Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Things as they really are.

January 2011.

We have 5 kids.

We have 2 dogs. They get on my nerves.

We go through AT LEAST 8 gallons of milk per week. On Monday I buy 6, determined to ration it a little better than every other week up to that point and by Saturday we usually end up polishing of the last of #6, so we run in and grab a couple more to get us through Sunday because you know we're gonna be making cookies or brownies or something after church because what else is there to do with all of that Sabbath Day? You definitely don't want to be stuck with a batch of cookies and no milk. Definitely not.

On Sunday I "did" my hair for the first time in 2 weeks. It was a special occasion. I had to speak in Sacrament Meeting. I also have become alarmingly lackadaisical with my make-up routine. I actually forgot to do my hair and make-up today when my visiting teachers came over. It isn't like me to forget stuff like this. I'm a card carrying member of the "pretend this is what my house usually looks like" club when company comes over. I'm worried about this development.

I am still stuck in the rocking chair with the baby for hours on end. I've almost finished watching season 1 and 2 of Grey's Anatomy on Netflix. But lest you think I'm pathetic or anything, I do take breaks to check my email, catch up on facebook, and get Laney drinks of water. Oh...and get spoonfuls of cookie dough.

We had Sonic for lunch and cold cereal for dinner.

We just ran out of strawberry freezer jam and if you know anything at all about my family, you know that this is a huge emergency. I'm thawing out some frozen strawberries to make a new batch, but Laney keeps sneeking them and then saying, "I wuv fwozen stwawbewwies!" Cute. But cute doesn't put strawberry jam on the table, girl.

Ethan and Mathew just convinced Mark that they would like to sleep in the downstairs bedroom so they can "have their own space". Mark spent most of Saturday disassembling and reassembling their furniture and moving all of their stuff up and down the stairs. Approximately 20 minutes after completing the move, they decided that it was scary down there and they would like to move back please. Even I, a sucker and a softy, have one thing to say, boys. "Suck it up. You're going to be there until we move." Even so, they are sleeping next to each other on the bottom bunk (safety in numbers), with my ipod playing classical guitar, the closet light and the lamp on AND the dogs are stationed outside their bedroom door...."personal guard dogs".

I owe my kids each 17.50 in back-allowance. It's been a while.

We found an awesome Chinese restaurant a couple blocks away. The big selling point? Their meat doesn't taste like the parts that the hot dog factory rejected. AND they are named Bo Bo Chinese. It's just plain fun to ask Mark to pick up "a little Bo Bo" on the way home. Can't beat the Bo Bo!

Laney is starting to show interest in potty training. Keep us in your prayers.

I still have 15 lbs to lose. And yet I can't stay away from the cookie dough. I have zero clothes that fit me, unless you count the two pair of black yoga pants that I bought at Sam's Club the other day. I've become that mom. The one who wears yoga pants like they are normal clothes and also DOES NOT do yoga. Besides that, even if I could fit into my old clothes, I think I used them to wrap up breakables when we moved. Somewhere in the basement is a box and in it is a vase with my favorite jeans wrapped around it. sigh.

Every morning the boys sit down for breakfast and pour themselves a bowl of cereal and then it begins. I call it the "Calorie Wars". Each one picks a box and they start comparing the nutritional information:

"Dietary Fiber....7 grams."
"Dietary Fiber ....8 grams! OH!"

And so on and so forth.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Up to bat.

Mark's turn to do the bouncy walk with Anna. It must be in the kitchen because that is where the music is and this girl loves her reggae.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


Someone discovered the exquisite joy of sitting on the heater vent. I love that look...even her face muscles are relaxed.

Friday, January 21, 2011


Recently Mark took a little day-trip down to the Arkansas office. In a plane.

He was back by dinner.

It really makes me chuckle because it's so funny how similar our lives are!

I would have let him use my plane, but I had already planned on a little trip to Walmart that day. We were out of milk. Oh well!

At least he got to ride shotgun.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The i pawd

Sometimes you just need a little time alone with your ipod.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Miss you

Hey there old Lowell neighbors! Came across this photo today...and I just had to say,

We miss you!

Friday, January 14, 2011

I owe it all to you

As I have been bouncy walking my way through the last (almost 7!) weeks, I have been pondering all of the things I have learned as a direct result to bringing these 5 souls into our lives.

1. I can now crack an egg with only one hand. I am almost always successful, but when I'm not, I can also dig out the piece of shell with one hand. Come to think of it, I can do almost anything one-handed...including make an entire meal and set the table, do the laundry (except folding tablecloths), vacuum, grocery shop, pick up an unruly toddler and deposit them in time-out, sweep and mop the floor (although I don't make this a habit), type an entire entry about what I've learned from having babies...on my blog. This is by no means a comprehensive list.

2. I have learned that there are certain things that are very awesome that will always be awesome. Those binkies they give you in the hospital. THOSE are awesome. And Pixar. Pixar rocks. In fact, if I could go back 10 years, I'd buy stock in binkies, Pixar, hot cocoa, bandaids, Netflix, microwave popcorn, magic erasers, granola bars, fruit snacks,, blue toothpaste, toilet paper, spoons, paper towels and oreos.

