Friday, May 30, 2008

Go for the Gold!

This time last year Cami was running a campaign for Vice President of her school's student council, which did not turn out quite how she wanted it to. So in true Cami-like enthusiasm this year she decided to up the ante and take on the position of student body president!

So here she is with her enthusiastic campaign crew, eagerly donning their "Cami clothes" as Ellie likes to call them.

Using the same catch phrase that Glen used in his school day elections, she worked diligently on creating a poster extraordinaire to hang in the hallway near the cafeteria.

She worked hard on memorizing her speech for today...

"Good Morning! My name is Cami, and I am running for SCA (student council) President. I will start off by telling you a couple of things about me. I like to read, run, ice skate, and bake yummy treats. In school my favorite subjects are Math and Science. My favorite season is summer and I love to swim!

Now I will get onto the important stuff. If I become President the first thing I will do is banish cauliflower hereby and forever! But seriously…since I work well with others I will be a good representative working with students and teachers to make important decisions. I will also try to think of some new fun spirit day ideas.

Some qualities I have that will make me a good SCA president are that I am always kind to others, I am brave, I work well with others, I try to include everybody, and I have had three years of SCA experience. The main reason I am running for SCA president is that I love our school, and I want to make it the best place it can be. So vote for Cami, and GO FOR THE GOLD WITH GOOLD!"

After a nerve wracking day of wringing my hands, I am pleased to announce that Cami's campaign was not for naught this year! You can now refer to her as "President Cami" or "Madame President" (with a French accent)...whichever you prefer. :)

Cami, we are so proud of you--not just because you won, but because of your resiliency, determination, optimism, creativity, and hard work. What a wonderful example you are to your family and your friends.

Yay Cami!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Happy Birthday Nate!

In honor of my brother Nate's 34th birthday, I've made a list of 34 things you should know about my awesome younger brother!

1-He's tall and athletic
2-He has an awesome smile
3-The first sentence he ever uttered was, "Lara did it!"
4-He is very kind-hearted and generous
5-He is only 13 months younger than me.
6-He's still searching for the "right one"
7-He is a great negotiator
8-He was born in Kassel, Germany
9-He served a mission in Berlin, Germany
10-He's a very thoughtful gift giver
11-He's very sweet and patient with my energetic children
12-My kids adore him completely

13-He makes the best chocolate chip cookies the world has ever known--no recipe needed!
14-He ran track at BYU
15-One time he jumped out of the car at a stoplight after he became annoyed with my singing.
16-He's in process of moving from California to Colorado (both of which are too far away from us)
17-He's so buffed he can do push-ups with my kids on his back
18-He graduated from law-school, but chose not to pursue a law career
19-He went on an African safari with my sister just after graduating from law school
20-He knows how to make a plan and stick to it
21-He's the king of finding internet "steals" and bargains
22-He has an awesome movie collection
23-He's a die-hard BYU fan (see evidence in picture below)

24-He occasionally writes articles for BYU sports websites and magazines
25-He's double jointed and can do really freaky things with his wrists and fingers
26-Despite his double-jointedness, one year on his birthday he broke both wrists at the same time mountain biking in Moab
27-He's writing a book about dating
28-He's a great motivator
29-He was an avid baseball/basketball card collector in his teen-age years
30-Nobody called him anything but Nathaniel until he was 17, but then there was no going back
31-Be prepared to lose if you ever challenge him to "Settlers of Catan" or "Scrabble"
32-He works for a wind energy company and is an expert on high-tech windmills
33-He's traveled to 29 different countries
34-He introduced me to my sweetheart a little more than 15 years ago, and for that I am eternally grateful.

Oh and did I mention that he's tall, handsome, strong in the gospel, has a good job, AND he's still searching for his eternal companion?

Happy Birthday Nate! We love you!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Butterflies everywhere!

We moved here to the DC area almost a decade ago for a 2-year rotation with Glen's firm. It didn't take long at all before we were completely enamored with DC and all of the interesting/exciting/educational/unique things there are to do in the area...and most of them completely FREE!

Although we like trying out new places and discovering new adventures around DC, we tend to frequent the same places over and over again. My kids just never tire of the National Air & Space Museum (either one), the American History Museum (we can't wait until it reopens), the Natural History Museum, and the list goes on and on.

Today we went to an old time favorite of ours--the Natural History Museum. Filled with fossils and precious gems, the kids still breathlessly run from exhibit to exhibit in excitement! So when we heard that they'd recently opened a new butterfly enclosure--a small, humid little greenhouse type of room where there are hundreds of butterflies fluttering freely--we just had to go give it a try.

