Friday, October 31, 2008

The Plight of a Middle Child Born on a Holiday

As if it being the middle child in a big family wasn't bad enough, Emma had to make her plight even worse by being born on Halloween! The poor girl's been half-ignored since she was born and it's even worse on her birthday! :)

A little glimpse into her very special 8th birthday:

At 7:00 this morning Cami opened her own "Crazy Hair" salon with 2 of her friends joining in the giant, colorful, frenzied hair fest!

Meanwhile Glen labored to make her favorite breakfast of crepes and eggs, and Emma got to open her presents (the only time of the day there's an ounce of time). Of course don't ask for any pictures of the rushed breakfast that Glen didn't eat a bite of or of her opening presents...they don't exist (just like her baby pictures).

Then it was mad fest of getting kids to school and rushing to get last minute items for crafts and birthday treats to take to Adam's and Emma's classes...

Emma's teacher would not allow anything even remotely Halloween-y, not even a it was a fall craft or nothing.
As you can see Adam's teacher was a little more laid back about the whole thing.

Adam's hair-do for "Crazy Hair Day" was the hit of the school!

Someday maybe she'll let us celebrate her birthday on a weekend to show her what it's like to have a more civilized birthday....

in the meantime happy birth-o-ween to my sweet Emma and happy Halloween to all of you!

Now I gotta run do my visiting teaching...after all it is the last day of the month and all.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Reason Why...

Why the sudden uptick in my blogging lately? Here's your answer...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Lazy Mom's Guide to Planning a Birthday Party


1. Choose a theme: "Oh look! Wal-mart has 'Cars' plates and a dinosaur pinata. I bet Adam will love a dinosaur themed Cars party."
2. Pick a date: "No lessons or games on Monday afternoon...okay next Monday it is."

3. Pick your guests: "If he only invites people from last year's preschool group I won't have to look up anybody's number."

4. Give out invitations (week before, if convenient): "Everyone should be at the Primary activity, I'll just hunt people down there."


5. Clean your house: "Never mind the play room, bathroom, or the bedrooms. I've been meaning to clean out this cupboard for weeks."


Fish out crumpled invitations from purse and frantically call the four guests who didn't happen to be at the Primary activity as expected: "I'm really sorry. No, it's not personal. I know everyone around you got invitations, but really I meant to invite your child too. I just didn't happen to see you that one day, you know how it is."


6. Plan your menu: "I have chocolate cake mix, but no eggs. I have hot dogs, but no buns. And I have pretzels. Hmmm...okay I guess we're having eggless chocolate cupcakes, bunless hot dogs, and pretzels."


7. Prepare your food: "I sure hope that eggs are an optional ingredient. Oh well, it has lots of sugar and oil...good enough for me; good enough for a crowd of six year olds."


8. Decide your activities: "Oh look at this awesome party planning website! It's full of all these fun, creative ideas. Too bad I don't have the materials to do them. says here you're supposed to give yourself at least 4 weeks of planning time."

Cue the hysterical, maniacal laughter (everything's funnier under pressure you know). "Four weeks! Hahaha! Try an hour and four minutes!"


9. Run to nearest dollar store for balloons and some materials for those super fun activities: "Oh crap! When did this dollar store close down?"


10. Run to nearest CVS for balloons and some materials for those super fun activities: "What is wrong with your hands? Puh-lease let me tie the ribbons on those balloons myself. Don't you know I have eight six-year-olds coming to my house in half an hour?"


11. Make final preparations for party (an extremely loud voice is helpful at this stage): "Spence, vacuum quick! Emma, straighten the play room now! Adam, stuff the pinata! Cami, set the table! Ellie, please stop dumping out the barbies!"


12. Take deep breath and calmly welcome guests to your awesome party.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Photo Tag...

So I swore I was done with tags, but this one from Denise is different than most. So I thought I'd give it a try on a slow Sunday night.

It's a photo tag. I was to go to the sixth folder in my photos and post the sixth photo.
And here it is...a photo from Cami's baptism day in August 2005.

How fun to go back and reflect on that special day shared with many friends and relatives, especially since in a few weeks Emma will be doing the same thing!

