Thursday, December 31, 2009

Ring It In With Style

We hope your new year is as fashionable as ours.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Just Water

Have you seen anything more precious than one of my sweet babies drinking from a Coke bottle? My pride is bursting. It was filled with water, but still, she drank with grace. She knew exactly what to do when the bottle was handed to her. I think I even saw a gleam in her eye. She got that from me. Just another great talent I have passed on to the next generation. You're welcome.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Our Christmas Top 10

Wonderful Christmas. Delighted kids. Relaxing day. Our highlights:

1. A basketball hoop for the basketball manager.
2. A morning filled with presents and pure joy.

3. Nana picking the. perfect. gift!

4. A new girl band.

5. The most inexpensive gifts bring the greatest happiness.

6. Babies to love.

7. Getting EXACTLY what you requested from Santa.

8. Zhu Zhu pets!!

9. Hours of entertainment with motorized hamsters.

10. Our most cherished Christmas tradition--jammies from Nana.

We hope your day was Merry and Bright! Ho. Ho. Ho.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Holiday Fun

The week leading up to Christmas has been a swirl of fun intermixed with sibling fighting. But, the holiday festivities seem to coat everything in sweetness.

Making a gingerbread house with our favorite Andi. She lets them decorate and eat ANY amount of candy. She even spread frosting on tortilla chips, topped it with red hots, and fed it to Makell. Delicious?
I think this house weighs 40 pounds. I had to use a crane to lift it into the car. It weighs slightly less today. The candy is somehow mysteriously disappearing.

Santa stopped by. We were all in our pajamas. Including me. He told me I looked nice so I gave him a hug. Being wrapped in all that velvet made me feel the Christmas spirit even more than when he stepped through the door. Makell wouldn't get out of bed to see him. I guess she's pretty confident in the gifts she thinks she is getting. I wonder why Addie's eyes are so wide open? Maybe she's a little scared that Santa really does know if she has been naughty or nice.

Nothing says holiday fun like racing high chairs at a restaurant. We went early to avoid a scene that we inevitably always cause. This left ample room to race with the babies. Keagan ate bread and laughed as she zipped around each corner.

Ice skating. Addie needs the skating walker to keep upright. Kellie uses it for pure speed.

A small moment of family fun. Todd refused to lace up. He watched from the sidelines.
Merry Christmas Eve.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tradition Revamp

Why is it that the traditional Christmas gift is sugar filled? You know how much I heart baked goods, but why are they so popular this time of year? Every day more and more plates of goodies are heaped at the door. I'm diligent and hard working, but there is only so many treats one girl can consume. Coming from me, that says a lot.

Instead of Christmas equaling a baked goods fest, I think it should become a gift card fest. Why can't people start bringing over gift cards on a plate? I think that would be rather lovely. What about giving those you love a babysitter? Good idea, I know. What if babysitters started showing up at my door? Oh, la, la. That's way better than treats. Wait, I know, I know. What if the new Christmas tradition is to give away a babysitter who hands you a gift card? Oh sweet heavens, that's dreamy. I'm voting for that.

Monday, December 21, 2009


"So much of what we know of love, we learn at home."

My love resides here. Within these walls. With those whom I am sealed forever.

That is home. Perfect.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Across The Finish Line

Today was my goal. And I made it. Barely. I promised myself that the stress would dissipate tonight. I finished Addie's class party at 3:00 pm. The last item on my lengthy to-do list complete. I feel like I have run a marathon. All up hill, in stilettos and spanning the length of 3 weeks. Tonight I sit in a stupor of peace.

Sam's Christmas Choir Concert:
While setting up for Addie's class party, her teacher took a few moments to talk to me. This happens frequently, so I wasn't yet alarmed. Addie had already mentioned to me that she kicked a boy in her class last week. Her teacher made clarifications for me today. She actually KISSED him. Not kicked. On. The. Lips. Oh, have mercy. Addie later explained to my sister that she wants to have a boyfriend now so that she doesn't have to worry about finding one later. My sister reminded her that she is only 7. Addie said, "I know, it takes a long time to find a boyfriend."