Since glimpses of butterflies in the wild tend to be fleeting and rare, we were amazed at the close-up look we got at many of these beautiful creations. Adam was in awe at this gigantic moth that had transparent spots on its massive wings. He was a little jittery about them flying around his head, but he enjoyed identifying the different species with an identification guide that was given us upon entry.

Ellie was definitely very nervous about the plethora of insects in the room and did not stray from my side. She was engaged and interested as long as they kept their distance from her and was okay to pose for this picture until she realized that I'd strategically placed her near a resting butterfly. The poor, tired girl who'd missed her nap yesterday, was not happy and required some good TLC until it was time to leave.

As each person exited the room they were required to go through a short inspection process to discover the presence of any possible stowaways that may have landed unknowingly on bags, shoulders, or barrettes. Much to the relief of Ellie, no stowaways were discovered and we were free to exit and go eat lunch!

Emma and Cami were insanely jealous when they got the scoop on the day from Adam, so we'll be going back again in a few weeks after school is out! What a fun place we live in!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Ties and play-doh!

It seems like every time I go shopping for Sunday clothes for my boys, it's become almost impossible to find white shirts without the ties included, much like this set:

Normally that wouldn't be such a bad thing...a shirt and a tie for $10. However I'm totally convinced that they only use their leftover, ugly fabric for these "bonus" ties, thus I keep them only for back-up purposes.

So today, as per usual, was a little chaotic getting out the door to church. It was time to go, Glen was long gone at his early meetings, the kids are in the car, and Adam didn't have a I grabbed the only one I could find--a lovely lavender creation that came with one of his white shirts.

He immediately protested that he couldn't possibly wear a GIRL tie.

Hehe! A girl tie! Why else would they make lavender ties?!

Boy, Ellie's ears perked right up at this exchange and moments later she happily claimed that tie as her own and put it on without hesitation, while Adam went to church without a tie.

Then on the ride home I asked the kids usual after church question, "What did you learn about today?" and got the following responses:

Emma--"I learned about prayer and how sometimes you have to wait for your answer..."
Adam--"I can't remember."
Ellie--"I learned about play-doh and made a ball."

How dull my life would be without my houseful of kids!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Could it get any better?

Seriously...look at the weather forecast for this weekend!

We often make plans for Memorial Day weekend, but I have to say I am so looking forward to a long weekend at home. We'll scrub the bathrooms, mow the lawn, and such...but that's it! We won't have anywhere we have to be and with weather like this I imagine we'll be doing a lot of this (and other outdoor activities)...

And hopefully a good dose of this (sleeping) as well!
I hope you all enjoy your long weekend and that your weather forecast looks similar to ours! Happy Memorial Day!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Anything Boys Can Do...

Girls can do better. Or so the song goes.

Well Ellie discovered one of the few exceptions to this statement...peeing in the backyard. After observing Adam "watering" a tree, Ellie just had to give it a try too.

hehe...we'll have to work on that one.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A Tuesday in the Life

Here's a typical Tuesday in our household:

6:20--wake up/shower/get ready/make lunches/get kids ready for school
7:30--take Spencer to school
7:50--take Cami to before-school Fitness Fanatics program
8:30--Emma catches bus to school
9:15--take Adam to preschool
9:45--drop Ellie off at her friend's house
10:00-12:00--help in Cami's & Emma's classes at school
12:10--pick up Ellie
12:30--pick up Adam
1:00--feed Ellie lunch and put her down for a nap
1:30-3:00--spend time with Adam, do laundry, check email, pay bills, etc.
3:20--Spencer comes home
4:00--Emma comes home
4:30--drop Emma off for piano lessons
4:45--pick up Cami from Girls' on the Run and bring her to piano lessons
5:30--pick up Emma & Cami from piano lessons
5:45-6:15--prepare and eat dinner/help kids with homework (yeah we eat a lot of hot dogs and leftovers on Tuesdays)
6:20--bring Spencer to the church for basketball/Scouts
7:30--bring Cami to the church for activity days (this one's only every other week)
7:30-8:30--entertain tired kids at the church
8:30--pick up Spencer & Cami from church (doing our bedtime routine in the car by reciting memorized scriptures & singing songs)
9:00--hurry up and put the kids to bed as soon as possible
9:30-??--clean up and recover from the rest of the insane day and wait for Glen to come home so we can watch our DVR'd American Idol (at least for this one last week)

...then collapse in complete exhaustion.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Long overdue...

Just after plopping down every cent in our possession to buy our house 7 years ago, we realized that there were a lot of things we still needed to buy...lawn mower, rakes, shovel, grill, weed whacker, etc.

So we did what every other broke American would do--we robbed our change jar and hit every yard sale in a five mile radius to search for what we needed in hopes that it would last until we could afford a new one! (Okay, maybe most broke Americans would have just maxed out their credit cards instead...)

