you an illustrative photo)

Take photos for the blog

That is the grass, folks! The grass!

"C'mon sweetie! Mommy will catch you!"
The lavender I have lovingly nurtured for the last 2 years. Immortalized in frozen perfection.

Super cool ice tree
Very fashionable chainlink

When stepping stones and stumbling blocks are one and the same
The Birdcapades
I can't get over that grass... those are individual blades completely encased! Wowzers.

Pray that the power stays on because without it, we're going to be forced to get creative. And we can't have that...

How do I love thee?

Let me count the ways.

And the number of frozen doggie poops you removed from our frozen backtundra in the freezing dark of night.

You are my hero.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Miracle on Ane Street (please pronounce "Anne", for all our sakes)

It happened.

I woke up feeling strange.

Like I hadn't been asked to serve drinks, wait for two dogs to pee, strip sheets from a urine soaked bed, change jammies on a urine soaked child, or serve as an all night booby buffet.

I just got 8 hours baby!

I proclaim that the long night is over. I am much safer to be on the road with and when you are talking to me I may have more to give you than a blank look.

And lest you think I am not shedding honest to goodness tears of joy, let me offer up a few representative images:
That really says it all, doesn't it?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Pain for beauty.

It has begun.

Already Megan is absolutely willing to endure discomfort, pain even!, in order to acheive a "look".

Remember the first day of sunbeams?Those shoes are killing her. She never wears them around the house with her princess dress, but she was determined to wear them to church so her friends would see her. Have mercy.

And then we went for the foam curlers. I was postitive she wouldn't go for it. I KNEW she'd be asking me to take them out when she realized she'd actually have to lay on them all night. Nope. She was willing to suffer.
For this:
She is her mother's daughter.

Last year I stood (6 months pregnant) for hours practicing with the Ozark Mormon Chorale for their Christmas Concert. In these.
My toes were totally numb. Oh the femaleness of it all.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

This ain't no one trick pony.

She can do this:

and THIS: (clapping)

And, of course, this:Even THIS!

So why not this? (In her bed. all night long.)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Anybody have a bag of oreos?

Boys are at school.

Megan is at playgroup.

Laney is taking a nap.

I have exactly 90 minutes to myself.

Do I eat as much chocolate as I can before someone wakes up or comes home and wants to share?

Do I clean the abode while nobody goes right behind me and messes it up?

Do I watch all of Lost without, "Mama! I talkin to you-uh!"

I'm frozen with giddiness and anticipation. This is going to need to tide me over until next Friday. What to do what to do?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Excuse me?

Prayer has always made me feel a bit uncomfortable. I never could put my finger on it, but I've given it some thought lately and I think I figured it out. I've always been a mind-your-manners wait-your-turn kind of gal and it feels very bossy and pushy to just hit your knees and start praying with no idea what Heavenly Father happens to be doing at the moment. What if He's busy with something else and I just start talking like I'm the only person alive? What if He's eating? What if He's having a little quiet time? I'm sure as the Father of all, he needs a little quiet time. I would feel so much better if I could get one of those buzzy light up thingies they give you when you are waiting for a table at Chili's. I'd go pick one up before I start putting kids to bed. He can let me know when he has a minute and then I'd feel much better laying it all out there for Him. As it is, I get done with my prayer and more than anything I expect the answer to be, "Maren, I didn't see you raise your hand."

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


That's it! A new President of the United States. I was amazed by all the past leaders gathered together in one place. I'm ashamed to say that this is the first inauguration I've watched or cared about. What a beautiful thing to see our constitution in action. The transfer of power executed so peacefully and orderly. I was moved to tears and I felt the stirrings of the Spirit as I listened to our new President speak of the need for all of us to sacrifice and hold to the truths and virtues our country was founded on. I was impressed with his directness and I feel hopeful for the days ahead.

My favorite parts:

"Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead they knew that our power grows through its prudent use. Our security emanates from from the justness of our cause, the force of our example and the tempering quality of humility and restraint."


"For those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocence, we say to you, "Know that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken. You cannot outlast us and we will defeat you."

Yeah! ooooh. I'm excited.

