Friday, September 30, 2011

Fall traditions...

Today we pulled out our Halloween decorations.

The kids were excited to decorate.
I was excited that all I had to do was pull out a tote of decorations and that the whole process took less than two hours, as opposed to years past where I was trying to finish making the decorations and it drug out for weeks at a time.

I also found it ironic that in order to put up fake cobwebs, I first had to dust and vacuum up real ones. Hmmm... perhaps next year I'll save time and just leave the real ones until Thanksgiving.

My kids aren't the only ones excited to play Conference Bingo tomorrow.
I bought 12 lbs. of candy.
(I actually took the time to total up the weights on the packages, because I was wondering after hefting them into the house and onto the counter...)
I figure whatever is left over will work for trick or treaters.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Talking to Lila...

Lila demanded that I hand her a book.

Me: What's the magic word?

Lila: Pocus-pocus.

Me (laughing): What's the other magic word, the one when you are asking someone for something?

Lila (Looks at me with a blank stare)

Me: Pa... Plea... Please. It's please.

Lila (Holds out her hand for the book)

Me: So what's the magic word.

Lila: Babra-cadabra!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Conversation with Evie...

Randomly announced from the backseat today:

Evie: Hey Mom? Today a boy in my class said he is in love with me.

Me: I'm not ready for this....He did? What's his name?

Evie: I don't know.

Me: So... it's not serious then?

Evie: Huh?

Me: Never mind. So what did you say?

Evie: Nothin'.

Me: Well, how did you feel when he said that he loves you?

Evie: Mo-oom. He didn't say he loves me, he said he's in love with me.

Me: Okay, so how does that make you feel? Silly? Or did you like it?

Evie: I think it's kind of silly.... and I also kind of liked it.

Oh boy.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Thoughts about Jake...

Tonight I hung out with my boy. 

While he can irritate me the way only an eight year old boy can, it's nice to get a little one on one time every now and then. 

It was pack meeting for Scouts and he got to direct the color guard and lead the pledge. 

I thought it was sweet how serious he was about it. 

It made me happy seeing these young boys being taught pride and respect for our nation's symbols. 

After Scouts, he and I went to the library for a little while.

 I love that he is as comfortable and independent in the library as I am. 

I told him he had about a half an hour to select his books while I choose mine.

Twenty minutes later he came and found me, each of us lugging an armload of books.

It just makes me smile every time I am reminded that he loves reading as much as I do. 

We had a final errand to the grocery store on the way home and it was nice to spend a little time talking to him. 

I told him to grab me a cart and he came back with one of the kiddie ones.

I looked at him for a moment and then said, "I take it you want to push the cart?" 

He smiled sweetly and replied, "I want to, besides I think you've done enough heavy lifting for today..." 

He is always finding ways to take care of me, he is such a sweetheart.

Plus he uses words like lugubrious and diabolical while describing his day at school. 

What's more, he uses them correctly! 

(The word obsequious continues to be a struggle for him though...) 

In yesterday's frenzy of cleaning I came across a little photo album with pictures of him at 4 and 6 months old. 

I couldn't get over how my chubby cheeked little cherub has turned into a Cub Scout who uses words like lugubrious.

It makes my heart hurt a little.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Cleaning up...

No Jacob, cleaning your room does NOT mean just shoving everything under your bed...

Caitlin came down today and we spent almost 12 hours cleaning and rearranging the downstairs. We had to clear out my sewing room to get ready for the girls' bunk beds which will be delivered tomorrow.
And before you look at this picture and gasp in horror... the sad truth is I didn't think to take a before picture. This is about half way through. 
Yes. I have too much stuff.

My yarn stash revolted and attacked me!

I actually purged my stash and got it down from five storage drawers and two large plastic totes to three storage drawers. One of them is my drawer of yarn penance. It contains three or four projects that Caitlin says I have to finish in order to redeem myself from having so many UFO tucked away, including a sweater that I kept holding up and saying, "What was I thinking?!" She says I have to finish it and wear it to an Ugly Sweater party. 

I filled two large boxes with yarn to donate to a girl in her ward who was looking for yarn for a charity project. It was very freeing to let go of so many half finished afghans, baby sweaters and 3/4 of what I think was supposed to be a shawl. Freeing and freaky at the same time, some of the things I honestly don't remember knitting! I have yarn amnesia! And that's a little scary if you start to think about how many hours of my life that means are unaccounted for...

I also cut my fabric stash down by two large boxes. One to Caitlin and one to the D.I. But the sad truth there is that I probably lost less than 10% of the overall fabric stash. I did get some great new shelving for my fabric which I think will help me to a) stay inspired and b) not buy any more fabric until there is actually a space for it. Caitlin estimates that I probably have enough flannel in the stash to make my kids 15 pairs of pajamas apiece. I said that's good because they don't have any in their drawers right now because of growth spurts. Guess I know what should be first on my sewing list. 

I will post pictures of my new sewing cubical once I get it all organized. I think that it work out okay, I will just have to be better about keeping my stuff cleaned up since you can see it from the top of the stairs now.

