Friday, May 30, 2014

Megan turns 9

Three years ago, I couldn't have paid Megan to eat a bite of Skyline chili. Now she asks for it for her birthday meal. She prefers hers with only oyster crackers....hold the cheese and onions, please.

She requested that her cake say "Megan is turning 9!" But I successfully convinced her that we simplify it to "Megan is 9". 

We wrote out the words in melted chocolate on the silicone mat along with some flowers and hearts and then we let them harden and popped them right on the cake. Worked like a charm. Although, as I sit and write this, I realize that I should have let her be more hands on with the decorating. In fact. I think I'll make a cake and let her frost the whole thing today. That will do wonders for my conscience!

She held this expression for the entire Happy Birthday song...

Her presents included this beanbag, a bead curtain for her closet, and a digital watch. We also promised her that we'd go get her a bigger bike this summer. 

Happy Birthday, Megan!


Seeing as it's the "family party" year, we decided to go to Wonderscope for Megan's Birthday.  This also will be added to the bottom of our Summer Bucket list and then checked off post haste. 

It makes me feel good about myself.

Man! We really love it here! Something for everyone!

I'm hoping that something doesn't include head lice.

We just go from room to room and I find myself a spot to sit and everybody seems to find something that interests them.

Ethan finds giant legos while Everly goes up and down the ramp, which leads to...

A spot for Megan and Mathew to build a custom cabin!

You wanna put glue on the backs of those stickers, Anna?

Go for it! I'll be sitting right over here....

Forget Union Station... next year we are going with a Wonderscope membership.

Happy Birthday, Meggers!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The little things

I have a firmly held belief that family therapists should hold their very first session with the mother of the family....

The official title could be, "Setting Boundaries" or "Nurturing Your Spirit".

But, in reality, the entire session would be dedicated to helping her come up with great places to hide all of her treats.

There should also be some role-playing to help her appear convincingly innocent if/when one of her hiding spots has been compromised.

And for the record, I have lost the following locations to either snoopy kids, surprise encounters or a foolish moment of "openness" with my husband.

1. My nightstand drawer (amateur!)
2. Under my pile of jeans in the closet...never hide treats where chores must be fulfilled nearby.
3. In the picnic basket on the top shelf of the pantry....This one is so well known that I have found other people's treats in there.
4. In the center console of my van...I have lost entire bags of skittles in a day to that spot.
5. In the freezer...too high traffic
6. In my high traffic
7. Inside the breadmaker...still feeling the sting of that loss.

I have 3 spots still in play and the are....


 I'll never tell!


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The new normal

I surprised Mark with a Groupon for 2 months of crossfit training for Christmas....and then I surprised him A...GAIN...with 2 months for me. Which, of course, is the biggest surprise of all. I have been driving by a crossfit place for months and kind of wanting to check it out, but too chicken to try. I mean, I haven't called the dentist to set up an appointment in 3 years, so obviously I have a hard time initiating the conversation...don't even get me started on visiting teaching. 

So he was actually surprised! HIP HIP! Which is so very hard to do.

And we started going right after Christmas...which meant it took us a solid 4 weeks after that to start walking normal again. And then for about 2 more weeks I hated it so much. I vowed when the Groupon was over I was going to find myself a Jazzercize class and they would never see me again. 

But then I started to feel these little muscles in my arms and legs and I was able to lift more than just my own butt off the ground. (Not always the case). 

And we started to love it.

And now the weekly whiteboard is big part of our week...

Mark and I have this fun thing that we do together and we have something to talk about besides what kind of bread the kids like...

And I feel so much stronger and I am like 6 months from not having to tuck my belly into my pants when I sit down.

Which is like "MERRY CHRISTMAS!"

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Beam me up, Scotty.

I don't want this to come off as too perky, but if I'm looking at the bright side of the longest travel day in the history of man...

Ir definitely made the return trip seem like a piece of cake. Why else would I be inspired to take a photo of the complete lack of a line at ticketing?  


When I made my way to the ticketing agent, she said, "This is a really open flight...would you like to keep her car seat with you so that she won't need to sit on your lap?"



That is a first for me. The only way I get to sit in a plane without a baby on my lap is if I leave all the babies at home. 

The wait in the SLC airport was NOTHIN.

The flight to Denver was like....5 minutes long.

The layover was a walk in the park.

The flight to KC was a PLEASURE.

And Mark was right there to pick me up and take me home.

To my babies.

And my peas.

Saturday, May 24, 2014


1. I slept until 9...that's 10 in Kansas.

That is nothing short of miraculous and I only had to nurse the baby in bed, undoing months of sleep training.

Totally worth it.

2. We spent the afternoon visiting graves. I sadly had almost forgotten that that is the whole point of Memorial Day. We haven't lived near out family in so long. It was a nice feeling to honor them.


