Monday, December 29, 2008

quote of the week...

"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."

--Leonardo da Vinci

Monday, December 22, 2008

quote of the week...

"Women wish to be loved without a why or a wherefore; not because they are pretty or good, or well-bred, or graceful, or intelligent, but because they are themselves."

--Henri Frederic Amiel

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

quote of the week...

"Personally I'm always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught."

--Sir Winston Churchill

Saturday, December 13, 2008

took a tag...

I took this tag from my friend, Sari, who isn't sure that 4 people read her blog.
Well I read it, Sari...so 1 down, 3 to go.



RULES:


1. Go to your pictures
2. Go to the 4th file & upload the 4th picture
3. Post & tell about the picture
4. Tag 4 friends







This is mine. It's from the recent drama night at my son's school. They were doing a selection of one acts, and his group was asked to perform. This picture is when they first came on stage and were introducing themselves. Two lovely girls named Ali and Ashley, and then the tall guy on the end is my boy. The one act was from "English Made Simple" and they did a really good job. It was fun to see this side of him, performing in front of others. It was also fun to watch because he has a bit of a crush on one of the girls in his group. (ssshhh...it's the one on the far left.)
I tag Kim (mamahen), Jan G, Vern, and Brittany.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

car conversations...

Last night, driving to and fro with our 1st grade son.

1st grade son: So, Mom? Did you know that Hanukkah is before Christmas? And it lasts for longer than 1 day?

me: I did know that.

1st grade son: And, Mom? Did you know that it's called the Festival of Lights? Because it is.

me: I think I knew that. Did you know that not everyone celebrates Hanukkah? It's a special group of people who celebrate Hanukkah...do you know what they are called?

1st grade son: Ummmm.....(tentatively) Hanukkahans?

I almost had to pull over.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

large family mommy guilt: how I got over it and found complete peace in giving my children just 3 gifts at Christmas

I'll let you in on a secret.

Moms of large families can have a lot of guilt. I get the feeling that the general public isn't aware of this on any major scale...this feeling being based on how many times I have been asked by friends and total strangers if I "know what causes that" or "plan on getting fixed" or, my all time favorite, "you done yet?".

If people knew that the average large family mom is already walking around with her own little folder of guilt that she regularly refers to all on her own, they might back off a bit. At least I think they would, but I'm optimistic like that.

The guilt comes from a concern that whatever you do, it will be determined by the well meaning folks around you that you do it because you have lots of kids. If your kids ever go out of the house with torn or dirty clothes, if you take simple vacations, if you stay at home mother, if sometimes dinner is cereal...you worry that everyone who sees what you are doing figures it's because you can't do anything else, because you have enough kids to qualify for an at home day care license.

Which brings me to Christmas.

I used to buy my children lots of Christmas presents. It took me several years to determine why I felt the need to overindulge my kids. Part of it is my own nature, to be sure. I am a gift giver. It's one way I like to show love. But as the years went on, I noticed that I found my children's gratitude diminishing, and my joy in getting them lots of "stuff" turning into irritation at the waste and expense of it all. And not just the financial expense...the expense of just owning and dealing with more things.

So, after a year or two when Christmas just gave me a stomach ache, I started to consider that maybe, just maybe, we should pull back, pare down, get less, and appreciate more.

It was then that the large family mommy guilt reared its ugly head.

"But--what if the kids and everyone else thinks that the reason you only give a few special things at Christmas is because you have lots of kids and can't afford to do anything else??"

And, as much as it pains me to say it, what it looked like mattered to me.

So--I had the large family mommy guilt, and had the part of me that just wanted to make Christmas meaningful. I started to ask myself questions...what did I want my children to know, to feel, to believe about Christmas? What did I hope they would remember about the Christmases of their childhood? What precedent did I want to set for their expectations of future Christmases, and for their future family's celebrations? And most importantly: what is the best thing to do, regardless of how many children we have?

That's when, with the hubby's help, I determined that we would do 3 presents for each child. One from Santa, one from Dad, and one from Mom. We also had the children draw names and buy gifts for one another. Grand total: 4 presents.

I'm telling you--one of the best things I ever let go of my guilt long enough to decide.

Christmas is now the fun and reflective time I hoped it would be. I have yet to hear any of our children even notice that we changed what we do. (it's been 5 years now) But I see the difference in the tone and the mood of the house--both on Christmas morning and every day leading up to it. There's just a lot less stuff...and a lot more peace.

So I've let go. And in letting go, I finally care a little bit more about the way things are and a little bit less about how things look.

Which is,as it turns out, what I really needed to begin with.









Monday, December 08, 2008

quote of the week...

"Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home."

-- Edith Sitwell

Friday, December 05, 2008

because I don't have enough problems...

My husband's cat peed on my laundry room rug. Again.

It's like the cat wants me to kill him.

Monday, December 01, 2008

quote of the week...

"It is up to us to give ourselves recognition. If we wait for it to come from others, we feel resentful when it doesn't, and when it does, we may well reject it."

--Spencer Tracy

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

quote of the week...

"A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all other virtues."

-- Cicero

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I {heart} my asian market...

I really, really do. And yes, it is MY asian market...never mind the hundreds of asian and hispanic customers that frequent there...it's all about me. Me. The middle aged white lady who comes searching for her jar of bulgogi sauce and melon flavored ice cream bars.

In spite of this great love between me and my asian market, I have one concern...what is that smell in there? For real, why does the market smell like that?

My daughter says, "That's just the way asian stuff smells." While I am inclined to believe she is smarter than me--after all, she goes to college--I don't think she has a decent case for that argument. I don't smell that smell when I go to my favorite asian restaurant. This is a smell specifically limited to the market. So, theory shot down right there.

