Thursday, December 24, 2009


Spent last night wrapping Christmas presents for hours.  Chance has some sort of wrapping disability so he's useless.  It takes him 20 minutes to wrap one present.  I can't stand to watch it - I have no patience for that.  His wrapping education was seriously lacking as a child.  At least there is something that I'm better at than he is.  He beats me at everything - well except gift wrap and styling Emma's hair.  I can totally smoke him there.  I guess that's something to hold onto.
So, today I mentioned to him that he really owes me a massage as my back is sore from wrapping everything.  His response:

"We've got Vicodin.  Why don't you just take that?  It's like a massage from the inside."

Thursday, December 3, 2009

26 and Human

Emma:  "Ella (her doll) is still going potty in her underwear!"
Mom:  "She's not potty trained yet? How old is she?"
Emma:  "Hmmm...I think she's five ... No, she's actually 26."
Mom:  "Wow!  26!  She's getting old."
Emma:  "Well, she's not too old.  She's not like a grandmother.  She's a human, not a grandmother."

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Deep Space Noah

Noah:  "Do you know who the oldest planet is?"
Mom:  "No.  Do you?"
Noah:  "It's Mars.  Mars is the oldest planet."
Mom:  "Wow!  Very cool."

Noah:  "Yeah.  Planets don't have birthdays though.  And neither do aliens."

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Turkey & Penicilin

I used to get a lot of sore throats.  If someone had Strep Throat in a 100 mile radius, I got it.  I came down with a bad case of Strep right before Thanksgiving one year.  Since I hated shots, I opted for oral Penicillin.  This is strange because I also couldn't really swallow pills.  And these were serious meds - they were huge.  And my throat was, um... swollen.  (It took me years to achieve pill swallowing skillz, btw.)  So, this one Thanksgiving I stayed home from school all week and helped my mom get ready for the holiday.  And I had some serious difficulty getting those pills down three times a day.  My mother would crush them up in a spoonful of jam sometimes when she was tired of hearing me choke.  But on Thanksgiving Day I remember clearly shoveling in those pills with a mouthful of turkey.  (I don't know why - but for some reason I can totally picture Tyler doing this right now.)  Let me tell you there is nothing more disgusting to eat than turkey laced with Penicillin.  It has probably been 20 years since that day, but I can still taste it.  And unfortunately the memory returns at least once every year on Thanksgiving Day and a shudder of disgust runs through my body.

Looking forward to feasting (sans Penicillin) tomorrow! 

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Once upon a time ... something happened

Tyler came to me last week and told me he misses his friends in Minnesota.  Especially his friend, Rose.  Rose was a darling girl who lived a few houses down the street and was in Tyler's class.  They played together all the time and she was super cool because she had dogs and liked to play with swords and lightsabers.  One blustery day back in 2007, Tyler came home from school and informed me that something "serious" had happened at school that day.  He had the strangest, most severe look on his face at the time.   I asked him to tell me all about it 

"Well, Mom .... today at school... Rose kissed me.  And I kissed her.  And... well, I fell in love today.  That's what happened."

It's one of the sweetest memories I carry of him.  A "grown up" discussion about love in our old living room with my 6 year-old son.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

One Man's Garbage is Another Man's Treasure

Yesterday, Chance's parents visited while the kids were out of school for Veteran's Day.  Jayne gave Emma a cute trash can covered in flowers and butterflies for her bedroom.

Emma:  "What's this?"
Grandma:  "A trash can for your bedroom."
Emma:  "For my very own?  It's so cute!  I have to show Mamma!"

Noah:  "I want a trash can of my very own..."

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Back in the days before the Berlin Wall came down and the Cold War ended, I had the opportunity to travel to Europe on a tour with my history teacher, Mr. Preston, and a few classmates.  An interesting experience since I am certain it was an extravagance my family could not afford.  My mother found a way to make it happen and off I went to experience the wonders of the world as a young teen.  I traveled through England, France, Italy, Switzerland, Austria and Germany.  I met beautiful people and lost myself in the enchanting scenery (well, sometimes .... sometimes I lost myself in the eyes of a cute boy in my tour group, too.  How could I help that?)  I realize now I was too young to fully appreciate the opportunity I was given back then, but my short time abroad forever changed my feelings about the blessed land we live in.