3. A good vacuum makes everyone feel better.

4. It's absolutely imperative that you enjoy the good times when the good times are upon you. Don't ruin the serenity of the baby's long nap by worrying what you'll do when she wakes up. Don't worry that perhaps you shouldn't be putting the baby in the swing to go to sleep because what if she becomes dependent on that swing to sleep at all and then what will you do? No. Stop. Just enjoy. I'm here to tell you that she will not sleep in the swing forever and you might as well use it while it works. Now go take a nap....or eat oreos and watch tv....or get the dishes done...or go take a shower...whatever floats your boat.

5. It's more important to show love and be interested in the child that is speaking to you than to move on to the next task. It's like throwing the turkey dinner in the trash so you can start washing the pots and pans you used to make the whole thing. It's pointless. And yet, so very tempting.

6. Children can and should be able to get their own drinks of water and bowls of cereal at a very young age.

7. It is much easier to insist that your children do not use the words "crap" and "dangit" and "sucks" than it is to stop saying them yourself. It sucks.

8. A good hot shower can make lots of things better. So can oreos.

9. Accept help. Whenever it is offered. It's okay!

10. Be gracious. Now matter how many dozens of times I am stopped in Wal-mart by someone who insists on telling my that "my hands are full", they almost always mean well and it is much better (and faster) to be kind and say "Don't I know it!" and give a tired smile. It makes them feel good and you can finish looking for the oreos.

11. It is very important that you do not have any silverware that is the only one of it's kind. There have been wars fought and battles lost over that fork that came home accidentally from the hospital. It is special. And they will fight to the death to have it. Don't even get me started on the "Dig'em spoon". Just trust in me...I wouldn't lie to you.

12. You know those crazy broaches that get made for you around Mother's Day? The ones made out of "jewels" and puzzle pieces? Those are amazing and should be worn with honor to sacrament meeting. Save them. They are instant heirlooms.

13. Don't try to shop for clothes with toddlers or babies. They don't like it and they will make you pay. Pay so very dearly.
If you do decide that there is no other way, then bring supplies. I recommend treats, toys and electronic devices. Give them one at a time and milk each one for what it's worth. Then try on those clothes like a mad woman! You might survive. And if you're lucky, you'll find a pair of jeans.

14. You can never have enough gift bags. Tissue is optional.

15. The more stuff you bring to sacrament meeting to "distract the kids" the crazier it gets. Better to just tough it out and give them the "evil eye".

16. Don't tell them they can't eat in the living room or the car. Because you and I both know that you are going to continue to eat in both locations. That makes you a hypocrite. Just accept it.

17. Invest in a good carpet cleaner.

18. Breakfast for dinner is always a possibility.

19. Farts are funny. You will never convince them otherwise. Just know you want to.

20. Kids make great friends. They are always up for a good time, forgive almost instantly and they will say "yes" 100 percent of the time when asked, "Should we get some more oreos?"

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Baby Training

Last night was misery.

Pure misery. Even though I waded through it in a fog of semi-consciousness, I still know it was misery.

We are 6 weeks into Anna's brief life and I have successfully trained her to nurse at least every half an hour, whether she's hungry or not (although how hungry can a person get when eating every 30 minutes?). I have also convinced her that she is incapable of sleeping anywhere but my exhausted arms. This results in very stressful, sweaty, squirmy, crampy, awkward sleeping arrangements for both of us...and Mark.

But we hit rock bottom last night and I emerged into today with a determination to turn this ship around. We waited at least 2 1/2 hrs between feedings and I put her down in her crib every time she fell asleep. She must have missed the memo, because the first nap of the day, it took me 8 tries to get her down 3 times for the same nap. oy.

But things got progressively easier and by midafternoon, she blessed me with a solid 2 hour nap....IN THE CRIB!! This is nothing short of miraculous. My older children would agree, because 2 hours in the crib translates to 2 hours in which I can pitch in around the house and get the meals made. I folded 7 loads of laundry and prepped for dinner. Nothing snazzy, but it'll be better that toaster waffles or cold cereal and that is something strange and wonderful.

Hooray for the change that misery inspires!

The Penny Game

I am wicked.

Wicked, wicked, wicked.

I have a little game we call "the penny game".

It's where I give them a penny for every job they do.

Like make your bed.

Like vacuum.

Like clean out the microwave.

Like count the apples.

Like eat a mango on the countertop.

I get a clean house and they get 12 cents apiece.


Monday, January 10, 2011

Hot Cocoa, French Breakfast Puffs and a Spa Treatment

This is the perfect way to spend a lazy morning.

Make a new Pioneer Woman recipe. I highly recommend these:

French Breakfast Puffs:

Best if eaten with these:

Feel free to do a little hot chocolate body rub while you're at it.

And the recipe for the Puffs:


  • 3 cups Flour
  • 3 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • ½ teaspoons Ground Nutmeg
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • ⅔ cups Shortening (Crisco)
  • 2 whole Eggs
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 1-½ cup Sugar
  • 3 teaspoons Cinnamon
  • 2 sticks Butter

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease 12 muffin cups.

In a large bowl stir together flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. Set aside.

