Friday, February 27, 2009

The Ultimate Birthday

Fancy Kenzie! Happy Fourth Birthday last week, Darling!

M is for your mah-velous sense of style. Purple army pants and blue striped shirts do match! And orange flowers go with pink shirts, definitely.
C is for your courage- "I won't cry when the doctor gives me a shot. I'll be brave." And how you try so hard not to cry when you fall down.
K is for your kicks and leaps and beautiful tricks and dances. Just today you showed me a "leap turn" And you said you will only use your awesome kicking leaping powers for good-- "I am a Supergirl Princess and I kill bad guys. I bite their bums."
E is for excitement, which you display with your quiet, happy smile and sometimes with your little round oh! mouth. And sometimes if it's really exciting you jump up and down and giggle. Sometimes you scream. You have quite a set of pipes. Although everyone says you have the sweetest little voice, you can be loud and piercing.
N--is for nice. You are so kind to Hannah. She gobbles up her snacks and you give her some of yours. You always try to hug her when she's sad. You are also very concerned about others and love, love, love babies. You get your baby voice out and say things like, "Oh, little Boston." or "You are so cute little Sophie." And then you tickle their toes and bring them treats and kiss them a lot.
Z-Zoom! (Gosh who put a "Z" in your name anyway?) You aren't really a zoomer, although you do love to race me and Hannah into the bathroom or the bedroom and you will often put on your running shoes. If it's a hike or I want you to hurry, usually your "shoes are too tired." You like to rest, and you are a good, good sleeper. Not being a zoomer definitely has it's pluses--you have never ran into the street and been hit by a car. I can't tell you how grateful I am for this.
I- Imagination and Intelligence are two of your best qualities. Smart, smart, smart, you have always been. (You seem to think that I am smart too, always asking me why? why? why? and then when I say, "I don't know." Giving me the eye and saying firmly, "Yes, you do know Mom!") You remember things that we thought you forgot long long ago. You also pick up on things with little or no effort, like letters, numbers, book memorization, spelling your name, etc. As far as imagination goes, your favorite right now is to pretend that you are a baby and I am your dad (yeah, not your mom, your dad.), and you love to pretend that you are Cinderella and I am the prince (why do I always get the boy roles?). During quiet time I sometimes listen as you read yourself books using all different voices for the characters or I peek in and see your ponies arranged in elaborate configurations.
E- Emotional. I mean this in the nicest way, as in a synonym for "sensitive" which as you can see does not start with an 'e'. When the prince dances with Sleeping Beauty at the end of the movie, you cry tears of joy. When you see a sad picture, like of a lonely baby, you get tears in your eyes. When you think about getting married and moving away from me, you cry. Sometimes you just want to be by yourself. And sometimes, even though you're big and brave now, you say to me, "I need some mommy-holding," and you crawl into my lap.
We love having you in our family!

Three princesses and a prince! For our delightful Miss Mckenzie's birthday we invited her cousins over for a tea party (We don't drink tea, just the fruit kind, and you try explaining that to a 4-year-old). Everyone wore their fancy clothes and I made some fancy cupcakes and helped Kenzie make some fancy treat bags for all of her guests. Hannah was unmanageably ornery so she was sleeping when this picture was taken. She woke up in time for cupcakes though.

We played pin the crown on the princess (those magnets they send with the phonebook are so useful!), and a rousing game of duck duck goose.

In our version of this game everyone eventually stands up and runs around screaming. Very exciting.

Kenzie got some Fancy Nancy clothes from Grandma and Grandpa Chambers, to add to her fancy collection, some fun play-doh stuff from Gracie and a princess picture and some butterflies from Kandelyn and Koy. Earlier in the week she got to have a special day with Grandma and Grandpa Hansen and they had their own tea party and they gave her a Fancy Nancy game! Holy Fancy Nancy! Talk about indoctrination. At least Fancy Nancy is a decent role model.

Our tea party was somewhat fancy. At least I bought a pink tablecloth. I did have their cute little treat bags all set up on the tables but children and decorations do not work at our house. Large napkins do though.
Kenzie and Kandelyn have been the best of friends since before they could talk. Sherrie used to watch Kenzie while I coached cross country and Kenzie and Kanders would sign the word, "friend! friend!" whenever I dropper her off. They still love to play together.

