Friday, November 15, 2013

I'm choosing to call it a "Heavenly Kick In The Pants"...

It's been almost 4 months since my last post.


Why did I stop? 

Honestly, I was bored of myself I think. Bored with documenting the mundane day to day life I lead.

Why start again today?

I found my two of my Mom's journals while I was cleaning at my Dad's. One starts in 1977 when she was a newly wed and stopped shortly after my brother was born. The other starts two weeks after she was diagnosed with cancer in 2005. Both have huge gaps where she'd go months between writing (maybe it's genetic?) but I sat there on the floor devouring her words, seeing her handwriting, and crying because I miss her. 

Some of it is mundane day to day things about her work and her garden. Some of it is painful, about her illness and the medical treatments. Some of it is funny, how Grandma told her she looked like a bald alien when she lost her hair. Some of it is profoundly moving, talking about her faith and her fears of being sick. 

When I finished reading I wished like anything that there was more (and I know this sounds incredibly egocentric) especially more about how she felt and thought about me. About how she thought I was turning out, what she thought of my life choices, what she worried about because of me or for me. I guess we never truly grow out of wanting our mother's attention. :)

I often wonder at how seemingly insignificant choices, like the one to dust off and straighten that particular shelf on this particular day, can have such amazingly profound effects. Did I get a gentle nudge from my mom, when all the "You need to start blogging again" from family and friends wasn't working? I don't know, but I'd like to think so.

I realize after reading her journals that when I'm gone I want my children to have my words to read. I want them to know how I felt/feel about them. I want them to see their struggles and triumphs through my eyes. I see that the mundane day to day stuff can include beautiful lessons, in all the boring bits about her work and the painful parts about the medical stuff there is a thread woven through it about how my dad was always by her side, helping her and being her strength to lean on. That they had the deep kind of love that only comes through years of growing together and serving each other. How grateful I am for their example in my life.

So... message received Mom. Time to do better. Even if I find my life boring now one day this record with be a treasure for my children. 



Tuesday, July 23, 2013

So.... That happened.

"That" being the reason I haven't blogged in over two months. 


Only, I'm not entirely sure what "that" was. 

Only that it happened. 

I had every intention of posting about Brian's 2nd marathon the next day, but we had a minor fender bender accident on our way out of Pocatello and I think it rattled me more that I wanted to admit at the time. I've never been comfortable being the passenger (Serious back seat driver control issues, just ask my husband, or pretty much anyone I've ever ridden in a car with...) and ever since then it's been much worse. So I didn't want to blog about the day, and somehow before I knew it I was completely out of the habit. :(

But Caitlin is sending me not so veiled "you should blog" guilt trips on Facebook... in German, no less. So I guess it's time to saddle back up and try to do better. 

We've had a busy couple of months, including, but not limited to, the end of the school year, a wedding, a funeral, and a birth, out of town family visiting, our summer schedule of swimming, movies, library, picnicking, and crafting, holiday celebrations, and just generally trying not to melt in this crazy long heat wave. And now I've got about eight days to figure out what I'm doing for Evie's birthday. I know it's in eight days, not only because I was there when she was born and remember the date very well, but also because she has been counting down since July 1st, which has been awesome. 

There you have it. The last two months in a nut shell and an update for Caitlin. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Hello from Blackfoot...

We are in Idaho for the weekend because Brian is doing another marathon tomorrow. 

After driving all afternoon we let the kids wear themselves out at a playground, while Brian attended a dinner.


What is it about human nature that makes us want to go up the down slide?




Silly girls...

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A growing moment...

Lately my girls have been going through a phase where they have refused to be downstairs by themselves. It's been very frustrating. That is where all their toys and clothes and belongings are. I don't want my upstairs cluttered with all their stuff, mostly because it makes it very hard for their daddy to get around. 


Today I put my foot down and told Lila to play downstairs. I turned on a movie for her and showed her how to push play. (My children are a case study in how gender determines technological capabilities, Jake at age three could run our entire entertainment system by himself and even reprogrammed the tv into Spanish which meant we had to have my dad come over to fix it since neither of us speak Spanish. My girls, ages four and six, still can't turn on the television by themselves... Go figure.) She did really great for about a half hour, but then came upstairs crying and in a panic because she saw a spider.

If you've read this blog for any length of time you might already know that I also hate spiders. So my first instinct was to rush to her rescue. But then I had a brilliant parenting moment, and I fully credit that I probably had an angel whispering in my ear. I held her hands until she stopped crying, and then I explained how sometimes it's a very good thing for us to face our fears. I told her that she was so much bigger than a spider that she could kill it easily. I told her that she was a brave, strong girl, and that it was important that she learn not to let scary things stop her from doing what she wants to do. 

She took a deep breath, then said, "Okay mommy. I am going to put on my shoes and go downstairs and stomp on that spider and squish him all up! Because I am bigger and braver than him... right?"

"Right! But don't forget a tissue so that you can flush him down the toilet after you squash him."

"Okay. Actually, I'd better get two tissues. One to blow my nose, and one to get the spider."

"Good plan."

She came out of the bathroom with a tissue and as she started through the kitchen I heard her whispering to herself, "You can do this Lila. You are a big, brave, strong girl. You can do this..."

And she DID! One minute later she triumphantly carried the spider into the bathroom and gleefully watched him swirl down the bowl. 

She is a big, brave, strong girl, and I couldn't be prouder of her. I foresee easier days ahead getting her to keep the toys downstairs... now if I could only have another brilliant flash on how to get them to keep it clean!


              Lila Faith- Spider Slayer!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Crying in public...

I know this might come as a shock to many of you, but I cry... a lot. Okay, maybe that's only a shock if you don't know me (or another member of my family) at all. I cry when I am happy, or sad, or hurt, or angry, or laughing (the normal or hysterical kind), pretty much all strong emotions are expressed through tears with me. This can be a strength in that I'm usually quite attuned to my emotions which helps me be a fairly balanced individual. It can also be a weakness when dealing with strangers as most people equate crying with something being wrong.


Tonight's SCI Forum had a breakout session just for the caregivers and was led by a social worker. She started us off by asking what were some challenges we face as caregivers and how we cope with the stress of those challenges. (Stinging behind my eyes, lump building in my throat.) I shared how hard and just physically exhausting it was at times being essentially a single parent and not being able to divide the day to day care of a home and family equally. 

We talked about asking for help. How it can be so hard to ask for help, especially when we are so culturally programmed to give service rather than receive. She asked for a show of hands of who had asked for help, and only two of us out of a group of ten or so raised our hands. I choked up as I talked a little bit about our family on both sides and what amazing support we've received from our ward, our neighborhood, and our community. I feel so much gratitude I can't think about it without tears.

We talked about ways to take care of ourselves as caretakers. She shared the analogy of being on a plane and the oxygen masks drop down. You have to put your own mask on first, and then help others. I was going to tell how my knitting group is a huge part of helping me recharge and renew myself as a caregiver, but the gentleman behind me beat me to the punch by talking about how he kills zombies... (I was worries knitting might seem kind of lame in comparison.) But I want to send a big shout out to my Twisted Stitchers (assuming that's the name we vote in next week), you guys really help keep me sane and I love you!

The social worker had us take a quiz to gauge our stress levels and I was pleasantly surprised. I scored 2 out of 20, which means I am coping very well right now. But then I started thinking about how I would have answered six or twelve months ago, and I got all teary because I'm just so grateful that I can see what huge progress we've made in the last year! 

She ended by giving us a list of resources and caregiver support groups, and urging us strongly to seek out professional counseling if we felt pushed too close to our breaking point. I'm not saying she meant that solely for me, but she was making pretty direct eye contact with a worried expression in my direction.
She also expressed some very kind words on the strength of character it takes to be a caregiver, and that was it for me. Sympathy does me in every time.

I left with a handful of papers, a blister on the inside of my cheek from biting it, and a wicked headache from trying not to cry. I should have just gone ahead and cried, as I'm fairly certain everyone in the group thinks I'm a basket case on the verge of a breakdown anyways...

