Sunday, July 31, 2011


an activity or interest pursued for pleasure or relaxation and not as a main occupation

I have a lot of hobbies. I can't wrap my head around it when someone tells me that they don't have a hobby. What do you do when you watch TV? Or wait in line someplace? I read, sew, knit, crochet, and  do many other forms of handiwork. I have an entire room downstairs to hold the raw materials for my hobbies, and several nooks and crannies in other places in the house as well. I am not saying that people should be as extreme as (some might say) I am, but I think everyone should have at least one. 

I have watched over the past few years as Brian has had to give up one after another of the hobbies that he used to love doing. He loved being outdoors, biking, golfing, fishing, camping. And one by one, they became too difficult or dangerous for him to do by himself. He has gone golfing, well, gone and driven in a cart with someone and watched them golf. (I can't imagine anything more boring...) A few times he's gone fishing and camping, but it requires someone else's help and I know that it is hard for him to be dependent on other people's schedules and resources instead of being able to every just load up his family on a whim and head off into the mountains.

As we are gearing up for the transition into a wheelchair I have been so happy to see him getting excited about it and the independence it will offer him. He has mentioned on several occasions that he can't wait to get back on some wheels, and he has already been looking into the possibility of getting a hand cycle after a little while. He is also been getting excited about fly fishing again. In fact the other night he pulled out all of his fly tying materials and started to make some flies.

He keeps thinking that I am making fun of him for his renewed interest in this hobby, but that couldn't be further from the truth! I am thrilled to see him happy and excited about something other than which TV shows we'll be watching that night.  And there is just something so cozy and domestic about sitting together, each working on creating something.

I even think he looks cute in his head lamp.

I do have to laugh a little that after years of being forced to do my crafts in semi-darkness or a small lamp by me, we now have to have all the lights on so he can see to do his projects.  Um-hum, I see how it is.

A finished fly. 
It's called a "Hairy Catnip" I think...

Whatever, it's not like he could tell you the names of knitting stitches.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

You'll always be my little girl...

Today I went and spent some time visiting with my Grandma. She is recovering from a knee surgery and so had to miss out on traveling to California for my cousin's wedding with Grandpa. (Shout out to Matt and Jill, I heard it was beautiful, congratulations on your marriage!)

I helped her with her email and facebook, which had gotten backed up while she was recuperating. Then we just sat and chatted while I worked on binding the doll quilt. After awhile she decided she was ready for some lunch, so I made us some sandwiches. Since I haven't cooked in her kitchen very often (if ever) I kept calling out and asking where I could find things. I asked her where I could find a sharp knife to cut up an apple. She told me where they were and then added, "I have a really, really sharp knife. But I don't want you to use it because you might cut yourself."  I stopped cold for a moment and then started to laugh, "Despite the fact that I am 32 years old, have three children and have been cooking for them for years, which often means using sharp knives?"

I also told her that that made my day. It's good to know that she is still looking out for me and wanting to keep me safe. I like knowing that I'll always be some one's little girl.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Measure twice, cut once...

Today my sister in law, Tracie, was my hero! She took my kids for four hours so that I could work on a couple of birthday surprises for Miss Evie. I am making her a new church dress and a doll bed. I put the fabric for the dress in the wash, dropped them off and ran to the fabric store for some piping. While I was there I thought, "Hmmm... do I have enough batting? Maybe I should get some just in case... No. No. I am sure I have enough. I'm not going to spend the money." 

I got home, took the fabric out and hung it up to dry and then started to pull out the materials for the bed. Drat. No batting. I was at a standstill because my other project's fabric was still wet. So I decide to suck it up and drive over to Wal-mart to pick up a small batt. By the time I got home I had two hours left to sew. So I turned on some music and got down to business. 

Cute bed from Ikea. Blah generic blanket and pillow though.

I started with the mattress. I measured and calculated and figured and measured twice more for good, well, measure. Then I cut out the fabric and the batting, and sewed it all up. I was so excited, it turned out just like I thought it would. Until I plopped it onto the bed and realized it was an inch short all the way around! GRRRR! And now I didn't have enough batting left to make a new one. 

So I moved on to the quilt. And I measured and figured and did all that again. Cut out my little squares. Laid them out. Fussed over which way looked best for awhile until I had it perfect. Sewed the squares into strips, and then the strips into a cute little quilt. And I laid it on the bed to see how it would look... too small! No! What the couch?!  And I couldn't even add to it because I'd run out of that yellow fabric. Stupid math.

Long story short. I have spent all day in my sewing room and all I have to show for it is a pillow and pillow case for a doll bed. It turned out cute though, right?

I did piece a new quilt top. Here's a little sneak peek. 
Doesn't it just look so comfy? 

I had to laugh at myself though, as I was sewing this one together I checked it at about halfway and realized that if I sewed it the way I'd planned on it would be way too big. One extreme to the other....

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Mom Talk...

