Tuesday, December 20, 2011


I wanted to write a list of things that have made me cry while I've been pregnant, but I think a shorter list might be "Things That Don't Make Me Cry While Pregnant."

I realized that perhaps I have become slightly over-emotional when I walked into Kenzie's first grade class as a surprise guest and got all choked up seeing her happy, toothless grin of excitement. She was sitting on the floor, surrounded by her classmates, and she looked so grown-up. I didn't want to embarrass the poor girl, so I managed to keep it together, but seriously, who cries just because they see their kid at school?

The next hint that perhaps everything is not right in the hormone department came while I was driving home from shopping. "Home" by Dierks Bentley came on the radio and I cried real tears when he started singing the chorus. "From the Mountains high, to the wave-crashed coast, there's a way to find better days I know. . .This is still the place that we all call home."

"Oh," I sobbed aloud to my empty car. "America really is great."

Now that heartburn is settling in (Just in time for the holidays!), perhaps I will become a little more angry and less sensitive.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Baby Names

We're not finding out whether this baby is a boy or girl. This has been met mostly with, "Oh, that'll be fun," reactions from people who are probably thinking, "You lunatics. That's like not taking penicillin or not having a computer." I have to admit that it was my idea. My sister Alisha did it this way and she thought it was marvelous, and being a curious soul, I wanted to see what it was like. Because hey, birthing without drugs does not provide me with enough excitement. Just call me an adrenaline junkie.

Mike is more in the "we're lunatics" camp about not finding out, but because I am swelling to giant portions and I am capable of squashing him like a bug just by sitting on his lap, he is willing to go along with my plan. Although he did try to see what it was at the big 20-week ultrasound, his ultra-sound reading skills were not as good as his engineering skills. He suspects that it is another little girl (Oh the Hair! uttered in the same tone of despair as Herbert Morrison's report on the Hindenburg disaster), because the ultrasound technician began saying, "Oh she's looking so good. Look how beautiful she is. I see her little leg." But later the technician did say, "I don't know why I'm calling it a she. I really don't know what sex it is."

I suspect that it is another baby. I have no intuition one way or another. I was a big believer in mother's intuition and all that pregnancy glow and feeling about just knowing what you're having until Hannah. I was sure Hannah was a boy. Positive. The pregnancy was so different from when I was pregnant with Kenzie. I was sick (with Kenzie I wasn't sick). I had heartburn. I was carrying differently. I had dreams that it was a boy. I just knew it was a boy. At the ultrasounds they would say, "Yep. A little girl." and I would shake my head and say, "You can never be sure, huh?" And secretly think that all this technology really didn't amount to much. I was positive it was a boy.

Then Hannah was born and my belief in mother's intuition was shot. (Don't worry Hannah, I'm glad you're a girl and it was probably best to rid me of my false beliefs early on in motherhood.)

Anywho, we're keeping our options open for names. We'd like to go for a name that ends in a -uh sound, as in "Hann-ah", since we've got Ellie and Kenzie.  Here's what I've come up with for boys, "Noah." The end. I like Noah, although my friend just named her baby Noah, and one of Mike's cousins just name their baby Noah. So maybe there's just a flood of Noahs. (Haha.)
For girls, I like "Ava" but our neighbor's little baby is Ava.

Hannah suggests that, "If it's a girl, we'll call it Sunny. If it's a boy, we'll call it Moony." Then she pauses and adds seriously, "And we can call him Moonface."  (I think she's hoping for another girl.)

Friday, November 18, 2011


Besides developing varicose veins that a phelbotomist would kill for, I have been developing another something that I hope will prove less painful.
I'm writing a book. I'm doing this crazy Nanowrimo thing and besides feeling completely insecure about my writing and my characters in addition to all the other things I usually feel insecure about, it's been fun. 
I have 25,000 words, which means I'm slightly behind in my word count, but I'm halfway to a goal of 50,000. I'm so goal-oriented that I'm halfway tempted to write "Blah, blah, blah" over and over for the words I'm missing, but I'm pretty sure that would not help me write the next Great American Novel. Because that is what this is. For sure. Except there's not enough Angst and Zombies. But I still have 25,000 words to go, so maybe some of that will work its way in. 
Here's my favorite excerpt:

When God was handing out talents in heaven, I imagine the scenario went something like this:
“Ahh,” he smiled down at me, “What talent would you like little one?”

Eager and anxious and nervous because there was a huge line behind me I must have forgot to ask for a useful skill. I was probably thinking about cooking, or being a good friend, or raising children, or some other unselfish and noble skill. But then I balked. Being in the presence of God must have made me jittery because I blurted out “Swimming! I want to be a good swimmer.”
I imagine that God drew his bushy, yet benevolent eyebrows together and possibly slightly frowned.

“Swimming?” He must have gently asked.

“Yes, yes. Swimming. I heard the earth is three-fourths water,” I laughed nervously, then coughed, when no one else laughed, and then nodded very seriously. “Swimming.”

God probably looked down at the blueprint for my life and thought, “Well, swimming won’t really help her with a history degree, teaching, and then three children, but, swimming it is.”
Then he smiled, made a few changes on the plan and told me to do my best.