In a different bowl, cream together 1 cup sugar and shortening. Then add eggs and mix again. Add flour mixture and milk alternately to creamed mixture, beating well after each addition.

Fill prepared muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden.

In a bowl, melt 2 sticks butter. In a separate bowl combine remaining sugar and cinnamon. Dip baked muffins in butter, coating thoroughly, then coat with cinnamon-sugar mixture.

These reminded me of cake donuts and they are wonderful when you freeze them and can get one out in the middle of the night and microwave it for exactly 22 seconds.



Sunday, January 9, 2011

6 weeks old

As I approached the 30 minute mark of the bouncy walk around the kitchen tonight (to John Mayer's "Dreaming with a Broken Heart), I was reminded of the many nights I spent sleeping on the kitchen floor, one arm stretched up and manually bouncing baby Mathew in his little bouncy seat while I ran the dishwasher over and over and over because that was the thing that worked to get him to stay calm. Back then it seemed I would be sleeping in the kitchen for the rest of my natural life.

And now Mathew can make Hamburger Helper.

This too shall pass.

So I took the opportunity to enjoy the song, sing along, and stare at those sweet little chubby cheeks.

She's starting to try to talk. She does that thing where she opens her mouth and tries to make something (anything!) come out, and....nothing. And then a few seconds later she tries again and makes a little squeak and we all clap and cheer and she has no idea why.

I keep having these weird delirious episodes at night where I'm half asleep and partly dreaming. Last night I was convinced I had twins. I would nurse baby 1 and then I'd nurse baby 2. Then baby 1, then baby 2. Then baby 1, then baby 2.....

I'm fairly certain Anna got more than enough to eat last night.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A new life

I've been busy getting caught up on all the blogging I didn't do since the 4th of July. Mark gifted me with a printed version of everything I wrote about in 2009 and it was fat! I did 179 entries that year and so far I'm at about 68 for 2010. Pathetic. So...I'm going back through the pictures and trying to remember the details about things that happened months ago. Sadly, it's never as good in hindsight as it is when it's fresh...particularly when it's a difficult experience. The angst and the worry have passed and the perspective has taken over. While that is a blessing, I find value in recording the the "here and now" so that I can look back and remember what that was like and how far we've come.

So all this while, as I've been back-posting, I keep thinking I'd like to write a bit about how I feel about having this new baby in my life and what it's like around here. Things are already changing fast and before I now it, I'll have moved on and so will my perspective. (Everytime I write the word "perspective", I hear Anton Ego from 'Ratatouille' in my head) hmmmm...

I've never been comfortable with having a newborn in the house. There's a weird kind of fear that comes over me as I anticipate what each day or night will bring. This little person has complete power over what I do, when I eat, how much I sleep, and yet has no ability to be influenced by anything other than the milk I so abundantly produce and my willingness to do the exhausting bouncy-walk up and down and all around the house.

When she does fall asleep, I'm torn between holding her in order to lengthen the duration of the nap, putting her down and going to sleep myself, and putting her down and doing as much housework/cooking/helping the other kids as possible. And at any given time I am as likely as not to feel I made the wrong decision.

In the past 5+ weeks, we have eaten a shocking amount of processed food. Ramen noodles, frozen pizzas, frozen chicken nuggets, mac and cheese. We even had hamburger Helper last night, which my 7 year old made while I did the bouncy-walk and gave instructions. Did you know that a 7 year old can brown hamburger? It turned out perfectly and yet was just as vile and radioactive as I remember from the college years. I fully expect to be changing a few neon diapers in the next 24 hours.

With each new baby, I desperately seek out the few things that will sooth her and turn to those to bring her out of a crying spell. She seems to like music with a reggae beat. She has a soft spot for Jason Mraz and doesn't mind if I throw in a little John Mayer. She responds well to Ingrid Michaelson, but has no patience for Collective Soul. I seem to remember that Ethan loved the King's Singers, Mathew preferred Chuck Pyle, Megan liked Jonny Lang, and Laney responded best to Coldplay (and downloaded dishwasher noises...wahwoosh...wahwoosh).

She also likes to get into the huge tub in the master bath with me. It honestly takes every ounce of hot water we have to fill that thing and she only really likes it for about 10 minutes...but I still do it! WHY? Because I'm desperate, desperate, desperate! (Feel free to donate any extra money you have kicking around to our upcoming water bill.)

The hardest part about having a new baby is the massive amount of time I spend sitting down and nursing her or letting her sleep in my arms, and yet I feel wiped out by 4 pm. I mean, it's not as if I've been digging ditches or anything. And just about that time is when it gets really crazy. How am I going to get something ready for dinner? How do I get the girls to take a bath? How do I get Laney's diaper changed and her pajamas on? How do force 4 kids to STAY IN THEIR BEDS??? I am totally and completely at their mercy and they know it.

Is this starting to sound like a me vs. them situation?

Yeah, it is. And that's what's bugging me. I'm ready for the part where she can sit on my hip, or snack on some veggie puffs in her high chair.

When is that part?

I love you BabyAnna. You are worth it!

P.S. Can we get a little sleep tonight? Just something to think about.