It's really more of a curiousity than a concern, now that I think about it. I mean, the smell hasn't kept me away so far. I will not stop going to the market based on that smell. I will stop going there if they stop selling my melon ice cream bars, however. You'd agree with me if you tried them. They are like heaven on a stick.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

quote of the week...

“I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself.”

---Maya Angelou

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

never mind Palin...

...here's why I'll never be vice-president.
[thanks, Andrew, for getting me thinking about it.]

*My children would totally give me up to the press as the nut job I am. Hubby could hold it in and speak only of my many saint-like qualities, but the kids...the kids would crack.
*Red and blue are not my colors. Can't wear those, can't be a lady in US politics.
*I tend to speak my mind without thinking first. I know, right?
*I'm a Mormon. Duh. If Mitt and his Kennedy-esque hair couldn't pull it off, then I sure as heck can't.
*Being the mom of many, I believe that a completely valid answer to many questions is: "Because I said so." Somehow, I don't think that would fly with the White House Press Corps.
*I would never wear a cheap $600 pair of earrings...oh, wait, that's why I'll never be First Lady. Nevertheless...I'd rather, oh, I don't know...feed my family for a month and a half.
*I have skeletons in my closet. I'm not saying it's a big closet, I mean, we're not talking a walk-in or anything...but it's there and there are bones in it.
*And speaking of skeletons...I once stole a candy bar from a grocery store. I still feel guilty about that, and I'm guessing that I couldn't pass a lie detector test because of it. What? You mean you don't have to pass a lie detector test to be elected into public office? Huh. That explains a lot.

Monday, November 10, 2008

quote of the week...

"I wish people could acheive what they think would bring them happiness in order for them to realize that that's not what happiness really is."

-- Alanis Morissette

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

I'll give in to peer pressure...

Nearly everyone is putting up pictures of their offspring in Halloween costume-age.
This was my favorite for this year: our 4 year old, who insisted she dress as Christine from Phantom of the Opera...and her sweet big brother who agreed to go as The Phantom for her.








Tuesday, November 04, 2008

things you think you'd never have to say to your children, #37

"Hey! All of you! Stop running around the island...and for the love of Pete, put your clothes back on!!"

Monday, November 03, 2008

quote of the week...

"Behind every great man is a woman rolling her eyes."

--Jim Carrey

Thursday, October 30, 2008

best. diss. ever.

"Brady, Brady's not a bad guy...but that wife of his! That wife...she's...Shakespearean."

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

things you think you'd never have to say to your children, #89

"While I find it cute that you talk to your toys, it's important to remember that they are inanimate objects...which is why your getting angry at them when they don't don't talk back has me a little concerned. Just something to consider."

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

it took a head cold and some time, but...

I finally got all our photographs organized.

I have tried many different systems over the years--the predominant system being 'stuff them all in boxes and hope that the house doesn't catch on fire'. Then one day I looked up and realized that the only action I had taken towards recording my kids' lives and our family's memories in the past few years was to buy more boxes to shove the stuff in. Kind of pointless, right?

[disclaimer: I am now going to talk about scrapbooking. I realize this is a subject that bores some people to tears, and I will not be offended if you stop reading right now. It's cool. I have a few guys that read this blog...dudes, this is the time to go to ESPN.com]

Several months ago I saw this book by
Stacy Julian called Photo Freedom. I've always enjoyed Stacy's approach to scrapbooking, as she is less linear in her thinking, like me. Scrapbooking in chronological order is a natural for linear thinkers...but it just really gives me a headache. Feeling I have to scrap 'in order' forces me to avoid scrapbooking all together, because I feel the price for scrapping what I really WANT to scrap is that I have to wade through all the stuff I DON'T want to scrap first. There are certain things that scream out to be scrapbooked in order--school things, for instance--but 75% of the photographs I have are not tied to any event or date. I am a more everyday photographer than an event photographer. I only take pictures of birthdays and school events because my children don't need one more reason to seek out therapy.

Anyway. The book gave me a way to organize our photographs that makes sense to me. Not only does it makes sense, it gives me super fast recall on where the pictures I want to use are. In my previously mentioned box stuffing system, I knew that taking on any scrapbook would entail my sifting through photos for hours until finally stumbling upon what I was looking for...or more frequently just giving up and heading to Sonic for happy hour.

Now, things are right where I need them to be. I can think about a photograph I have, and within about 10 seconds have it in my hands. Guess how much more I want to scrapbook now?

So, I want to share the most helpful idea that I learned from the book.

Nothing overwhelmed me more than all my kids' school stuff. There are pictures, report cards, essays, art, science projects, field trips, and choir concerts. Times all that by 7 and you can see why the thought of making any books for my kids about their academic years made me cry just a little bit. But, with this simple plan from Stacy, I am on top of it and even a little excited to get moving.



I made hanging file folders for every child, from pre-school to senior year. Every child, including my 3 year old who hasn't even started pre-school yet. (with the exception of our oldest, her school book is already done) Now, when anything comes home from school, I can just quickly file it under the correct child and grade. Then when I go to work on a child's book, I know exactly where everything for each grade is. What a life saver!


I hope that talking about this has gotten you to think about how to store things in a way that makes sense to you. It doesn't even have to be pictures, just think about whether the things you like and want to use are organized in a way that saves you time and energy for what you really want to spend your time and energy on.

And, if you have any super cool organizing ideas (for photos or anything else), please share with me.













Monday, October 27, 2008

quote of the week...

“Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.”

--Ralph Waldo Emerson

Saturday, October 25, 2008

I am a good mom...