Today was Picnic in the Park Day. We went out to a park in West Jordan with my sister, two of my cousins, and between us nine children. I thought it was a typical afternoon spent eating, chatting and playing.

On the way home my sister (who isn't a mother yet) sagged back into her chair and said, "Well. That was.... interesting." I asked her what she meant and she said it was interesting to listen to us moms talk about our children, parenting, schooling, ect., ect. And then she said, "I actually counted and for a while there it was every thirty seconds that one of you was saying something like 'No' or  'I said one cookie' or 'Go play!' while simultaneously having a conversation with the rest of the grown-ups. It was kind of exhausting."

I just laughed. Because it is so true, and sometimes you get so used to your "culture" it takes an outsider to point out how funny and weird it can be. Plus I know that someday she'll be right there with me, pausing every other sentence to be a mother to her children. And mine will (hopefully) be out of that stage. But I'll just wait patiently knowing that it isn't her fault that she can't finish a sentence, it's because of the children. Who are worth it.

Even when they run screaming through the picnic lunch because they are being chased by a big sister, or when they dump their glass of ice cold water on your lap, or turn down an offer of crackers because "they prefer the store brand."  Or my personal favorite, after two hours of unrestricted playtime and being told repeatedly to go play, when you say it's time to go home they flop on the ground and whine that "...they barely had any time to play with anyone!"

Seriously, is it any wonder that most mothers seem a little crazy? We've been operating in a world without logic for so long we hardly recognize it anymore! Because again, I thought it was a fairly typical afternoon and since not one of the nine children threw a tantrum, threw up, or had a bathroom related accident, I'd call it a rousing success!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

One of those days...

It's just been one of those days.

We had a crazy morning that ended up with people in tears because they couldn't find their library books and being the mean mother that I am, we weren't going to go to story time until we found the books.

We had an okay afternoon. Well, okay after I fought the two year old into submission and she finally took a nap. And then I took a nap because I was just as worn out from our power struggle. When I woke up I discovered Evie curled up at my feet, also sound asleep. Jake enjoyed the quiet time by reading. I seriously love that kid.

We spent some time playing outside, which for my girls means multiple scrapes and scratches and about a pound of dirt apiece in their hair. For Jake it meant making a golf course in the backyard and almost whacking his sisters in the head repeatedly. Finally I couldn't take it any more and so I went inside.

We were almost late for Cub Scouts because there was a power outage earlier today and so all my clocks were a half an hour off.

I took the girls swimming for a bit tonight. That was nice and relaxing.

Brian picked Jake up from scouts, and then went with my dad to fix the breaks on his car. So they just barely got home and we still haven't eaten dinner.

I think the only thing worse than trying to decide what to make for dinner, is trying to decide what to make for a second time when the family doesn't eat all together.

While the boys were fixing the car, I brought the girls home for a bath. When their dinner was ready I asked them to clear off the table. Lila in an effort to be helpful, brought a glass to the sink and then hurled it in with surprising force. Scared both of us.

Now we're down to four glasses. I was thinking of getting some more drinking glasses when I was at Ikea last Saturday.... apparently that was a premonition I should have paid attention to.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

It's a hit!

Tonight for dinner we tried something new and different. We had lettuce wraps with pulled pork, avocado and shredded cheese. As any mother can tell you it's always a gamble to introduce a new food, but I consider myself very lucky in the fact that all three of my children are willing to at least try new things. I don't know how I got to be so lucky, it definitely isn't karma from my childhood. I'm honest enough to admit that. And they definitely didn't inherit it from their father, the man who was afraid to go to Ikea!

The verdict? They loved it! Especially the avocado, or as Evie kept calling it "the odd-o-codo". They enjoyed the novelty of eating with their hands instead of silverware. (We just don't do that a lot around here.) They ate and ate and ate until the only thing leftover was half a head of lettuce! And if I had had more pork, avocado and cheese, they probably would have eaten until the lettuce was all gone...

Two "flumbs" up! 
That's the highest rating you can get in our house.

I thought it was cute to see how thoroughly Lila enjoyed her dinner by how much she was wearing at the end... and then I stood up and looked at my own shirt. Apparently I enjoyed it even more than the children.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Birthday wishes...

Evie's birthday is in one week, next Monday my baby girl will be 5! So obviously there is a whole lot of birthday talk going on around here right now. Everyday she thinks of a new request, "Mom? For my birthday can we go to Disneyland?" Um, no. I wish, but no. "Hey Mom, for my birthday can I get a princess bike?" Much more realistic.

Tonight as we were sitting down to dinner she dropped this one on us, "Mom? For my birthday can I have a birthmark?"  Naturally Brian and I both laughed because she is so adorably funny, and I said, "No sweetie, birthmarks happen when you are born. You can't really get them later..."  Evie promptly dissolved into tears both because she couldn't have a birthmark and because she thought we were laughing at her. And so for her fifth birthday my daughter is getting a birthmark, a heart on her shoulder.