But I'm really not. 
I promise.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day

I have had a wonderful Mother's Day weekend. I spent Thursday-Saturday at a cabin at Bear Lake with a wonderful group of women enjoying good food, funny movies, and lots of creative fun sewing and knitting! It was a perfect get away.

But not only did I get the gift of time off from my husband and kids, I came home to a clean house and all kinds of progress in the yard thanks to my sweet in-laws! They ripped out a bunch of overgrown areas and bushes and trees, and they also added rocks to the ramp retaining wall and planted flowers. I'm so happy with how it looks and excited to keep trying to get the yard in shape.

Today has been a very nice, restful day. Brian has been so great about still taking charge of the cooking and the dishes and the kids. I really feel loved and refreshed, ready to start a new week of our busy, happy life. :)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

My mother's library...

About a month ago or so my dad did me a huge favor and hired me to be his cleaning lady. It is the perfect job for this strange in between stage of my life where I still have a young child at home for 90% of the time and so I can't really find another job that wouldn't involve paying for some kind of daycare, which would render my working pretty pointless from a financial standpoint. But I can take Lila with me to my dad's, pull out the crayons and turn on Mickey Mouse which will usually buy me a solid hour of cleaning time. A lot of the time Lila helps me too, because for whatever reason the chores she balks at doing at home suddenly become fun at Grandpa's house.

I've been slowly working my way through his house, deep cleaning a room at a time. My dad is actually a fairly neat and tidy individual, but men just don't see dust the way women do I guess.

My latest project has been the library, or as I still call it the living room (because that's what that room was my whole life in that house and apparently my brain can't handle the change). My mom was a voracious reader and collector of books, and there are five 7' tall book shelves in that room crammed to the bursting point. My dad prefers to read on his kindle, which definitely collects less dust than book shelves full of books.

It's taken me two weeks, but I went through each and every book in that room. I organized and arranged the books by genre so it's easier to find what you're looking for. I dusted and polished and cleaned the windows, so there is better light for reading. I hauled out two kitchen garbage bags of trash and random papers and pamphlets that were mixed in with the books. I took twenty grocery sacks of books to the book exchange.

At first I felt a little uneasy, like I was dismantling the library my mother had built up, but as I spent hours sorting books and reading the blurbs on the back of them, I realized that she would be happier knowing her books were finding their way to people who would read and appreciate them, rather than having them sit moldering and collecting dust just because they once happened to be hers. And if there is one thing my mother taught me it was to enjoy reading and sharing the love of the written word with others.

I also found journals she'd written, about her garden and her book club. I found letters and cards others had written to her. It was a sweet moment to see her handwriting and read her thoughts, and to read other people's kind words and memories about her too. I feel like it's been a tender mercy to find these treasures the week before Mother's Day.

I think that the library is back on it's way to being what I'm pretty sure my mother envisioned it being, a relaxing place that invites you to browse through the shelves and curl up on the sofa with a good book for an hour or three. It's my favorite place at my dad's house, I like to sit quietly and visit with someone or read to one of my children when we are over visiting.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Bad, bad blogger...

I realized today that it has been a week since my last post. I feel this lapse can best be summed up by the statement, "My life got away from me."

I want to post about the awesome baby shower we threw for Caitlin, but I am waiting until someone sends me pictures. Because I was so busy with food and decor and a million little details I completely spaced grabbing my camera! (I know, I refer you back to the title...) It was a wonderful party and we were so grateful for all the people who not only came but did so in some seriously fabulous hats!

I am proud of the fact that despite working my fanny off on about three hours of sleep for two days in a row I only resorted to a single caffeinated beverage to push through. (I'm calling it a medicinal Dr. Pepper and therefore it doesn't count against me in my quest to not drink soda pop.)

I am proud of the fact the Tiffany and her children managed an entire visit to my house without needing to visit an emergency room.

But I don't want to post about how several people in my house apparently contracted dysentery the day after the shower.

I do want to post that I have a simply wonderful visiting teacher. After I ranted a bit about my stressful morning on Facebook (I'm assuming that's how she knew) she popped by with a plate of cookies and a quick hello. Talk about sweetening my day. The cookies had sprinkles! And I don't know about you, but I just smile anytime I eat something with sprinkles on it. Thank you Hailey! :)

That pretty much catches you up on my weekend, and I'm going to try not to fall so far behind again.


Monday, April 29, 2013

1st grade program

We got to go see Evie in a school program today. It was a vast improvement over past years, she didn't cry or look terrified even once.

In fact, I thought you could tell that she comes from a long line of performers, she obviously understands the importance of enunciating...

Friday, April 26, 2013

A conversation between two mothers...

Hi!

Hey! How's it going?

Pretty good? How about you?

Be quiet! I'm on the phone! Oh.. Not too bad.

So I'm almost done with my sewing project. Well, get a drink of water then. You know where we keep the cups!

Oh yeah? If you don't leave your brother alone I'm going to come over there and stick that toy in your ear and see how you like it! How's it turning out?

You had an accident? Again?! Go get into the bathtub and strip down! Pretty good, but I'm not sure I'm going to have enough fabric for the trim... No! In the bathtub! Not the living room!

Oh dear, I hate it when I run out if fabric! Stop poking me!

What?! You threw up where? Go get in the bathtub too!

If you guys come in this room again someone had better be bleeding or on fire!

(Both moms simultaneously)
Hey- can I call you back later? After the kids are in bed...


Just for the record we can go hours around here floating along all calm and quiet, but the second someone calls me chaos is sure to erupt. But I keep answering because it's so nice to talk to another grown-up...

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Choose your words wisely...

Jake brought home two balloons from Scouts. One was already blown up. Lila spied the flat balloon and was immediately begging to have a turn blowing up a balloon.

When no one was looking she grabbed it and started trying to blow it up. Jake didn't care, but it made Brian upset. (More for OCD reasons than that she took her brother's balloon.) "Lila! Don't put that in your mouth!"

Her lip pouted out and her eyes filled with tears, "But Daddy... I just wanted a turn blowing up a balloon."

"It's okay, honey. You can blow up the balloon... Just don't... Never mind."

I started to laugh, "You were just about to say, 'You can blow up the balloon, just don't put it in your mouth!' weren't you?"

He frowned at me and said, "No! I just didn't want her to put the whole balloon in her mouth!"

Um, yeah. She's four years old, not four months... you aren't fooling anyone, sweetie. :)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Mushy brains...

No, we didn't have to look at more anatomy specimens this week (Thank Heavens!), but after three hours on stem cell research, clinical trials, understanding medical research and how to find it on the Internet.... my brain has turned to mush!

Otherwise today has been a pretty nice day. Lila and I got along like gangbusters! Jake has been rocking at school for the past week and a half, no missing work, and things turned in on time. I'm so proud of him and I can already tell a difference in his stress levels. And Evie... she is still the sweetest, loving-est, quietest kid I know. Actually that's not entirely true. It's not that she doesn't talk, it's more like she stores them up for days at a time and then has to use them all within an hour!

Totally non-sequitur and disjointed writing tonight. I told you I had a mushy brain...

Monday, April 22, 2013

What sisters are for...

Tonight while the girls were eating and I was puttering around the kitchen, they were chattering about everything and nothing. Suddenly Evie changed the subject.

"Hey Mom? Remember when I bumped heads with that boy from my class and I had a bleeding nose and a cut under my lip that wouldn't stop bleeding?"

"Yes I do."

"Yeah.... that was was the worst day of my life!"

Lila then chimed in, "No, that was MY worst day of your life!"



Sunday, April 21, 2013

A perfect Sunday...

Today we got to go to Brian's parent's ward and hear them report on their mission. It was a great meeting for me, in no small part because I sat two row behind everyone else with Brian in the wheelchair spot, and the rest of our family kept our kids up with them. I got to sit quietly and hear every word! It was heavenly...

Afterwards we spent several hours eating and visiting with family and friends. The kids had a blast playing with their cousins, and all in all it was just a wonderful day. The kind that refreshes you and gets you ready to start the week anew.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Some angels deliver sandwiches for Jimmy Johns...

Well he did it! Brian rode 26.2 miles and finished his first marathon in 2:34:20!

