Monday, December 29, 2008

99 Cool Mom Things

So I've seen that list of 99 cool things, where you bold the ones you've done, floating around on people's blogs and I thought, "Hey, I should do that." Then I thought, "I'm awfully busy doing other cool "mom" things right now. I'll make my own list."
Post this list on your blog and bold the ones you've done.

1. Felt the world shift and change when you held your newborn baby.
2. Thought, "Hey, they didn't tell me about this when I got pregnant."
3. Given away perfectly good pants because they just don't seem to zip up anymore
4. Walked around with snot on your shoulder and pretended it's normal
5. Wrestled with a car seat and won
6. Cursed the makers of really loud annoying toys
7. Rocked your baby until she fell asleep, and then kept rocking anyway.
8. Gained superhero kissing powers-- you kiss it, it's okay.
9. Learned the art of counting to three, in a loud, patient voice
10. Avoided swearing like a pirate when a small child stepped on your bare feet with heavy-heeled princess shoes
11. Dressed up as a butterfly and floated magically around the room with blanket wings
12. Made a tent out of blankets and chairs and crammed your really large body into it.
13. Learned you really aren't a patient person, but tried to work on it.
14. Listened to really bad, heartfelt, vibrato out-of-control, children's music that for some reason your children love.
15. Succeeded in doing an awesome hairstyle on a squirming, uncooperative child.
16. Decided that bribery really does do the trick.
17. Read a Parenting book and thought, "Do they even have children?"
18. Gotten nothing but lessons in patience and enduring to the end from the past 3 years of church
19. Allowed others to think you're crazy as you drive down the road doing the actions to "5 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed."
20. Smiled and managed not to punch the people without children who give you advice on how to discipline them.
21. Pitied the pioneers, who didn't have movies/television.
22. Thought sadly about landfills, but put it out of your head by remembering what dunking poopy cloth diapers in the toilet is like.
23. Managed to get the grocery shopping done with one or more children in tow.
24. Put yourself in time out.
25. Given up career opportunities, wistfully, but gladly.
26. Thought, "This is so worth it. I have the best job ever."
27. Thought, "This is so not worth it. I quit." But woken up and fixed breakfast and taken care of the kids anyway.
28. Heard your child say, "I love you so much!"
29. Watched with delight as your child lurches around the room with their first dinosaur-like steps.
30. Ignored your dirty house to play ponies.
31. Taught a child to use the potty. (And wanted to start an ad campaign with signs posted above every public toilet that read, "If you can use this, thank your mother.")
32. Tried a home business to make just a little extra money
33. Actually sewn something, that turned out pretty good if no one looked too closely
34. Played the choo-choo or airplane game to try and convince your child that food is not evil.
35. Slipped, tripped or twisted on a left out toy
36. Fished pennies/small toys/anything small out of your child's mouth, while keeping the panic at bay.
37. Lost brain cells while watching a Baby Einstien movie
38. Wondered where the instruction manual is.
39. Thought that you could improve upon the baby design model by adding three lights on the side of each baby-- one for hungry, one for tired, and one for poopy.
40. Listened with chagrin as your child repeats your favorite adjectives.
41. Crept into their room at night, just to make sure the covers are on and that they're still breathing.
42. Thought while breastfeeding, "No wonder people get breast implants. My shirts actually fit."
43. Laughed out loud at the optimistic "6 weeks after birth prognosis" by your male doctor.
44. Learned that you really aren't a pleasant person with only 2 hours of sleep.
45. Tried to explain why clothing is mandatory.
46. Had to eat your words because, "I would never do it that way," but then you do.
47. Called Poison Control.
48. Left the store without buying anything because your child is screaming.
49. Had to apologize to a stranger.
50. Wanted to petition that handicap stalls also be available to mothers with 2 or more children under the age of 6.
51. Said, "That's not funny," when really, if you weren't the parent, it was funny.
52. Felt extreme anger at another child when they hurt your child.
53. Cleaned up throw up more times than you wish to count.
54. Eaten a soggy cracker.
55. Thought sadly of hungry people as you scrapped your child's uneaten food into the garbage.
56. Threatened to do something awful (and untrue) like leave your child at WalMart, or cut off their toe if they didn't stop misbehaving.
57. Even though you vowed never to say it, yelled, "Because I said so."
58. Not left the house for three or more days.
59. Discussed buying stock in paper towels, wipes and diaper companies.
60. Conversed with other adults about poop, drool, and snot.
61. Thought, "My gosh. My children are the most adorable things in the entire world."
62. Smiled when your kids hugged each other.
63. Thrown away Halloween candy (after fishing out all the chocolate bars).
64. Realized the true use of a timer is not for baking.
65. Thought, "Isn't there at least some period of their lives where they adore me and listen to what I say?"
66. Cried and cried, because you feel like you're just not cut out for this sort of thing.
67. Felt triumphant when your child spelled their name without prompting to your now impressed neighbor/relative/friend.
68. Put on boots, coats, hats, gloves and snow pants and just as you're walking out the door hear a rumbling from your child that indicates severe diaper problems, or having your older child say, "I have to go to the bathroom."
69. Realized that children's books are sometimes written for adults.
70. Had to remind yourself not to talk in a sing-songy, supercalm happy voice when speaking to other adults.
71. Sometimes the only constant in your day is that it will eventually end.
72. Discovered that a really childproof room is empty and padded and only exists in insane asylums.
73. Had to backpeddle quickly when you told your child not to do something and they said, "But Mommy, you do it."
74. Dug out a sliver
75. Been ignored. Over and over.
76. Felt that if you get touched one more time you might have to become a hermit.
77. Laughed (with just a bit of hysteria) at the magazine picture of well-behaved children that put together beautiful crafts.
78. Gotten an unexpected kiss and a hug.
79. Had your heart melt when you hear, "Hold me, hold me."
80. Cleaned up a blow out diaper, and managed to salvage the onesie.
81. Thought, "Oh, my parents were right."
82. Prayed really hard that you're raising them to be good, thoughtful, happy people.
83. Hoped they won't remember the time you accidentally dropped/forgot about them.
84. Hoped they will remember the times you read stories/sang/played with them.
85. Felt like the Wicked Witch of the West.
86. Given an Eskimo kiss.
87. Felt your heart strings tug when they first let go of your hand to venture off on their own.
88. Pretended you liked something just to get your kid to eat/do it.
89. Wore matching outfits with your kids and thought it was awesome.
90. Tried to keep the car nice by not allowing food, then gave up and tossed food randomly at your children in an effort to quiet them.
91. Heard your child yell excitedly, "Mommy!" when you walk into the room.
92. Caused extreme giggling (on purpose).
93. Vanquished a monster with a spray bottle.
94. Answered "Why?" questions with preposterous and crazy answers but still not managed to stop the "Why?"s from coming.
95. Bought a really padded bra for protection from elbows and other stray limbs
96. Played the, "I'm going to hide in the _____" version of Hide and Seek
97. Learned to traverse the kitchen with a small child clinging to your legs and the phone on your shoulder.
98. Told yourself, "This is for her good."
99. Known this is the best and hardest job in the world. (But wished for paid time off)