And just when I think the crisis has been averted, Jake pipes up and suggests, "How about you get her a tattoo? Then it would be a permanent birthmark!" I think I've squashed that idea by explaining in (somewhat graphic) detail about how they stab you repeatedly over and over with a needle when you get a tattoo. Evie thinks she needs a band-aid when she stubs her toe, so I'm not too worried she'll ever want to get a real one. I'm just hoping Jake never does, he was saying something about having Uncle Patrick draw him a snake "birthmark" on his shoulder...

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The ties that bind...

Today as we were getting ready for church Jacob decided that he really wanted to tie his own tie.

Brian is always such a patient teacher.

Of course, Jacob is a pretty quick learner.

I just can't decide which of these two are cuter...

I guess it's a tie!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

I'm so making that into a tee shirt... for me.

A snippet of our dinner table conversation tonight:

"I never lose my temper. I know exactly where it is at all times."

Friday, July 22, 2011

My little mermaid...

Tonight I took the kids swimming at my dad's as a way to kill time while waiting for the firework show. We go swimming at least once a week and usually more. Lila always enjoys getting into the water, but she maintains a death grip on whomever is holding her and helping her swim around. She wears a combination swimsuit/life vest, but has had no interest in learning even the basics of maintaining her balance and floating. Every single time I try to let go of her and teach her to balance she immediately panics, screams and cries, and ends up tipping herself face first into the water, which reinforces her fears.

But tonight we had a major break through! She was jabbering away about something and didn't notice the first time I let go of her that she was balancing herself. She started to panic, but I caught her and told her that if she could balance while I counted to three then she could be done with swimming. She did it! And then she wanted to do it again! And again! And before I knew what was happening she was paddling her little arms and floating across the pool, repeatedly telling everyone in sight, "I'm swimming! I can swim all by myself!" It was wonderful. For almost an hour she relished the new found freedom of being able to go any direction that struck her fancy. At one point she was making large circular strokes with her arms and she exclaimed, "I can fly!" Another time I reached out to help her and she shooed my hand away saying, "No Mom. I do it myself."

I am so proud and excited of her new found skill and self-confidence. It's going to making swimming days so much more relaxing for me.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Really Brian?

I came into the kitchen tonight and found this...

Let's ignore for a minute the glaringly obvious problem with the handicapped guy climbing on and off the counters,

even our two year old knows sitting on the counter is a no-no!

She told Brian, "I catch you Daddy!"

Whew. Let's not do that again...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Bath time woes...

Earlier today Evie asked me if she would have to take a bath tonight. She felt that she really shouldn't have to because she's had to have a bath every night for the past five nights! (Obviously I am a horrible and mean mother for making her do this, and the rest of the cosmos has singled her out for such persecution...) I told her that I wouldn't know until bed time, and it would come down to how dirty she was by the end of the day.

Fast forward to getting home from an evening spent at a party where the kids ate things with their hands and used their clothing for napkins (that's a whole other post), played on a playground where the main objective seemed to be throwing wood chips into each other's hair, playing dodge ball, and just generally running and rolling around on grass, dirt and whatever other ground cover they could find. Add to that an ice cream sandwich and some runny noses from seasonal allergies, and you guessed it. Bath time! Evie promptly dissolved into tears at the unfairness of it all. Lila took a more direct approach to expressing her displeasure and threw water out of the bath and all the way into the hall.

It's so much fun, I'll probably make them have a bath tomorrow night too...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Well, that answers some questions...

Like just what are my children doing in the backyard that they get so dirty?

This morning I came out to check on Lila and found her playing in the "sandbox"

As you can see, not really a sandbox.
 It was where the previous owners had a small garden and I just try not to grow weeds. 
It's a dirtbox! 

But when you're two, who cares about the distinction between sand and dirt?

They are both fun!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Science and swimming...

Today was a swimming day. My kids were thrilled that Emilie and her kids were back from vacation and came swimming with us! The best part of the day was when Jacob and Karaia learned about the concept of displacement or why things weigh less in water. They experimented by carrying us moms around the pool on their backs. Jake was giving Emilie a ride and exclaimed, "Wow! You are really light!" Emilie laughed and said, "Thanks, I'll take that as a compliment." Jake, very seriously, replied, "Yes. That wasn't even sarcasm..."

Sunday, July 17, 2011


I've been writing for two hours now, working on another project.

Apparently I have a word quota per day, because I've run out of words.

This would not be a good thing if I ever did decide to try and write a book...

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Don't be afraid to try something new...

Today we decided it would be a good idea to go to a couple of stores and start pricing out things like flooring, bathroom fixtures, closet organizers, ect., ect., ect....

I mentioned that IKEA has some good closet organization systems for reasonable prices, so Brian agreed to drive out there and check them out.  It was kind of a big deal because he has been definitely anit-IKEA in the past. Every time I've tried to get him to go there he's been dismissive and disinterested. (Mostly because it's new to him and he hates trying anything new...)

