Friday, July 31, 2009

Tiny Is Terrific

I know what you're going to say. At some point I'm going to have to admit that the twins belong to my sister. Well, I refuse. She is simply borrowing them and taking care of them in the night while I sleep. She's so kind like that. But don't worry, I told my kids the other day that she is their real mom. It was weird how excited they got. Huh.

Who knew that at nine months, Riley would still fit in the doll stroller. Of course, it was Makell who discovered this. A couple of weeks ago, she figured out that she could carry Riley around in the doll car seat.
A Gymboree fashion statement. So cute, I could eat her right off the screen.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Stop Calling My Name!

OK, so here it is--why, oh why, for the love of all that's holy, do my kids yell 'moooommmm' ALL. DAY. LONG!? Seriously, why? And they never say my name in a nice, sweet voice. Ever. It's always yelled across the room and drawn out. Again I ask, why? In all these weeks of summer, not once have I heard my name said in a respectable manner. Not once.

Nothing good ever comes after the 'moooommmm' is yelled. It's always accompanied by a whine, complaint or a ridiculous request. Two days ago Addie sat on the couch and S.C.R.E.A.M.E.D my name until I got out of the shower. When I asked what was wrong, she said she wanted me to fetch her some panties. I simply stared at her in disbelief and walked away.

Why don't they ever yell 'daaaaaddd'? Even when he is standing 5 inches from them, they still find the need to yell 'mom'. Again I repeat, why? It's not like I answer them or coming running to their assistance. I either ignore or yell at them from another room. So, do they yell my name as some sort of threat to the sibling they're with? Or is it simply to punish me for being a stay-at-home mom who vowed never to yell at her kids and always speak kind words with a smile? Which is it, I'm sorely confused.

A friend of mine is in the process of moving, so yesterday I took 5 of her kids for the afternoon. Count 'em up people. That means I had 8. I heard my name yelled so many times I almost pulled out my duct tape. And each name calling came only from my kids, not the other heavenly 5. I was murmuring about this at dinner and Todd looked at me and said, "just ignore it." I stared at him just like I stared at Addie when she wanted panties. I almost reached over and popped his head right off. Not kidding.

I think we should hold a contest to see which mom is the first to ever hear her name said nicely. What do you think? Odds are, it won't be me.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

That's A Wrap

Day 7

A trip to Amish Country:

We found this on the drive back to Kentucky. I've seen it in a magazine before, but up close and personal is spectacular. I would have to guess that the people who work in this office building are a much happier bunch than regular office workers. How can you be grumpy when you're in the middle of a basket?

Day 8
A trip to the mall with Madi and Sam. An adventure unto itself.
Days 10 and 11: journey home, Tennessee-Mississippi-Louisiana-Texas.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Niagra Falls

Day 6

Crazy, crazy fun!!! The Falls are amazing and so breathtaking to see. Throughout the day, I overheard each child say "This is the best day ever!" Mission accomplished.

Cave of the Winds. You wear a plastic gown and special rubber shoes as you hike up through the Falls. It truly felt like we were standing in the middle of a hurricane. Makell asked if we could do it again.

Maid of the Mist boat ride. We stood on the top level of the ferry boat as it drove straight into the Falls. Up close and personal. Complete thrill ride! Watching my kids scream with excitement was even more fun then the Falls themselves.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Palmyra, New York

Day 5

What an amazing day. I never imagined that I would have the chance to bring my family to this very spot. It was surreal. We all seemed to soak in our surroundings and feel the Spirit whisper, "You stand on hollowed ground."

This is Joseph Smith's home when he was a boy.
The Sacred Grove lies just beyond Joseph's home. Walking through the Grove brought me emotions I can not place into words. It was completely still and peaceful. Every tree, rock, leaf and even the air we breathed felt sacred.

Our family being together in the Grove brought unexplainable joy. For a small moment it felt like a glimpse of heaven.