Later that night we went to Chuckee Cheese to celebrate. Once Kenzie got the concept of earning tickets she was pretty excited about it, but mostly she just wanted to play on the playground in the sky. We forgot our camera but we were saved by Chuckee. (That sounds kind of scary. It reminds me of some horror movie). I have to say Chuckee Cheese is everything I remember from my childhood. Loud, Exciting, A Kids Dream Come True. Except I don't remember the scraggily looking adult/teens commandeering the easiest games so that they could earn millions of tickets (no kids in sight). (Good job man without a job--You CAN pop bubbles on a screen so fast that you earned 20 tickets with one token!) I tried not to be bitter, but did manage to shoot them a few nasty looks. Hey! I wanted a turn on the bubble popping game.

Happy Birthday Kenzer. We love you.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Post your points Here

We didn't really do a good job this week. (Stop cheering, I can hear you!) But it was worth it. We took a short trip this weekend to see Jared, my brother, and Pam get married! It was a lovely ceremony in a cool dance hall in Lincoln, Nebraska. Jared was resplendent in a white tux, and of course he had a cane. We were all surprised he chose white. If I remember correctly, lime green and frilly was his favorite for my wedding. :)
I forgot the battery for my camera, but my Grandma was nice enough to take some pics for us.

Traveling gives me the munchies. And my mom made Eclair Cake, this chocolate, pudding and graham cracker concoction that is really delicious. We also didn't get to attend church on Sunday, so no points for us. :(
Sorry you have closed eyes, Pam. It's the only picture I have of us. Welcome to our crazy family!

Whenever we pose for something silly, like a fake mustache picture, I look vaguely like Hitler. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because my sisters are so lovely. Cute sisters, I love you! Even if your loveliness makes me look like Hitler.

Points earned: 21
How'd you do?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Sledding, ignoring the basic principles of science and Safety

Once, when I was in college I took a physics course. My teacher was awesome, my brain was not. I do remember something about laws of motion and apples falling onto Newton's head, but other than that I did not retain a lot.

So, when Mike hiked the girls to the top of a very large hill during our President's Day adventure, while I stayed at the bottom to take some pictures, it seemed logical as my two young children sped towards me (without their father on the sled), to step in front of the sled and stop it. Honestly. It was my mother bear instinct.

In my head I thought, "Children. Going toooo Fast. Death. Concussions. Must Stop Now." Then I stepped in front of the sled. Hannah, who was probably giggling previously, bounced off onto the frozen ground and started crying. I fell down and Kenzie sped merrily along losing speed as the hill leveled out. No one was seriously physically damaged, although Hannah was probably scarred for life, and Mike was laughing hysterically. I was ticked. I do not take kindly to people laughing at me when I am trying to save someone's life.

After I got over my initial ticked-ness and Mike stopped laughing at me (I think he yelled to me, "Haven't you ever heard of inertia?" Or some other equally insulting science tidbit), and Hannah was verified to have equal size pupils that reacted to light, and allowed to eat snow, we had a great time. Kenzie loved sledding and even hauled the sled up the hill herself for the chance at speeding down without mom or dad. Here's a picture sequence of our fun times:

Dad takes Hannah and Kenzie up to the top of a very large steep hill while mom waits at the bottom, expecting Dad to test hill before sending children speeding down it alone.

Happy unsuspecting children on the sled of death.

Dad sends floppy, uncoordinated, too young children hurtling down the hill. I take a picture and become increasingly alarmed at their speed. Pictures stop. I step in front of sled. Hannah is scarred for life from sledding and only wants to eat snow after she bounces off from my stupid maneuver. Mike laughs hysterically. I was trying to protect them, but I caused more harm. (Is this some life lesson for parents? If so, I don't like the feeling)

Kenzie loves sledding and has a good time despite mom's stupidity and requisite anger and loss of pride.

I force Hannah to ride down the hill with me: "Stop crying! Sledding is fun. And if I'm with you on the sled I can't step in front of it and bounce you off, so don't worry."