I--uh, the girls--reeeeeeeallly wanted to go see High School Musical 3. So, I sacrificed my Saturday night...and when I say 'sacrificed' I mean 'nothing was keeping me away from that theater because I SO have a secret crush on Troy Bolton'.
What I won't do for Zac Efron my kids.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Proof that not only does my husband love me...

...so do Ben and Jerry.
How do I know this? Because this is what I was given as a treat today:









I am totally not sharing. Don't even ask.

Monday, October 20, 2008

quote of the week...

"As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives."

--Henry David Thoreau

Saturday, October 18, 2008

in case I forget to tell you, #1...

[very long preamble starts now:

Sometimes, when given moments to ponder and reflect, I think of life lessons that I have been taught. The reminders of those lessons sometimes wander into my thoughts at quiet moments--while folding laundry, or at 3 am holding a sick and restless child, or in between pick ups and drop offs to pre-school and intramurals...even as I grocery shop for the month.

Often in the last few months, it has occurred to me that I may never have "the moment" when I can share what I have discovered with my children. And this just stressed me right out. So, from time to time as my brain reminds me, I am going to share things here that I hope to tell my children, but worry that I won't.]

Children, never let knowledge become more important than people. Never find joy or accomplishment in being the smartest person in the room. And, if you think you are the smartest person in the room, you probably need to get to know the people in the room better. There is no person that you can't learn from. And you will find that as you grow older, what you know seems to grow smaller. Life is humbling that way.

It's true that knowledge is power, and my wish is that you will never wield that power carelessly. Knowing something about someone is a responsibility. Take it seriously. You will probably know about me that I have little to no tolerance for gossip. There are few things with more potential to destroy and harm. Gossip may or may not be true, which is all the more reason to avoid it. And let me just say this: just because something is true, does not mean it should be talked about.

When you are considering sharing knowledge, always consider why you are sharing it. Who is it serving to share it? Is it to benefit someone else or is it just to show how much I know? Always consider that we learn what we learn when we need to learn it...and allow those around you to learn at their own pace. Think of how patient God is with us, and it will help you should you feel impatient with others.

love, mom

Monday, October 13, 2008

quote of the week...

"I can't worry about your character...I can, however, improve my own."

--Katharine Hepburn

Monday, October 06, 2008

quote of the week...

"Be aware that the tiny fingerprints that show up on almost every newly cleaned surface, the toys scattered about the house, the piles and piles of laundry to be tackled...will disappear all too soon. And that you will, to your surprise, miss them profoundly."

--Thomas S. Monson

Friday, October 03, 2008

another season ending injury...

So, football ends early this year for my son. Officially, it's called a right shoulder subluxation. Which is just a fancy way of saying that he dislocated it. So, no contact for 4 weeks, and physical therapy for 6 weeks. We got a great orthopedist who really wants to be sure he is healed to minimize the chance of recurrence. The last thing we want is for him to need shoulder surgery at age 16. So, it's the sidelines for the last few games.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

random answers to random questions that nobody asked me...

Got this from TheMom's blog.

1. Where do you fold your laundry?

I fold my laundry in the laundry room. I have baskets in there with all my kid's names on them. The theory is that the children will then come down, take their basket, go to their room, and put away their clothes. What actually happens, you say? They just come down in underwear in the morning and dig through the basket for that day's fashions.

2. Must you be sure the dishes are washed before you go to bed each night?

In my mind, yes. But usually I have to make that happen by standing in the kitchen and sighing heavily while shaking my head back and forth (and it helps to look pitiful, gotta have the pitiful look down) until my hubby walks in, sees me, and starts to do it. I'm not saying it's for everyone, but it sure works at my house.

3. Do you use caller i.d. to screen your calls?

No, because I am not mature and confident enough for caller ID. We had it once, and whenever I would come home I would look at the missed calls and obsess about them. "Maggie called, but she didn't leave a message. Why?? What does she need? Should I call her back? Well, she didn't leave a message, so maybe it's not important. But if it's not important, then why DID SHE CALL??!!"

4. Do you let the low fuel light come on in your car before you fill up?

Only if we are stretching until payday. The rest of the time, never below half a tank.

5. Are you a registered voter?

I am, but I pulled my party affliations years ago, so I don't vote in primaries.

6. Breakfast for dinner is one thing, but can you eat dinner for breakfast?

I've never tried that, all I know is that when I make scrambled eggs and pancakes for dinner, my children write poems and sing special songs about how I am the best mom ever. I'm just not sure that meatball stew at 6 AM would have the same effect.

7. Do you click on the ads you see on people’s blogs?

Not that I recall.
8. Do you just want to yell at smokers who are clearly standing within 50ft of the door at a restaurant?

I don't want to yell, but I do want to cough and go take a shower.

9. What did you have for breakfast today?

I don't eat breakfast. I think that the person who said it's the most important meal of the day was just selling something.

10. What about your life today would surprise your teenage self?

All the people that call me Mom.

question...

Does it count as housework if I erase all the stuff I don't need anymore off of my DVR?

I'm thinking it should.

Monday, September 29, 2008

quote of the week...

"Why are you compelled to do the laundry and irritated at your child? You should be compelled to be with your child and irritated at the laundry."


--Dr. Laura Schlessinger

Thursday, September 25, 2008

well, it took me 691 days...

...but I won something again.

Not
carpet, this time. Instead it was scrapbook paper. And, in spite of my having more paper than any human being should have, I will never turn down more paper. I mean, come on.

I'm not sure a nearly two year spread between random drawing wins can qualify as a streak or anything, but I'm thinking I should go bigger for my next one. So, in August of 2010, I'm seeing myself win a luxury car of some kind.

There. I put it out into the universe. According to The Secret, now I just need to determine whether or not I want leather seats and then wait for that bad boy to come rolling up into my driveway.

