Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Tonight I was THAT mom.

You know the mom I swore I'd never grow up to be.

The kind of mom that makes my kids cringe in embarrassment at the mere mention of what I've done.

Tonight I gave a lecture to a complete stranger ( a little boy of about 10-years-old).

And when he looked at me open-mouthed for daring to confront him after he had just rammed me on his bike and ridden away without so much as a muttered sorry under his breath, I sat there and calmly taught him a 3 minute lesson all about manners and respect...

then asked him if he spoke English when he didn't respond,

then lectured him some more when he still didn't respond,

then patiently waited for him to apologize,

which he did (in perfect English).


Day 273--Making a Statement...

Just when I thought Ellie's sense of fashion was maturing a little bit, she comes out wearing this outfit....
Ahhh, now that's more like the old Ellie I know!

Then when I went to pick up Emma for her eye doctor's appointment I found that her and Ellie quite the fashion statement together!Two peas in a pod.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Early to bed, Early to rise....

makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.
⇑ ⇑ ⇑ ⇑ ⇑ ⇑ ⇑ ⇑ ⇑ ⇑ ⇑ ⇑ ⇑ ⇑ ⇑ ⇑

For me it's more like,
"Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man tired, grumpy, and snide!"

I knew it would take a while to get used to the whole pre-dawn wake-up time, but I figured once I aligned my bodily rhythm to what the universe (or at least Benjamin Franklin) meant for it to be that I would somehow finally organize my life, exude a new found energy, and be the awesome mom I always meant to be.

But after four weeks of crashing shortly after putting the kids to bed, all I have to show for my new schedule is:
  • a messier house (since I never stay up late enough to start the second load of dishes or to finish folding all the clothes before getting in bed)
  • grumpier kids (who seem to be waking up earlier and earlier with the all the early morning commotion of getting the older kids out the door and won't go to bed any earlier)
  • neglected blogs (since my prime blogging time from 10:00-11:00pm is now past my bedtime)
  • bags around my eyes (even though I'm getting a similar number of hours of sleep as I always have...go figure!)
It's almost enough to make me want to move to somewhere where they have release time seminary or something....

Oh wait, that's only in Utah and Arizona.

Never mind, I think the unfolded laundry adds a nice homey touch to our bed...don't you think?

Day 272--Picnic at the Park

After preschool today, I met up with my good friend Becca and walked to our neighborhood park for a picnic. We used to see each other frequently since Ellie and Becca's daughter Eve went to preschool together last year. Now Eve is in kindergarten and we've been going through some serious Tippet family withdrawal here!

Ellie had a great time playing with Maggie (her best friend Eve's little sister) and eating a second lunch.
And I had a great time getting to hang out with Becca and her cute little baby Eliza!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Day 271--Pumpkin Family

Our kids were not about to let some prime jack-o-lantern material (the mini pumpkins from Cox Farms) go to waste. Emma and Adam made this cute little pumpkin family all by themselves (yep, sharp knives and all). They were both quite proud of their sweet pumpkin knifing skills and even roasted up some of the seeds afterwards for a snack.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Day 270--Home Sweet Home

The winds of change are blowing in our ward. While we were relieved that we got to stay here in the Vienna Ward, it won't ever be quite the same with the new boundary changes.

I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go

Last week while I was in Utah, they made a big announcement at church...

They're changing our meeting time from a 3-hour block to a 2-1/2 hour block! I've been waiting for this day since the moment I heard that my cousin's ward meets from 11:30-2:00. Shorter lessons, streamlining announcements, less numb is a happy day!

Oh, wait. That's just what I wanted to hear.

What they really announced was a special meeting next week to create a new ward [congregation] in our area.

After getting over the initial disappointment that my letter campaign and 1.2 million signature petition sent to church headquarters were being ignored I decided that maybe a little change wouldn't hurt us too badly. Mixing things up a bit can be a refreshing way to get off to a fresh start.

Then, people started speculating. Our leaders told us not to waste our time speculating, but we all did anyway. Our ward was going to get ripped asunder. Our bishop was going to be in the new ward. There wouldn't be any youth left. Eek, this could get ugly!

But then the worst rumor of all started spreading around. Everywhere we turned (literally) people kept telling us that we were definitely in the target zone to be zoned straight out of the ward and into a neighboring stake (that really does have fewer youth and primary).

Suddenly this "change is good" thing started losing its savor. I started losing sleep. Sleep that I did NOT have to give in the first place between my jet lag and early morning seminary hours. I laid awake at night wondering how we would tell our kids that we were in a new stake where we don't know anyone and that the nearest youth to us now lived 5+ miles away. How could we show support for our leaders while we were bawling at the mere thought of the boundary change?