This is what happens when you spend all your time cleaning and organizing instead of paying attention to your two year old. She finds ways to keep herself entertained... like digging through your purse and trying on your lipstick. Another highlight of the day was when Jake came running downstairs in a panic to tell me that he'd spilled the can of paint he was carrying out to the garage in front of the door. Thankfully it was only a little and it was latex based, so it cleaned up pretty well. The stones in the entry way are a tinge blue if you look close, but I hate them and am looking forward to getting them replaced with wood flooring in the remodel. Jake also forgot to turn off the crock-pot when I asked him to, so two and a half hours later we ordered pizza. All in all, I feel good about all that was accomplished, but I am so glad today is over. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011


Last Friday a sister from our ward called me and asked if I would be willing to help with part of the lesson in Relief Society on Sunday. I said that I would be happy to. (You know, because that's what we do as women, we say yes.) She didn't tell me what the lesson was or how or where I would fit into it. She just asked me to share my thoughts on one question, how have I dealt with Brian's illness? 

I thought about it through most of the night and when I couldn't sleep because Brian was gone camping, I got up and started to write down my thoughts. It turned into a very beautiful and cathartic process for me to remember a particular event that forever changed my outlook on life:

How have I dealt with Brian's illness?

One day at a time. Some days are better than others, and there have been some very dark days. Days when I was sunk in self pity and despair over the unfairness of how hard my life was turning out to be. About five years ago we began the process of getting a diagnosis for Brian. The main trigger was when we went to a chiropractor to see if he could help with the weakness Brian was experiencing in his right leg. The chiropractor took some measurements and discovered that his right leg was more than an inch smaller in circumference than his left leg. So we went to our regular doctor, who ran some tests... and sent us to a neurologist, who ran some tests and then asked what kind of insurance we had, and then ran some more tests... and sent us to a specialist, who ran more tests... and then came back and said, "You most likely have ALS (or Lou Gehrig's disease)... but the only way to know for sure is to come back in six months and we'll retest you and see how far it has progressed."

This started the hardest six months of my life. I had a toddler, an infant, and a husband who was most likely dying of an incurable illness. I tortured myself by reading everything I could find on ALS. It is a progressive degenerative disorder and most people don't live longer than 5 years after being diagnosed. During this time period my mother's cancer came back after being in remission for a little over a year. I felt like my world was falling apart and I was unable to find even the smallest ray of hope. About half way through the six month waiting period I called my mother on the phone just falling apart at the seams. I was going to be a widow before I was 30, with two small children to provide for and no education or skills to provide for them with. ALS often leaves the families and care-givers drained every possible way, including financially. All I could see was a long painful illness that destroyed every part of my family and life and I didn't know where to turn or what to do. My mother, wise and faithful woman that she was, listened to my fear and pain and then gently reminded me of 1 Nephi 3:7. That we are promised that we will not be asked to do anything that the lord hasn't prepared us for. This was my first real test of faith. I believe in the scriptures. I believe in Jesus and Heavenly Father. If I believe in all of this then I have to believe that I can bear these trials. Some days it felt like all that got me through was walking around in a daze and repeating this scripture over and over.

Finally the six months of agonizing waiting were over. We were going in on Monday to the specialist for the final diagnosis. Brian and I were both mentally girding our loins for them to say, "Yes. It's ALS." The Saturday night before I stayed up into the early morning by myself, reading online about ALS support groups, and alternately sobbing and railing at the heavens. Literally crying out to my Heavenly Father, "Why? Why me? Why my husband? Why are you taking him away from our children?  Haven't we had enough trials? Haven't we suffered enough?" Sunday morning came and I was in no mood for church, especially with two small children and only a few hours of sleep. But Brian was adamant about going and so I went, with a very unwilling heart.

We had a guest speaker in Relief Society that day. She was talking about the book, Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World. I don't remember her name or even most of what she said. I was sitting there quietly, giving every appearance of listening, but in actuality I was holding all my hurts close to my heart and turning them over and over in my mind. Then the speaker said, "How often do we get so focused on ourselves and our troubles, big or small, that we miss seeing the blessings that our Heavenly Father is showering on us?" All could think was, "Blessings? HA!" She went on to talk about where in the scriptures many people think Jesus rebukes Martha for being more focused on worldly concerns than spiritual ones. But what she said next will forever be imprinted on my heart. She said that she didn't think that Jesus was rebuking Martha. She thought that he was sympathizing with Martha and letting her know that he knew all of the cares and concerns that she was struggling with. Then the speaker asked, "Could the Lord look into your heart right now and say the same to you?"

