Monday, January 31, 2011

Choc-Choc-Chocolate


Running, slipping, sledding, jumping, wrestling….


Homemade hot chocolate NOT FROM A MIX….


Homemade peppermint swirled marshmallows….

Hot chocolate worth the  pain the lactose inflicts on me….
Good thing the sugar content means I can only have it once a week or Glen would have to start sleeping in another room.  °Ü° 




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Ode to Whatever






I’m just experimenting with the blog and posting pictures in a new format and I have absolutely nothing significant to say, other than I could really, really, really use a little sunshine right now. 

Um, never mind.  I still don’t have anything significant to say, but that’s never stopped me from writing a blogpost before, so, in honor of all that is insignificant…

Ode to Whatever   

O Winter, o winter.
O how you make my skin splinter.
I like having four seasons,
But for a myriad of reasons
Every winter seems like a bummer
Making me long for the sunshine of summer.
You take my Vitamin D
And my humor and energy,
And leave in its place, scaly skin
And the feeling that I just can’t win. 
I think I need a week or two in Hawaii,
but that would be almost impossible to rhyme with,
so I won’t try-aye-ee.
O winter,  dinter, winter.


PS  Before anyone tells me how sunshiny/beautiful/mild/non-cold it is where they live, just consider yourself warned…

Not only am I short on sleep, out of routine with my kids in the middle of a seven day break from school (3 snow days + the weekend + 2 teacher work days), have a grumpy/sick spouse, and a to-do list that’s 1000 feet long, but I’m also in sugar withdrawal and have freakishly long toes.  

Have a nice day!
°Ü°

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Pinewood Derby

[pīn-wood dur-bee]
noun

The pinewood derby is a racing event where Cub Scouts race small wooden cars on a track.  The event is known to raise blood pressure in both adult males and females and it is generally accepted that the winners of this event have the dad with the manliest tool collection.  






Based on this assessment, let it be known that Glen's tool collection is 100% middle-of-the-road average and that Lara is looking forward to another three years hence to be done with this chest-thumping man contest once and for all.     


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Friday, January 28, 2011

Mid-Winter Break

Finally!  Snow!  Eight inches of real snow (plus some rain, sleet, and thunder snow)!

With no school for seven straight days (3 snow days + 2 teacher work days on Monday, Tuesday) my kids are enjoying their 2nd winter break of the year and I am trying to keep up with the pile of soaked snow clothes that have taken over our entry way.  

I thought I'd make this post a little glimpse of  what everyone has been up to the past couple of days:   

Emma:  After initially being disappointed at not being able to present her Secret Garden project at school, she caught the spirit by staying in her pajamas all day and playing outside and rereading her Harry Potter book for the third time through. 


Ellie:   Ellie sure misses her routine when they're out of school, but she's used the snow days as an opportunity to revisit her hidden fashionista side, by  changing her outfits several times a day.  She hasn't done it as much since starting kindergarten, so I actually found it quite charming and cute, however  I'll refrain from speaking of the laundry pile that has resulted. 


Spencer:  Shoveling last year's record-breaking snowstorms funded his fun money for an entire year (plus college/mission savings), so he's the one who's been most waiting with baited breath for some real snow this year.  Much to his own happiness, he had many eager customers, who were happy to refill his coffers. 


Glen:  With tales of horrific 11+ hour commutes and hundreds of abandoned cars left on roadways, it's times like these that we are so very happy to live so close to the Metro.  He walked right by all of the stalled cars,  making it home in a mere 20 minutes from the Metro, rather than the hour plus it likely would've taken to drive the mere mile or longer to drive from downtown.   


Adam:  Snow days are three big things to this boy....staying in his pajamas all day, every day, playing outside in the snow, and playing MarioKart on the Wii until mommy makes him stop.  


Rocky:  A social dog, this guy is loving all the extra attention (and food crumbs) that the snow days are bringing.  He even is getting in on the piano practicing and without a lot less grumbling than the rest of them. 


