Friday, February 25, 2011

Better late than never

So we finally got around to acting out the Nativity. Is it terrible that it's two months late?

It feels a little terrible.

We probably would have forgotten it completely, but Megan would not let it go.

Not on her life.

Mark wasn't

It got a little crazy. I was sweating.

Mary, Joseph and the donkey were laughing. The Angel was jumping off the arm of the couch.

But I have to admit that it was pretty neat to have a live Baby Jesus.

And to watch a big brother help his little sis to conduct Family Home Evening for the first time.

Next year we'll try to get it in before the New Year.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Not quite…

This morning I went into my closet and picked out a pair of jeans. My choices were the pair I kept from my “larger days”, or one of the two pair that my thoughtful and attentive Visiting Teacher brought over after we had a conversation about my inability to fit into any of my clothes and my determination not to buy any clothes in my current (and, hopefully, temporary) size. I picked out my most roomy pair and somewhere in between the selection and putting them on, I forgot which ones I had chosen.  I did a little happy dance when I discovered that these particular jeans weren’t as snug as they were the last time I wore them! Happy dance! Happy dance!

Then I looked down and realized that not only is my behind the exact same size as it has been for several weeks, it seems that I am losing my short term memory.


That’s when I decided to become a mall-walker.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

35 is the new 52

So Sunday was my birthday. I am officially 35.


I must say that I love having my birthday on Sunday. Mark was home all day and that makes everything better.

I thought I might make a bit of a list. How about 10 things I loved about my birthday, aye?

1. Anna took a 90 minute nap right before church. This allowed me to braid both the girls’ hair AND take my own shower AND straighten my own hair. This was her gift to me. Thank you, baby.

2. I did not have to raise my voice to anyone in order to persuade them to get dressed for church. Can I get a witness? Amen, sister.

3. I got a bajillion facebook “Happy Birthday!”’s. Facebook rocks when it comes to birthdays. It’s like this little subtle reminder to everyone you have ever known that it’s your big day and wouldn’t they like to take a sec to wish you well? I have a renewed determination to check that little reminder and contribute to someone else’s birthday wish tsunami.

4. Mark shopped and prepped and planned a beautiful, healthy meal. I am still working on losing the baby weight and the last thing I need is a table of temptation. So he used his crazy cooking abilities to whip up some Sweet Garlic Chicken, Herb Roasted Potatoes, Corn, and he even warmed the rolls in a toasty tinfoil tent for maximum tastiness.

DSC_1548 (Small)

Look at that beautiful mountain of bread! Mark does not underestimate my love for bread and butter.  This is also something we have strived to pass on to our children. You never know when bread and butter are going to be the only thing at the table that isn’t “getsgusting”. Better learn to really love it.

DSC_1546 (Small)

5. Beautiful roses.

DSC_1540 (Small)

6. My turn for the special plate.

DSC_1543 (Small)

7. The Marachino Cherry cake that is a huge pain to make. The frosting requires many steps…one of which involves the stove. Often this means at least one failed batch. Thanks for the love, honey. This was also the first time I’ve ever seen this cake outside of its 9x13 form. oooooh.

DSC_1553 (Small)

8. The decorations. Streamers, banners, firework popper thingies, pink and silver helium balloons. The ones tied to the back of my chair we representative of our family. 4 pink balloons for the girls, 3 for the boys….love is in the details, right?

DSC_1555 (Small)

9. 36 candles. And one wicked finger burn to prove it.

DSC_1561 (Small)

10. Blowing them out in one breath. Do you love the cloud of smoke, or what?

DSC_1565 (Small)

11. (One to grow on) My hubby got me an ipad so that I can more fully enjoy the techy aspects of my life. I already love it…especially playing Yahtzee with the kids, and solitaire when I’m supposed to be sleeping, and oh yes, checking facebook and blogs in the wee hours of the morn while I rock and rock and rock. Also, my mom and sisters sent me a beautiful spring wreath to hang on my door and a matching arrangement for the entrance table. They are perfect guys! Thank you!

It was a great birthday.

I loved it.

35 is great.