Two lessons: Interfering for "their protection" can cause more harm than good if done in obtrusive and blunt ways, and don't force or expect younger kids to love what older kids do.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


We got 27 points last week. How'd you do?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Pay it forward

"The first 3 people to leave a comment on this post will receive a handmade gift from me during this year. When and What will be a surprise. There's a small catch though....Post this same thing on your blog and then come back and leave a comment telling me you're in. Remember, only the first 3 comments receive the gift."

I got this from my friend Natalie's blog. What a cute idea. I am all for getting handmade gifts. I hope you don't mind if my handmade gift is some stick I pick up off the street and paint gold and sparkly. Just kidding. I would send you home canned peaches, but bottles don't travel well. I'll have to think of something cool, or maybe bribe my sister to help me make something cute to send to ya'll.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Living on Love

Mike and I have gotten a little behind on our debts, and things are beginning to collapse financially (this is a hypothetical situation), and we've decided to model our little home budget after the government's new ideas for rescuing the economy from financial ruin:
1. Spend, spend, spend until we can't anymore. And then spend some more on cow bloating experiments in space.
2. Borrow lots and lots of money from our relatives, especially our foreign ones that hate us and are good at suppressing basic human rights. Let them set the terms of how we will repay and when. Rely on their good will and keep borrowing more and more.
3. Throw large quantities of the borrowed money out the window at passerbys. Buy an island. Buy a few seats in Congress. Throw money into the sea and hope that it floats back up someday. Build a gigantic monument to ourselves. Make large loans to disreputable relatives and cousins (not that we have any of these, but hypothetically), who just lost millions of dollars gambling on horses.
4. Cross our fingers and hope for the best.

I'm pretty sure this will get us out of debt and moving forward to recovery in our financial breakdown. What do you think?

I'm not a rabid anything, Democrat or Republican, but I don't get it. I just don't get it. It's like the Wizard of Oz. "The great and powerful government will rescue us." But really it's just a whole bunch of smoke and mirrors. My idea of a solution would be to CUT SPENDING, hunker down and weather the storm.
Okay, now that I've solved the world's problems, here's some pictures that have nothing to do with the above.
Ahh, young love. Fancy Nancy is so pampered. Now that she has her own fancy bed, all she does is sleep all day. I've decided that the federal government needs to use some of the bailout money to create a Craft911 call center where people like me who attempt to do crafts can call when things go horribly awry. This cute little bed was brought to you by my wrapping paper, fabric scraps and paint sticks. Craft911. I also attempted to paint and then modgepodge my giant magnet board. Wow. The operators at Craft 911 would be telling that story for decades, if only there was a Craft 911.

On Valentine's Day we did a little scavenger hunt with the girls. This is Kenzie finding a clue under the table. It ended with the discovery of two princess Walkie Talkies. The girls love them. I'm pretty sure the relationship will only last a week or two, but that's what young love is all about, right? Kenzie keeps trying to run away from Hannah so that they can talk through the Walkie Talkies, but Hannah doesn't get it.
Kenzie, "Okay Hannah, I'm going downstairs so I can talk to you on my phone. You stay up here. I'll go downstairs."
Hannah says, "Okay," nodding her head very solemnly. Kenzie runs towards the stairs. Hannah runs after Kenzie, walkie talkie in hand.
After our scavenger hunt we delivered valentines to our grandmas and grandpas. As far as our romanticness that day, Mike and I trade off for Valentines, and I always think when it's my turn that I'm going to plan some huge romantic something. Instead I bought Mike some running shorts and socks. I could have folded the socks into some elaborate heart pattern, but I didn't think of that until now. Dang! Next time it's my turn I'll be sure to remember that. It will make the day so much more special. Lest my sarcasm fool you, I am a sappy romantic head. It was a great Valentines Day, Mike is the best and The End.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Coloring with Hannah (and Points!)