Lara:  (sorry no picture of me) The snow day gave me a perfect excuse to have the kids try a new cupcake recipe I've been wanting to post on the recipe blog.   Besides this one activity, though, I am totally off my groove.  With Glen home sick early in the week and the now the kids home with their snow days, I am longing for a little routine and Lara time. 


Cami:   After helping an older neighbor lady dig out for free, Spence allowed her to help with their paid shoveling venture for a while.  While shoveling, a lady commented that she was very industrious and reminded her of the Great Depression.  Cami was a little perplexed at whether to be insulted or complimented by the comment. 


My goals for the rest of our Winter Break #2 include:
Not catching the stomach bug that laid Glen out for 3 days. 

Wearing my sweats/pajamas as often as possible.

Exercising at least once or twice. 

Playing a board game with the kids at least once a day. 

Trying not to go too crazy at the fact that  the older kids  are staying up super late and the younger kids are still waking up at their normal time.

Take more pictures.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Looking at a Seizure

A little update on sweet Ellie:
  • Ellie is tolerating her new medication much, much better than her previous one.
  • I love having our happy, energetic Ellie back in the house again.  I feel like the first medication made her act like I imagine a depressed 5-year-old would act.
  • She is still having lots of seizures.
  • We're in process of increasing her medication to a level that will hopefully control the seizures and not knock her out. 
  • Before her epilepsy diagnosis, she had almost completely given up sucking her thumb, but when she started on the medication from hell, she started sucking it again in earnest...even more than she had before.  We just started a little  bribery program to get her to stop again.  After four days, I have to say that it's going phenomenally well.
  • I love this sweetie girl and her new toothy smile. 


A few seconds after the first picture was taken, she had a seizure, so I took a picture (hopefully she won't hate me someday for publishing it).  

It shows a little glimpse at a typical seizure for her:  She stops smiling, her eyes flutter, and she smacks her lips like she's chewing.  She looks away and in this case her hands still gripped the plate, but they fell downwards and I had to catch the pizza to keep it from falling on the ground (the reason for the blurry shot). 
After about 15 seconds or so, she "comes back" and experiences a momentary confusion (hence the frown). 

In another few seconds she was smiling again.    If you didn't know what was happening, you'd find it all a bit odd, but you would probably just think she was distractible and tired.

Based on the time I spend helping in her reading group each week, I see that these seizures really do put her at a distinct disadvantage in the classroom.  She misses instructions, she loses her place in her work, and she seems noncompliant in group settings. Thankfully her teacher is much calmer and more understanding than the jerk of a teacher who yelled at her during a seizure last week.  Truly, kindergarten is probably the best grade for  this all to happen and my biggest hope, at this point, is that we'll have it mostly under control by the time she starts first grade. 


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Monday, January 24, 2011

101 Random Things

I'm sure that this way, way more than you ever wanted to know about me, but  here it is anyway....for your enjoyment boredom.    Feel free to let me know which ones you want to hear more about in a future blogpost.  :)