The whole clan assembled just outside Joseph's home.

On the top of the Hill Cumorah. The hike to get here is quite steep. It gave me such an appreciation for Joseph knowing that he had to work so hard just to get to this spot.

A view from the top of the Hill Cumorah. At the base is the stage and seating for the pageant.

Waiting in our seats for the Hill Cumorah pageant to begin. This production was a depiction of stories from the Book of Mormon. It was so exciting and thrilling to watch. I think our family was even more excited that we had to wear jackets!! The Houston heat was easily forgotten during our trip while the temperature remained in the high 70's in the day. Evenings were in the 60's! We basked in the coolness.

Makell, Addie and Josh with some of the Nephite dancers from the pageant.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Kirtland, Ohio

Day 4

Two families traveling in one car. It's either genius or crazy. Or maybe, both. Check out our classy means of transportation. It doesn't get any better than a 15 passenger van. The biggest disappointment--no tinted windows. The gawkers, and there were many, could view all of us in our glory. We did not disappoint.
Newel K. Whitney's store. Home to the School of the Prophets. It was quite something extraordinary to know we were standing in the same place the Prophet Joseph once stood. A deep reverence.

Nancy and I and the girls. Forever friends.

Makell and Ike. Kellie toted this sweet boy everywhere we went. She even took care of him in the car as we drove for hours. A nanny at the age of 10.

The kids played pioneer games on the lawn in front of the Kirtland temple.

The first temple built. Kirtland. It's owned by the Community of Christ church. It was strange to see one of our temples that doesn't actually belong to us. It just didn't feel the same. But yet, you could feel the presence and sacrifice of the early saints and all that they gave to build this magnificent temple.

Sitting on the steps of the temple. Future leaders.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Exploring Kentucky

Days 3 and 9

Sam and Makell at a nearby park.
Paddle boat fun with the crew.

Ella and Addie.

Darley Horse Farm. Kentucky is sprinkled with amazingly beautiful horse farms. This one was beyond fancy. It is owned by the Sheik of Dubai. The horses here are premium winners that are now retired. Exorbitant fees are charged for their breeding ($75,000). Todd is now rethinking his price scale.

Each horse is given his own fenced space to roam. I think I'm going to implement this system at home. Look how large the spaces are. Just think if I could put each child in their own acre space? They wouldn't be able to complain, fight, or even touch each other. I'm convinced this is the solution to a happy home. Seriously.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

9 States In 11 Days

We've finally reached the promised land. Well, that is if the promised land is so hot it feels like you could burst into flames. On the bright side, no more driving. Todd and I just might walk everywhere we need to go for the next few days.

When we add it all up, we have driven a little over 2,500 miles in the last 11 days. That's a lot of togetherness. A. LOT. Before our journey even began, I was convinced this was going to be a suicide mission. Now that we have returned home, I realize it was a whole lot of fun. If I'm being honest, all the togetherness, and even the moments of craziness, were joy.

Our trip was too much to post all at once, some snip-its I can't even put into words. Over the next few days, I'll post glimpses of what we did each day. All in all, it was 11 days of exploring, sharing and fun.

Days 1 and 2

We drove through Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee and reached our destination in Kentucky. Car travel forces creativity. When you're licking a giant jaw breaker, you simply can not speak or fight with your sisters.
Can you see their happiness that we stopped driving and stayed in a hotel? Why is it that hotel swimming pools bring more joy than regular ones?

On the morning of day 2, we had a quick trip to Walmart to remove a nail in our tire. When I thought Addie was walking back to the tire center, I actually found that she had hunted down a police officer to grill her with questions. "Do you have a gun?" "What is jail like?" "I haven't been to jail yet." Did you notice that she used the word 'yet'?

Kentucky brought us to wonderful friends, the Powells. The moment we arrived at their house, it felt like we didn't really live states apart.

Madi and Sam together again. True friendship ties you together, no matter the distance between you.