Monday, September 22, 2008

quote of the week...

"In raising my children, I have lost my mind but found my soul."

--Lisa T. Shepherd

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

ok, folks...

Can we just decide once and for all that those car window stickers that depict various cartoon characters urinating on things need to be done away with? I mean, I get that you love your Ford, but does it really mean that Chevy needs to be peed on?

I don't think so.

Monday, September 15, 2008

quote of the week...

"I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it."

--Picasso

Thursday, September 11, 2008

blog for a cause...

If you are a funny blogger, This Blog wants you.

They are gathering submissions to fill a book, which will be called Sometimes Life Is Funny. The proceeds of this upcoming book will benefit Stephanie Nielson and her husband and children. If you don't know the story of Stephanie and her family, please follow the links and you can find many posts and stories about it.

If ever there were a family that needed help and support, it is this one. I have to imagine that what Stephanie and her family are going through right now will take every ounce of strength and faith that is theirs. At least perhaps we can ease their burden in this way.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

things I learned last week...

*nothing takes care of getting to know someone like an 11 hour road trip



*Rexburg, Idaho and its inhabitants are apparently "precious". I see no other explanation for the 467 times I used that word while visiting there



*there is good Thai food to be had in Rexburg, if you know the right people



*church universities are a pleasant surprise to kids who grew up never being able to talk about things in school as they relate to faith/religion



*my phone can go 5 days without charging if I don't use it too much



*my daily exercise paid off as I trailed 3 very fit teenagers up the hill from @#!*% and did not have to stop, throw up, or beg for mercy



*Idaho makes my nose itch



*being in Utah just brings back all the great things I remember about being a kid



*Andrew--the waiter at Applebee's in West Valley--is a bitter and angry man



*Tim--the waiter at The Garden in Salt Lake City--is not



*it's fun to buy normal things while away from home...because then you can always think, "I got this book when I was in Utah with Kim."



*you'd think that when there is a 12th floor bar and dance floor in your hotel that being on the 9th floor would be far enough away from the noise...but you would be WRONG



*saying "Utah is stupid!" in a lispy and annoyed voice never stops being funny



*Kim always thinks that she can "get us there", and if by "get us there" she means "trap us at a railroad crossing on the wrong side of town while creepy hispanic pillowcase guy hovers around your car", then she's right



*5 days is just about enough sleeping in and doing whatever I feel like to be ready to come home

*I have a top notch husband. Three words: House. Was. Spotless.

Monday, September 08, 2008

quote of the week...

"It's not only children who grow. Parents do too. As much as we watch to see what our children do with their lives, they are watching us to see what we do with ours. I can't tell my children to reach for the sun. All I can do is reach for it, myself."

~Joyce Maynard

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

road trip...

Daughter and I head out to take her to school tomorrow. I am dropping her off, and then having myself a girls' weekend!

I am so looking forward to hugging my daughter and wishing her the best as she starts off on her new adventure...and then having a little down time with a dear friend. I am ready to enjoy all the good that is in this next phase of life...the phase where I watch my children make their own dreams come true, and become the people I know they can be.

Thanks to all who offered prayers on behalf of my husband and everyone involved in the DNC. Hubby called it the "most boring week ever" which was music to my ears.

Monday, September 01, 2008

quote of the week...

"Forget yourself and go to work."

--Bryant S. Hinckley

Friday, August 29, 2008

maybe I did raise her right...

My 18 year old daughter has been reading the "Twilight" series by Stephenie Meyer. I have read the first 3, but I kept my mouth shut about it because I wanted to see what she'd think of them.

She is nearly finished with volume 3 of the series. She reads during her lunch hour at work. I came to pick her up there last night and she hopped in the car and with total and complete frustration she looked at me and said:

"I HATE Bella!" (slight pause as she felt the relief of stating it out loud.) "She is so WEAK and fickle! She has no substance!"

Ahhh. That's my girl.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Things you think you'd never have to say to your children #36

"Just because everything you have on is plaid, doesn't necessarily mean that your clothes match."

Monday, August 25, 2008

quote of the week...

"The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one's 'real' life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one's real life."


--C. S. Lewis

Friday, August 22, 2008

request for prayers...

I know that many people don't venture near the computer on weekends, so I just wanted to post this now:

Starting tomorrow my husband, along with hundreds of other dedicated law enforcement officers, will be providing security for the Democratic National Convention in downtown Denver. I am asking that those of you who are praying folks, please offer prayers in whatever way you feel you can. (and if you're not praying folks, why don't you give God a nice surprise, I'll bet He'd love to hear from you)

I will be praying that all the threats and rumors will remain simply threats and rumors, and that both conference attendees and protesters will remain peaceful and level headed. I will pray that the men and women in uniform will be prepared, alert, and helpful in whatever situations they encounter while serving in this capacity. I will pray that people on all sides will remember that there are ways to allow your voice to be heard without violence. I will pray that Denver and its citizens will show the best of itself this coming week, and that when all is said and done, it will have been a good experience for everyone involved.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

raising boys...