After seven years with that old yard sale lawnmower that left its users drained of energy...Glen finally got a shiny new self-propelled lawnmower that practically pushes itself up our hills! I'm not sure who was more excited about this purchase...the two people who use it most, Glen & Spencer. Or me who expects our lawn to stay looking much nicer now!

Then as an annual Mother's Day tradition (a week late) we added a good dose of color to the yard with some petunias, impatiens, dianthas, and salvias.

Combined with our blooming azaleas and rhododendrons and neatly trimmed lawn, our yard is looking very fun and springy right about if we can just keep it that way!

(Just as an aside--Adam took these pictures, including this amazing close-up of our azalea bush).

Friday, May 16, 2008

Gas pains!

After seeing gas prices of this sort in California...

I wasn't quite so sad about spending $3.63 a gallon to fill up our van yesterday...

and I'm trying to forget that in Adam's baby book (5 years ago) I had written down the gas prices as $1.50 a gallon!!!

What are you paying these days?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


I felt really badly when I left town on Thursday night, since it had been an extraordinarily crazy week and I had not gotten as much done as I'd intended to before I left. One of the tasks I left Glen with on that night was baking up some Amish Friendship bread starter and getting gifts for the girls' teachers in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week.

Being the trouper that he is, Glen trekked to the store with all the kids to find gifts, then labored well into the night baking up a big double batch of the Amish Friendship bread.

The girls were quite excited as they went off to school on Friday morning with prettily wrapped bread and gifts in hand, so excited that they went out to the bus stop, which is just a few doors down and across the street from our home, a little early so there would be no chance of missing the bus.

After a few minutes of being down at the bus stop Emma came racing up to the house crying because the owner of the house where the bus stop is, had run over their backpacks and bread which were on the sidewalk next to their driveway. (If I had been home there definitely would be a picture of the crumbly mess to share with you, but alas I was 2000 miles away with our only camera in my hands).

They didn't care about their backpacks, nor had they feared for their own safety, but they were both heartbroken about the squashed bread. Thankfully Daddy came to the rescue--quickly wrapped up two new loaves (thank goodness for the double batch) and sent them back on their way; hoping that was the end of the strangeness of the day. When Cami came racing back to the house shortly thereafter, Glen had no notion of what else could've possibly happened...

...thankfully there were no more crushed pastries or tire tracks across their homework. The lady was just feeling a little guilty about her driving mishap so had offered (more like stuffed) $12 into Cami's hands and then driven away.

Ummm, yeah. That was a little weird.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Girls weekend in California!

Here I am back on the other side of the country. It was wonderful to be able to get away and spend time with my family who seem to have spread themselves all over the country...but boy am I happy to be back home again, as I was definitely missing my five little sweeties and my one not-so-little sweetie!

I was not too sad to find out that I missed out on a soggy, cool weekend here at home while I was enjoying the sunny, albeit windy skies of San Francisco!

I thoroughly enjoyed my first ever manicure and pedicure and hope to not wait another 35 years for my next one. (If you're wondering which fingers are mine, they're the ones that look freakishly long with the French manicure.)

We ate at the "Beach Chalet" overlooking the Pacific Ocean where I enjoyed a Monte Cristo sandwich, in honor of one of my favorite books of all time, "The Count of Monte Cristo"!

The sights of San Francisco seemed just a tad different than when we took a family trip here a couple of years ago. Driving down Lombard Street, oohing over the Golden Gate Bridge, taking our Bay Adventure Cruise into the SF bay, seeing the bright colorful row homes, and marveling over the beauty of the Pacific Ocean...while quite enjoyable, I kept having to catch myself from trying to turn to the nearest child or sister and share these wondrous sights!

It wasn't all sisters this weekend! My highly eligible 34-year-old brother Nate came to hang out with us on Sunday where he proceeded to whomp us all at Settlers of Catan, as per usual! If you happen to know any fair maidens living near East Bay, CA who enjoy outdoor activities and board games...just let me know!

How can I leave out these two cuties? My nieces Madeline and Bridgette accompanied us on all of our adventures and made sure I didn't leave the weekend totally child deprived!

What would a girls' weekend out be without a good dose of chocolate? We about ate our weights in overpriced chocolate ice cream treats at Ghirardelli Square!

And of course we had more than our fair share of silliness, late night chatting, and giggling fests!

Thanks to Kristina for doing a wonderful job hosting and thanks to AnnaLisa, Karey, Heather, Mika, Mom, Kristina, and Nate for making the effort to come and make it a fun, relaxing, and enjoyable weekend (and to Matt who flew to VA from Oklahoma to help poor Pete and Glen with all of the kids)! And to Glen--you're amazing! Thank you for all the sacrifices you made so that I could participate in this. Thank you, thank you, thank're the best!