Monday, Monday

Last week I earned 2 points. Yes you read that right, 2. I had to sample the neighbor's treats. And then I had to eat some pie, and then I had to have some homemade chocolates, and then there was some caramel popcorn, and then I forget.
Thus begins the last week of the Chocolate Challenge. So after that, I'll try to go out with a bang with one more perfect week. One more week, and then I'll have to think of something else to trick myself into eating well and exercising.
Good job to those of you that have endured to the end, and good luck in this final week. I'm still pondering really hard about the prize.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Home for the Holidays

Usually we celebrate Christmas with a crush of parties, food and good company. This year we celebrated with throw-up, snotty noses and ear infections.
With the exception of most of Christmas day, when the girls seemed fine, we stayed home. And thanks to Motrin and Tylenol, there was no place like home for the holidays.

Christmas Eve we stayed home from the Chambers' extended family party because both Hannah and Kenzie had slight fevers. We opened our traditional P.J. present, gave the girls a nice bath, read the story of Jesus' birth, watched Mr. Krueger's Christmas and sent the girls off to bed ON TIME. It was a Christmas miracle!

Shaelynn, my gorgeous little sister, came to spend the night and Christmas morning with us, which was really fun. Her presents to the girls were even more exciting than Santa's. Thanks Aunt Shaelynnie, we loved having you over!
Santa kept it simple this year, following the motto: Something you Want, Something you Need, Something to Wear, and Something to Read (which I found on Jayedee's blog. )
I only had one freak out that night when I couldn't find the pictures we were giving to our parents. Mike found them, and the next day we forgot them anyway.
Christmas day, we woke up at about 8:30, opened presents, and had some waffles for breakfast. I was going to try and shower before we let the girls out of their room to see what Santa brought, but then I remembered the absolute torture it was when my mom used to hop in the shower right when we thought it was time to wake up. So I didn't. But I did shower later. Really. I did. I'll save that particular torture for when they are older and more appreciative of it.

Fancy Nancy is Kenzie's favorite. Too bad my photography skills only capture half her face. Just picture a smile of absolute delight.

It's never too early to start training your girls to think they are princesses. That way they can be disillusioned and hateful of men later in life when not one of them sings to them at a wishing well, or magically appears in the forest to dance with them.

The oranges were a hit. Especially with Hannah, who kept throwing hers. I'm glad oranges don't bruise.

At about 11:00 (yes, we were late) we headed over to Chambers and opened more presents. We were so spoiled! We got some great food storage stuff. I was truly excited. You know you're getting old when you get a happy feeling to see shiny cans of rice and wheat.
I love how everyone looks delighted or absorbed in this picture. Hooray for Christmas.

Hannah and Gracie are starting to become friends. They had a great time eating their nerd ropes from Grandma and Grandpa Chambers.

A princess pillow book! Who could have thought to combine these three marvelous things into one fabulous toy? Princesses, reading, and pillows. All they need is a built in chocolate dispenser and they've got everything.

Then we headed over to my parents for even more presents. Adding to our food storage and spoiled theme, there we got a Camp Chef and shelving! Hooray! So, if you feel the need to can this year, you are invited to come and can with me. We can do our hair in polygamist cult hairstyles, wear ugly dresses and pretend we know when the second coming is. Doesn't that sound like fun?

Opening our Camp Chef and dreaming of canning happiness.

The girls loved their dolls from Grandma and Grandpa Hansen and give them baths every day.

Originally we planned on going to my mom's side party that night, but those plans were altered when Hannah began crying and didn't stop, even when she opened a musical ball toy from Grandma Bette and Grandpa Charles. (Which she now loves, by the way, Grandma and Grandpa) We took her and Kenz home and went to bed. Today, I took Hannah in and she has a sinus/ear infection. Poor girl. Hooray for modern medicine!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


The Write-Away Contest hosted by Scribbit
I entered a blog post on my "Gaining Equilibrium" blog (sheesh there are too many "i's" in that name) in the Scribbit Write Away Contest and won an Honorable Mention.

Here's what I wrote:

I have never been lost before. Disoriented, purposeless, confused, but this dark wandering feeling is new to me.