My group traveled to beautiful and safe places.  The most "dangerous" part of the journey occurred in Italy where I wasn't allowed as a young, blond, American girl to walk down the street without an adult male escort.  Seriously.  Those Italian heartthrobs trailed me everywhere and attempted to seduce me on the street, male chaperones notwithstanding.  My teenage brain didn't register danger, only excitement.  Mr. Preston threatened to lock me in the hotel.  How could I help being excited?  What with the "Ciao, baby!"s, the shoes, the cuisine and the gelato stands.  I was ready to become an Italian citizen forever.  The danger to a young girl was very real, but I failed to sense it. 

The end of the trip was spent in Germany.  Our tour guide, Trudy, shared stories of traveling into Eastern Germany and other Eastern Bloc countries.  Tourists who ventured there were not permitted to carry cameras and were jailed if they violated any number of rules.  She shared stories of depravity and suppression.  It terrified me.  I was safely on the West side of the Berlin Wall, but I felt the plight of those confined souls living beyond suffering in darkness that I did not want to get caught in. I was completely safe.  There was no danger to me, but nothing (not even gelato) would have induced me to give away my US citizenship then.  I was ready to go home.

When I stepped onto US soil again, I felt an immediate sense of security.  I was home again, where I understood the rules and I was free to live a life as I chose to live it.  I experienced a tangible warmth when I took that first step off the plane and have never forgotten it.  And I take a moment here to appreciate those who have sacrificed for this country and for the freedom and safety I enjoy.  While I appreciate our veterans, my heart is full of gratitude today for those - like my sister Nicole - who live knowing their husbands (or sons, fathers, daughters, brothers, uncles, sisters, etc.) may not come home tomorrow.  I honor her sacrifice just as much as I honor her husband's service in the Air Force.  Jason will be deploying to Iraq again next month. My brother-in-law, Kris, is stationed there again, too.  How does she do it?  How does she give him up so often for so long?  How does she survive the anxiety and the reality of the danger to him?  How does she sleep?  I don't know how, but I am grateful for it.  She is stronger than I.

Happy Veteran's Day.

"Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” ~ Miriam Beard

Monday, November 9, 2009

I am a Good Mother

Today was a day of affirmation.  I am a good mother.  I can prove it.  Two impartial people told me so today.

1. Mrs. Rizzo, Noah's Kindergarten teacher:
I phoned Mrs. Rizzo this afternoon about an upcoming field trip and we talked about Noah for a few minutes.  She expressed how much she enjoys him in class and praised me as a mother more than once.  I felt awesome.

2.  Lady at Fred Meyer's Playland:
I had to pick up groceries for dinner so Emma and Noah elected to hang out at Freddy's Playland this afternoon.  I signed them in and the lady gave them a quick rundown of the rules in her playland.  I went on my way and returned an hour later.  Playland lady praised me for a good 5 minutes about how well behaved both of them are.  And then she said ... "You're a good mother.  I can tell.  I've been doing this for a long time now, and I can always tell the good from the bad." 

Hmmmm....maybe I'm not doing everything wrong.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A Month of Gratitude

Happy November! Just wanted to share the project I've been slaving over for the last 10 days.  It's a gratitude calendar and filled with daily activities to promote an attitude of thanksgiving.  I sacrified a lot of sleep for this, but I hope we have some worthwhile experiences with it.  Each pocket holds a card with an activity surrounding various types of blessings. Some activities focus on families, some on faith, health, the arts, the Earth; I tried to come up with a variety of ways to count up at least 30 different blessings in my family's life this month. I'm hoping that my children will have fun, but also be reminded of our abundantly blessed life.