Monday, January 19, 2009


You know that gorgeous day we had a few weeks ago? That amazing Saturday when it felt ridiculous that it was January? That was the day that Mathew took his first horse riding lesson. He loved it. His moment had finally come after being told for two years that he needed to wait until he was five.. only to be told that he then needed to wait till the soccer season was over. When you're three, that's an eternity. The day had come. The weather was fantastic. We drove out to the stables and watched as Mathew met his horse, Goldie.Ethan was equally thrilled because instead of his usual lesson under the watchful eye, he was able to take his horse about on his own and essentially cowboy around the arena.Can I confess that I am secretly so glad that these guys love horses so much? I really enjoy going out there and letting them ride. If I wasn't holding a baby, I'd take lessons myself. What is it about horses? They are so beautiful and .....big. They really are SO BIG. But for now, I will content myself with standing outside the arena and breathing in the fresh air. Taking a few pictures and daydreaming of a day when we have our own little place with a couple of horses and Tootsie and Daphne can be official farm dogs. You think Mark will go for it? Laney is thinking of the distant future and contemplating the universe.
Or maybe just thinking she could really use a fresh diaper.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A few things

Why is it that when your son's kindergarten teacher asks you to send in 100 pennies in celebration of the 100th day of school, what seems like thousands of pennies you run across on a daily basis suddenly morph into 3 guitar picks, a Chuck e cheese token and a miniature domino?

It seems that after much, much, much discussion, Mathew has finally been persuaded to take a ham and cheese sandwich in his cold lunch. I guess that's what 100 days of pb&j will do to you. Cross your fingers. This could open up a whole new world of food options for this kid. At the very least let's hope he doesn't vomit. (It's been known to happen)

Why was it necessary for me to exit the vehicle and walk my kids across the school crosswalk TODAY? Not yesterday? Remember? The day I had it all together? Instead I was blessed with the walk of shame...pajama pants, 'Bulls' sweatshirt (hiding the fact that is was, in fact, without certain necessary underthings..ahem), non-matching shoes (although what matches pajama pants?), and of course the frizzy ,slept-on, bed-head. A true moment of humility.

I love that on my way back across the crosswalk I run into my friend who was quick to point out her own bed-head and made me feel so much the better. In two freezing minutes we managed to laugh about our unkempt appearance, bemoan the state of our overflowing trash cans and discuss our non-shoe-tying children. Now that's friendship.

Why, on the first night the baby decides to wake up only 2 times, as opposed to her usual 6-8 (not kidding), do the dogs suddenly have to pee 3 times! 3! Cruelty.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

a shmoosh of happiness

I woke up with Laney at 5:00 am. This might not seem like a good thing, but it was because she just wanted a little snuggle and she was right back to bed (holding on to her soft giraffe, so cute) and I was awake. I had cleaned the house before I went to bed, except for putting away the piles of laundry because I still had a couple loads going. The house was quiet and I turned on the dryer. Ahhhh. The beautiful sound of the dryer. JUST the dryer. me and the thump thump....thump thump. I folded a load of jeans in the jeans, little girl jeans, boy jeans that seem way too long to belong to my two growing sons. Jeans that help me remember to eat right so that I can still fit into them. My husband's jeans...even better when he's wearing them. I felt a sense of how lucky I am.
I finished that and went in to write in my journal. Mark was up and getting ready to go teach early morning seminary and I recorded the events of the weekend (more on that later). The kids slept on as I finished off 1st Nephi. Anybody know what "calves of the stall" means? Ethan woke up and announced he was feeling much better and sleepily climbed into Mark's warm spot. He'd had a little bit of an upset stomach before bed. Megan came in and climbed in on my side, snuggling in and breathing out a big sigh of satisfaction that only comes with great sheets. I decided tojump in the shower. As I did, I could hear Megan singing "sing sweet nightingale" from Cinderella. I peeked out and she was "dusting" the countertop with one of my makeup brushes. That is a girl who loves the princesses.
20 minutes later I was fully dressed- hair, makeup, clothes I wouldn't be ashamed to go out in, SHOES! Amazing. And it was only 6:30. Ethan and Megan dressed and I went in to wake up Mathew. 45 minutes later we are ready to go. Backpacks packed, homework done, lunches made, teeth brushed. No fighting. No whining. No time-outs. A miracle.
Drove them to school. No fighting. No whining. No rear view mirror lectures. Just "I love you! Have a great day!" It can't get better than this. Home again and ready to move on with what promises to be a winner of a day. Can't wait.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Can I get a volunteer?