I'm headed to the store to grab this girl a mistletoe. Let the holidays begin.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I Will Never

As I was getting into my van today, I took a quick overview of its appearance. One word--disgusting. Every window, and I mean EVERY window, is covered in feet prints, hand prints and smears where someone licked the glass. As I stared at these windows I realized that I never, ever thought I would me the kind of mom who would drive around in a van full of kids who licked the windows. I. Never. Thought.

This led me to think about all the other things that I thought I would never do. Here's what I have come up with so far:
  • I never thought my phone number would be on the principal's speed dial.
  • I never thought that I would have a child who would come home from school with holes in her shirt sleeves because she decided to bite through them.
  • I never thought I would use bribery or threats to motivate my kids. But let's be honest, desperate times call for desperate measures.
  • I never thought my mother would be right when she told me, "paybacks can be painful."
  • I never thought I would have a child who would look at me and say, "you're boobs are so tiny."
  • I never thought after earning a college degree I would spend my time cleaning up after people. all. day. long.
  • I never thought that I would ever say, "because I said so, that's why!"
  • I never thought there would come a day when I would yell at my kids. I know. Crazy, but true.
  • I never thought that I would allow my child to dress like a Hobo and then take her out in public.
But, you know what? I also never thought that as I watched them step off the bus each day and run up the sidewalk, I would realize that they are my world. My lifelong, eternal world. Licked windows and all.


For your enjoyment, here is a link to the funniest blog post I have read in months. I laughed so hard I snorted. Just a little.

If Only I Had A Heart.....

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Can Modge Podge Kill Brain Cells?

It started out as a good idea. In my head, it sounded easy. In reality, I think I shaved off another inch of my sanity. I started on Thursday night and finished late Saturday afternoon. I stood at my kitchen counter so long, that I stopped counting after 14 hours. I. Kid. You. Not.

Countdown Blocks for teacher/friend gifts and personalized stars for the primary kids. My arm is numb from the shoulder down. Todd told me I should wear a sling to church and tell people I have 'modge podge arm'.

When I first stumbled onto the Countdown Blocks online, I knew that I could make them cheaper and cuter. I even roped my sister into helping me (along with her Cricut machine). I had no idea that my great idea would be so painfully labor intensive. Again I repeat, 14 hours plus.

When I swiped the last block on Saturday afternoon, I told Addie she could scream for me because I was too tired. She looked at me and said, "What if someone tells you they like it and then they go in their house and throw it in the garbage?" I almost covered her mouth with duct tape, but I couldn't lift my arms.

We're officially counting down the days. Only 12 more to go. My Christmas wish just might involve never having to use modge podge again. Next year I'm simply buying chocolate. At least it won't be thrown in the garbage.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Not. Enough. Time.

I haven't had time to post in almost a week. Not for lack of material, that is simply not an issue around here. Its a lack of time. My life feels over-the-top crazy. I don't have time to breathe. It would take too long. I do have one silver lining--most of my Christmas has been bought AND wrapped. Most. Not all. I don't quite know when I'll get around to the last bit.

In the free minutes I have, let me leave you with Addie's recent question.
The other morning, she was tying her shoes, she looked at me and asked:

"Mom. You know Rudolph....(pause)....the red-nosed reindeer?"

Me: "Yes."

Addie: "Is he real?"

Me: "Absolutely."

Addie: "Well, do reindeer really play games?"

Me: "Uh. Yes. You know how puppies play? I think reindeer play like that too."

Addie: "Why don't the other reindeer like Rudolph?"

Me: "What?"

Addie: "They won't let him play with them."

Me: "Uh. I'm not sure."

Addie: (pause)..."I think he's mean. Yah. Rudolph's mean, and that's why they won't let him play."

I think she just might be analyzing the song too much. Maybe I should have her start singing Silent Night. Hopefully it will sink into her subconscious and she'll stop talking and become 'calm and bright'.

The missionaries came for dinner tonight. Poor boys. The girls really stepped up their game. Describing all they did would take at least an hour. At one point, Makell turned to them and asked, "hey, do you guys celebrate Hanukkah?" As the misssionaries stared, I explained to her that Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday and we are not Jewish. She just looked at me like I was an idiot and said, "I know! I still want to know if they celebrate Hanukkah!" Within minutes of that, Addie explained to them how they would be able to locate the boy's bathroom if they were blind. I don't think they'll ever come back. I wouldn't.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Our Name

We search for knowledge in various places, concerning various dilemmas, at various times in our lives. There are times when we feel so desperate to grasp any wisdom greater than our own, in hopes of finding direction. Sometimes we find it. Most of the time we keep moving forward while trying to make the best decisions we know how.