Maren namesake. Her name had been Americanized for the headstone...which I think is kind of sad.

We also visited the Dittmores, my mom's parents and my dad's parents.

3. I think I will take my kids to the cemetery on Monday and we will find some graves that could use a little attention. Time to mend our Memorial Day ways.

4. I went to Lara's to look at her blackberries and learn how to plant and prune them so I. Am put in my own garden. I have every intention of flying some blackberry starts home with me.

I also did a bit of trespassing on personal property in order to get a photo of how to prune grapes.

It was for the greater good.

5. Kaira and I ran to Costco to buy Hi Chew candy and some amazing dried fruit's my tradition of bringing home the delicacies of the area....last year it was giant bags of Tootie Frooties.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Wedding Day

1. We started off the day with French toast, bacon (from a pig!), and scrambled eggs. Truth be told, it's these kinds if things that I truly miss about living near me family. I miss having a meal together.

After breakfast we ran down to Barry's for French fries and white sauce. Second breakfast is always a good idea.

 Everly enjoyed the pink sauce. It is and indication that there actually is some of my DNA floating around in that body....

I think she felt it was worth blowing her entire day's allowance of fat in one awesome sitting.

2. We set up tables and chairs, made centerpieces, ironed tablecloths and draped tulle. Everybody had a task and we all came together to make it as beautiful as possible...although the job was made easier by Mom's beautiful yard. It really is the most lovely place. Perfect for a wedding.

I think she could make a killing renting out her backyard for nuptials. I am sure it wouldn't be that stressful.

Kaira has a natural ability to make tulle look great.

Terrah and her friend making veils and bow ties for Jay's frogs.

The centerpieces.

Missa helping Charlie with her matching hairdo.

3. We were worried that it was going to rain and we got a little OCD with checking our weather apps and looking at the radar projections. It never did rain, and thank goodness for that because if you're picturing yourself exchanging vows near a beautiful waterfall, and find yourself under the basketball hoop, that could be a bit disheartening.

4. There were enough eclairs there to   feed even the most unsupervised of ward naturally I had 8.

5. Jay and Heidi are off on their honeymoon...every chair and table is packed away and all the dishes/tablecloths/leftover eclairs have been cleaned,labeled and/or frozen. And we are all exhausted.

A wonderful exhausted.

A few more photos of the day....

Loved this naturally I took photo. I'm a paparazzi.

Thursday, May 22, 2014


1. I didn't sleep very well last night. I never do before a flight. I habitually check the time to make sure I am not going to sleep in, therefore making myself supremely tired and increasing my chances of actually sleeping in. It's what you might call a "vicious cycle".

2. I showed up at the airport at 6 am for my 7 am flight and was surprised to see a massive line of people snaking out the terminal doors. This is an airport that is famous for its 10 minute check in. Showing up an hour early should have left me with 50 minutes to sit and wait for boarding....instead it left me with a missed flight, several awkward moments at the ticket counter while I unsuccessfully tried to stop myself from crying, a 6 hour wait in the KC airport, a 3 1/2 hour flight to Portland, and another 2 hour flight BACK to Salt Lake City.

3. I won't deny that it was an extremely long day. But it was made better by Everly's easygoing nature. She played and practiced her walking and read books and ate skittles and generally enjoyed herself. She was actually pretty excellent company.

Also, I should take this opportunity to dispense a little parenting advice. Babies don't want toys. They want tissue packs, chapsticks, wallets with credit cards and other important documents that would devastate you if they are lost. Don't fight it. Also, they prefer ripping pages out of People magazine over reading "Brown Bear, Brown Bear".

4. I had the pleasure to meet several good hearted people that went out of their way to talk to me and extend a helping hand. But first...there was Mark. He felt so bad for me that he drove all the way back to the airport to pick me up and take me to breakfast at Cracker Barrel. He is the best friend.
*A salesman from Indiana and a Grandmother from Denver spent an hour fussing over ever land family stories.
*Wallace, the ticket agent that did everything in his power to help me....all three times I ended up in front of him having missed a flight, or needing information about an uncertain standby flight, or asking him to retrieve my luggage and get it put on a plane to Portland instead of Denver.
*A woman from Omaha telling me about her childhood and introducing her children and grandchildren that she was going on vacation with. She showed so much empathy and understanding, I felt like I had known her for years.
*A woman and her husband that plotted together to ensure that I would get off the Portland flight as quickly as possible so I could make it to my SLC connection with only minutes to spare.
*All the passengers that parted like the Red Sea to let me through...calling out to each other, "She's got a flight in 15 minutes! Let's get her out of here!" I mean....I felt like I was in a movie!
*The young pregnant mom I sat by on the last flight that said,"You can sit by me! You gotta know I'm okay with babies!" And then spent the flight tucking Ever's toes and feeding her baby grahams. She even turned Mary Poppins on her phone for her to watch....