In that moment I heard in my heart, "Chrissy, Chrissy, thou are careful and troubled about many things," and I felt an overwhelming wave of love and compassion wash over me and take away all of the hurt and anger and fear that had been festering in my spirit for the last six months. I knew that I wasn't being left alone to flounder through this trial and that there were angels, both heavenly and earthly, surrounding me and bearing me up.  I began to shake and cry from the enormity of what had just happened. Soon I was sobbing, ugly, gasping, heart-wrenching sobs. Loud enough that I disrupted the speaker and the meeting ground to a halt as the sisters rushed to comfort me. Most of them knew that we were going to see the doctor the next day and chalked up my reaction to that, and I let them. I couldn't stop crying long enough to explain the profound lesson I had just been given. Later on, once I could finally calm down, I felt at peace. I knew that no matter what diagnosis we were given the next day we would be able to bear it, together as husband and wife, as a family with our children and our extended families, and with faith.

Of course you know that the diagnosis was not ALS. At first we were so ecstatic about what it wasn't that we didn't spend a lot of time dwelling on what it was. Then came another year or so of testing to finally figure out what was wrong with him. But ever since that Sunday I have had a perfect faith that no matter what the outcome of the many tests or what challenges Brian's health presents for our lives together we will be able to deal with it.

I have had days where I felt sad, discouraged or frustrated with our situation, but never again have I had the anger and the fear that I struggled with during those six months. I have learned that fear is an absence of faith,  where faith is strongly rooted; fear cannot grow. I have learned to strive for a Mary heart, to focus on finding the blessings in the trials instead of on the trials themselves. I have learned that the hottest fires make the strongest steel, and that I am a stronger person than I would have ever thought possible because of the struggles that we have gone through. I would not trade my life for anyone else's.

I went into R.S. today to share what I had written, feeling a little nervous because I still didn't know if it was applicable to the lesson or would fit with what the sister was trying to teach. The lesson was from a talk given during the April session of Conference by Elder Paul V. Johnson, More Than Conquerors Through Him That Loved Us. It gave me goosebumps to read this talk and see how many parallels there were between it and what I had written. I believe in inspiration, but it is always amazing to see it unfold in your own life. I am so grateful for this experience and the chance to record and share such a precious part of my history for my children and myself.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Dressing up

Tonight we went to a wedding reception for one of Brian's friends from high school. By the time we left the reception all I could think was, "We should have gotten a babysitter..."

But before we left I thought my girls were looking pretty cute.  I normally lean towards a more demure and old fashioned style when it comes to dressing my girls for church and functions like weddings. But today I was all about funky, eclectic and colorful. Must have been the radio station on in the background...

Evie got this skirt from a box of donations during the yard sale and has been dying to wear ever since! Leopard print and some shiny bling? Yes please.

Lila was totally rocking a Punky Brewster meets Rainbow Bright ensemble. I love it!
Truthfully, I think this is how I live vicariously through my children. There are days I wish I could wear something this fun and funky.

We got home and I sent the children off to change into their pajamas. Jake not only changed in record time, he took the time to create a chart for his dinner "requests" for next week. 

He brought this to me, let me look it over and then asked, "So, do you think you can handle that?"

Honestly it's fine by me.
 I think it's great not to have to decide what to make for dinner every night.
And I didn't make the mistake of agreeing to comply with his requests, so I'm not legally bound to this menu....

Sometimes it's like living with Sheldon.
"What would you have me do? Eat french toast on a Monday?  Now that would be impossible."

Friday, September 23, 2011

Slumber Party!!!

Bri and Jake headed off to the mountains to do a little fishing/camping/male bonding type thing. 
That leaves me to hang out with my girly girls tonight!
 Um, sleeping in the van vs. sleeping in my own bed?
Yeah... I think I got the better end of that deal!

First order of business, go rent a bunch of movies. 
Second order of business, go to the store for junk food (oh, and dinner).

We had snack plates for dinner, or as my sister and I used to call it "Nibble and Nosh"
Rotisserie chicken, cheese, french bread and grapes. 
I had my chicken in a salad.
Evie was in heaven because she got to have both drumsticks.
Both girls ate all their dinner and asked for seconds, and ate all that too. With no prompting or nagging from Mom. Ah, the novelty of finger foods for dinner.

The first movie we watched was "Girls Just Want to Have Fun"
A slumber party standard from my youth. 

Of course we had a dance break during the closing credits!

Ready to snuggle up and eat some candy and watch movies until we crash! 
(Or 9:30, which ever comes first....)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Fiber therapy...

I haven't been to my Thursday night knitting group for about a month now.
We've just had a lot of family commitments that have happened to fall on Thursdays.
Here's what I've found out.
Missing one week... not too big of a deal.
Missing two weeks in a row... I get a little antsy.
Missing four weeks in a row?
That's not good for anyone.
Turns out Mommy goes a little bit crazy when she doesn't get her weekly night off.
Good news.
I went to knitting tonight.
Everything is much better...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Unintended consequences...

So... I didn't think through all the ramifications of my new evening schedule. Such as making my slightly time obsessive oldest child even more so. (Slightly? Since he's been two years old if you tell him that it's a quarter after two when it's actually 2:13, he will correct you. In his world there is no excuse for inaccuracy when it comes to telling time...) Although it will probably be a good thing in the long run to help him learn flexibility. Such as tonight when he had Scouts at 7, but dinner is at 7! Oh my, such a dilemma! It's good for him to learn that the world will not end if he eats a little earlier or a little later. You wouldn't think that three days into a new schedule would be so set in stone, but it is in his mind.