I am glad to report that he is now an IKEA convert. I think it was the steak knives. We walked through the entire show room and got lots of ideas for our bedroom and closet. We then went downstairs to housewares section, and he was like a kid in a candy store! I kept having to track him down because his attention would be caught by something shiny or colorful and he would buzz off on his scooter to check it out. I caught up with him by the knives and he was almost giddy because he found a set of six steak knives for $3.99.

We bought a set of four knives when we were first married for $15 or $20, and they are nowhere near as nice as the IKEA ones. Also, we've lost two of the knives from the first set and so when we have people over for a barbecue we all have to share the same two knives. We've been down to two knives for five or six years, and every spring Brian says, "We really need to get some new steak knives." But then he never wants to spend the money for them. But for $4? You bet! He grabbed up a set of those faster than you could blink!

We ended up buying the steak knives, a set of cutting boards (because the one we own is constantly in use or in the dishwasher), a dish scrubbing brush with a long handle (for scrubbing the insides of glasses, instead of the old bottle scrubber we are currently using), and a set of 12 reusable chopsticks (because my family is obsessed with eating with chopsticks!), and all for less then $10. Brian kept saying things like, "Okay, I get the draw now." and "We are definitely coming back here!" I just smiled and refrained from saying things like, "I told you so."

As we were checking out Jake was looking at one of the displays. He turned to Brian and said, "What is up with all the Swedish stuff?!"  Obviously it was a new experience for him too...

Friday, July 15, 2011


I feel awful tonight.

Sick headache and really grumpy.

Just threw a little hissy fit because someone left the butter balanced precariously in the door of the fridge and so it dumped out all over the floor, and who else in this house is going to clean up anything that gets spilled on the floor?

NO ONE, that's who!

Part of my rant went like this, "...and I still have to post and I don't want to post because I have nothing to post about...."

Brian responded with, "Don't post then."  

Apparently he doesn't get the concept of this post every day idea...


I posted.

I'm going to go to bed and try to sleep the grumpy off.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Yarn Quest

Today was a fun day... for me.  It was a yarn store shop hop, which if you are a quilter you know what I'm talking about, and if you're not you probably don't care. Caitlin and I spent all day driving around and browsing through yarn shops. I bought some yarn, but not in every store, so I felt like that was showing a lot of restraint. Jake got to go have an all-day play date so I only had to take the girls. They were really well behaved until the last two shops or so, and then Lila fell asleep and Evie was still well behaved.

At the third store we went to Lila grabbed a hank of yarn off of a display and brought it to me and said, "Mom, I want this yarn for my birthday!" "You do? What are you going to do with it?" I asked. "Um, knit with it." (And you have to read that with a total teenager 'duh' voice, which I never get used to hearing from my two year old...)

We got to meet up with Brian for lunch so the girls were very excited by that. Because he works a fair commute away it isn't very often we are just down in his neck of the woods. Lila did not want him to go back to work after lunch... or at the very least she wanted to go with him. Fortunately she fell asleep pretty soon after he drove off, so there wasn't too much of a tantrum.

After the fun, fiber filled afternoon we went swimming at Pa Dave's. Caite and I did our best imitation of a water aerobics workout. It wasn't half bad, but I'd forgotten how ridiculously hard it is when we'd turn the other way and walk against the current. When 3/4 of your body is under water that's a lot of resistance. We both kept slipping and getting dragged under by the current we'd created. And then we'd laugh so hard that it was even harder to stay upright. I have a sneaking suspicion that I will be feeling it in my calves tomorrow...

A very fun and full day. Jake summed it up best when I got home tonight to find him laying on the couch watching some "Phineas and Ferb" with his dad. He said, "Man, I'm going to have to spend tomorrow recuperating!" I feel the same way.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Buffet Etiquette

First of all I want to say thank you to all the family and friends who left comments, messages on facebook and otherwise reached out to let me know that we are not facing this new chapter of our lives alone.  Your words of encouragement and concern were definitely balm to a troubled heart. It helps just to have a place to vent when the stresses start piling up.

So tonight I am going to blog about what I was originally going to blog about yesterday, before the whole evaluation thing happened.

Yesterday was Tuesday, Movie Day. Same as it's been for a month and a half now. But for some reason I got the times mixed up in my head and we showed up for the 10 am show at 10:30. My kids were crushed, and I felt like a total bone head. So we decided to splurge and go to a matinee showing of Cars 2. The kids were thrilled and my coolest mom status was saved. (I am really trying to work on my numbers for this week, I want to get a better satisfaction rating than 82% and I definitely do not want any ish!) Caite was able to come with us and we all really enjoyed the movie.

Lila spent a good 10 minutes singing "Here we are together, together, together..." towards the end, not quietly. But otherwise was pretty well behaved. Evie lost one of her flip-flops which inspired her brother to ask in a very exasperated voice, "Who takes off their shoes in a movie theater?" Fortunately we finally found it wedged under a seat, three over from where she was sitting. I'm still not clear how that happened, but at least we found the shoe.