A million stars smock their light across the sky, but the light is lost before it reaches us, into an infinite darkness. Shapes loom--cliffs, rocks, jutting sandstone darker than the dark enveloping us. Fourteen of us are wandering, hoping that we will find our car.

We are lost in the San Rafael Swell- a beautiful and desolate desert. Far away from anything, I cling to Mike’s eternal, indefatigable optimism.


Monday, December 22, 2008

The Grinch, Mike's a Master, and other sundry excitements

That's how I feel after a week of perfect points in my chocolate challenge-- Grinchy. I did it though. Yeah. See me waving one of those little pennants in excitement.
I liked the fact that I exercised everyday, but I did not like the deprivation. There is no joy in exercise if you can't eat what you want as a reward. It's half of the reason I exercise. The other half is those stupid 7 pairs of pants that sit neglected in my drawer, because I can zip them up but I can't breathe when they are zipped up.
So how was your week?
Here's some highlights of our excitement and confusion:
Happy Last Final to Mike! We are so proud of you! Now that he has his Master's degree in Electrical Engineering, Mike is now even better at dismantling things like our alarm clock and making them even better than before. As soon as he finished his final he started rebuilding a computer, turning down the overpowering glow of our alarm clock (which lit up half the house in green light it was so bright), and planning for Xbox mods and other such things that give engineers joy. I will miss the romantic green glare that the clock gave us each night, but now I will be able to sleep without waking up fearing that I am part of some strange alien abduction by alarm clock.

A few choice quotes from Mike this past year, "Steph, I don't understand how an x-y axis doesn't give you all the information you need to understand what I'm telling you." (After I told him I needed concrete examples) or "It's all a matter of trajectory," while we were stringing popcorn for the tree and I pricked my finger. I wish I could think of a few more, because he says awesome engineering things all the time. Now I'm going to have to go and get a degree in Physics or something just so I can understand him.
My favorite pics from this month:

Merry Christmas everyone!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The End of the World

Last night I witnessed Obi Wan Kenobi fighting against the dark forces of Darth Vader. Their light sabers flashed and crashed together as each tried to defeat the other. But Obi began to weaken. In my dream, I was watching Obi, but I was Obi, and he could smell chocolate. I watched him look away from Vader to look longingly at a piece of smooth, divine milky chocolate. His light saber began to flicker, as his attention wandered to how good that piece of chocolate must taste.
He couldn't stop thinking about the chocolate. Finally he could resist no more. He ran to the chocolate, and plopped it into his mouth, enjoying it's smooth taste, and then. . .
Well, I'm pretty sure he was killed by Vader, but it was worth it for the chocolate, right? I have been toiling away at my perfect points week, but I think I am craving chocolate. What do you think?

Young Obi, before he developed his addiction to Chocolate (and before he learned the pseudo-mullets were not cool, even when paired with light sabers)

Old Obi, returning from the dead to warn others not to become addicted to chocolate.
"The Force Chocolate is what gives a Jedi his power. It's an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together."
―Obi-Wan about The ForceThe Chocolate[src]
"The Jedi were the guardians of peace and justice in the Old Republic. Before the dark times - before the Empire...a young Jedi named Darth Vader, who was a pupil of mine before he turned to evil, helped the Empire hunt down and destroy the Jedi Knights, using chocolate. He betrayed and murdered your father, using chocolate. Vader was seduced by the Dark Side of the Force Chocolate."
"The Force Chocolate can have a strong influence on the weak-minded."
―Obi-Wan Kenobi[src]
"The Force Chocolate will be with you. Always."
―Obi-Wan Kenobi[src]
"But you cannot control it. This is a dangerous time for you, when you will be tempted by the dark side of the Force Chocolate."
―Obi-Wan to Luke[src]

Thank you Wookieepedia for these marvelous (altered) quotes.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

In case. . .

In case you are having a semi-bad day and are looking for ways to cheer yourself up, don't try sticking a gallon of milk precariously in the fridge and forcing the door shut.
It won't make you more cheerful when you open the door to get a snack and the milk falls out, explodes, and splatters on everything. It really won't.
(In case you were wondering what the weakest point is in a gallon container of milk, it's that round circle in the side.)

Going Green (or running out of it)

In the interest of saving trees (and honestly, saving money) Here is our Christmas Card. We wish you all a Merry Christmas, and hope that you are happy and well.

Mike and I have a budget. Really, we do. And I do all the spending. Except every once in awhile when Mike makes very large purchases.
So last week I started thinking that maybe our spending was a bit overboard, and I tallied up figures and receipts and lo and behold, Christmas is over. I had a few plans to buy some more presents for the girls and Mike, but we are done. We have to be done. And that's okay. We have plenty. But I am a little sad that I don't get to send this card out.
One of my friends says that she opens a dedicated savings in November and then puts $25 in each paycheck to save for Christmas. This is a marvelous plan. What do you do to avoid the Christmas crunch?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Perfect Week

I keep failing at having a perfect week. I think my highest point total has been 8. (If I weren't so lazy I could do some research and see what my real high point total is, but my fingers are tired.) This week I had 7 points. I fell prey to chocolate chip cookies and cold dark winter mornings.
So this week I'm going to be perfect. This means I'll have to go set up my bike trainer in the garage, or clear off my buried treadmill, because I haven't exercised yet today.
I figure this is the greatest chance I have to be perfect (and to catch my mom and Cristina). Join me in perfection (or at least the attempt)!
Good luck to you all. (Some of you haven't given me last week's total either. Don't give up! You can do it! Just add both weeks together when you post your points this week.)
Some people have asked about joining after the holidays. This particular point contest ends on Jan. 5, but I'll do something similar after that because this really has helped me to do better. Not awesome, but better, which was my goal. And I still haven't come up with an awesome prize. Any ideas? I think my mom will win, so maybe the reward will be a day of babysitting. Yes, you get to babysit my angels for 1 whole day.
Just kidding, that's a crappy prize. I'll keep thinking hard.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