Evie's schedule related trauma is how mean I am that I make her wait to do her homework! I know, how cruel of me. But I think that it's important for children to have a break and let their brains rest after school. Also, if we don't do homework at the set time Evie has a hard time not wandering off with her worksheet, doodling hearts all over it and ultimately losing it all together. But now that she knows homework time is 5 o' clock she asks every. half. hour. if it is homework time. It's getting old.

Lila is the funniest with the new schedule. She is now very fixated on the clock, mostly because of Evie's fixation I think. She has no ability to tell time yet, but now every time I tell her to do anything, from changing her diaper to going to pick up Jake from school, she has to run and check if it's "time o' clock".  Most of the time it is, unless it's bedtime. It never seems to be "time o' clock" for bedtime...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Mommy's Little Helper...

One of my favorite things about the school year is having a couple of hours where I can run errands with only one child in tow. It just makes everything so much quicker and easier. I try to organize my day so that I am ready to go to the store, or the library, or video store (or all three) when I take the older two to school. Then Lila and I head off to do the marketing. She's usually pretty chill about it, even when I've rushed her out the door in pj's and bare feet.

This picture just cracks me up. I was desperately in need of cleaning supplies and so we ran to Walmart. This was a day of pj's and no shoes, so I made her sit in the little seat in the cart. She really hates to sit there anymore, but she accepted it with a pretty good grace. After twenty minutes of me reading labels she was getting pretty bored. I looked over and she was drumming her fingers on the cart and saying, "Let's go Mom!"

She's much happier when she's the one pushing the cart...

Funny story about these little carts. A year or two ago I ran to the store with just Evie late at night, so I let her get a little cart. And discovered that Evie can't concentrate long enough to be in charge of pushing the groceries around. After the sixth or seventh time she ran into a display I took the cart away. Since we only needed one or two more things I just pushed the little cart myself instead of trekking up to the front of the store for a regular cart. I realized as I was walking down the aisles, I was probably the only grown up in the store that could push a little cart without bending over...

Monday, September 19, 2011

Hitting our stride...

I feel like we are finally getting our school year routine in sync. We had a bit of a hiccup when we were hit with the plague, but now everyone is healthy and more or less happy. Also I killed myself cleaning most of the house last week and now that it's clean I am determined to keep it that way. We started our daily chore chart again, which works really well for our family... as long as I am staying on top of making sure everyone does it. I dream of a day when I won't have to constantly nag, harp, cajole and beg my children to help with the housework. And then I think back to my childhood and realize that that day will most likely come once they leave home and start keeping house for themselves. C'est la vie.

But back to now, today was one of those days where I was sitting on my couch at 6:30, in a clean living room no less, folding my second batch of laundry for the day and smelling homemade lasagna deliciousness baking in the oven and I thought, "I am on fire today!" I even got in an early morning workout, got everyone to school on time, did some grocery shopping, and took a nap. (To be perfectly honest, the nap was sort of non-optional due to the early morning workout, I probably couldn't have not taken a nap if my life depended on it.) I've also decided to start a new evening routine with set times for relaxing after school, homework, reading time before dinner (ha! novel concept), and dinner. We've reached that stage of life where it's just getting busy, especially with both kids in different schools, and I need to be more organized and prepared. I've discovered over the summer that I thrive on routine and structure as much as my kids do. But I think I'll  have to keep a dash of "flying by the seat of my pants"... just to keep things interesting.

Day one of our new evening routine went well, except for the part where Jake realized that he forgot to bring home his homework. But dinner tasted as delicious as it smelled, and was served right on time. I'm posting early enough that I can now spend the next fifteen minutes tucking my children into bed and then relax with my husband for a couple of hours before turning in before midnight. Yup, I am on FIRE today!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Star Trek Sunday

The other night Brian and I decided that we wanted to rent the newest Star Trek movie because it has been a couple of years since we last saw it. Jake piped up from the back seat and started asking about Star Trek, and I realized that he's never really seen any of the movies or the TV shows. My mom would be so disappointed! So I started explaining the story and history of the series to him, and I told him how much his Mima Kim loved Star Trek. He begged us to wait and let him watch the movie with us, so we did. We all snuggled up on the couch this afternoon and watched Star Trek. The girls did pretty well for about a half an hour and then sort of drifted in and out of the room. Jake, however, was transfixed by every second. And once again at the end of the movie during Spock's voice over I started crying. Evie was very concerned about why I was so sad, but I just explained that watching this show made me think about Mima Kim and miss her. It made me happy to share this with my children, if it helps them learn about their Mima and feel connected to her. I'm thinking we are going to be watching a lot more Star Trek around here.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Random Saturday