1.  I was born in California.
2.  I only lived there for a few months before we moved to Texas and then on to Germany.
3.  My first three years of school were spent in three different states--Utah, Iowa, Minnesota.
4.  I am the oldest in my family.
5.  There are eight of us siblings--four boys and four girls.  We alternate girl-boy-girl-boy-girl-boy-girl-boy. 
6.  My only allergy is to metal.
7.  I have broken three bones in my life--leg, collar bone, and baby toe. 
8.  I have been to 49 states...I only need to visit Alaska.
9.  When I was a freshman, I was the only one of my six roommates that didn't get engaged that year.
10.  I met Glen when I was on a blind date with someone else.
11.  My brother Nate introduced us.
12.  Glen and I spent a lot of time together for several months, but never admitted to ourselves that we were dating until a couple weeks before we were engaged.
13.  Glen and I got engaged when I was a junior at BYU. 
14.  We got married 3 months after our engagement date. 
15.  I had Spencer 18 months after we were married and only a couple of days after finals that semester. 
16.  We drove from Utah to Baltimore for a summer internship when he was only 10 days old.
17.  I don't get morning sick at all when I'm pregnant with boys. 
18.  I get slightly morning sick when I'm pregnant with a girl. 
19.  Except Ellie.  I felt great through my whole pregnancy and was convinced that she must've been a boy. 
20.  My thyroid wigs out after pregnancy.  The doctor says it means that I'm prone to thyroid issues, but thankfully I've haven't ever needed any medication....so far. 
21.  I rarely match the clean socks, which means the kids have to dig through the sock basket looking for a match themselves every day.
22.  I am a naturally reserved person. 
23.  Glen is just as reserved as I am, which means that together we end up a little reclusive sometimes.
24.  I nursed all five of my kids for a total of about 74 months--that's over 6 years of nursing.
25.  I've spent almost four years of my life pregnant and for the most part enjoyed being pregnant.  
26.  I was captain of the track team in high school.
27.  I was also captain of the cross country team.
28.  In high school, I was always a middle-of-the-pack runner.  Now I'm uber-slow, lucky if I can pull off a 12-minute mile. 
29.  I started getting gray hair in high school. 
30. I grew up being taught that dyeing your hair is a very vain and unhealthy thing to do. 
31.  I highly enjoy my brown-from-a-box hair color and won't go more than 2 months between my dye jobs (including my most recent one this morning before church). 
32.  I've been an avid journal keeper since I was 8-years-old.
33.  In 2007, my blog became my journal/scrapbook. 
34.  My mother finds gum chewing a highly offensive habit and I still feel somewhat rebellious every time I chew gum. 
35.  I tend to chew gum a lot more when I'm on my sugar once-a-week diet. 
36.  I day-dream about having a super organized house someday.
37.  I have no musical abilities whatsoever. 
38. I cannot sleep on fluffy hotel pillows at all, so I always bring my own  flat pillows from home when we travel.
39.  I love living in the DC area.
40.  I tend to second-guess myself.
41.  I have a long suppressed desire to entertain friends at our home, but almost never do.  (see #36 and #23).
42.  I have a phobia of being lazy.
43.  I also have a phobia of over-scheduling our family's activities.
44.  However I have no problem over-scheduling myself.
45.  I have lactose intolerance.
46.  The ability to digest milk is actually a mutation in adult humans, so I pride myself in my non-mutancy.
47.  I have always been a list-maker. 
48.  I ate a chocolate covered ant one time, when my uncle tricked me. 
49.  I can recite all 13 articles of faith at any given moment. 
50.  I once smacked my date in the face with a golf club and knocked him out cold. 
51.  It was totally an accident, but for some reason he never asked me out again.
52.  I used to be a coupon freak and could buy all of our groceries for under $100 a month.
53.  Our grocery bill is close to $1000 a month now. 
54.  I daydream about having a beautifully decorated home with a classic country style.  It's a far cry from it right now. 
55.  I talk to either my parents or a sibling almost every day. 
56.  Other than talking with them, I rarely talk on the phone for fun.  I  only call people if I have a reason to call them. 
57.  My family has always been my best blog fans, giving me sympathy comments when I need them. 
58.  My sister has scars on her arm from where I pinched her as a teenager.
59.  I have a scar on my face from where she hit me in the mouth with a shovel.
60.  Today I consider my siblings and parents among my very best friends.
61. I consider my marriage to Glen as one of the wisest choices I ever made.  He is a kind, hard-working, and patient man.
62.  When I get excited about something, I tend to get a little obsessive.
63.  I consider this trait to be one my greatest strengths and also one of my greatest weaknesses.
64.  I went to seminary with 2 members of the 80's singing group, The Jets.
65.  One of the Jets (Moana)  really wanted to see what high school was like, so she came along to school one day with me. 
66.   It was the only day in my life that I was popular. 
67.  I love to read and consider it one of my guilty pleasures in life.
68.  I won the school district spelling bee when I was in 4th grade.
69.  My winning word was vaccination.
70.  I never had broccoli, peppers, spinach, or cilantro until I was an adult. 
71.  I had a paper route until I was in high school.
72.  I worked at a grocery store most of my way through high school.
73.  I have always had a deep down desire to be the life of the party--witty, outgoing, and charming. 
74.  It'll never, ever, ever happen in real life, so I let out my wild side (such that it is) here on the blog.
75.  I love collecting quotes and have kept my own quote book since I was a teenager.
76.  I only missed a couple days of seminary in all 4 years. 
77.  I pride myself on being reliable, except when I go into ignore mode.
78.  I definitely prefer big town living over small town living.
79.  Not that I've ever lived in a small town or anything, I just like a little anonymity. 
80.  If I walk outside and find the lighting particularly pretty, I'll go inside and get my camera and start taking pictures of the family for no particular reason other than the lighting. 
81.  I'm sure that's why half my family gets grumpy when they see me pull out my camera.
82.  I love peanut butter and thank my lucky stars every time I eat it that no one in our family is allergic to it. 
83.  When I'm by myself in the car I don't listen to music very often.  It's either talk-radio or nothing.
84.  My train of thought can be very random.
85.  I have the two best callings in the church right now....nursery leader and ward bulletin editor.  The nursery kids are sweet and snuggly and hilarious and the ward bulletin is a sort of paper version of a ward blog for me where I can stretch myself spiritually and creatively. 
86.  Some days I am sure that I have adult onset ADHD. 
87.  I'm very competitive and so is Glen, so board games can get pretty intense.
88.  I'm not a grudge holder.
89.  Inertia is my biggest nemesis. 
90.  Glen and I both very risk averse.
91. I have now lived in Virginia longer than I ever lived in Minnesota. 
92.  I have mixed feelings about giving up my title of Minnesotan.
93.  I way prefer cookie dough over the baked cookies.
94.  It's one of the things I miss the most about eating sugar only once-a-week.  We always end up making special desserts instead of simple cookies. 
95.  I have to keep my potty humor suppressed around Glen.  He does not find tooting very funny at all, which is extra funny because when we spend time with his brothers, it's all they talk about and Glen laughs right along with them. 
96.  Adam appreciates my tooting jokes/comments, which is nice since we have ample opportunity to laugh about tooting in our house.
97.  I've never had to wear glasses.  Glen's never had to wear braces.   So far my eye and teeth genes are both prevailing. 
98.  Before September, epilepsy used to be something that frightened me.   Now it's less of a fright and more of a figuring out how to get over this hurdle. 
99.  I almost always put mascara on before I leave the house.
100. I usually blog at night when I'm losing steam fast and then think/dream about what I've typed all night long.  (see #40) I almost always tweak my blogpost in the morning. 
101.  I'm not one for dramatic endings.