And I am. But I sure could use a few other talents right now. My stellar swimming skills notwithstanding I think I’m drowning in motherhood. 

Saturday, November 12, 2011


I'm always making to-do lists, but this sums up how I feel somedays. When I think about #2 I think about dinosaurs chasing me, or children whining, or fireballs whizzing through the sky. Not that these things happen, but that's what survive says to me.

What do you survive?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Brief Angry History of Daylight Saving Time

George Vernon Hudson, a man too busy collecting insects to think about how Daylight Saving Time might possibly cause a four-year-old to scream in a high-pitched voice for fifteen minutes at 8:00 p.m. four days into the fall time change that she wants "TO BE HOME RIGHT NOW!" while driving in the car, when her mother has been working so very carefully with her and gained some solid ground on not throwing fits, proposed shifting an hour of daylight to the evening in the summer so he could COLLECT BUGS.

William Willet, a British man who had never dragged a sobbing, hysterical six-year-old out to the car in his bare feet on a cold winter morning to go to school, and had never bodily carried a four-year-old, kicking and screaming to her carpool and shoved her inside and said, "Watch out! The door's shutting," as she tried to cling to him, because they are sleeping an hour less than normal, also proposed DST in Britain so he could GOLF LONGER.

Foolishly, most of the U.S., under the delusion that they are saving energy, money or anything at all, agrees to this mass conspiracy against parents and their children and continues to change their clocks like lemmings falling off cliffs each spring and fall.
The End

Monday, November 7, 2011

Zion in Fall

Pic #1

If you've never been to Zion National Park in the fall, you should go. I, (yes me), with my 6 megapixel Nikon D40, took these pictures, no touch up this past weekend.
In one of my undergrad writing classes I remember a quote that our teacher read to us that went something like, "Even the poorest astronomer, through diligence, is bound to see some shooting stars." Now, for the life of me, I can't find the exact quote. Seriously Google? You've answered all my other obscure questions, why can't you find my quote?
Anyway, that's how I feel about my photography. I have a decent camera and sometimes I get lucky with lighting and scenery. It's easy to take beautiful pictures in Zion, especially in the fall.
Which one should we make humongous to hang on our wall?

Pic #2

Pic #3

Pic #4

Pic #5

Pic #6

Pic #7

Pic #8

Sunday, November 6, 2011


The day before Mike left for Alabama he and his brother Dave did Lotoja.I got to be their support driver and had a good time driving them around and pretending to think that they weren't crazy. 
They finished a little slower than they wanted, but did a great job. 
I made a little scrapbook of the adventure: 
| Learn About Mixbook Photo Books | Create your own Photo Book

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A Surefire Wicked Witch Formula

Mike is home now, but for the past five weeks he has been in Alabama.  He was selected to attend Squadron Officer School in Montgomery, AL. We were excited for the opportunity that Mike would have to learn about leadership and Air Force philosophy as one of only 14 civilians in a class of over 400 of the Air Force's top officers. 

We were not excited to be seperated for five weeks. But we also knew that many couples who are actually in the military go through much longer and frequent deployments (where they are involved in wars), so we tried to grin and bear it. We also shortened it with me flying out to Alabama last week with the girls to visit and stay with him the last week. (More about that fun time in another post)

I wrote the following while he was gone, and I've slightly edited it, since I feel a lot better about life now that he's home:

We're almost at the 2 week mark and I am pretty sure that by the end my children will hate me. I always imagine them growing up and writing books about how I scarred them for life. I imagine them writing sentences like, "My mother was a yeller. I still jump when I hear loud noises."  Or "My drug problems all stem back to my mother's inability to follow through on promises."

When Mike calls, the girls and I are always in some pitched battle for supremacy. He gets to hear all about how if the kids don't go to bed right now and/or pick up their stupid toys, listen to me, do their homework, they'll spend eternity in their rooms. I bet it makes him miss me.

The worst part is that my patience is gone by about 2 p.m. Usually, when I know Mike will be home by 5, I can hold on to my sarcastic tongue and keep myself in patient mommy mode, but now I know he won't be home I just let loose: "Why yes Hannah, you're right. My whole goal in life is to make you miserable. I can see by how you are crying hysterically and yelling that you hate me that I am succeeding."

Today Kenzie called home with a sick stomach from school. Then she wanted to play and run and eat candy. So my patience was gone at noon. Her new favorite tone of voice is Defiant Whine. So when I told her she could not watch a movie or play, or eat anything but toast and applesauce, she said, "I'm never going to checkout again. Because of you. You are so mean. Mean, mean, mean!" I felt triumphant and only managed to not say anything by singing softly to myself, "I am the champion, my friend. And I'll keep on fighting to the end."