I never really wanted boys. [I never thought I wanted kids actually, but that's a story for another day.] I kind of looked at boys as loud, wrestly, superhero-obsessed creatures with which I had nothing in common. The idea of mothering boys seemed, on its best day, not much fun.
Now I have 4 boys. Thanks, Heavenly Father. Don't you just love His sense of humor?
So, I've discovered something. Boys are amazing. Boys are especially amazing to their mothers. My boys are very tender-hearted and kind to me. They all have been very tuned into how I am feeling, since they were little. And take it upon themselves to try and make sure that Mommy is doing well.
I remember when my my 3rd son was 2. He would climb up on my lap, take my cheeks in his little chubby hands, look me square in the eye, and say, "Happy? Mommy? Happy Mommy?" I get my screen name here from that little exchange.
My boys also have a great desire to please me. While my girls seemed to come out of the womb ready to do the exact opposite of what I'd like them to do, my boys are very pliable and willing. In fact, so much so that I must be careful. I have to watch how much I tell my oldest son, now nearly 16, about what I think he should do. Whether it be classes to take, clothes to wear, the kinds of things that aren't about right or wrong but simply preference. He will nearly always do what I suggest. So, I have learned to work with him in questions, asking him what he thinks, what he likes. I'll rarely say what I think he should do about things, because I don't want him to become accustomed to listening to a voice outside himself to decide what he is going to do.
I have found that raising boys is raising men, and I like the feeling of that. I like to think that my 4 boys will grow up to be the kind of men I'd like my girls to marry. I trust that my friends with boys are doing the same thing. My hope is that I will teach them to work hard, play hard, love God, cherish and protect the women in their lives, and teach their future boys to do the same.
They are still loud, VERY wrestly, and superhero obsessed...but somehow I'm okay with that.





Monday, August 18, 2008

Quote of the week...

"I have to exercise in the morning before my brain figures out what I'm doing."


~Marsha Doble

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

ballpark market...

So, I didn't love the Ballpark Market as much as the Paris Street Market. It was still lots of fun, I'm not whining or anything, but it was a tad (ok, lots) smaller than I was led to believe. Maybe it starts to die down as the summer fades.




















I enjoyed most the chance to take
some pictures of lower downtown's buildings.























Still managed to have fun and find some things that needed to come home with us. Best find? Daughter's silver Claddagh ring. $10.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Quote of the week...

"The Olympics are a wonderful metaphor for world cooperation, the kind of international competition that's wholesome and healthy, an interplay between countries that represents the best in all of us."

--John Williams

Saturday, August 09, 2008

what the heck?

It is 6:19 AM on a Saturday and every stinkin' child is up at my house. I don't think they fully grasp the joys of the weekend, do you?

Good thing I am leaving to go to the Ballpark Market in an hour. I can just get them all hopped up on pancakes and syrup and then kiss them goodbye.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

hey lady on the treadmill next to me...

...if you'd stop straddling the machine while adjusting your hair, Ipod, breasts, etc. and actually get ON the thing and I don't know, RUN...you might break a sweat.

Just a thought.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

cute something...


On my paris market post, I mentioned that I found a cute something to come home with me. This re-purposed old window frame is the cute something. Just so you don't stay up nights, wondering.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Quote of the week...

"No one ever died from sleeping in an unmade bed. I have known mothers who remake the bed after their children do it because there is wrinkle in the spread or the blanket is on crooked. This is sick."

--Erma Bombeck

Saturday, August 02, 2008

a paris street market...


If you are ever in the Denver metro area on the 1st Saturday of the month, you should consider going to the Paris Street Market.
It is a fun way to spend a morning. I had a nice visit with my sister-in-love and found a cute something that had to come home with me.

New look...

I've been itching for a new blog template, and then my cool OTC (on the computer) friend, Awesome Mom, changed hers. I loved her template so much that I emailed and asked her if she'd help me switch mine out. And true to her name, she is awesome, and did it for me!

So, for the next little while, we'll be tweeking things.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Just a word of advice...

If you have a husband or wife whose job it is much of the time to cover fatal car accidents...do not--I repeat: do NOT--open any photo applications on your computer unless you are sure of what the last thing being opened on them was.

I wish there were a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser for my brain.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Couldn't she just be 4 forever?


I wish I could always have this little girl twirling around the house, singing from The Phantom of the Opera. Always hear her come up with things from the backseat of the car like, "When I am a teenager I'd like a slug bug, Momma. Do they come in purple?" and always feel her little tug on my leg for some popcorn, some kisses, some help tying the bow on her dress. I asked her the other day if she'd humor me and not grow up. With her typical wisdom, she looked at me soberly and said, "I'm sorry Momma...but growing up is what little kids do."

Dang it.



Monday, July 28, 2008

Specificity...

My sister and I were visiting Saturday and we were talking about the idea that some people are really specific in what they pray for. We had both been reading a woman's blog about her struggle with losing a daughter during childbirth, and she is just really clear about what she prays for, and what she asks other people to pray for should they want to pray for her.

It made me wonder why I am not more specific when I ask for things in my prayers...I tend to be more of the "please bless us all to be healthy and bless those who are suffering..." kind of prayer gal, I guess.

Later that night, our family began a fast for one of my dearest friend's sons. Her sweet little boy, Nate, is currently in Primary Children's Hospital in Utah, very gravely ill with pneumonia. (you can read more about it here )

That night I decided I was going to test this specificity in prayer thing.

My friend, Kim, had been telling me that one of the hardest things to deal with in Nate's current battle was that he hadn't smiled in a week. He has always been a happy and smiley baby, and it just hurt her to see him be so sick that he couldn't smile. Kim said to me, "If he would just smile, then I would know that he was going to be okay."

So, I spent the 24 hours of my fast with the specific prayer on my lips that Nate would smile for his Mom. Whenever Nate or Kim crossed my mind, I just asked Heavenly Father if He would please let Nate smile and in so doing, ease Kim's heart for a moment.

Around 5pm yesterday evening, I text messaged Kim to let her know that we had broken our fast for Nate, and that we were thinking of them and hoping all was well. Several hours later, she sent a picture of her little one that she had taken just moments before--sweet Nate, in his hospital bed, smiling.

God is Great.

Quote of the week...

"I am not one of those girls who have it all figured out. I am the other one."

--Angie Smith

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Not that he'd read this, but...