The End. 

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Important Announcement



Just to be perfectly clear, there was absolutely no hidden meaning in the last post.  

Zero. Zilch. Nada. Zippo. 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Flashback Friday: Worst Pregnancy Craving Ever

When I was pregnant with Emma I  developed this funny fetish for limes.  It was one of the only strong pregnancy cravings that I ever remember having through my five pregnancies, but it was so intense I daydreamed about limes for days before deciding that I just had to give in and make something limey. 

I could have been normal and made  a key lime pie or drank some limeade or something, but I was feeling ambitious that day and decided to be creative and make some lime jelly.  Man oh man, was I excited about the lime toast I was going to have when I was done! 

Somewhere I found a recipe for how to make some and excitedly I went right to work.  I fastidiously followed that recipe to a "T".  While I was simmering some whole limes in a small amount of water, I carefully measured the sugar and prepared the canning jars for what was sure to be the best jars of jelly ever! 

After simmering for some time,  I gave the limes a stir, as the recipe suggested.    Unfortunately for me, one stir was all it took for the pent-up pressure inside the limes to explode through the softened rinds and all over me.

What ensued next, was an apocalyptic kind of scene that I'm sure will be in one of Stephen King's novels someday.  Scalding hot lime innards were spewn  everywhere, including my face, neck, arms, and down my shirt.  I was screaming.  My kids were unhurt, but screaming because I was screaming.  And all I could do was claw at myself to get the evil citrus pulp off my blistering skin while I ran for a cold shower. 