Actually my lack of patience is not the worst part. The worst part is knowing that I'm a whiny baby because I don't even have it that bad. People's husbands are deployed for months at a time and I can't even handle five (okay we're only at 2) weeks? Seriously. What is my problem?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Question and Answer

1. What will Stephanie do when she does what she has always warned her children about and slams her finger in the sliding van door? She will curse out loud, jump around and then try to make up for her real swearing by fake swearing. "GOSH DANG IT ALL TO HECK!" After checking to make sure that her fingers are still attached to her hand she will whine continuously the whole ride home, at the same time thinking she is amazing for not crying. (My finger is okay now. It just hurt for a bit)
2. How long does it take for Stephanie to feel completely insane when Mike is gone on a business trip?
One week. Then she starts molting. And yelling. And maybe feeling sorry for herself.
3. Why is it that right when it is time to consume more calories because a baby is growing inside you, everything tastes like broccoli and makes you want to barf?
While Mormons believe that "men will be punished for their own sins and not for Adam's transgressions," it's possible that pregnancy and its accompanying "joys" are women being punished for Eve's transgressions. (Ummm, is this blasphemous? If so I take it back.)
4. How many months can Stephanie succesfully hide a pregnancy?
One. Then, although she tries to deny it for another two months, her belly gives her away.
5. What is Stephanie's fondest wish right now, besides Mike being home and blog stardom, fame and money?
Going to the doctor and having them say, "Oh, you're really 20 weeks along, not 13! Wow!"

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Crazy is as Crazy Does

Yes, that's an arrow on my belly. We're excited to welcome our fourth little one at the end of March. (Because I have too many brain cells and need to kill a few more off.)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Swim Lesson Fiasco

This summer we signed the girls up for their second round of swim lessons. Kenzie has become pretty confident in the water so I signed her up for a Level 2 class where she could start to learn some strokes and get better at swimming.

All summer long the girls asked me when swim lessons would start. Finally at the end of July, we put on our swim suits, grabbed our towels and headed to the Roy Complex for our lessons. They were so excited. Hannah even headed off to class (even though the teacher was a boy!) without any trouble at all.

I was playing with Ellie in the bleachers, watching the action and thinking how wonderful swim lessons would be and the next thing I know, a sobbing, screeching Kenzie is next to me crying about how she doesn't like swim lessons. I am puzzled. Kenzie won't tell me what happened and I didn't see anything. I try giving her a hug (drenching my clothes) and sending her back. "You like swimming. Look you can do what your class is doing. You can do it. You've floated on your back before. Go on."

I try gently directing her back to her class. She refuses, crying and crying.

"Here I'll walk you back out there. Come on." I take her hand and we walk over to her class. Her teacher spends some valuable class time trying to convince Kenzie back to the water. She starts to get back in. I am walking away when the crying Kenzie comes back to my side again.

My patience, which I did not think would be tried by my children refusing to do things I paid for that are supposed to be fun, runs thin. I try the reward mode.

"Look Kenz. If you go back to swim lessons I have an ice cream cone with your name on it that you can have when we get home. But you have to go swim and stay in your class."

She sits next to me and cries harder.

"Come on don't you want an ice cream cone? Mmm. You love ice cream." (Just like she loves swimming, I thought)

The forty-five minutes of class are ticking away as her class members practice floating and swimming to the teacher, things that Kenzie can do. Things she needs to practice. I give her a five minute time limit to get back to her class, or no ice cream!  The five minutes tick away. My patience ticks away.

"Fine. Kenz, these lessons cost $45. Do you understand how many chores that is?  That's 180 chores. You're going to swim lessons or you're doing chores for the rest of your life to pay for them. Do you like chores? Because you're going to have to do four a day. Remember how you hate doing two a day? Well it's going to be worse. Four a day. It's going to take you all day. And they'll be chores I chose."

"I don't want to go to swim lessons," Kenzie sobs. "And I won't do chores! I won't!"

"Well how are you going to pay me?" I'm getting angrier by the minute. "Just go out there and swim! You like swimming! Don't be a quitter." (resorting to name calling always works with children)

At this point, my sister-in-law, steps in. "Hey Kenz, we're going to Uncle Josh's work to swim after lessons today. Do you want to go?"

A tear-streaked Kenzie nods.

"Well, you have to go and finish your lessons."

"Did you hear that Kenz? Go on. Go!"  Kenzie finally (with ten minutes left in the class), goes back to class.

After class we had a great time swimming with Josh and Sherrie and their kids and Kenzie showed her prowess at swimming underwater and back floating. I know the class isn't too advanced for her.

"Next time I'll go to class," says Kenzie.

But it was the same pattern at the next lesson. What the heck? She even started acting the same way at tumbling lessons, coming out of class crying at me. Finally, when she refused to put her swimsuit on for the third lesson, I gave up. Luckily I was still able to get a refund, or she really would have been doing 180 chores.

I never thought I would have to teach my children everything. When they are babies it's things like teaching a child not to throw themselves off of surfaces taller than they are, how to get food to their mouth instead of their ear, and how to go to sleep and stay asleep, that surprise me. I thought survival skills were somewhat innate.

Now that my kids are getting a little older it's lessons like "don't give up at the first sign of hard work," or "throwing fits makes people want to run away from you," and "if you're not nice no one will want to be around you," that surprise me. And the fact that we have to learn these lessons OVER AND OVER AND OVER.

It's hard to teach them how to be happy.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


1. Don't wake up the baby.
2. Don't make extra work for Mom.

We could have some peace around here if these darn kids would just cooperate.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Rage, Rage Against Trifles

When I was little from inside our house we could hear our neighbor yelling from inside her house at her boys. She had quite a set of pipes and I remember thinking, "She must be a pretty angry person. I won't ever yell like that."