Knowledge usually comes at unexpected times for me. While pondering one dilemma, I find truth for another. Or, my mind is simply directed to a place where I can learn something the Lord wants me to know. It happened tonight. I walked into a meeting with hopes of an answer, but left with knowledge of a different lesson learned.

I tried all day to find a reason not to go. I worked it over and over in my mind. The list was long. A rational person would have stayed home and watched TV. But yet, Todd and I went. We dropped the kids off with my mom and sister and ran out of the house before they could change their minds.

I sat through the meeting straining to hear the smallest of whisperings to my current question. I waited and waited. Nothing. But then, a new lesson emerged. The speaker suggested that when the time comes, we will have to Return and Report what we have done with our name. Our family name that holds countless generations before us. What example have we set by how we have lived?

The name I bear comes with strength and example. It's a name I cherish and hold dear. Hard work, sacrifice, love, and faith are just a few of the things my name has passed on to me. While sitting in the meeting, a memory came to me of my dad. A week before he passed away, I happened to notice his day planner on the shelf. I took it in my hands and opened it to the last page he had written on months previous. It held notes from a church meeting. A meeting identical to the one I was sitting in.

As I continued to look through his planner, I took note of what it contained. Pictures of his grand kids, a note from my mom, each family member's birthday penciled on the calendar, church meetings, work meetings and deadlines. My dad was a vice president. He was very busy. He was usually in his office by 4:00 am. But yet, a majority of his planner reflected otherwise. It held his true priorities. His family and his love of the Lord.

I truly believe my dad got to honorably Return and Report what he did with his name. Tonight, I was reminded to be diligent in all I do. May I live my life in such a way that I might pass on this name. Ever loving. Ever faithful. Ever true.

Happy Birthday Dad. My heart longs to see you.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Magic Falls In Texas

Snow arrived today. Real fluffy flakes. They drifted in and out all day. They made me happy because it felt like home.

The reaction to the white stuff has been most entertaining. Texans don't quite know what to do with the snow. Lots of parents checked their kids out of school. When I asked why, the response was, "because of the snow!"

When I was at the mall, a few store clerks commented that we should all be at home. You know, because of the snow. In all it's bounty.

Humidity makes our 29 degrees feel rather cold. But not so much as to wipe away the magic of snowflakes. Mini white pillows that brought me great memories and joy today. Feel the warmth.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


Why does December become the most stressful month of the year? When exactly am I supposed to find a calm moment to sit and reflect on the birth of the Savior? There is no calm and there are no free moments.

Why is the royal icing on Makell's gingerbread house as hard as cement? It really makes it difficult for me when I pick off her well placed candy. Don't fret, I start at the back so she won't notice.

Why do I spend 5 hours and $500 shopping, only to realize that I'm no where near done?

Why do I spend 5 hours and $500 shopping, only to realize that none of it is for me?

Why haven't I ever thanked my mom for spending 5 hours and $500 shopping? Hopefully she reads this.

Why doesn't Todd listen to me? Last week he spent all his working hours searching the web for gifts for the girls. I nixed every item on his list, especially the items that would require my involvement or an enormous amount of space to store. He bought them all anyway. I have since threatened to drop him off at a dairy farm with nary a Banana Republic in sight. He shivered at the suggestion.

Why do I ask my kids what they want for Christmas? My 10 yr. old wants an Easy Bake. She already knows how to cook. Really well. In a real oven. She said she wants to make mini pies. The 7 yr. old wants a laptop. She even stomped her foot while asking. I think she just might find disappointment under the tree.

Why do my kids try to talk to me while I'm in the shower? Seriously, why? Even when I yell for them to leave the bathroom, they keep talking. Why?

OK. I'm done now. No more whining. At least for a couple of hours.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Baby Is 7

Can you still be called 'the baby' when your 7? Today I have wondered. A year older. My baby. The one I snuggled a little longer and squeezed a little tighter, because I knew she was my last. As newborn, I seemed to linger longer and smell her sweet baby breath more. I soaked it all in knowing that this baby was 'the baby'.