It was a crazy experience for all of us. The kids and I arrived at the finish line shortly after 7 am, and then we waited... and waited... and waited. It started raining shortly after we arrived and didn't stop the entire time we were there. We were bundled up pretty well, but even with umbrellas we were quickly damp, then wet, then soaked. The kids had each grabbed a piece of bread as we walked out the door, so after two hours of standing around watching bikers and runners I had three shivering, starving, exhausted, miserable kids on my hands and nothing to give them. Just as Lila was about to completely melt down completely, Jimmy John's workers were moving through the crowds handing out little sandwiches. I could have kissed that man as he gave my kids something to eat!

The biggest bummer of the day was that the way they had the barricades set up and draped with the marathon banners we couldn't even see the hand-cycles as try crosses the finish line. After more then three hours of straining to see around the crowds and umbrellas we did't even see Brian riding at all! I don't know how I missed him, but suddenly my phone was ringing and he was calling me to say he was done and waiting at the bike trailer. So I didn't even get a single picture of him at the race, fortunately on of his team mates got a great picture of him at the starting line and said he would email to us tomorrow.

It was so cold that when I found Brian there was a nurse with the Trails program talking to a doctor and talking about taking him to the hospital! He was shivering and shaking so badly, and he couldn't seem to catch his breath. That was pretty scary! But while we walked back to get our car, they got him into another car and cranked up the heat, they also got him out of his wet shirt and wrapped up in one of those emergency tinfoil blanket things. So by the time I drove back to them he was feeling much better. (We found out later that another hand-cyclist on his team did get taken to the hospital to be treated for hypothermia! It was wicked cold!)

I am so proud of Brian. Like he said to one of the nursing students that was helping after the race, "Considering that the first time I sat my butt in one of those bikes was three weeks ago, I think the fact that I finished the race is pretty impressive." I couldn't agree more!

I'm also proud of my kids. They were such troopers through what can only be termed an absolutely miserable experience. Even though there was a point when we were all in tears, there was no tantrums or whining. In fact Lila took me by surprise as we were walking back to the car, cold and wet, she was sobbing, huge tears rolling down her cheeks. I leaned down to give her a hug and try to comfort her, but before I could even say anything she looked up with her big, brown eyes and said, "Just think of all the adventures we have had today Mom."

Yep, I have a pretty amazing family. No doubt about it.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Early to bed...

I just have to say it. If you had told me a month ago that my husband was going to give up drinking Mt. Dew and do a marathon, I would have said you were bat-crap crazy... once I was able to stop laughing, that is.

But here we are, going to bed at 9:30 on a Friday night, because tomorrow he is doing a marathon. It's a little surreal, but we are all so excited and proud of him. It's going to be awesome seeing him cross that finish line tomorrow!

P.S. I am even more impressed with him because he either has a broken or deeply bruised rib, and he hasn't let that slow him down or stop him from achieving this goal. Man, exercise does release those feel good endorphins!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Blocked....

I have been trying to start a sock for two days now. Actually I have started about four different socks over the past two days. But none of my color/pattern combinations have worked. So for two days of work I have four rounds of knitting to show for it... and if this one doesn't work I'm shoving all the sock yarn back into the stash and casting on another baby hat.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Yesterday and today...

I didn't post yesterday because I was too sad and too overwhelmed by another horrible event playing out in the media. The Boston Marathon bombing. I sat all afternoon watching the news and alternately crying and praying for all those people who had their lives irrevocably changed in an instant by senseless violence.

It just seemed small and meaningless to post a cutesy story about how Jake brought home a stick that he found at recess to be his "stick to shake at the crayons... because, Mom, you're always saying we have more crayons then you could shake a stick at."

But then I started seeing post after post, and story after story about people rushing to the rescue. Acts of kindness and sacrifice and heroism, and I read a quote (that I can't find who to attribute it to now) that I know will always stick with me, "The good outnumber you, and we will always will."

So maybe it's not meaningless, to share the light and love and humor in my life. It's something I want for my children, to be able to face the world in all it's ugliness, and still find beauty and hope. Because the good outnumbers the bad, and it always will.

Now on to today.

Today I saw brains.

Real, actual brains that used to be inside of a human....

I am not a person for whom the medical field holds any fascination. I am incredibly grateful that there are people who are so inclined and become doctors and nurses, because I can barely handle the blood and vomit that is part of a Mom's job. But biology... not so much. I just about flunked out of my high school biology class because when you dissect a frog, his insides are not color coded. So it pretty much all looked like grey mushy stuff to me, I couldn't tell a heart from a kidney. I'm not even 100% my frog was a he, but I figured that at least I had a 50/50 shot at getting that one right.

But I digress...

Brian and I went to the Spinal Cord Injury Forum tonight. It is a six week lecture series put on by the U of U, and they cover all sorts of topics about spinal cord injuries, treatments, therapies, advancements in assistive technologies, and you get dinner. (Which I might not have eaten if I'd known we were going to be looking at brains later on...)

There was an hour long lecture, which this week was an overview of all the topics they'll be covering. Then we break off into smaller groups and get more specific information on a topic. Tonight's were anatomy (you know... the brains... Actually it was a whole brain, a brain cut in half, and a spinal cord... which is very cord-y), spinal fracture, and pressure ulcers, which had a ton of pictures I'd really rather not have seen... but also lots of good information. I'm pretty sure the doctors all thought I was at least half a nut job since I watched most of their presentations peeking between my fingers. I was mostly just grateful that I didn't pass out or throw up on anybody. Especially when the anatomy doctor started cutting into the spinal cord to show us different things.

I am glad we went and I plan on attending the whole six weeks with Brian. I am sincerely hoping that they got all the gore out of the way tonight though...

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Wish us luck....

Brian and I are definite night owls. If we get to bed before midnight there is an excellent chance that one of us is sick. But with this new found (re-found?) passion for cycling, Brian has to get up early so that he can get off work early enough to still have daylight to go riding. Plus the for the marathon next week he has to get up at 4 a.m.! So just like he is training his muscles to have strength and endurance, he now must train his body to sleep and get up earlier. This week we have a goal to be in bed by 10:30 at the latest. I for one am very interested to see how he reacts when I tell him it's time for bed, he may burst into tears just like our girls do...

Friday, April 12, 2013

What I want to remember...

Today I was a really good parent.

Jake and I worked together to find a solution to a problem he's having at school.

I didn't raise my voice once.

I think we both get gold stars.

Today I was a fun mom.

I ignored the piles of laundry and played video games with my kids instead.

And in that moment that was the most important thing I could have been doing.

Today I was mom who said yes.

Yes to ice cream at the grocery store.

I had my heart melt a little as I watched my kids feeding each other tastes of their ice cream and trying to decide who had picked the best flavor.

(It was a three way tie, as each person voted for their own choice....)

Today I was a patient mom.

I drove across town so my kids could enter their drawings into a contest.

I then waited in the car while Jake finished coloring his.

Today I was an awesome mom.

I am posting this mostly for my own benefit, and for my children's, so that we can all look back and remember that even though I am not a perfect mom I am trying really hard.

And somedays I am better at it than others.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Aka...

Affectionately Known As Toothless.

Miss Evie has now lost a grand total of four teeth. She is keeping us all laughing by telling us that "It'th hard to with-el" and "Now everybody ith going to thing 'All I want for Chrith-meth' at me!"



Caite's shadow...

Anyone who knew my sister when she was a little girl knows that Lila is practically a carbon copy of her. Same nose, same smile, same chocolate brown eyes... if I didn't know better I'd swear that she was Caitlin's child instead of mine. Lila also adores her Aunt Caite and the highlight of her week usually involves days when Caite comes down to spend time with us. The second she walks in the door she is bombarded with a four year old's stream-of-consciousness conversation which usually ends with "Hey Caite, can I play on your Kindle?"

Yesterday we were at my dad's and Caitlin went upstairs, followed by her little shadow chattering non-stop behind her. A few minutes later they came back down and I just had to laugh. Caite has reached the stage of pregnancy where she walks with one hand on her back and one hand supporting her belly. She was followed by Lila, who was arching her back and sticking her belly out as far as it would go, and she also had one hand on her back and one hand on her belly. They came into the library where I was still giggling helplessly, and Lila looked at me crossly and said, "Hey! Our backs hurt!"