...one of my brothers doesn't like blogs. So, a few things for his benefit:

*it's okay not to like blogs

*I can't "make" anyone start their own blog...although the thought of that kind of power IS appealing...

*so if some others in the family have started blogs, I assure you it has not been by any arm twisting on my part

*if you had a blog, I'd read it everyday...'cause I think you are cool like that

*I am going to continue to blog, just as any self respecting sister would do once she realizes that doing something annoys her brother.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

2 1/2 days of folding later...



9 people have been walking around creating laundry during the time it took me to do this. However, we will not dwell on that...no, we will not. We will just sit back and enjoy the pretty pretty laundry room.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Quote of the week...

Based on wading through and folding all that laundry this past weekend:

"If you want to make an easy job seem mighty hard, just keep putting off doing it."

~Olin Miller

(after pictures when my camera battery is recharged)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Look what I get to do today!


Try really, really hard not to be jealous.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Quote of the week...

“The biggest mistake I made as a parent is the one that most of us make. … I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of my three children sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages six, four, and one. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the 'doing' a little more and the 'getting it done' a little less.”

--Anna Quindlen

Sunday, July 13, 2008

This is a good one...

I found this columnist's advice to a young Jewish woman who is worried about her Mormon friend very wise:

Carolyn Hax's advice

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

I'm just saying...

There are days--let's just take today, for example--when I think that whoever thought that my marrying and then giving birth to 7 children was a good idea was either smoking crack or has a REALLY evil sense of humor.

Oh, well. As Miss Scarlett says, "Tommorrow is another day!"

Monday, July 07, 2008

Quote of the week...

"Remember, beneath every cynic there lies a romantic, and probably an injured one."

--Glenn Beck

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

6 Reasons why I think I will stick with exercising this time...

1. I have already made it longer than any other time I have started. Do not ask me how long that is, because I am too ashamed to admit it.

2. I can already feel the difference. I increased my speed and duration quite a bit within the first week, and that was really motivating.

3. I am doing it with a friend, which is pretty much 45 minutes of free therapy.

4. By doing it with said friend, there is the whole "I can't ditch this morning because Julie is waiting for my sorry butt" factor.

5. I no longer have to feel bad thinking about my sister-in-law (who runs marathons) saying, "I just love how everyone in this family has fitness goals!" Because now I do, too.

6. Children are not allowed anywhere near me during this time. I shouldn't have to explain this reason. In fact, it really should count as 2 reasons. Some days, 3.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Quote of the week...

"Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass on a summer day listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is hardly a waste of time."

~John Lubbock

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

More cuteness overload...

I got to go over today and take pictures of some more family. I am feeling SO lucky! I am pretty sure this one will make my sister cry with happiness. And, let's face it...most portrait photographers kinda like it when that happens.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Quote of the week...

"Failure means to succeed in a way that doesn't really matter."

--Patrick M. Morley

Sunday, June 22, 2008

I got to take pictures this weekend...


Is this one of the sweetest and cutest families or what? I had so much fun getting to try some new things with them. They are such wonderful people, inside and out. I hope I am just like them when I grow up.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Quote of the week...

"A baby will make love stronger, days shorter, nights longer, bankroll smaller, home happier, clothes shabbier, the past forgotten, and the future worth living for."

--Author Unknown

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Little things that make me happy...

...an adult with braces. It shows such a willingness to be patient to get what you want that I just admire it. Plus, there is something so incredibly funny about hearing a woman who has grandchildren say, "I can't wait 'til I get my stupid braces off."

...the garbage man. I have a special little dance for when I see the garbage truck and know he is headed for my street. And if I actually look out the window while my garbage is being dumped...oh, that does it. I must jump up and down like it's Christmas. I hope I never get over what a lovely thing it is to have someone come to your house and take away all your gross stuff.

...someone out running for exercise on the street. Double happy points if the weather is cold, triple happy points if there is snow on the ground. It just makes me so joyful to see someone out, working hard in unglamorous conditions, to do something good for themselves. When it's a woman, I have a nearly overwhelming desire to scream out my car window, "You GO, Girl!!" However, I stop myself because I cannot pull that exclamation off--for many reasons which we will not cover at this time. So I just think it. Happily.

...finding a parking space right in front. This is especially wonderful if it's a busy day at a store that is almost always crowded, and I have all my little ones with me. I have been known to decide that if I have the kids with me and I find a space right up front, that it is a sign from God that He loves me and wants me to have a good day.

...thank you notes. I am not one to be offended if I send something and don't get a thank you note. I know the age we live in and that sending those, for many, is a lost art. I also know that there are many times good intentions but no follow through. Maybe that's why getting a thank you note is SO lovely to me. I recently realized that I have not taught this art to my children, and have changed my ways. I am embarrassed to think of all the thank you's that haven't gotten said, and knowing the smile it puts on my face to get one makes me all the more determined to say it in writing a lot more often.

Take moment today, if you like, and think about the little things that make you happy!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Quote of the week...

"Summer afternoon - summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language."

~Henry James

Thursday, June 05, 2008

One down, Six to go...

I didn't cry when her name was read. I didn't cry when I saw her face on the ju

mbo screen, singing
.

I was SO proud of myself. I thought, see? I am not going to be one of THOSE moms who gets all weepy and teary and says things like "my baby!"
Then, I looked through the viewfinder and took this picture.
Always thought of these two as my "starter kids". They were my first girl and first boy, then there is a large spread between them and my "little ones." And so I snapped the picture, and then laughed as I couldn't control the tears. I think I may have even said, "My babies."


I am SO not as cool as I thought I was.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Quote of the Week...