What did you eat this week? (Points post)

Hello contest participants!
I hope you are busy consuming fresh fruits and vegetables, not petroleum jelly, joint compound and toothpaste like my lovely Hannah.
Today, while I was eating breakfast, I heard the door shut. Usually Hannah locks herself into her room and then cries for me to let her out. After one minute I remembered the Petroleum Jelly incident and decided to check on Hannah. The bathroom door was shut. I flung it open to reveal Hannah sucking on the open tube of toothpaste. ARGHHHHH! I put in another call to Poison Control.
Here is my conversation with them:
"Hi my daughter just ate toothpaste."
"What is the brand of toothpaste?"
"Umm, Crest."
"How big is the tube?"
"Normal size. 6.2 oz."
"Do you have any idea how much she ate?"
"No." I have not been keeping tabs on our toothpaste consumption. I guess I will now.
"Half a tube? I'm just trying to get an idea of how much she ate."
"No, not that much." Getting defensive: "I just heard the door shut, and then a minute later I walked in and I could just smell it on her breath." (MMMM, minty fresh Hannah.)
"Well, give her a little drink of milk, which will bind up the flouride, to help her body get rid of it. And then I want you to call me back, my name is Ed, if she has any stomach problems in the next hour or so. Most kids suffer no ill effects from eating toothpaste."
My new friend Ed says, "What's your zipcode?"
Me, warily, "84067"
"And your name?"
Me, pausing. "Well, I already called once this week, and well, ummm, I don't want to be tracked, and so can I just, well, like decline?" (This is where I should have rubbed a plastic sack next to the phone and yelled, "Are you there? Are you there? I can't hear a thing! It's so staticky!" And hung up.)
"Ma'am, we don't track who calls here. You could call us everyday for months and no one would track it. So you can do that, but. . ."
Yeahhhh. Right. I've read those scary DCFS stories where they rip the children from the unsuspecting parents and invade every aspect of their lives only allowing the children to return when they are practically grown ups, and then only for short supervised visits.
"If I don't get at least your first name I can't start a case and then you'll have to start all over if you have to call back. No one will track it."
Liar. "Okay, Stephanie."
"And your daughter's name?"
Yeah, they have the number I called from, my zipcode, my first name and my daughter's name and this guy is trying to assure me that no one tracks these things? I can just imagine him cross referencing this call just because I was so weird about giving my information.
"Let's see," he says to himself researching me on the specialized computer tracking system, "First she allowed her daughter to eat petroleum jelly and now toothpaste." He dials DCFS, "Hello Mr. X. I have a psychotic parent for you."
Yes, I'm paranoid like that.
Just for the record, and so Hannah can blame me later for her nervous twitch and other ailments, here's a list of things I have found in her mouth lately: (Yes this list will probably help DCFS build their case against me too)
Petroleum Jelly
Powdered Sugar (resting on an old banana peel and last night's dinner in the garbage can)
Dried pieces of joint compound
Pennies and Dimes
Wet dish towels that stink

So Mike and I are making a big effort to not leave things around, like the carpet, because that probably looks delicious too.

Anyway, I might as well have been eating toothpaste for all the nutritional value I've received this week.
3 points for eating right, and 3 points for exercise.
How'd you do? (And I meant to offer words of encouragement during these cold and dark months when the cookies are calling to you, not give a sad commentary on my lack of parenting skills. So Go Team! You can do it! Exercise! Eat Right!)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Don't laugh or I'll get the Vaseline

Once I made the mistake of laughing at Hannah when I told her to, "Come here" and she ran away. Now my stupidity has been rewarded with mischievous smiles and scampers every time I tell her to come.
I understand the implications. I can't set her down in the store or the parking lot. And she weighs a ton. My arms and back are killing me.
And did I say I laughed once? Well I meant multiple times. I tell myself over and over to sober up and be a responsible parent. But then I catch a glimpse of two bare cheeks dashing down the hall after we get her out of the tub, and I try to suppress my smiles, but it is futile.
I say, trying to be stern, "Hannah. It's time to get your jammies on. Come here."
She runs, yelling, "Baby! Baby!" and giggling as if she is the most clever thing since ipods. I did stop laughing when she ran into the living room and crouched down to leave a wet spot. Yeah, that's one I don't laugh at anymore.
I say, "Hannah, Come here. It's time to eat!" And she dashes down the hall like Michael Johnson, saying not so quietly, "Shhh! Shhh! Shhh!"
The other day I kept telling her to come and eat. I know you're supposed to physically act when they don't do what you say, but I was trying to eat my lunch and I was hungry, so I kept yelling down the hallway, "Hannah, lunch. Hannah, if you don't come you don't get to eat. Hannah, come now," while trying to eat and read the paper (I was practicing for a demonstration on non-effective parenting skills). Finally I stood up and walked down the hall to find Hannah in the bathroom, consuming Petroleum Jelly.
I paused in the doorway, evaluating the situation calmly, and yelled, "No Hannah!" She quickly scooped a fingerful into her mouth and tried to swallow as I lunged for the container.
Apparently Petroleum jelly is not delicious, because she gagged it up. Chunks of regular petroleum jelly look disgusting and slimy anyway, so imagine one coming out of a toddler's mouth.
Just to be safe I called Poison Control where they calmly assured me that it would only act as a laxative if she was still breathing. They then collected my information, claiming they would send me a sticker and magnet packet. I suspect that I am now on a list of "Idiot People Who Allow their Children to Eat Petroleum Jelly" which will be used against me when our country goes crazy and Socialists take over.
So I guess I should sober up and stop laughing because it is causing me no end of grief. Any suggestions on how to correct this running away problem?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