Today was a pretty slow Saturday. 
We attended our Stake Fair, and the kids had a 2nd go at face painting, a bouncy house, and snow cones. 
After the fair we went to Lowes, although I'm still not entirely sure what the point of that trip was.
 I think Brian just wanted to look around, but we only lasted about 20 minutes before I had had it with my children who were climbing over and under and on and around every. single. display! 
So we decided to take them to get some lunch. 
We had free kids meal's at the Texas Roadhouse so we decided that would be a fun "splurge" without really splurging. 
It was an interesting lunch, because once the food came all three children were suddenly almost too tired to eat.
 Evie did pretty good, but by the time the waitress brought the check, Jake was laying across the chairs with his head in my lap and Lila was laying across Jake.
 We came home and put everyone down for a much needed nap, including Mom and Dad! 
We woke up in time to head over to Kevin and Donna's to watch the BYU/U of U game. 
That's always an interesting evening, because some of my family are cheering for the Y, and others for the U. 
And the rest of us just come for the food and the chance to watch our mild mannered, calm and soft spoken Uncle Brady get all riled up and jump up and yell at the TV. 
Good times. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Not quite an analogy...

Jake was talking to me about the soda geysers that you can do with Coke and Mentos. He wanted to try it with Bottle Caps and Mt. Dew. I told him that I didn't think he'd get the same results. He was a little disappointed that I wouldn't let him try it anyway. As he left the room he said, "I'm like a Mentos." "Oh? How do you figure?" I asked. "I'm a little bit hard on the outside, and all soft and sensitive on the inside..."  Hmmm, I thought he meant he was chewy with a thin candy shell.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Fall Festival

Tonight we went to the PTA carnival at Jake's school. 

The kids loved it. 
They had bounce houses, games, and face painting!

They also had cotton candy, popcorn and snow cones...

And eating a snow cone is something she takes pretty seriously.

So.... anyone notice what's new in that first picture?

Brian got his wheelchair today!
We are so excited. The biggest difference it's made already was how much more patient and pleasant Brian was tonight. Normally an outing like this is so hard and tiring for him, he's pretty stressed after a few minutes. 
Also we are having some people come over tomorrow to see about drawing up blueprints for the house. These changes are starting to happen, and it's really exciting!

P.S. I was blog surfing again today and came across a post entitled How to be a Happy Mom. I'm laughing at myself a little, if I had just waited 24 hours I could have linked to her post and saved myself a couple of hours of writing. It's really worth a read though if you have a minute.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Just my opinion...

I am going to start this post by apologizing if I offend anyone who reads this. Aha, that got your attention, now didn't it? To anyone who knows me past more than an passing acquaintance the fact that I might write something controversial will be pretty shocking. I am a very firm believer in the notion of live and let live. I believe everyone is entitled to have their own opinions, thought and beliefs, and I don't mind in the slightest if they are different then mine. I don't like debate or politics for this reason, I don't like to argue. Especially not for when it is just arguing for arguing's sake. But I have had something on my mind so strongly for awhile now and I can't think of another forum for sharing it with the people I that I want to hear me. So here goes.

I read a lot of blogs. I am a stay at home mother of three, an avid blogger and reader, and I am fascinated by being allowed to see into another person's daily life and thoughts. I think that it is such an interesting form of communication, sometimes as much as by what is not documented as by what is. I also think that it is important to respect the privilege of being allowed to share in another person's life, whether they are a stranger or a close relative. But lately I have noticed a trend, especially in young mothers, that makes me feel so frustrated and sad. So I am writing this for my little sister, who isn't a mother yet, and for all of my relatives, friends, relatives of friends or friends of relatives who might read this, and who are young mothers or who will be one day. 

What I'm reading that is disturbing is guilt. Mother's Guilt. These women (some of whom I know and some who've I never met and most likely never will) are just agonizing over every single decision they make as mothers. I think that some guilt is probably pretty normal. We all have mothering days that we wish we could get a do-over on. I know there are some nights I lay in bed thinking over my parenting choices of that day and wincing a little bit. But this is more than that. It's a almost like a contest to see who can worry the most or feel the most horrible because their child watched more than fifteen minutes of television that day, or ate processed sugar. Even though I know better, I find myself getting sucked in and starting to get anxious that I am failing as a parent because my two year old is chowing down on a breakfast of Captain Crunch while watching a third episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse while I am reading blogs of people who are much better than I in the nutrition and the not melting your child's brain to mush with too much television categories, and yet are beating themselves up over not being better. 

Then I step away from the computer and remember that I am one woman doing the best that I can for the three little people I love more than anything in the world. I remember that being a mother isn't a contest. My parenting performance isn't going to be measured against anything but by the adults that these children will become as they go out into the world. And spending my emotional energy fretting about how I stack up against other mothers is not only harmful to me, but short-changing my children in the long run.

When I look back on my vast experience of eight years of motherhood (yes, that is meant tongue in cheek) the things that I feel the most guilty about all occurred when I lost my temper or gave in to impatience with my children. Like the time I got frustrated with my then three year old son for stepping in the snow when he didn't have his snow boots on. I decided to show him how cold it would be to "play" in the snow with out the proper clothing. So I picked him up and threw him into the middle of the lawn, fully expecting him to pop up from the foot or so of dust like snow yelling in surprise. I hadn't taken into account that it had frozen solid, and my poor little boy bounced hard two or three times on the ice. Like skipping a stone across a pond. We both cried the rest of the way home. See. That's something worth feeling guilty about...