"Each new day that dawns can be a new day for us to begin to change. We can change our environment. We can change our lives by substituting new habits for old. We can mold our character and future by purer thoughts and nobler actions."

--James E. Faust

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Apparently I don't handle my stress well...

Yeah. There's a shocker.

We have been doing major home improvement projects, and getting the daughter graduated. [mission accomplished--pictures and more in an upcoming post]

We also had company, which I enjoy, although I always want to have everything "perfect". This required much in the way of cleaning and painting and preparing food and blah blah blah. All very important and earth shattering things, I assure you.

The house looked wonderful, the guests were fun, and the food was yummy and plentiful. We got through all the events with very little complications, and had a great time.

But something was lurking beneath the surface, waiting to strike.

Saturday afternoon, I started getting a little rash on my neck. Just kind of red and itchy. Didn't really even think too much about it until late in the evening when it started to spread a bit and get more itchy. Went to the store and got some cream to calm it down and went to bed. The next morning it was about the same. Didn't worry about it, went on with the day.

I woke up early the next morning with something all over my neck and part of my face WAY scarier than anything I have ever seen on Discovery Health Channel. Should they choose to approach me for a documentary, my working titles for it are: "Dermatology Nightmares: When Rashes Go Mutant." OR "Swelling, Oozing, and Blisters: The Triple Threat The Government Doesn't Want You To Know About."

After several trips to the ER and Urgent Care, which included something like 15 prescriptions and some really mean stinging shots to my rear... I am almost healed. It has gotten down to where I just look like I am recovering from a burn, and the pain involved is MUCH more manageable. After I finish the 15 prescriptions in a few weeks, hopefully it will be all gone.

The doctors tell me that this kind of thing usually manifests when the body and mind are under extreme stress and the immune system is worn down. It also has something to do with having the chicken pox virus in my spinal fluid, but I won't bore you with all the details. Suffice it to say, my mind stressed my body into a mother of a reaction.

It has been an interesting experience. I think I had kind of a revelation this week. I take things WAY too personally. I worry about things that are not only beyond my control, but silly and insignificant in the big scheme of things. I really try hard to make everything in my surroundings "perfect" because somehow I think it will distract others (or perhaps more truthfully, me) from the ways in which I feel I fall short as a person. I work far too hard at making things look the way I want them to rather than just enjoying and accepting things (including me) as they are. I am grateful that I didn't let these habits ruin all the fun of the events...but judging by my body's reaction, I just internalized it to be dealt with another day.

I've got some changing to do. I'm going to ask myself some tough questions and be willing to either work with or live with the answers. It's time to let go of certain things before I look back and realize that I really didn't embrace my life and live it with my whole heart.

Wish me luck.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Not to complain, but...

I want my house back! I am blessed with a husband who not only CAN do major home improvements, but actually LIKES to do major home improvements. He amazes me.

However...(this is the totally whining part) I always get all jazzed up and excited and then about the 4th day into it, when there is dust on every surface in my house and we have eaten outside or on the floor for days and as I go room to room all I see is STUFF piled up in stacks that seem to grow by the hour...I start to forget that this was my bright idea. To have him install, and sand, and finish hardwood floors. The week before we have family and friends coming. For our daughter's graduation.

What was I thinking??

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Seriously...

I was in the dentist's chair with headphones on, cranking Chorusline and Les Miz to keep my mind off of the fact that the dentist was stabbing me with a needle repeatedly and drilling into my teeth down to the gum line.

[See what I did there? I could have just said that he numbed me up and filled a cavity in one tooth and fit a permanent crown on another, but where's the fun in that?]

So, trying to keep my mind off of the moment, I got to thinking about how I get stuck on using certain words. Lately, my big "go to" word is seriously. I say it at least several dozen times a day. It's a good word, kind of all purpose. It can be exclamatory: "Seriously! That was the best book I've read in years!" or given as a warning: "Seriously?? If you don't stop bouncing that ball right by my head, bad things are going to happen." or just inserted into an average sentence: "I am seriously going to make dinner. Seriously. I am making it right now."

Apparently, I am serious about many things.

It's funny how I go through stages using expressions, and then they will just drop out of my vocabulary. I went through a long phase after my 5th child was born where everything made me say "and now my head is going to explode." One of my sisters commented that it seemed a fairly understandable reponse from a woman learning to be the mother of five. For a month or so, every one I found ignorant and/or obnoxious was a tool. And of course everything cool in the 80's to me was "sweet". That one still slips out from time to time, but you gotta love a classic.

One of the expressions I have used for years that seems like it is going to stick around is "The other day..." to begin a story. Since I was a teenager, I have used this opener regardless of when the story I am about to share actually happened. It could have been the other day, or it could have been several days ago...or months...or years. Nevertheless, I find myself involuntarily saying, "Oh, yeah, the other day..."

Who knows if this latest word will stay around or leave just as quickly as it came. In the meantime I'll just tell you that, seriously? I have to go and get some sleep or I will be really tired in the morning.

Seriously.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Quote of the week...

"Violence is not strength, and compassion is not weakness." --King Arthur

Monday, May 05, 2008

Quote of the week...

"The only thing better than singing is more singing."

--Ella Fitzgerald

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Why is it...

...that when pretty much any song that was even relatively popular in the 80's comes on the radio, I can sing the lyrics with immediate clarity and startling accuracy, and yet it takes me 10 minutes to remember where I left my keys?

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Memories...

A few years ago, when we started telling people that we were expecting our 7th child, somebody at the state patrol office anonymously left a condom in hubby's mailbox. Nice.

A few days later, my brother-in-law came through town. He is a doctor and gets all kinds of random promotional items from drug companies, and he brought a bunch to give out to the family.