I'm late, I'm late, I'm late for a very important date!
T-I'm thankful for turkey, leftover turkey to be specific. Leftover turkey on rolls is heaven.
H-Hannah. I would like to write something sweet about Hannah and her loveliness, but she is at a stage where I love her best asleep. I'm thankful for her though. I love her mischievous half smile and the way she yells, "Hewooo?" into the house when we walk in the door.
A-Applesauce, homemade. Kenzie subsists on applesauce. I love that I made it.
N-Nouns. Where would we be without nouns? Up a gosh darn over, that's where we'd be.
K-Kenzie. Oh my gosh this little girl cracks me up. She loves talking to me and talking and talking and talking and she loves singing and dancing and making friends with random people, like the carpet layer and the cashier at the store. I'll always remember the moment I first held her and the world that I once knew crashed down around me and dazzled up brilliantly, reflecting the fact that I was a mother. I love her.
F-Forks. Actually, if I had to choose a utensil I would choose a spoon. It's more versatile. But there are no "S's in Thankful, so forks get to be thanked for their ability to stab meat. Good job forks.
U-Underwear. Oh, how I miss you regular cotton briefs in pretty patterns.
L-Love and life. I love how many wonderful and beautiful things there are in this life. Of course, this list wouldn't be complete without my one true love, Mike. I'm so thankful for the balance and kindness he brings into my life. He's better than leftover turkey and nouns.
We had a great Thanksgiving at my mom's house this year. My aunts and cousins came (minus Aunt Susan, Uncle Brian and their posse due to strep throat), and all I had to do was peel some potatoes and set up tables.
We had a wonderful meal, Kenzie fell in love with cranberries and Hannah ate the marshmallows on top of the yams, but wouldn't eat the yams.

After dinner I pretended to help clean up, but ditched out when my cousins began playing soccer. Kenzie wanted to play as long as she didn't have to run. I'm beginning to sense quite a few lazy bones in her body.
Soccer is so much fun! That was the first time I've ever played. My cousin Stetson has mad skills, but I once kicked the ball away from him (He's like 12 or something), but only for a minute.
Anyway, then we ate pie and laid around playing "Fat Dog," a time honored family tradition.
Yes, my mom made 10 pies. She really is the patron saint of pies. They are all deliciously awesome too. We always try to convince her to stop delivering mail and start a pie shop, but she seems to think that slaving away over a hot stove for money would take the joy out of pie making. Go figure.

Fat Dog at it's finest.

mmmm, whipping cream.

Soccer totally rocked. I've found a new love.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Points Post

Hello all you fellow sufferers. I mean, go-getters. This week I was pleased to only give in thrice to the siren call of dessert. Exercise, meh. (I'm totally finding a way to use that word in every post. "Meh." It's just so expressive.) Since my knee has been bothering me, I've been really unmotivated to exercise. Especially since exercising non-painfully involves driving to the pool, getting wet, swimming back and forth, back and forth, with only my painfully boring thoughts for company, and then driving home.
So I earned 4 points for eating and 2 points for exercise. 6 points. Did I say I was going to win? I meant that I was going to limp along barely surviving while you all made me look bad.
Hope you had a wonderful dessert-full Thanksgiving!
(I did. My mom made these pies. mmmmm.)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

House renovations

As if hanging out with extended family (and I love them. I don't mean to be too sarcastic) is not stressful enough, we decided to revamp our house. It all started with this door and floor:
Which then lead to painting, because we* had to replace a piece of drywall that had rotted by the hole in the floor, so if we're going to paint, why not get new carpet? Yes, why not? And if we're getting new carpet, why not fix the entryway in the basement as well? And then why not. . . Okay. Stop. We had to stop.
*Mike did most of the work. I added helpful tips like, "That looks great." and "Shouldn't you be doing your homework?"
Mike did tons of work on this floor, including laying a new subfloor, hanging the door (with help from our good neighbor, Kyle), and putting in some new drywall.
Mike is brilliant! Look at this new flooring:
Old entry.New entry. I love it! He did such a good job.

Now, here's the old carpet and paint (We* didn't lay the carpet ourselves. We just prepped for it.) This picture doesn't really display the grossness that was our carpet, so here's another picture:As you can see my house is always clean. Always.

Our painted walls. I thought about leaving that blue tape up, just for contrast, but decided against it. Hannah was so pleased when there was no carpet. She ran around (we kept her from the precipice where no railing was), yelling, "House! House!"

Now the finished product! I love it! I've already tested the stain resistance of my new carpet by kicking a can of paint onto it. You'll be happy to know that it works great. (And that the paint matches the carpet very very well. After I kicked it over, I couldn't see where to clean up the spot, but the dark spots that kept coming up on my rag told me where it was.)
We began decorating for Christmas, but lost interest half way through. We'll do that for FHE tomorrow. Now all I need is a new couch. (And a new filing cabinet, and to finish painting the kitchen, and a new smaller computer chair, and a new end table, and some decorations for the walls, and a large family picture, and yeah, well. I just need to sit back and enjoy the fact that I have a house to live in.)