Today Caitlin was over to our house and while we were talking she lifted her shirt slightly as she scratched her belly. Lila was playing on the floor by us and saw Caite do this. She made us both jump by yelling, "AHA! That baby is NOT just tucked under your shirt!"

Caite looked wistful and said, "Nope, I can't just take her out at night.... Wouldn't it be cool if you could though?" Soon Caite-did, very soon. And then, believe it or not, there will come a time when you wish you could put them back inside you where they were a little less demanding. ;)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Dinner conversation with Lila...

Me: Hey Lila, would you like a piece of bread?

Lila: Oh, no thank you.

Me: Are you sure? See, it's just a little piece.

Lila: I wouldn't care for it tonight... but I appreciate the offer.

This girl gets more and more like Jake every day. Heaven help me... :)

Monday, April 8, 2013

Daddy's girls...

It's times like these that make me smile and say to Brian, "It's too bad our girls don't love you more."

It melts my heart that this is the the place they feel safest in the world, wrapped in their Daddy's arms.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Misunderstandings....

Lila had a bit of a stomach bug today, which meant we had to be a little flexible in our plans. We were supposed to go to my dad's for lunch between sessions of Conference, so Brian and Jake stayed home to take care of Lila, and Evie and I went to lunch. I think Evie enjoyed having all the grown-ups attention all to herself.

When we got back Brian told me how he was doing the dishes and Lila came in asking for toast. Brian said, "Okay honey, I'll put a couple of pieces in the toaster in a few..."

Lila very worriedly said, "Dad! If you put three pieces of bread in our toaster it will explode!"

Brian repeated himself and reassured her he would only use two pieces of bread. She sighed and said, "Oh fewf- I misunderheard you!"

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Too busy having fun...

Today was a very nice day. Conference, bridal shower, and Dinee and Tay came over for our first barbecue of the season. Yes, a very nice day.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

A new twist on an old conversation...

First of all, sorry for missing a post last night. I was in a very not-happy place, so I decided that not venting my displeasure all over the interwebs was the better part of valor. And as usual, with a new day comes a better perspective and better frame of mind.

So now on to today's humorous anecdote...

At our house if you are downstairs you CANNOT hear someone upstairs yelling. Something about where the stairs are dampens the sound I think. However even someone tiptoeing across the floor upstairs sounds like a herd of elephants. This situation has made me develop a new way of communicating with my children when they are downstairs. I stomp on the floor. Two gentle stomps means "come here please" and three or more, ahem, forceful stomps means "(insert full name of child here) get your butt upstairs pronto!". I've got them so well trained that if I drop something by accident they all come running, usually in a panic because they think they're in trouble.

I was just putting the finishing touches on lunch and since Jake was standing in the kitchen watching me, I asked him to go tell the girls that lunch was ready. He stomped twice. Like every mother since the beginning of time I turned to him in exasperation and said, "I could have done that!"

He smiled sweetly at me and said, "I know you could have, but apparently you didn't want to."

I couldn't argue with his logic, so I gave up and laid my head on the counter until I could stop laughing.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A necessary life skill...

I truly believe that a prerequisite to happiness is the ability to enjoy your own company without distractions, also the ability to find entertainment without relying on another person. That being said, trying to teach that concept to three small people who expect me to feed, clean and clothe them, as well as providing entertainment, was a hard task today. Until I fell back on the time honored tradition of, "If you tell me you're bored one more time I will start giving you chores!" It works as well as it did on me and my siblings. Nothing stimulates the imagination like the threat of manual labor...

Monday, April 1, 2013

Allergies

The girls and I went up hang out with Caitlin at her house today. Jake went to play with his cousin because Caite has a cat and Jake is allergic. We had planned to spend the whole day up there, but after about an hour Lila was sneezing, wheezing, and her eyes were swollen up and covered with hives. Yikes! Apparently she is also allergic to cats. Poor Caite felt so bad, although there was no way we could have predicted this outbreak. She's never had a reaction like this before. We spent the afternoon window shopping at fabric stores instead, and then came down to our house for dinner. I guess it's going to be a trip to the doctors for us soon to figure out exactly what she's allergic to and what we can do to treat them. I don't want Lila to be unable to visit Caite ever again because she has a pet.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter lessons...

Staying up way too late to finish Easter dresses is rather pointless, since it's more than likely that you will sleep right through church.

I didn't finish the dresses... there comes a point when you are so tired that you start making stupid mistakes. But they will be adorable when I get them done.

I also didn't finish the other project I was hoping to tuck into their baskets. It didn't affect my children's enjoyment of the holiday.

In fact as I listened to them excitedly chattering to each other about every dollar store treat and toy, I was reminded yet again that kids just don't need very much to be happy.

Relaxing family dinners and visiting afterwards while the children play outside is one of my favorite ways to spend Sundays.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Spring Break!

I am really looking forward to the next week and a half. We have Easter, the kids have the whole week off of school for spring break, and next weekend is Conference. We aren't going anywhere or doing anything special, and I think that is what I am most looking forward to. Nine days of no plans, relaxation, and spending time with family. The weather is finally warming up, which means picnics and parks and bike riding, and just getting outside after a long, snowy winter.

Welcome Spring!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Marathon Man

Ever since he's been in his wheelchair, Brian has been talking about getting into hand-cycling. Biking was a big part of his life and one of his favorite hobbies before his accident, and being able to get that back in his life would be a huge emotional boost for him.

He found out that there was a program through the U of U, called Trails, that is designed to help people with disabilities be able to participate in recreational activities like biking and skiing by allowing them access to the specialized equipment that they need but can't always afford. Tonight he went to his first hand-cycling practice at Liberty Park. He was so excited to go that he even got up early to go to work so he could be on time this afternoon! The only things that he would get up early for since I've known him were fishing and golf (both of which he's had to give up) so I knew that this was important to him.

What I didn't realize was just how much! When he got home tonight the first words out of his mouth were, "Guess what? I'm going to ride in the Salt Lake Marathon next month! And guess what else? I'm going to ride in the St. George Marathon this fall!" I just stood there with my mouth hanging open while my brain tried to assimilate and accept this information. "Uhhh...that's great, honey. You're serious?"

Not only is he serious, he is as giddy as a school boy on Christmas morning. He wants me and the kids to come riding with him next week.... so.... apparently we are all going to be bike riders now. (All I could think was I'm going to have to ask Myra where to get Hoo-Ha Cream.)

Don't get me wrong, I am delighted that he is going to be able to do something he loves so much again. I love seeing how excited he is and how he wants us to be a part of it with him. But it's such a 180 degree turn from couch potatoes to marathon-ing that I feel a bit dizzy.

Okay, deep breaths, then we're off on this next adventure. But first we have to figure out where to buy a helmet that will fit his giant head...

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

They're back!

Tonight was an exciting night for us, Brian's parents returned home from serving an 18 month mission in Denmark!

The kids have been beside themselves all day, talking about how much they've missed Grandma and Grandpa, how many flights they had to take, and how they couldn't wait to go to the airport and pick them up.

They even made a welcome home banner. We were waiting by the hired drivers who were also holding signs, and one of them started talking to the kids and telling them that their sign was much cuter than hers.

Then the moment came. We spied them walking towards us and Lila yelled, "Grandma!" and ran as fast as she could with her arms flung wide for a hug. Jake sprinted for Grandpa, and Evie was left holding the banner and a slightly confused look on her face. But she quickly got in the spirit of things and took the banner over to show them.

By the time we got them and their mountain of luggage home and settled, the grown-ups were exhausted and the children (at least mine) were bouncing off the walls, and it was after 10 pm. One more round of hugs and "It's good to have you home" and we left them to get some sleep and get the kids in bed.

Lila was so sad as we pulled out of the driveway, "I'm really going to miss them!" We tried to reassure her that they are home for good and we can see them tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that too. But I think it's going to take a little time for her to believe that they are home to stay!



Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Giving up the hard stuff...

