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


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


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


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.)


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


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..."