Today she advanced to 7. We bought her bigger clothes, bigger shoes and a bigger bike.

But yet, when I look at her, I can still remember 1. First cake, first doll, first birthday. I'm not quite sure how she moved from 1 to 7 so quickly.

We spent the day opening presents and racing go-karts. All the things you can do when you're 7.

But here she is at 2. Sitting on the table with chubby cheeks and a Fisher Price toy. Again, how did 2 become 7? I blinked my eyes and the toddler grew into a little girl.

At dinner I looked at her racing around the restaurant. She didn't listen to my incessant requests to sit and be still. Not once. When Todd asked, she stuck her tongue out at him. No more sweet newborn to squeeze and smell. No more toddler who follows the older girls around. Now she is bigger. Now she is 7.

If I look at her closely, bigger just may be better. 7 is just as sweet as 1. It's definitely sweeter than 13. And no matter what age, and no matter how many times she sticks her tongue out, 'the baby' will always be my baby. Even at 7, I linger longer and squeeze her tighter. I will for always.

Happy Birthday my Addie Bean. Thank you for being mine.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving Thanks

We feasted on turkey, stuffing and pie.
We shoved so much in, we thought we would cry.

With cousins we played both inside and out.
"We are grateful for family!" we wanted to shout.

This day we celebrated all we hold dear.
Through the gravy and whip cream, our blessings seemed clear.

Food and family make the perfect Thanksgiving Day.
We hope you celebrated yours in your own special way.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Bean's Bash

On top of all Thanksgiving prep, I added in a party for Addie Bean. Her birthday is on Saturday, and today she celebrated with her 3 friends. McDonald's, decorating gingerbread men with mounds of sprinkles and painting wooden Santa's. Hours packed with fun. I'm just awesome like that. It was a happy day with a little girl who is soon to be 7.

Hip, hip hooray! We celebrated Addie today!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Thanksgiving To Do

I'm a list keeper. It's the only way I can keep my brain from exploding. I write it all down and for some obsessive reason, I'm driven to check items as complete. My kids are home for the next week. Add in the weekends and you get 9 full days of sibling bliss. I'm so excited, I'm nauseous. Thank heavens cousins arrive in a couple of days.

Thanksgiving To Do List:

1. School program where I spent 90 minutes ironing costumes. Check. Cutest pilgrim. Double check.
2. I refuse to stick my hand in a turkey's privates. It's just not proper. I've convinced my sister to cook the bird. Check.

3. Last week I thought about making really cute, coordinating place card holders. But today, right this very minute, I've decided that I'm just not that kind of mom. Paper plates and cups will have to do. If you're lucky, I'll use a sharpie to write your name on your cup. Check.

4. A few days ago, my mom strongly suggested that Thanksgiving dinner be held at my house. I disagreed and told her I'd leg wrestle her for it. I'm hosting the feast. Discussion over. Check.

5. I recently sent an email to my family members dishing out assignments for the holiday. I informed my brother that he was in charge of the nature hike where we could all enjoy God's bounteous gifts. He has yet to respond. I'm sure it's because he hasn't finished mapping out the route and the various bird species along the way. I better check on this.

6. Just tonight, I checked in with Todd to make sure that he is taking off work for at least 2 days this week (I'm campaigning for 3). My throat got dry and I shut my eyes real tight when I asked. I wanted to prepare myself just in case he said he could only stay home for 1. Check.

7. I'll hit the grocery store tomorrow. So far, Coke and Hershey Bars are the only things on my list. I will probably add whip cream, Reese's Cups and Excedrin. Stocked pantry. Check.

So much to do and so little time to get it all done. But, there is one thought that keeps me going....pie, pie and more pie. Check.

Friday, November 20, 2009

When She Is Bored

Things get dicey around here when there is nothing to do. Well, let me rephrase that...when Makell thinks there is nothing to do. If the air in the house gets still and quiet, I know that trouble will fall soon. Most of the really naughty things she does somehow get blocked from my memory. But every so often, boredom spawns creativity.

Ever wonder how many hair ties and clips you could arrange in your hair? I guess Makell did too. She left it like this for quite some time. When she needed to read a book, she simply tucked the front pony tail around her ear.