Epilogue:  Despite the traumatic experience,  I still held to my visions of lustrous green jelly that tasted as sweet and perky as a lime popsicle.  It was with these visions and out of pure stubbornness, that eventually I finished making the lime jelly.    The jam ended up being an unappetizing shade of brownish-green and tasted so sour and horrible that it was truly inedible.   I threw the whole batch in the trash.   

  Thankfully the 2nd degree burn splatters healed without scarring and Spence and Cami have since forgotten the day their mother got attacked by evil limes.    Mostly I'm over the experience, but even 11 years later I still feel a short moment of glee and sweet revenge when I poke the tip of my knife into the skin of a lime while I cut it in half for my dinner preparations.   That'll show them not to mess with Lara the lime killer.  



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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Embracing Boringness

 I'm in a blogging rut.

  •  My kids are cute, but no cuter than they were yesterday. 
  • We're two months away from the next family birthday, although according to Ellie it's coming very soon. 
  • No one's won any awards.
  • Spencer still gives me dirty looks whenever I pull out the camera. 
  • It still hasn't snowed more than a half-inch, although we did get an ice storm last night, which did give the kids their first full snow day, but didn't make for great snowman material (or photo-ops). 
I feel like I've morphed into a run-of-the-mill mommy blogger. 

Don't get me wrong....I totally love mommy blogs all the way and fully admit that mine is and always has been a mommy blog.   However, I have this slight phobia of being totally normal.   I think it stems from coming from a big family or something.  If I don't do something different, I might get lost in the crowd. 

Problem is, I am a very routine person who rarely does anything truly interesting....

So I've made an executive decision.

Rather than continuing to fight my natural boringness and getting discouraged when I fail,  I've decided that it's time to embrace normalcy wholeheartedly. 

I am normal. 

.... just like this speed limit sign. 




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Monday, January 17, 2011

Wisdom from the Bowling Alley

Today we decided to take advantage of the holiday from school and work and take the family bowling.  Bowling is only a once or twice-a-year adventure for us, so it's always good for some laughs and good photo ops. 

We had a lot of fun, but for some reason I was just "off" my game today.   I bowled much more horribly than is even usual for me.  Instead of being irritated at my string of gutter balls, though,  it got me thinking about life and talents and gutter balls and well, since this is all a bit weird, maybe I'll start with  the back story first. 
 
When I was a teenager I used to get all bent out of shape about how I had no visible talents.

I can't sing.   I'm not artistic.  I have no rhythm.  I can't speak any foreign languages. I can't run fast.  I can't multiply 6 digit numbers in my head.  I don't do tongue twisters. I can't sew.  I'm not organized.  Heck, I couldn't even tease my bangs very well.  I was throwing a lot of proverbial gutter balls. 

I felt that I was like the man given only one talent in Jesus' parable of the talents while everyone around me had been showered with ten (or more).  With the help of my parents (and a good dose of springtime sunshine), I could always eventually come up with a few things that I was good at to make me feel a little better.  Things like... reading really fast, being able to memorize things, being a decent speller, and having almost hairless arms.    

As I've grown older I still sometimes struggle with the same insecurities, although I like to think that as I've aged I've developed a little better perspective on things now.   While I still sometimes lament that I'll never be able to sing a duet with Glen at church, I can see now how my invisible-talents are instrumental in making me the mother/wife that I am today.

A talent for being fiercely loyal--to my family, to my friends, to my country, to my kids' schools, to my faith, to my insurance company.  

A talent for being consistent--in holding family home evenings weekly despite our crazy schedules, in blogging, in developing routines/traditions for my family, in my church callings, in ignoring my email inbox.

A talent for being passionate in my pursuits--in cooking healthy dinners for our family, in fulfilling my responsibilities, in mothering, in wanting to share the little tidbits I've learned along the way of life with others (aka blogging). 