If you find yourself getting sucked into the "I'm a horrible mother" game, step away. Or if you need to vent about the things that you are worried that you are doing wrong as a parent, maybe try to balance it by writing one thing you did right as a parent for every one thing that you didn't. Being a mother is the most difficult job any of us will ever have. Let's try to make it easier for ourselves and each other by focusing more on what we are doing right and not sweating the small stuff so much. Let's set examples for our children by saying sorry when we make mistakes, and then moving on. Let's set examples for each other by doing the same thing, and maybe taking the time to compliment a friend, a relative or a complete stranger on good parenting. Since we're all just making it up as we go along, it's nice to have a good moment recognized. 

If I've offended you I apologize, although you could have stopped reading at any point... just saying. If I've made you think, I'm glad. And if even one of you is thinking about what a great mother you are and how lucky your children are to have you, then my work here is done. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Chicken Soup for the sickies...

This morning Jake asked if we had the ingredients for my homemade chicken and rice soup. It's one of his favorite things that I cook, especially after he's been sick. I had everything on hand and was more than happy to whip up a pot. The poor child hasn't had anything more than a saltine and a few sips of Gatorade in past 36 hours, so I was ready to make almost anything that sounded good to him. 

Plus we love soup around here...

We love it so much that we have dedicated bowls for eating it. And woe betide the parent who tries to eat anything else, like ice cream for instance, out of a bowl that is so clearly marked SOUP!

One of the things that makes this soup a favorite for me is how simple it is: 
Chicken broth of your choice
 (I just boil water and throw in the bullion cubes)
 cooked chicken breasts 
cooked white rice 
toss in a pot and let simmer until the vegetables are soft

But here is the secret ingredient that makes it the best soup ever!

I don't know all the herbs in this blend, but the one that stands out the most is lavender. I know, it sounds weird, but it really works. My mom sent away for some Herbs de Provence after trying it in a recipe at a restaurant a long time ago and she got this huge three pound bag of it. Which, when you consider how small an herb is, was a bit of an overkill. But that was my mom. She just cheerfully pressed a jar of it on all her friends and family, share the wealth. 

I used mine for a couple of years and when I finally ran out I was so sad. My chicken soup did NOT taste the same, even Brian noticed the difference. Finally I stumbled across some at Target and was so happy I did a little dance in the aisle.

The point of that whole narrative was if you'd like to try some you can find it at Target...

Does the fact that I've composed an entire post about chicken soup and Herbs de Provence give away the fact that I haven't left my house in three days and am going a bit stir crazy?

Monday, September 12, 2011


There has been a whole lot of this in our house for the past 24 hours.

Poor Jacob definitely got the worst of the bug. He threw up every 20-30 minutes from 5 pm on Sunday until 5 am on Monday. Well, after the first hour or so there wasn't anything left in his stomach to bring up so he just dry heaved all night. His poor little body is still so exhausted. But he's managed a cracker and a half this afternoon and then slept for several hours, so I have high hopes that the worst has passed. I hope at the very least we will all be able to sleep through the night.

The rest of us were able to rest and recuperate today. Caitlin came down and spent the day helping me so Brian could sleep, since he stayed up all night with Jacob and Lila. We had a Jane Austen movie marathon. It was wonderful! We watched Sense and Sensibility, two versions of Mansfield Park and two versions of Northanger Abbey. I know some people (ahem, Josh) just read that and thought, "What torture!"  But for us girls it was just what the doctor ordered. I love that Caitlin loves watching those types of movies with me. It's always so much more fun when you can share something you love with a friend. Plus I love how she starts cursing oh so gentilly and with a British accent after a couple of hours...

And now just for fun.

I took this a couple of days ago. I told Lila to lay down so I could change her diaper. She was being a stinker and refusing to lay in the right direction... so I diapered her head.

So much for teaching her a lesson.

She thought it was hilarious.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Unplanned Guest Post