Since parenthood is all about dining sumptuously on the words you previously said, of course I have yelled like that.

Yesterday in fact. And it was stupid.
Here, let me set the scene:
Hannah and Kenzie had their cousins over to play. I had gone in to use the bathroom and when I came out, Ellie, who had just been put down for her nap 30 minutes ago, was crying. ARGHHHHH.  Hannah and Koy were downstairs playing loudly by Ellie's bedroom. "Out!" I said in a furious whisper, pointing up the stairs with fire in my eyes. I wasn't at yelling level because that would only exacerbate the situation.

Right now the largest goal in my life is Naps and Bedtime. I suppose I'm OCD about it.

I hoped Ellie would go back to sleep if I took the kids outside and let it be quiet for a bit. She really should have been sleeping. Really. She missed her morning nap and needed a good couple hours to make up for it.

We headed outside and I put some sunscreen on Kenzie and squirted some into my hands to get ready for Hannah. "Hannah come and get some sunscreen."  She looked at me and stayed where she was.

"Hannah come and get some sunscreen right now, or you have to go inside."


My blood pressure was already high.  I was already super ticked that she had woken up Ellie, and now I had sunscreen all over my hands and she was going to make me get out of my chair in the shade and act on my threat in front of her friends.

Hannah ran around the yard, hiding behind the trampoline. I think if I was a bull I would have snorted and pawed the ground. I probably did snort. And I wiped the sunscreen on my hands on the grass so I could grab the little sucker.

"Hannah! If you don't get over here right now, you will be very sorry!!!!!"  I was yelling. The cousins cowered in terror. Hannah giggled and in a last ditch effort to avoid my charge jumped into the swim pool.

I waded into the pool, grabbed her by the arm and yelled some more. I managed to keep it a PG sort of yell.  "DANG IT ALL TO HECK! YOU ARE STAYING IN YOUR ROOM UNTIL YOUR FATHER COMES HOME! OR UNTIL YOU STOP DISOBEYING!"

I dragged her unceremoniously up to her room and heard Ellie screaming her guts out. Fantastic. I went back outside and calmed myself down before going back in to get Ellie. I checked on Hannah but she was pretending to sleep (soaking wet in her bed), so I ignored her and went back outside with Ellie.

Later, after my heart rate was restored to normal, I went back in to talk to Hannah. I felt pretty bad for yelling.  And for getting so angry. We made a deal with each other. I would practice not yelling if she would practice obeying.

So I'm going to try a little harder to be a little better. It was sunscreen. I could have handled that situation a lot better.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Sanity Questionable

This dirty doorknob picture was taken last week. It's the outside of the girls' door. Yes, the lock is on the outside. It's so we can play Cinderella more realistically. Of course I get to play the wicked stepmother.

I made good on my word (finally) to put a lock on their door. In my defense it was to save their lives. I've tried reasoning with them, saying in a calm voice, "Well, kicking your sister in the chest is unacceptable in our house. Would you like your time out on the stairs or in your room?"  This calm is met with hatred and kicking and scuzzing by the offender. So I continue in a calm voice, "Well, it looks like you choose your room." Then I gently grab them by both hands and walk their non-compliant self to the room. By this time I have usually suffered some sort of flesh wound and my temper is raising just slightly.  So I say something like, "If you don't stay in your room, you're going to be very sorry. I mean it! Don't open that door."  Then the door bangs open and shut as I try to hold the door closed and the offender tries to come out so they can hit/kick/scream/suck my brain. My temper does not improve and neither does theirs.

Usually I have to flee to my room, which I can lock myself into. But if I'm fleeing from the banshee, that leaves the other children unprotected. And I don't think I should have to lock myself in the room while the offender roams the house terrorizing the natives. Simple solution: a knob with a lock on it put on backwards. It has saved me from a few bruises, it has saved my children from a few yellings/spankings, and it has saved me from the madhouse.

Until this week. This week we had a little summer camp with some friends at our house. We had a great time learning about the water cycle, pretending cotton balls were clouds and playing rain drop tag. Then we went into the bedroom for some play time. I came in and sat down to monitor a little sharing problem.
Hannah said, "I'm going to shut the door!"
"No Hannah," I said. "Don't shut the door. Ellie's coming and she can come in."
"No! She can't!" and Hannah slammed the door before Ellie could come in.
I stood up and went to let Ellie in. The door was locked. Oh.
"Hannah! We're locked in here," I say trying to not fly into a rage that will terrify the six children shut into the room with me.
Hannah laughs. And laughs some more. I pull a bobby pin out of my hair and try picking the lock. I've never picked this type of lock before, so I become increasingly frustrated as the minutes tick by.
Someone wails, "We're going to die in here!"
"No, we're not going to die," I say, calmly thinking that Hannah might die later today. I look out the window and see the mail lady dropping off our mail. I open the window and I'm going to call out to her, but she is on the phone. I pause and the mail lady drives off. Surely Catherine will be coming out to get her mail soon. Won't she?
Ellie starts knocking on the door, getting a little whine in her voice.
"Watch out the window kids," I say. "If you see someone tell me right away." I go back to picking the lock.
"We don't have any water," someone moans.
"Hey Ellie, just a minute. Stay there sweetie."  I envision her crawling into the bathroom and falling in the toilet and drowning. I keep working the hairpin to no avail. I search the room for some other small object to pick the lock. Nothing. Hannah is still laughing. I give her a mean mommy glare.
"Look Mom! Tayson! I see Tayson," says Kenzie.
Hooray! I yell out the window to Tayson's father. "Hey Bryce, the kids have locked us in this room. Can you come and let me out?"
Bryce seems puzzled. "Really?"
"Ummm. Yes. I think the front door is unlocked."
"Are you all in there?" asks Bryce.
"Yes, well no. Ellie is outside the door."
Bryce and Tayson come and unlock the door.
"I wasn't sure if you were serious," said Bryce as he opened the door to let Ellie in and us out. "This'll make a good story."
Yes. A great story that illustrates why I can never own a daycare. I'd have to say that this falls higher on the embarrassment scale than the time I accidentally wore my pants backwards in sixth grade.
To top it off it happened again the next day. Just call me competent and collected.
And yes, I now know how to pick the lock (thanks Kristen).