Yesterday it all came to a head for me. We heard through more official channels that they really were zoning people to the other stake and that it really was in our neck of the woods. My worrying turned into full-blown panic.

I went to women's conference last night just praying that no one would start talking about it too much, because I was pretty sure there was no way I was going to be able to hold my emotions all together. As I sat there listening to the broadcast, I enjoyed the peace I felt there and the messages that were shared, but still had the nagging worry eating at me.

Then we came to the closing song, "How Firm a Foundation". Not only did I just love joining in song with all the women in the stake, but I also loved that it was this song that my kids have been learning in primary this past year.

Fear not, I am with thee; oh, be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid.
I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by my righteous, upheld by my righteous,
Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.

Suddenly these words that I'd sung dozens of times with my kids over the last several months just sunk into my heart. Although moving to a new stake would be hard for us and way, way, way out of our comfort zone, it wasn't like we'd be left all alone. Wards are just gathering places for us to love and serve God and each other. It was then that I knew that we were going to be okay whatever the outcome was.

So what happened today?

Same ward. Same bishop. Lost only one family with youth aged kids. Stake boundary moved one mile closer to our house. 26 families moved to other stake. 109 other people to a neighboring ward in our stake.

Whew! We are safe, but change is hard, even when it's not you. Good friends and strong leaders will be sorely missed in our congregation, and it seems impossible looking forward that we can fill our callings with a third fewer people and still 100+ kids in primary. Then I remember...

I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand...
Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.

We're going to be okay.


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Day 269--Rain, Schmain

While Glen, Spencer, and Adam were idling away at Virginia Beach on a father/son camp-out us girls were left with a Saturday's worth of activities and chores. While I secretly hoped that Emma's soccer game would get rained out, alas it did not rain a drop until we almost got there (after a half hour drive to Springfield which I'm totally not bitter about, but if they even have a game that far away again I'm boycotting).

So, the girls played in the mud and cold drizzling rain...

and still beat their opponents by several points! Way to go Emma!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Day 268--Cox Farms

Today dawned with rainy skies, but after consulting the weather forecast we decided it should be a perfect day to make our annual pilgrimage to Cox Farms in Centreville. I pulled Emma and Adam out of school, joined with our preschool friends, and made our way to the land of hay and pumpkins!

The clouds seemed to keep the crowds away and we had the run of the place to ourselves. As per usual, the kids loved the rope swing ....

the super fast slides...

the fun and slightly scary hay ride where an alien comes out to give everyone high fives....

and of course the free mini pumpkins at the end (and the one giant car-sized pumpkin)...
which of course made for great head wear?! Silly kids!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

High on the Mountaintop

What do you get when you bring ten Crains up to the top of a mountain for a picture taking session?
You get a really sweet shot of Mom and Dad...

a nice shot of the sweet, good-looking girls...

(Did you know that I am the oldest in my family, but I'm also the shortest?)

and a decent one of the goofy-looking boys. (My brother Tim is the youngest...and the tallest.)

(Did you know our family is perfectly symmetrical? There are 8 kids and we go in order girl (me), boy, girl, boy, girl, boy, girl, boy. Yeah, I know we're cool!)

Then after all that looking purty for the camera things went downhill quickly....
First there were the "pregnant belly" shots...

and pained expressions...

an attempted kidnapping...

a very melodramatic chest bumping episode...

and before long we probably would have been accused of literally being "high" on the mountaintop as we rolled on the ground in laughter over a conversation about a yarmulke and being part Jewish (a joke) and eventually the difference between circumcision and castration for my sister who didn't know the difference. (for you AL---circumcision=normal, castration=bad)

I'm sure to anyone else we looked silly and immature (and we probably are), but those are the stuff of which memories are made of.

Good times.


Day 267--No Pants Ellie

Ellie has entered into the "no pants" state of mind lately. She wears dresses and skirts every day just like her 2 sisters before her (especially Cami) at about this age. With this new level of having standards with what she wears her outfits occasionally rise to the level of cute in a real sort of way, not just oh-look-how-cute-she-dressed-herself sort of way.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Day 266--Happy Half Birthday to Ellie

Well, it's official. My baby is now four and a half!

Never mind that we didn't actually do anything cool to celebrate or even acknowledge it any way other than this blog post, but since I didn't know what else to write about today it is what it is.

Disclaimer: This picture is actually from two days in the future, which if I was actually writing this post today instead of a whole week and a day past the event would be quite the feat.

