Monday, January 31, 2011


I came in the kitchen to make dinner and found Lila standing in front of the pantry. She had gotten into the spaghetti again.  I don't know what this girl's deal with spaghetti noodles is...

She stuck them into her hair all by herself. I don't know if its because she sees me sticking my knitting needles behind my ear or because she's been watching Mulan a lot lately. Either way I think it is hilarious!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

A little "heavenly" intervention?

Tonight as he was getting ready for bed, Jake mentioned that he was feeling worried about his SEP tomorrow. (SEP = Parent/Teacher conference)  A little while later he mentioned it to his dad too. And then he mentioned it a couple of more times.  Finally after we got the girls to bed we sat down to talk to him and try to figure out just what it was that had him so worried.  His big concern was a class project about animals where they made a book. Jake feels he doesn't have very good gluing skills, because in one part of his book he glued a couple of pages together and when he tried to pull them apart a page ripped quite badly. He is worried that he will get a bad grade on it.

My first thought was, "Really? I don't have the emotional resources for this kind of drama right now..."

Then I opened my mouth and lovingly told Jacob that neither his father or I care what grade he gets, as long as he earns it honestly and is trying his very best. I know there was an angel sitting on my shoulder, helping me find the right words to tell him we will always be proud of him and talking him calmly through his worries and fears.

I was not in a good frame of mind earlier this evening and if you had told me that I would be having one of these talks with Jake later on I probably would have growled.... or muttered... or said something I shouldn't.  But once we started to talk the irritation and short temper disappeared, to be replaced with a patient and loving voice. Honestly it was a little "body-snatcher"-ish. But I am grateful for the tender mercy of someone putting kind words in my mouth when I didn't think I had any kind words left to give.

I am determined to spend this week letting go of my expectations and just loving my family the way they are. Because the way they are is pretty darn good.

Why you shouldn't leave your camera where small hands can reach it...

*This post is late because we were christening the whole she-bang by watching a movie with our friends and the time kind of got away from me.  So this is for Saturday... oops.

I was going to do a quick post about our new television and how excited we are to be a little more current with all the entertainment technology that is out there.  (That's right, we finally got Blu-ray.) 

But then I went to down load the pictures off my camera and found... well this.

The installation, not too bad.

Thank heavens he wasn't suffering from a common workman's malady... I'm just saying.

The front door.

Nice product placement... maybe she has a future in advertising?

Does it make more sense if you zoom in on it?

This is the evidence of our little friend Addie coloring on my kitchen wall a couple of weeks ago.  I find it one of those funny circle of life things because a few weeks before this happened, Lila did the exact same thing to my Grandma's walls. Maybe I should clean it off though...

At least the trash is in the bag...

I love this picture.  Mostly because I couldn't figure out what it was for a couple of seconds until I realized I needed to change my perspective.  A good reminder for dealing with these little people in my life.

I really love this girl.

She makes me laugh.

Thanks for sharing your viewpoint Evie.

Friday, January 28, 2011

The end of a very, very long day...

Let me set the scene for you. 9:30 at night. Three very tired children, including a toddler with slight fever and a bad attitude, have been drug from store to store to look at boring furniture and televisions displays...

I finally succeed in herding them all toward their father without dumping every DVD off of every shelf in between. Brian is standing in front of the wall of televisions, all of which are playing Titanic, and talking to a salesman. Since we are in the process of shopping for a new television this seemed perfectly normal until I walked up to hear the salesman say, "...because the captain of the Titanic was actually a tugboat captain.  And tugboat wheels are mounted the opposite of other boats, so when he saw the iceberg and panicked, he acted out of instinct, and so they think that he actually steered it into the iceberg by mistake..."  I turned and walked away before I could say something I would regret.  

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Celebrate the small victories...

Today I cleaned out my front closet.  I also cleaned  my microwave.  These two things don't really have anything to do with each other, except for the fact that they are both niggling little chores that seem to be put off for years at a time. (The closet, not the microwave... that would be too gross for words.)  But tonight I will sleep better knowing that just outside my bedroom door is the hallway, and immediately adjacent to that hallway is my living room, and tucked in the corner of my living room is my front closet, which is now cobweb free and neatly organized.  The fact that there are no clean towels in the house is a problem for another day...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A supreme lack of concern for other's opinions...

That is how I would sum up Lila's attitude lately.  I don't remember my other two being so strong willed at this age. A perfect example is how she learns.  I know that she is a dang smart cookie.  I have heard her count to ten, correctly name shapes and colors, and even recognize most numbers and letters.  However, she will not do so on demand, or even on request.  She is no one's preforming monkey, this one.  And frequently she will answer a question by me incorrectly, just to try and get under my skin. I can see it in her eyes.