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I Accomplished Something, No really. I swear.

Things that make me feel successful:
1. Taking a shower
2. Not yelling.
3. Putting all the breakfast and lunch dishes in the dishwasher by 4:57 p.m.
4. Washing off Ellie's high chair tray while the oatmeal/yogurt/goo is still fresh.
5. Walking out the door with shoes on everyone's feet.
6. Getting my girls' hair done without someone falling to the floor and yelling that they hate me.
7. Planning out dinners for a week, writing a grocery list and buying everything on the list
8. Working out.
9. Getting 20 minutes of reading from Kenzie
10. Not flipping my children off when they are whining at me
11. Swearing only in my head
12. Walking on the floor without getting crumby feet.
13. Changing Ellie's diaper right when she wakes up
14. Getting swimsuits on, making sure everyone is sunscreened, blowing up the pool, filling up the pool, and sitting in the shade while the girls play in it.
15. Finishing a story
16. Clean sheets
17. Going to bed before 10:00
18. Having all the laundry done by Tuesday
19. Not having laundry on the end of my bed, waiting to be hung up
20. Having our morning routine (dressed, comb hair, make bed, breakfast, regular chore, screen chore*) completed by 10:00.
21. Returning borrowed/left items
22. Sewing anything
23. Making dinner
24. Planning things
25. Being up to date on the blog
26. Writing on the whiteboard calendar our weekly schedule.
27. When the girls say "thank-you" unprompted
28. When Mike says I look nice
29. A skinny compliment
30. Lists, checked off
31. Any sort of home decor
32. If a pepper would grow on my plants
33. Having the girls asleep by 9:00.
34. A smile from Kenzie, Hannah or Ellie
35. Reading a good book
36. Getting my Visiting Teaching done

And that's it for now. I'm sure I'll think of some more. What are the little things that make you feel successful?
*A screen chore is an extra chore that the girls have to do every day since they stuck a screwdriver through their window screen in multiple places and they have to earn the money to replace it.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Blogger-Formerly-Known-As-Quitting

Sometimes the weight of motherhood pushes my shoulders down and instead of looking up, I'm counting the cracks in the sidewalk and watching ants, thinking, "Man, it would suck to be an ant. What if we are ants in a giant world and our personal tragedies are merely the cause of giants walking around to important meetings and trying to keep us out of their houses?"

And then my head explodes.

I miss you blog. I think I'm going to have to come back. My sugary all-happy all-the-time blog is not doing it for me. It's a fantastic family journal and I still plan to use it as a tool to convince my children that they had happy childhoods ("fake it till you feel it" all the way baby!), but I like this outlet. I also have running as an outlet, but writing with feedback from friends? That's a nice outlet too. And it's a great coping mechanism. I just have to be careful that I don't have so many outlets that I check out of my family. Right?

Consider me as the Blogger-Formerly-Known-As-Quitting, but you can call me Steph or &. That would be a funny name for a child. Ampersand. Hahaha. I kill me. Okay sorry.

So what I'm trying to say here, (why does this feel like an awkward DTR with a boy that I like more than he likes me?) is that I think I'm going to try blogging once a week again. (Did I ever do that? Kind of. I was mostly consistent.) And I hope you'll read and once in awhile, just because you like good deeds, you can leave me a comment. (Please.)

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Warning Signs

Ahhh! How I've missed you little blog and readers. I'm still not sure what to do with this blog, but in the meantime, we've inherited a riding lawn mower. And what could be more interesting than a riding lawn mower? Who doesn't blog about their riding lawn mower? Aren't you glad you stopped by, just to read about it? Wait, don't go! This will be funny I promise.
It needs a new fuel pump, but Mike's pretty excited to try it out. I was excited too, until Mike pointed out these Warning! drawings in the operating manual:
Warning! Your friends will be crushed if they attempt cartwheels near your lawnmower. Also, don't push your friend off the lawnmower while driving it.

Warning! Do not do cartwheels off your lawnmower onto rocks.

Warning! Don't stand on one leg while filling a milk can with gasoline in the back of an old truck.