More Surprises

You may have noticed that we have a thing for surprises in our family. My sister Heather has "dropped by" from Minnesota unexpectedly on a long weekend. Matt surprised my parents by showing up unexpectedly from DC with a serious girlfriend (now wife) in tow. Even my parents have been known to pull a few fast ones over on us kids (probably where we got it from) like the time when they woke us all up from a sound sleep and we thought it was morning, but it was really the middle of the night and it was high time we learned to do our chores correctly.

So naturally with all these surprising precedents in our family, we didn't think that all 8 of us kids randomly showing up in Utah a month after his 60th birthday was quite enough of a shock to his system. We went for shock and awe of the adjust your blood pressure medication variety.

The next day after we arrived, we contrived to get a couple of the boys to take Dad out to lunch while the rest of us got busy setting up mountains of food for his big SURPRISE PARTY!

When I say "mountains of food", I mean MOUNTAINS....

Side note: If you ever want to butter me up for some big favor sometime, those pink sprinkled cookies should do the trick just fine.

Then we started filling the house with family and friends.....

and waited for Dad's big entrance....

We got him good...again! (he was a little more reserved in his reactions this time, but he was shocked nonetheless)

We did have a little scare there that things were going to get ugly when my Dad almost refused the hug of his good friend who dared enter into Cougar territory with a U of U shirt...

We also got pretty nervous when Nate insisted on putting the full 60 candles on the cake...

But we were able to escape calling the fire department and Dad was able to overcome his phobia for a second to finish the hug...

Afterwards a bunch of them went off to watch the BYU vs. FSU game...

which was *almost* enough to ruin the fun of the rest of the day with its disappointing outcome, but it's hard to keep a group of Crains down for long....

To be continued with tales of our family pictures, Settlers of Catan raucousness, and a G-rated discussion on circumcision vs. castration for my sister.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Day 265--Laundry

Glen rocked on taking care of the kids and the house while I was gone, but laundry was another story. Five or six loads? I can't remember, but there's still more to do tomorrow.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Day 264--Flying Home

This morning Pete and I went running together, Mom made us a delicious breakfast of homemade biscuits and gravy, then we went on a quick trip to the BYU Bookstore and to Costco. Afterwards Pete, Matt, AnnaLisa, and Heather and I headed off to the airport and flew home. Yay!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Day 263--Saying, "Cheese!"

We couldn't pass by an opportunity of all 10 of us being together and not get a family photo taken. We scoured Utah photographers and found one that we liked and hired her for the job.

She had to put up with a whole lot of silliness and inside jokes from us, but at least she didn't have to shake any stuffed animals and talk in a high voice to get us to look at the camera.

As soon as she left, we pulled out my camera and started snapping our own shots that captured a little more of the Crain personality.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Day 262--Surprising Dad...Again!

One big surprise just wasn't enough for us, we had to go for the double whammy for Dad. While Pete and Matt took Dad out for his second lunch of the day the rest of us hurriedly set up a surprise party. Friends and relatives filled the house...

and Dad was just as surprised as we'd hoped him to be!

As soon as the party was over the crowd ran down to the BYU game and watched them get squashed.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Guess where I am right now....

Here are some hints....

airplane with 5 Crains....
(please ignore my early morning seminary complexion)

greeted at the end of the flight with a bright rainbow into the mountains...

a sneaky car ride through my "favorite" traffic...

my favorite fast-food restaurant (Cafe Rio), although I have to say I'm to the point that I prefer my own homemade version over the real deal....

and an unsuspecting Dad that just turned 60 and had absolutely no idea that all eight children were coming to help him celebrate!!!!

Happy Birthday Dad! We love you!

PS Thank you Glen for taking time off of work and helping this trip to become reality. You're awesome!

Day 261--Surprise!

After spending the last two months planning out all the details, we finally surprised Dad for his 60th birthday (which was really a month ago). We were worried he already knew that something was up, but it seems that he was 100% genuinely surprised. This picture captures the moment when he looked around the table at Cafe Rio that we had just sneaked into and he saw each of us one by one. It was awesome!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Day 260--Preschool, Play Dates, and Babysitting

Ellie is totally loving being back in preschool. She comes home talkative, happy, and downright exhausted! Today we had her friend Rachel over afterwards for a playdate. They were happily playing dress up and kitchen, but unfortunately after Rachel cut her foot pretty badly (on a piece of a broken lamp) she had to be taken to the doctor. I volunteered to watch her baby brother Michael during the unplanned doctor's visit to make it a little easier for her mom.

Ellie and I totally enjoyed our little baby fix, while we fed him, played with him, and just plain snuggled him.

As soon as he left (Rachel was fine and didn't need stitches or anything) Ellie laid down on the couch and fell fast asleep.
I'm beginning to feel like this afternoon napping might be becoming a trend again. Not such a bad thing in my book.

google analytics