It's a daring proposition to take out the markers while Hannah is around. Of course they're "washable" markers, and she absolutely loves them, so sometimes I gear myself up for messiness and let her color with them. This is how it goes at our house:
"Okay Hannah, only touch this part of the marker. Not the end where the color comes out. This part. That's where you hold it."
She impatiently tries to grab the marker. "Hannah. Wait. wait. Wait. Do you understand?" I demonstrate correct marker-holding technique again.
She grabs it. A little gets on her hands. Okay, deep breath. It's okay. She's just a child. Kids get markers on their hands. Deep breath. During my deep breath sequence I watch Kenzie coloring with the markers. She does pretty good. I look back to Hannah. Somehow in this brief calming moment, marker is on the floor, marker is on Hannah's shirt and marker is up and down Hannah's arms.
"No Hannah! No!" I grab desperately for the marker, causing her to pull it into her body protectively. Her pants are now markered.
"We only draw on the paper! On the paper!" As I wrestle for the marker I end up with marker all over my hands. I succesfully cap the purple marker as Hannah reaches for red.
"Oh no. We're done with markers. Mommy can only handle about 5 min. of markers. No more. No more."
Now Hannah is crying hysterically and everything she touches turns purple. She reaches for me to wipe her nose on and smear her hands, but I carefully swoop her to the sink. I think I've avoided most of the mess. I know they have those special markers, but I have philosophical differences with markers that only allow you to color in approved areas. Plus, they're delayed. It's like those "energy saving" light bulbs. You flip on the switch and think you've got the wrong switch because it takes so long. Maybe they should market those Color Wonder markers as "Energy Saving." Then congress can pass a bill that doesn't allow the regular kind of markers to be manufactured anymore because they were just too messy. But I digress. . .

"Mess Tolerance" should be listed on the job application for motherhood. I hate cleaning; our laundry should feel pleased that I at least get around to it once every 10 days, and dishes? I hope you're reading this because I expect you to start picking up the slack and do yourselves most of the time.

So things like coloring with markers, doing crafts with children, or any activities that cause more than the usual mess (anything fun for children), I have a hard time with. The usual mess seems mountainous enough without adding glittery sparkles and marker handprints to it. I guess I need to stop being so lazy. I can sweep twice a day. Really. I can. And I love mopping. It's so good for my brain.

I think this Couples Challenge is a bit like playing with markers with Hannah. Part of me is all excited to provide some fun activity but the other part of me is yelling, "No! No! Why did I even try this?" And then I just get marker all over my hands anyway. (Okay that was a stretch. I'm sorry. I always used to tell my English students they needed to transition better, and I was going for the transition, but it just didn't quite work out that way. If I had a red pen and was correcting this blog I'd write, "Needs better transition" right in the margin there on the left)

If you're participating in our Couples Challenge, add your points to the comments. Remember 28 points possible (Sunday exercise points come from exercising your faith or patience at church that day). We got 25 points. I lost two for eating like a crazy woman and Mike lost one because he was so busy making sure I was a princess on my birthday that he didn't have time to exercise. How'd you do?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Hooray for 30!

Now that I am 30, it's time to sit back and reflect on 30 years of a cavity-free life. That's right. Cavity free! Hooray. Even though my dentist didn't make me a nice certificate and hang my polaroid picture on his wall, don't worry. I'll just head over to my Microsoft Publisher program and make myself one. I'll hang it right next to the fake blog awards I give myself and my Master's degree. They're all about the same level of work.

I don't even floss regularly. Now that I'm getting older though, I am starting to try and floss more. Especially after my last visit to the dentist when I heard some code words like, "Looking at the lateral 38B*, and it has a little catch." "Yes, you've been watching that one doctor," said the hygienist. "We'd better fill it." Excuse me? I sat up. "Does that mean I have a cavity?" I squeaked, terrified at the prospect. I wasn't 30 yet. I still had 3 months to go before I could declare myself cavity free for 30 whole years. My greatest accomplishment was about to be drilled! "I've never had a cavity before," I said.
*I have no idea what he said here, I just know it was some number and position indicating a back tooth.

"Wellllll," said the Dentist, "It's still okay. If it catches any more then I'll have to fill it."

"Flossing might help," added the cheerful dental hygienist, who has given me gentle lectures before. I was so relieved. Six more months of cavity-freeness! I would make it to my birthday.
Now I floss more regularly and I'm not sure if I'll make it to 40, but let it be written that I made it to 30.