Case in point. Today she came upstairs for a diaper change (and when I say "she came upstairs" what I really mean is she came kicking and screaming being carried by her brother who had pulled her off of the television for the 37th time and thought she needed a diaper change...) carrying a small plastic cow in one hand and a pig in the other.  Our conversation while I was changing her went like this:

Me: What do you have there?

Lila: A horse.

Me: That's not a horse, silly girl, that's a cow.

Lila: Oh. This cow.

Me: Right. What does a cow say?

Lila: Rrrrooooaaaar!

Me: No. A cow says moo.

Lila: No. Cow no say moo. Cow says rrrrroar! And this not cow, this horse.

Me: Fine. What does a horse say?

Lila: Moo.

Me: (deciding to change the subject) What's this animal?

Lila: Pig.

Me: Right! What does the pig say?

Lila: boink boink boink

Clearly I have failed as a mother by not singing Old McDonald Had a Farm enough with this child.  I hope she isn't held back through life by an inability to correctly recognize and reproduce animal noises...

Why I fear deer.

So I realize from the comments to the last post that not everyone knew that I have a, um, unreasonable fear of deer.

When I was a teenager my cousins, Emilie, Catherine, and I spent a weekend down in Delta with our cousin Sarah. I think it was over spring break. Anyhow, if you've ever been to Delta you know it is a pretty rural area where you have to make your own entertainment. And we did, we spent most of our time outdoors, riding their horses and four-wheelers, exploring and just hanging out.  Then one day a huge rainstorm blew in.  Heavy enough of a storm that we needed to stay inside. So Sarah pulled out a big plastic storage tote filled with books, and we all spent the afternoon draped over couches and each other, reading.  (I kind of have a picture in my mind's eye that it's what a litter of puppies would look like, if puppies read books...) One of the books I read was a collection of scary stories. I don't remember who the author was, but one of the stories was about a small town back east, who had a notorious, curvy road where many deer were hit by cars and killed.  So the deer decided to take their revenge by stealing the souls of the town's children and then going on that road so the parents would hit the deer and and then find out they had killed their own child's soul.  Creepy, right?  There was a particular scene where the author described the way the deer's reflective eyes locked onto the child's and pulled their soul away.  Ever since, I find deer rather disturbing. I am not one who likes to stop and ooh and ahh when there are deer in someones' yard. I'm just busy not making eye contact with them.

When Brian and I were first engaged he was driving me home late one night, and he suddenly pulled to the side of the road and pointed to my window and said, "Chrissy! Look!"  I turned to see several deer only a few feet from the car. I screamed and locked the door! I know, Brian just about wet himself laughing at me too. It wasn't that I thought the deer could actually open a car door. I didn't think at all, it was just a reaction. Brian didn't know that I was afraid of them at the time.  He's been very sweet about protecting me from them ever since.

Once, when we were house hunting he went ahead of me into the master bedroom. He took one step in, then quickly turned and hugged me and whispered in my ear, "Don't freak out. There is a very large deer head mounted on the wall in here." I appreciated the warning so I didn't scream and scare the unsuspecting real estate agent. I couldn't repress a shudder or two though. I don't know how anyone could sleep knowing that those black, soul-less eyes were staring down on them all night.  I couldn't.

I have gotten better over the years. I don't scream on sight anymore. I don't want to pass this on to my kids.  Jake however thinks it is hilarious that I am afraid of deer and is very quick to point them out to me with a comment like, "Mom. There are some deer over there. But don't worry, I don't think they saw you..." Smart-mouth child. We actually have deer in our yard pretty regularly in the winter.  The worst experience was last year, I was talking to Brian on the phone and I started to take the garbage out. I stepped out on the porch and then down the steps to the sidewalk before I realized that there were four, great big deer standing in my yard! I froze, I made eye contact and just froze! Poor Brian, one moment I was chattering away and the next it was silent. He kept saying, "Chrissy? Are you there? Hello?" Finally I whispered, "There are deer. Right here. Looking at me. What do I do?"  He really is very patient with me. He talked to me and kept me calm as I backed slowly into the house and set the dead bolt.  I am telling you if one of those deer had moved my neighbors would have been treated to the sight of me running screaming down the street with garbage flying everywhere.