Friday, July 10, 2009

I'm Packing

At what point in the packing process do you wonder why you're even leaving the house? Pulling everything together to clothe and entertain a family requires an executive committee. Today I think this is all a crazy idea. Maybe tomorrow I will change my mind. Oh wait, I'll be in the car with my kids ALL day. Maybe I'll change my mind by Sunday.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Gift Of Being Related To Me

I've got skills. If you want to be honest, I'll go so far as to call them spiritual gifts. Most of them involve sugar. My bounty overflows in this area of expertise.

I rally strongest for those I love. I offer my skills to those closest to me. I'm trying to reach the world one sugar granule at a time. It's a daunting task, but one I was born to do.

I've been trying to give the twins Oreos for at least 2 months. My stingy sister claims they can't have them because they're not healthy. What hogwash. I started out my campaign by offering up an Oreo Cakester. I reasoned that they are softer and will melt quicker. Initially my sister stood her ground. But, I held firm and made a vow to offer these babies my spiritual gifts. Thus, I continued to torment her with my requests.

On Sunday, my sister started to crack. Looking back, I think she was just sleep deprived and not thinking clearly. I screamed for my kids to grab the Oreos quick. Sheer delight. Watching the experience will provide me with happiness for a week.

Watching Keagan gum her cookie reminded me of Makell at this age. I can clearly remember handing her a Reeses cup IN THE WRAPPER. She had that goody unwrapped and in her mouth within 12.6 seconds. As I looked at her, my heart filled with pride and a small tear formed in the corner of my eye. What more could a mother ask? 8 months old and fully capable of opening her own treats. My job is done here.

In my book, the twins are way behind on their sugar skills. I'm going to have to double my efforts. Channel my strengths where they are needed most. I've decided on a good game plan. Nothing too drastic, just a slow ease into the good life. Don't you worry, I'll help them reach their full potential one M&M at a time.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Feel The Freedom Ring

Family and friends. That makes for a good holiday. Even the heat didn't feel so bothersome today. Freedom and fireworks can do that for you.

When we lived in Utah, I was continually envious of my neighbors who could celebrate each holiday with their extended families that lived close by. I never thought I would have the chance to do the same. But, life takes unexpected turns, and now I do. I savor it. Even now, 2 years later, I am awed that I get to see them everyday. That's a freedom to celebrate.

Texas has also brought us wonderful friends. Forever friends. Fireworks just wouldn't be the same without them.

Happy 4th.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Tap Out

The other day my sister and I were driving down the street. A truck passed by and I noticed a large decal on the back window that read, 'Tap Out'. I turned to my street-savvy sister for an explanation. "It's used in Ultimate Fighting. When you want to quit the match, you tap your opponent twice. Game over."

I've thought about the 'tap out' for days now. I wanna use it. Because, let's be real, parenting is way worse than Ultimate Fighting. Two guys, enclosed in a small space, beating on each other? Come on, that kind of crap happens around here by 9:00 am every darn morning. The fighting is actually the manageable part. What about the crying, tattle telling and nonstop irritation that a sibling is in your breathing space? This is summer, people. I got ultimate fighting happening 24/7.

Over the last 2 days, my kids have really revved up their efforts to suck the very life out of me. It's true. Even my sister confirmed that she can feel the life sucking as well. It must be the heat.

So, I need a 'tap out'. It's the perfect escape route. I even tried it out today. After hearing a rather nasal sounding, "it's not fair". I tapped this child twice. Nothing happened. I expected a game over. But instead, the game kept going. Maybe I need to tap harder and yell, "KNOCK. IT. OFF!" at the same time. Maybe that'll work. I'm gonna give it a try. Do you think they yell in Ultimate Fighting? Probably not, it's so disrespectful.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Along Came A Spider

Little Miss Muffet
Sat sweating on her tuffet,
Eating her brisket and links.

Along came a Texas spider
In the Foster's backyard beside her,
And our pest control we did rethink.