Warning! Don't magically suspend your lawn mower above your head by conjuring from a book of spells.

Warning! Don't make gasoline ice cream cones while smoking. They will explode.

Warning! The Golden Plates will blind you.

Warning! Uncut grass will prick you and you will die on the eve of your sixteenth birthday.

Warning! The UFOs will get you in the back of the head (or in the butt) while driving your lawnmower.

Warning! If provoked, your lawnmower will fire upon you at will.

Warning! Your left arm will disappear if you slip in a puddle while wearing unfashionable boots. (And then your lawnmower will laugh at you.)

Warning! Your body will disappear while riding forward and crushing small children, but reappear while going backward and crushing small children.

Warning! Your lawnmower will try to consume you from the legs up.

Warning! Your lawnmower will cut off your appendages.

Warning! Your tires are filled with poisonous arrows that will poke you in the chin if you attach a hose to them.

All the fun is spoiled now. How are we supposed to mow our lawn if we can't do cartwheels off our lawnmower? What are we supposed to tell the children? 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Friends, Romans, Countrymen

Today it rained and rained and I wish I could show you a picture titled, "Flustered Mother Entering Car with Umbrella" for your laughter and enjoyment. Unfortunately, I was the flustered mother and was unable to capture the wet moment in all its door-rebounding, umbrella mashing, soaked glory.
You know the funny thing about having three children? (Besides pretending that you've gone deaf when they whine?) Time disappears. Like I said before, this motherhood thing is really sinking its teeth into me and I'm finding less and less time to spend on the computer.

One of the ways that I excuse all the time I spend on the blog/computer is that I tell myself, "This is my family journal." This half-lie is nice and all but here's me reading this blog to Kenzie:
"And we [edit out sarcasm] to the park. [Scan next four paragraphs, edit them out] Boy it was fun."
If I'm going to continue to cultivate my saintly image of Mother of the Year with my girls, I'm going to have to develop a family blog more along the lines of "Everything is Fabulous and We Always Wear Matching Clothes and Have a Loaf of Bread baking in the Oven." Because I'm pretty sure a lovely write-up of our lives will trump our actual memories. So if I pretend that we are perfect, we will be. :) Right? Right.

So, blah, blah, the point of all this is, that the family portion of this blog has gone private. I'm maintaining this particular blog as my personal journey to Sainthood, so go ahead and keep me on your blog roll, or in google reader, or follow me, or whatever it is that you do, but I'm not sure what I'm going to write about, or how often I'm going to write. (It's been pretty sporadic since Ellie was born. Sorry.)

I should come up with a new name for this blog like, "Mother of the Year"  or "The Saintly Mother"  or "How to Raise Children Without Slashing Your Wrists"  all wonderful titles, but I bet they're all taken.

I wish I could make some sort of commitment to you my readers (she says bowing to the imaginary crowd), but I'm not at the point where I can do that right now.

If you like my writing you can always catch me on the Sports page in the Standard-Examiner or in a bi-monthly column in the utahrunning.com magazine.

And if you really want to read sappy (not snappy, sappy) write-ups about our perfect family trips and wonderful life you're going to have to be my Grandma. Okay, okay, if you really care about Ellie's height and weight and want to hear all about Kenzie's brilliance and how Hannah has the best sense of humor ever, then you can email me for an invite. But it's going to be sappy and oozing with cheesy family love. I promise.

P.S. Dear Reader who asked me what size PVC pipe is in the bunkbed tent- I'm sorry I can't find your comment to reply, so I hope you are reading this. It's 1/2" pipe with 1/2" T-joints. Does that make sense?


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day

For years I drove the route past the tree. Its bone-branches scratched the sky--a solitary giant in a barren field. For years I drove by and never stopped, always thinking, "How beautiful. How lovely. I should take a picture." Sometimes I even had a camera in the car as I drove by, but I was always in a hurry, or afraid I would look stupid standing on a busy street pointing my camera at a lone tree in a farmer's field.

One day I drove past the tree and it was gone. A long, burned branch snaked across the ground in its place. I felt as empty as the sky, regretful of missed opportunities.  

Today, I vow to miss less opportunities to love my girls. I vow to make good the sacrifices and service that my mother gave to me. I vow to continue to link the love of my mom, my grandma, my great-grandma, to the mothers of tomorrow that I am raising. I vow to appreciate the people in my life now, not when they are gone. I vow be who I want to be today, not tomorrow.

Mom, I love you! Thank you.
My sister-in-law, Sherrie, took this picture before the tree burned down and she shared it with me when I told her how sad I was that it burned down. Isn't it beautiful?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Hannah's Farm Day

We weren't sure if Farm Day would be rained out, but lucky for us the rain held off and it was just cold. Melissa's dad owns the dairy farm and they bring in a whole bunch of animals for Farm day, and we were lucky enough to get to take our little Joyschool group to see them. Hannah kept asking me if there would be three little pigs. (Yes dear and they will each build a house.)

Kate, Mialee and Hannah on the road to the farm. I must have grabbed my camera by the lens (doesn't everyone do that?) because there is a smudgy look to each picture that exactly correlates with my thumb print. I was thinking that my camera was fritzing, but really it was just me. Typical.