What an awesome family we have!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

"Motherhood is near to divinity. It is the highest, holiest service to be assumed by mankind. It places her who honors its holy calling and service next to the angels."

That would be the Golden Gate Bridge you can faintly see behind us! It's been a wonderful weekend out here with all the girls, but I'm sure missing my family right about now...especially today!

I just wanted to take this opportunity to wish all of you mothers out there, especially my Mom and Glen's Mom, a very Happy Mother's Day!

We love you!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

California Here I Come...

Right back where I started from!

I may have only lived there the first few months of my life, but I'm excited to be heading back tonight to the land of my birth (and without kids)!

We're holding the first ever Crain girls retreat, including me, my three sisters, two sisters-in-law, two newborn baby nieces, and my Mom.

I truly have mixed feelings about leaving Glen to hold down the fort over a super crazy weekend, which includes chaperoning an all-day field trip on Friday, sports on Saturday, Spencer giving a talk in a Stake Priesthood meeting on Saturday, and Glen being the "Primary President" for the day on Sunday, so all the mothers can go to Relief Society.

So while he's busy getting a taste of my days--planning two sharing times, helping Spencer with his talk, taking kids all over creation, doing chores, keeping kids happy, and fixing dinners...I'll be getting a massage, a new hair cut, reading books guiltlessly, eating out at fun restaurants, and seeing the sights in San Francisco!

I'm hopeful that it will be as fun and relaxing as its meant to be, but while I may be hanging out in California, my heart will be back home in Virginia...missing my five sweet kids, amazing husband, crazy life and all!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Check it out!

Check it out! Cami's in the Washington Post today!

A few weeks ago the Washington Post announced an essay contest for kids to write a 100-word essay about how their teacher is inspiring (in honor of Teacher Appreciation week). On a whim, Cami decided to enter and labored over how to keep her thoughts under 100 words.

Out of over 350 entrants, Cami ended up being the elementary school age winner for the entire DC region. Her teacher and principal (and us) were invited to accompany her to an awards ceremony downtown where Cami and her teacher were presented with a sundry of awards from the varying sponsors of the contest (, 96.3 radio station, Barnes and Noble, and the Washington Post). She came home with several armloads of goodies and a nonstop smile!

Here is the winning essay:

"Mr. Stephens has taught me many important lessons that I needed to know. My favorite is, 'Everybody is good, but nobody is perfect.' This helped me understand that everybody makes mistakes, and we shouldn't be too hard on ourselves; but at the same time [he] encourages us to try our best. He makes sure that everyone understands what is expected and helps everyone to succeed, even if they need another chance. He makes learning as exciting as it can be by telling interesting stories from his life to go with each lesson. He is an honorable person who[m] I admire."

Click here if you'd like to read the entire online version, which includes Mr. Stephens' comments but not the pictures.

Way to go Cami!!!!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Three Piggy Opera...featuring Emma Kristine!

An opera we'll sing of some pink piggies three,
Pink piggies three, pink piggies three,
An opera we'll sing of some pink piggies three,
A story familiar to you and to me.
Now each little pig he did work very hard,
work very hard, work very hard.
Now each little pig he did work very hard,
To build a house with a pretty green yard.

The old big bad wolf - he was hungry for pork,
Hungry for pork, hungry for pork.
The old big bad wolf - he was hungry for pork,
So he sneaked into town with his knife and his fork.

So much of this story is scary you know,
Scary you know, scary you know.
So much of this story is scary you know,
So only brave people sit in the front row!

Oink! Oink! Diggity dear,
The Three Piggy Opera you're now going to hear.
Oink! Oink! Diggity dear,
The Three Piggy Opera you're now going to hear.
Isn't first grade awesome?!!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Little did we know...

Eleven years ago this week we were...

*Unpacking our boxes and feeling pretty excited about Glen's first "real" job at E & Y in Baltimore. The $38,000 salary was six times what we'd ever made before!

* Lamenting over our super high rent payments of $650 a month...twice the rent amount we'd ever paid before.

*I weighed exactly what I do now (...I don't think this would qualify as bragging since I was eight months pregnant with Cami at the time).

*Missing the much lower Utah food prices

*Really longing for the Varsity Theater--edited movies and a low price, how can you beat that?

*So excited about Glen's corporate passes to the Baltimore Aquarium, Maryland Science Center, and Baltimore Zoo!

*Wondering where all the nice high school kids work at, since every fast food restaurant and grocery store were filled with people who didn't speak English

*Really hating the fact that our junker car didn't have air conditioning...being pregnant during the summer in Baltimore...yes it was miserable!

Somewhere in those eleven years we started calling this area "home" and here we are sixty miles south, but still loving this area!

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