Tinfoil shoeboxes

This is the first year since we started our adventures with Elementary school that the kids have been allowed to enjoy the full Valentines Day Experi-ahnce. I have to say that moving to a great public school has opened our eyes to what we have been missing out on. Don't even get me started on the school play issue. grrrr.

When we covered those shoe boxes with tinfoil, I was almost giddy with nostalgia. I had feared it was a lost art. Turns out it's alive and well in Kansas. These guys know how to celebrate!!! No more "2 holidays per schoolyear" for us!

We purchased some silver hersheys....cut hearts from my stash of Valentine-themed scrapbook papers....

Busted out the official class lists....

Started taping and writing our To:'s and From:'s....

And perhaps we did a bit of sampling. We'll call it 'Quality Control'.

Monday, February 14, 2011


You know it’s love when he comes home in between teaching early morning Seminary and going to work to make you a heart shaped toast with strawberry jam.

DSC_1567 (Small)

Am I right?

It was quite tasty. Perhaps extra tasty….

because of the love.

For my part, I snuck over to his place of employ to tape paper hearts all over his dashboard. It was unfortunate that I failed to bring a key to his car. So I settled for the driver’s side window. This also prevented me from including the mushy love letter, because I didn’t want to risk someone else taking a peek. That’ll have to keep until later.

I also wore my fancy Valentine’s shoes in honor of the day. They are fancy, no?

DSC_1568 (Small)

I fell in love with them at the ultra chic Payless Shoe Source the other day while shopping for replacement gold sparkly shoes for Laney and Megan and I had to have them. They are great with jeans and if it weren’t for the fact that I have to put preventative bandaids on my heals so that I don’t start bleeding, they would be perfect.

Details details.

And just one more thing before I sign off….

We finally finished off the box of 800 toothpicks that we have had for our ENTIRE MARRIAGE. This really is a day to remember.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A blessing

Anna Jane Hufford was blessed on February 6th in the Olathe 3rd Ward.

Her father gave the blessing and it was beautiful. It was thoughtful and quiet and sweet.

Several men from our ward stood in the circle and one Brother Gammon (who reminds me of our Bishop Wall from Rogers Ward - possibly long lost brothers) performed the highly important task of holding her binky in her mouth with one hand while contributing to the collective "gentle bouncing of the baby". He did this without being asked and that is because he has 6 kids of his own and knows what it takes.

It was a wonderful day.

My mom was here. That alone! (Man! I really love her!)

It felt like a special Sunday. The kind that you remember as a kid, but don't really know why they felt that way. The kind where you smell the roast when you walk in the door after church and just feel....Sundayish.

And so here is Anna in her blessing dress pulling all different faces. I think she is a chunk of delicious.


Itty Bitty booties.

I loved this day. It gave me the opportunity to look around at all that I have in my life that brings me happiness. What a privelege it is to have these 5 beautiful souls given to us to get them started on their way. I love it. I love that I get to go through it all with Mark. He brings happiness into my life everyday. Blessings!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Fat and sassy

2 months old....10 lbs of squishy, Johnson & Johnson perfection.

Things are looking up.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


You know that moment you have when you're in the shower and everything is quiet and peaceful for a few precious minutes and you envision the kind of mother you are going to be that day? I picture myself having open and interesting conversations with my children, answering questions and laughing with them about a shared experience. I imagine the warm look and the soft touch of my little babies as I read to them and do puzzles and play a game selected from our game closet. I think about a healthy snack I could make for them that they could munch on while they sit down and tackle their daily homework. Perhaps I could print out a coloring page for Laney to work on so she'll feel like one of the big kids sitting up to the table. Maybe we'll have green beans tonight with our balanced, healthy, well-planned hot meal. My husband will come home and I'll be able to smile brightly and answer "Wonderful!" when he asks me how my day has been. All will be well and we will clear our plates after dinner and listen to the sounds of the dishwasher running a load as we bathe and pajama our 5 beautiful babies and put them to bed knowing completely and fully how much they are loved.

All of these thoughts walk through my head in a matter of seconds as I finish my shower and feel absolutely certain that I can rise to the challenge and bring all of this to pass. Today. It's going to be that kind of day today.