Cows! Hannah said, "It smells worse than stinky socks." We gave her the lowdown on manure.

In front of the baby cows.

Oh, little bunnies. Hannah wanted very badly to hold a bunny, but everytime one got near her, she freaked out if they moved at all. This one was calm enough that she finally got it in her arms. She loved it, but was still fairly terrified if it moved at all. There were bunnies, hamsters, a lamb, horses (a colt too), and the much-anticipated pigs.

After Hannah worked up her courage she held another bunny and showed it to Ellie. Ellie wanted to grab handfuls of fur and eat the bunny, but don't worry we didn't let her.  

This is how Ellie feels about real cow noises.  On the other hand, we have a song by Sandra Boyton, called "Cows," that without fail stops Ellie's crying. I swear it works 100% of the time. I know this song so well by now, that if I were tortured and lost my mind, I'm sure that I would walk around quoting the To Be Or Not To Be speech from Hamlet, interspersed with lyrics from this song. I might occasionally break into a mad tap dance routine as well. I guess that wouldn't be much different from now.

Thanks Melissa's family and Melissa for the tour. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Oh Sue-Hannah!

My chocolate covered pretzel Hannah had a birthday.
I sure do love that girl and all the opportunities she gives me to learn and grow.

I made and printed her a book, "A Girl and Her Skirt" for her birthday and I love how it turned out. Since Scrapblog no longer exists, Mixbook is my new online scrapping choice. I really like how it turned out and Hannah has enjoyed reading it. (It works better if you click on the link, Grandma.)

| View Sample Photo Books | Create your own Photo Book

I also made her a little birthday scrapbook.  Love you Hannah loo!

| View Sample Photo Books | Create your own Photo Book

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Goodbye Ogden Temple

A reminiscence in memory of our favorite LDS temple. . .
When Mike proposed to me he blindfolded me and drove me around wildly (if we were both blindfolded this could be an accurate metaphor for how we raise children).

It was a snowy December 1st, 2001 and to me it sounded like we were driving on a sidewalk or a seamed road. It turned out that we were driving on the sidewalk above Weber State's library. Mike parked the car right there below the gym and where one of the steepest staircases at Weber used to lead down to the library and pulled me out of the car.

When he took my blindfold off we could see the Ogden valley glittering below us in the cold. We could see the library where we were first set up on a date*. We could see the banks of the pond where we first said "I love you," (and made out). And we could see the temple that we had decided to get married in. After Mike romantically pretended to push me down the hill in the snow, he got down on one knee and pulled out the ring. Oh! My beating heart. I crushed him in an embrace before he could even stand up or put the ring on.

I still remember the day we were married in the Ogden temple-- a feeling that I hold close like the softest of blankets-- Happiness was poured into me. It was a feeling of peace and absolute contentment and commitment to the man I love.

We liked the uniqueness of the Ogden temple. It was beautiful in a different sort of way. I'm a little sad that it's getting a makeover, but I'm glad we have such happy memories and that we were able to go and get some pictures with the girls there before the construction work began.

This is the fountain out front. The whole time Hannah and Kenzie jsut wanted to play in the water and rescue ladybugs.

Out front. Tons of families were there taking pictures and a lday offered to take this one for us. Mike and I are still kicking ourselves for not getting a pictures of just us.

At the fountain again.

In front of the temple. When we were married here the spire was orange, so it had a little "fire and cloud" symbolism.

A bench on the side of the temple where the married couple comes out after the ceremony.

The back of the temple.

The tabernacle is also undergoing some changes so we walked over there and took some pics too.

Mike really likes that scroll work that decorates the tabernacle.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Happy Birthday Mike

I've known this man for 10 years now. 10! And he's still as hot as ever. Happy Birthday! You're the best husband in the entire mongscong.

Things Mike is good at:
1. Wiring. Yeah, he's pretty wired.
2. Any sort of sport. He's good at everything he tries. Honestly, this man can do anything, including beat me in every race, even if he's coming off the couch and I'm coming off 6 months of intense training.
3. Being nice. Mike is so nice that birds follow him all around. Because just like me, they long to be, close to him. No really. He's a nice guy, and he always finishes first in my book.
4. Laughing. I love it when I can hear Mike laugh. I love making him laugh too.
5. Daddy-stuff. Mike is good at taking care of his girls. Just tonight he started sewing a patch on Ellie's pajamas, because he was afraid she would be cold if her toes poked out of the holes. (Yeah, these jammies have been through three girls and they're losing the battle.)
6. Husband-stuff. Right now, one of the best things Mike does is take care of the girls while I'm writing a story or off doing church-calling stuff, or out working out.
7. Fixing things. Mike hasn't met a polly pocket, a dishwasher, a laptop, a situation that he hasn't been able to fix.
8. Patience. Mike is a very patient man. He has four girls to take care of. 
9. Speaking Engineering and Doing Engineering. I'm not sure exactly what his work entails, but it's very elaborate and math-involved. And it involves airplanes. And aliasing. And large computer screens. Whenever he speaks of it I have to ask him to please dumb it down a bit. And Dilbert? That comic is written for him.
10. Drawing Homer, from The Simpsons. He has passed this particular talent on to Kenzie, who has adorned our driveway with chalk drawings of Homer ever since.