So the next day, hubby left a little gift in all his buddies' mailboxes at the patrol office...big bright blue pens that said "VIAGRA".

irresponsible breeders: 1
anonymous dillholes: 0

Monday, April 28, 2008

Quote of the week...

"No misfortune is so bad that whining about it won’t make it worse."
--Jeffrey R. Holland

Monday, April 21, 2008

Quote of the week...

"The sad fact is that some people cannot be pleased. You can give some people a million dollars, and they’ll complain that the bills are wrinkled."

--Kathryn H. Kidd

Monday, April 14, 2008

Quote of the Week...

"I think marriage is the most mysterious covenant in the universe. I'm convinced that no two are alike. More than that, I'm convinced that no marriage is like it was just the day before."

--Anita Shreve, The Weight of Water

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Rest in Peace...


I am so grateful to have known you and to have been your granddaughter-in-love. Thank you for your place in my husband and children's lives. You will be greatly missed.
Give Grandpa hugs and kisses for us.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Quote of the Week...

"Life is not so much about beginnings and endings as it is about going on and on and on. It is about muddling through the middle."

--Anna Quindlen

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Quote of the Week...

"When I get a little money, I buy books...and then if there is any left over, I buy food and clothes."

--Desiderius Erasmus

Monday, March 24, 2008

Quote of the Week...

"It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer."

--Albert Einstein

Friday, March 21, 2008

I didn't need to know that...

I took my daughter to her first enrichment night (activity night at church for the adult women) last night. We were playing a game called "Love Your Neighbor".

It's where you all sit in a circle on chairs and one person is in the middle of the circle as "it" and she approaches people in their chairs and asks, "Do you love your neighbor?" The person asked the question may then answer "Yes, I love my neighbor" and then the people to her immediate right and left must rush to trade seats, while the person who is "it" tries to take one.

OR...the person asked the question may answer, "No, I don't love my neighbor, but I do love people who _____." (it could be, "have green eyes", or "have been to Hawaii") Then, the people who apply to the statement all have to get up and find a new chair. Whoever can't find a seat is then "it" and has to ask someone else if they love their neighbor.

So, one of the more adventurous ladies offered, "No, I don't love my neighbor, but I do love people who have gone skinnydipping."

Imagine my surprise when my lovely 18 year old daughter jumped up and rushed to find a new seat.

Good times.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

To the gentleman I encountered on I-25 today...

I'm just going to pretend that you were rushing to the hospital, where your wife is in labor with your child--a child that you two have tried for years to conceive, and now the joyous moment of this child's birth has arrived.

Yup, that's what I am going to pretend.

Because, otherwise...you're just a gigantic tool.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Quote of the Week...

"It's not our job to raise responsible kids. Our job is to consistently do the things that give kids an opportunity to become responsible."

---Foster W. Cline, M.D.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

If you own stock in Lysol or Clorox...

I just made your day.

We have been sick to some degree or another for FOUR WEEKS. Every one of us. Sniffling, coughing, sore throats, head and body aches, and then throw in some random vomiting just for fun and you've pretty much got a picture of what life has been like at my house.

Now normally I don't use anything with lots of chemicals. Simple Green, a mild glass cleaner, and a vinegar solution is usually the extent of what I am comfortable using. But today I was on a mission. I wanted every germ within a 6 mile radius of me either dead, or out of their mind with fear.

So I opened every window in my house, and then went to the local Stuff Mart. I then beelined it to the cleaning supply aisle and proceeded to throw anything that said 'disinfectant' or 'anti' anything on its label into my cart. I don't even want to tell you how much I spent but let's just say that a presidential candidate probably could have campaigned for at least a week or two on it. Luckily, I think all the major candidates are dipwads, so no big loss there.

As of tonight, pretty much every surface in my house has been sprayed, soaked, wiped, scrubbed, and otherwise pummeled into what I hope is a germ-free surrender.

And if you do have stock in Lysol or Clorox...you're welcome.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Finally, a campaign I can really support...

I love feed the pig. Go watch the video spot of the guy trying to buy a tv.

Love, love, love.

Quote of the Week...

"It is well, when judging someone, to remember that he is judging you with the same godlike and superior impartiality."

--Arnold Bennett

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Some stuff to help you spend too much time on the computer...

Because, you know, we all need that.

Here are a few sites that I am really liking:
Abi Jones has this fun little blog where she reviews frozen foods. Few things are more annoying to me than when I take some of my precious grocery money to buy some frozen dinners and then find I'd rather just have eaten the box they came in. What's really great is that all the nutritional facts (including weight watchers points, if that's your thing) are included in the review. And most importantly, she is really funny. Anyone who can slide in a reference to sesame seeds falling into their bra during a review is my kind of gal.
Becky Higgins has long been a huge name in the world of scrapbooking. I have loved her for years. Her blog is filled with layouts and videos and recipes and lots of yummy goodness. What I love about Becky is her "anyone can do it" mentality. Despite the fact that she is enormously talented, she is so about everyone just enjoying the process. When you watch her videos, you feel like one of your girlfriends just sat down to chat for a few. If you don't like scrapbooking (or, in fact, feel it's the Devil) you'd at least probably enjoy her recipe section. Pictures for every recipe, and so far everything I have tried from it has been really good.
Google Earth may already be a favorite at your house. My kids came home from school talking about it one day, so I went and downloaded it (the basic version is free) and now we are hooked. The kids love to "fly" to our house and then "fly" to Grandma's house. It is amazing and a little bit creepy that photos from space show our cars parked in the driveway and the dead patches of grass in my lawn. But, it is still really cool. You could also use it to look up people you know to see what kind of neighborhood they live in, to see if they live better than you do. No...that would be wrong, and who would even be twisted enough to think of that?? Geesh.