Since we went to a later movie we were all pretty hungry when it got out. So we decided to grab a bite to eat so we could hang out longer with Caite. We settled on Chuck-a-rama. I know that many people probably just said "Ew, gross, why?" but let me explain why that is a treat for my kids. Brian doesn't do buffets. Even before the leg issue which makes it impossible for him to carry anything and walk, he just doesn't do buffets. I don't know if it's an OCD thing or just a Brian thing, but I can count on half of one hand the number of times I've seen that man in a buffet line. The last time Jake and I went to Chuck-a-rama was with Josh and Elena (I can't remember why, but Brian was out of town) and I was pregnant with Evie, so at least five years ago.

We got seated at our table and then I explained the basic concept to my children. We would walk around and they could pick out whatever they wanted to eat. Their eyes were huge as they contemplated the ramifications of that statement. My only stipulation was they had to have real food before they hit the dessert bar. After we had gotten everyone their first plate and drink one of the servers came around and asked if we needed anything. Jake looked completely confused and said, "Well if we do, don't we just get it ourselves?" She ignored that and said, "If you need anything my name is Kathleen." Jake got an even more confused look on his face. He leaned over to Caitlin and asked, "So... what? We just yell 'Kathleen' across the restaurant?" We laughed and explained that she was just being polite and was there if you needed help. Satisfied he went back to his food.

Things were going along just fine. Jake and Evie were ready to sample different things so Jake picked up his plate to head back. We quickly stopped him and explained that he should leave the dirty plate and get a clean one. He felt that was a somewhat inefficient business practice, but bowed to our superior buffet experience. Then the server came to bus our table and picked up the half-eaten plates. Lila watched her with a startled expression and then yelled after her, "Hey! That's our food!" She turned to me and said, "Mom! That lady took our plates!" I tried to explain to her again why they took the dirty dishes because we were finished with them, but every time an employee would walk by us after that she would eye them suspiciously and lean over to protect her plate like it would be snatched out from under her fork.

It was a pretty funny lunch, watching my children discovering this unknown concept. It will be even funnier if it's another five years before we go back and they have to relearn it all over again...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


There is nothing like a stranger with a clipboard and a bunch of probing questions to make you take a real hard look at your life. Tonight we had a medical evaluation in our home to qualify Brian for a wheelchair. We spent a good two hours going over his medical history, the story of the car accident, and what day to day life is like for him. Right now I am just overwhelmed. We've both know for awhile that a wheelchair would probably be in his future. I think we just both thought that it would be a bit more in the distant future.

The truth is mobility has been hard and getting harder for awhile now. Both of us really try to stay positive and focus on the blessings we have rather than the struggles. And really, it's hard to complain when you see other people who have much bigger struggles. But tonight we had to focus on the reality of Brian's disability, and it was just more painful than I was expecting.

The sheer cost of everything is overwhelming. Getting into a wheelchair means some pretty serious accommodations will have to be made. (I am trying to hard to stay away from the word remodel, but it's what it boils down to ultimately.) Ramps... hard surfaces instead of carpets... wider doorways... I can't even think about the bathrooms without bursting into tears. And then there is the new physical therapy to learn how to use the wheelchair which means co-pays, not to mention the cost of the wheelchair itself.

Brian could tell that I was upset after the meeting and asked the fateful words, "Are you okay?" (I swear, those three little words can drive me to tears faster than anything!) I said, "This just isn't how I pictured my life, you know? I never thought these would be things I'd have to deal with and worry about." I know he didn't either, I mean who would before it was something you have to deal with? Brian said, "Come here. I want to give you a hug, but it's just so much work to get up."  So I went and sat with him and he held me while I cried. And then from the bathroom Evie yelled, "Mom?! Lila has a HUGE booger coming out of her nose!" And so life goes on...

Of course as overwhelming as it is, we are both very excited for the new addition to our lives. Brian's life and mobility will be so much better, he'll have so much more freedom. It's like I said to the therapist, "It's time for us to stop clinging to what we had and embrace our new reality." I know we will be okay. We always are. No matter what comes our way we will handle it together as a family and we will be okay. I know that it will help to get educated about what programs and assistance are available for us. I also have a couple of ideas I've been mulling over for awhile to bring in some more income and this might just be the push I need to go forward with them. Necessity is the mother of invention after all.

I think it's been very cathartic to get this down in black and white. This is part of my story. I think it's important to record the good and the bad equally. This is a real life and the unexpected is part of a real life. I look back at what I wrote when my mom was sick and at the end of her life and I didn't write anything but the surface. I wish that I had recorded more of my deeper self at that time. I think it would have been helpful with the grieving process. And that what this is. We have to grieve the life that we had and the one we thought we would have, and then get busy living the one we've got. Because the one we've got is still pretty good.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Random pictures from the last 24 hours....