Hello family and friends.  This is Brian, and this is my second opportunity to make a guest post for Chrissy.  We've had a weekend of extremes I guess you could say.  Friday night Evie had a stomach bug, so we didn't do much, just kind of stuck around.  Saturday she felt somewhat better, but just stuck around the house for the day with Chrissy and Lila.  Jacob and I had some fun Dad and Son time.  We went out to Salt Lake to check on some accessories for my powerchair, and then we drove up to Ogden to give Caitlin a ride back to Bountiful so she could have a girls night out with Chrissy.  Around Centerville, we realized we were driving alongside an organized motorcycle ride.  It was apparently a huge ride that was a tribute for the fallen firefighters from 9/11.  It was really cool.  There were hundreds and hundreds of riders.  We passed lots of on-lookers taking pictures and waving, and firetrucks and firefighters that were out to show their support.  The route was blocked by police and highway patrol, so we got to cruise through the red lights with all of the bikers.  The coolest part was as we went through South Weber, there were two ladder firetrucks on the overpass with their ladders extended way up holding a big American flag.  It was a cool experience, and it gave me a chance to talk with Jacob about the events of that day that took place over a year and a half before he was even born. 
Saturday evening he and I headed out to Cabellas for some guy time, and had a blast just cruising around the store looking at all the cool stuff.  He impressed all of the sales people he spoke with (which was about every one that came within ear-shot!) one who was nice enough to find him some tokens for the shooting gallery upstairs.  Then while using those tokens, a customer who had extra tokens even gave him some more!  He had a great time and told me more than twice that we need to go out there more often.
As Chrissy mentioned in her brief post last night, she and Caitlin got to go out to see a movie together, so all in all it was a pretty fun Saturday for us all.
That was then, this is now lol.  I went to bed not feeling super great last night, and Chrissy woke up really feeling yucky to say the least.  She's been really sick all day with whatever it was that Evie had Friday night.  Then this afternoon it caught up with Jacob.  The poor kid's miserable.  And then, as things settled down this evening about an hour after the girls went to bed, Lila came out to the living room and made it known she was next in line to be sick.  Then she proved it.
So...that's why you get to listen to my ramblings tonight instead of Chrissy's well formed thoughts!  I apologize, and thanks for putting up with me.  I've texted my supervisor at work and let him know not to expect me and we plan on sticking around here tomorrow and making sure we all are ready for Tuesday when it gets here!  We hope you're all doing well, and I hope Chrissy will be posting again tomorrow!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Girl's Night Out!

I am cashing in my September night off and going to a movie with my sister. And I actually remembered to blog about it before I left instead of after I got back after midnight...

Friday, September 9, 2011

My least favorite part of the school year...

The sharing of germs has begun. Evie has the honors of bringing home the first stomach bug of the season. I was really hoping that she would have a stronger immune system since her brother has been bringing home school germs for years now. But no such luck  I hate it when my kids are sick, it's just so dang much extra work...

Thursday, September 8, 2011

She kills me...

If you've read my blog for more than a week, chances are you can guess which of my daughters this post will be about. My how-does-that-much-attitude-fit-into-one-little-person two and a half year old, Lila. That girl is just a firecracker from the time she gets up in the morning until well after the sun goes down at night. She knows what she wants and doesn't take no for an answer. Unless she's in a contrary mood, then she won't take yes for an answer.

We started off the morning by locking horns over some trifling matter. I think it was which side of the car she was willing to get in on. I got right down into her face and let her know in no uncertain terms that I was in no mood to put up with her stubbornness. I had a rip roaring headache and we were going to be late to get the kids to school. I must have looked particularly fierce because she backed down for once, and was an angel for pretty much the rest of the morning.

In fact she spent most of the morning playing quietly by me while I finished watching Sense and Sensibility, without even whining about not getting to watch Mickey Mouse instead. She was even following the story pretty closely. At one point she climbed up to sit on my lap and watched intently as the heroine cried because she found out that the man she loves is engaged to marry someone else. Lila turned to me and said in a sad, little voice, "Oh, she's lost her Edward."  Then she got after me for laughing when it was clearly an unhappy moment.

We were driving out to Brian's uncle's house tonight, and we passed a man out jogging wearing only a pair of fairly short shorts. Lila yelled out, "Hey! There's a naked guy! That naked guy is running!" We all laughed and laughed, which normally would make her keep on saying the same thing over and over. But she didn't really notice because she was still contemplating why someone would go running around naked. I kept trying to explain that he wasn't actually naked, but gave up when she asked in a tone of disgust, "Who would ever want a naked guy?"

My absolute favorite moment of the night came on the ride home. As we started home she realized that she had lost the hair bow out of her ponytail. She started to cry about it, but quickly calmed down when I showed her that I had the bow stuck in my purse. She asked for it, but we told her no and I would just hold it until we got home. She decided no wasn't the right answer so she kept asking, over and over, until finally Brian had had it and said very sternly, "LILA FAITH! That question has been asked and answered. Several times! So STOP asking!" Without skipping a beat Lila responded with, "First of all, Dad, please I need to get my hair bow back. And the number two thing is, give me my bow!" I was caught so off guard that I laughed, even as I was horrified that she thought she could talk to her dad like that. Brian and I looked at each other and said, "We are in so much trouble." And we are, she just kills us.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

"You are so your Mommy's daughter..."

That's what Brian says when Evie or Lila does or says something that is just like me.

They both love chocolate, bubble baths, and having their backs tickled.

 Just like me.

They both have a tendency to climb on their daddy's lap and demand back rubs.

Brian says I do that, I think "demand" is a bit of an overstatement....

They both sleep diagonally across a bed.

Just like me.

They both kick off all the blankets when they sleep.

Just like me.

Tonight we discovered that Lila really enjoys period dramas.

Yup. She is definitely my daughter.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Some outtakes from yesterday...