Yesterday Brian made a big announcement. He's giving up the Dew, cold turkey. If you don't understand why that's such a big thing I can only explain it by telling you that in the past, to him, running out of toilet paper was less of an emergency.

I have tried many, many times over the past twelve years to get him to stop drinking it, or at least cut back. I talked to him about how bad that much sugar and caffeine was for him, I worried about his health. He would just shrug and say that he didn't think it had that big an effect on him. But now (like most decisions the male of the species make) it's his idea and so it's a good one.

But really, no matter who's idea it is/was, it IS a good one. I immediately jumped on that band wagon with him. We are now both giving up carbonation as a step to working on bettering our health. So raise your glass (of water), and here's to feeling and looking better soon! :)

Monday, March 25, 2013

Blah Monday

Nothing spectacular to report today. It was just your average Monday. We did figure out that a much better system for getting everyone out the door on time in the mornings is for the kids to wake Mom up instead of Dad. I don't know why he can't make breakfast, pack lunches, do Evie's hair, and make sure everyone has shoes, socks and their backpacks before they leave, all at the same time. But he can't, he is just not a multi-tasker...

The most significant thing that happened today is I officially lost my mind. I was in the middle of a phone call at 2:30, and I rushed Lila into the car and quickly drove to pick the kids up from school worried that I had left ten minutes later than usual! Fifteen minutes passed before I realized there were no other parents parked along with me, and no children coming out of the school, because they don't get out until 3:30! Unless it's early out in which case it's 1:30... either way I was an hour off. I don't know. I guess I am just going quietly crazy.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Those pesky circadian rhythms...

My kids have been in bed for the past half hour. My husband has been in bed for the past four and a half hours. He went to lay down for an hour, but there's been no waking him up. Not that I've tried super hard to be honest, the last few days he's fallen asleep as soon as he sits down. He even slept through the big car chase scene at the end of The Italian Job last night! I figure he might be pouty about it tomorrow morning when he wakes up, but obviously he needed the sleep. Now to get my own butt to bed early so that we'll all be back on better sleep schedules this week.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

It was our lucky day...

We have had a very nice, quiet Saturday. We tidied up a little bit, watched movies as a family, and I made good progress on Jake's vest. I was going to make some cookies but we were out of butter and flour, so we loaded up for a quick run to the store.

It turns out that the store was having a customer appreciation celebration. They had a game set up where you got a ticket, and if they called your number you got to spin the wheel of prizes. Well we had a number called and we won.....

Wait for it....

A bottle of hand soap!

Brian was thrilled. Jake was bummed, he was hoping for the cookies or the bacon.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Dinner Table Conversation

Brian: Man, the roads were awful on the drive to work this morning.

Me: How come?

Brian: It was snowing quite hard and it was that awful heavy, slushy snow.

Lila: Slushee? I want a Slushee!

Evie: Oh yeah! It was snowing lots this morning. First recess was hell.

Jake snorts chocolate milk out his nose.

Brian: Excuse me?! It was what?

Evie: It was hell... you know, because it was hell-ing.

We might not always be appropriate, but at least we are never boring.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Long emotional day...

Tomorrow is the end of the term. Today I found out while volunteering in Jake's class that he had 30+ missing assignments. ?!

I knew he was a little behind from being sick a couple of weeks ago, and I knew he was stressing out about it, but I had no idea that it had gotten this bad. And apparently he hadn't told me because he was embarrassed and worried that I would be mad at him. I wasn't upset as much as sad that he had created such a problem for himself and was so stressed out.

I (unfortunately) can completely relate to the overwhelming feelings of stress that happens when you procrastinate until something hits crisis point. In fact I remember doing precisely the same thing when I was his age, I missed a week of school with pneumonia and it took me months to get my work caught back up.

I don't know if it was because I could remember how I felt back then or if I'm just a tad hormonal right now, but there I was sitting on the floor under my son's desk trying to help him sort out his papers (another contributing factor to his problem) and talking to him about getting organized and being responsible for his school work. His big blue eyes filled up with tears and as I reached up to wipe his cheek I started to cry, because I had made him cry! And then he saw that he had made me cry, so he started to cry harder... we were a mess!

The good news is that even though it took all afternoon and evening he was able to get organized and finished with his work. We have a plan in place to keep him from getting this far behind ever again, and I got to go to my knitting group and laughed until I cried, which is always cathartic.

I am also really looking forward to Spring Break... the fourth grade is rough.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Random Wednesday

First off- thanks for letting me vent yesterday, and especially thanks to those who reached out to let me know that I'm not alone in being the big bad ogre parents. It's good to be reminded that we aren't the only ones who struggle with certain things, it makes me feel not alone.

Today was pretty basic, but at dinner tonight Lila said it had been a lovely day.

We had Scouts tonight, and every week I feel like we are getting a little better handle on how to make this calling work. Plus I finally remembered to sew the patches onto Brian's uniform, so he was happy about that.

We got an email from Brian's parents with their return itinerary! They come home next Wednesday, one week! We are all pretty excited. :)

I'm finally feeling healthy again, which is allowing me to get a back in control of the house. I think I might have a case of Spring Fever though... I actually have been thinking about trying to plant something in my yard this year. It's so unprecedented I decided I'd better go lay down and see if the feeling passed.

I'm also really looking forward to the kids having a week off for Spring Break. I mentioned that to Jake tonight and he said, "Oh boy! So we can do whatever we want?"

"Uh, no. You can do whatever I want."

I'm thinking I might wait until then to finish deep cleaning the basement...

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Venting post- feel free to skip...

I have people tell/ask us all the time, "You've got such a great attitude. With all you've faced, how do you stay so positive all the time?"

Here's the truth. We don't. Not even close. Some days we bump up into a new aspect of living with a disability and it just plain sucks. Sometimes we laugh it off, sometimes we cry and grieve, and sometimes we (mostly me) get mad.

Tonight is a perfect example. I have been fighting my children on the subject of how they are taking care of their spaces and belongings downstairs for a solid month now. Today they came home from school, had a snack and then were sent down to tidy up. Three hours later it looked like a bomb had gone off and I pretty much lost it. I pulled out the garbage bags and prepared to strip their world down to two or three toys each.

Brian, being the good balance that he is for me, talked me down and helped me come up with a plan to let the kids be in charge of deciding what is important to them and understanding that we only have so much space and that it's time to pare down what we are trying to fit in it. (The irony is that this is the same man who can't throw away receipts or owners manuals to products we don't even own anymore!)

But after an hour of doing things his way I was breaking down over the fact that I still have to be the enforcer. I'm the big bad ogre downstairs gathering up the toys and clothing that isn't taken care of. I'm the mean one keeping them on task. I'm the one who ultimately has to deal with the stuff when they won't. And right now I'm the one who is ignored, or argued with, or whined at every single time I open my mouth.

So tonight I am mad that his wheelchair makes me be a single parent when it comes to the downstairs. I am tired of fighting this battle with my children. I am sad because I feel like they don't respect me or listen when I talk. And I am furious that I have to kill spiders.

I am also glad that I have a strong enough relationship with my husband that I can express when I'm feeling mad or bad or sad. I am grateful for the fact that he does help balance me out when I'm struggling to deal with all of this. Most of all I am hopeful that tomorrow will be better, that we will find new and better ways to deal with the challenges that come along.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Ugh...

I'm bummed that I forgot to post yesterday. Well, it's less that I forgot as much as it was all I could do by the time I got home to drag myself into bed. Where I've stayed sleeping off and (mostly) on for the last eighteen hours. And I can hardly keep my eyes open to type this... I'm off to bed where hopefully my body will finish fighting off whatever this is sooner rather than later. I don't have time to be sick right now!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Too busy having fun...

We had a great day window shopping, lunching at a fun little sandwich shop, knitting, and relaxing.

I'll be glad to see family again tomorrow... absence makes the heart grow fonder. :)

Friday, March 15, 2013

Birthday Weekend Extravaganza!

Because Caitlin's, Tiffany's and my birthdays are all within a month of each other, we've started a tradition of getting together for a girl's weekend. For the past two years Tiffany has come down to my house, but circumstances didn't allow for that this year. So Caitlin and I hatched a grand plan to surprise her by showing up and kidnapping her for the weekend!