Since I guess it's part of the deal...I'll tag a few people who I hope won't get mad at me for tagging them: Aitch, Clarinda, and Kristina (and anyone else who wants to try it too).

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Story of the Beans

Once upon a time there was this Mom who was at the end of her rope. Every time she tried to get her kids to help around the house, all she could hear was a chorus of, "Awww! Do we have to Mom?" quickly followed by some well-practiced avoidance fast-moving fits of severe fatigue and vitally important phone calls that had to be made immediately. It was getting out of hand fast!

So thinking back to her days as a psychology major in college she devised this great "positive reinforcement" project in hopes that it would help get her kids excited to help. She and her clever husband picked a super exciting prize and a date on the calendar and promised the kids that if they filled this large jar with beans before that date that the whole family could take a day off of school and work and go to Busch Gardens one last time before the season ended.

Sounds good so far...right?

Of course it could not be as smooth as that. Within a few weeks of the commencement of their new bean economy it was discovered that the chosen date also happened to be the same date as the school Fall Festival and even more disappointing the church's annual trunk or treat activity! Think friends, costumes, food aplenty, and tons of candy and you'll see the appeal!

So now the dazzle had started to wear off a little, after all the alternative of not filling the jar wasn't too bad either. But with some last minute adrenaline pushes and motivational speeches they finally made it!

Then it was time to make good on the promise. On a beautiful autumn morning in October the family set off in the car for the two hour drive to the land of roller coasters!

Good fun was had by all, young and old!

Some new family members were added to the family!

All was well...

then the kids started hearing about all the excitement they'd missed. Even the Mom started feeling a little disappointed that she hadn't been there to defend her pie title.

Mixed feelings of disappointment and jealousy ensued when she saw that the golden pie plate has been passed to other least until next year when there will be a grand face-off. Worst of all, she didn't even get to try any of her competition's winning pie...a disappointing fate for a pie connoisseur ! :(

Then, since they'd gotten back home so late at night from their trip, the Mom's eleven mile run got pushed late into the morning, which resulted in running 8 of those miles in the wind and pouring rain. Hence the red-faced, dripping wet picture that her son was kind enough to shoot of her. Thanks Spence!

All that because of some beans.

So what's the moral of this long-winded story?
  • Don't choose a prize/date where you have to take a family vote over which place they'd rather go.
The end.

Field Trip Gone Bad...

So a mere couple of days about my previous post about my adventures on field trips, I got accompany Adam to his very first field trip of kindergarten.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Three Going on Twenty!

While some three year olds go around singing, "Twinkle, twinkle...", our precocious girl has something else on her mind...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

That rots...

As if our to-do list wasn't already long enough...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Something old, something new...

Field trips, field trips, field trips! Between the five kids I've been on a million of them. I've been to museums, pumpkin patches, nature centers, bakeries, libraries, post offices, Kennedy Center, Jamestown, Richmond, and name it and I've probably been there as a chaperone!!

Up until this year, Ellie has just been an assistant chaperone (aka "tag along") at all of her sibling's field trips, but now that she's in preschool, she gets her own fun! So after learning about community helpers and safety last week, we decided to take a visit to our local fire station!

We started off the field trip by making these cute little fire truck kits from Home Depot. It was a great beginning and the kids thought that wielding a hammer was about the coolest thing ever (as noted by the plethora of bent nails and hammer marks)!

Then it was off to the fire station where they got to try on some real deal fire fighter gear, like this hat that weighed about as much as Ellie does! (I love this picture of Ellie!)

I'm pretty hard to impress on a field trip, so imagine my surprise when out of the dozen or so fire station field trips I've been to over the years, the kids actually got to try something new...spraying the hoses. Some of the kids were petrified of touching them, but Ellie and several others (mostly boys) were completely in heaven at the opportunity.

I was also impressed at the demonstrations they did for us, including climbing a ladder in full gear, breaking down a pretend door, and dragging a "body" out of a fire. All in all, a fun field trip for the kids and still informative for us adults. I guess I'm not too old to learn a few new things after all.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Happy birthday to the whole world...