Don't come yet though. I'm positive I can fit at least 3 more things in there.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

a sunBEAM!...a sunBEAM!

That's it....she made it. No more snacks, no more puzzles, no more coloring for 2 straight hours, no more ring-a-round-the-rosy, no more macaroni necklaces, no more knock-down-drag-out battles over the one good dolly. For this I weep for you my darling girl. But because you will no longer be infected by the germ infested collection of nursery toys, I rejoice and look forward to this new year when you are not sick by Tuesday. Oh, and sorry to break it to you, but yes, you do need to fold your arms and be reverent. That's how we roll.

Oh dear heaven...

I am currently, right at this moment, trying to teach my sweet baby to get to sleep without nursing for hours on end. This is sheer torture and although I have been through this 3 other times in the last 6 years, I am truly convinced that we will not survive it. I have got to get a good night's sleep. I really can't take it anymore. All night long I'm dragging myself back and forth from that crib to my bed, half the time I take her to the couch to nurse her and I fall asleep sitting up with my head flung back at a freakishly unhealthy angle. The other half, I'll turn on a show to keep myself awake long enough to get her back in her crib only to be so into the show that I put her to bed and stay up another 45 minutes to see how the dang episode ends. When you are getting 2ish hours of sleep a night, 45 minutes is not to be wasted on nightline! And we have DVR!! What is my problem?

It's not like my children are hardwired to be terrible sleepers, I just slowly train them over the first 6 months or so. Then I suddenly feel the need to do a 180 and begin to train them in the exact opposite direction. loony. Well, honestly, I just really use nursing as the cure all for baby woes. Hungry? nurse. Tired? nurse. Bored? nurse. Scared? nurse. The Office is on? nurse. Visiting teachers are here? nurse. It's a wonder the poor things aren't shopping in the husky section.

So there you have it. I deserve it! I made my bed and now wish I could lie in it.

A little lunchtime Jeapordy


Question: How many pounds does Maren need to gain before she "grows out of" her new jeans?

Good to know.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

A new year a new do.

Hooray! Finally a new haircut. I'd like to share with you all the before and after photos so you can realize how sorely this was needed. I think at some point long hair is in danger of ceasing as a style and becoming just a measurement. Unless of course you are Shelly and your hair ALWAYS looks lush and FABulous. I had long since passed over into polyg hair. I was one hair clip and bun away from being inducted into the commune.

Before: ACK!
Which was usually so cleverly done like this:
But now thank you to Lanelle and an industrial sized staitening iron, it is this:
Don't you love it when you get a haircut and you actually look forward to doing your hair for a couple days. That's the best. The straight seems straighter and the curls seem curlier. Here's to better hair in 2009!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

What can you say about 2008?

It was definitely a wing dinger of a year for us here in the Hufford household. Just a few of the things I'd like to remember:

Laney was born. This is an obvious one. Having a new person in the family changes everything and has made us all just that much happier. She's a sweet girl and 9 months old now. I love how much she is changing everyday. She is crawling and cruising and yelling and whooping like an indian. She is the kind of baby you imagine baby's will be like when you are daydreaming as 14 year old. Kinda like having a teddy bear come alive and crawl around on the floor all cute and fluffy. Minus the poop and the all-night nursing, of course.

Many pounds were gained and lost in 2008. Mark and I had just barely lost the loads of weight we gained in the first year of our marriage, and then I got pregnant and gained it all back. Laney arrived and I had to lose it again. This has left me with NO clothes that fit. I was like a frumpy bag lady. Thank goodness for Christmas.

This was the year of the 5k. I, myself, prefer to walk, but Mark started running in 5ks and I signed up to do one on Labor Day weekend because of peer pressure from ladies in my ward. This, of course, was less about what they actually thought about me and more about what I THOUGHT they thought about me. I'd say that's a major reason a good percentage of things get done in my life...pride, vanity, and competition. What can I say? Mark wrapped up the year with a half marathon. We were so proud!

I learned that you absolutely canNOT freeze salsa. It's so yummy going in, and so gross coming out. Never again. Never. again.