She was in her backyard playing with her kids when we burst through the back gate wearing party hats and blowing noise makers and yelling, "Surprise!!!" And she was. :)

We settled in a hotel room for the weekend, and the plan is "There is No Plan!" So far today we opened presents, played a card game, swam in the pool (Caitlin liked floating on her belly), soaked in the hot tub, ate pizza for dinner and listened to Caitlin read aloud from a funny book.

The best part of this tradition is just getting to have a little break from all the every day mommy duties and get to relax without being on anyone else's schedule.

Happy Birthday to us!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The first rule of parenting...

Don't make hollow promises/threats.

This is one that I feel like I consistently have to work on. More the threats than the promises. My love of hyperbole gets me in trouble when trying to parent three very literal minded children.

Today was crazy hectic and then I locked myself out of the house as I was leaving to go pick up the kids from school. Again. Dang genes!

Everything worked out okay but by the time I got everyone herded back inside we were all tired, hungry and dirty from exploring in the springtime mud and the girls learning to ride the new bikes they got for Christmas. Baths, after school chores, homework and making dinner were all crammed into a horrible half hour, and by the time Brian got home I was pretty frazzled.

As I took dinner out of the oven a fly that got in the house earlier buzzed through the kitchen. You need to understand that I was already very aware that the fly was in the house, as all three of my children had either pointed it out to me or screamed in terror multiple times by this point. Lila started to whimper and Evie and Jake both yelled, "There it is! There is the fly! There is a fly in the house!"

I lost it. I yelled over all of them and shouted, "The next person who tells me there is a fly in this house, I'm going to make them eat it!"

Brian laughed, the girls covered their mouths with their hands, and Jake looked thoughtful, "You know... lots of cultures eat bugs. I'm pretty sure they are pure protein..."

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Mother guilt...

Today was weird. I have felt tired to the point of exhaustion for a couple of days now. And this morning, even after a full night's sleep, I could hardly keep my eyes open. After fighting it for about thirty minutes I gave up, switched on the Disney channel for Lila, and laid down on the couch. I woke up three hours later, feeling much better but horribly guilty for letting the tv babysit my child all morning.

Why do we do that? Obviously my body needed the rest, Lila was thrilled to get an entire morning of Mickey Mouse, Doc McStuffins, and Octonauts, and I was in the room with her so she could wake me up if she needed something. But I still felt like the world's worst mother. Ever.

Oh well, everyone is still alive. Somedays that just has to be good enough...

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Even smart knitters make dumb mistakes...

Or: Why you should knit a gauge swatch...

A few days ago I clued into the fact that Easter falls on the last Sunday of March this year. Being a sewer and knitter I love the tradition of making my kids new Sunday outfits. I don't always make them, or sometimes I only make part of them, but this year frugality dictates that if I want to keep this tradition I not only need to make them I have to use only what I already have on hand. (Fortunately I have a LOT of stuff on hand...)

Jake and I dug around in my yarn stash and came up with enough yarn in a comfortable nylon/acrylic blend to make him a sweater vest light enough to wear in the warmer spring weather. The down side is I don't have a pattern, so I'm just kind of winging it. Doing the math, adapting one I like to accommodate the lighter weight yarn.

Things were going along swimmingly, I was loving the stripes I'd worked out, and I had over 6" knit up when I held it up to him and realized it looked a trifle snug. I measured him and the vest, counted my stitches, and realized it was about 2" smaller around then I needed it to be.

This is where you find out what kind of knitter you are. I started out pulling and tugging, mumbling, "I can block that out," under my breath. But the more I looked at it I realized I don't want to go to all this work for something he'll wear once and then he'll out grow it!

So back to the beginning we go. I'm frogging it and starting over, because I'm stubborn that way. I'm also really glad that I'd already decided just to sew the girls dresses this year.



Monday, March 11, 2013

Baby stuff...

Today Lila and I got to go to Caite's doctor appointment with her. Lila is fascinated by all things doctor related and is quite sure she wants to be a doctor when she grows up... as long as there is no blood involved because blood is "icky". I foresee a problem there.

Back to today, we got to see the baby via ultrasound and listen to her heartbeat. Lila's eyes lit up as she made the connection that that was her new cousin that she was seeing and hearing. It was so sweet to see her excitement.

It was also fun to watch her process the idea that the baby is actually inside of Aunt Caite, and not just stuffed up under her shirt. This of course led to a bit of a discussion about how the baby would get "outside" of Caite. She wasn't asking for specifics as much as wondering about the time that she was a baby in my tummy.

"Hey Mom? Did it hurt to get me out of your tummy when I was a baby?"

"No. I had drugs, so I didn't feel any pain."

"Well... I felt pain!"

"I don't think you can really remember being born."

"Yes I do! And it was a LOT of work for me!"

"For you?!"

"Yeah. Being born is hard work, Mom..."

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sunday drivers...

We went for a Sunday drive today, and since I'm not a big fan of driving without a destination in mind we went to my Aunt Kristen and Uncle Brady's. We had a nice time visiting, seeing their beautiful new house, and the kids were in seventh heaven getting to play and explore with Lizzy. Visiting family is one of my favorite things to do on Sunday, especially in the summertime when I don't have to worry so much about bedtimes and school in the morning. :)

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Meals on Heels

After three days of being cooped up with sick kids we were all going a bit stir-crazy. The sun was shining and the kids were begging to go play at a park, but I wasn't about to let them run around in the cold and wind when they are just about healthy again. We decided to go to McD's, have lunch from the dollar menu and let them play in the indoor play land to run off some steam.

As Brian and I were sitting there watching our kids another little boy, maybe 4 or 5, plopped himself down in front of us, took off his sock, put his foot in his mouth and started chewing on his toenails! We looked at each other and then tried not to either gag or start laughing hysterically as we didn't want to embarrass the parents of this child. We know all too well that you can't always control how your child behaves in public.

His mom was sitting at a table behind us, and when she saw what he was doing he hollered at him to stop and put his sock back on. (Which he did, long enough to walk to a spot she couldn't see and pull off the other sock...) In almost the same breath she turned to a worker walking past her table and said with complete sincerity, "Hey Hon, that sandwich was to die for! Thank you so much!" Then Brian leaned over and whispered, "I guess he was still hungry."

I don't expect fine dining from McDonald's, but I'd take it over toenails any day of the week.

(I have to give Brian a writer's credit for coming up with the title for this post.)

Friday, March 8, 2013

Three baths

That's how many Lila has had today. (Well, one shower and two baths... but you get the idea.)

A shower this morning to get ready for the day.

After which she put on a new pair of pajamas, and I didn't care enough to fight her on it.

Of course later she decided to change into daytime clothes, which for some unknown reason meant stripping down to the skin and streaking naked through the upstairs in front of my aunt and cousin who'd stopped by to see the remodel.

The first bath occurred while Brian and the older two kids were at the store picking up some medicine and a frozen pizza for dinner. Lila was so hungry and tired she climbed up on to my lap and fell asleep for about twenty minutes. Our relaxing cuddle ended when she peed, on me.

It's been a long time since I've been peed on... still pretty unpleasant.

We got cleaned up, the rest of the family returned, and I made dinner.

I'm not entirely sure what Lila was trying to do once she finished eating, but it ended with her falling off her chair sideways, scraping her back on my chair as she fell, and spilling a cup of Gatorade (red, of course) on the table, the floor, and herself.

So for those keeping score that's four changes of clothing, three baths, and one exhausted mommy...

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Ingenuity

This is what happened when the mean mom wouldn't give her a band-aid for a scratch...


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Stream of consciousness...

I've been sitting here for twenty minutes waiting for inspiration to strike, for something at least mildly interesting to enter my thoughts so I can post for the day...

I got nothin'.

It was just an average, everyday kind of day. No real highs or lows.

Oh! I did meet my new Visiting Teacher today. Turns out her sister-in-law lives in Idaho, AND is my cousin's Visiting Teacher. Talk about a small world. :)

Also they brought me chocolate mint cookies, which were excellent. (I got two before Brian found the plate...) I think any relationship that begins with baked goods is sure to be a good one.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

One perfect moment...