...well, almost anyway!

October is a big month for birthdays in our family...and this week in particular. Since I would take up all my blogging topics for the week if I did invidual posts for everyone, here is one giant birthday blog post for all those born this week!

So Adam started off the week by turning 6 on the 16th, which you've already read all about.

Next on the birthday calendar is Glen's brother Eric who turned 35 on the 17th! He's one of the smartest guys I've ever met and he keeps us laughing with his wry humor and you definitely would not want to mess with him in Trivial Pursuit !

Happy birthday Eric!!!

Next is my baby brother Pete (aka Peepee). Yesterday was his 31st birthday. He's got a house full of girls, with his awesome wife Mika and their three little cuties! He's as busy as they come with a full-time job and attending night classes for law school as well...and yet he manages to do it all well. I, for one, am glad that I haven't scared him out of Virginia yet. We love having them live nearby!!

Happy birthday Pete!

And then there's my sweet sister, AnnaLisa is turning 25 today! As you may remember we had the privilege of having her stay with us last summer. Unfortunately for her, that means that we have boatloads of pictures and interesting information about her! (We love you AnnaLisa!)

I'm reposting this awesome video for your entertainment purposes! AnnaLisa fell in love with the song, "Grace Kelly" by Mika (but not our Mika) and seemed unable to restrain herself from dancing to it every time it came on. So of course being the good big sister that I am, I felt compelled to set her up so I could catch it on video! My conniving was not for naught, as she took the bait right on cue! Enjoy!

Happy birthday AL!!!

Well that concludes our birthday least for another 10 days or so!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Favorite Sunday of the year...

...the children's primary program in sacrament meeting! While always a touching and entertaining program, this year was even more enjoyable than usual since I had no responsibilities with it other than sitting back and enjoying it!

After having seen the last few primary programs up close and personal, with all its associated stress and worry, I'm always amazed at how well it always comes matter the little "hiccups" along the way. It's just hard to go wrong when you combine music, simple gospel truths, and cute innocent children.

There's always the kid who's too shy to say their part, the one who says it so fast that no one's quite sure what they really said, the ones that giggle their way through, and the one who sings a little too loudly (or in today's case, holds a note several seconds past everyone else). I think every ward has a similar sampling of kids and I love seeing this little glimpse into their personalities!

I was so proud of Cami, Emma, and Adam who practiced their parts a million times over...writing them out, quizzing each other, and in Cami's case even highlighting her different sections in color codes. They even got Ellie into the spirit of it and helped her make up her own part, "I am thankful for my sisters and brothers." ...only one more year Ellie. :)

I love this year's song, "If the Savior Stood Beside Me." The lyrics are quite profound and I've often stopped myself in the middle of a contentious moment and found myself thinking, "If the Savior stood beside me, would I do the things I do?" or "say the things I say?" How grateful I am that my kids are learning these powerful concepts in their youth.

I've often thought that being the primary music leader would be one of the most challenging callings in the church. It's being "on" for two whole hours every Sunday...first the junior primary, then the nursery, then the senior primary...each group needing their own unique method of learning the songs. Add in the hours of preparation they spend each week and the exhaustion they must feel after each Sunday, and I hereby extend my sincere gratitude for every music leader who labors to teach these squirmy, energetic children the simple truths of the gospel in music!

I know everyone in the primary is relieved that today is over, but I for one am starting my countdown for next year's favorite Sunday...only 51 more weeks!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Man Who Knows What He Wants...

I should've known we were in for an adventure when from Adam's earliest days in the NICU the nurses would shake their head in frustration at his stubborness. After I was released from the hospital several days before he was, I wasn't allowed to spend the night anymore. He would stubbornly go all night screaming for food while the nurses frantically kept trying to feed him a bottle and then as soon as I walked in the door at 6 am he'd be perfectly calm and happy while he nursed like a little champ!

So I shouldn't be too surprised that now six years later that he's still a kid that knows what he wants in life. He'd picked out his breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu for today and even his birthday treats to share with his class. I didn't have to make any decisions, other than buying a few presents!