My kids have been in weird moods today. 
There has been a lot of whiny, a lot of silly and just about everything else in between. 

I came upstairs from changing over the laundry to find this very detailed chart and graph sitting in my living room.  After an equally long and convoluted explanation from Jacob I finally understood what it was about. This is charting his satisfaction rate with each member of the family. He was quick to reassure me that even though I was currently only ranking second it was a new week and I would have a new chance for better numbers. 
Gee, thanks.

I have to point out my favorite thing on his chart. Ish. It stands for issues he has with us. That and the fact that he has my age listed at 31, I'll take it.

Apparently Lila got her hands on the camera. There were about twenty pictures of her chin and shirt in various stages of blurriness, and one of underneath Evie's bed. 

Jake's original design for a poster advertising the movie he's writing a script for. He seriously cracks me up.

Lila barely survived dinner.
It's so hard to be at this stage when she really still needs a nap most days and the choice is between dealing with a horribly tired and ornery toddler from late afternoon on, or having her refuse to go to bed at a reasonable hour. 

Evie's been more low key today. Probably because she's getting over a 24 flu bug. She has still had her moments though. Tonight she was snuggling with her daddy and climbed down from his chair to get a pillow. As she got down she said, "Well. That's shocking!" in the tone of voice you'd expect from an old maid who saw a dirty picture or something. Brian and I both responded quickly with. "What? What's shocking?" She looked at Brian and said, "I touched your blanket and it shocked me." We really do have horrible static electricity in our house...

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Please ignore the rumors...

Awhile back Lila started talking about marriage. A lot. Since she's at an age where she is full of imagination, watching a lot of princess movies, and she attended my cousin's wedding recently, this seemed fairly normal. Then she started saying things like, "I marry Evie, Jake marries Libby, but Daddy doesn't marry Mommy."  Of course my response was something like, "Silly girl, Daddy already married Mommy." She would just shake her head and say, "No, Daddy not marry you."

When Brian would come home Lila would greet him with a stern demand that he marry me, immediately. In vain we both tried to convince her that we were in fact already married. We would point to our wedding picture and say, "See sweetie, that's when we got married." But she wasn't buying it.

Unfortunately it then progressed to where she was telling complete strangers in the grocery store, "Daddy not marry Mommy."  In desperation I would remonstrate with her and say, "For Heaven's sake Lila! Stop telling people we're not married! We ARE married!"

After a few weeks of this I decided it was time for a serious discussion of what she thought marriage was and why she thought Brian and I weren't. Turns out she thinks getting married means dancing. Because at the end of all the fairy tales the prince and princess get married, and then they dance. And Daddy most definitely does not dance with Mommy.

Since then we've been trying very hard to get her to say "dancing" instead of "married". I thought we were making pretty good progress. Then today at church (It was just her and I because Brian stayed home with Evie who had a flu bug, and Jake stayed home to help) one of her nursery leaders came over to say hello. He asked Lila how she was doing and Lila smiled up at him and said, "I have a new daddy!" He looked at me in shock, and I looked at her in shock and asked, "What did you just say?" She repeated, quite clearly, "I have a new daddy."

Oh brother, here we go again...

Just for the record, no she doesn't.
And no I don't know why she said it.
(And the only reason I'm not wearing my wedding ring is because I need to get it re-sized and am afraid of losing it.)

Crazy girl. Don't believe anything she says.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Three wheelin'

Brian and Jake have been on a Father's and Son's camp out with Brian's side of the family this weekend. They had so much fun doing... whatever it is that boys do when girls aren't around. (I'm thinking a guest post is in order for them to fill us in on their getaway.) 

So today the girls joined them for a day playing in the mountains. We got up to camp in time for lunch and then set off to see some sights and do some fishing. We stayed through dinner time and then packed up our boys and came home. It's one of my favorite ways to camp while I have little children.  A nice long day of playing in the dirt and nature, and none of the inconveniences of packing and sleeping away from home. Plus we get to shower before going to bed. Always a plus in my book...

Here are a few of the shots I took of our day:

Brian's always loved to go off-roading,

and rock crawling.

Brian was so happy that he had his scooter and could drive around the paths and explore with us. The last couple of times we've been camping in this area he only had his crutches with him and so ended up waiting in the car for us, not too fun for him.

Provo River Falls in Kamas Canyon. 
This is the fullest we've ever seen this river running.  
Nature's untamed power is pretty awe inspiring.

Jake and Grandma T.

Evie's turn.

Lila has to do everything the big kids do, even climbing on great big rocks!

This just about sums up the day. We were all together, but the kids were too busy/silly/tired/ornery to pause for one second to smile in the same direction at the same time. Oh well, at least we were together.

Friday, July 8, 2011

I don't know if this is karma, or ironic, or what exactly...