This afternoon as I sat down to watch Wreck-it Ralph with my kids, I was filled with absolute contentment. As I recognized the feeling for what it was and took a moment to savor it I started thinking about why right now, what in this moment is so perfect that I have no desire to be doing anything else.

Here's the list that I came up with:

1) My house is fresh and clean. Some rooms are that deep down to the bone clean that comes with a good scrubbing, and some are just clean. My laundry is caught up, as in washed, dried, folded AND put away. I am unannounced visitor ready... and it just feels good. It means I can sit down to watch a movie in the middle of the afternoon and not have a niggling voice in the back of my head nagging me about what I should be doing instead.

2) Together the kids and I have come up with a system to help keep the house in it's current state. A few minutes a day to do a few regular chores will make a huge difference in getting everybody to pitch in and keep it from getting overwhelming.

3) I had a delicious, made from scratch meal baking in the oven and simmering on the stove. I like cooking, what I hate is cleaning the kitchen to be able to cook. I get a little thrill every time I finish making a meal and leave it looking like no one had stepped foot inside it. I'm like a kitchen ninja!

4) Watching my children enjoying each others company, crowded together on a blanket around a bowl of popcorn... moments of family time simply don't get sweeter.

I don't want anyone to read this and think, "Oh sure, she's got it all figured out," or "Boy, she really thinks she's perfect." Because I don't, and I'm not.

In fact we had a tantrum from Lila just before dinner because she couldn't have the chair she wanted, and my other two couldn't remember their table manners to save their life. After the fifteenth time I asked Lila to stop talking and start eating and Evie to stop giggling I had a fairly wicked headache going. I finally snapped, "If you guys don't quit it I'm going to disappear!" (Meaning I was going to run away to the bathtub.) Jake looked puzzled for a moment and then asked, "Like... 'Poof' in a cloud of glitter?" And Brian, traitor that he is, started laughing which set them all off again.

But isn't that the best part of being a family? Sharing those perfect moments, and laughing someone out of taking themselves and life too seriously during the less than perfect ones.

Evie is often heard to remark, "I love being in this family!" and I have to agree with her. I really love it too.

Monday, March 4, 2013

One man's trash...

Since I'm done rearranging all of my furniture my sister decided it would be nice to invite me up to help her rearrange hers.

Really though I was happy to be able to help her. We moved some big pieces of furniture, cleaned out a closet and made two trips to the D.I.

Baby steps to setting up the nursery.

My children each found a treasure to claim from the stuff that Caite was getting rid of.

So fun...







Sunday, March 3, 2013

Crossing the finish line...

I feel like we finally reclaimed our upstairs.

We cleaned out the front closet, took boxes of stuff out to the garage and the car to go to D.I., moved the furniture back, and even hung up pictures!

My aunt and uncle stopped by on their way home to see the renovations and it was fun to take them on a tour.

I am issuing a general invitation to anyone who is interested to stop by, we love visitors.

I am feeling so prepared and on top of the week to come, my kitchen is even still clean!

Knock on wood...

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Two-fer...

I know, I totally blanked last night. My only defense is that I was in the middle of an interesting conversation last night, and by the time I finished it was after midnight. So tonight I play catch-up... (My yesterday wasn't very blog-worthy anyway.)

Friday:

I knit a hat. I fed my kids. I knit a washcloth. Ta-da.

Today:

Today was a nice day. We had a quiet afternoon, Jake went to play at a friend's, Brian ran a couple of errands, the girls played nicely together, I knit and did laundry.

This evening Brian and I got to go out to dinner and a movie, because Brian was so sweet and surprised me by arranging for a babysitter. It's always nice to get some one-on-one time and discover that we still like each other and have lots to talk about.

It was also a pleasant surprise to come home to Lila already asleep. The older two helped me tidy up the living room while Brian ran the babysitter home. I went to change and putter around my bedroom for a little bit, and when I came out Jake and Evie were looking through my monster knitting book.

I've already made each of the kids a monster and they are loved and played with often. Nothing makes a knitter (a creator of any type really) happier than seeing something they made used and cherished by the recipient. Knitters also consider it high praise when their work is commissioned by those they love. Quite before I knew what was happening we were downstairs in the stash picking out yarns for new monsters.

Evie has picked Cecil, the computer monster, for her pattern. I made a Cecil for Jake last time, and he is a favorite of all the kids because of his floppy long arms and legs. Jake expressed concern that it might be confusing to have two Cecils in the house, but I told him I thought it would be pretty easy to tell them apart since Evie's will be different colors. Jake thought about that for a moment and then said to his Cecil, "Check it out! You're going to have a doppelgänger! And then you can challenge him to battle..."

Thursday, February 28, 2013

The fruits of my labor...

I don't know what it is about a perfectly clean kitchen that makes me want to mess it up, but I spent the afternoon baking a double batch of banana bread and a delicious shepherd's pie for dinner. I also cleaned up as I went so now I have yummy food and and still clean kitchen. Such a lovely feeling...

I also had some lovely company come over for lunch and to admire my freshly cleaned kitchen. Because if a mom cleans a room and no one from outside her family notices, was it really ever clean?

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

I found Jimmy Hoffa's flip-flop...

I spent over twelve hours today cleaning my kitchen. (I think that might be the saddest sentence ever written on this blog.) It was the last room desperately in need of the deep, deep cleaning to get rid of the construction dust. I emptied all the cupboards and drawers, scrubbed them and the contents clean, and did a major purging as I went. I rearranged a lot of stuff too, to be more user friendly to the vertically challenged.

I moved the hutch and cupboard, and discovered that that probably hasn't happened since Lila was a baby. I found multiple binkies (at last the mystery is solved!), countless toys, a fork(?!), and a flip-flop, all covered in a disgusting layer of dust and bits of food. Ugh, it's just so gross!

Anyway, all that cleaning gave me a lot of time to think. I am finally going to be brave and embrace the fact that I like chickens and am going to have a chicken themed kitchen. Here you can see the start of my collection, prominently and proudly displayed. So there you go family, I am out of the chicken closet and there is no going back. Also, just for the record, if anyone leaves a giant metal chicken on my doorstep... I know exactly where I'll put it.

Any incongruities in this post are directly attributable to the fact that it is almost midnight, and I'm still NOT done cleaning the stupid kitchen!





Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The return of Flat-Lip

It was one of those days where someone looking at my life from the outside and not knowing the back story would think, "Good grief, this lady is a mess!" 

Lila is still fighting off a head cold/pink eye. Brian took the kids to school this morning and she climbed back into bed with me and we slept until 11 a.m.! We slowly got up and cleaned up for the day, and apparently a shower drained her strength because afterwards she climbed into her daddy's recliner and just laid there watching the Disney channel in a kind of daze. I went to work cleaning up the kitchen and living room a bit, but she kept wanting me to stop and just hold her. A sure sign that a four year old isn't feeling up to par. Around 2 p.m. I took a break and sat down to hold her for a bit and she promptly fell back asleep. 

I didn't have the heart to wake her up from her nap and fight her into coat and shoes when it was time to go pick up the kids from school, so I just wrapped her in her blanket and carried her out to the car. She stayed asleep and I drove up and waited for Evie to walk to our meeting place. And waited... and waited... after fifteen minutes or so I got a call from her school that she was in the office and I needed to come inside and get her.


My poor Evie-girl.


She and a little boy crashed into each other during P.E. today just as school was getting out, and she ended up with a bruised cheek, a horrible bloody nose, a cut on the inside of her upper lip, and a big old fat lip...


Or as we call them around here, a flat-lip.

I drove up to the school, woke Lila up and carried her into the school thinking, "Awesome mom award right here. Middle of the winter and my child is outside with bare feet, no coat and wrapped in a blanket." 
I found Evie in the nurse's office, her clothing and boots covered in blood and a pretty pitiful expression on her face. We gathered up her coat and backpack and while I was helping Evie, Lila got off the chair where I had sat her down to wait and came up behind me. I didn't see her and stepped back on her foot, so of course she started howling and highlighting the fact that I had taken her out in the middle of winter with no shoes on.