While perusing a recipe book several months ago he picked out this checkerboard cake as his next birthday cake. Once a week or so he'd pull out the cookbook to discuss with me what kind of cake mix he thought we should buy, what kind of cookies to use to make the checkerboards, what kinds of chocolates those were, etc. He's had the whole thing completely planned for months.

So when I tried to talk him into waiting until the weekend for his cake, so that Glen could participate in his birthday was no surprise that he wouldn't hear of it! After all, he was convinced that he couldn't open his presents until he'd blown out his candles. He wasn't even tempted by the alternate activity I proposed of decorating cookies and having ice cream instead.

So Cami spent the evening making Adam's wildest dreams come true with a re-creation of the checkerboard!

This evening, when he realized that I hadn't made his birthday blog post yet, he decided to take matters into his own hands and type it up himself!

It turned out to be a fun day for our sweet little guy who knows what he wants in life! It would've been completely perfect if Glen had been here, but it will be present enough for all of us when he's here in the morning! We've missed him!

Happy birthday Adam and welcome home Glen!!!!!

I hav a bthda toda

I hav a bthda toda I Hav fun Adam I Am 6

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Spencer's Worst Nightmare Come True...

I used to have nightmares about forgetting to get dressed all the way or about knocking my date out cold with a golf club. I'd always be so relieved when I woke up to realize that it was just a dream or in the case of the golf club incident that he was really a jerk anyway and deserved it.

So what kind of incident could possibly be THAT bad for Spencer? Maybe his pants falling down in public or squirting milk out his nose in front of a girl?

NOPE! In Spencer's case it would be showing up to a youth fireside and being the only one wearing a suit. Even the Bishop was dressed casually! Of course you have to understand that this is a kid that hasn't worn a collared shirt by choice in over 9 years and that it normally takes him 7 seconds flat after returning home from church before he's back in his shorts.

So what kind of nightmares keep you up at night?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

New Tactic...

Every year Halloween marks my downward spiral into my months long holiday junk food extravaganza! So this year I decided my self control needed a little boost...

I bought candy that I didn't like. I may not be very original, but I'm hopeful that Twizzlers and Nerds just won't call out to me like chocolatey treats like Reese's and Snickers seem to do.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Mean and crazy!

So Cami was really bitter about the last post. She wasn't bitter at the content, since she totally agreed with the whole mean mom bit. No, she was completely resentful at all the comments that were supposed to have sided with her and been all sympathetic about how hard it must be having such a mean mom. The poor girl was distraught all over again!

Well, you long-time readers of this blog know what my kids think/do when they don't like the blog post I made about get THIS!!!!

So when Cami started conniving about the great vengeful post she could make in retaliation (thanks a lot Spence for planting those ideas), I decided to just beat her to the punch:

While Glen will always be my #1, my #2 spot has now changed. I've dumped Patrick Dempsey and replaced him with Nicholas Sparks! Not only have I gone crazy reading half of his books, but like a true groupie I even braved the long lines at our local Costco with three of my kids so my friend Stacey and I could meet him and get our books signed.

So now I guess this is where you should leave all those sympathy comments for Cami about what a mean AND crazy mom she has.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

How mean am I?

Well, let's just say I am in the running for the meanest mom of the year award.

Getting ready for church this morning Cami put on this dress...

Pretty cute, huh? She picked it out with her aunt and I like it too, really I do.

But I felt like the neckline was just a little too wide, so I asked her to put something on over or under it. Obediently, but very unenthusiastically Cami spent the next several minutes trying on on several shirt/tank tops/sweaters and then finally settled on a white shawl.

At this point it was time to be on our way, so I started sending kids out to the car. Unfortunately just as she was walking out the door, Cami went in for her one last glimpse in the mirror and then moaned in horror that the shawl didn't match the dress!

My pleas that we had to leave NOW were overpowered by her keen sense of fashion, and she ran back to her room in tears frantically searching for something else to wear. In the meantime I'm watching the clock tick on--one minute, two minutes, three minutes...

Still she wasn't ready. So what did I do?

I left without her.

Granted when she called me crying 3 blocks away from home I turned around and got her, but I was fully prepared to keep driving and pick her up after sacrament meeting.