And then it really begins. Before we have even arrived at the breakfast table I face my first challenge. Somebody (it could be any one of them) simply feels that they should not be required to get out of bed and dress themselves. It doesn't matter that we have covered this material before. The issue has not been resolved. To wake up and clothe oneself remains a travesty to humankind and that child is going to make their dissatisfaction known in a number of ways.

This is the first test of my inner calm. My mother fantasy is starting to quiver and shake. Because here is the problem with that little movie I see in my head while I take my shower....I'm the only one that holds any power or agency. I'm the only voice. My children take a reactive role and they respond perfectly to my good intentions. I awaken them with a kiss and a request and they oblige with smiles. I make a wholesome breakfast and they enjoy and express their gratitude. In my fantasy, I am the holder of all the cards and I get to play them and determine the outcome.

I'm finally starting to realize that when I come to the end of the day and I am standing in my kitchen surrounded by the massive upheaval of dishes and papers and discarded random items crowding my countertops, I have no right to begin the nightly lashing that I subject myself to. My earlymorning dreams for my family have once again gone unrealized. But, I am not the center of the universe. Each one of the seven people in my family has a mind and a heart and a will of their own and we are each capable of throwing off the balance that I think we all really want to have around here. I have got to learn that while I have a hefty chunk of power and influence over my children and all of our comings and goings, I really only have the ability to learn control over myself and become a master of my own hands and mouth. They are free to act as they will and have the consequences of their opinions, moods, wants and needs effect the family. It's how they fill their place in this world.

I'm trying harder not to let my mind do that thing every morning. That thing where I pretend that perfection is a possibility. Because it really isn't going to happen. And then the late night lashings are inevitable. Instead, I think I'll try to brace myself, pray for assistance and awareness and then strengthen my resolve to meet that first challenging child with an understanding that they choose and that I also choose. I will choose to be kind. I will choose to insist that they show respect for me and the other members of this family. I will choose to discipline and also choose to forgive and then allow mistakes to fade into the background and move forward with the vision of what I want our family life to be.

In the end, I not only want them to fall asleep with warmth and love, peace and satisfaction....I want it too.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Snow days x 3

According to Megan's kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Reves, you must put your pajamas on backwards and inside out, then tell your parents that you need a drink of water before you go to sleep. Casually go to the kitchen, then instead of a drink of water, you get a spoon out of the drawer, get an ice cube from the ice maker and put it on that spoon. Carefully walk your ice cube to the bathroom, drop it in the toilet and flush it down. Then head to your bed, lick your spoon and put it under your pillow. (Please note that at no time did the spoon come into contact with the toilet). This will cause the stars to align and the universe to bend to your will. In short. The next day will be....a SNOW DAY!

Nicely done, Mrs. Reves.

Megan in her jammies. Backwards and inside out.
I love a good snow day as much as the next mom who has come to despise the chore of making cold lunches, however, seeing as this is our fifth snow day in the last two weeks and our children have spent a grand total of 12 days in school out of the last 45, could you call off your miniature minions and their bedtime voodoo? We are running out of ideas, here.

We've made the cookies

Organized neighborhood igloo construction.

Watched from the warmth of the house


Shoveled some more

Made chicken pot pie

Made ham and bean soup (food storage at its finest) ...which nobody ate but me. Don't feel too bad. One person cannot consume that many beans without substantial consequences to those that live with them. Take that!

Lest you get the idea that we were all "crafty and productive" over these last THREE rounds of snow days, there was a whole lotta 'leaving the kids to their own devices' while I held and rocked the baby.

I have proof.

Here's Laney having a "sprinkle feast" after exploring what the pantry had to offer.

She did offer to share. That's got to count for something.

I can only speak for myself, but we've made all the cocoa we can make, we've eaten every ounce of junk food we have, we've gotten our money's worth out of Netflix, all the snow-worthy clothing is heaped in a soggy mess by the back door, and it will take a couple snow shovels to dig the house out of this mess.

I wonder what I'd have to do with an ice-cube to voodoo a little sunshine.

Or maybe just a snowplow?