So after my post yesterday about needing to find a babysitter more often I ended up being one tonight! It was fun actually, because Brian and Jake have been camping for the last couple of days, so the girls and I got to have a "late night" at Emilie's. They were thrilled. Emilie's kids were perfectly behaved and went straight to bed when asked. (I have to figure out that secret!) My kids of course were not going to lay down when there were all kinds of new and wonderful toys to play with.

I figure tonight was helpful in two ways: 1) the night passed quickly and I wasn't getting all freaked out by every creak and pop I heard because I was too busy taking care of the kids, and 2) I am hoping it will end up being like that saying "To find a friend, you must be a friend," only with babysitters.

Some other fun things we did on our girl day today was go do a little shopping for some summer time clothes. I finally realized when I did all the laundry last week and by Wednesday both girls were out of short sleeved shirts and shorts that they didn't have any summer clothes! Yikes. We found some great deals at Kmart and I was doing the math in my head as we picked the clothes out. I stopped when I figured we were right around $60, and thought that was a bargain for the amount of clothing we were getting. Imagine my surprise when the total was $36! Now I know I'm not a math whiz, but even I can do multiplication fairly accurately. At least it was a pleasant surprise.

After the shopping we went and got pancakes for breakfast. A real treat for my kids, I think they'd rather eat at a pancake house than McDonald's even. Lila was being pretty ornery on the way to eat because she was so hungry. After she pretty much cleaned her plate, she leaned back, gave a contented sigh and then said, "Okay Mom, I not ever be grouchy again." Right... until the next time she gets hungry I guess.

We also went and played with Addie and Libby for a little while. It was fun watching the four little girls clomp around in "noisy shoes" (high heels) and dress ups. It always takes me back to my childhood and playing dolls and dress ups with Dinee.

We've had a good day, but we are pretty excited to drive up and spend the day in the mountains with our boys and have them come home with us. We miss them when they aren't around...

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Food for thought...

I read a great post today about keeping the romance alive in a marriage. Being the parents of small children and sometimes just getting busy living our lives, this is something I've been thinking a lot about lately. And about how there just never seems to be enough time or money, and to take some of it for ourselves feels selfish and self indulgent. Or feeling guilty for asking our families to watch our children all the time. (Isn't it funny the way sometimes answers just fall into your lap when you aren't even actively looking for them?) Any how, there was a quote about making the time for "Date Night" that jumped out at me. So much so that I am thinking about sticking it on my bedroom mirror, or cross-stitching it onto a pillow, or something...

Baby sitters are much less expensive than therapists.

Seriously, I think this is going to be my new motto. Now I just need to find a good babysitter, and figure out the going rate...

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

It's hurts too much to think....

I think I am getting a sinus infection. All I know for sure is that my face hurts. Like someone punched me in the cheekbones... both of them. So tonight I am very grateful for a husband who comes home with medicine, dinner and a willingness to take care of the children so I can go lay down in a dark room and wait for the medicine to take effect.  The only thing that would make him a better husband would be if he had posted for me. Oh well, he probably would have if I had asked. I would have if I had thought of it before now....

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Unexpected nap time...

I hate it when that happens. One moment you are laying there talking your two year old out of throwing a major fit, then next thing you know your husband is calling to apologize for working late and telling you he's on the way home. The biggest problem is of course that now it is 11 pm and said two year old, who also napped, is nowhere near close to falling asleep. I foresee a loooong night ahead...

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July!

I would say that all things considered, we had a very mellow and relaxing holiday today.

We went to the neighborhood pancake breakfast.

We went to Pa Dave's and played cards and went swimming.

We took in a firework show.

And just spent time with the people we love.

Happy Birthday, America!
Hope your holiday was perfect too.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Sunday Observations

We thoroughly enjoyed sleeping in this morning, especially Brian.

The plan was for me to take Jake to church and Brian to keep the girls home because the three of them are still a little under the weather.

The kids were not happy with that plan.

Especially Jacob, who really really wanted his Dad to be there for when he was introduced to the congregation as a newly baptized member.

Brian is a really really good dad.

Not only did he go to church while not feeling 100%, he got up and bore his testimony.

It was a special experience, because it is not something that happens very often as it is very difficult for him to move around and climb up to the pulpit, and he is setting such a great example for his children.

Jacob also choose to bear his testimony today for the first time.

He was so sweet as he talked about the atonement and how he knows that because of it he will see his Mima Kim again.

He has inherited the Madsen gene that means speaking of spiritual things equals tears.

I cried too. (I didn't wear any make up to church today, so that was okay.)

I found out later he had quite a few people in tears.

You can't help but feel proud when other people take the time to tell you how amazing your child is.

Evie also had a big day when she agreed to step in and give a talk at the last minute.

I was so proud of her for not crying and being shy, but talking slowly and clearly (mostly) into the microphone.

Today was my last day as her primary teacher, I'll be moving over to another class.

I think this move will be good for both of us.

I love Sunday nights, whether it's spent visiting with family or hanging out quietly at home.

It takes us a ridiculously long time to watch a movie.