It wasn't nice. I admit it. (sorry Cami) But just so everyone knows, Glen may be in Shanghai today, but this whole situation is all his fault! There's no way this ever would've happened if he were here. He would have been the calm voice of reason and we just would've taken two cars and been fine! (See Hunny, I can still blame you for things even when you're not here.)

So I hope I don't have to make a speech or anything when I win that award...

Friday, October 10, 2008

Official Declaration...

Official declaration of the day: Ellie is hereby forbidden from catching any more stomach viruses!!!

After last winter's bout that knocked her flat on her back for more than a week and ended with a trip to the ER, we've been so anxious about her catching another stomach bug eventually and really hoped that it would be a really long time!

Well, here we are ten months later and she's got one. We were optimistic when last Tuesday she threw up twice, developed a fever, then seemed tired, but otherwise fine after a couple of days. We hoped that that was the end of it.

Sadly it was not to be, as after five days or so of seeming mostly fine it's returned with a vengeance! After being up all night with her last night where she was vomiting every last half-teaspoonful of liquid that crossed her lips, I was bracing myself for a repeat of last year's long drawn out horror. Ugh--why do these things happen when Glen is out of town?

Although she now has officially thrown up more than any of my other kids combined (seriously), I am happy to report that she finally seemed to have turned the corner this morning and has begun keeping small amounts of liquids down.

I can not even tell you what a huge relief and answer to prayer this is for me! I have been having a hard enough time keeping everything together with Glen out of the country for a couple of weeks....I didn't need an ER visit too.


And the winner of the sweet giveaway is....


I was worried about how I would pick the final winner. Should I take the first response? Or put all the names into a hat? Or make some more pies for everyone?

But it turns out I worried for nothing, as Denise ended up being the only entrant that wasn't about to go on vacation within a 20 mile radius of me!!!

Thanks for all the nice compliments! I really didn't expect that anybody would actually do that part of it, but they certainly made my day!

I hope you enjoy the pie Denise and I hope you didn't mind the surprise delivery. I REALLY needed to get out of the house.


Official Declaration...

Official declaration of the day: Ellie is hereby forbidden from catching any more stomach viruses!!!

After last winter's bout that knocked her flat on her back for more than a week and ended with a trip to the ER, we've been so nervous about what her next bout would be like.

Now ten months later we've found out. We were optimistic when last Tuesday she threw up twice, caught a fever, and seemed tired, but otherwise fine after a couple of days. We hoped that that was the end of it.

Sadly it was not to be, as after five days or so of seeming mostly fine it's returned with a vengeance! After being up all night with her last night where she was vomiting every last half-teaspoonful of liquid that crossed her lips, I was bracing myself for a repeat of last year's long drawn out horror.

Although she now has officially thrown up more than any of my other kids combined (seriously), I am happy to report that she finally seemed to have turned the corner this morning and has begun keeping small amounts of liquids down.

I can not even tell you what a huge relief (and answer to prayer) this is for me! I have been having a hard enough time keeping everything together with Glen out of the country for a couple of weeks....I didn't need an ER visit too.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Sweet Giveaway!

What do you get when you cross an entire bag of Granny Smith apples picked straight from the tree on Saturday with an overzealous burst of baking on Thursday, and then a lower than expected turn-out for book group (the reason for the baking), a family that's already consumed two apple pies in the last week, and sick kids to keep me from going out visiting?

You get a sweet giveaway, that's what!!!

All you have to do is leave me lots of comments, tell me why you love me (you don't really have to do this part--I really was kidding, although I am enjoying the nice pick-me up today!), and let me know when you can come pick it up...and it's all yours!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Totally unfair!

How is it fair that the best eyelashes in our family belong to a five-year-old boy?

Monday, October 6, 2008

At least we try...

