Wednesday, November 25, 2009

For all these things...

For my husband. For my babies that are here and those that are to come. For not being in the grocery store check out lane at this very moment. For the happiness that comes from knowing and loving my neighbors. For the opportunity (the obligation, even!) to make 3 kinds of pie. For a great sister willing to drive 8 hours with a chaweenie in the backseat. For mulled cider scented candles, the anticipation of unpacking the Christmas decorations, the careful planning of the advent calendar. For google. For Weezer's Green Album. For the artwork of James C. Christensen. For having my husband home in the mornings ALL WEEK. For the example of an extraordinary mother. For a tough year and the changes it has brought about. For an open heart. For a new sister. For new understanding. For President Monson and President Obama. For indexing. For digital cameras and iPhoto. For a summer of raspberries. For spinach growing in the windowsill. For forgiveness and mercy. For washing machines, vacuums, space heaters and a kitchenaid. For a paycheck. For my siblings and the history and future we share. For music, old and new. For Kit Kats. For Magic Erasers. For Aldi. For second chances. For hidden love notes. For Chicago. For Pork Barbacoa. For A-Ha in the morning. For blogging. For scroll saws and sanders. For Advil Liquigels. For 'Lost'. For true companionship. For hot showers, apricot scrub and clean sheets. For four days of cooking and eating with my little sister. For the opportunity to correct my mistakes. For Timpanogas and Emerald Lake. For Pine Sol. For aprons. For Bakugans, princesses and teepees. For jeans.
For the love of my Father. For the gift of my Brother. For sacrifices.

I am truly grateful.

Monday, November 23, 2009

I'm pooped.

So it happened.

I was going about my day and I heard the washing machine finish the swishy swish part and I fully expected to hear the "click" and then the draining and spinning. I assumed it would happen. I guess you might say I took it for granted that it would happen.

Not so.

I went in to wiggle the Zoo Pals knives and hoped for a miracle.


I pulled the knives out and took a good look at that little trigger. I noticed two screws and me being me went to get a screwdriver. I thought I'd "take a look". I removed the screws and the trigger fell apart and I heard its pieces descend into to the bottom of the blasted machine. I inspected the rest of the machine and could see no conceivable way of opening the thing up.

Before I get ahead of myself, I should mention that my half-done load was a ripe batch of cloth diapers. OF COURSE. I pulled the washer away from the wall to get a better look and was reminded that I have never ever cleaned under there. Yum. The machine would only come out about a foot and I realized I need to pull the drainage hose out of it's spot. Oh yes. That's right. I dropped the hose and released half a gallon of pooh water onto the half an inch of caked on grime and 10 years worth of spilled powder detergent. I found little comfort in the fact that perhaps the soap factor would cancel out the pooh factor.

Once that was cleaned up, I got on with the business of hand-wringing each and every diaper, insert and wipe and draining the pooh water from the machine.

That done, I hunkered down to attempt to open up this beast and retrieve my agitator switch. It was beyond me. And anyway, it was time to take Meg to preschool. I felt so clean and fresh.

I decided that due to the fact that we bought this washing machine from Deseret Industries 10 years ago for 140 bucks, I feel that it has done it's duty and we should part ways.

And after the sheer volume of pooh water I've waded through today, I'm opting for delivery, installation and take-away. I deserve it. I dare you to say otherwise.

Oh, and if you choose to never come to dinner at my house or take a scoop of my potluck dish again, I understand. No hard feelings.

The end of an era.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Remember this?

I do.

Only it was a walkman and I was probably listening to my Bon Jovi tape. Yes, I was livin on a prayer and I did give love a bad name.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


When I do the kids laundry I watch the piles of clothes as I fold their pants and shirts and jammies. If one child's stack seems noticeably taller than another child's I worry that perhaps I subconsciously love that child more and buy them more clothes. I am so relieved to see the stacks even out as I finish folding. The next time I sit down to fold, I start watching the stacks again.

I worry about Megan because she falls to pieces when she makes a mistake on one of her crayon drawings. The shape of the head isn't quite round enough or she accidentally picked up the wrong color. She refuses to go on and crumples up the paper and starts over again. Is she going to be OCD? Why does she need to be perfect? How do I show her how to give herself a break? Will she be the world's most stressed out preschooler?

Will I ever be able to shed 6 pounds off of this wiener dog?

If we have another baby and it's a little boy, will he feel left out because his brothers are so much older than him? And if it's a little girl, will two of the three be really good friends and leave the other one out?

Where did that huge spider go? If it's not on its web, then it's got to be somewhere else. Maybe it's trying to find a way into the house right this very minute.

Is it a bad sign that my little baby daughter can clearly and effectively "tell me off" even though she only knows "momma" "dadda" and "uh-huh"?

How much longer is the washing machine going to last with my jimmy rigged 'Zoo Pals' plastic knives stuck in the agitator button? Reason tells me: not long.