I didn't want to dilute the focus of yesterday's post by including the things my kids did that made me chuckle. Plus this way I get two posts from one day.

Lila found our hand mirror in the drawer where we keep all the hair stuff. She brought it out and sat and looked at herself while I was doing her hair. After admiring herself for several minutes she suddenly exclaimed, "Awwww! I am adorable!"
I  laughed so hard I had to start over on her ponytail.

While we were waiting for Jacob and Daddy, who had gone to vacuum out the back of the van so we could put all of Jim and Terrie's bags in, the girls begged to play outside. I thought they wanted to ride their bikes or draw with chalk or something. Nope. Evie decided to read a book to Lila. Why are they sitting on opposite sides of the lawn? I don't know.

But while I was taking this picture I glanced down our street and saw this...

Jake had to drive his dad's scooter home from the car wash at the bottom of our street. They had unloaded it to vacuum the van and Brian decided it would be easier to let Jake drive it home rather than try to load it back in. Obviously Jake now feels like the coolest thing since the ice cube!

Playing outside some more.
 Lila got out the push broom and spent a good twenty minutes sweeping the driveway.  Again, the motivation escapes me, but she thought it was the most fun game ever!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Good-byes at the MTC

Today we drove Brian's parents down to the Missionary Training Center in Provo.  It was a neat experience for our children to spend a little bit more time with their grandparents as they are leaving for their mission. We spent quite a bit of time talking about it with them, explaining why Grandma and Grandpa are leaving and how proud and excited we are for them.

Poor Jake still had a rough time saying good-bye. He cried pretty hard as we drove away, which set the other two off. Soon we had a car full of sobbing children who couldn't even speak two words coherently.

 We finally got them calmed down when we said we would find them something they could use to help them remember Grandma and Grandpa and how important the work they are going to do is.

We found these neat bracelets that say Denmark and have the Danish flag on them. The kids can wear them to school and church and feel connected to their Grandparents. 

We spent most of the day in Provo. We went to lunch and then did a little shopping. Besides the bracelets we found a picture of the Copenhagen Temple, a Proclamation on the Family in Danish, and an 18 month missionary countdown calendar. I am going to use these to create a poster to hang in our house so that the kids, especially Lila, can have something that will give them a more concrete idea of where Grandma and Grandpa have gone and when they will be back. Grandma also left Jake her Danish cd's that she was using to study the language, because he loved to listen to them with her and was picking up quite a few words and phrases. I think the plan is for him to be able to talk in Danish with them when they get back. 

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Speaking of plans...

Today Brian has been doodling.

Well, he calls them doodles.

I call them house plans that he's done using drafting skills and really accurate measurements.

(I guess that's the difference between a real estate professional and a layman... or woman.)

We've been talking and dreaming and brainstorming and having strokes of genius.

I'm starting to get excited.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The best laid plans...

This morning started out with Brian and I sitting down and listing out all the things we'd like to get done today.

In the house:

  • Pick up the girls room and sort through all their clothes
  • Clean up the kitchen 
  • Pick up the front room and vacuum
  • Do some laundry
  • Clean the bathrooms
With the cars:
  • Get the alignment fixed on the van
  • Drive through the car wash
  • Vacuum out the interior (the van needs this desperately)
  • Get Brian and Jake's hair cut
  • Go to Ikea for a wardrobe for Jake's room and some bookshelves for the kids books
  • Go on a date (I probably shouldn't list this under errands, because it wasn't a chore.)
  • Choose to be happy
  • Not react in frustration
I've mentioned before that we have a real problem around here with telling time, or really with understanding what can reasonably be accomplished in a given amount of time.

What we actually got done today was:
  • Picked up the girls room and sorted through their clothes
  • Did the dishes
  • Got the boy's haircuts
  • Went to Ikea and ate lunch (kids ate for free today so that was nice)
  • Bought a new sock basket, some magazine holders, and drinking glasses
  • Had a great date night which included frozen yogurt at Orange Leaf (um, yum!) and finally seeing the 2nd part of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
  • Spent all day being happy and only had a few moments of frustration
I am calling today an unqualified success. Even though we didn't get everything done, we got the most important ones checked off!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Pop culture clash...

I try to time my day so that I do my errands, such as grocery shopping, when the older two are in school. It's just so much easier to only have one child asking for every third thing they see on the shelves. Actually, with Lila it isn't so much that she's asking for things as it is that she is asking about things. She thinks it's hilarious to make me name every single product as we go down the aisle. But if I try to turn it around and ask her what something is, she just shrugs and says, "Don't know."

Today we were in the soda aisle (because in this house Mt. Dew is as much of a staple as bread, milk and eggs) and while I was putting something in the cart, Lila was staring intently at the floor where there was a vinyl advertisement for the start of the upcoming NFL season. She got very excited and yelled, "Look Mom! It's an Angry Bird!"

It's a good thing she didn't say, "Look Mom! It's My Little Pony!" or her dad would be really upset...

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Because a description couldn't do justice to their cuteness...