I have nothing against turning 30, especially since I don't have any cavities. I guess I'm not so young anymore, but I'm looking forward to the days when I can complain loudly about the "kids these days." I'm also planning on running my first marathon this year, since I'm still in my prime and all.

On Sunday we had a combined celebration of Kenzie's and my birthday at my parent's house. Alisha and Dustin were in town and so was Shaelynn. Kenzie told everyone all day we were celebrating our birthdays. I made us a little heart cake (why, oh why didn't I have my mom make an ice cream pie? What was I thinking?! Mom, will you make me an ice cream pie? Please, please, please?), and then we opened presents.

Kenzie, whose birthday is in 10 days, had no problem with celebrating early. We gave her a Fancy Nancy book, she got a jump rope and big bubbles from Sophie (aka Alisha and Dustin), a princess scooter from my parents and-- the crowning glory of the evening-- a Fancy Nancy doll from Shaelynn.
It was like that moment in "A Christmas Story" when he opens his red rider bb gun. Speechless. Amazed. Thrilled. I'm glad Fancy Nancy won't shoot her eye out though.

Kenzie only had eyes for Fancy Nancy after that. When it was time for cake and ice cream she lovingly placed Fancy Nancy next to the baby swing saying quietly and adoringly, "You're the fanciest doll I've ever had." After cake and ice cream she strapped Nancy to the scooter basket and danced with her feet. "Ohhhhh," she cooed, holding Nancy's face in her hands, "Look at your green eyes! You are so fancy!"
They are now inseparable.
My birthday was terrific. Mike took the day off, brought me flowers and balloons, and was Prince Charming. I got an under-cabinet radio (now I can't walk around with my boombox on my shoulder, MC Hammer pants blowing in the wind), and a huge magnet board! We also went out to dinner at Applebees. AND, And, Mike took a half day off today so that I could go get a "hot stones" treatment at the spa Shaelynn works at. Seriously, how did I luck out and get to marry this guy? Now that I feel all mushy and gooey, I'm going to have to think of something sarcastic to say to make myself feel normal again. . . Nothing's coming to mind. It was sweet and he's adorable.

Here's me showing off not only my cavity-free, thousands of dollars dental-work smile, but also my cabinet radio. Marvelous.

So now that I feel all relaxed from my "hot stones" treatment (They don't burn you with rocks. It's actually quite pleasant), and pleased as pumpkin pie (because afterwards Shaelynn took me to the Cheesecake Factory and I had the most holy and divine cheesecake I have ever eaten), I'm looking forward to the next 30 years. (Especially if I get to share them with Mike and my girls)

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Science Saturday!

So, even though I don't believe in science, I've always dreamed of being a scientist. My favorite ideas for experiments involve things like raising one child entirely on mayo and one entirely on miracle whip to see which really is better or if it's just a matter of what you were raised with (I mean entirely in the sense of only putting that on their sandwhiches).
I've also tried to sacrifice my body to science numerous times. I've done experiments like, "What happens when you subsist entirely on cold cereal for an entire summer of college" (Not good. Not good), or "Hypnobirthing, is it a crock, or can you birth children without anesthesia?" (Yes, it's kind of a crock, but if you have short labor it's possible) or "How many workouts can my hair survive before it looks like I'm growing dreadlocks?" (About 3 medium-effort workouts spread out over 4 days)
Now I need to save my body since I plan on becoming a world class mountaineer at the age of 60, so I've moved my experiments to the world of plastics--Milk Jugs to be exact. On one of my previous posts there was a question as to whether or not a statement I made was scientifically correct.

Well, I have photo evidence that I was kind of right-- and being kind of right in the world of science makes for great theories and papers. I submit to you my Scientific Theory of Where the Milk Jug Will Break When it Falls to the Floor After Being Balanced Precariously in the Fridge.

Ahem, (let me think of some big words here), after a strict scientific analysis of milk jugs and their construction we conclude that milk jugs have two glaring weaknesses; One being the circle punched into the side for who knows what reason, and the second being the seam along the handle. If a milk jug drops from the fridge onto the floor, we conclude that one of two things will happen. 1. The handle will split and spray milk all over your newly mopped floor, or 2. The circular impression in the jug will pop out and spray milk all over your newly mopped floor and cupboards.