This is the just the tip of the iceberg. Just the tippy tippy top. Anybody know a therapist that has office hours after the kids go to sleep? Over the phone? While I eat some ice cream?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Geting the loot

And because there's no better day than November 20th to wrap up your Halloween posts, lets wrap this up.

We trick or treated till the kids were beginning to view their costumes as an addition to regular wardrobe. Ward Trunk or Treat, 3 class parties, mom's pre-Halloween photo needs, Halloween day costume parade and the actual Trick or Treating. Wowzers.

A few highlights.

HIGHLY recommend the Bentonville Square on Halloween. Beautiful, fun, and not too crowded.

There. Done. Catch you next Halloween. Oh, and enjoy your turkey, everyone.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Relax. Go to it.

Never let it be said that we haven't properly taught how our children how to lounge.

So grab a tupperware of cold cereal and find a spot on the carpet. We welcome all who wish to chill.

**by the looks of that laundry, I've been teaching by example. I'm nothing if not thorough.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Another day.

Every day as the dinner dishes get cleared from the table and the kids begin to wind down (who are we kidding? They wind up, and you know it) I mentally prepare myself for the next 60 minutes. These last 60 minutes of the day have become the time where I am given the opportunity to work out my salvation. Things inevitably become louder and I feel so very tired. Part of me wants to forget it and say terrible sarcastic things and boss my babies to sleep. The other part of me is trying to talk me out of listening to that other voice. Last night the mean voice won and I gave into the weariness. I ended the day with "Please just be quiet and go to bed." ringing in the ears of my most precious people. And I went to bed with a pain in my heart and felt ashamed as I knelt to pray. I hadn't accomplished what I had set out to do that day.

Tonight I felt so dog tired. Those 60 minutes felt especially chaotic and I swear it felt like the lightbulbs were extra bright. So many times I opened my mouth to say something impatient and dissapproving. I stopped myself and shut my mouth. I took deep breaths and tried to remember that regardless of how I behave, they will eventually go to sleep and then I'll be left with the quiet house and the realization that I could have done better. So tonight we read our stories. I laid my babies down. We said our prayers. We gave our kisses. Tonight they know I love them. Tonight I'm not ashamed to talk things over with Him.

What a beautiful life this is. It's so relentlessly difficult and so cry-for-joy wonderful.

I have a suspicion that if I can overcome myself and master these 60 minutes, I will have taken a step toward my better self that can be achieved in no other way.

One of my new favorite quotes: (Thanks, Sarah)

"When I come to my evening prayers and try to reckon up the sins of the day, nine times out of ten the most obvious one is some sin against charity; I have sulked or snapped or sneered or snubbed or stormed. And the excuse that immediately springs to my mind is that the provocation was so sudden and unexpected; I was caught off my guard.... yet surely what a man does when he is taken off his guard is the best evidence for what sort of man he is. Surely what pops out before the man has time to put on a disguise is the truth. If there are rats in the cellar you are most likely to see them if you go in very suddenly. But the suddenness does not create the rats; it only prevents them from hiding. In the same way the suddenness of the provocation does not make me an ill-tempered man; it only shows me what an ill-tempered man I am. The rats are always there in the cellar but if you go in shouting and noisily they will have taken cover before you switch on the light. Apparently the rats of resentment and vindictiveness are always there in the cellar of my soul."

- C.S. Lewis

It makes me thankful for 4 little souls who have made it their business (for now) to flip on the lights and expose the rats. If they didn't do it, who would?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Don't forget to brush.

Public service.

I once considered myself a musician. In the nerdy sense of the word, that is, a classical musician. I play the viola and the violin (just because it's pretty much a smaller version of the viola.)

I was a music major at Ricks (translation: BYU-Idaho) and then the big scary BYU-Provo. Which means that I spent uncountable hours practicing and pouring my every waking (and dreaming) moment into that viola. I used to even have a name for it which I thought was cute at the time, but now I can't even remember what the name was which tells me it wasn't as cute as I thought it was. I have a nagging feeling my roommates must have rolled their eyes about that whole issue. Ah...youth.

While I was very much immersed in music that was written and played in the past, I went for years (YEARS!) without listening to contemporary music. The problem with that is that now I am finally starting to form my tastes in the music the rest of the population is familiar with. Where do you start?

I'll tell you where.

So You Think You Can Dance!

Thank you, SYTYCD, for introducing me to a few recent faves:

'Gravity' by Sarah Bareilles which led me to Ingrid Michaelson (mm...Winter Song) which led me to a rediscovery of Peter Gabriel and his song 'The Book of Love'.

Black and Gold by Sam Sparro - an excellent song for cleaning the kitchen.

And there were a few good ones tonight which I haven't googled yet. (Did you love the Bobby McFerrin version of "Blackbird"?)

You are saving me from the brave act of moving my dial off of 94.9, the "safe place". Dang those kids and their newfangled music.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Dinner is served.