We finally got back to the car and were only about ten minutes late picking up Jake. I was going to run to the store to pick up some laundry supplies so I could wash Evie's clothes right away and hopefully get the blood out before it stains, but halfway there I realized I'd left my purse at home. It's probably a tender mercy anyway, if I had drug my kids through the store shoe-less and covered in blood I would probably have had someone call the authorities to report me for abuse and neglect. 

We made it home and I was in the middle of getting everyone cleaned up and settled down when I got a phone call wondering why we weren't at Jake's dentist appointment. 
Sigh... and reschedule.


I think she looks like a baby bird, with that sad little lip poking out like a beak.

I decided to blog early, and then shut down the outside world for tonight. 
Hopefully tomorrow will go a bit smoother, and be less painful. 


Monday, February 25, 2013

Avoiding responsibilities...

That's pretty much what I did today.

There were so many things I could/should have been doing, but I ignored them in favor of watching funny movies about pregnancy with my pregnant sister and knitting.

I feel good about my choice.

Nobody ever regretted spending more time with someone they love doing something they enjoy.

The chores will keep until tomorrow.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Oh yawn...

What a strange Sunday.

Lila came down with a stomach bug last night. It was so sad, after the first go around she didn't have anything left to bring up but every 15-30 minutes she would start violently dry heaving. When it would pass she would tear up and tell me, "Trying to be sick makes me feel sad." This lasted until about 5 a.m., then she and I finally feel asleep.

We didn't wake up until noon. I guess we all needed to sleep in. We spent the afternoon doing laundry (my least favorite part of having a sick kid...) then went to my dad's for his birthday dinner. He made a full turkey dinner, and it was so delicious! Lila ate a small helping of potatoes, and she and her daddy cuddled on the couch and napped while the rest of us played a card game and watched the Oscars.

So in someways it was a nice, relaxing day... but in others it was completely exhausting!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Busy Bee and the Slacker

Brian has been a busy, busy bee today. He got up early and went to a seminar at the airport to learn about traveling in a wheelchair. Not that he/we travel all that often, and hardly ever by airplane, but there is a possibility he will have to travel for work this year so he is being proactive in learning what to do and what help is available for the disabled traveler. He came home for lunch, then went out with Jake to run some errands. Once he came home he was in a puttering mood. He folded the basket of laundry I had just taken out of the dryer, hung up my key hook by the door, installed the outdoor half of our new doorbell, (we haven't ha a working doorbell since we moved in five years ago, I'm excited!) and started to replace the thermostat but then Lila got sick so he stopped to help take care of her. Now he's sorting through boxes of miscellaneous crap that we are still trying to find new homes for.

Me... not so much. I made grilled cheese for lunch, and switched over one batch of laundry. I watched a couple of episodes of Hoarders in the hope that it would motivate me to clean my house. Unfortunately it had the opposite effect of making me think, "Wow. My house is looking pretty good..."

It's days like today that make me grateful for a marriage that is a true partnership, and a husband who understands that sometimes I just have off-days and is willing to pick up my slack. We make a pretty good team. :)

Friday, February 22, 2013

A nice dream...

I volunteer in Jake's class once a week, helping with Writer's Workshop. I love getting to see what these kids write, most of it is wildly creative and clever.

I haven't been for the last six weeks though, as I've needed to be home while we've had a constant stream of workmen in the house. I finally started back yesterday and my attention was caught by the bulletin board outside the classroom door.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

I can't wait to wash something!

The washer and dryer were delivered today!

I almost have no words... I am so overwhelmed. I just sit and stare at them, then yell, "Holy Crap! This is AMAZING!" I giggle uncontrollably and do a happy dance. Then I stare at them some more in wonder.

I sent Brian a picture and captioned it "Have you ever seen anything more beautiful in your entire life?!"

I'm torn between wanting to rush right out and get some of that high-efficiency soap and start washing everything we own (twice), and reading through the manuals and figuring out how all the different settings work.

This is truly the most amazing and unlooked for gift, and I can't express enough how grateful we are for the generosity of our unknown benefactor.

What a great day!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

I lost my momentum!

I got up this morning full of plans to finish putting my house back together.

By breakfast I had scaled that back to finishing the upstairs. I started by doing the dishes.

By lunch I had scaled that back to finishing one room.

Guess what guys?

Today I did the dishes!

Tomorrow should be better. We are getting the new washer and dryer delivered, so Friday I plan to stay home and catch up all the laundry!

Maybe this weekend will see the house put completely back together...

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Happy Birthday Chrissy!

Though the title may be confusing, this is not Chrissy wishing herself a Happy Birthday.  This is Brian, taking the opportunity to make my 3rd guest blog appearance.  I want to take this chance to publicly wish her a Happy Birthday and let her know how much I love her.  I really do love you Chris.  I know I say it a lot, but I hope that I show it as well. 

I'm not the great writer that Chrissy is, but I'll do my best to sum up the evening and share a funny Jake moment from the night.  I got home earlier than typical tonight because I had the fun opportunity to have a dentist appointment.  We loaded the family up and went over to Farmington to see Jacobs entry in the Reflections Contest.  He made it to Regionals, and we are really proud of him.  Maybe Chrissy will post his entry in her blog for you all (I don't pretend to have her blogging skills!).  Caitlin and her friend Kaylee were down visiting with Chrissy today, so they came along too. 

We all then went to meet Chrissy's Dad at a restaurant for dinner.  Our kids were pretty well behaved, and Jacob cracked us all up as usual.  Shortly after getting served our appetizers, he flagged our waitress down with a "Excuse me, miss..", she politely asked "yes?" to which he replied (in a very official tone) "Would you please inform the appropriate parties, that it is her birthday?" as he gestured toward his mother.  We all got a good laugh, and the waitress replied that she was the appropriate party to inform, and that he had done an excellent job of doing so.  The kids all thought it was pretty cool when the server's all gathered around and sang their happy birthday song for her. 

I hope that it's been a fun and relaxing day for her.  She definitely deserves that!  We've had a crazy busy past couple of months, and she's had a lot on her plate.  I just want you all to know how much I love and appreciate her for all that she does and all that she is.  I know all of our kids adore her as much as I do, and I am grateful she is such an awesome wife and mom. 

Happy Birthday Chrissy!

Love,

Brian

Monday, February 18, 2013

Day three of the cleaning marathon...

I don't have much to blog about today. I got up, cleaned and organized stuff for twelve hours, and collapsed onto the couch again. Progress is being made, but oh so slowly.

We did get an electrician here today to hook up power for the new washer and dryer. We get them delivered on Thursday, I'm so excited! So now the only thing left is the plumber hooking up Brian's shower and we will be completely, 100% done.

If I can just survive the putting everything away stage I'm going to love getting back to living in a clean, comfortable home.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

A good reminder...

I wasn't sure that I would make it to church when I got out of bed this morning. My back hurt so bad. Once I was there I was pretty sure I wasn't going to be able to sit through three hours. But I "endured to the end", and I'm really glad I did. The lesson in Relief Society was very good and at the end the sister who was teaching passed out a wallet sized picture of Jesus with a scripture on the back.

Mosiah 5:15- "Therefore, I would that ye should be steadfast and immovable, always abounding in good works, that Christ, the Lord God Omnipotent, may seal you his, that you may be brought to heaven, that ye may have everlasting salvation and eternal life, through the wisdom, and power, and justice, and mercy of him who created all things, in heaven and in earth, who is God above all."

The first part is what caught my attention, "I would that ye should be steadfast and immovable." It made me think of my goal this year of being calm and steady through the chaos of life. I have not felt very calm lately and have been feeling like I was failing at my goal. Today I had the thought come into my head that as long as I am trying and learning new coping methods then I can't be failing. Obviously if this was something I was already good at I wouldn't have picked it as an area to work on in my life. Also, it's only the middle of February... I should probably wait until later in the year to stress about not meeting my yearly goals.

I'm going to put my picture somewhere I'll see it every day to help remind me of my goal. Baby steps towards being calm.