Everything you ever wanted to read and more

Holidays always remind me of why I love my family SO MUCH (said through a smile of gritted teeth). And I do, I love my family, especially when I get to see them at 4 high stress events crammed into 6 days.
This week I am also my most pleasant and wonderful self because I am A. PMSing; B.Repainting my house and getting new carpet; C.Trying to read the last book of the Twilight series and D. Not able to exercise because my knee is killing me. (Oh yeah, and denying myself the sustenance of life, Chocolate)

So, since I know that life is what you make of it, I don't want my family to disown me, and this was a week of Thanksgiving after all, I will try my best to give an unsarcastic account of the wonderfulness that was this week.

So we'll start with "Breaking Dawn" The last book in a series about vampires that is really about sex, but it's clean! And they're vampires. Mormons can read it!: My opinion is, "Meh." (That's now in the dictionary.) Okay, I'm not going to lie. I was totally sucked in. But I get totally sucked in when I'm reading "Catcher in the Rye" or "The Grapes of Wrath." My normal reading mania applied to this book as well. Now that I'm done, I'm just glad I'm done. Personally, I think Stephenie Meyers is brilliant. If only I had thought of a way to write about sex, that wasn't really about sex, I could have earned millions milking my "abstinence" stance. I probably won't see the movie either. Unless someone calls me and says, "Hey, let's go see that movie together."

Actually I'm sensing a really longwinded post so I'm going to do like 10 different short posts, and I'll try really hard not to cry when I get 0 comments.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The race is on

I've been sucked into the last book of the Twilight series (I'm so punny!), hence my laziness on a Monday point post. You should see my house and my poor neglected children. Those dumb books. So, last week was not so good. Mostly because I am lazy and hungry. I only got 6 points. I went swimming once and took Hannah to the base family gym, where she played nicely until some dumb boy hit her.
My mom is pretty much determined to win. Good luck this week. I'm taking Thanksgiving day off. :)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Tumbling back and forth

Kenzie: "Mom I don't want to goooooo to tuuumbling. I dooooon't waaaaaaahnt toooo gooo. I don't like it." Insert extreme sobbing.
Me: "I've already paid for it. You're going. At least three more times."
Me, internally: "Gosh, what kind of mom will I be if I just let her quit? But then again what kind of mom will I be if I force her to keep going? Should I just give in? Should I try to recruit a friend? Should I let her try a new class?" And then I resolve to make her keep going to tumbling. Because tumbling is wholesome and good and doesn't make you go to recitals. And tumbling isn't just geared to one sex. And it is useful. How many times have I wished that I could do a back handspring? I can't even count them, there's so many.
Then, next week before tumbling:
Kenzie: "No!" Yelled emphatically in her best 'I'm-in-charge-here' voice. "No! I don't want to go. Nooooooo. Insert whining.
At tumbling: No! Mom! No! Don't leave me!" She clings to my leg as her teacher tries to coax her to the mat. "No mom! I don't want to!"
Me, internally, "This is so not worth it. I'm telling her teacher this is her last week. Maybe."
Then during tumbling I took these pictures because I figure that would be one of my only chances if I give in. She has a friend, Rusti, taking dance and she's been asking me to take her to that, so I think I will maybe give that a try. (How's that for committing, non-committally?) Does this look like someone having a bad time?

Friday, November 21, 2008

New blog

Since my regular place of employment (the local newspaper where I write freelance stuff), hasn't called me, I have so much time without anything to can, I started another blog.

"Excited and Confused" will focus on my family and our adventures still, and Gaining Equilibrium will be my writing blog, a place full of angst and drama, and exciting swashbuckling tales of vampires. Well, maybe not so much angst or swashbuckling, and I think that vampire thing has been done. And maybe more humor, but some angst. Definitely some angst.

It will also be a nice place to pretend that someday I will publish a book, and to try and generate ideas for magazine publishing. So, if you're interested check it out at
AND LEAVE ME A COMMENT. (But only if you really want to.) (Please.)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


The other day I was complaining about how motherhood doesn't have any awards. Yes, yes I know all about rewards, but what about awards? I love awards. Shouldn't Mike come home every once in awhile with an engraved plaque that reads : "To the Bestest Laundry-doer Ever!" or one of those taller than an NBA player trophies that says "Changing the Sheets with Flair and Style Award?" I think so. It could have a little bed on top. (But then people might get the wrong idea)

I blame this award love on my first grade teacher who had a reading contest (yes! Something I could win.), and gave out a trophy for the winner. I won! (Does this spell N-E-R-D to you?)

In second grade, there was another contest. This time the prize was a GLASS CLOWN. THAT SPUN IN CIRCLES. AND PLAYED MUSIC. Oh how I wanted that clown.

So, if my brain remembers correctly, two of us had the same amount of minutes (Nevermind that the other girl would always ask me if she could see my "minutes read card" before she recorded her minutes). So no one got the GLASS CLOWN. I got some book about Strawberry Shortcake. But it was still cool, right? Even if it didn't spin in circles and play music.

After winning this contest I went on to infamy in the third grade reading contest. Just kidding. I went on to be the last one in the class to pass times tables. And my parents started threatening me that if I didn't go outside they would never let me check out Nancy Drew from the library again.

But anyway, I love awards. I know I'm a nerd. Oh well, I have lots of certificates and plaques. (My most prized plaque is for MVP in Cross Country. Our XC team was hurting a bit that year. It lists my accomplishments which include, "83rd in State." Wow. 83rd. I plan to position that one prominently, right next to my first grade reading trophy, when I set up my trophy room.)

This long post was really just a way to say thanks to Jayedee for giving me an award.

My Spanish is a little rusty, but I think it means my blog is in the proximity of goodness. Thanks! Or maybe it means my blog is the proximal blog in the world. Or maybe, it means I rock. I'm pretty sure it's the third meaning.