A talent for not holding a grudge--while I am sensitive, I am not easily offended.  I give people the benefit of the doubt and assume the best, even when their actions speak otherwise


So what about bowling a bad game got me thinking like this?  I think it was the whole consistency thing.  I've been feeling lately that this is one of my gifts (although it definitely doesn't carry over to my  bowling abilities).  While it's not a spiritual gift you'll read about in the scriptures.  Nor will it ever be on a list of sought-after talents; it is one of my gifts and I believe it has been instrumental in making me the kind of mother I am today.  

The kind of mother who consistently brings her camera with her and passionately takes a gazillion pictures hoping to capture that "one" shot...  (of course the "one" shot didn't ever happen in the low lighting of the bowling alley)


A mother who can't help but be completely charmed at how sweet her husband and kids are...


A mother who passionately feels that some delicious food is the perfect ending to a fun day....

A mother who loves finding a fun new frozen yogurt restaurant (Red Mango) that we can loyally visit on a frequent basis...


A mother who fiercely wishes that her boys would stop running away from the camera, so she can capture more cheesy grins like this....
A mother who consistently stays up later than she should, while she rambles on and on about her philosophies and thoughts on life. 

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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sunday Afternoons

This past year we've had the 1-4 church schedule.  While I liked being able to sleep in, eating big breakfasts together, and being able to prepare our lessons on Sunday morning,  it sure made our Sunday evenings seem so short by the time we finished with dinner.

At the beginning of January we switched to the 9-12 schedule.  While pulling kids out of bed and actually getting there 20 minutes early so I can pass out the programs has been a somewhat painful transition, I have to say that I am totally in love with our wide open Sunday afternoons!   

I love being able to spend time cooking a decent dinner in daylight hours.  I love that those who so choose can take naps.  I love that my kids play happily together (mostly) without me having to remind them to get ready.

And the part I'm most excited about.....

The reintroduction of our Sunday afternoon family walks!!! 

It was a bit chilly today,

but, oh how I've missed our jaunts around the neighborhood together...


even carrying around tired Ellie didn't seem so bad...
 

although we definitely had to take turns.  She may only be 40 lbs., but after 5 minutes of carrying her I've decided I may as well rename my blog, "Diary of a Wimpy Mom".    Thank goodness for Daddy's buff arms.  :)

So what's your favorite church schedule?   Why do you prefer it? 



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Friday, January 14, 2011

Weekly Round-up

Favorite Quote of the Week:  Adam asked me, "Mom, why aren't any of the people wearing boots and this is supposed to be a BOOT camp exercise video?"
......so I added boots.


Sad Moment of the Week:   At Ellie's winter party today, they were playing a group game with everyone sitting in a circle.  Ellie was bending over slightly while having a seizure.  A teacher, unfamiliar with her epilepsy, started giving her a lambasting 2 minute lecture about how kids in his class that don't sit up straight get sent to the nurse's office (and on and on).  When she finally "came to" she had absolutely no idea why she was being scolded and was completely mortified.  I was livid at him, because epilepsy or not, I do not believe kindergartners should be embarrassed and lectured in that manner. 

Stressful Moment of the Week:  I taught a Relief Society activity night on Wednesday.  While I am a person who likes to be busy, the whole experience definitely made me realize that I'm not cut out for high stress life (or for teaching people over the age of 3).  On the bright side, I haven't slept as soundly as I did on Wednesday night in a long, long time! 

Happy Moment of the Week:  Glen's taking me on a date tonight!  With teenagers in the house, it shouldn't be such a rare occasion, but it seems that our teens' social lives seem to keep getting in the way of ours.    We're trying out a new Lebanese restaurant not far from home and I'm having a hard time deciding that I want to make dinner for the rest of my family.  

Favorite Recipe of the Week:  Tomato-Basil Parmesan Soup in my brand-new crockpot!   Loved the low-stress and loved the soup!   
Proud Moment of the Week:   I flipped my own pizza crust.... 



PS  Don't worry, while I didn't say anything in front of the whole class, that rude teacher did hear from me later. 

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