Today's card:  "Be Grateful for your siblings.  Be extra kind to them.  Do your best to avoid fighting and teasing each other." I considered using the "Be Grateful for your Mother" card, but I'm going to save that for the day after Thanksgiving, I think.  I also decided it was time to use the sibling card after a brief discussion with Emma yesterday:

Mom:  "Hey, your face is dirty."
Emma:  "Yeah, Noah made me kiss his shoe.  And Tyler, too."

A Month of Gratitude - Part 1

Happy November! Here is the big project I've been working on the last 10 days or so. I originally got this idea from Pottery Barn Kids last year. (See photos below), but I didn't want to pay their prices for it. I looked it over and thought "How hard could it be? Its a big rectangle with pockets. I can totally do that for about $20." Turns out, I spent about the same as PBK's cost, but I have enough materials to make at least 2 of them and a number of new tools that I can use over and over again. (I had to buy a few dies for my Big Shot). Since I didn't know exactly what I was doing at first, I bought extra fabric in case I needed it. Once I got started and realized how much excess I had, I considered making a 2nd one of these to give away. "Wouldn't that be cool of me? Wouldn't that just be the nicest thing ever?" I thought. And then I thought, "Hmmm....I could get some Christmas fabrics and make an advent calendar for Christmas like this." And then I started sewing and vowed never to do this again. Honestly, it wasn't too bad, once I figured out the design and managed to line up the pockets in a semi-straight grid. And if you have a week of your life to sacrifice, this is a nice way to do it. There are some things I would do differently, fabric choices I would change, etc. but I'm really pretty proud of this.
Each pocket has a card with an activity for gratitude. Some activities focus on families, some on faith, health, the arts, the Earth; but I tried to come up with a variety of ways to count up at least 30 different blessings in my family's life this month. I'm hoping that my children will have fun, but also be reminded of our abundantly blessed life.

Supplies: Big Shot Machine; Serif Essentials Alphabet Die; SU Simple Numbers Die; SU Scallop Square Die; fabric; various interfacings; ribbon; dowel; blood; sweat; tears.




PBK's Calendars (2008 & 2009):

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween 2009

Emma woke me early this morning with a "Wake up, Mom!  It's trick-or-treating today!"  We spent most of the day at the soggy, swampy soccer fields for our last round of games. YAY!  Soccer is over and I have a year to buy myself a pair of rubber boots before next season.  We stopped for an early dinner at a local teriyaki place and Chance got sick on the way home.  He spent the night with a suspected case of food poisoning.  I took the kids around the neighborhood and allowed Emma to introduce herself as Tinkerbell to everyone she met.  In less than an hour their buckets were full and too heavy to carry.  We tromped home where the kids promptly turned on a Halloween movie and entered candy bliss. 

Death by Soccer

Soccer season has ended!  Hurray!  Three soccer teams practicing and playing games every week is taxing.  I'm so ready for a break.  All that remains is to wade through the trophy parties this week. 

Emma had a rocky start to the season, but has really grown to love playing. I can't tell yet if she has any real skill for the game.  Her aggresive, competitive side comes and goes with her mood. 

Noah doesn't play much. (We're going with a different coach next year.) He spends a lot of time standing on one foot, doing the crab walk, eating his shirt sleeve, doing jump-n-twirls. You know, stuff like that. But occasionally he'll get to play. And then something bad happens. Like getting kicked in the hand (stupid soccer!) But its OK because they he can do some more jump-n-twirls.

Tyler never stops moving. The boy was made to play sports (probably gets that from me). He can't get enough time on the field and I think he's pretty dang awesome out there. He's a rockstar!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Pumpkin Patch Pics

Trip to the patch:

Took a walk through the corn maze with the kids.  About 5 minutes into the maze, Chance jumped out and scared them into histerics.  Then they attempted to scare us through the maze over and over and OVER again.  How quickly funny things becomes annoying.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Facebook Song

Loved this video! No idea who these guys are, but I needed a good laugh.  Hopefully this link will work:

Facebook Song

I played it a couple of times while Emma was standing nearby.  Then she subconsciously broke into song and sang her own version of the Facebook Song. 