Now I get to pass this award along.
So here's to Kathryn's Nanny Goat This is an awesome craft blog that my friend does. I love getting ideas from it. (Ideas that I promptly turn into ghetto-looking crafts. But they look good when she does them.)
And Heidi's family blog where she always posts the most uplifting and beautiful things. She just went private though. :(
And I also bequeath my sister Alisha with this blogging award. Because I love her. And I want her to become absolutely devoted to blogging, so I can read about her family every day. ;)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Point Count

Besides answering Hannah's "Why?" question all week: "No, Hannah.We don't climb on the table because we'll break our head open." "Stop Hannah! We don't eat paint because it will hurt our tummies." "Oh Hannah! Toilet paper is for wiping, not for unrolling and unrolling and stuffing in the toilet." And yes she's only 18 months old. I thought they didn't start this 'why?' thing until they were older, I have been attempting to exercise and not eat chocolate.
(That was a complicated sentence to punctuate. I think that means it was probably not a very good sentence. I'm sorry. The lack of chocolate is addling my brain.)
So, I was mostly successful. Except for that grasshopper brownie day and that one day when I just couldn't stand it and ate two (or three, or four) handfuls of chocolate chips in great gulping mouthfuls. Oh yeah, and I had to eat one of my mom's pie tarts. So I did alright in that area. It's a great improvement over the 6 pumpkin chocolate chip cookies a day, don't you think?
My exercising has consisted of two days of swimming, one day of biking and one day of extreme abs.
So I earned myself four points for not eating desserts and four points for exercising. How did you do?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Grasshopper Brownies

So perhaps you're wondering why I'm blogging about brownies in the middle of my Chocolate (deprivation) Challenge. Well, before I dreamed up the Challenge, I volunteered to make these terrific Grasshopper brownies (thanks for the recipe Holly) for our YW in Excellence Night.

Now, I like to experiment with my recipes sometimes (in a methodical, scientific way of course). So I heard that you could totally replace the butter in a recipe with applesauce, and since I was making three pans of these and covering them up with delicious frosting, I thought why not? Why not?

So one pan I made with all oil, one pan I made with 3/4 oil 1/4 applesauce, and the last pan I made with all applesauce. Sorry YW and your parents, but no one ever died from applesauce in their brownies. And the mint (89% alcohol, the mint not the frosting) frosting fixes everything anyway.
And for some reason people feel really happy after they eat these brownies. I can't figure it out.

So, if I were really on top of things and all scientific I would have done a blind taste test, but Mike wasn't home and these brownies were sending out siren calls of love, and I had to taste them to see if they were alright. Because I couldn't take yucky brownies to a night of Excellence, now could I? So I tasted them and here are my observations:

Applesauce brownies are dense and don't leave that delicious awesome chocolate taste in your mouth. They remove very easily from the pan (that is not sprayed).

Oil brownies are light and sticky and moist and AWESOME. AWESOME. AWESOME. And they don't come out of the pan very easily. You have to lick the knife when you cut them (unless you're cutting them for people you're not related to and then you have to pretend you didn't lick the knife). And you have to scrape the pan to get all of the brownie out, but it's worth it. You scrape the pan, and then you scrape it again because it was so good.

(Maybe you can't see the difference in texture in these pictures. I'm sorry. I have a really nice camera, but no ability to use it.)

3/4 oil, 1/4 applesauce are just like oil brownies! I couldn't tell a difference.

If I ever make these brownies again (not until January at least, when the Challenge is over), then I will have to see where the breaking point is on the applesauce. When do they become dense and not so awesomely good? 1/2 oil 1/2 applesauce?
And yes, I lost a point. But I had to. I'm pretty sure it's against the law to take food to a party that you haven't tasted yourself.

So here's the recipe:
Grasshopper Brownies:
2 boxes brownie mix

Mint Frosting:
4 c. powdered sugar
1 c. soft butter
2 Tbsp water
1 1/2 tsp. peppermint extract
4 drops green food coloring

Chocolate topping:
12 oz semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 c. butter
1-2 tsp. peppermint extract

1. To make the brownies follow the recipe for "cake-like" brownies. Or if their isn't one, add 3 more eggs. Pour into a large, greased cookie sheet, bake and let cool completely.
2. To make the mint frosting, combine powdered sugar, butter, water, peppermint extract and food coloring. Mix. Spread over cooled brownies and refrigerate until hard on top.
3. To make chocolate topping microwave chocolate chips and butter for 2 minutes. Stir until all chocolate chips are melted and the mixture is smooth. Add 1-2 tsp. peppermint extract. As soon as this mixture thickens and is no longer hot, spread over mint topping on brownies. Put back into the refrigerator until hard.
4. This makes like 60 brownies. Seriously. Too many to not have a party if you make them.

Monday, November 10, 2008

All is not quiet on this front

If they give out daily awards for being an outstanding mother, today would not be my day.
First I kicked Hannah in the eye. I was trying to go up the stairs, and she was sitting right in the way. As I lifted my leg to go over her, she stood up (and let's face it my spatial awareness is not always right on), and I kicked her right in the eye with my heavy boots.

Next, I tried to poison her at lunch. I was trying to get her to eat a sandwich, "Come on Hannah. Eat the food," and I couldn't figure out why she kept crying and saying, "All done, all done," when she had only eaten one bite. I tried to feed her a few more bites, to no avail. Finally I just plopped her out of her high chair and sent her to bed. Later, when I was cleaning up I noticed that the jam I had used on her sandwich was growing its own colony of mold. Nice.

After that, things went a little better until I was ignoring her and she fell off a chair and got another black eye.