I lost yet another battle with the squash bugs and the squash borers. This makes the score 5-0. I'm on the edge of surrender. I'm this close to never planting another zucchini in my life. oooh. Just thinking about it makes me mad. I think next summer I'm going to stick to the stuff that works for me: tomatoes, onions, beans, peppers, cucumbers, and peas. Take that squash insects. I hope you starve.

Mark started teaching early morning seminary this year. As amazing as he was before, I have noticed such a change in him. He tries so hard to be a good example and sincerely live the gospel. It has influenced every aspect of his life. If I could have one wish it would be that the kids he teaches could really know how much he cares about them and wants them to feel the spirit every day.

For me, this year has been 12 more months of learning to accept the death of my dad. I never imagined he would leave us "early". I try to imagine that his actually just fine and happy to be free from his body, but really it still hurts. I want him here and I want my children to know their Grandpa. I suppose I'll have the next 12 months and then the next 12 after that to keep letting the pain go and allowing the truth of the gospel to make it better. I did have one experience this year that really helped me to grow. Last summer, I was out running some errands and Mark called me on my cell. He told me that while he was mowing the lawn, one of the kids came out with my string of pearls broken in their hand. He tried to find all of the beads, but couldn't be sure he had them all. I was brokenhearted. My dad had bought me those in an antique store when I was 17. We were out "treasure hunting" and it is one of my dearest memories of him. My first reaction was to find out which child had done it and lecture them, essentially making that child responsible for ruining something they could have no idea was so important to me. Thankfully, I had time to pull myself together and I could feel the spirit teaching me an important lesson. The necklace wasn't as precious as the memory of spending a day with my father and being the center of his attention. It wasn't the broken necklace that made me want to was that I can't call him on the phone and here him call me "Muff" anymore. Then I realized that while it is true that there will be no more memories to make with him on this earth, the memories I have cannot be destroyed or lost. I have them to carry me through and rely on. The little pearls were collected and placed in my jewelry box and the child responsible never received the undeserved punishment. I was reminded of my father's love and the reality of his continuing life.

This Christmas as all the presents were finally opened and the kids were busily opening the maximum security twist ties and packaging on each item, Mark brought out one last gift for me and set it on my lap. I was truly clueless as I removed box from a gift bag. Inside was a soft leather case, the top suede flaps tied with a ribbon in the middle. I was thinking to myself, "What did he buy? Where will I possibly wear something fancy?" He was smiling that smile he gets when I knows something I don't. I opened it up to see my beautiful pearl necklace repaired and looking just as it had when I showed it to my father that day. Mark hugged me as I cried. "I did good, huh?" he said. Oh yes. So good. The best Christmas present ever.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Christmas Festivities

Christmas is so fun as a parent! I was so excited to see their faces when they so the fat stockings and the presents wrapped in unfamiliar paper. The kids were excited with their gifts and despite my efforts to scale down a bit, when you add grandparents gifts and stocking stuffers and gifts for each other, it's still crazy! A few photos:

Christmas Eve we had dinner, spaghetti made by the spaghetti-master, we read the Christmas story from Luke 2 and open the Christmas Eve Jammies. The tree and stockings in all their untouched Christmas morning glory. I personally love this moment most of all...when you come out and there it is. Beautiful and displayed so carefully. You have no idea what awaits and just want your parents to get up already! I remember my parents putting small presents up inside the trees along with cards from grandparents.

Laney working on her wind up caterpillar. A trail of stocking stuffers behind her.Mathew displaying one of Laney's stocking stuffers. That poor kid has had chapped lips for months now. How do stop a kid from licking his lips all day? I'm open to suggestions. He was thrilled to get a music box and an Air Hog helicopter. He's an enigma, that one.
Ethan got......drumroll....I'll give you three guesses.....HORSES! I think we counted 15 by the time the day was over. He's cultivating quite a collection.Megan asked for a princess dress just like her friend Sydney. In her words, "one that goes up, up, up!" I think that means in is super poofy. She was not dissappointed.
Mark opening a new popcorn bowl. Unfortunately it was chipped, so it will have to go back to Santa's workshop (Walmart) for a replacement. Santa is awesome like that.I myself had the best Christmas ever. More on that later.
Merry Christmas!!