She got tired of carrying Keagan. For some mysterious reason, she found a need to pull the cooler from the back of the coat closet. It makes a handy carrying case. Keagan stayed nice and fresh.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Worry Box

This is a Worry Box:

It's so tiny, it can fit in the palm of your hand. Who knew that you could hold all your worries in such a itty bitty container. Todd was given this box while at Woodbadge (his little scout sleep over). A member of his group (uh, I mean troop) is from Guatemala. He brought each person their own box. It's native. This little Worry Box has traveled far.

When you slide off the top, these little dolls are inside:

Can you imagine making these little dolls that are no bigger than your fingernail? That would give me some serious worry. But they're so cute. I find myself opening the box sometimes just to take a peek at them.

This Guatemalan Worry Box is to be used to rid yourself of worry. The keeper of the box is instructed to remove a doll for each worry and place it under your pillow at night. When you wake in the morning, the worry will be gone.

Don't you wish it was that simple? I do. Or, maybe it is, and I just make it more complicated than I should. I worry away all time and reason. I think all mothers do. We're just wired like that. I wonder why?

The other day I read the results of a recent survey that found that women are less happy than they used to be. How sad, but not all together surprising. We can't seem to stop ourselves from the worry and guilt. We promise not to take on too heavy a load, but we continue to say yes to those who ask. I wonder if the women in Guatemala are less happy? Do they lay in bed at night and review in their mind all that they haven't done right during the day? Or, do they use their Worry Box and drift calmly to sleep?

My guess is that we are all simply trying our best to get it right. Sometimes we hit our target, and sometimes we don't. Maybe we spend too much time worrying about the targets we miss instead of celebrating those we achieve.

For now, my Worry Box will have to suffice. I look at it every day, and each time I think to myself, "I'm going to need a bigger box."

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Foreign Matters

Sam is my child that is most like me. Pretty, witty, an unusually angelic voice. She gets it all from me. It's true. So, when she says or does something that is beyond the realm of what I would do, it gives me pause. It actually makes me stare at her extra long while I wonder if she is indeed my offspring.

At the age of 8 or 9, she started to veer from the path. She announced one day that she didn't want to take dance classes anymore. Instead, she wanted to play soccer. I bowed my head in shame and then proceeded to ignore her requests. I figured that she must have low blood pressure and oxygen wasn't reaching her brain. No one in their right mind would want to run outside in baggy shorts while you chase a ball. I didn't have the heart to tell her that soccer uniforms are not cute or flattering.

She persisted. I gave in. I reasoned that one round of a community league would cure her. She showed up to her first practice in her cute levi shorts with a ruffle edge. An hour later she told me that she needed soccer shorts and cleats. That one stumped me. I had no earthly idea where one would even look for such items. And cleats? Eew. So unattractive and uncomfortable. I was pretty savvy on where to buy leotards and ballet shoes. Not cleats.

Over the years she has defied logic. Well, what I consider logical. Last year she tried out and made it into an athletics class at school. It's kind of an athletes-in-training all year long. Every week they run/sprint a mile, race the stairs on the bleachers and lift weights in the weight room. She thinks it's fantastic. I look at it as torture.

Before she tried out for this class, I sat her down and had a cold, hard talk. You know, the kind of serious talk you give someone who is making a life altering stupid decision. I had to be blunt. I told her that she would get sweaty EVERY. DAY. Hair does not look pretty when it's sweaty. And, for the love of all that's cute and darling, you. will. have. to. lift. weights! That one I could barely get out. Just saying it made me slightly nauseous.

Last week, Sam was made the manager of the 7th grade girls basketball team. I asked, "So, what exactly will you do as a manager?" She responded, "I get to work out with the team, run the scoreboard, attend all the games, step in if they don't have enough players." Oh good glory.

After school today, the team has their first scrimmage. I don't even know what that word means. Scrim- what? It sounds like some kind of mini sprinkle. One that you would put on mini cupcakes. Whatever it is, she has to travel by bus to get there. I'm sure the team uses this time to bond and coordinate their outfits with their shoes. Sam will fit right in. She is soooo like me.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Joy Can Be Found In A Cookie

I hope you enjoyed your Sunday afternoon as much as we did. I know it's hard to tell, but we ate Oreos. Just a couple.