So you read it here first, Milk Jugs have two weak points! I better call Barack to see if he's going to do anything about this. CHANGE! Change! Change the milk carton construction!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Exercising My Patience

If you find a quote you love and hang it on your wall, deciding that you will remake your attitude because of this inspiring quote, you are sure to be tested the next day.

My quote:
"Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful."

I read this on my igoogle quote gadget, and I felt inspired. I don't always feel like I am succeeding at being a mother. Somedays I am pretty sure that I am scarring my children for life, and they will hate me when they grow-up. (Fine, hate me children. I'm going to be climbing mountains anyway.)

So I taped this quote to my wall and decided that if I want to be successful, I need to love being a mom. For me, the idea of being a SAHM is wonderful and I love it, but in practice I am finding it very difficult. This quote was going to help me! I would love being a mom!

But I was not loving being a mom while I was at the nice Family center they have at the gym on Base (a common play area with a video player and playground surrounded by treadmills, bikes and ellipticals), and Hannah screamed the entire 18 minutes of my workout. (18 minutes is a very, very long time) I was not loving being a mom when Hannah decided it was bath time and dumped a bottle of water all over herself in the car. Yeah, at this point, I was ready to rip up my quote and have a bad attitude. Loving Motherhood and Success be danged! (In my head I swore, but not on this blog)

I am not the type of girl who always dreamed of raising children. When I was younger, babysitting was pretty much pure torture. I am not a natural children-lover. Babies often confuse and bewilder me. Children are often bad-tempered and dirty.

I do love my children whole-heartedly. They have changed me for the better. They teach me how to be unselfish. They teach me how to love. They teach me to appreciate the little things.

But I still struggle with "loving" being a mother in practice. I don't wake up every morning and think, "Yes! Today I get to feed my children food they hate, listen to them scream when I deny them access to vaseline and toothpaste, make them do things they don't want to do like get dressed, and get boogers wiped on my clothes! Alright!"

Maybe though, to love being a mom, I don't necessarily have to love those things.

Perhaps the trick to loving being a mom is refocusing. Maybe I need to start each day saying, "Alright! Today I can feed my children because we are lucky enough to have food (not just vaseline and toothpaste). And today I get to learn more about my girls by trying new things with them. Today I get to sit on the floor and build a block tower. Today I get to go outside and not sit in a cubicle all day. Today I get to play. Today I get to teach about choices when Kenzie asks, her eleventh question in a long litany of "Little Mermaid" questions, 'Why is Ursula bad?' Today I get to explain, and show, that we choose our attitude and our actions. Alright!"

I'm keeping my quote up, and I'll try again after nap time.

P.S. Today begins the great Couples Challenge! (That 18 minutes of Hannah screaming was my attempt at getting a workout point today) It's worth $40 now, and promises to be a great face-off! It's not too late to join! Leave your team name in the comments below if you want to join us!

Sunday, February 1, 2009


This week I managed to get a cold, so we didn't really do anything. I am a pouty, whiny sick person. Mike was kind enough to stay home a half day to let me sleep when I was at my worst; He is such a kind soul. I credit my speedy recovery to him and Emergen-C.

And I forgot to blog about this:
Last week, Mike put shiny new aluminum wraps on the clean stove! Hooray! (He did it and then took a picture. He must have been impressed with how they looked. I was too.)

Lately, Kenz has been obsessed with "Fancy Nancy," and yesterday we made her a "fancy"
bathtub. Today she told her primary teacher that she, "Has to teach my family how to be fancy." It's true. I love that book because I am not fancy, and Kenzie is so girlie, just like the little girl in the book.

I promise I didn't tell her to pose, she just chose this little hand gesture all on her own. Notice the beautiful beads, ponies and hair things decorating her fancy bathtub. Don't we all wish that we had such fancy tubs? (And I wouldn't be creeped out by psychotic ponies staring at me in the bathtub. It would be fancy.)

This is my favorite fancy pose. Very exquisite and extraordinary!
And one more--
These two girls mean everything to me!