All of these people made my long day of travel one of the days I will remember  with a smile and I will try to be that person to help make someone else's miserable day a bit more bearable. I am going to be on the lookout.

5. When I finally made it to Utah, my mom was waiting for me in the baggage claim and suddenly all was right with the world again. We grabbed the luggage and car seat, got in her car and went for a burrito at Taco Time.

A great end to an unexpected day.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A molehill

1. Last night I stayed up with Ethan until 3 AM while he worked on a power point presentation for his Language arts class. 

I have paid quite dearly for this decision. I dropped off Laney and Anna with the babysitting co op and instead of going shopping or running errands. I came home, left a sleeping Everly in the garage (doors open, lights on...per company policy) and I laid down on the crusty, sugar covered couch and fell asleep.  Approximately 45 minutes later, I abruptly stood up and in a panic tried to figure out where the heck my kids were at and why in the world I had been allowed to fall asleep while the sun doth shine. 

My racing heart didn't stop me from falling back asleep once I had recalled the pertinent facts and checked on the still sleeping baby in the garage.

2. There are mountains and there are molehills. 

And there are ridiculous amounts of socks.

3.  I mowed over a sprinkler head last week and finally decided that it was entirely within my realm of capability to fix the sucker myself.

So I took a picture of one of the other non-decapitated ones and took it in to the John Deere store and said..."I need one of these." "I can do this, right?"

I fixed that sprinkler like a boss.

4. I'm always pretty excited to tell Mark of my adventures and how I fixed this or that or saved us money by figuring things out on my own. It's pretty much the main reason I do this stuff. He's fun to impress.

5. Tonight we went to the cub scout bike rally. I made the mistake of assuming that my 3 year old was going to be up to riding almost 2 miles at the rally and then 2 more miles to get back home. 

There was a lot of stopping and refusing to go on, and I won't deny that I did bribe her with Muddy Buddies, threaten to live there on the sidewalk, physically push her up several hills, and try unsuccessfully to flatter her all the way home.
"Look at you! What an awesome bike rider you are! You have super strong muscles! You have super speed! You're beating me! Don't tell the big kids about the Muddy Buddies! It's our secret! Let's say Mu-ddy Bu-ddy Mu-ddy Bu-ddy....all the way home! We are almost there! Just a couple miles to go! Push those leg muscles! Let's catch up to the big kids!".....etcetera etcetera etcetera....

Monday, May 19, 2014


1. I often have to remind myself that childhood does not require adorable clothes or a daily hair-do. The best times are when they are left to their own devices and allowed to dig into their imaginations. 

Sometimes they will go outside in their undies and turn on the hose in the sandbox.

Sometimes you will look up and a little person will be licking the window.

Dirty feet and and sand in the hair are a sure sign of a full and magical day.

2. The almond jar has been realized.

3. Mathew graduated from Sunnyside Elementary today. He received an award for always having his nose in a book.... which I'd say is pretty accurate. That boy surely does love to read.

Mat and I tried to take a photo....but Everly had other plans....ahem.

Perhaps it's time to wean the baby.

4. I have two more things to write about tonight, but what I really wanna do is go snuggle down with my 3 jars and watch 20/20.

5. That will have to wait, because Megan just informed me that tomorrow is the day that she gets to bring her birthday treat. She would like Muddy Buddies, if it's not too much trouble.

I have miles and miles to go before I sleep.

So many miles.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Holy refreshment

1. I am a sunbeam teacher. That means that in addition to my lesson manual, I bring a big basket containing a song apron, a bean bag, a rope with knots tied in it for the kids to latch onto when we go for "nature walks" on the church grounds, various baggies of snack food and most importantly...hand sanitizer. I have been known to pack a little extra in the snack baggies to share with Everly during sacrament meeting, because....well, duh. Because it's a good idea. Snacks=quiet. So I brought a baggie of marshmallows and a baggie of Berry Kix today. I was feeding Everly and everything was going fine when suddenly I realized that I had stopped feeding Everly, as she was occupied with something else and I was feeding myself. It was like I was at the movie theater with a bucket of popcorn. I was just listening to Brother Dunham talk about how to overcome the mistakes we make and popping Kix and marshmallows like I was at a double feature.

And I loved it.

Wish I could get away with it all the time.

2. Being a sunbeam teacher is a pretty fantastic calling. I really dig those little kids and you can't beat the lesson topics. How can you go wrong with "I am thankful for birds"?

I am! I am VERY thankful for birds!

3. After church I had the 5 youngest all corralled in one of the foyers and we were waiting for Mark and Ethan to finish up with their scoutmaster/deacon duties. And we were waiting...and waiting...and waiting....

By the time Mark appeared, I had that haunted look that parents sometimes get when they are about to have a bit of a freak out due to overexposure to hooliganism in holy places. Mark gave me the keys to the Civic and suggested I have some alone time and he would drive the van with all the kids. It's possible he has become all to acquainted with that look.