Noah's Names

I have mentioned before how when I was pregnant with Noah, Tyler told everyone the baby name was going to be "Harry Potter."  Noah loves this story.  He speaks of it often and loves to hear me tell it.  The other day he started talking about what to name our next baby.  (As if!)  He decided he wants two babies - a boy and a girl. The boy will be named "Harry" of course, since we missed out before when we named Noah.  And the girl?  Leia - as in Princess Leia. 

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Unhealthy Vitamins

Like every parent, I continually worry over my children's eating habits. If only they would eat vegetables consistently. I used to give them multi-vitamins every day to help ease my mind. But that all changed about a year ago.

I fell asleep on the couch one late afternoon. I woke to find that somehow my children had opened up the "child-proof" gummy vitamins (COSTCO size) and consumed 1/2 the bottle. Its been a long while since I've called Poison Control. My mother-in-law, who is a former pediatric nurse, talked me out of it. Then I Googled "vitamin overdose" and found horrors of hospitalization and death.

I called Poison Control.

I spoke with a lovely woman who assured me that since our vitamins do not contain iron or fluoride that everyone would be fine. Apparently, my vitamins aren't vitamins at all. They are sugar! If only I had listened to my MIL I could have remained blissfully ignorant regarding the nutritional content (or lack thereof) in my children's vitamins.  And I wouldn't spend so much time worrying about their vegetables (or lack thereof) either.

"An onion can make people cry, but there has never been a vegetable invented to make them laugh." 
~Will Rogers

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Check this out: The Monster Mash

This was fun; the kids are wild about it. I hated my picture so I made myself the werewolf. Plus, the werewolf has all the best dance moves - check out my butt slapping! Enjoy!

Friday, October 16, 2009

What I do

I recently read my friend Jamie's latest blog post. A few months ago she had her 3rd child and I've noticed how much better she has handled her latest addition than I handled my 3rd baby. She recently opened up her own etsy shop and sells adorable little baby bundles. (She kind of makes me sick.) When Emma was born, my life was chaos for months. We lived in a hovel while our house was under construction. Seriously - a hovel. A two bedroom, one bath 500 sf hovel! Emma's "nursery" was in the living room/office. Every picture I have from back then has a pile of laundry in it because there was no laundry room. I'm completely serious - EVERY picture.

With Noah in Kindergarten and Emma in preschool most mornings, I have a few hours to myself. My friend Jamie has spent the last week doing home improvement projects on top of potty training, nursing/caring for a newborn and creating new baby things to sell online. And she's also done loads of canning recently. What have I been doing lately? Not home improvement, not sewing, not canning, not caring for an infant or potty training ... No, mostly I go shopping. By myself. Because I can. I suddenly can go anywhere I want and look at things I want to look at for nearly 3 hours. Its been over 7 years since I've been able to browse. But I need to stop. I can't afford this lifestyle!

So, I decided that I would be more like Jamie and create. There is this little project I've had in the back of my mind since last October. (Basically, I saw it at Pottery Barn Kids for $80 and decided I could make it myself.) I looked up the pictures for it again and started my design. Jamie inspired me! I am a new woman! My days will be productive!

And then I went shopping for project materials.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


I've been ill this week. An unfriendly virus has infected my house and everyone in it. When I picked up Noah from the bus stop this afternoon, I told him I was freezing. He looked at me and said "Maybe you should go back to bed." I guess I look as bad as I feel.

Today, Noah's Kindergarten class learned all about germs. They looked at germs on their hands under a microscope and then had to count them. Afterward they washed their hands at the sink one minute for every germ they could see. (I'm not actually sure this is accurate because sometimes Noah confuses his minutes and seconds.) He proudly informed me that he had THE MOST germs of everyone in his class! And subsequently had to stand at the sink and wash his hands for nine minutes. No wonder I'm sick - my son is a petri dish.

Update:  It turns out they didn't look at their hands under a microscope, but with some sort of CSI purple light.  I thought it sounded strange.  But Noah truly did have the most germs in his class.