I made Mike take the day off work for his bday because I wanted to take him to Salt Lake to get some form-fitted ski boots, which he has wanted for-ev-er.
When Kenzie got home from school she asked me where Daddy's present was. I said, "Shhh! You can't tell him but I am going to take him to get some ski boots."  Of course, Kenzie walked right out to the couch and said, "I'm going to whisper what we're getting Daddy to Ellie." Mike was holding Ellie on his lap, and Kenzie's whispering skills are about as good as my cooking skills--sometimes I get it right, but othertimes it's a real doozy. Mike just laughed and said, "What?! You're taking me to get a ski boat?"  So that was the joke of the day.

After a Burger Bar lunch we dropped the girls off at Gmas and we headed to Black Diamond, where they were out of his size :(.   Oh well, that just means we have to have another date!
That night we invited Mike's family and my parents over for some cake and ice cream. Except I forgot to buy ice cream, so it was just cake--the perfect cake for Mike. We call it "Better than Ezra" cake, you know that kind that you pour caramel over chocolate cake and then put whip cream on top with pieces of Heath candy bar.   

Holding a card from my parents.

That night we sang to Hannah and let her open a few presents too, since her birthday was coming in two days. Here is Mike, holding Hannah and a book that I made for her.

Look, doesn't my arm make a nice window?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sleeping distress

I like sleep.  In fact, I would say that I love sleep. I have wholeheartedly bought into certain sleep concepts including:
"It's the night before the night before that makes a difference in your day."
"The hours of sleep you get before midnight are the ones that really count." 
"Uninterrupted sleep is necessary for optimum health and happiness."

So it stresses me out to no end that uninterrupted sleep is a rare occurrence at our house. Before Mike and I had children, when we still believed in the tooth fairy and other such myths such as children sleeping through the night, we would hear the neighbors 3-year-old crying in the night and wonder why his parents didn't teach him properly.  Once our children were past 11 pounds and physically able to sleep through the night, they would.

HAHAHAHAHA.  A few months ago, right about the time that Ellie started sleeping through the night, Hannah stopped sleeping through the night. The three-year-old not sleeping through the night started in September. And now it is March. (voice breaking, hands trembling) The end of March.

Three to four mornings a week, Hannah cries loudly in my ear at 4 a.m.  I am always pleasant and cheerful at this time in the morning, and I say quietly, "Sweetheart, let me sing you a song and scratch your back to scare away your bad dreams." Not really. It's more like anger and hatred at that time in the morning. And this is a terrible habit that we've got to get rid of. 

Below is a list of what we've tried. We try to be consistent for a week or two before we switch it up. (Switch it up=throw our hands in the air and swear to not have anymore children/make them sleep locked in the garage.) We want to break her of this habit. I want this habit gone more than I want a free lifetime supply of books and chocolate.

FAILED Attempts at Getting Hannah to Stay in Bed
1. "Did you have a bad dream? I'm sorry." And walking her back to bed. FAIL
2. Saying nothing. Pointing like silent death at the doorway. FAIL
3. "Hannah, go back to bed." FAIL
4. Locking our door. FAIL
5. Taking away a toy every time she leaves her bed. FAIL
6. Saying a prayer with her and tucking her back in. FAIL
7. Threatening death or other tortures if she doesn't stay in bed. FAIL
8. No food after 7:30 p.m. FAIL
9. Magic mush.  This technique was shared by my friend, Sallie. She used it to get her kids in bed at night.. I thought I could try it for when they get out of bed.
So here's my version: If they get out of bed during the night the next morning I make them a bowl of magic mush (oatmeal with nothing in it).  Here's how that goes over with Hannah, "I won't eat it! I will spill it all oveh!"  "Fine," I say. "There will be no food until lunch."  Then she asks me all morning when lunch will be. She lays around on her pillow and sucks her thumb all morning. Her tummy hurts. Everything is a fight. The morning is miserable. I am miserable.  I stress out because she's not eating and miserable and unhappy.  And so am I! FAIL 

I've stuck with magic mush for about 7-9 incidents over the past three weeks, in an effort to remain consistent. Until this conversation,
Hannah wakes up and says to me, "Mommy did I get up last night?"
"No sweetie! Good job! You didn't. You can choose what you want for breakfast."
Visible relief: "Phew!"
Oh yeah, Mother of the Year. Right here.  My child doesn't even know she's waking up at night and I'm punishing her. Awesome. (Or some part of me thinks, "My gosh, this child is a master at manipulating me.)

So here's where we're currently at:
I've given up on magic mush for when she wakes up in the middle of the night (if she gets out of bed when we tuck her in, it's still on). I'm just going to let her crawl into bed with me. I know this is probably making it worse. I know that I am enforcing a bad habit. I know I am setting her up for failure in college with this one small act, and she will probably end up dealing drugs because of my bad parenting skills.  I know! I know!
But people, I'm in survival mode. I've got to assuage my guilt at making her cry by her lonely self at three a.m. because I was sure that would solve it. AHHHHHHHHHHHH!
Other than that, things are great around here.