I think God made children's memories short for a reason. Otherwise we'd all need therapy.

And so it begins. . .

Today, the chocolate challenge is officially beginning! Good luck participants.
All participants will win an invite to a kid-free fondue party at the end (of course there will be chocolate involved), and the overall winner gets. . .
Some canned peaches?!? I can't think of a TOTALLY AWESOME prize that I can provide through some talent of mine. None of my talents really turn into totally awesome prizes. I could run a race in your name? Or I know, I know, I could help you refinish your piano! (On second thought, that might be more of a punishment than a prize.) Wait, wait, I could name my next child after you (not an announcement and not really a talent of mine either)!

So I still don't know what the overall winner gets besides all the GLORY.

Anyway, good luck. I'll think of something. (Although, secretly I don't plan to have to give out a prize, because I am going to win. *Throws down the gauntlet*)

P.S. It's not too late to join. Just leave me a comment with your supersecret/not-so-secret identity and keep track of how many days you exercise and don't eat a dessert. Next Monday I'll put up a post to collect your points (one point for exercise and one point for dessert-free) and keep a tally in my sidebar.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

So Darn Repair-astic

*Warning* I've stopped believing in brevity.
I can't find an adjective that means "good at construction and being a handyman." What's a good word?
Because that is what Mike has been this past week. Starting with replacing the back and front brakes on our car last Friday, moving to replacing faulty electrical outlets (The microwave wasn't working, and I was convinced it was the microwave, not the outlet. I had to use the oven to cook chicken nuggets this week. I felt like a pioneer except I didn't have to wear a dress, gather buffalo chips, cook over an open fire, or walk thousands of miles), and finishing with ripping out our nasty floor and front door and replacing it. The "insulation" on our old door consisted of the wood trim. They put the door in and didn't seal it or anything. They didn't bother to move the sprinkler they had trained directly on it either, so hence the nasty rotting pothole next to the door.
Now we have a new door, and we will soon have a new floor (thanks to the leftovers from my parents' wood floor), and a new piece of wall (which means we have to paint!). On Friday, I'm getting the nasty carpets cleaned.

I was reading Mary's picture tag and one part says to take a picture of your favorite room in your house and I thought about what I would take a picture of and felt depressed. I guess I could go outside and take a picture of my backyard. I like it better than any room in my house.
My next project is to make at least one room in our house my favorite room. Maybe, once the entryway is done I'll pretend it's a room and put a chair down there (it's only like 3'X7', just wide enough to open the door), that way I'll feel better about my plain-jane house. I'll post pictures of the new entryway when the floor is in (hopefully on Wednesday). Good job Mike! You are amazing.

Now it's time for a kiddo update:
Hannah is busy trying to rule the universe and eat all the candy in it. She loves her sister "Ten-sie!" and follows her around trying to act like a mini-me. Lately she tries to tell me to "Fix it." But she can't really pronounce Xs. So it sounds like she is saying a really bad swear word. Especially when she starts yelling in frustration, because I don't wrap the dolly in the right manner. Adorable.

She doesn't say "Yes," although she tries to repeat everything else we say. Instead she nods her head very solemnly. That really is adorable. Her favorite things are dollies and the book "Fancy Nancy." I don't understand this Fancy Nancy addiction (at her age). She honestly loves that book. It is one of the only ones she will sit still for and she brings it to me all the time asking me to read, "Fancy, Fancy." Her latest obsession with "hugs, hugs" comes from the picture at the end of the book where the little sister gives Fancy Nancy a hug. That is a sweet book.

Kenzie is such a sweet big sister. I poured her a glass of hot chocolate and she called Hannah upstairs so she could share with her. She loves to share with Hannah and laughs (nicely) when Hannah tries to copy her, "Silly Hannah-Banana." Kenzie loves Joyschool, hates her tumbling class when she's not there, and loves playing dress up. She won't eat any food at dinner but says sweetly at the beginning of each meal, "Thank you for making this delicious dinner." She loves breakfast cereal and is seriously upset when I make pancakes or waffles (which rarely happens anyway).
Her memory is phenomenal. One week she was crying about tumbling saying she didn't want to go, so I told her she had to at least go three more times because I'd already paid for it. That quieted her down and she seemed okay with tumbling. I forgot all about the tumbling hatred. Then on the way home last week she said to me, "Mom, it's been three times." At first I had no idea what she was talking about, and murmured something like, "Oh hmmm." Then I remembered about her three week ago melt down. Yeah, so much for me and my promises because I still made her go to tumbling, saying something lame like, "Well, we're still going."

I'm waffling on the tumbling thing, because she likes it so much when she is there, and because I don't want to teach her that quitting is how to deal with things. On the other hand, I don't want to be one of those insane parents who pushes and pushes their children and yells things like, "I didn't have these opportunities when I was your age! Do it! You will live the life I never had."
So, I can't decide what to do about that. I love this rocking chair. Every night I rock both of my girls for just one song as part of our bedtime routine. For awhile I was only rocking Hannah, but one night Hannah didn't want to rock with me. It made me so sad, I asked Kenzie (in an attempt to garner Hannah's jealousy) if she wanted to rock with me. She jumped at the chance and cried the next night when I told her she was too big to rock every night. As I write this, I can see what a lousy parent I am in so many ways. I don't mean to be. I'm trying not to be so lame. Now I rock both my girls.
Chik chik, chik chik
Back and forth.
In the quiet your
hair dusts my cheek.
Chik chik, chik chik
My heart keeps time
And I hold you gently, trying not to squeeze too hard--
Knowing that you won't always want this.
And in this moment,
Chik chik, chik chik
Going nowhere means Everything.