“Kisses blown are kisses wasted. Kisses aren't kisses unless they are tasted. Kisses spread germs and germs are hated. So kiss me baby; I'm vaccinated.” ~ Anonymous

I know this is a strange quote. I have no idea who said it, but it made me laugh today.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Slime Flu

**Note:  This post originally drafted sometime in October 2009, I believe.  Blogger lost the date again.  Just a guess on this date.

Chance and I are sick.  I seem to be on the downhill end of it, while he is still trying to survive the initial attack of this virus.  So far, no one in our home is showing signs of Swine Flu - or as my mother calls it "Slime Flu."  We had to miss church today because of our digustingness.  The kids were bummed because they are practicing for their primary program next week.  I am kind of bummed, too.  I feel all out of sorts when I miss church.  Too bad its not socially acceptable for me to show up in the pajamas I've been wearing all week.

Quote of the week:

Emma:  "Mom, I'm out of toothpaste."
Mom:  "OK, you can use mine."
Emma:  "Mom, I can't use yours!  Its too spicy!"

Friday, October 2, 2009

Feeling Strange

Yesterday was Emma's first day of preschool. I dropped her off in front of the school where her teacher was waiting. I hugged her, she grabbed her teacher's hand, turned, smiled, waved at me and was gone. Then I drove home by myself and sobbed. I phoned Chance who reminded me that I would see her in less than three hours. A mother's heart doesn't listen to logic like that.

I'm not exactly sure what Emma did while she was there. She came home with strange tales of chocolate, visiting the nurse, climbing the "jungle bars" and riding the bus (which I know she didn't do). And she sang "If you're happy and you know it ..." about 27 times. She can't wait to return on Monday.

Emma: "Mom, I didn't even rip anything in my school today!"
Mom: "Oh, good. Did you like your teachers?"
Emma: "Yeah, they weren't mean!"
Mom: "What did you think of Mrs. Chambers?"
Emma: "She was adorable and she was so nice to me and was so proud of my coloring!"

I had a strange morning by myself. The house was quiet. I made some phone calls and checked my email without anyone demanding snacks or help dressing a doll. No one interrupted my shower or tried to climb in with me. My hair was not in a ponytail and I wore clean clothes that no one wiped their hands or face on. What is this new world I'm entering? And why do I miss my old one?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Religion on the Bus

"Are you a 'Born-Again' Christian?"

That's what the school bus driver asked me this afternoon when Noah got off the bus today. It was the most unexpected thing for her to say. I don't usually label myself that way, but I knew that she was asking whether we were a religious and Christian family so I answered "yes". She went on to describe what an interesting little missionary my Noah is. Apparently he told her all about the Resurrection yesterday on the way home:

Noah: "When you die -- 'cuz people CAN die -- you get resurrected. You get a new body and get to live forever! But people who don't go to church don't know about it."

Thankfully, he's just about the last stop and there were not any other kids on the bus at the time. I would hate to get complaints from other parents regarding my 6 year-old's school bus proselyting! But I have to admit that I feel a sparkle of pride when I think about it.

Friday, September 18, 2009


I joined Goodreads awhile back to organize my book group lists and keep track of notes about books I like, want to read, etc. I am forever jotting down titles or authors I hear good reviews on, so that I can check them out at my library. I used to lose those notes all the time. Now, I just add them to my "to-read" list with all the info about who recommended them. Its wonderful for me. Plus, I have some friends on the Goodreads network who share their booklists with me. I have found a number of favorites based on friend's booklists.

Also, on this site you can write book reviews and share them with your friends and the rest of the Goodreads world. Sometimes when I start a book I'll read other people's reviews to get a feel for it. (I rarely write book reviews myself. The best compliment I can give an author is to sacrifice my sleep in pursuit of the story.) Many book reviews are very educated, supremely (condescendingly) analytical and no fun at all to read! Some are briefly stated personal opinions. Today I came across a hilarious (to me anyway) review of Jane Austen's Sense & Sensibility. It was so young hearted and humorous. I don't know why but every time I read it, I laugh. Here it is:

"This my first Jane Austen. Okay, I LOVED this book. I don't even know why. It's about . . . girls who like boys! Who are jerks! Um, the end! But it was funny. But clever funny, which is my favorite kind..." "... Also I love all the wacky British society stuff. Like sending notes! And walking places! And having breakfast at other peoples' houses! And I enjoyed figuring out the etiquette of the day. Like, it's improper to exchange letters with a member of the opposite sex with whom you are not engaged? Crazy! But it's cool to be engaged and not TELL anyone? Insane! I love it. " ~ Kerry of Clementon, New Jersey

Thank you, Kerry from New Jersey.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Strike Ends - Kindergarten Begins

Hallelujah! The teacher strike has ended and school began today! What a long couple of weeks this has been. Summer officially ends for me on Labor Day usually, so we really haven't done much in the way of extending our summer activities. Boredom and restlessness has made my children crazy! Thank goodness for school! Noah started Kindergarten! He is thrilled to be walking to the bus stop with Tyler and going to a "real" school for big kids. Tyler is now in 3rd grade and is super excited about it. He has a male teacher this year, which is apparently the coolest thing. And Emma is flamin' mad that she's stuck with me all day for the next few weeks until preschool begins October 1st.

While driving by picketing teachers outside the school....

Noah: "Mom, what are those signs? What are the teachers doing?"
Mom: "They are holding signs up to tell everyone that they're fighting with the schools and want things to be better for their students."
Noah: "Mom, schools don't fight. (laughs)"

Another day, driving by ....

Noah: "Mom, is my teacher fighting with the schools too?"
Mom: "Yes, Noah. All the teachers have decided not to go back to work until they can get the schools to agree to make things better. School can't start until they agree."
Noah: " .... (mumbling grumpily) .... I hate those signs. And I hate those schools...."

Monday, September 14, 2009

Life Without Aidan

Emma began her new ballet class with Miss Mary and without Aidan. When I told her that Aidan wouldn't be in her class, she collapsed into my arms and sobbed for 10 minutes. Heartbreak at age four. I took her to class unsure if she would stay. But the hour that followed was probably her most productive and attentive class to date. Miss Mary commented at the end that maybe their separation was for the best since she listened so well without "getting distracted by that boy!"

"Gone - flitted away, taken the stars from the night and the sun from the day! Gone, and a cloud in my heart." ~Alfred Tennyson

“Remember me and smile, for it's better to forget than remember me and cry.” ~ The Cure, lyrics from "Treasure"

Friday, September 11, 2009


Noah is six. Six year olds boys everywhere enjoy the same things: dirt, kung fu and superheroes. So, naturally Noah celebrated his birthday this week with a superhero party at our place, complete with 14 other superkids. It was crazy loud at our house, but it was filled with laughter and excitement. Each guest received their own cape and eye mask to decorate during the party. Noah & Emma decorated the house with superhero toys and everyone had a ball playing with them - especially the girls. They played "Pass the Kryptonite" (hot potato), "Kapow! Practice" (drew villian faces on balloons and then punched them like crazy) and then rescued Tyler when "Chance the Supervillian" kidnapped him. Chance was brought to justice when the kids put him in jail (a chair) and tied him up with toilet paper. Then they tortured him by pinching his nose and poking his eyes! I laughed so hard, I cried!

It was exhausting, but worth it. After the last child left, our home was quiet and terribly messy. I sat down and thought about my boy. I thought how small he was 6 years ago. I thougth how when I brought him home from the hospital he was too small for a carseat and had to ride home in a "car-bed". I thought about how I pulled over three times on that ride home to make sure he was OK in that bed. I thought how very soon (hopefully) he'll begin Kindergarten. I thought how soon enough he won't want superhero parties or his mother's chocolate cake. Soon enough, he'll be too busy for us to stop and play hot potato or anything else and will think himself too old for such games. It brought tears to my eyes. I decided to enjoy his enthusiam and general boyish wildness more. I decided to live in the moment more and listen to his stories more and be more forgiving of his messy ways.

And then I fell asleep in the recliner.

"You don't raise heroes, you raise sons. And if you treat them like sons, they'll turn out to be heroes, even if it's just in your own eyes." ~Author Unknown