I know it's the Sabbath, but I CRANKED that radio up and sang along. I felt much better when I pulled into the driveway. I know Heavenly Father understands. And I know he wants my children to live to see bedtime.

Good, better, best....words to live by.

4. Mathew and Megan made chocolate chip cookies after dinner. They somehow only got 14 cookies out of entire batch.

I didn't say a word. Just give me my big cookie and I am happy.

5. I did Everly's hair in a new do today. It had one of those little flippy deals on the top and then I pulled it back into a ponytail but I left the pony part in a little loop. It was really cute this morning but by the time we hit the afternoon, it had taken on a distinct Sumo wrestler feel.

Are you seeing it?

 While searching for a good sumo hairstyle photo, I came across this little gem and I thought to myself, "That is exactly how I feel every morning when I sit the little girls down to do their hair for school....only there's only one stylist in my scenario."

This precious moment

I really love being a mom. I mean...the happiness that comes from helping little chubby people navigate life's choppy waters....

But I won't deny that moments like these are like big cool glasses of liquid sanity. 

So I take a deep breath, close the garage, leave the lights on and the back door open....make a sandwich and drink that cup of sanity down.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The boys are away...

1. Mark has taken the boys to the Father-Son Campout. According to, it is supposed to get down to 37 degrees. I can honestly say I have zero jealousy in my heart over not being included in this outing. Camp away, burly men, camp away. I will be sleeping spread eagle in the king size bed.

2. I bench pressed 65 lbs today and did a LEGIT med ball transfer for the first time ever.


This is exciting to me because last time we did med ball transfers, I had to let the ball roll  from my feet to my stomach instead of lifting it...doesn't sound so bad unless you have 10-12 athletic people around you doing those transfers like a of whom is 64 years old.

3. My boys hate to get haircuts. Ethan in particular wants to "grow his hair out". He fails to recognize that his hair is stick straight and extremely thick. If it were allowed to grow out, he would no longer be able to fit his head through the neck-hole of his t-shirts.  

4. We have exactly 3 1/2 days of school left. And then it is Summer Bucket List time...which is similar to the Advent Calendar, in that I attach huge expectations to the degree of fun I think I can produce in the next 90 days when actually what me kids really want is a endless stream of otter pops and daily trips to the pool. And maybe for every night to be movie night. With popcorn. And cutting baths by 50%.

5. We spent the evening at Courtney's house with Carrie, Mari, Lori and all of our girls. We ate pizza, talked over disciplining our kids, vaccines, allergies, genetic disorders, vasectomies, wondering if we are screwing up our children.....all while the girls had a Frozen sing along in Courtney's basement. So....good times were had. And I didn't have to make dinner.

Thursday, May 15, 2014


1. I woke up this morning and immediately knew I was already 30 minutes behind schedule. It was my day to provide childcare at Crossfit, so it was going to take more than a ponytail and a sports bra to get out the door.  Crossfit gets done at 9:30 and I had scheduled Everly's 15 month shots (she's 17 months) for 10:00. Therefore, all children would need clothes on, hair done, and shoes attached AT THE TIME we walked out the door....which would be 10 minutes earlier than usual because Megan was having a party in one of her classes and needed to stop off at Price Chopper for a treat and a soda. And lest we forget to pack a lunch for the little girls who would be going over to the Guenther's immediately after Kindergarten pick up which was immediately after Everly's shots because I would then be driving BACK to Leawood to have lunch with the amazing ladies of Crossfit.


2. All the above was accomplished without too much bother, although I think Everly would disagree. She did, after all, get stabbed thrice in the chubby thighs.

3. I was running late to pick up the girls after lunch, so naturally as I crossed K-7, the railroad barriers started to lower and as I looked to see if the train was long or short, I realized that that it was very very very long and also....not moving. It had been PARKED ON THE TRACKS and was just starting up again.

chuh chug

chuh chug


Shoot me know.

4. AND YET! Totally worth it. Because I got to sit down and chat with these strong, hilarious women for a couple hours and munch on my whatever-it-was salad. I enjoyed seeing all of them in their normal clothes with make-up, glasses and jewelry on.

You see the petite blonde sitting next to me? She is ridiculous strong. She could bench press me and live to tell the tale. She occasionally RUNS to our class, does all the work I do, but with much heavier weights, and then RUNS HOME. Meanwhile,  after class, I sit in my minivan in the parking lot and take deep breaths while I browse facebook. I do my best to talk myself out of a donut run on the way home. 

5. I was looking at the above photo on my phone and discovered that one of my children took several unflattering photos of my backside while I was unawares. It was not the only caboose I didn't think I would see today. 

Wax Museum

Cutest Ethan Allen I ever saw!