I am at this very moment making a casserole that I know FULL WELL not a single member of my family will like. Probably even taste. For one thing, it has 2 cups of celery in it. That's some serious celery. I happen to love celery. Also, there's water chestnuts. I do believe that will inspire a little bit of "That is disgusting" and a touch of "I'm full" before the spoons or forks have crossed a single pair of lips. Mark might try it, but it will be out of pure love and a desire to not make me feel bad.

The thing is...

I would actually rather not share any at all. I would prefer those who do not wish to partake to let me know up front so none of my yummy casserole is wasted on their plates. What if I just dish myself up some and serve them something totally different? Would anyone notice?

Maybe I should tell them they're not allowed. It's only for mom. I remember my mom saying that to us and instead of being overcome with an uncontrollable urge to try it, I was thinking, "No problem. It's all yours."

So maybe they'll enjoy a fine selection of cold cereals tonight.

Monday, November 9, 2009

The costumes

Like last year, I tried to take costume pictures early, but only half succeeded. And in the case of Mathew, I tanked. The kids were too busy playing on the neighborhood's coolest new toy to be bothered. So in an effort to post this before Thanksgiving, you get what you get. I contemplated having him re-costume for a few photos, but even I know that's taking it a bit too far.

Ethan, the cowboy for 4 years running:
I think he's mastered his John Wayne impression, don't you?

Mathew's 2 photos:

He wanted to do a repeat of last year as well, the angry motorcross racer:

And then on Halloween day, he opted for his soccer uniform:

Megan was quite accommodating in the pre-Halloween photo arena. She went with the "Golden Princess Angel Fairy". I think she views Halloween as just an opportunity to do a full dress up (with hair and shoes and mother participation.)

I love the polka dot tights. And if she had it her way, she wouldn't have muddled up her costume with the white undershirt. Mom won that battle.

Laney was a Lady Pirate. Mark and I were in the market for free costumes, so I borrowed Ethan's scout uniform:

And he wore his company softball uniform:

And because I am hard pressed to splurge on clothes that are only a one-time wear, I justified several purchases by their flexibility:

black sunday shoes=lady pirate boots
gold slippers = cute with jeans too
cowboy boots (ouch$$!)= needed them anyway for riding lessons
blue button up cowboy shirt = handy spare for church

See how I find the need to explain myself? It's a disease.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Carving pumpkins


Selected with love, perfectly picked out by each child. A name written on in the grocery store so as not to be confused with someone else's pick.

The drawing of the lid. Cut at an angle or your lid will fall in and wipe out your candle (you MUST use real candles. It's cooler.)

We put on "Christmas Through the Years" (a Hufford thing...I've been indoctrinated) and the scooping begins. We choose the floor because it's in need of a mop anyway. (It's always in need of a mop.)

Mat has a bounty of "brains".

Ethan puts his back into it.

He appreciates the beauty of slime.

Laney isn't so sure. The tongue says "ehk." Big sister steps in.

Babies are given "knives" and the carnage begins.

Megan stabs with abandon...

Mathew concentrates, doesn't chit chat...he's focused on teeth, and teeth alone.

Ethan's going for a "dragon fang" look. And mean eyes (with eyebrows, if possible).

I recreated a pumpkin my dad made as a kid (the one behind the one I'm working on) and then help Meg finish her mouth.

Mark went for the very scary and found an example online (he's a computer nerd 365 days of the year...even Halloween)
Left to right: Mom, Dad, Megan, Ethan, Laney, Mathew

**this is probably the first time we've sat next to each other since Chicago. Pumpkin proxies....romantic.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

I want my momma

My mom just left to drive home after a four day visit. I miss her already and I wish she would turn around and come back to help me run my life.

We had a really great visit which consisted mainly of eating as many yummy or nostalgic things as possible and staying up late at night talking until neither of us could see straight.

I'm so used to being mom and it was heaven to have the real mom here. She saved my tail over and over and came to my rescue daily. She watched kids while I ran to the "lady doctor"due to a freak run-in with a UTI that morphed into an annual exam (shudder). She picked up kids from school, sat in the car with sleeping babies and drove Ethan to scouts so I could put the rest of the kiddies to bed and Mark could keep his nose to the grindstone. She sat with the girls THREE MORNINGS IN A ROW so I could walk a child into school and work out homework mishaps with the teacher. She swept, vacuumed, unloaded, wiped and folded. She organized treasure hunts and modge podge crafts. She hugged, snuggled and sat in rapt attention to the steady stream of "Grandma! Come look at.." She admired my garden, cooking, home, husband, kids and blog. She even got up with the baby.

She left me more sure of myself and more confident in my ability to navigate my life. She helped me to clarify my testimony and my outlook. All of that just from being here with me and working along side me.

Oh, how I love my momma.

Megan said this morning, "If Grandma's house dies, she will come live with us".

I'm having murderous thoughts about a house in Spanish Fork.