Does it really count as Family Home Evening if during our 20 minute lesson:
  • there were four "desperate" trips to the bathroom,
  • two separate fights over where people were sitting,
  • one giant stomp out of the room with a door slammed,
  • tears shed because they didn't get to hold up equal numbers of flannel board figures,
  • after one of the aforementioned trips to the bathroom someone comes out and asks why the towel rack was ripped out of the wall, after which my demolitionist child immediately covered his face and hid,
  • AND there were no treats since they'd all been snitched earlier in the day?
I did, however, manage to have an opening and closing prayer AND Ellie does now know that it was John the Baptist who baptized Jesus and not the Holy Ghost, as previously thought. So maybe that counts for something...

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Flushing money down the toilet!!

Every month I write out the DirectTV bill that is how I feel! 70 bucks that's just gone, gone, gone! It's enough to make me want to...

give the stupid bill to Adam and let him destroy it by any cruel means possible...yeah I know, I'm harsh.

It's just that we lived so nicely without it for so long, and I really liked the fact that I felt that it was one way we were being so smart and frugal with our money. Then two years ago it all changed. Glen decided that he was missing out, so he exercised his prerogative, found a deal, and signed us up.

What good has it done us since then? It's gotten the kids hooked on Hannah Montana, Drake and Josh, and the Suite Life of Zach and Cody. Oh yeah, and there's all the sporting events that Glen was missing out know Ohio State vs. USC or some other teams he doesn't care a lick about. And how can I forget the golf? Can there be a more boring sport to watch than golf? Did you know that you can find golf on DirectTV almost any time of the day or night? Trust me. I know.

And what do I watch? NOTHING! No news, no Oprah, no HGTV....literally nothing!

So why haven't I put my foot down yet?

It's because I've grown rather attached to staying in our jammies to watch General Conference twice a year. I like that I can have dinner cooking upstairs, we can pause it if someone needs to leave for a minute, and I don't have to be embarrassed that my kids are the loudest ones in the whole building.

Ahhhh! It's almost enough to make me forget about the $70.


Friday, October 3, 2008

How to be happier person...

I've never considered myself a naturally creative person, but over the years I've gone through many creative "phases". Sewing, recipe collecting, crocheting, cross stitching, scrapbooking, FHE lesson making, card making, blogging, etc. have all occupied many hours of my time. I'm not that great at any of them, but I have found a great sense of satisfaction as my skills have improved with practice and I love the feeling of accomplishment when I actually finish my project and have this new creation before me that didn't exist a few hours before.

I've thought a lot about why I thrive on this "extra" part of my life, and I've decided that it has to do with the fact that there aren't many other things in my life ever finish. Every day I cook, clean, do laundry, help the kids, drive people around, and pay bills, just to wake up and do it all again the next day. Don't interpret this statement as complaint, I'm merely saying that sometimes it's a little frustrating to have things undone so quickly after I've done it.

There have been many times in our married life when I'm sure that Glen thought I was some kind of sick masochist for the stress I put myself through to complete a project before a deadline (usually self-imposed deadline), but somehow at the end it's always been worth it to me...adrenaline, lack of sleep, messy house, and all!

[Like these fun cards that I popped out this week for card club--totally worth it!]

So I found it so interesting when President Uchtdorf spoke about this very thing in Women's Conference last week. I felt like he expressed this yearning inside of me better than I ever could myself...

"The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul. No matter our talents, education, backgrounds, or abilities, we each have an inherent wish to create something that did not exist before...Creation brings deep satisfaction and fulfillment. We develop ourselves and others when we take unorganized matter into our hands and mold it into something of beauty—and I am not talking about the process of cleaning the rooms of your teenage children."

So I'm not crazy! I've just recognized that I'm a happier, better person/wife/mother when I have a creative outlet in my life!

So thanks for bearing with me while I hone my latest creative phase...this blog!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Name them one by one...

We've recently begun a new tradition in our house to help our kids better recognize the many blessings in their lives. Each night before bed we take turns sharing three specific things that we were grateful for through the day. It's been heartwarming and humorous to hear what's on their minds.

Ellie's been sick all day, so I couldn't help but smile a bit tonight when she shared what she was grateful for....

"I'm grateful that my fever's going to be gone in the morning."

"I'm grateful that when my fever's gone I get to go to preschool."

"I'm grateful that I'm tired."

and that is why I love my job (most of the time anyway).

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