I know it's unreasonable. I'm working on it. Baby steps.... We went to Cabelas, where they have a rather impressive taxidermy display. And awhile ago I saw some deer by my in-law's, so I pulled over (not on the same side of the street though) and just took deep breaths. And finally going to Bear World and being in the petting zoo with the baby deer. I didn't touch them, but I didn't run screaming either.  I feel like that is progress...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Bear World

Way back in October of last year we went on a little weekend trip up to Idaho to visit Steven and Tiffany.  Or as they are known in our house, T-van and Stiffany.  (Evie still has problems with transposing consonants and this one is contagious!)

While we were there we decide to do something fun and touristy and so we went to Bear World.
It is an animal preserve for animals native to Yellowstone. The kids (and the grown-ups too) thought it was so cool to drive through this preserve and be literally feet away from wild life.  Please excuse the quality of the photographs, I got a little Mama Bear about following the rule about keeping the car windows rolled up at all times!

The crew:
In the way back; Evie, Matt, and Jake. 
(Steven was working and so joined us later)
In the middle row; Tiffany, Kaia, and Lila.
Brian was the captain and I was the official photographer of our little expedition.

All the boys were very impressed with this rack.

It is just amazing to be that close to such a powerful animal.

The deer still freaked me out. But it was a good step in trying to conquer my fear...

I got the biggest kick out of watching these bears amble down the road, completely unconcerned by the presence of cars and trucks.

So you can see just how close they were.

And the fearless workers... 

The bear cubs were my favorite though. So cute!

My mom always used to call us bear cubs when we would wrestle as children.  And after seeing them I'd have to agree...

They had a fun little area with five or six kiddie rides. Tiffany and Matt were total troopers going on them with our kids and sparing Brian and I the inevitable motion sickness.

It was so funny to watch Matt going around and around on the bouncing buggies.  He is just a sweetheart with my kids.

This was a free-fall ride.  Jake was really entering into the whole spirit of the thing, and kind of showing up the other family.  We are just really good at having fun I guess...

Once the girls saw how much fun Jake had there was no stopping them. 

Mama bear and her cubs.  

Tiffany proving she is much braver than me in the petting zoo area.  I don't care if it is a cute little baby one, I still think deer are evil.

We drove through the preserve one more time as we were leaving. The bears were much more active and we saw these ones perched on top of a lodge pole pine tee-pee.

One more for perspective.  

It was a fun day and once again we had a great time visiting our Idaho relatives. 

I don't know why it took me so long to post about this, but on a boring day like today I am kind of glad I didn't share it before now. I was really out of ideas!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Sometimes there are no words...

Last week we had one of those mornings. You know the kind.  Someone hit the snooze button before someone else was awake, so everybody overslept and was late getting out the door...

Anyhow, in an effort to divide and conquer, I took the girls to drop Evie off at preschool and Brian took Jake.  Since the massive remodeling of the school last year there are probably 25 steps up to the front door. (Not exactly handicapped accessible.)  So Brian can't exactly run in and check Jake into school if they are running a little late.  That's okay, because if it's just a few minutes late Jake can check himself in.  

The whole system is automated and then prints out a kind of receipt for them to bring home to the parents.  That afternoon Jake handed me his late check-in receipt when he got home.
It read like this:

School Name
Student Name
Student Id #

Reason:  handicapped dad


I laughed and shook my head, because I know Jake didn't mean to be rude or smart-aleck.  To him it's just cause and effect. He was late because his dad is handicapped and so walks slower.

And if we want to be perfectly honest, his dad is also the someone who hit the snooze button...

Sunday, January 23, 2011

I'm really not complaining...

Sooo, I don't really know what to post tonight...

Our weekend is over and now I have to return to the regularly scheduled programming...

If Lila climbs into bed with us tonight I will be very sad (and no doubt sore) in the morning...

We watched three movies on our weekend, and I was a little disappointed by all of them...

I was especially disappointed by True Grit. I had heard nothing but good reviews about it, and I mostly enjoyed it until the end.  Which I felt basically added up to "Life sucks, then you die."  Kind of a downer...

Some of our anniversary weekend was spent learning more about the difference between LED and LCD televisions then I ever wanted to know...

We went to have a fancy dinner at the Market Street Grill. Due to a massive headache I had bread and water, Brian had an appetizer...

We were going to go for a nice leisurely drive today to round out our nice leisurely weekend. Until I woke up early and spent the morning throwing up...

We went and had dinner at my dad's and hung out a bit before picking up the kids. Lila was crying when we arrived, because she was in a time out for pushing Evie off a chair. Evie started crying after we'd been there for about half an hour, because she finally realized that she had missed us the last two days. Jake cried when it was time to leave, because he really didn't want to come home...