Like a 90 minute movies takes us over 3 hours long.

The kids never need us until we sit down to watch a movie.

Why is that?

Maybe that's why Brian never wants to watch a movie with me...

I plan to thoroughly enjoy sleeping in tomorrow too.

At least until 8:30, so we can get to the pancake breakfast.

The children are really looking forward to it.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Jake's Baptism

It was a great day. Jake was so excited as he counted down the hours until we'd leave for the church. There was a lot of last minute cooking and cleaning, but thanks to both of our wonderful families everything got done with relatively little stress.

Jake and Brian looking very dapper.

I think this picture will be a special memory for Jacob his whole life. Brian was able to baptize him, with a little help getting in and out of the font from his father. Three generations strong in the gospel, that is pretty neat. 

We had an overwhelming number of family and friends take time out of this busy holiday weekend to come and support Jacob, and even more who sent cards, emails and well wishes even though they couldn't be here. It means so much more than we can say to feel so loved. 

I am so proud of my son for the choice he made today and the spirit and strong character he brings into our home everyday. I got to talk for a few minutes about him before he was confirmed and I wanted to record those thoughts here for our family record.


You are a miracle.

When your daddy was a young man he was in a horrible car accident. The doctors all thought that he wouldn't live, and if he did he wouldn't be able to walk or talk or be normal ever again. But he did live, and although he has had some challenges because of it, he has had more of a normal life than they thought he would.  We both believe very strongly that one of the reasons his life was spared was because there were some very special spirits (you and your sisters) who were waiting to join our family. All babies are miracles, and you are an especially amazing miracle.

You have been blessed with a strong intelligence and understanding.

When you were one year old I was reading a book about shapes to you. By the time we were finished you could say and find all the shapes, even when I pointed to them out of order. Including zig-zag and crescent moon.  That was the first time your daddy and I realized that you might be a little different from other children.

When you were two years old you fell and cut your lip. While we were waiting in the Dr's office we played a game of counting fingers to keep you from thinking about your owie. By the time we left you had mastered the concept of addition and subtraction. We were stunned.

The year you were three you got a new book for Christmas. And you came and sat down and read it to me before I could read it to you. It was Snow by P.D. Eastman. I was thrilled, and a little overwhelmed to realize the rate at which you absorbed knowledge. 

It is a privilege and a responsibility for us as your parents to guide you and help you seek after the best learning that you can. (So stop being mad at us for sending you to the Spectrum program. It's our job to give you the best opportunities we can...)

You are such a kind and loving boy.

I believe that you were born first in our family because Heavenly Father knew you would make the best big brother. You are so sweet and patient with your sisters, and they look up to you so much. You are able to make friends easily and are always willing to let everyone join in the fun. You are the best helper for both of your parents and have had to step in and take over more responsibilities than many six or seven or eight year old have to shoulder. And you are always willing to help us, maybe not always happily, but at least always willing. I especially appreciate the job you take on in being your Daddy's legs, I know it isn't always easy.

You are a good example.

We are so proud of you Jacob and the choice you made to be baptized today. You are a very deep thinker and I know that this was not a decision that you came to lightly. I appreciate that even at your tender age you feel so strongly about learning and studying the scriptures to find answers.  Your little sisters will be watching and learning from you how to navigate this world, and that thought brings me a lot of peace. I am not worried that you will teach them anything but good and worthy things. 

I love you with all my heart, son. 
Thank you for being you.


Friday, July 1, 2011

A tender mercy

Everything isn't quite ready yet, but I am happy to report that the kitchen floor is no longer either sticky or crunchy. So, that's progress. Tonight we had the opportunity to go to the temple for another of my cousin's (his fiancee's, actually) endowments. I'll be honest, somewhere around the time that I was realizing that I'd have about 10 minutes to get ready and leave to be there on time, and the amount of work that I still had to accomplish, I started really considering excuses. But I really wanted to go to the temple and I knew that Brian did too. So in the end, I stopped mid-sweep, hung up my broom and went and got ready.

We made it in plenty of time and as I was sitting and waiting for the session to start I was just contemplating life and my son and the big milestone that he is hitting tomorrow. I started thinking about when he was 2 years old, and my mom's cancer was back after the first remission. I was talking to my dad on the phone and having a grieving moment. I was feeling sad that my mom most likely wouldn't be around when Jake graduated high school, went on a mission, or got married. My dad listened to me talk about those things and then gently pointed out that she most likely wouldn't be around when Jake got baptized.

I felt sad again thinking about how much I missed her and how badly I wished she was here to share this special event with us all. And then I got an overwhelming feeling of love and assurance that she is sharing it with us. She is very aware of how special tomorrow is and she is so proud of her first born grandchild. It was a powerful and wonderful reminder to me that my family is forever.

I am grateful for the reminder to slow down and focus on the spirit and the meaning of the day tomorrow, instead of worrying about when and how everything will happen.  I think it will be a beautiful day.