I'm pretty sure that Caite and Patrick are going wait a little longer to have kids after having mine for the weekend...

And yet for all that it was a good weekend because I got to spend time with my husband.  And I bought a book about a woman who knit a sweater.  I'm such a party animal...

January 22

This is actually yesterday's post. We stayed out really late...

For our anniversary Brian and I are having a stay-cation.  Our wonderful families took our children for the weekend and we are spending our time going to movies, eating out and window shopping.  Basically just enjoying each other's company with no schedule and no plan. Just setting out and seeing where the day takes us.  We are having a wonderful time, and it's been a nice break from being "Mom and Dad" and just being "Chrissy and Brian". It's good to remember that you really do like spending time with your significant other with no distractions.

Friday, January 21, 2011

It's a sister thing...

Would you have guessed that not thirty seconds before I snapped this picture these two were trying to kill each other...

I said, "Hey put your arms around each other and I'll take your picture!" 

As far as distractions go it was a pretty good one.

But I think Lila's on to me...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Our Library Rules...

-I will always be happy to take you to the library. I am glad you are as excited as I am to read new books.

-Don't run around and yell, that is (quite literally) frowned upon.

-If you can't find it, ask the librarian to help you. That's why they are there.

-You don't need to pull every book off the bookshelf to show me. I can see it just fine while it's on the shelf.

-I will hold all library cards until the very last second before we check out the books, then I will hand it to you so you can hand it to the librarian. So stop asking for it.

-You may check out as many books as you are years old.  So yes, I can check out a lot. And no, you don't need to tell everyone else in line how many books I am old.

*Three weeks into the new year and no library fines. That's gotta be a record...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Whole Decade

Today is our 10th anniversary.

It hasn't always been easy.

But it's always been worth it.

I love that we still laugh together.

I love the beautiful family we've made together.

And I love knowing that my heart is safe in your care.

I love you, Brian
Happy Anniversary

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Revisiting the classics...

I love this picture. 

All three of my children snuggled quietly together and watching a movie. We have been watching a lot of movies lately. Which is kind of funny because our big TV died last month, so we took the TV out of the play room and moved it upstairs, and then borrowed a TV from my in-laws.  And because I am pretty lame when it comes to technology (mostly by choice, just so you know...) and because Brian isn't about to venture downstairs without a much stronger motivation, we haven't bothered to hook it up to the DVD player. It does play video tapes though, so we went to Pa Dave's and loaded up on the Disney Classics.  I didn't realize before but my children had never seen Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Alice in Wonderland, Mulan, Pocahontas, or The Three Caballeros. 

Now you know my horrible secret. My children have been suffering from Disney deprivation!

Actually it has been really fun watching them "discover" some of my favorite movies. By having to regress, technologically speaking, it's actually helped us try something new. I am also secretly amused by how flummoxed they are by the concept of rewinding something, "Mom! It's not working!" "Yes it is." "I pushed rewind and then play and it didn't go back at all!" "Well you have to give it a minute. See?" "But it's been rewinding forever!"  Ah, these poor children who've always just been able to push the jump back button on the DVD remote. I guess this is a good lesson in delayed gratification...

Monday, January 17, 2011

Kind of a cop-out...

Yesterday I blogged twice.

Today I did this.

Then we went to my dad's for dinner.

Everyone is exhausted and needs to go to bed early.

I'm calling it good for today.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A bad lawyer joke...

Tonight while we were visiting my Grandma, she pulled out her Christmas cards and let the girls play with them. Evie especially was really enjoying laying them all out on the coffee table and looking at the pictures on the front. We started to ask her who was in the picture? "Baby Jesus and Mary"  Who's that? "Santa Claus!" You get the idea.

She was a little stumped by a stylized picture of the three wise men and so we started to give her some hints.
"How many of them are there?"
"Right! And what are they wearing on their heads?"
"Right. And see what they are holding in their hands?"
Evie paused for a moment, and Jake came up behind her and said, "Oh yeah. Those are gifts of murph, gold and... um, finklestien, right?"
Sounds like a law firm, Gold, Murph, and Finklestien.

Random Sunday Pictures and Thoughts

Tights, undershirt, and parasol... Love it!

Lila got halfway undressed after church and then decided to embrace her inner-tightrope walker.

Brian has taken up a new hobby.... ironing!

Actually I think that he's just given up on the idea that I will ever get around to ironing anything for him.  He did say today that he was enjoying some ironing zen.  He says it's very relaxing for someone with OCD to impose order over chaos. (I.E. making a wrinkled shirt smooth...)  

The kids are enthralled by this amazing idea of pressing clothes that are all ready made, instead of just when they are being sewn.  Both Jake and Evie started piling up clothes for their Dad to iron.

Evie's current favorite piece of clothing is this blue dress I made her almost two years ago. We've moved the buttons a couple of times to lengthen the straps if you were wondering how it still fit her. But it won't fit for too much longer, so I told her today that we should make a couple more of them. She is so excited to start digging through my fabric.

Her hair was still done from church and when she came out of her room dressed like this Brian taught her to say,  "There's no place like home. There's no place like home..."

Now I have to go take the crumb cake out of the oven.

Edited to add: 
Today Evie gave a talk in Primary.  It was a sweet moment because not only did Jake help her to prepare and write it, he got up and helped her give it by whispering prompts into her ear. I was very proud of Evie for being brave and giving such a good talk. I was also very proud of Jake being such a sweet and helpful big brother.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Bathing Beauty

Every time I look at this picture I hear the song 
"I'm going to wash that man right out of my hair..."

Isn't she adorable though?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Should I be worried?

The following is a transcript of a written conversation between Jacob and his Aunt Caitlin:

Jake: Let's pass secret notes. Please reply then pass back behind couch.

Caite: What kind of secrets should we share?

Jake: Like the ones that spys do.

Caite: I don't know what kind of secrets spies have?  There's a secret nuclear reactor exactly 12.5 miles north of Traverse City, Michigan.

Jake: Do we destroy it?

Caite: Not on purpose, I should think... What other options do we have? World domination perhaps?

Jake: As long as a city is eliminated.

Caite: Which city should we pick?

Jake: Well, I think we should pick the location of the nuclear reactor... thingy.

Caite: So... Traverse City, Michigan?

Jake: Yes... that's it!

Caite: Okay, well you go ahead and plan that then.

Jake: Please read the following:

Which as far as I can tell is a plan to run a line of black powder from Utah to Michigan, with the detonator being somewhere in Arizona...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Last Hurrah!

Today we spent playing with Josh, Elena, and Huck before they head home this weekend. We spent the whole morning at the Discovery Gateway children's museum.  Such fun...

The ball area is always a favorite with my kids. Huck and Lila were fascinated by all of the pipes and gears and gadgets.

Caitlin came with us which made a perfect ratio of 1:1 adults to children.

What do you do when everyone brings a camera? Take pictures of each other taking pictures! Cheese!

Evie playing the giant xylophone.

Huck making special deliveries.

Giddy up cowboy! Er... cowgirl Lila.

Huck was checking the play produce for freshness...

A great place when your children are climbing the walls.

Jake isn't really falling off the horse, he just likes to clown around.

Elena, Huck and Caite out for a spin.  Notice how neatly Caitlin fits in this kid-sized car.

Jake decide that he was the foreman and had all the children working together to build the skyline.  He cracked up the other parents when he suddenly shouted, "Come on everyone! We got to get these built on schedule!"

Huck graciously shared his hard hat with me.

Lila was so proud that she was able to operate the cranes by herself.

We had fun playing in the helicopter because it was cold enough that we had the whole thing to ourselves!

Lila grabbed the joystick and then yelled, "Abort! Abort!"  She is such a mimic.

There was this fun wall of magnetic gears.

Obviously the children were not the only ones mesmerized with them...

Proof that building blocks appeal to children of all ages.

Evie and Huck really know their alphabet, even if they can't tell their rights from their lefts yet.

That little tongue sticking out is my favorite! 

They have so many fun things to build with.

After 3+ hours of playing so hard we met up with Pa Dave for lunch.  The poor kids were sooo tired.  Lila fussed and fretted until they finally brought out our food.  Then she fussed and whined until I gave her my soup.  She attacked the soup and about two and a half seconds after she ate the last spoonful she was asleep! 

It was good that she got a little catnap while the rest of us finished lunch because after we ate we went to Build-A-Bear! (I know, my kids were beside themselves with excitement.)  Huck had never been so he made a fun little puppy dog. My kids had brought their bears we already had and they each got to pick out a new outfit for them, thanks to Pa Dave's generosity. 

Then tonight the fun continued for me as I got to go to both knitting night and a craft group with Caite and Elena. (I am really exhausted, and it was honestly a little bit hard to blog tonight.  Brownie blogging points for me, right?)

Thanks for inviting us to come and play with you all today Josh and Elena! This was much more fun than my original plan of doing laundry...